Julia Gillard’s socialist party gift

Geoff Chambers - The Daily Telegraph

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has made a video appearance at the national convention of Canada’s socialist party.
Ms Gillard, who was linked to the Socialist Forum movement during her university years, sent a rousing video that was played at the New Democratic Party 50th convention.

N.Y. State Senate to Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Nicholas Confessore and Michael Barbaro - The New York Times

ALBANY — The State Senate will vote on same-sex marriage, the Senate majority leader said Friday afternoon, setting the stage for a final decision on a measure that could make New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples can wed.

Where gay matrimony meets elite sanctimony

Frank Furedi - The Australian

GAY marriage has emerged as one of the most controversial and divisive issues of our time. For more than a decade gay marriage has been the hot-button issue in US politics. As I write, the New York state Senate is deadlocked in its vote on a gay marriage bill. The issue is set to play a similar role in Australia.

Guards ‘warned about SIEV 221’ landing at Christmas Island

Debbie Guest - The Australian

CHRISTMAS Island detention centre guards were told the SIEV 221 was on its way four hours before the boat crashed into rocks, killing 50 people, according to a detainee who says he begged guards to tell authorities.

The Iraqi asylum-seeker, whose wife and two children died in the tragedy, claims he was told by a Serco guard about 2.30am on December 15 last year they could not do anything and that he “would have to wait until the morning”.

Alan Stockdale has retained the Liberal party presidency, despite a strong challenge by former minister Peter Reith

Christian Kerr - The Australian

ALAN Stockdale has been re-elected federal president of the Liberal Party, despite a challenge by high profile former minister Peter Reith.

The former Victorian Treasurer defeated Howard government minister Peter Reith after an unusual and hard-fought public battle for the party presidency not seen since the 1980s. “I really am moved by the support of council,” a teary Mr Stockdale said after his victory. Mr Stockdale pledged to implement the findings of Mr Reith’s review into the Liberals’ 2010 campaign. “I am a reformer,” he told the party’s federal council. Mr Stockdale said the Liberal Party was on the cusp of an unprecedented period in power in the states and federally. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will address the conference later today.

O’Farrell backs Reith in heated showdown over Libs’ presidency

Imre Salusinszky and Christian Kerr - The Australian

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has thrown his weight behind Howard government minister Peter Reith for the Liberal federal presidency, declaring the party would be “mad” to reject his talents.

The backing of Australia’s most powerful conservative figure may be enough to give Mr Reith victory today against incumbent Alan Stockdale.

Hillsong makes a song and dance over satirical lyrics and calls in lawyers

Andrew Hornery - The Sydney Morning Herald

A worshipper at the Hillsong Conference, 2008 … the Church has called in lawyers after satirical lyrics took aim at it. Photo: Brendan Esposito

WITHIN opera circles, Stuart Maunder is known as ”Australia’s Mr Gilbert & Sullivan”, but the accolade has failed to impress the Hillsong Church.

The evangelists called in lawyers after Hillsong featured in Maunder’s satirical rendition of The List from The Mikado at the Sydney Symphony’s Gilbert & Sullivan Spectacular last Saturday.

Censors should grow up: adults can handle sex

Tim Dick - The Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian censorship system blanches most consistently not at violence, but at sex. Torturing people to death presents relatively little problem to the censors. But dare to show actual sex on film or in print? Unless it’s animal copulation of the non-human kind, its sale is banned in every state.

Power shifts at the top

Michelle Grattan - The Age

The Greens are about take the Senate into a new phase, and it will be challenging for both major parties and the Greens themselves.

THE powerful Australian Senate is about to enter another stage of its often remarkable history. From July 1 the Greens, whose numbers will increase from five to nine, take over the sole balance of power in the upper house. It’s a major feat for a party that’s been on the rise and rise, and a significant moment for the Gillard government.

MPs hope refugee series will refocus debate

Katharine Murphy - The Age

SBS chalked up a ratings success with its memorable documentary series Go Back To Where You Came From. But in a shrill parliamentary week dominated by the ”sackiversary” of Kevin Rudd, the program flew largely below the radar.

Malaysia blacklists Abbott MP Scott Morrison

Geoff Chambers - The Daily Telegraph

MALAYSIAN officials have blacklisted shadow immigration spokesman Scott Morrison and banned him from entering detention centres or meeting key senior officials.

Mr Morrison arrived in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning for a “first-hand look” at how illegal refugees are treated in Malaysia ahead of the Gillard government’s plan for a refugee swap.

Who votes for the Greens?

Mumble Blog - The Australian

The Australian Greens have been improving their vote at every election since the early 1990s. The 2001 election saw them jump from 2.6 to 5.0 percent, and they’ve been a-jumping ever since.

They now have one member in the House of Representatives and five in the Senate. Next month the new Senate will sit for the first time, where they’ll have nine.

Greens clash over Tasmanian forests protection

Matthew Denholm - The Australian

THE Greens are divided on the totemic issue of old-growth forests, with the party’s Tasmanian and federal leaders adopting markedly different stances on the historic forestry peace deal.

Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim yesterday welcomed the agreement between conservationists and the timber industry to resolve 30 years of conflict over native forest logging as offering a “major step forward”.

Tony Abbott vows to replace compensation with tax cuts

Dennis Shanahan - The Australian

TONY Abbott is appealing to middle-income families and frustrated suburban commuters with a promise to provide tax cuts, new family payments and new transport priorities - instead of compensating voters for a carbon tax.

In his first major speech outlining political aims and policy directions since the election last August, the Opposition Leader tries to project a more positive and hopeful alternative to the Gillard government.

Review to target Aboriginal jobless programs

Anna Patty - The Sydney Morning Herald

THE steep reversal of a downward trend in Aboriginal unemployment in NSW in recent years has forced the state government to order an overhaul of employment programs that are failing.

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Victor Dominello, has asked his department to review 10 employment programs, including Aboriginal Jobs Together, which the Auditor General strongly criticised last month.

Force of youth

Deborah Snow - The Sydney Morning Herald

Born into poverty in Iran, this young power broker doesn’t countenance failure, writes Deborah Snow.

‘Do you want me to tell you a bit about myself?’ Sam Dastyari offers, getting straight down to business within seconds of being seated at our table for two at est., in George Street.