You were always going to hear a lot about disability insurance over the next few years and Tony Abbott today made sure you will hear a lot more. There are some one million disabled Australians and the Opposition Leader told them that under an Abbott government their insurance scheme would be deferred.
In addition, pensioners and low-income families were told that their welfare increases and tax cuts were on the way, but please don’t ask when because Mr Abbott doesn’t know.
In his speech to the National Press Club he logged the disability insurance and a significant number of other economic elements under ``aspirations’’ column, rather than as imminent certainties.
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You know you’ve officially become a Sydneysider when you become obsessed with “The Southerly”. When’s it due? Why hasn’t it got here yet? It’s reached the airport - bloody-well hurry up.
In Sydney, having the Bureau of Meteorology as your homepage is not considered weird.
We’ve been bitching and moaning for months about how wet it is, how cold it is, how we wanted to spend Christmas at the beach but it raaaaiiined. Then yesterday in Sydney we had our first day over 30 degrees for the summer, and last night it didn’t get down below 25.5 degrees at Observatory Hill. You’d think this event would be welcomed with wild celebrations yes? Not in Sydney. Today we’re all soooo tiiiirrred because none of us could sleep properly.
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Once at an NRL match, Wests Tigers fullback Tim Brasher hurled a small novelty footy my way. Pretty sure the thing was intended for his nephew or cousin, but I snatched it, I took it home and that was that.
Leaving aside the fact that a Sydney rugby league fan actually got off his backside and went to a game, there is nothing remarkable about this anecdote. Finders, keepers. Especially at sporting venues.
Yet public sympathy today appears to be leaning heavily towards 14 year old obsessive Novak Djokovic fan Melissa Cook, who missed out on a shirt thrown her way. And public fury is being unleashed on the fan who snatched the shirt.
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Once upon a time, home births were the only option, and mothers and babies frequently died.
Things have changed dramatically since then. Home births are much safer, and much, much rarer. The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics show in 2009 just 0.3 per cent of women had a planned home birth – a total of 863 births. Two babies died.
But home births are still the source of simmering tension; the powerful Australian Medical Association is dead set against them, a very vocal lobby group is angry at recent changes that make them harder, and parents are left to choose between conflicting views and seemingly conflicting evidence.
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In the moments after Novak Djokovic crumpled to the ground, fists clenched and screaming to no one in particular, my first thought was that this was the greatest tennis match in history. I wasn’t alone.
But my thoughts quickly turned to why the women’s game doesn’t produce epics like that. This is not to say that the women’s tennis is of poorer quality, or can’t produce incredible matches. It’s doesn’t mean women are weaker and can’t play gripping tennis. The best female tennis players in the world train just as hard and are as dedicated to their sport as any men. But their matches just don’t last as long.
Kim Clijsters’ three set win over Li Na in the fourth round was one of the best games of the last year. The shot-making and tension rivalled almost any match in the men’s draw. Yet as tightly contested as that match was, it still lasted only two hours and 23 minutes. The first two sets of the men’s final alone went for longer.
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The two biggest stuff-ups of the political year to date have said little about the conduct of our politicians and everything about the judgment of the advisors they employ. Given that 2012 is not yet five weeks old, these two remarkably stupid episodes confirm the extent to which the black art of media management has become an unchecked cancer on modern politics.
The irony is that in both cases the very people who were hired to make life easier for our politicians, ostensibly with their capacity for crisis management and flair for finessing a message, have in one case created the crisis and in the other mangled the message.
This should not be of interest solely to political tragics and Canberra insiders. The punchline to the joke is that the mugs who are footing the bill are, of course, the taxpayers, who over the past two decades have funded an ever-increasing number of spin doctors, speech writers and media advisors for politicians of every hue at both the state and federal level.
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At Melbas nightclub on the Gold Coast they won’t serve people with hand, neck and facial tattoos. You can, however, front up to the bar wearing a stocking on your head.
Helpfully you don’t even have to bring your own. For just five dollars you can buy a stocking at the club door. “It’s a policy that really works for our venue,” a worker at the bar told The Punch.
Imagine if cops were subject to the same measures. They could be, if the draft proposals being considered by NSW Police Association come into force.
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As murky details continue to emerge about the Australia Day ‘riot’, so do the murky conspiracy theories. In reaction to that shocking photo of a ruffled Prime Minister, people are positing grassy knolls on the lawns of Parliament House, eager to think that the whole debacle was a plot.
The startling picture of Julia Gillard being dragged along with furrowed brow was disturbing enough that people immediately wanted to find someone to blame, to find a greater lesson in the chaos. To convince themselves that it was ALL SOMEONE’S FAULT. Maybe a set up. The Opposition wants an investigation and to debate a no-confidence motion. People have called for the embassy to go, for Australia Day to be moved, for arrests to be made. Somebody must be made to pay!
It’s time to take the ranty pants off, fold them neatly and leave them on a chair in the corner for when they’re really needed.
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In the iconic Kimberley region of West Australia one of Australia’s biggest recent environmental battlegrounds has emerged in the red cliffs and turquoise waters of James Price Point, about 20 km north of Broome. This is a battle that might ultimately be won in the investor board rooms rather than on the front lines of blockades.
The Browse Basin gas hub development has stoked up so much opposition on so many fronts that many investors are now asking if the project is still economically viable, or if in fact Woodside’s ‘social licence’ to proceed has disappeared in the red dust that graces the Kimberley coastline.
Australian business is all too familiar with the impact strident community opposition can have on controversial major projects, yet some large corporations and investors continue to discount the importance of maintaining their social licence and protecting the environment.
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Commercial aviation is the safest form of travel because the industry has learnt from past accidents by abolishing the culture of blame.
The Costa Concordia disaster is the cruise ship industry’s chance to improve safety and ensure that avoidable tragedy never happens again, but that chance will be missed if only one man pays the price.
In Italian courtrooms there is a sign which suggests: La legge e’ uguale per tutti – the law is the same for everyone. There is no asterisk on the sign, though it should be noted the term “everyone: does in fact mean “everyone except some”, including former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who conveniently changed the law while in office to spare himself prosecution, and, more recently, the captain of the Costa Concordia Francesco Schettino, who shall be afforded no such privilege.
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