Tuesday 31 August 2010

The journey of a modern day Marco Polo

Toothbrush and toothpaste packed ... check ... yes!

Righto, preparation for the journey to the New England area was complete.

Day 1 ... left the flood plains of the mighty Clarence behind and headed west.

First stop ... Glen Innes where the early European civic fathers (and, perhaps mothers, but I doubt they had much say in things at the time) had the foresight to plan for an urban centre with good wide streets.

Unlike most touros, who take the shortest route from A to B, a conscious decision was made before departing home that a fair bit of time would be spent meandering around the backstreets and roads of the study area.

And, what delights Glen Innes and Guyra proved to be.

Morning tea was had at a quaint tea and coffee shop housed in GI's town hall building (pictured above). And, it was a delightful bargain! The special of the day was home-made poppy seed cake (with cream, of course) and a mug of tasty coffee for the princely sum of just seven bucks.

But, the best part of the stop-over at GI was the opportunity it provided to catch up with the "news" of the day according to a couple of cockies who sat at the table next door. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but the cockies were yarning at a level that was way off the decibel register and their topic of the day was The Merits of Snakes in Australia.

Cocky 1 remarked that snakes were on the move again on his property and that was a sure sign things were beginning to warm up and that spring wasn't far off. Me thinks, should I tell him that it starts on Wednesday? Nah, I'll keep my big trap shut.

Cockie 2 responded, "Ya know, I reckon the best thing about snakes, especially red-belly black ones, is that they make great belts."

Considering the girth of Cockie 2, I reckon he'd need at least half a dozen of the poor b*ggers to successfully complete a circumnavigation around his waist.

Then, off to Guyra. And it, too, didn't disappoint.

First thoughts were that Guyra's central business district was far too quiet and not much should be expected of the small township where I had the misfortune to get stuck on a number of occasions when hitch hiking to the university city to its south and had to cuddle up in makeshift sleeping arrangements and await a next new day before resuming my journeys.

Memories of lazy, biting, bitterly cold winds that went straight through you rather than do the proper thing and blow around you were in the distant past. The day was marked by a few low, ground-hugging clouds (typical of the tablelands) but for the most part it was a gorgeous sunny day with, I suspect, the mercury hovering around the low double digits.

Then, off to Armidale.

A couple of hours were spent exploring the township and the grounds of UNE.

First impressions of the city's CBD gained in the mid afternoon were confirmed via a second site inspection in the early evening ... the mall area is a disaster. Pedestrian traffic in daylight hours was almost non existent - there were very few signs of any post stimulus spending activity to be seen, although good tucker and coffee was had at an establishment a few doors to east of the NAB in Beardy Street.

Dinner was had at a newishly refurbished eatery and watering hole known as the Whitebull Hotel in Marsh Street - in its previous life is was a bl**d house called the Club Hotel. The food was 5-star, the staff were most pleasant and a local vino Peterson's Dangar Shiraz was exceptional (pity about the hotel's wine list describing it as a Danger Shiraz).

Again, it was impossible to avoid hearing the conversations of a group of diners at the next table. The group, who were well heeled and showed no signs of being short of a quid expressed hopes their local federal MP Tony Windsor and his maverick mates would saddle up with Ms Gillard's team - they reckon the stimulus $$$$s made a heck of a difference to their local economy and without it things in the commercial world around the area would indeed have been very ugly. I was in no mood to disappoint them and tell them I reckon it's a done deal - in my mind the three stooges have already crossed the rubicon and it's just a matter of time while they wait for the ink to dry on the memorandum of understanding they've signed up to with Mr Rabbit et al.

Day 11 and the vote count continues......

It's 72 all, it's 72-73 in the Coalition's favour, it's 71-73 with one still in doubt, he's up she's down - everyday brings a reassessment of the possible election result.

Here is the official Australian Election Commission tally at the beginning of Day 11 of the ballot count:

Click on images to enlarge

As of 9.56pm last night 84.90% of the primary vote has been counted and, the two party preferred count was 80.63% complete.

Mad or Dishonest - which is worse?

A Google search delivers about 64,900 results in 0.23 seconds for the search term senator fielding mad?
While tony abbott dishonest? throws up around 22,500 results in 0.21 seconds.
This snippet came from a young fella living a few streets away from me. Thanks, Greg.
Not all the entries accuse these pollies of being either mad or dishonest, but an uncomfortably high number actually do make these claims.
So how do the likes of Fielding and Abbott laugh this off?

Monday 30 August 2010

Rambo of the North: Take a bow Senator H.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott likes to tell the world that the Labor Party is ill-disciplined and in disarray.

However, it would seem that it is the Coalition which is showing the more damaging cracks in its veneer, as the both sides of the political divide try to woo the four independent MPs who will decide who forms the minority government flowing from the August 2010 Australian Federal Election results.

ABC radio news reports this morning state that NSW North Coast Independent MP Rob Oakeshott is complaining of Rambo-style telephone calls received. In particular one call from a Liberal Party member of parliament who introduced himself as "The Devil".

Now from personal experience I would say that there is only one senior politician who has a propensity to start a conversion in the manner, so..........
take a bow Senator Bill Heffernan.

You've probably reduced your fearless leader to biting through his pillow during the night and, this morning's report of an apology is unlikely to have papered over those cracks.

Whale Hunts: Japan no longer has any 'scientific' excuse left

In The Australian newspaper, 27 August 2010:

For those interested in more detail about this new technique, a recent PLoS ONE open access journal article Thar She Blows! A Novel Method for DNA Collection from Cetacean Blow is available online in PDF form.

The original research was conducted using dolphins but the method is said to be transferable to research on larger cetaceans.

The Australian Government encourages and funds non-lethal research. A eight-page booklet outlining current Antarctic research can be found here.

Photograph from Greenpeace.org

Jaysus, that fork-tongued sssnake is at it again!

Not content with telling pork pies on his own behalf - now Libs Leader Tony Abbott is inventing words for Nats Leader Warren Truss and getting called on it when interviewed on Aunty's Insiders:

BARRIE CASSIDY: What has Warren Truss said over the last three days that you regard as meritorious?
TONY ABBOTT: Well Warren has said that he understands their position, the three rural independents, and he's happy to work with them.
BARRIE CASSIDY: I must have missed that. I haven't seen him interviewed anywhere.
TONY ABBOTT: Well look Warren has been talking to lots of people and certainly I've had lots of conversations with him and that's very much the message that I'm getting.

Sunday 29 August 2010

The NSW North Coast Nationals - better late than never?

Reduced to being the cow's rump of the Coalition partnership in 2007 and on 21 August 2010 further whittled down by voters to a mere handful of hair on the Liberal Party tail (with only seven seats held nationally outside of Queensland), have the Nationals have begun their fightback with this NSW North Coast recruitment drive in the Coastal Views on 25 August:

Ripley's Believe It Or Not - climate change

Connie Meskimen is recorded for posterity as someone who just doesn't understand how the natural world works - as she worries about the effect an extra hour of sunshine (coming her way due to daylight saving time) will have on the US climate.
Hat tip to KHayhoe for uploading the letter to Twitpic.

Click on image to enlarge

Are we over the thought of a hung parliament?

Click on image to enlarge

If the Google Trends graph generated at 5pm Saturday 28 August 2010 is any indication, it seems that Australian Internet users may be well on the way to switching off from the hung parliament negotiations and beginning to get on with the rest of their lives.

By last Thursday football, racing, and a celebrity chanteuse were generating more local searches than two of the terms commonly in use concerning the 21 August federal election result.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Main players get impatient for final tally in 2010 Australian Federal Election

Virtual Tally Room at 6pm on 27 August 2010
Click on image to enlarge

The Denison electorate in Tasmania is one of those polling anomalies where the bulk of first preference votes clearly got to one candidate (in the this case Labor) but following preferences are expected to flow in large numbers to a second candidate (in this case an Independent).

Today the Australian Electoral Commission staff and candidates scruntineers are counting Denison preferences in this electorate according to an 27 August 2010 AEC media release.

It would appear that all the main players in the national hung parliament scenario are becoming a mite impatient and would like Andrew Wilkie's position clarified asap.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) announced today that a preliminary distribution of preferences will occur in the electorate of Denison (Tasmania) this Saturday, 28 August.

State Manager and Australian Electoral Officer for Tasmania, Sandra Riordan said the decision to conduct a provisional scrutiny at this earlier stage in the count was to assist in providing some early certainty of the closely contested result of the 2010 federal election for the Electoral Division of Denison.

The provisional scrutiny on Saturday will be conducted on all available ballot papers that have been fully rechecked for the electorate of Denison, and will include all votes cast at polling places on election day, and all early votes that have been processed to date.

Following completion of the provisional scrutiny a further media release will be issued and available on the AEC website.

A provisional scrutiny involves a full distribution of preferences on the ballot papers, and scrutineers are able to be present during the count. The first distribution reallocates the votes of the candidate with the fewest first preferences to the next available candidate. Following that distribution, the votes of the candidate with the next fewest votes will be reallocated to the remaining available candidates. Finally the votes of the candidate that then has the fewest votes remaining will be reallocated. After that third distribution it is expected that the leading candidate, and consequently the likely result of the election, will become clear.

For more information on the counting of votes in the 2010 federal election, visit the virtual tally room.

What NSW Northern Rivers social priorities are in 2010 for local community services

From Northern Rivers Social Priorities 2010 Report:

In early 2010 Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC) conducted a survey amongst the regions’ community service providers to gauge their views on social priorities. The results from the survey will be used to inform NRSDC in its advocacy role. It will also stand as a resource for other community services to gain an insight into the key social issues faced by the Northern Rivers community and community service system.

Since 2001, initially the Northern Rivers Interagency and now NRSDC have conducted research, consultations and surveys with service providers. The aim has been to identify common social priorities across the region, flag new issues as they arise and monitor the state of those priorities.

Responses from community services of the Northern Rivers to the 2010 Social Priorities survey has revealed that the region’s social priorities, as identified in 2002 and revisited in 2006 remain hot issues in the community.

Data from the survey may be considered in different ways. An indication of what responding services had the strongest feelings about can be found by looking at which issues had the most respondents rating them as 9 out of 9 ie the highest level of concern.

Ranking of the social priorities is as follows on a scale of 1 to 9:

  1. Youth 7.72
  2. Complex needs 7.64
  3. Transport 7.58
  4. Housing 7.08
  5. Ageing 6.92
  6. Community based management 6.52

Northern Rivers Regional Food Celebration, Lismore 21-23 October 2010

The Northern Rivers Regional Food Celebration
celebrating the authenticity of local producers and the biodiversity of northern NSW

The growing acknowledgment and reputation of the Northern Rivers region of NSW as a foodie destination with biodiverse, innovative food production is to be showcased at the inaugural Northern Rivers Regional Food Celebration to be held in Lismore from October 21 – 23.

The Northern Rivers is a place where food loves to grow and people love to grow it. Food based ecotourism and agritourism is destined to grow based on the region's sustainability commitment and the spiritual connection to nature which lends itself to visitor experiences.

Over three days at the Northern Rivers Regional Food Celebration, visitors can enjoy local produce, meet the growers and producers, and discover the extraordinary biodiversity of the region with everything from macadamia's, tropical fruits, guavas, chocolate, coffee, biodynamic muesli, organic meats, biodynamic fruit and vegetables, and artisan breads, to a local blue cheese that wins awards in France!

The Food Celebration will be a vibrant new element to the North Coast National Exhibition, the largest regional show in Australia, which will also include a Sustainability Living Expo.

The Northern Rivers Regional Food Celebration is an initiative of Northern Rivers Food, the recently formed industry based group which aims to support and develop all food related businesses in the NR Region. The Food Celebration is made possible with funding support from the NSW Department of Industry and Investment, which has partnered with Northern Rivers Food to assist with industry growth

Local and regional sustainable food ambassador consultant Alison Drover is working with Northern Rivers Food and its membership of local producers, and the North Coast National, to develop an event which showcases and celebrates the Northern Rivers as a food producing region. Alison works with business and community to support local food and sustainability and corporate responsibility. She has a reputation for designing creative events which connect people, planet and plate.

The Food Celebration will have a theme of' local' for each day of the event designed around the matching local produce. The menus will be designed to be affordable and accessible for show visitor and shared at convivial communal tables with opportunity to learn more about the region.

The message will be to support and celebrate local food and to celebrate the seasonality.

Top local chefs and producers will develop menus which salute the abundant produce of the lush Northern Rivers and demonstrate the region's reputation for sustainable growing and producing practices.

The Food Celebration will also feature demonstrations by local chefs from some of the region's highly regarded restaurants and schools will participate in a cooking competition, with young chefs cooking exclusively with local produce.

"Set in the lush green environs of Lismore's historic showgrounds, the Northern Rivers Food Celebration will celebrate the tastes and qualities of perhaps the most culturally diverse region of NSW. We anticipate that this event will become a must do on the foodie calendar, for locals and visitors from across the country, and these visitors will equally enjoy the amazing variety of activities on offer at the North Coast National," said event consultant Alison Drover.


To participate in the Northern Rivers Food Expo, food businesses must be primarily located in the Northern Rivers region, the goods and/or services produced by the business must be primarily created within the region using local produce where available; and the business must have a commitment to using local labour for operations within the region.

"In 2010 the North Coast National will be proudly celebrating 125 years with a renewed focus on our local area and the many talents, skills and businesses that exist across our unique community. It will be a major showcase of the diversity of our region, its strength, talents and dynamism, of which food businesses – both growers and value adders – are increasingly important," said John Gibson, President of the North Coast National.

For application forms and more details, contact John Bancroft, Northern Rivers Food Expo Manager, Tel: (02) 6621 3413 or Email: john.bancroft@lismore.nsw.gov.au;

Or Leanne Clark, Events Administration Officer, Tel: (02) 6621 3413 or Email: leanne.clark@lismore.nsw.gov.au.

Media enquiries: Tracey Mair, TM Publicity

For the North Coast National Ph: 02 6680 7106 or 0419 221 493

Email: traceym@tmpublicity.com

Abbott and the height of pollie hypocrisy

Politics makes outright whores of so many, but never have I seen someone take to that role with as much gusto as the Hon. Tony Abbott MP.
From his Australians for Honest Politics Trust (and maybe two other associated 'slush' funds) created to bring down a politically inconvenient former protégée to this apology made years too late and run in the online meeja by the likes of the Boorowa News last Wednesday:
"THE likely key independent MP Andrew Wilkie said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had apologised for the Howard government's vilification of him over his opposition to the Iraq War.
Mr Wilkie said the apology came as both Mr Abbott and Prime Minister Julia Gillard began to court his support as a key player in the shape of the next parliament.
The former intelligence analyst was pursued by the Howard government in 2003 after his decision to quit its Office of National Assessments and speak out as a whistleblower against the war.
Prime minister John Howard claimed at the time that Mr Wilkie was ''guilty of distortion, exaggeration and misrepresentation'' in his attacks on the government's use of intelligence."

Friday 27 August 2010

Oh noes - they've been haiku'd!

I recently received a book called ONE HUNDRED GREAT BOOKS IN HAIKU by David Bader.

The premise of the book is that there are great works of literary art but no one has the time to read them, or alternatively that the modern attention span is so short it is too great a chore to read them.

So he condensed the novels into haiku.

A haiku is a three line poem containing seventeen syllables developed in Japan.

I was very impressed and thought I would share a few with you;



Aegean forecast-

storms, chance of one-eyed giants,

delays expected.



Nicolaus Copernicus

Guessus whatibus?

Earthus orbits the Sunnum!

Ptolemy doofus.


Dante Alighieri

Abandon all hope!

Looks like everyone's down here.

Omigod- the Pope!


Herman Melville

Vengeance! Black blood! Aye!

Doubloons to him that harpoons

the Greenpeace dinghy.

(this could also apply to the Japanese justice system)


William Golding

'Kill him! Spill his blood!'

Marooned lads hold savage rites.

Choirboys lean to prey.


Jonathan Swift

Thus I was first great,

then small, and much vexed to learn

that size does matter.

Gloria Jean and Mercy Ministries back in the spotlight

With much of the Australian mainstream media and blogosphere focussed on the recent federal election, this The Sydney Morning Herald article past under my radar (kudos to Cafe Whispers for being an exception) :

The parent company of Gloria Jeans Coffee, co-owned by the Hillsong Church elder Nabi Saleh, is in ''financial dire straits'' and should be put into liquidation and an investigation held into its affairs, the NSW Supreme Court has been told.
It is the latest shot fired in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the coffee giant's parent company, Jireh International, by a small US-based coffee supplier, Western Export Services.
On June 11, the court ruled that Jireh must pay the export company millions in commissions and interest after it found Jireh had breached a joint venture agreement. Yesterday the parties were back in court, fighting over the formula used to calculate the total owed to Western Export Services.

The last published judgment in the matter Western Export Services Inc v Jireh International Pty Limited [2010] NSWSC 622 (11 June 2010) awarding $8,387,656 in damages to Western Export Services.

Here in Australia we are all aware of the ACCC's investigations into Hillsong-connected Mercy Ministries:

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has obtained court enforceable undertakings, which includes payment, from seven former directors of Mercy Ministries Incorporated and/or Mercy Ministries Limited in relation to misrepresentations by those entities.
The undertakings include an apology and a voluntary payment of $1050 to those people affected by the conduct. These are made by former directors Mark Zschech, Peter Irvine, Mark Caldwell, Stephen Crouch, Young Pil (Phil) Sohn, Darlene Zschech and Clark Pearson.
Mercy Ministries is a not-for-profit Christian based charitable organisation which offered a residential counselling program to young women affected by issues such as eating disorders, depression, self harm, unplanned pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse and the effects of sexual or physical abuse. The program was offered whilst the young women resided in a Mercy Ministries home.
The ACCC was concerned that in a period between January 2005 and June 2008, Mercy Ministries misrepresented in brochures and on its website that its services were provided for free, when the majority of residents were required to assign their Centrelink payments to Mercy Ministries for the duration of their stay.
The ACCC was also concerned that during this period, Mercy Ministries misrepresented that it offered professional support from psychologists, dieticians, general practitioners, social workers and counsellors, when the level of professional support was not available as represented. Mercy Ministries did not employ this range of professionals. It did facilitate access to external professionals upon request from residents.


Undertakings remedy Mercy Ministries misleading conduct. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has obtained court enforceable undertakings, which includes payment, from...

obtained court enforceable Undertakings from seven former directors of Mercy Ministries Incorporated and/or Mercy Ministries Limited in relation to representations made by...

December 2009. Undertaking. The ACCC has obtained court enforceable Undertakings from seven former directors of Mercy Ministries Incorporated and/or Mercy Ministries...


Darlene Joyce Zschech and Clark Pearson were directors or office holders of Mercy Ministries Limited ACN 094 325 765 ( N ML) and/or Mercy Ministries Incorporated ABN...

A report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission s activities 1 October to 31 December 2009

In the middle of the federal election campaign all pollies got a pay rise

At the same time Oz pollies were inflicting an atrocious election campaign on a helpless national electorate they were quietly anticipating a backdated pay rise:
Remuneration Tribunal Statement - 2010 Review of Remuneration for Holders of Public Office (72kb) RTF (528kb)
Remuneration Tribunal Statement - 2010 Travelling Allowance Rates for Public Office Holders and Parliamentarians (32kb) RTF (376kb)
Members of Parliament - Travelling Allowance (96kb) RTF (976kb)

According to The Herald-Sun this means that the prime ministerial position is currently worth $14,000 more starting from 1 August.
No wonder Abbott is hot for the job - with his level of personal debt being prime minister would be a god send.

The public service is of course included in this pay rise and moola reports for the grand poobahs are found here:
Remuneration and Allowances for Holders of Full-Time Public Office (120kb) RTF (1.15mb)
Remuneration and Allowances for Holders of Part-Time Public Office (144kb) RTF (2.18kb)

Thursday 26 August 2010

AEC running vote tally now 71 all on morning of 26 August 2010

Click on image to enlarge

From the AEC Virtual Tally Room as of 4am on Thursday 26 August 2010:
Currently 79.78% of the primary vote has been counted.
The two party preferred count is 76.87% complete.

At this stage the Coalition is thought to have 71 seats, Labor 71 seats, Independents 4 seats and 3 seats are still considered doubtful.

Click on image to enlarge

From the ABC Australia Votes 2010 website as of 4.30am 26 August 2010

Will you help these humpback whales in August 2010?

Arne Fleisher's photograph of Humpback Whale from Greenland.com

A copy of the International Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society email set out below was sent to me yesterday.

These whales may be in distant waters to their Southern Ocean cousins, but their plight still deserves equal consideration by all of us here in the Northern Rivers and across the rest of Australia:

Please protest and help us stop Greenland's humpback hunt.

Greenland's whalers could begin to kill humpback whales at any moment – please help us stop them.

In June the IWC agreed to allow Greenland to kill nine humpback whales a year and according to IWC rules, the hunt would start in mid-October. But WDCS has learnt that Greenland's government has given in to the whalers and will allow them to start much sooner, before the whales leave Greenland's shores to migrate to the warm waters of the Caribbean to breed.

Please will you write to Greenland's Prime Minister to protest? Our e-protest will only take you a few seconds.

A lottery system was used to decide which whalers could go out and kill these charismatic and intelligent animals - treating their lives like prizes in a raffle.

The two whaling boats that won this bloody prize-draw plan to set sail any day. If they kill any humpbacks before October 13th they will violate the IWC's rules, but their government is asking other countries for 'understanding'.

We don't want them to kill these animals at all; we don't believe that Greenland has demonstrated a genuine subsistence need to do so and we are horrified that now they plan to flaunt the agreement and go out hunting early.

WDCS recently went undercover in Greenland and found that so-called subsistence whalers are hunting 'to order' for a commercial processing company and selling whale meat to up market restaurants and tourist hotels. It's heartbreaking that these whales, who are worth far more alive to Greenland's growing tourism industry, may instead soon be found vacuum-sealed and frozen on supermarket shelves.

Please will you write to Greenland's Prime Minister to protest?.

If you are on Facebook, you can post a polite message to the Greenland prime minister's wall. Just click on this link to go to his page, then 'Like' him (this will enable you to post). Then post the following, or words to this effect:

Even though the International Whaling Commission has decided to allow Greenland to hunt humpback whales, we urge you not to permit the hunt to start. These amazing animals are vital to Greenland's growing whale watching industry and its economy as a whole, and are worth far more alive than dead. Please do not permit the hunt to start.

Thank you.

Sue Fisher Signature

Sue Fisher

WDCS anti-whaling campaign manager

That's not democracy!

Now let me get this straight. Four independent candidates I never had the remotest opportunity to cast a vote for and who never presented policy or promises to the people in the national federal election campaign (except in their own electorates), now want to dictate who will form government and the way in which the Australian Parliament will operate from now on.
Fark me dead! Someone's having a lend of themselves.
That's not democracy - that's oligarchy.
And that's not on as far as I'm concerned.
Turn those braying asses back into their stalls, reprint the ballot papers and send us all to the polls once again.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Media wrap & latest vote tally on Wednesday morning, 25 August 2010

AEC Virtual Tally Room
Click on image to enlarge

Across Australia 14,088,260 electors enrolled to vote.
Currently 78.76% of the primary vote has been counted representing 11,000,292 electors.
The two party preferred count is 75.85% complete.
A total of 1,935,933 declation votes were issued, including postal, prepoll and absentee ballots.

619,905 informal votes were recorded.

This morning's reports on the scramble for a minority government, with Tony Abbott using the media to push his cause:

Independents set for long haul Sydney Morning Herald‎
'If they were good for the bush, I'm a Martian astronaut.'... Bob Katter said that during their 12 years in power the Coalition had done little for rural voters. Photo: Nicolas Walker THE three independents holding the key to who will govern the nation...
Greens will control ALP, says Abbott The Australian
Independents Bob Katter, left, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott meet in Parliament House. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: The Australian TONY Abbott has warned that the Australian Greens would virtually control a minority Labor government...

Abbott's plea to independent MPs The Age
With three seats still in doubt nationally, all eyes are on Hasluck for a result that may decide which party can form government. TONY Abbott, a renowned parliamentary head kicker, has promised a ''kinder, gentler polity'' if he becomes prime minister...

Abbott to drive gentle bargain to kingmakers ABC News
An Abbott government would be prepared to introduce a new, backbench-only Question Time and expose more of its ministers - even Tony Abbott himself - to the rough-and-tumble of the budget estimates process, the Coalition will tell crossbench MPs this week...

Rural MPs may finally meet leaders News.com.au
THREE rural independents who could decide Australia's next prime minister are formulating a roadmap to power which they'll present to both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott...

Gillard has the real call, not BryceThe Australian
Power to incumbent if count tied: Fraser The Australian
Oakeshott pushes unity government vision The Australian

Provisional voters reminded to provide their evidence of identity to AEC by Friday 27 August 2010 to make their vote count

From Australian Electoral Commission media release 24 August 2010:

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is reminding all voters who cast a provisional vote on election day Saturday 21 August and didn't provide evidence of identity on the day, that they have until Friday 27 August to fulfil this requirement.

Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn said that voters may have cast a provisional vote on election day because their name or address could not be found on the list of voters or it appeared their name had already been marked off.

"The AEC must receive evidence of identity from provisional voters by 5pm on Friday 27 August 2010 or their vote cannot be counted," said Mr Killesteyn.

On election day a 'voter advice document' was provided to each voter who cast a provisional vote without providing an accepted form of identity. The document informed them of their obligation to provide evidence of their identity by this Friday.

These voters can visit an AEC office to show an accepted evidence of identity document or they can mail a photocopy of the document, provided it has been sighted and signed by an authorised person, to an AEC office.

Please note this requirement only applies to voters who cast a provisional vote on election day and did not provide evidence of identity on the day – and does not apply to any other voter.

Provisional votes are only counted after a careful check of enrolment records are made to confirm the provisional voter's eligibility.

For the addresses of AEC divisional offices, visit the Contact the AEC page or call the AEC on 13 23 26.

First Dog articulates our common fear.....

First Dog on the Moon reminds us that it will all inevitably happen again -AAAARRRRGGGHHH!

A bit about First Dog

Click on cartoon to enlarge

Tuesday 24 August 2010

It's begun. Liberals attempt to smear Australian Governor-General in hope that state governor will have to decide next federal government

Media Statement 23 August 2010
Click to enlarge

Saturday's federal election vote count was not even finished for the night when the first whispered attempts to discredit Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce began in an effort to have her stand aside, presumably in favour of NSW Governor Marie Bashir (current holder of dormant commission as Administrator of the Commonwealth), in the event of a hung parliament being confirmed by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Though why the Coalition appears to believe that Governor Bashir would be more amenable to inviting Abbott to form a government is unclear at this point. Perhaps the ease with which she was spooked by tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph earlier this year has fostered some hope in Liberal breasts that she might cave under pressure.

While Tony Abbott is keeping his head below the parapet for now, yesterday the art of the sly smear was being practiced by Liberal Party donor and mining magnate Clive Palmer:

MINING magnate and government critic Clive Palmer has questioned the role of Governor-General Quentin Bryce in determining whether Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott is allowed to form a government.
Ms Bryce's daughter Chloe Bryce is married to ALP powerbroker Bill Shorten, who was instrumental in Ms Gillard toppling Kevin Rudd for the prime ministership.
''We need to make sure that the Governor-General is totally impartial,'' Mr Palmer told The Age. ''If the Governor-General finds she can't be impartial, she should stand down and they should get someone else to fulfil that role.''

In response to this and other speculation in the media Government House released this brief statement:

It's almost a given that sometime in the next three weeks Abbott will be at the Court of Disputed Returns and the Federal Court trying to claw back as many seats as he can in order to form government in his own right; but what is also highly probable is that should either Bryce or Bashir issue that all important invitation to Julia Gillard instead of to him, Abbott will go straight to the High Court asking that the decision be overturned and then a constitutional crisis really will be upon us all.

It wouldn't surprise me if Abbott is rather relying on a national cringe at the thought of a prolonged Coalition dummy spit of this kind (argumented by motions of no confidence and 2008-style disruptive antics in the House once Parliament begins another term) when he argues that the return of a Gillard Government would destabilize the political landscape.

Hogan no hero in Page

The Northern Star 23 August 2010:

KEVIN HOGAN'S eyes were red-rimmed and his movements terse as he watched results pour in from across the Page electorate.

The people had spoken and it took Mr Hogan and his Page Nationals colleagues less than two hours to work out what they had said: "We want Janelle Saffin."

After nearly 10 months of hard campaigning by Mr Hogan, his wife Karen, and even their children, it was a difficult message to hear, but he said he would do it all again in a flash.

Speaking after his 8pm call conceding defeat to his Labor opponent, Mr Hogan said running in the campaign had been a 'great personal experience'.

The Greens - winning and grinning in 2010

Whatever the outcome of the peculiar and slightly distasteful political ménage à quatre - formed by Labor, Libs, Greens and Independents - presently trying to resolve itself into a workable federal government, it seems the Australian Greens prove the saying that winners are grinners.

Taken from a Greens email sent by Ebony Bennett to supporters on 23rd August:
  • We won a Senate seat in every State, including our first ever Greens Senators in Queensland and Victoria. This gives us the power to shape the agenda of the new Government and achieve real outcomes on issues like climate change, a fair go for asylum seekers, same sex marriage, and improving public schools and hospitals;
  • Our first ever lower house Greens Member of Parliament has been elected in a general election - congratulations to Adam Bandt who won the seat of Melbourne with a massive 13% swing to the Greens on primaries!
  • More than 4,500 of you signed up online to volunteer over the course of the campaign - knocking on doors, handing out how to votes, holding Greens stalls and events, and much more;
  • Together, we raised more than $300,000 from small online donations to run our fantastic, positive campaign advertising on TV, on billboards in capital cities, in major newspapers, and to build the biggest online advertising presence we've ever had; (with special thanks to the talented creative team at Make Believe for all their work on this campaign)
  • More than 20,000 people became Facebook fans of the Greens- and dozens of State and local Facebook groups sprung up to spread the Greens' message online

For me, as Campaign Manager, the last few months have been both exhilarating and exhausting. What's kept me going is the knowledge that you - the people out there reading these emails - have been working tirelessly in your own communities.

You've shared the Greens' positive vision for Australia with your neighbours, your colleagues and your families, and that's what's led to these stunning results.

You are the heart and soul of the Greens.

Having the balance of power in the Senate from July 2011 isn't a magic wand, but it does mean we'll be in a powerful position to make legislation better, introduce new ideas to the Parliament and push both sides of politics to deliver smarter, more constructive and progressive outcomes for our nation. The results of this election won't be clear for another few days - or even weeks - and the Senators and I will be in touch with the latest developments.

Monday 23 August 2010

Austral?a: what's missing? The "i" for independents

Thanks, Jules (Daily Examiner, 23/8/10)

Official tally as third day of 2010 Australian Federal Election vote count begins

Click on image to enlarge

After a Sunday spent recounting those ballot papers originally counted on election night, the Australian Electoral Commission's Virtual Tally Room records:
Currently 78.13% of the primary vote has been counted.
The two party preferred count is 74.90% complete.

The power of one - a different angle

As Tony 'People Person' Abbott tries to be first in forming minority government.....

He is one Australian politician who is definitely eliciting passion out there in cyberspace:

anniepapas: if Tony Abbott wins this election, I will be first in line to assassinate him. #ausvotes Twitter

The Audreys Don't fret friends, @boy_named_Joe is going to assassinate Tony Abbott. We'll visit you in jail :)