Brad Norington

The Weekend Australian



Labor is ultimate IR target



John Howard knows more about Labor’s psyche, structure and history
“than most of his political opponents put together,” says Brad
Norington. “You could call it knowing your enemy.” Over the
years Howard has closely observed how unions form Labor’s
organisational base, provide most of its funding and serve as the
training ground for its candidates. By striking at the heart of the
unions with his IR reforms, Howard knows he will weaken Labor too –
perhaps irrevocably. Norington notes that one well-placed source has
said Howard always links unions and Labor to stress the political
negatives: “He associates them so that every act of union thuggery is
sheeted home to Labor.” But the ACTU’s anti-workplace reform campaign
has made Howard “very nervous” about losing the IR PR war. So to
promote his reforms on the frontline, Howard has appointed Andrew Robb
as head of a special task force and recycled Ian Hanke as media adviser
to “drab” workplace relations minister Kevin Andrews. “What’s Hanke’s
specialty?” asks Norington. “Well, it happens to be propaganda sheets
spelling out union links to the ALP.”
Crikey Says: Are things never what they seem in politics? If
the prime minister believes he can decimate the union movement through
new industrial laws he might find the collateral damage could self
inflict.

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Tim Flannery

The Sydney Morning Herald

Earth needs a climate of change

“Environmental sustainability is the key to our
future,” but blind ideology from some of the world’s richest
industrial nations is steering our globe to an unstable future, says Tim
Flannery. So it’s no surprise that Australia and the US – two
countries driven by the “ideologies of endless expansion” –
are the key resistors to the Kyoto protocol, which aims to reduce emissions by
only a fraction of the level necessary. And yes, the climate change threat has
brought about a “considerable reassessment of ideologies,” but John
Howard is yet to recognise that this growing global phenomenon could undo all
of his domestic environmental work like protecting the Great
Barrier Reef and water reforms. Last year Tasmania’s
“dead and dying trees stretched as far as the eye could see:”
victims of global warming which scientists had been warning us about for ten
years. Our leaders need to admit circumstances are changing and only then can
they “steer us on a bold new course towards sustainability.”
Crikey Says: Tim Flannery must often feel like the boy who
cried wolf. Except that more and more other people can also see this particular
wolf.

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Chris Puplick

The Australian

Trouble on the
cards


It was “inevitable” that the
London bombings should revive
discussion of a national identity card, says Chris Puplick. The prime minister
has called for a debate on the issue, and the last time we had a “genuine and
informed” debate on the subject was 20 years ago, under the Hawke government.
During this period, Howard and the Opposition were “resolute” in rejecting the
measure. In fact, every claim made for the benefits of the card was shown to be
false, including those related to national security. Nothing in the past two
decades has changed in that regard – the benefits of national ID cards are
“grossly overstated,” and their potential to negatively impact on our freedom
and way of life remains “unacceptable.” An effective ID card would require
biometric identification, which entails major privacy issues. Then there’s the
question of identity fraud, and the possibility of hackers accessing our
“secure” records. So, asks Puplick, should 20 million Australians have their
liberties trashed so that we might detect “two or three mad jihadists in our
midst?”
Crikey says: This is the template
for arguments against a national identity card, except this time around the
arguments will probably fall on deaf ears in an atmosphere of rising terrorist
alarm.

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