Pauline Hanson has failed in her bid to be elected to the upper house of the NSW Parliament.Despite being well ahead on the primary votes, Ms Hanson was overtaken by Greens and Liberal-Nationals candidates when preferences were distributed today. Ms Hanson stood as an independent candidate at the state election on March 26, having severed formal links with One Nation, the party she co-founded.
The battle to gain public support for national pokies reform has intensified, with the government and key independents dismissing as inaccurate and deceitful a $20 million campaign labelling a mandatory precommitment scheme ''un-Australian''. Clubs Australia and the Australian Hotels Association yesterday ran full page ads in the News Limited press and launched a website saying the mandatory scheme was introducing ''a licence to bet'' in the form of smartcards that would jeopardise privacy. Clubs Australia president Peter Newell said the changes would drive 5 million recreational gamblers from the pokies and cost the industry $3 billion to upgrade machines, with the loss of revenue forcing the closure of community clubs.
If Julia Gillard is genuine when she says the Greens are extremists who don't really love their families and their country as much as she does, then she should immediately do two things. The first is that she should invite the cameras into the Prime Minister's courtyard, light a fire and burn the partnership agreement she signed in a civil ceremony with Bob Brown that helped her secure government, and blame the breakdown in the relationship on irreconcilable differences. With the separation formalised she should then announce Labor will refuse to direct its preferences to the Greens at the next federal election. Every day Gillard is caught between the Greens and a hard place. She insists they are not driving her policies, not even the carbon tax, but her actions so far have failed to support her words.
The debate over an R18+ rating for computer games in Australia reminds me of the republic debate (and not just that the letter R is prominent in both). It is inevitable that we will become a republic, and it is just as inevitable that we will get an R18+ rating for games, yet there will always be a vocal and powerful group of "concerned citizens" hell bent on going to their graves opposing it. Given the age of most anti-R18+ advocates (both kinds) this is a distinct possibility. Barbara Biggins, CEO of the Australian Council of Children and the Media, recently published an opinion piece on the ABC website complaining that proponents of an adult rating are cynically manipulating public opinion. She says claims that the introduction of an R18+ rating would protect children is propaganda. The argument is that many games that currently get rated MA15+ would instead get rated R18+. These would then be off-limits to children (hurrah!). Ms Biggins' main gripe is that the supporters of an R18+ rating have co-opted the opposer's (her) main argument ("Won't somebody please think of the children?"). She is not happy.
The Gillard government's attempt to place restrictions on poker machines has become tougher, with the NSW government throwing its support behind the powerful club and hotel lobbies. The show of support came as the federal Community Services Minister, Jenny Macklin, accused the lobby groups of running an advertising campaign full of lies and for defending a business model that was underpinned by human misery. ''We want to make sure that we help problem gamblers and we don't support those businesses who base their entire business model on the misery of others,'' Ms Macklin said.
Kevin Rudd has signalled he is digging in for the long haul and will contest the next federal election. And his close confidant Father Frank Brennan has declared Mr Rudd's return to the Labor leadership is a case of "never say never". Defying party critics, Mr Rudd has told preselectors he wants to stand and fight for the Queensland seat of Griffith.
A Melbourne Baptist Church youth leader claims he was rescuing a 15-year-old boy from homosexuality when he sexually abused him in a toilet block in 2009. Daniel Rogers, 22, was today immediately jailed for eight months after a County Court judge said he did not accept that Rogers was ‘‘rescuing’’ the victim. Judge Joe Gullaci said the victim and Rogers were at a church youth function when they began talking and referenced an earlier conversation they had online, during which the victim had said he was confused about his sexuality.
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