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Andu 27th Nov 2012 20:15

Backbench revolt forces PM to drop Israel support

JULIA GILLARD has been forced to withdraw Australia's support for Israel in an upcoming United Nations vote after being opposed by the vast majority of her cabinet and warned she would be rolled by the caucus.

As a result, Australia will abstain from a vote in the United Nations General Assembly on a resolution to give Palestine observer status in the UN, rather than join the United States and Israel in voting against the resolution as Ms Gillard had wanted.

In a direct rebuff of her leadership, Ms Gillard was opposed by all but two of her cabinet ministers - Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy, both of the Victorian Right - during a heated meeting on Monday night.

She was then warned by factional bosses she faced a defeat by her own backbench when the caucus met on Tuesday morning.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, who met Ms Gillard before cabinet, drove the push to oppose the Prime Minister.

The former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans briefed Labor MPs on Monday, warning they would be on the wrong side of history if they stood with the US and Israel against the rest of the world.

Ms Gillard had wanted to vote no while the Left faction, which is pro-Palestinian, wanted to vote for the resolution.

The Right faction, which would usually support Ms Gillard, backed an abstention, in part due to the views of its members that the government was too pro-Israel, and also because many MPs in western Sydney, who are already fearful of losing their seats, are coming under pressure from constituents with a Middle East background.

Senior sources have told Fairfax Media that in cabinet on Monday night, at least 10 ministers, regardless of factional allegiance and regardless of whether they were supporters of Kevin Rudd or Ms Gillard, implored the Prime Minister to change her view.

At one stage there was a heated exchange between the Environment Minister, Tony Burke, and Senator Conroy, the Communications Minister.
One source said Ms Gillard was told the cabinet would support whatever final decision she took because it was bound to support the leader but the same could not be said of the caucus.

''If you want to do it, the cabinet will back you but the caucus won't,'' a source quoted one minister as telling the Prime Minister.

After the meeting, Ms Gillard received separate delegations from the Left and the Right factions.

There was to be a motion put to the caucus by the ACT backbencher Andrew Leigh calling for Australia to back Palestine in the UN vote.

The Left was going to support it. Normally, the Right would have voted against it and defeated it. But the Right conveners, including Joel Fitzgibbon, are understood to have told Ms Gillard the Right was not going to bind its members on the vote and she would lose heavily. Members of the NSW Right and others would support the motion.

''She had no choice after that,'' said one MP.

Ms Gillard told the caucus meeting that her personal view was to vote no because she believed the UN vote, which will pass easily with the overwhelming support of UN member states, would hurt the peace process because the US has threatened to withdraw funding for the Palestinian Authority.

But she conceded that after sounding out ministers and MPs, Australia should abstain.

The Israeli government is understood to be furious but an embassy spokesperson declined to comment.

The opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, said the decision to abstain was disappointing because the Coalition backed a no vote as ''the path to peace and reconciliation''.
As the ever wise Mrs Andu said when I read out the highlighted paragraph to her: “Gee, whoadthunkit?”

The shape (and leanings) of politics in Australia to come, thanks to Paul Keating, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Fifteen years from now, "constituents with a Middle East background" will control the whole damn (make that damned!) Labor Party. Sorry, "pardee".

CoodaShooda 28th Nov 2012 00:35

Can't say that I entirely agree with you Andu. Constituents from a Middle Eastern background will quite possibly control a few electorates, just as constituents from an Asian background will control other electorates; but there will still be a lot of white, middle and lower class electorates. (Probably more lower than middle - but still anglo.)

If labor continues to trash its brand, governments in the foreseeable future will be more free to operate by virtue of a healthy majority. They won't be as worried about movements in a small number of electorates as labor has to be at the moment.

The larger problem with the mixed ethnicities will be social dysfunction; particularly if we continue down the path of pig headed political correctness and confuse multicultural with multiracial as a societal goal.

While remaining in a disagreeable mood :E, I should also take issue with those who feel Ms Gillard has gotten away with the AWU scandal.

The mud has been slung, a fair amount will remain stuck to her and her ability to garner the authority normally accorded a PM has been further undermined.

Her unwillingness to give a straight answer to a straight question will be turned against her in the run up to the next election.

Ms Bishop could stop pushing the issue now and it will have had an effect.

But I'll be interested to see whether some in labor allow the Libs room to withdraw from this particular campaign. After all, it seemed to be labor interests who started this hare running.

If the Libs move on to other matters, labor should let the focus on events of 17 years ago fizzle out.

However, if one or some of them jump up and accuse the Libs of running away, which would bring a further response from the Libs, you'd have to wonder who they were really targetting and why they wanted to keep the issue in front of the public.

sisemen 28th Nov 2012 03:02

Listening to the Bishop/Gillard interchange on Question Time yet again Gillard refused to answer the question about the meeting with her and Wilson in Boulder. She referred to an article in th West Australian and proceed to give Bishop a spray.

Why aren't the MSM asking why she refuses to give a detailed answer/statement to Parliament?

Takan Inchovit 28th Nov 2012 07:58

I cannot believe how useless Abbot is appearing. Jules could dance naked atop his fence under the full moon and he'd still miss her with his shoe. :*

criticalmass 28th Nov 2012 08:12

"The noose may be long in coming, but the knot is tight and hard at the end."

Ovation 28th Nov 2012 08:49

I saw Gillard's performance on the news tonight where she was taunting Abbott saying if he would ask the question instead of Julie Bishop she would give an answer.

The ALP and Gillard have trashed parliamentary process, but today she really won the prize for utter contempt and sheer arrogance. She really is a piece of work.

As for Tony Abbott, while he might be keeping his head down, I think he's keeping his powder dry for when it really counts - an election. Our PM is digging herself into a hole and today she revealed her inner shrew. The rusted-on ALP voters might applaud her outrageous behaviour, but the ballot box is the real test.

Andu 28th Nov 2012 09:57

The sad fact is, 75% if not more of the electorate hear what's on FM radio or hear only only what appears on Channel 7, 9 or the ALPBC and so think Julia, in a tour de force, showed the opposition to be, yet again, smear merchants with no current agenda other than to blacken the name of the first female Prime Minister because their leader is a misogynist.

Worrals in the wilds 28th Nov 2012 10:45

Don't stress too much Andu. I don't think the average person is buying the spin. Of course the average person doesn't care all that much, but for those who do I don't think it's being unthinkingly accepted. Apart from the foot soldiers I haven't heard anyone be enthusiastic about Gillard and friends for a looong time.

The problem is that both leaders are fairly unlikeable. For different reasons, but the outcome is the same. Like it or lump it, federal political debate tends to centre on the two leaders. It's not the way the parliamentary system works, but it's the way the press works. Also, neither party have a huge number of charismatic all-stars who can deflect attention from the leaders.

Without recourse to Google, on the ALP side is Gillard, Swan, Shorten, Wong and Roxon. On the Liberal side is Abbott, Bishop, Turnbull and Hockey. There are 150 seats in the House of Reps, but who can remember all of them? Truth be told, political debate largely focuses on about fifteen individual MPs, few of whom are very memorable. :uhoh:

The Opposition can smear all they like and plenty of that mud has stuck, but at the end of the day if no-one's talking and the coppers have got nothing then...what next?

Trumpeting Blewitt as the great saviour ignores the fact that he's a lying AWU shonk. When the primary argument seems to be that Gillard and Co are lying AWU shonks it seems a little confusing to claim Blewitt is a shining beacon in the darkness. You can't just pick the lying shonk you happen to agree with and hold him up as a bastion of truth. That's what the Opposition seems to be doing, and it seems to be a case of jailhouse confessions. Jailhouse confessions are notoriously unreliable, even if everybody listening figures that there's some truth buried there somewhere.

'Everybody knows' is not proof. The truth is that everybody does suspect, and if the Opposition have half a brain they will capitalise on that without hammering the government with evidence they don't have because no-one's talking. Time to start looking at the country rather than the leaders, because from what I see, everyone's sick to death of alleged misognynists, rorters and petulant Canberra squabbles.

How long since any of them have mentioned Australia?

sisemen 28th Nov 2012 13:20

The more that this is played out on the floor of the House the more that Gillard sounds like a shrieking fishwife. Today's episode reminded me of two girls in the playground pulling each others' hair except that one was the shrill shrew with the bullying talk and the other kept her cool. That's what's unnerving Gillard and she won't be able to taunt Abbott into taking her bait.

I think that the Opposition have got something definite and they are trying to get Gillard to give a proper answer in Parliament so that they can pounce. Gillard knows this. Perhaps she knows where all the missing documents are at the moment but can't be totally assured that somebody hasn't got sight of them or holds a copy.

She's a piece of work.

How long since any of them have mentioned Australia?
Wasn't it earlier today when Gillard did a u turn and announced that Australia would abstain in the vote in the UN and cave in to the power of the votes in Western Sydney?

Croozin 28th Nov 2012 20:38

Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

Proof: PM told firm what she won't tell parliament

by: Hedley Thomas, National chief correspondent
From:The Australian
November 29, 20128:15AM

JULIA Gillard admitted during a secret internal probe to writing to a government department to help overcome its objections to the creation of an association for her then boyfriend and client, union official Bruce Wilson.

The revelation, contained in a document released today after 17 years, comes after days of stonewalling by the Prime Minister, including in parliament, on the question of whether she had personally vouched for the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association.
Expanding on the article above, from today's BoltA site. Long, but worth reading in full.

Four times in Parliament yesterday the Prime Minister refused to say whether she’d assured corporate affairs officials her boyfriend’s slush fund was actually a genuine association. Now we know why - and we know her claims to have simply given legal advice on the registration were false:

JULIA Gillard admitted during a secret internal probe to writing to a government department to help overcome its objections to the creation of an association for her then boyfriend and client, union official Bruce Wilson.

The revelation, contained in a document released today after 17 years, comes after days of stonewalling by the Prime Minister, including in parliament, on the question of whether she had personally vouched for the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association.

The document, a record of interview between Ms Gillard and her law firm, Slater & Gordon, in September 1995, reveals the association was initially regarded as ineligible because of its “trade union” status.

Ms Gillard overcame the obstacle by writing to the Commissioner for Corporate Affairs in Western Australia in 1992 and arguing that the decision to bar it should be reversed.

Ms Gillard also wrote the association’s rules, which emphasised worker safety but made no mention of its true purpose of funding the elections of union officials.

The document reveals she “cut and pasted” some of the rules from her earlier personal work incorporating the controversial Socialist Forum, which she helped found at Melbourne University in the 1980s.

Oh, really? That exposes another piece of deceit from the Prime Minister, who once pretended she’d just done a little typing as a student for what in fact was a front for former Communist Party members which she helped to lead when she was a lawyer:

Gillard: I was a full-time university student and I had a part-time job for an organisation called Socialist Forum, which was a sort of debating society . . . I did clerical and administrative work . . .

Really, yet in 1995, in her mid-30s and as a partner in a law firm, she admitted to her partners:

I had just in my own personal precedent file a set of rules for Socialist Forum, which is an incorporated association in which I’m personally involved. And I’ve just kept them hanging around as something I cut and paste from for drafting purposes.

But back to Gillard’s more recent deceits over the the AWU slush funds - including yesterday trying to give the impression that claims she’d guaranteed the bona fides of boyfriend’s slush fund were just media rumors:

In parliament this week, Ms Gillard has refused to answer repeated questioning from Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop on whether she wrote to the West Australian authority to vouch for “the bona fides of the AWU Workplace Reform Association”.

On Monday, she told parliament: “The claim that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has now made is a claim that appeared in The Age . . . The correspondence she refers to has never been produced, so the claim has been made but no correspondence has ever been produced."…

Later she added: “Once again, we are in a situation where the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is asserting things she has got no sources for, except she read them somewhere.”

I wouldn’t trust a thing this Prime Minister said unless she provided documentary proof. In this case the proof is against her, in a transcript released by a former partner:

The evidence that she did write to the West Australian body is contained in a section of transcript from the September 11, 1995, tape-recorded interview with Ms Gillard during an internal probe led by Slater & Gordon’s then senior partner Peter Gordon.

Some of the transcript was provided to The Australian in August.

The latest section of transcript is being released now by the firm’s former equity partner, Nick Styant-Browne, after Mr Wilson’s interview on the ABC’s 7.30 meant his legal confidentiality as a former client of the firm was waived.
In Parliament this week Gillard repeatedly suggested the WA Corporate Affairs Commission was satisfied with the registration of the slush fund. That seems to be false, too:

In the section of transcript from the 1995 Slater & Gordon interview that was released, [partner Peter] Gordon ... referred to Ms Gillard’s letter to the government authority and he stated that, “it appears from the file to be the letter arguing that it ought to be not construed as a trade union - did you have anything personally to do with that incorporated association afterwards?”

Ms Gillard: “No, I did not.”

It was unlawful under the Associations Incorporation Act for an association to be named in a way “likely to mislead the public as to the object or purpose”.

That letter suggests corporate affairs officials themselves were misled by the title and articles of association drawn up by Gillard into thinking the slush find was a trade union entity - which to my mind seemed the whole purpose and the key to the success of Wilson’s frauds (which Gillard said she knew nothing about.)

The association issued invoices in its official-sounding name and received money for work that did not exist.

Neither Ms Gillard nor the firm of Slater & Gordon told their client, the AWU, about the existence of the association carrying the union’s name, resulting in further fraud and the draining of accounts amid police investigations into separate fraud allegations involving Mr Wilson.

Ms Gillard had not opened a file at the firm for her legal work for Mr Wilson on the association. Her legal partners were unaware of its existence until August 1995, when Mr Wilson’s separate Victorian slush fund was exposed and police were called in by the AWU’s national leaders to launch a fraud investigation.

Gillard’s latest defence? Another case of no memory:

The Australian asked Ms Gillard’s office yesterday whether she had anything to add to her previous statements about her role. A spokesman replied last night that Ms Gillard “has no recollection of receiving or sending the claimed correspondence in this matter”.
I'd say she'll be able to tough it out through question time today with her customary obfuscation and, despite Opposition calls for her resignation, (as we'll surely hear from parliament today), maybe, just maybe, the Opposition have been quite clever in drip feeding this to the public in small packages, allowing her to make denials (or never answering a question) as each new piece of information is made public, but not releasing the really damning stuff until the last sitting day. This will allow her to remain as Labor leader over Christmas (and hopefully right up to the next election).

Unless, of course, she is rolled by her own Party. Kevvie is buzzing around the circled wagons of Gillard's camp like a blowie circling a fresh, steaming turd. (In too many ways, not an inaccurate analogy.)

sisemen 28th Nov 2012 23:50

I think that the Opposition have got something definite and they are trying to get Gillard to give a proper answer in Parliament so that they can pounce

It looked like a turd, it smelt like a turd and now, it appears, it IS a turd!

Happy Christmas Jooliar.

CoodaShooda 29th Nov 2012 00:11

Ms Gillard “has no recollection of receiving or sending the claimed correspondence in this matter”.
Ah! The well known and oh so effective Carmen Lawrence defence.

SOPS 29th Nov 2012 00:35

My opinion only...I think the wheels are coming off.....at last!!!

criticalmass 29th Nov 2012 02:23

This is all my own opinion, of course, but I'll run it up the figurative flagpole:-

The political corpse of Julia Gillard isn't dead until she's turning green in her coffin. The Opposition has to metaphorically drive a stake through what she uses as a heart, cut off her lying head and stuff her lying mouth full of garlic - and even then she'll still be insisting she knew nothing and did nothing wrong.

In a way, this is all a bit of a side-show, a useful distraction. As all this unfolds, be on the lookout for legislation slipping in under-the-radar to seriously weaken the powers of the Australian Electoral Commission. I still maintain there will be electoral fraud at the forthcoming Federal Election on a hitherto unheard-of scale - an industrial scale. The intention will be to so overwhelm the resources of the AEC that is is completely unable to investigate all the "alleged" irregularities, unable to ensure the integrity of sealed ballot-boxes, and unable even to assure the voters of an accurate counting-process. Weakening the AEC, and starving it of funds, will be just the first step.

Also be on the lookout for Labor moles inserted into the AEC, Labor moles as volunteers for the count in the national tally-room, Labor moles involved in the transportation of ballot-boxes from polling-booths to wherever they go for tallying. As for the potential to interfere with the electronic aspects of the election, especially communicating votes counted in remote or rural areas to the tally-room, the potential is unlimited for Labor hackers to "adjust" the figures before they are transmitted or after they arrive. Fraud on an industrial scale, at every level.

Make no mistake, Federal Labor will use every underhand tactic, every piece of chicanery from every possible source to cling to power. I wouldn't even put it past this desperate crew to examine the constitution to see under what circumstances a Federal election can be delayed or indefinitely postponed. Those with a better understanding of constitutional law may care to comment, but I firmly believe this is a real possibility if they see themselves as potentially being wiped out at the polls. If it can be done - they will do it. To them the constitution means nothing. The people they purport to govern mean nothing to them. Decency and honour mean nothing to them. All that means anything is staying in power, and they will do anything - literally anything - to do so. If they see they cannot win the election, even fraudulently, then they must stop the election.

If ever there was going to be a test of the Governor-General, this may be what is leading up to it. Labor has never forgotten, or forgiven, what Sir John Kerr did to them in 1975 (in spite of the fact what he did was one hundred percent constitutionally-correct). They believe with Quentin Bryce they have a tame G-G whom they can bend to their will due to the family connection with Bill Shorten. If push comes to shove, Quentin Bryce may have to make a very difficult decision, but ultimately she must act according to the constitution of Australia, and to hell with family connections.

If she fails to do so then the rule of law in our country, to say nothing of the structure and tradition of Australia's federal system will have been usurped...and then we tread on very shaky ground.

dat581 29th Nov 2012 03:36

Does the Queen have the right to sack the G-G if she acts improperly? I can't see the ALP getting away with such fraud on a huge scale, too many people are involved during an election for at a least a sniff of such fraud to not get out. Too many smart phones and other such instant communications these days. I don't think the AFP or the ADF for that matter whould put up with it either, both have no love for the ALP.

Croozin 29th Nov 2012 04:36

Well, as some (including moi) predicted, she's survived the day. But I really think this is by far the best result the Coalition could ask for. Politically, she's a dead woman walking, and if hubris prevents her from stepping down, (as I believe it will), she will lead Labor into the next election - surely what the Coalition wants above all else.

The only wild card out there now is if, with Fairfax's withdrawal of the allegations over JEG's letter to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission that appeared in their papers today - that Tony Abbott seems to have based his accusations on without the protection of parliamentary privilege - whether a totally unrepentant JEG doesn't sue him for defamation.

Interesting times ahead, I suspect.

CoodaShooda 29th Nov 2012 05:06

I thought Abbott was relying on the Slater & Gordon interview statement rather than Fairfax. Although JEG is keen to paint it otherwise.

She sounded strong during question time and I don't doubt it will be presented as a win to her by various commentators - unless they dissect the substance of what was being (not) said.

Worrals in the wilds 29th Nov 2012 09:08

I don't think they've got enough moles (note spelling :\). They're going to be flat out getting enough people to hand out how to vote cards let alone commit fraud on the Party's behalf. Party membership is at an all time low across the country. I know the poll figures have rallied a bit, but I don't think that translates to a massive loyal following.

Anyway, I hope you're wrong, as no doubt you do yourself. IME when reasonable people start suspecting foul play it's a sign that the government has lost the electorate's trust. Similar theories were being touted in Qld prior to the last election. The end result was the greatest pummelling of a government in the state's history. Not because they failed to rort the election, but because they failed to display the basic level of integrity and accountability that the electorate expect. They couldn't have rorted their way out of that result if they'd tried.

Federal elections are different and traditionally display much smaller swings. However, whatever the Labor media and the Twitterverse like to espouse, I still think they're on the nose with their own people. If their own people don't support them (however much they may tow the party line in public) then a victory is out of the question, let alone a rort. In the internet age, rorts need a heck of a lot of manpower. These guys can't even suppress a hooker scandal and the AWU thing. :uhoh: they can't even shut Rudd and Richo up. :\

Andu 29th Nov 2012 10:33

I still can't see why the Opposition isn't calling for an AEC central computer data base to be introduced before the next election that will put a stop to double voting. It would be no big deal for every election booth to have a lap top (or a couple of laptops) linked to a central server/data base that would 'hatch' each elector's name after he or she presents him/herself at any voting booth for the first time. If someone does turn up and finds that he's already voted, the electoral officer takes note - and if any seat is to be decided by a number of votes less than the number of objections, statuary declarations and re-voting would be required.

Oh, and photo ID required as well. It doesn't have to be a driver's licence, but how many people can survive in today's society without photo id?

It's not as if they don't have a bag full of old laptops available - where did all those 'a computer for every child' laptops go? Certainly not to every child.

Buster Hyman 29th Nov 2012 11:08

where did all those 'a computer for every child' laptops go? Certainly not to every child.
That's gotta wait until they fix the "no child living in poverty by 1990" promise... :rolleyes:

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