Incoming Greens MP James Parker yesterday stayed silent. He refused to answer claims he had made inflammatory comments about Jewish people when discussing the NSW Greens's proposed boycott of Israeli goods. Mr Parker, who on Saturday claimed victory in the seat of Balmain in Sydney's inner west, was quoted by online magazine New Matilda that the boycott, divestment and sanctions policy supported by some Greens had made many Jewish people unreasonable, while even "progressive Jews" had failed to have a moderate response. "These Jews provide cover for extreme actions if they occur," Mr Parker said.
Campbell Newman will today seek the official endorsement of Liberal National Party MPs to lead them to the next Queensland election from outside parliament after resigning as Brisbane's lord mayor and kicking off a presidential-style "CanDoQld" campaign. Securing his uncontested pre-selection yesterday for the Labor-held seat of Ashgrove, in Brisbane's inner northwest, Mr Newman will this morning face the LNP partyroom for its backing to begin full-time campaigning as opposition leader. Several MPs have already publicly declared concerns about Mr Newman's unprecedented bid, and his surprise announcement last week that all party policies were "null and void" and would be reviewed.
THE outcome of the next Queensland election will extend beyond the futures of Anna Bligh and Campbell Newman, with the opposing campaigns pitting against each other the strategic minds of two rising backroom stars with federal ambitions. Campbell Newman -- an unknown who won Brisbane's lord mayoralty in 2004 on the back of his "Can Do" slogan -- has turned to James McGrath, who made his name as the campaign strategist and then chief political adviser for the conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Mr McGrath, tipped to contest preselection for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax with the retirement of veteran Liberal MP Alex Somlyay, was deputy to federal Liberal director Brian Loughnane until a falling-out led him last year to return to Queensland to run the LNP's federal election campaign.
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell yesterday broke his first election pledge. Mr O'Farrell has dumped frontbenchers as he formed a cabinet that also reduces the numbers of his Nationals coalition partners and leaves only five women in a line-up of 22. In what is seen as an assertive move to stamp his leadership on the new government, Mr O'Farrell ditched Liberals Catherine Cusack and Greg Aplin and National Melinda Pavey, who had held portfolios but were left out of the cabinet announced and sworn-in yesterday.
THE list of ministers, in order of seniority, released at yesterday's swearing-in of Barry O'Farrell's cabinet gives us some intriguing hints about future directions for the government - and about O'Farrell's view of his colleagues. For example, Treasurer Mike Baird and Attorney-General Greg Smith are, respectively, 11th and 15th on the list, out of a total of 22. Their counterparts in the former Labor government, Eric Roozendaal and John Hatzistergos, were third and fourth.
A British woman aged 84 has triggered fresh controversy over assisted suicide after taking her life at a Swiss clinic because she didn't want to die of old age. Nan Maitland, who suffered from arthritis but was active and not terminally ill, left a note saying she wished to escape the "long period of decline, sometimes called 'prolonged dwindling', that so many people unfortunately experience before they die". Maitland was the founder of an organisation that campaigns to allow elderly people who are not terminally ill to commit suicide with medical aid.
Sixty-five per cent of Christians believe in legal voluntary euthanasia, a poll shows. Australia Institute deputy director Josh Fear said support for euthanasia among older Christians was striking, with 73 per cent aged more than 65 in favour. The public policy research organisation found that of 1300 people polled, including non-Christians, 75 per cent supported doctors being able to legally assist in euthanasia. Christians for Voluntary Euthanasia co-ordinator Ian Wood said the main opposition to euthanasia came from vocal Christian groups but this did not reflect the majority view.
So many words are spilt today arguing about the non-existence of an almighty that it’s easy to forget that atheism isn’t the end goal. Far from it. Atheism is just the beginning. It’s the question of what comes after God where things become really interesting. Because atheism is ultimately only a negative thesis: it simply states that there exists no god or gods. As such, to say I’m an atheist tells you something about what I don’t believe in, but it tells you almost nothing about what I do believe in.
What does the top end of town’s Business Council of Australia, ex-ALP leader Mark Latham, the loony-left Greens Party and Minister Peter (pass me the insulation batts) Garrett have in common? All are advocates of the old politics of class envy and hatred and advocate cutting funding to Catholic and independent schools. Leading into the 2004 federal election Mark Latham announced a lit-list of 67 private schools on the basis that they didn’t deserve support. Using the example of the King’s School in Sydney with its, “vast playing fields, its museum, its rifle range, it’s boat shed” Latham argued, “It’s a fine school in its own right, but we've got to face reality that it’s over-resourced”. Fast-forward to last week, Matthew Quinn, a member of the Business Council’s education taskforce, copying the ALP’s politics of envy and sounding like Mark Latham on steroids also argued that private schools don’t deserve support.
A Brisbane radio station has distanced itself from billboards predicting the impending end of the world. Located at key sites around the local metropolitan area, the carbon copy posters announce Judgment Day will arrive on Saturday May 21, 2011. While the date may come as a shock to unsuspecting civilians, the real revelation was reserved for a local radio station thought to be behind the Armageddon advertisements.
Religious instruction has no place in our secular schools. Christian education classes taught me to be afraid of the band the Eagles. In the late '80s the government high school I attended in South Australia held yearly Christian seminars. The instructors were often born-again bikies, presumably to add a cachet of cool to Christianity. In one memorable session we were told we should only listen to Christian music because the devil used pop songs to send us subliminal messages. Case in point was the Eagles' Hotel California , which apparently had a Satanic message if played backwards on a cassette tape.
When Selena Klasnja fell pregnant, she did not feel the hope and excitement experienced by most women. Instead, she held her breath, waiting to see if the pregnancy would last. Mrs Klasnja, 41, spent 13 years trying for a baby, suffering repeated miscarriages which could not be explained. ''As soon as the pregnancy was detected, in a week or two I would have miscarriage,'' she said. ''It was awful, you can't imagine.''
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