There are battles no one wins, and the latest exchange of fire between Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric and the federal leader of the Australian Greens is but one more skirmish in a war without any foreseeable end. Is a negotiated peace possible? Perhaps not, but there are good reasons both men, and the wider movements they represent, should seek common ground. Continuing the dispute on the terms it is now being conducted can only do both, and their respective causes, harm. Cardinal George Pell’s description of the Greens’ policies as “thoroughly anti-Christian” has predictably angered party supporters who identify as Christians, and perhaps even more those who don’t. In defence they have pointed to their policies on the environment, treatment of asylum seekers and overseas aid, and to the election of past Greens senators including Christabel Chamarette (an Anglican) and Jo Valentine (a Quaker). Had Pell acknowledged the above and instead stated that aspects of the Greens platform are fundamentally at odds with Christian values he would have been on decidedly firmer ground. In short, he erred. But the response of Senator Bob Brown, that the Greens are "much closer to mainstream Christian thinking than Cardinal Pell”, was oddly disingenuous for a man known for his intelligence and integrity. His accusation that Pell opposes compassionate treatment of refugees and the federal government’s school building program were equally erroneous.
JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term. It will be part of a bold series of reforms that include school funding, education and health. In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step. "I don't rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism," she said of the next parliament. "I rule out a carbon tax."
JULIA Gillard is expected to overcome the burden of two hugely unpopular Labor state governments to narrowly win tomorrow's election, authoritative polling has found. The Prime Minister yesterday acknowledged the impediment of NSW and asked voters to judge the State Government next March, rather than tomorrow. Voters are facing two main options they don't like, according to exclusive findings by Galaxy Research, and the Greens are benefiting from this with a record vote of 14 per cent. A substantial number of voters don't think the Government deserves to be returned but they think even less of Tony Abbott's Coalition alternative.
JULIA Gillard is preparing to put her personal stamp on a life as Prime Minister and living at The Lodge. This will include selecting her own ministry and having partner Tim Mathieson give up work to be a full-time "first bloke". In a forthright election-eve interview, the Prime Minister made it clear she would follow Kevin Rudd's practice of asserting her right to choose her ministers without a partyroom vote, and said she personally opposed same-sex marriage on cultural grounds.
Labor's candidate in the marginal seat of Gilmore has spoken out against the government's proposed mandatory internet filter, saying it may not be necessary and admitting it could be "very, very difficult to implement". Neil Reilly expressed his opposition to the filter in a debate on local radio with the sitting Liberal MP Joanna Gash, who after a redistribution needs a 0.4% swing to retain the NSW south coast seat. "I think that an ISP (internet service provider) filter is maybe not the best thing in the world," Mr Reilly told Nowra station 2ST this morning.
Newspaper editorials appear to reflect what the polls have been suggesting for weeks: the nation is divided on who should be our next prime minister. News Limited newspapers were almost unanimous in support for Mr Abbott this morning, with Sydney's Daily Telegraph dedicating its front page to the issue. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald recommended the re-election of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, with the Herald arguing she deserves a second chance.
SEXUALISED images of women are not only demeaning to the fairer sex but also to young boys and men, because many unfairly suggest most males believe females are "only good for one thing". Author Melinda Tankard Reist, who has published a book on the issue, said that even teenage boys were starting to feel "ripped off" with representations of women and girls in everything from magazines to music videos and T-shirt slogans. "Fortunately, there are still men out there, and a growing number of them, who resist that kind of presentation of girls and women," she said.
LABOR has lost its lead in the election campaign, with voters shifting towards the Coalition to split support 50-50. As Julia Gillard warned yesterday that the 2010 election would be "a real cliffhanger", and Tony Abbott vowed to campaign non-stop for 36 hours to capitalise on a late shift to the Coalition, the latest Newspoll surveys show the election is in the balance. According to a Newspoll survey on Tuesday and Wednesday night, after Labor's campaign launch on Monday, the government's primary vote has dropped three percentage points to 35 per cent, while the Coalition's has risen by the same amount to 44 per cent. The Greens' primary vote of 14 per cent remains almost double what it was at the 2007 election, and 7 per cent of those surveyed still support independents and other candidates.
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