The chaos in the Victorian Liberal Party is a setback for Tony Abbott’s quest to break Julia Gillard’s stranglehold on the state. Victoria is the weakest mainland state for the Sydney-based federal Opposition Leader who has mounted a concerted effort to build up his stocks.
The turmoil caused by the shock resignation of Ted Baillieu six months before the federal poll is a distraction that means crucial time, energy and resources that were supposed to be entirely devoted to Abbott’s campaign will now be chewed up trying to sell new Premier Denis Napthine.
“This is shambolic,” says a senior Liberal. But it could also be a surprise silver lining. It will depend how the state Liberals perform. Further turmoil will be more grim news for Abbott. But if Napthine can deliver the decisive and stable government he promises and the party unites behind him, it can help Abbott.
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Kevin Rudd’s grand plan was to end the blame game with his radical overhaul of hospital funding. He failed. The blame has been flowing thick and fast over hospital funding cuts in Victoria.
The federal and state governments should share the blame and both should be ashamed when surgeries are cancelled, hospital beds closed, palliative care slashed and emergency departments shut.
Wayne Swan handed his Cabinet colleague Tanya Plibersek a political hospital pass when his Budget update last year moved the goal posts on health funding. That was in the days when he was still clinging to the hope of bringing down a Budget surplus and being brutal.
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Victoria, it appears, is leading the fight for teachers’ rights, recognising the countless unpaid work teachers are expected to put in without any financial compensation.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) is holding strong, threatening to ban activities previously taken for granted such as writing detailed comments while marking, supervising sport, music, theatre activities, debates and other projects, which are often outside of their contracted 38 hours.
The heart of the problem is this: teaching is valued differently to other professions, with various governments and the greater public relying on the generosity of teachers’ time to fulfil duties which, in any other profession – except nursing – would simply not be tolerated.
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It seems the latest round of pay negotiations for teachers in Victoria has reached an impasse, with the Victorian Government entrenched in its view that performance pay should be introduced as part of the package, with the teacher’s union doggedly opposed to this.
Apparently, the Australian Education Union feels teachers operate in a uniquely collegiate environment, and any moves to introduce individual performance-based incentives would wreck the staffroom vibe. As union branch president Mary Bluett said, “‘You get the best outcome when you’ve got teachers working together and sharing best practice. Performance pay would undermine that and students would be the losers.’‘
Too right. I mean, can you imagine if performance-based pay was introduced into any other professional environment that relies heavily on collaboration? Like …lawyers or surgeons or accountants or….oh, hang on.
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I felt an overwhelming sadness looking at the beautiful face of Sarah Cafferkey. Bearing an uncanny resemblance, in its light, beauty and openness, to the other young Melbourne woman, Jill Meagher, who also lost her life as a result of a senseless and thuggish attack. Can anybody tell me why?
Sarah Cafferkey was all of 22 years of age. She’ll never even know how it feels to celebrate her 30th birthday. As her mother, Noelle Dickson said in a statement this morning.
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Tasmania. Yes, it’s real. It’s “rat shit” and it should be merged into a super-state comprising of the island state, Victoria and South Australia.
That’s what former VIC premier Jeff Kennett told an audience of Tassie locals at a debate last night. Read about it on news.com.au. The ABC’s AM program reported that his rat droppings rhetoric and state-abolishing proposal were well-received by the audience.
Probably because Kennett delivered some hardarse common sense about what Van Diemen’s land needs to do to get booming. And also because there are a number of things for Tassie residents to be glum about, on the face of it at least. Like the tumours on the faces of the Tassie devil which are exterminating the island’s mascot.
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When you think of the perfect place to take a relaxing sea-side holiday, I think it would be fair to say that the first place that comes to mind is rarely Blairgowrie, Victoria.
With its scenic Post Office (opened in 1947), wheelchair accessible public toilet (open 24 hours) and its exceptionally high blowfly-to-person ratio (no stats available), Blairgowrie is not far from Rosebud. Known for being the death-place of Nobel Prize winner Rhys Isaac, Blairgowrie is also close to Sorrento.
In the heart of Victoria’s “Budget Coast” section of the Mornington Peninsula, Blairgowrie is just 87 km from cosmopolitan Melbourne on what may be the longest stretch of foreshore caravan parks in the world (no stats available). There are more caravans camped on the not-really-very-scenic foreshore here than there are caravans in the rest of the world (maybe).
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The Herald-Sun Tour is Australia’s oldest cycling stage race. As a child, I recall watching the Tour riders travel through the small country town of Rosedale in Gippsland where I grew-up. Sometimes there would be an intermediate sprint in the town. On other occasions we would watch the riders racing up the ridge adjoining our property.
The Tour marked the revival of competitive cycling after the Second World War.
For the first half of last century, track racing and one-day endurance events dominated the cycling calendar. Track racing was extremely popular, as thousands of people flocked to the wooden velodromes to witness closely fought races.
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This is the second instalment of Penbo’s series of columns for the Herald-Sun on what Australia really thinks of Victoria.
In his first year as prime minister the rugby league-loving St George Dragons fan John Howard was the unlikely winner of the 1996 parliamentary press gallery AFL footy tipping competition.
The rules required the winner to put a sizeable amount of cash on the parliamentary bar. Before a boozy throng of journos, Howard gave a terrific off-the-cuff speech which belied his league pedigree and offered some thoughtful and charitable insights into the place of Aussie Rules in our national identity.
Even though Howard doesn’t care for the game – he refused to barrack for the Swans in that year’s grand final because he didn’t want to seem a bandwagon-jumper – the PM said Aussie Rules was the only football code in Australia which transcended class and ethnicity.
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Like my fellow South Australians, I’m still upset about the poaching of Stephen Kernahan and John Platten, irritated about the theft of the Grand Prix and annoyed that the only body of water in Australia more fetid than the Yarra is the glorified drainpipe we call the Torrens.
Despite a lifetime of hard-wired antipathy towards the Vics, I’ve been kindly invited by Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper to fill its opinion page the next four Mondays. Rather than filing ad hoc pieces on issues of the day, I’ve decided to attempt a themed series about all things Victorian, through an outsider’s eyes.
My equally well-balanced Adelaideans who also have chips on both shoulders might disown me for not entitling the series Why Everyone Hates Victoria. Instead, I’ve stumped for What Australia Really Thinks About Victoria, with four pieces looking at Melbourne’s personality, the nation’s love-hate relationship with the AFL, why Melbourne has won in its rivalry with Sydney, and the 10 things which make Victoria what it is and which all Australians should know.
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Three years ago I interviewed former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett about the lack of a bold, long-term vision for Adelaide.
“I absolutely believe that by 2030 there is a very real chance that South Australia will be one of the high-speed economic states of Australia,” said the man credited with transforming Melbourne. “Adelaide is a lovely city, but in my opinion it still hasn’t identified its core.”
Fast forward to 2011. And in the same week that a possible trillion-dollar mine was tipped within the Woomera Prohibited Area, SACA members yelled YES to changing the face of Adelaide forever. Hallelujah.
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Prime Minister Julia Gillard has appealed to emotion and a sense of nationhood to sell her flood rescue package, which will include a year-long levy. Someone on $60,000 will pay under $1 a week, while someone earning $100,000 a year will pay just under $5 a week..
In a measured speech to the national Press Club, Ms Gillard described Australia as a nation grieving in the wake of a tragedy, and announced that people affected by the floods will not pay the levy, which will raise $1.8 billion.
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This week, we have seen two incredible women on television who have both made us feel proud to be Australian.
One is Anna Bligh, with her outpouring of emotion, reminding Queenslanders and the rest of the nation that people from the sunshine state are “the people they breed tough, north of the border.” The other is Oprah.Yes, Oprah.
In Sydney, we are struggling to harness a sense of pride.
We all know there’s an election on in Victoria and we all know one of the major campaign issues is crime and violence – no surprises there.
This is not a piece on the rights, wrongs or otherwise of the respective election platforms on fighting crime – I’ll leave that for others to dissect.
What I want to contribute is a perspective on how Victoria’s often intense and sometimes heated debate about violence and personal safety has impacted on young people in the state and the potential knock-on effect for our community as a whole.
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Whatever you make of the revelations that have emerged of Christine Nixon’s actions during the Black Saturday bushfires, she deserves respect for the apology made this morning in Victoria’s Herald Sun newspaper.
Admitting that you are wrong is difficult for people of any profession and given the tumultuous scale of grief and loss of the Black Saturday disaster, her position and decision to make admissions and forthcoming apology is an unenviable one.
As she wrote herself, no-one could have known or prepared for the disasters that ensued on that horrible Saturday a year ago, but her willingness to “report” back on her own actions in such a difficult situation shows not only a deep respect for the Victorian people but a willingness to support them and push through into the future by their side.
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It’s Tuesday @ The Punch
Today is the 27th anniversary of the Ash Wednesday fires that swept through Victoria and some parts of South Australia in 1983.
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Victoria might well be the Garden State but the Premier, John Brumby lives is a state of denial and it’s becoming serious.
Not content with flying off to New Delhi to placate furious Indians who fear for the safety of their kids being educated in Melbourne, he managed to anger the Indian Government by cancelling a visit to Mumbai, citing security concerns, which it seems the Indians hadn’t heard about.
That was for starters.
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This week I have been travelling around the Central and Western wheat-belt of NSW and have seen the destruction that the drought is again bringing to many regions. The dust storm which hit Sydney also took with it the hopes and this year’s incomes of many country people.
I would normally never publish a letter like this, however, time is running out for many farmers and I can only hope that by publishing this letter on The Punch, the Prime Minister takes an interest and finds the time to visit the men and women for whom the drought is now becoming a reoccurring nightmare.
Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Prime Minister of Australia
Suite MG 8
Canberra ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister,
This graphic from news.com.au today:
In case you’ve been buried in spreadsheets or meetings all afternoon:
JUDY Moran is one of three people arrested over the murder of her brother-in-law Desmond “Tuppence” Moran.
You can read the story here.
Police say a 43-year-old man is expected to be charged with one count of murder, while a 64-year-old woman and a 45-year-old woman are expected to be charged with being an accessory to murder.
Read all about it
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