Dr Philip Nitschke's plans for a euthanasia clinic in Adelaide have been condemned. MPs who support or are undecided about a law aimed at protecting doctors who accelerate the death of terminally ill patients believe his move could ensure the defeat of private member's legislation put forward by Labor MP Stephanie Key. Dr Nitschke was in Adelaide on Monday and said the first clinic could open its doors within a month and was likely to be in either the city or Glenelg. MPs contacted by The Advertiser yesterday said Dr Nitschke's visit was "definitely counterproductive".
Australia's controversial plan for a refugee processing centre in East Timor was effectively taken off the agenda before last night's opening of the Bali ministerial summit, with senior officials making it clear the proposal would not form part of the final discussions. While Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen met with counterparts last night to begin negotiations on a regional asylum-seeker framework, The Australian understands East Timor's government has decided to reject the approach for a centre to house 4000 refugees. Speaking on condition of anonymity, several senior officials intimately involved in the talks said the Timor proposal had not formed part of any of the official-level discussions that began yesterday, nor was there an expectation it would feature in future negotiations.
The apparently unchallenged nomination of the former union boss John Robertson for the leadership of NSW Labor has inflamed tensions over the factors that contributed to the party's electoral disaster at the weekend. ''Robertson appeals to a very narrow sectional interest,'' the former premier Morris Iemma said, ''and that is not the group that will lead the party back to government or help with the rebuild. Choosing him ignores the demographic change that has occurred in Sydney's western suburbs. There are pockets of wealth there to rival the north shore. ''Because he's an ex-union boss, he is seen as appealing to the city's westies, but this is a facile argument which misunderstands the new political reality.''
Gay sports stars have been encouraged to "come out" as a program is launched to promote sexual and gender diversity in sport. It would be terrific if gay, lesbian and transgender sports people felt comfortable expressing their sexual orientation, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke said. "Ideally, what we want is for it to be so public that it's normal, so people don't think about it," she said.
Public concern about the rising cost of living is actually just people being greedy, former Labor leader Mark Latham claims. He said people were concerned about getting bigger houses, bigger garages and more four-wheel-drives, and this was not an increase in the cost of living. "The No.1 political issue is the cost-of-living pressures. That's just code for greed," he told a webcast conversation with La Trobe University's Robert Manne yesterday.
NSW Labor and the Greens have criticised each other over who has helped the independent Pauline Hanson come close to winning a seat in Parliament, as the count continued yesterday for the final spot in the upper house and the remaining lower house seats. The former minister for rural affairs and primary industries, Steve Whan, conceded defeat in Monaro, a seat he has held since 2003, after the initial postal votes indicated he was unlikely to win. Labor's Verity Firth slightly increased her lead over the Greens' Jamie Parker in Balmain from 110 to 240 votes.
Thank God it's over. For the past three years Labor's head has been sitting on the block waiting for the axe to fall, and when the guillotine was finished so was the Labor Party. The worst defeat in more than a century was thoroughly deserved. The NSW Labor government had come to represent ineptitude, inactivity and infighting. There was the outgoing premier, fittingly dressed in black, accepting responsibility for the defeat. She was only partly to blame but made a healthy contribution. The rot had set in long before that.
So passes the most incompetent government in living memory. It would not be fair to blame the election wipe-out on Kristina Keneally. She was just the front-woman for a political machine that has been running NSW for 16 years. This machine starts in the trade unions, where politically motivated officials throw their weight around and bully people to accumulate influence. It runs through the NSW Labor Council, which co-ordinates the unions and exercises a veto over Labor government policy. The machine decides who will be endorsed as ALP candidates and recruits ambitious people who give loyalty in return for patronage. It has delivered a whole generation of misfits and unworthies into positions as staffers, into Parliament, and into ministerial office.
Dear Eddie,You should go now and without any further delay. In fact, you should have left the parliamentary party a decade ago. You epitomise the malaise within the Labor Party. Why did you create the Terrigals sub-faction? How are your philosophy and values so different from the rest of the right wing as to warrant a new grouping? In fact, what do you stand for, Eddie? In my eight years in the parliamentary Labor Party I never learnt what exactly you stood for, other than the exercise of influence. Helped by your mate Joe Tripodi (who was a bit brighter than you), you only ever seemed interested in running the shop. You loved telling your colleagues that if they did the right thing (your bidding) they would be looked after.
A prisoner who spent time with a man accused of killing eight-year-old Bundaberg schoolgirl Trinity Bates has given evidence at a committal hearing. Craig Simpson was in the same unit at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre in Brisbane as 21-year-old Allyn John Slater, who is charged with murdering Trinity Bates. The girl's body was found face down in a drain near her home in February last year.
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