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    • Peter says:

      04:33am | 03/01/13

      Oh leave it alone! Every time the pollies run into trouble they bring up the flag and/or the republic to blind side us to their incompetence. Also the Union Jack on the flag represents where Modern Australia began. It was the flag that was raised when Australia was settled. It will therefore always have relevance. I know that Australians who do not have ancestry from England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales might not feel represented by the Union Jack but they must realize that it does not represent the people of today. If the flag were to do so then we would need to change it every generation or so, and that is just plain silly.

    • Levi says:

      06:41am | 03/01/13

      What Peter said…..I know it’s inconvenient to our newer arrivals to be reminded that British people and others from Western Europe built this country around a model of democracy, freedom, Christianity, common law etc.

      Well hey they did, and that is their legacy to us. And if we want that reflected on our flag then so be it. Just leave it the hell alone.

    • Mouse says:

      07:54am | 03/01/13

      I agree, the flag should stay as is.  Or are we going to change it every couple of hundred years to appease a few minority groups?  Australia was colonised by people from Great Britain and that will never change.  We have history with England and that will never change.  If we start deleting reference to our beginnings, we become anonymous without history or a past.  Whether you were born here or come later, whether you have a family history here or not, the fact remains the same, Australia’s history doesn’t change just to suit anyone else.
      Leave the bloody flag alone, you pollies have done more than enough BS already, don’t try to eradicate our history as well!

    • Sundress In Sydney says:

      07:54am | 03/01/13

      @Peter, I never thought about it that way.  Your last two sentences make a lot of sense.

    • Anubis says:

      08:13am | 03/01/13

      Actually Peter the current form of the Union Jack is NOT the flag that was raised on 26 January 1788. It did not have the cross of St Patrick merged in to it at that time. http://www.anbg.gov.au/oz/flag-union.html

    • Chris L says:

      08:19am | 03/01/13

      If we change it we’ll probably end up with something stupid like a kangaroo surrounded by boomerangs or something.

    • Hartz says:

      09:35am | 03/01/13

      @Peter - totally agree… Not to mention the fact that those of us who marched off to war under the flag of our Nation would be mighty pissed off if we changed it just so some lefty PC crowd can get a warm and fuzzy by adding a few dotty drawings and a boomerang… Hands off the flag..!!

    • Economist says:

      09:48am | 03/01/13

      @Chris L. I’m rather partial to a flag with a six sided star in the middle and pointed lines coming out of the centre with the slogan E Pluribus Anus around it.

    • Economist says:

      09:49am | 03/01/13

      @Chris L. I’m rather partial to a flag with a six sided star in the middle, representing the 6 states,  and pointed lines coming out of the centre with the slogan E Pluribus Anus around it.

    • Chris L says:

      11:28am | 03/01/13

      @Economist - I’m glad I looked that up. At first I thought it was Latin for “I’m surrounded by arseholes”... which wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate.

    • KH says:

      12:06pm | 03/01/13

      Hartz - yeah, just like Canada where they have disowned their war verterans, and written their contribution to the efforts of WW1 and WW2 out of history, you know, once they changed their flag in the 1960s.  Oh wait….............

    • Mouse says:

      12:20pm | 03/01/13

      @Economist,  with the centre being called “Canberra, the (w)hole that keeps it all together”  LOL :oD

      @ChrisL, I know that if I was a koala, I’d be pretty pissed about a flag like that!!  lol :o)

    • True Blue says:

      12:37pm | 03/01/13

      Peter, it is Ausflag that has brought this issue up not the pollies. For some reason they think Australia should be embarrassed that a military ruler who has been angered by the suspension from the Commonwealth and the western led sanctions making the move to change their flag? If the anti-Aus flag campaigner wants to follow the role model of Fiji, without the legal mandate of its people then what does he take Australians for. Like Australia, the Fijian people should have the last say. If the people vote “no”, if given the chance. Then will Ausflag be embarrassed that proper and legal democratic channels were made for the decision making by the people and not the military ruler himself.

    • TimB says:

      05:24am | 03/01/13

      ...New Zealand still has the Union Jack on their flag. Somehow I don’t think they’re paticularly concerned about what Fiji does. Neither should we be.

    • marley says:

      10:42am | 03/01/13

      “New Zealand still has the Union Jack on their flag”  So does Hawaii.  I don’t think they care much either.

      That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to see a purely Australian flag, but, having lived through the entire “Flag Debate” in Canada in the 60s, I’m not in any rush to go through it again here.

    • sunny says:

      11:51am | 03/01/13

      What’s with the red stars on the NZ flag? Are they seeing something we’re not when they look up at the Southern Cross over there?

    • TimB says:

      12:31pm | 03/01/13

      It’s because they’re communist Sunny. Everyone knows that. wink

    • sunny says:

      01:13pm | 03/01/13

      haha I think they’re just commies on the north island where they all goose step past their dear leader (not an easy thing to do in ugg boots) and launch missiles into the sea. On the south island they’re all golf loving, NZPop singing liberals (Blenheim Style was a worldwide hit for them).

    • Tom Ormond says:

      02:26pm | 03/01/13

      We won’t be concerned about Fiji; we will be concerned when New Zealand switches. Then Australia will the isolated joke of the world, with the only country outside a few puny Pacific islands with the British flag on their flag. Will we get wise and “follow” NZ, or probably dig in our heels so to be seen not as followers.

      The best scenario is that Australia adopts a second flag. Facts are there’s a huge proportion that hate the current flag, and that’s simply intolerable and nonsensical. We fly the Aboriginal and Torres flags with the national flag, so why not a second flag for the rest of us. This flag would remain subordinate until a time the people choose to promote it. Then the existing flag could still be flown. We would not trash it; just keep it as an historical minder. Australians against the flag are not ashamed of their ancestry; they just want something that represents the modern country. The best design I’ve seen is at newausflag.com. They also suggest the idea of a second flag.

    • Fed Up says:

      05:37am | 03/01/13

      Firstly dump the flag and become a Republic…we need our own identity.
      Our anthem sux as well….we need something like NZ or Sth Africa who acknowlege their indigenous.

      Secondly dump Macklin and Labor…she probably spends more on self grooming than most low/fixed income earners make in a week.
      As for being the party that represents the “working classes”/low /fixed income earners…they have failed.
      They’re only in it to stay in power.
      Nothing has changed over the years…low/fixed income earners still border the poverty line.
      Income that could be spent on them is used to gather votes from the bluggin middle class welfare recipients.

    • TimB says:

      07:17am | 03/01/13

      ‘…we need our own identity.’

      We have one. Believe it or not, my sense of validation doesn’t rest on whatever token person you have as head of state.

      Canada and New Zealand aren’t republics. Somehow they struggle through.

    • ZSRenn says:

      09:53am | 03/01/13

      Yes Yes Lets do that. Being a republic is working for so many countries. It has to be the best system. I mean look at the yanks and their trillions in debt. What a great success.! Down to the wire to come up with half of a financial plan that nobody wanted.  Yep sign me up! Being a Republic is the only way to go. Wait…..... If we do, will Julia Gillard be removed from power sooner?

    • 29 gold medals says:

      05:40am | 03/01/13

      Get your tacky stars off our flag

    • Chris L says:

      08:24am | 03/01/13

      It looks better this way… especially when draped around the ashes.

    • Jaqui says:

      08:37am | 03/01/13

      Exactly, it is a filthy little thing to have in the corner there considering the history of the British and their current submission to complete and utter invasion.
      The natives have now been conquered, they no longer exist as a people, they were conquered from within through their internal traitors, leftists!

      Australia is already under full scale invasion, we just don’t want to admit it.

      http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/12/business/white-britons-no-majority/index.html

    • PsychoHyena says:

      09:38am | 03/01/13

      @Jacqui, what a load of codswallop, I never realised that the first British settlers in Australia were leftists, they did more for the removal of a native identity than future generations. In fact if it wasn’t for British settlers, Indigenous Australians would not have the negative identity that right-wingers like to stamp on them. Learn some history on how Indigenous Australians became hooked on alcohol and other drugs, learn how this same method was used in multiple other countries settled by Britons.

      Oh and your link doesn’t work, so I can’t comment on that.

    • Jaqui says:

      02:26pm | 03/01/13

      @PsychoHyena: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100303455
      Try that one!

      I wasn’t talking about Australia however we know the leftists traitors in our midst are the ones angling to bring down Australia and make it fall under a viscous, murderous, religious dictatorship, just not the one you think.
      So in my opinion there is no place for the British flag on ours, they wouldn’t piss on us if we were on fire, just look at how they turned on their previous colonies, hell they even turned on their own Russian Tzar family when they were in need, preferring for them to be slaughtered.
      Cowardly, treacherous curs that have no place anywhere near Australia.

    • PJ says:

      05:48am | 03/01/13

      Slowly but surely we are guiding this Prime Minister to the issues. But its a tough job because it requires patience and regrettably you are forced to use public blackmail.

      From the Australian:
      “The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect says the inquiry’s framework is inequitable and has urged the Prime Minister to expand the terms of reference to include all forms of abuse children suffered at the hands of institutions, churches and governments.”

      The facts for 2011:
      Approx 279,000 cases of child abuse reported.
      Approx 99,000 investigated.
      Approx 40,000 found evidence.
      Approx 100 of the 279,000 attributed to the Catholic Church. (Cf Broken Rite).

      There are approximately 1.5 million Aussie kids and some languish in hell.

      In Vic 12.5% live in households where no one has a job.
      In SA 14% live in households where no one has a job.

      We’ve saw Abbott push Gillard to expand the Royal Commission beyond that of an investigation into the Catholic Church.
      We now see The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect push Gillard to expand the Commission to include ALL forms of child abuse in all areas of Australian society.

      Hopefully we’ll help the kids yet, despite those that need their votes threatened to see.

    • PJ says:

      07:20am | 03/01/13

      In my view we need to push Gillard again, to stop importing 17 year old girls for the purpose if marriage to men.

      This visa regulation is open to abuse, Forced Marriage, Dowry disputes and residency rorts.

      For what does a 17 year old girl know of life to be able to understand what she wants out of it?

      The last statistic published on this reported 200 17 year old girls imported in one year. Tackling sexism? My Granny!

    • PsychoHyena says:

      07:33am | 03/01/13

      @PJ, well given that the original inquiry was going to be focusing on institutional sexual abuse as was agreed upon by the Opposition it is understandable that the current terms of reference is only looking at this aspect.

      Now if you want the terms of reference to cover all forms of abuse (and this I agree with) then you must be willing to understand that this would extend the duration of the inquiry considerably and therefore I am expecting that you will have the wits to recognise that it is likely going to last 5+ years (as is the norm for a royal commission).

      I mention the duration as I am expecting to see within 6 months of the commission’s commencement posts from yourself attacking the speed at which he commission is moving.

      Apparently the Coalition supporters do not like thorough investigation.

    • ibast says:

      07:59am | 03/01/13

      I don’t agree.  There is lots of information out there on child abuse in general.  lots of studies and papers.  The reasons are well know.  What needs to be investigated is institutionalised child abuse.

      To date, the church has gotten away with it because of it’s political strength.  It needs to be specifically investigated.

      Abbott is just trying to water down the enquiry, due to pressure from his puppet masters.

    • P. Darvio says:

      09:22am | 03/01/13

      Quote: The facts for 2011:
      Approx 279,000 cases of child abuse reported.
      Approx 99,000 investigated.
      Approx 40,000 found evidence.
      Approx 100 of the 279,000 attributed to the Catholic Church. (Cf Broken Rite).


      M’mmm – lets do some actual analysis on these “facts”

      So in Australia 40,000 cases where found to have “evidence” – so in a population of approx 22,500,000 that equates to a rate of 0.001778 of child abuse in the general population.

      On the other hand 100 Catholic Priests “abused” children (or does that really mean they raped the children?) – the Catholic Priest population in Australia is approx 2955

      http://www.theage.com.au/national/catholic-priest-shortfall-an-imminent-disaster-20110304-1bi54.html

      So the Catholic Priest Child Abuse (Child Rape?) rate in 2011 was 0.0338 - that’s 19 times the rate in the General Population of Australia – and that’s a best case because it also includes retired Priests.

      So these Facts from 2011 prove that an Australia child is 19 times more likely to be “abused” (lets just call it child rape) by a Christian Priest than by someone who is not a Christian Priest.

      Clearly Christianity, based on these “facts”, is a danger to the safety of our children and these actual facts of the Christian Priest Childe Abuse (Child Rape?) rate are a terrible reality of why we urgently need this Royal Commission to start as quickly as possible – and for Christians to check their facts.

    • ma_kelvin says:

      09:31am | 03/01/13

      @PJ. This is not a political issue it is a community issue at the heart and soul of every household in Australia.  I hope that you would get behind Bravehearts who are doing a great job of keeping Child Abuse on the agenda in Australia.  The more people power Bravehearts has you can make a difference.  This year I want to help The Punchers change the course of history in Australia.  When all is said and done all you have to do is become a member of Bravehearts and offer to help.  If you are going to help remember to be calm and collected and above all be helpful no matter how upset you are about the subject as you are doing it for our children.

    • Tim says:

      10:02am | 03/01/13

      P.Darvio,
      it’s probably not good to base your argument on any statistics that PJ provides.
      You end up making yourself look like a fool as you’ve just done.

      PJ is talking about child abuse as a whole, not just sexual abuse.

      Of the ~40 000 odd cases where evidence was found in 2011, about 5-6000 where related to sexual abuse of children. The rest were emotional, physical abuse or neglect.

      The 100 figure PJ refers to is actually the number of Catholic priests that have been charged of sexual offences total in Australia irrespective of year. And it’s only a claim from Broken Rites so I’m not sure of its accuracy.

      I also know why PJ never publishes links to his claims because they’re usually made up of complete bullshit or half truths and out of context quotes. His Party employers work hard to give him misleading talking points.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sexual_abuse_cases_in_Australia
      http://www.aifs.gov.au/cfca/pubs/factsheets/a142086/index.html

    • ZSRenn says:

      10:18am | 03/01/13

      Darvio,

      Your figures are great for comparing Australia to Catholic priests over 1 year but have to be used in conjunction of reports taken over that same year. The figures quoted above for victim reports, etc. are figures for decades.

      Are you just bad at maths or did you know that and wanted to twist the truth for your own advantage. I hope it’s the former. If it’s the later, be aware you just could set the cause of the people suffering back decades if the Australian public realise they are being patronised. This would be another cruel blow to their suffering and a shame on you!

    • PJ says:

      10:21am | 03/01/13

      P. Darvio

      The 100 cases were not just priests, but children that were hit, shouted at and physically abused in catholic institutions, by people that work in those institutions. Teachers, Assistants, Priests, Nuns, Nurses, Doctors, Administrative Assistants, volunteers etc.

      In your enthusiasm to ‘catholic bash’, you have overlooked the fact that catholics run schools, Kinders, Hospitals, Outreach Centre etc and come into contact with a large part of the 1.5 million kids in Australia.

      But the thrust and point of my post is not to highlight how many bad elements of our society have infiltrated the catholic church, but to show that children across the spectrum of life in Australia are having in tough and we must look to tackle the problem entire.

      If it’s about saving our kids then we must address the entire issue. Wouldn’t you agree?

    • PJ says:

      10:32am | 03/01/13

      “Apparently the Coalition supporters do not like thorough investigation.”

      what rot.

      The Coalition have been calling for thorough investigations into all sorts of things.

      - The AWU Scandal
      - The HSU Scandal
      - The Thomson Affair
      - Why did Fujitsu get the NBN contract over a year ago, nothing happened, then there was a mysterious review of the Fujitsu contract followed by renewal, no explanation given?

      - The Suspension of audits on proposed Government policy
      Government agencies are required to produce regulatory impact statements (RISs) that assess the costs and benefits of policy proposals before they are finalised. However, Julia Gillard granted special exemptions for policies including the mining tax and the National Broadband Network as a way of avoiding scrutiny.
      As reported by The Australian, the Productivity Commission said,
      “The tendency of ministers to make policy announcements in response to pressure for quick and obvious government action on issues (was) one of the most fundamental barriers to the use of RISs to better inform policy development.”

      So to say the Coalition does not like a thorough investigation is clearly nonsense.

      It would be truer to say that the Gillard Government does not like a thorough investigation. I wonder why…...

    • PJ says:

      10:43am | 03/01/13

      Two points in the post:

      I am not about defending the catholic church per se, but rather protecting religious belief. Because I have seen socialists move very quickly from catholicism to other religious faiths in a single step.

      Secondly, if we stick with the catholic church only, because there’s an expectation of compensation and it’s a start on eradicating religion from Australia, then we do a dis-service by the kids, who are languishing under poverty and abuse right across the spectrum of Australian life.

      I cannot always publish links for two reasons:
      1. dependent upon the server I’m looking out from, I may be prohibited from attaching links.
      2. I read multiple sources, my information is not gathered from The Age or ABC only. So it is difficult to represent all sources to build up of argument.

      However, I always try to reference my material where possible, so that anyone with an IQ in the Double digits can look it up.

      According to basic psychology, the resort to personal attacks during discussion is a result of frustration from those faced with immutable truth?

    • Tim says:

      11:27am | 03/01/13

      “I cannot always publish links for two reasons:
      1. dependent upon the server I’m looking out from, I may be prohibited from attaching links.
      2. I read multiple sources, my information is not gathered from The Age or ABC only. So it is difficult to represent all sources to build up of argument.”

      On 1. You seem to be able to link to The Australian and various right wing blogs when you think it supports your arguments. It seems a coincidence that you never link to most of the claims that turn out to be complete lies or half truths.

      2. In other words, you like making stuff up and are too lazy to link to information that you know people can fact check and call you on.
      You’re simply relying on the intellectual laziness of others to believe your made up “facts” without checking for themselves.

    • Canuck says:

      11:36am | 03/01/13

      “my information is not gathered from The Age or ABC only’

      Of course not, you probably never read either of those two.
      Your posts come straight from the propaganda pages of the The Australian, The Telegraph and the liberal party handout sheets.
      All your other information seems to come from British tory tabloids.
      You’ve been exposed providing false information for a very long time.

      Perhaps you should change you handle again babble-on?

    • P. Darvio says:

      11:52am | 03/01/13

      Quote: Of the ~40 000 odd cases where evidence was found in 2011, about 5-6000 where related to sexual abuse of children.

      Quote: The 100 figure PJ refers to is actually the number of Catholic priests that have been charged of sexual offences total in Australia irrespective of year.

      M’mmm – sorry he doesn’t say that – he says (the 100) its in the year 2011 – and hasn’t corrected it (and as I will demonstrate below with actual real evidence its doesn’t matter anyway and its even worse than I calculated ) – and as history and the Courts shows the bulk of Christian priests charged with child rape are proven to be guilty then it’s a figure that can be used,  plus Christian lay people (teachers etc) are a very small number in that overall figure (so that’s just an attempt to smoke screen) – the bulk are Christian Priests – so its even worse than I thought – based on these new figures (ie 5000 to 6000) provided the child rape rate amongst the general population is then about .000222 – so the new child rape rate amongst Christian Priests is 152 times more than the general population.

      Is there any independent real proven evidence to support this new revised 152 figure?

      The Victorian Commission of Inquiry recently stated that the rate of Paedophile Priests is as high as 1 in 15

      “The Victorian inquiry has heard harrowing testimony from victims, experts and law enforcers. It has heard estimates that there are tens of thousands of victims. It has heard an estimate that as many as one in 15 priests is guilty of these crimes. It has heard that rape of children by priests continues.”

      http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/editorial/compelling-case-for-a-royal-commission-20121109-293oq.html#ixzz2Gs6AbmGc

      1 in 15 !!! That is a national disgrace. That rate is even worse than the 152 calculated above – based on a national child rape rate of 0.000222 (ie 5000/22,500,000) that makes it over 300 times more likely a child is raped by a Christian Priest than an average member of the Australia Population.

      Quote: This would be another cruel blow to their suffering and a shame on you!

      A disgraceful comment considering the facts and the actual evidence – the only shame is on you.

      Quote: If it’s about saving our kids then we must address the entire issue. Wouldn’t you agree?

      Agreed - x152 or is that x300?……and roll on the Royal Commission – the sooner the better – for the sake of protecting our children from religion.

    • St. Michael says:

      11:54am | 03/01/13

      @ P Darvio:

      “PJ never publishes links to his claims because they’re usually made up of complete bullshit or half truths and out of context quotes.”

      Takes one to know one, huh, Pee?

    • Meh says:

      12:02pm | 03/01/13

      @pj

      Yawn. See you tomorrow.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      12:06pm | 03/01/13

      @PJ, I would have more faith if it wasn’t for the fact that if things don’t move as quickly as the Coalition supporters want them to then there are claims of corruption, etc.

      I would much rather a longer investigation into the various scandals so that the evidence can be correctly examined, weighed and identified in order that if further steps are required then those steps are successful, nothing worse than a quick investigation that fails in court because the investigation wasn’t thorough enough.

      Take the Thomson debacle, the Coalition have been moaning and complaining over the length of time it has taken to even get it near a court, but if an airtight case can’t be put to the court then it will fail and that would truly be a waste of taxpayer money.

    • P. Darvio says:

      01:15pm | 03/01/13

      Quote: it’s probably not good to base your argument on any statistics that PJ provides.

      Yes have to agree with that especially when the reality is even worse than I originally stated.

      Lets look at the actual facts

      The Victorian Commission of Inquiry recently stated that the rate of Paedophile Priests is as high as 1 in 15

      “The Victorian inquiry has heard harrowing testimony from victims, experts and law enforcers. It has heard estimates that there are tens of thousands of victims. It has heard an estimate that as many as one in 15 priests is guilty of these crimes. It has heard that rape of children by priests continues.”

      http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/editorial/compelling-case-for-a-royal-commission-20121109-293oq.html#ixzz2Gs6AbmGc

      1 in 15 !!! That is a national disgrace and a tragedy. That rate is even worse than the I thought – based on a national average child rape rate of 0.000222 (ie 5000/22,500,000) – as tragic as that is - that makes it over 300 times more likely a Christian Priest is a child rapist than an average member of the Australia Population in any given year.

      If the rate of paedophilia in the general Australia Population was the same as the rate of Paedophile Christian Priests as shown by the Victorian Inquiry the number of paedophiles in Australia would be 1,500,000.

      Quote: If it’s about saving our kids then we must address the entire issue. Wouldn’t you agree?

      Agreed - x300……and roll on the Royal Commission – the sooner the better – for the sake of protecting our children from religion.

    • P. Darvio says:

      01:41pm | 03/01/13

      Quote: “…not just priests, but children that were hit, shouted at and physically abused in catholic institutions, by people that work in those institutions. Teachers, Assistants, Priests, Nuns, Nurses, Doctors, Administrative Assistants, volunteers etc.”

      So not only do Christian Priests rape child at a rate 300 times greater, on average (based on the Victorian Inquiry findings), than the average Australian, Christians are also hitting and assaulting children in schools, hospitals, etc etc…..I wonder what the average rate of that is against the average non-Christian Australian x10, x30, x100 ? Does a Christian have some stats on this….?

      I wonder if I can find some stats on this…..?

    • Tim says:

      02:50pm | 03/01/13

      P. Darvio,
      do you honestly want me to take that link seriously?

      An enquiry has heard an estimate that 1 in 15 priests is a pedophile?

      I estimate that P. Darvio is a wifebeater who doesn’t pay tax.

      OMG, a online news source has just estimated that P. Darvio is a wifebeater who doesn’t pay tax. You heard it here first folks.

      You’ll excuse me if I don’t take an estimate presented by someone?? at a Victorian enquiry as definitive researched statistics on the matter.

      Oh wait, I’ve found it:

      http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/one-in-20-priests-an-abuser-inquiry-told-20121022-2816q.html

      So he’s based his estimate on 378 priests who graduated from a Melbourne college between 1940 and 1966?
      Even then his figures say less than one in twenty and he’s extrapolated that to an estimate of one in fifteen, because you know, he must know better.

      Yep, obviously the Church had a massive problem in the past, but you can’t use it to compare to the general population figures for 2011 like you’ve tried to in your post.

      Lets assume that these priests were 20 years old when they graduated (which is conservative on the low side), then they’re ranging from late 60’s to early 90’s in age now.

      How you think that relates to the Catholic church in 2011 I have no idea, but one thing is clear and that is your analysis is wrong, wrong, wrong.

      Sometimes I honestly feel like I’m getting dumber by replying to posts like these.

    • ZSRenn says:

      02:51pm | 03/01/13

      PJ. Clear this up for me please. Are you saying 279,000 reports were for 2011 only, with 99,000 cases investigated because if you are I call bullshit. We don’t have enough police working in the field to handle that many cases. I am sure you mean 279,000 cases reported up until 2011.

    • Tim says:

      03:51pm | 03/01/13

      ZSRenn,
      Read the AIFS link I posted above. The figure is per year but includes every suspected case of abuse or neglect.

    • Derrick says:

      05:51am | 03/01/13

      Its 2013 and its the year that Rabbott will be replaced and the Libs will limp home to the biggest loss in history ! Ha ha ha ! Let the bullshit begin !

    • Levi says:

      06:38am | 03/01/13

      Keep dreaming mate. You’ve had 5 years to get your act together and all you’ve done is spend billions with no net benefit for the country

    • Mouse says:

      07:36am | 03/01/13

      “Ha ha ha ! Let the bullshit begin ! “
      Sounds like it already has Derrick…...  :o)

    • Anubis says:

      08:16am | 03/01/13

      It doesn’t take long for the delusional to emerge in a new year

    • gordie says:

      08:18am | 03/01/13

      Derrick it already has with your commeny

    • gordie says:

      08:22am | 03/01/13

      Derrick sorryy typo I mean comment

    • Chris L says:

      08:39am | 03/01/13

      The zombie virus is spreading!

    • TimB says:

      11:27am | 03/01/13

      @ Chris L, where’s my shotgun?

      Heck, even a cricket bat will do.

      Seriously, why are the recent crop of trolls so tiresome? They don’t even make an effort anymore.

    • Tim says:

      01:03pm | 03/01/13

      TimB,
      I don’t think they even qualify as trolls. There’s no real effort or finesse.

      Even PJ makes his bullshit claims big, these guys have no heart for the dramatic crapathon.

    • gordie says:

      01:45pm | 03/01/13

      whats wrong Derrick Acotrel not around to back up your totally sensless comment and too many ready to attack you. So you run and hide. Anyway its 2013 and the last Jan 1 that Gillard and labor will be in power for a long long time

    • hand2mouth says:

      05:59am | 03/01/13

      Hmm .... what’s this “disallowed Key Character” message I’m getting (only on Punch). It’s really annoying and intermittent!

    • dweezy 2176 says:

      06:41am | 03/01/13

      Ah, I’m not the only one getting that page. I thought it was something to do with my computer/browser, obviously not.

    • Kipling says:

      07:23am | 03/01/13

      Did a bit of a google search on this one. Apparently the best answer so far is that it is to do with “cookies”.

      Use internet tools to delete them (then stop putting your snacks into your computer…) grin

      I found also that closing and reopening web page after deleting cookies is necessary as well.

      Best answer I have so far, hope it helps.

    • Tory Maguire

      Tory Maguire says:

      07:45am | 03/01/13

      Hi hand2mouth, we have a tech problem we’re trying to sort out. My apology.

    • Chris L says:

      08:40am | 03/01/13

      You’re stroking your keys wrong.

    • Not rocket science says:

      10:02am | 03/01/13

      Tory,
      It’s not rocket science.
      This started happening first thing on the 1st of January.
      Find out what were the last “system” changes prior to 01 01 2013. surely there is an audit trail of this stuff.
      Just back out the changes until you fin the one that caused the generation of this blank screen and message.

      If this isn’t rectified by tomorrow, my suggestion is you sack the guy responsible for approving and testing changes to your system.

    • ZSRenn says:

      10:55am | 03/01/13

      Maybe this is something new to you guys in OZ but I have had the problem now for about 2 years. This is different though. Before I would clear the cache and delete cookies to fix, however now that does not work and the site only comes back up with time

    • Economist says:

      11:34am | 03/01/13

      Tory thanks for the update.

      Firstly some other tips that I’ve found that work. The problem seems to mainly happen when accessing the home page. I find coming in from news.com.au via an article directly seems to work and then clicking though the articles via the banner.

      Secondly, @Not rocket science that’s very harsh. It could be to do with the adserver, which are most likely a third party, but I’m no IT expert. It was politely pointed out that they have a skeleton crew and lets face it, it would seem that the same people are running news.com.au itself. Which website is more important to the organisation?  Which gets the most unique browsers and page views?

      From what I can gather, and I may be being presumptuous, the same journalists and IT guys run both sites. It’s almost as a courtesy this site is provided, how about a kinder gentler commenty (or commonty).

      Seriously it’s not like the journalists that post articles to this site hangout for our comments, they seem to be bombarded regularly with Spam, damn those Nigerians, they have to scour Associated Press for articles to post, in order to entertain they’re also are viewing the latest trends on reddit, youtube, they’re bombarded with emails and tweets, tips for articles, do research,  personally I don’t know how they find the time to cater to our whims. My god it would be boring reviewing comments for publication when it’s repetitive nonsense. The occasionally sparkling repartee or champagne comedy moment are few and far between and the Punch crew seem to enjoy articles on personal experiences and those that genuinely add to the debate or provide a different perspective.

      I’ve said enough now.

    • Mouse says:

      12:08pm | 03/01/13

      LOL, oh good one ChrisL! I reckon you should send a detailed comment on how to keystroke correctly. Please include all relevant details, such as optimum pressure and direction, positional preferences and what to do if all else fails.
      I await your reply as I too have been hit with the “disallowed Key Character” monster.  Being the laid back person that I usually am, I didn’t pay much heed to it and just got out, then back in, and the monster seemed to disappear.  I now find that I have been remiss in my acceptance of computer idiocyncracies and could have saved considerable keystrokes myself if I had been stroking the keys correctly in the first place!  The things we learn…  Aaahhhh 2013 is, already, a year of wonders and awe!!  LOL ;o)

      Now for something completely off topic…..I have heard some pretty good things about Walking Dead, so I have just bought the first season and intend to attack that this weekend.  I tried Falling Skies and, while it was not bad, it didn’t exactly have me hanging on for Season 2.  Let’s hope WD is a bit grippier then and restores my faith in zombies again, fingers crossed!!  :o)

    • Daniel Piotrowski

      Daniel Piotrowski says:

      12:29pm | 03/01/13

      @Economist - Pretty close to the mark!

    • LJ Dots says:

      12:39pm | 03/01/13

      Thanks Tory, I just read your post about the ‘tech’ problem, however, I wish you had told us earlier. I thought it was just me and the error message was a covert attempt by The Punch to flush out the conspiracy theorists, so I took all the necessary precautions. Still, it’s nice to hear it’s a false alarm.

      By the way, if anyone needs several hundred metres of tin foil and colanders (unused, unopened & going cheaply) - please see my ebay listing.

    • Chris L says:

      01:04pm | 03/01/13

      @Mouse - The trick is to start slow, applying firm pressure, then gradually build up the pace… what were we talking about?

      I had a friend who gave up too early on Walking Dead. I forced her to watch it again and by the end of second season she loves it. Wait ‘till she sees third!

    • Mouse says:

      04:01pm | 03/01/13

      @ChrisL Oh goodie! It sounds like I will love WD then. Will let you know how I go with it.  :o)
      I am not sure where the conversation was going, but I must say that I did like it!!  lol ;o)

    • Economist says:

      04:42pm | 03/01/13

      Yes Mouse you’ll like it as it’s based on a comic book, and good call above.  Everybody should pucker up when Canberra’s involved.

    • dweezy 2176 says:

      06:38am | 03/01/13

      Yesterday, 2 January, 2013 I was a 64 years old dole bludger, claiming sickness benefit, eking out my pitiful existence on the munificent sum of $539 a fortnight(including pharmaceutical allowance). Decried by the Government, scorned by the media & ranked alongside illegal boat-people by the masses. No sympathy from anyone when power, rent and cost of living keep going up, NO! Just a, no account, dole bludger wouldn’t work anyway so stop the whingeing and be grateful for your pittance you ingrate####
      But today, 3 January, 2013, DRUM ROLL, PLEEZE MAESTRO, I turned 65 and am now an Old Age Pensioner, a Senior Citizen, Salt of the Earth, Backbone of the Country who toiled selflessly, as a single parent, to raise my four children making all the sacrifices for their betterment whilst I stayed below the poverty line then struggled in the wilderness of the Dole until mid2011 and since then on Sickness Benefit owing to Cancer.
      . Now I have the freedom to whinge and be listened to as I struggle to get by on my $772 a fortnight pittance, chortle, chortle, oh don’t you just love the sarcasm! A mere $233 a fortnight increase because of my birthday plus a complete character rebuild, no more mention of the Dole for I was a staunch Aussie battler in my previous years as I adopt a new persona more suitable to a venerated Senior Citizen &  Pillar of Society.
      The sheer hypocrisy of the attitude between the dole and the pension is breathtaking but, of course, Labor loves the battler! That’s why they keep so many battling.
      And a final one finger salutation to those rusted-on Labor mugs, YES you know who you are, who were sold out by the unions when Krudd upped the pension age to 67 you should have rioted then but you went quietly to the slaughter like good little camp followers, your union leadership doesn’t have to worry they’ve ripped off enough of your dues to retire comfortably along with their their superannuation building stint in the Federal/State Senates, BUT YOU, you will have an extra 2 years to go & don’t kid yourself because health-wise those two years will feel like a lifetime!
      Ah, that’s better now that it is off my chest & remember fellow Punchers NO CRITICISM after all I am a Salt of the Earth, Backbone of the Nation, Senior Citizen# and it would be sooo“Un-Awstrayan”,!
      In fact, I feel like the “Quintessential Aussie”, Jack Thompson, in all those treacle-coated period dramas of the seventies/eighties, loved by everyone for a life of hardship & toil on the unforgiving land yet smiling & cheerful through all adversity & sickness as I take my due accolades for a life fulfilled #
      Oh dear, it’s so sacchrinated its cringe worthy# But don’t ya luv it!
      Oh! ++ …………………….A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME………………….#

    • yeah-no says:

      08:45am | 03/01/13

      There is a significant difference here. The dole is to provide support during unemployment - a temporary condition at least in theory. Meanwhile, a cure for old age has yet to be discovered. Good luck on your pension. If you’ll permit a bit of smugness on my part, I’ve done what I can to avoid relying on the age pension when I retire.

    • Mick says:

      08:54am | 03/01/13

      Excellent post dweezy..just like you said ,these Labor followers are a bunch of sheep.
      So naive and gullible that they cant see how they are being used by envy and gender politics to keep themselves and the unions in power.
      They all know that the AWU scandal is just the tip of the iceberg..
      yet the members stay silent and put their heads in the sand.

    • blonde_theroy says:

      09:10am | 03/01/13

      @dweezy 2176 says:  Happy birthday to you and hope you have many more.
      I want to say to you that you are not old and you have alot of spunk left in you.
      I have found from previous experience I can only focus with success on on one thing at a time.
        Keep on keeping on and make sure your focus on one thing at a time. Look after yourself first and then help others with your knowledge and experience.  Have a great birthday and take care

    • Chris L says:

      09:26am | 03/01/13

      Which party followers keep hating on dole recipients?

    • Tim says:

      09:46am | 03/01/13

      What the hell does any of that have to do with either the Liberal or Labor parties? If anything, the pensioner “battlers” are much more a Liberal party base than Labor’s.

      The pension is a special form of welfare meant for those who are theoretically unable to work because of old age. In the past it was much more of an entitlement for a lifetime of paying taxes, whereas in the future it will be much more limited because it’s simply ridiculous to have existing generations paying for the wholesale care of previous or future generations.
      If you’ve just turned 65, you would have been receiving compulsory super if you were working for the last 20 years. This amount of super will only increase as the Boomers are expunged from the system.

      The pension age and restrictions will increase in coming years so that it is only a safety net for those few who were unable to provide for themselves in retirement. Exactly the way it should be.

    • nihonin says:

      07:09am | 03/01/13

      Manslaughter, a King Hit, should be nothing less than murder.  It is a deliberately lthought out and lined up punch, meant to inflict maximum danage to its victim.

    • yeah-no says:

      08:47am | 03/01/13

      It would be difficult to prove that the intention of a single punch was to kill. If that could be proved, the charge would be murder.

    • Chris L says:

      08:53am | 03/01/13

      I tend to agree. It’s like stabbing someone with a knife and feigning surprise when they die.

    • Meph says:

      08:54am | 03/01/13

      @nihonin

      While I don’t disagree in principle, I think it has more to do with the legalese definitions, and what prosecutors think they can make stick.

      As I understand it, in the eyes of the law, murder is all about the intent to kill and being able to prove it. It’s far easier in this instance to prove intent to punch someone in the head that led to their death.

    • Fed Up says:

      09:38am | 03/01/13

      It could not be proved there was intent to murder.
      1st time offender ?..prob walk away with a bond

    • Mouse says:

      02:08pm | 03/01/13

      nihonin, with our murder laws there is not really 1st or 2nd degree murder. The Americans have it pretty well covered and we could take a long hard look at their system.  We have murder as a first course with negligible homicide and manslaughter for seconds but we really don’t have a 2nd degree murder, which King hits should come under. The difference would be that murder is usually defined as a detail planned, calculated and cold blooded action, whereas murder2 would be more of a moment thing and but more than just a reactionary jerk.  Being intoxicated should never be an excuse. If you are that drunk you shouldn’t be able to stand up without assistance, let alone be able to put enough force into a swing to kill someone. 
      The law definitely needs to be updated and degrees of murder more clearly defined.  Like drink driving laws, once defined properly there is not much wriggle room. Apart from making it more accountable, it should make it easier for our poor overworked lawyers! *sarc*  hehehe :o)

    • Kipling says:

      07:10am | 03/01/13

      I see a couple of stories in media recently of ex politiicians (not necessarily brilliant ones, but we don’t have any brilliant ones…) talking up the idea of abolishing states.

      What a great idea that would be if only we had the balls to do this.

      What a noticable absences as well of this wee story on punch. Seems like a debate worth having.

    • ZSRenn says:

      10:04am | 03/01/13

      Um You do realise we are a federation of states. By getting rid of the states you end Australia as it is today. We would need to start again.Let’s spend a trillion writing a new constitution that would be voted out in any referendum because like the republican debate nobody could agree on a working model.

      AI think Wiki is good enough for this one

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_of_Australia

    • Steve says:

      07:10am | 03/01/13

      So unexpectedly according to the msm,

      http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/sanantonio.asp

      Interesting. Two days after CT a gun stops another crazy person. Hmmm. This doesn’t fit the narrative at all. Is that why this was not wall to wall news?

      It is the one thing that always bothers me about calls for stricter gun laws or control in America. The calls only reach a deafening crescendo after some insane person does a despicable act.  It tends to confirm my theory that those in favour of gun control have particularly poor arguments that require a outlier event to gain traction.

      And of course they ignore at best, or deliberately silence at worst, any opposing narrative again confirming their arguments are weak when looked at unemotionally.

      People are moral entities and should be treated as such. Guns are inanimate objects and should be treated as such.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      09:19am | 03/01/13

      @Steve, the perp was stopped by an armed police officer (off-duty or not), therefore the law was upheld by those responsible for upholding the law.

      There were also no deaths involved, which explains why it didn’t make the news. Aside from the perp and one other male there were no injuries, it’s also America where your random gunfight happens on a near-daily basis and without serious injuries or death it doesn’t measure on the radar.

      It could also be argued that with tighter gun control the perp would have been less likely to have access to a gun with which to start the shooting.

    • Tim says:

      10:10am | 03/01/13

      hahaha,
      talking about ignoring the statistics.

      There’s a pretty obvious reason it didn’t make the news, simply because no one was killed.
      Do you want the news to report every time someone doesn’t have a car accident? Or is that simply the media feeding their anti car agenda?

      Yes, the mass shootings are the outliers to general firearm murders, suicides and gun accidents that occur in the US every year.
      The exact same way that people preventing murders or mass killings by using firearms are the outliers to general firearm murders, suicides and gun accidents that occur in the US every year.

      It’s the day to day deaths from guns that could be prevented by stricter gun control that we should be talking about.
      Unfortunately these deaths get lost in the emotional outrage over rare mass killings.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      07:43am | 03/01/13

      The United States would have been better to go over the fiscal cliff than to punt it to the future. Damn the AARP and other greedy rent seekers…..

    • PsychoHyena says:

      07:52am | 03/01/13

      So the comments aren’t enabled or something on this topic: http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/dont-let-cosmetic-surgeons-slice-up-your-privates/ and I just wanted to say that I love the way porn gets blamed for all of the world’s ills.

      Honestly, given that the vagina on most pornstars these days really doesn’t look that great (the labia minora creeping past the labia majora), any woman who is getting labiaplasty to make their vagina look like a pornstar’s is insane, I wonder if the writer actually did research into what changes women are having made.

      I have heard tell of some women having the procedure to improve everyday and sexual comfort, this involves ensuring the labia majora covers the labia minora so that the clitoris and labia minora aren’t being constantly irritated by clothing.

      Oh and the writer appears to have not read the information regarding what Medicare will cover, Medicare will only cover cosmetic surgery where there is a medical requirement and this includes breast reductions, re-constructive surgery, etc.

    • blonde_theroy says:

      07:54am | 03/01/13

      When I was a single parent I had to endure the humiliation and joy of doing the best I could for my daughter at the time. During a period of more than 18 years I experienced a lot and it would take up too much of The Punches reading space but I will tell you of the positive side to my experiences.  Money was below poverty but I only bought fresh fruit, vegetables meat the best I could find from local producers.  Both my daughter and I were the healthiest and fittest in our lives during that period of time.  I am saying to the politicians and The Punchers who are reading this.  If you are going to reduce the pensions and unemployment please allocate to pensioners, unemployed and single parents a voucher system for fresh fruit , meat from to local producers only in this country.  Our local producers need all the help they can get.  Our children need all the help they can get, and, of course it will help the future of Australia too.  All other countries grow their own vegs and share it around amongst relatives. They have to do through necessity but I have personally experienced the benefits of buying fresh fruit and local produce and I have been helping Australia too.

      “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. “
      Albert Einstein

    • Ted says:

      07:59am | 03/01/13

      A flag what for?????
      anybody can burn it….and spit on it

      A constitution what for?????
      A Head of state without a head what for????
      An act of parliament can change everything without consulting the people.

      A democracy without the people….what’s on your mind???
      A theocracy without a God…...what’s on your mind???

    • the illiterate says:

      02:08pm | 03/01/13

      In my mind “A democracy without the people” is an autocracy with the autocrats to rule the country .

      By the way is there any from the punch who can explain us what is the meaning of the word democracy and if there is a difference between an oligarchy and our system of governance?

    • PsychoHyena says:

      02:59pm | 03/01/13

      @illiterate, the biggest difference between a democracy and a oligarchy is that oligarchies are typically a system of governance whereby the wealthy rule while in a democracy (theoretically) anyone could become leader provided they have the majority approval.

      However, based on the loose definition of democracy (a system whereby the governing body is elected by the majority of general public/eligible voters) an oligarchy could also be democratic in nature. E.g. only people with a personal value over $x is allowed to vote.

      @Ted, everyone might be able to burn or spit on the flag, however it provides a symbol under which people can rally, a constitution tends to be a statement of beliefs.

      On the act of Parliament changing everything, this would assume that all members of Parliament and the Senate were of the same opinion, in which case (ignoring the possibility that all MPs and Senators were acting in personal interest rather than public interest) it could be reasonably assumed that the majority of Australians support the decision.

      This is why people need to be careful when voting for their reps, people say vote for the person who you believe represents your beliefs most closely, however voting for a Labour or Coalition member means you are voting for the party as both parties disallow members to vote against party lines in order to show support for the leader.

    • stephen says:

      08:09am | 03/01/13

      I’m surprized how good a tennis player is Bernard Tomic.

      (He saw the TV and was worried how low the dole is.)

    • Talon says:

      08:24am | 03/01/13

      Last night I channel hopped and came upon a news article related to public housing.  There is a 15 year waiting list and available affordable housing that are being left empty to run down and be vandalised.  The department is selling off these blocks of land.  I am sure they have a good reason and it should not be that difficult to buy up properties from the many who have gone under on their mortgages.

      Another news article tells me I pay more in rent for a almost 2 bedroom duplex in Western Sydney then people get on newstart (dole).  This morning I read an article relating to the fact that there is no foreseeable housing crisis.  I then stoped to think of how often that particular news sight has contradictory articles to known facts and experience.

      I will have to disclaim that it is my opinion that news.com frequently fail to filter their stories through a basic truth test.  Thus it is left open to be a platform for propaganda by Government, Real estate and banks.

      Maybe I should be thanking them.  News.com does have the latest news on demand for free.  It is their articles that let them down.  Then again how would we know the depths of misleading crap such organisations would go to for money or power if it was not published somewhere?

    • Elphaba says:

      08:36am | 03/01/13

      Yesterday’s rock ‘n’ roll trivia desk calendar answer to “What is the name of 2011 inductees the Hollies’ highest-charting hit?” is ‘Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)’ - it reached number two in 1972.

      Today’s question: Only one non-Beatle has ever received credit for their work on a Beatles track.  Was it:

      a). Billy Preston
      b). B.B. King
      c). Jimi Hendrix.

      I reckon I’ll probably do this for a week before I get bored…

    • Economist says:

      09:51am | 03/01/13

      Google is my friend I’d say a. But deep down Yoko should be on the list.

      I reckon I can use Google to answer your questions until I get bored. wink

    • SimpleSimon says:

      10:17am | 03/01/13

      a) Billy Preston

    • Elphaba says:

      10:39am | 03/01/13

      @Economist, that’s like using your smart phone at pub trivia.  I warn anyone playing on my team who suggests cheating that I’ll throw them off the table. tongue laugh However, you and SS are correct!

    • TimB says:

      11:26am | 03/01/13

      Come on Elphaba! Enough with the music questions. It’s the one category I usually need a team mate to cover for me on.

      History & Science. These are the categories I want to see wink

    • Elphaba says:

      01:28pm | 03/01/13

      @TimB, I’ll ask my brother to buy a science and history desk calendar next year. tongue laugh

    • SimpleSimon says:

      01:50pm | 03/01/13

      Don’t listen to TimB, keep the rock n roll coming!! :-D

    • yeah-no says:

      08:53am | 03/01/13

      The civil war in Syria gets some coverage, but I’ve not seen much analysis of who the anti-Assad rebels are. ‘Our’ side is providing some kind of support - moral only?- because Russia supports Assad. But who is to say the rebels will be better, or that their ascendency will promote peace in the region? Might they not be Islamists?

    • Why for..? says:

      09:50am | 03/01/13

      Why are we letting “Australians” go and fight in Syria… You want to be Syrian - hand in your citizenship and go fight but if you want to be a Aussie, watch it on TV and thank whichever god you choose that you are here… I thought it was illegal for Australians to randomly go and fight in wars? And in real terms - as if we need even more battle hardened Mujahedeen living in Australia. The average fat suburban Aussie won’t stand a chance…....

    • AdamC says:

      10:41am | 03/01/13

      So the disallowed key characters glitch prevented me from commenting on Jenny Macklin’s gaffe and subsequent failed attempt to hide it. To me, such a ham-fisted attempt at media management suggests that the government’s $150m army of taxpayer-funded spinners is just another example of Labor waste. Seriously, Jenny, even this random blog commenter could have told you that trying to conceal your outburst of uncharacteristic honesty was just going to make it worse!

      BTW, what is the deal with everyone claiming they could not live on the dole? I could live on it. It would not be fun, I would never want to have to, but I could.

    • Tim says:

      11:19am | 03/01/13

      Adam C,
      the effort by Macklin and her staff was silly. There was a completely respectable answer available to her and she went with the stupid effort of how she could live off the dole. It was always going to invite people to call her on it.
      Her staff may or may not have been completely retarded by trying to hide it considering that it was recorded by so many journalists.

      PS. Can you please give the PJesque $150M spin doctor schtick a rest. You know it’s a complete misrepresentation of the truth and It lessens your point.

    • Markus says:

      11:26am | 03/01/13

      I lived off of Youth Allowance for 18 months, which is substantially less than Newstart. It was some of the best time of my life.

      Mind you, I still had to make some huge sacrifices. To this day I get uncomfortable when drinking wine that is not pegged to a hills hoist.

    • Yuri says:

      11:46am | 03/01/13

      What they probably mean is “I can’t maintain my current lifestyle on the dole”, but using phrases like “couldn’t live/survive on the dole” is much more dramatic.
      It is rather ridiculous if you think about it - FFS people, you are not going to instantly drop dead if your income drops below X amount. You might have to change your lifestyle and do things you think are beneath you, but you will survive.

    • AdamC says:

      12:35pm | 03/01/13

      Tim, perhaps she should have said something more like “I could, but I agree it would be very hard”, rather than the simple “I could”. Just so she could be seen to be more understanding and compassionate, etc.

      BTW, I admit that was a PK figure. (Hey, he’s gotta be good for something, right?) What is wrong with the $150m number?

      Markus and Yuri, yes, I think it is often a case of confusing having to make lots of hard, even embarrassing, cutbacks with actually not being able to live.

    • Tim says:

      01:24pm | 03/01/13

      Adam C,
      I would have gone with the answer that “yes it’s hard to live on the newstart allowance but it’s provided as a hopefully short term safety net to enable capable people to get back into work and become self sufficient citizens through increased availability of training and job placement facilities”. Macklin’s answer and her staff’s effort were always going to bite her.
      She could have also mentioned the multiple other payments that these parents are likely still receiving, they don’t just get Newstart.

      I honestly can’t think of any reason why a single parent of school age children can’t work.
      I’ve got two single parents in my team at work and yes they struggle to juggle their family and work life but they fully accept that as part of deal with looking after their families.

      The $150M figure is for all staff who work in government communications and media from every department. It’s disingenous to call them all PR spin doctors or similar, when it’s essential that departments are able to communicate effectively with the public.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      11:29am | 03/01/13

      So the Queensland Government wants to abolish “Compulsory Voting” (CV) does it?
      Why? What’s wrong with the system we have?
      They’ll probably try to tell us that Voluntary Voting is “More Democratic” than the current CV version.
      No it’s not. It never has been nor will it ever be.
      Firstly, Voting is NOT Compulsory. It is 100% Voluntary
      What is Compulsory is that every now & then we have to front up to a Polling Booth & get our names ticked off on the Electoral Roll.
      Once we get those Ballot Papers in our hands, what we do with them is entirely up to us:
      1) We can cast our votes any way we choose.
      2) If we do not think any of the candidates are Worthy to Receive the Honour of OUR Vote we can simply deface, write rude words, put “x” in every square - whatever & then put those Ballot papers in the boxes. In doing this we are casting an “Informal Vote” It is every bit as valid as a “Formal Vote” though the politicians will tell you otherwise.
      If every Voter in an Electorate cast an Informal Vote no-one would be elected would they?
      Remember this the next time you consider Voluntary Voting or First Past the Post instead of our Preferential system
      Germany had, it may still have, this system in place during the 1930s. In 1933 there was a federal Election in Germany.
      Of all the millions of Germans eligible to Vote only 32% actually did.
      The result?
      A particularly nasty individual & his fellow-criminals won that First past the Post, Voluntary Voting Election.
      I don’t need to tell any of you what eventuated.
      Newman in Queensland can’t re-introduce the ALP’s gerrymander which Joh Bjelke-Petersen expanded & which kept his dictatorship in place & the result of that was widespread Corruption & Criminal behaviour within the Government, the Police & every single other Queensland Government Department & Agency.
      This ploy by Newman to make voting voluntary is nothing more than pure political opportunism. He knows that 100% of all Federal, State & Territory politicians are 150% on the nose with the voters. Under Voluntary Voting he would simply marshall the troops to ensure all LNP & other rat-bag conservative groups voted. Most of the rest of the electorate would probably say something alnog the lines of “Stuff it, why should I vote for any of the bastards (M or F)?” and stay away. The LNP would walk back in.

    • OverIt says:

      12:50pm | 03/01/13

      The main benefit of non-compulsory votin, Robert, is that no party can be sure of turnout, therefore cannot ever take for granted that enough people will vote their candidate in.  In my electorate the LNP could (and frequently does!) put up a monkey as a candidate who then gets elected, therefore they don’t bother putting any funding promises in our direction.  Likewise, the ALP know they’ve got Buckleys of getting in, so they sometimes don’t even bother wasting funds on a candidate, never mind promising a hospital upgrade or anything that would actually benefit the residents.  Essentially, we are neglected by both sides because neither party needs to spend any money to get a foregone result.  If turnout couldn’t be guaranteed it would be a different story, with both sides trying to woo the voting public.

      And marshalling the troops can be done just as easily by the ALP as the LNP or anyone who feels so inclined.

    • marley says:

      01:04pm | 03/01/13

      Relatively few countries have compulsory voting, and most of them are in Latin America, which suggests that your link between compulsory voting and more democratic forms of governance is somewhat suspect, to say the least.

      I see no difference in principle between defacing a ballot and simply refusing to front up to the polling station.  Either way, the punter is exercising his democratic right to give the finger to all the parties.  The advantage with non-compulsory voting is, of course, that those who show up are more interested in matters political than those who don’t, and therefore the voting tends to be more informed, whereas here the polling booths are full of people filling out ballot forms by random numbering.

      As for getting the voters out, somehow, the political parties in other countries manage to get their supporters to the polling stations without having to threaten fines.  If the ALP or any other party can’t get its voters out in an optional voting environment, then that speaks entirely to the weaknesses of their grass roots organisation.

    • maria says:

      01:24pm | 03/01/13

      What’s wrong with the system we have?

      It is system in which the people are electing their dictators that what’s wrong.

      Haven’t you noticed that you are irrelevant after each election.

      A democracy is where a nation is ruled by its people, rather than one person or a mob who gets into power using lies and then doesn’t listen to public opinion.

    • SimpleSimon says:

      02:09pm | 03/01/13

      I personally think the mooting of scrapping compulsory voting is a smoke screen for the other suggestions in the paper; “allowing the return of big money donations, [and] forcing unions to allow members a vote on political donations” (news.com.au). Both would seem, to me, to be an attempt to strengthen the LNP foothold. Traditionally big money tends to vote conservatively, so reinstating private big money donations would be a big win for the Libs. Likewise, forcing unions to allow members to vote on party donations could well be seen as a mechanism to attempt to reduce the cash flow to the Labor party. Speculation, to be sure, but something I see as an equal threat to our democracy as voluntary voting.

    • marley says:

      02:35pm | 03/01/13

      @SimpleSimon - personally, I’d like to see unions and business both barred from making contributions to political parties.  Let the parties rely on sausage sizzles and begging letters to constitutents - it might bring them a little closer to the concerns of the average voter, instead of powerbrokers in boardrooms and union offices.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      11:33am | 03/01/13

      Hi! Tory!
      yes I had this problem too so I ctcd my wonderful IT guru & he fixed the issue by installing Mozilla Firefox & all works fine now!!
      Cheers, Rob

    • TimB says:

      12:30pm | 03/01/13

      Coincidence.

      I use IE, Opera and Firefox at home. I had the same problem with all three.

      If it’s working on Firefox, it’s because the site is working.

    • marley says:

      01:06pm | 03/01/13

      I use Firefox and I couldn’t get in without removing the cookie.  I don’t think it’s the browser.

    • Not rocket science says:

      04:00pm | 03/01/13

      Technical lightweights

      Happens across all browsers
      Happens for windows and OSX.
      Didn’t happen prior to 1/1/13

      Just put a little bit of thought into it. What’s different?
      Something is different in the way thepunch services all browsers since the 1st of the year.

      The guy in IT who looks after this stuff should be sacked. This problem could be fixed in less than an hour with someone competent looking at it.

    • Economist says:

      11:36am | 03/01/13

      Anyone know what has happened to the lovely Sydneygirl?

    • AdamC says:

      12:52pm | 03/01/13

      Maybe she is just on holiday?

    • Jack says:

      03:11pm | 03/01/13

      Which one?
      Julia .... Pauline….. Jenny….

    • sunny says:

      12:14pm | 03/01/13

      The lead IT support tech at the Punch has posted the following on the cause of the browser glitch. He and his team (seen in the background) will have the issued resolved asap.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye8mB6VsUHw

    • AJ in Perth says:

      01:28pm | 03/01/13

      hi punch team, is the new 6pm cut off time permanent?

    • Daniel Piotrowski

      Daniel Piotrowski says:

      02:42pm | 03/01/13

      Just over the silly part of the season, AJ.

    • AJ in Perth says:

      01:54pm | 03/01/13

      @ Wayne Kerr

      i do believe that you have the answer today to your question on yesterday’s open thread, the unfortunate death of any australian overseas will likely be front page news, irrespective of their gender/looks/age

      as a side note, it’s bad taste to use a time like that to push a personal agenda

    • Mouse says:

      02:49pm | 03/01/13

      sunny, I’ll see your cookie and up it to a TimTam…....  ;o)

 

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