Monday, 21 April 2014

Lord Norton on SSM Act passage

One of the most notable features of the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act last year was the large majority it achieved in the House of Lords.  It received a Second Reading by 390 votes to 148, with every grouping in the House – Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and cross-benchers – producing a majority in support of the measure.  The scale of support, especially on the Conservative side, was greater than that in the House of Commons.

Why the large majority?  Such an outcome would have been unthinkable twenty years ago.  As Michael McManus points out in his book Tory Pride and Prejudice, there was little support in the Lords for lowering the age of consent or getting rid of Section 28, especially on the Conservative benches.  Those of us on the Conservative side arguing in support of change were in a tiny minority. (1)

Note:

(1) http://nortonview.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/why-did-the-house-of-lords-vote-for-same-sex-marriage/

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

AFGHANISTAN: 13 YEARS ON

AFGHANISTAN: 13 YEARS ON


Over a decade since the US invaded Afghanistan, what is the result?
With Afghan elections ongoing this week I find myself wondering, what has a 13 year occupation brought about? During the 19th century Afghanistan was at the centre of Russian and British rivalry in Asia, part of the so called ‘Great Game‘. Then during the Cold War of the 20th century, a Soviet occupation turned it once again into a key battleground for global dominance. What about in the 21st?(1)

A worthy article by Reuben McKeown 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Guardian on NSA stuff

Guardian News & Media said:

The loss of classified data was not the responsibility of journalists but of the intelligence community itself. It is only the involvement of global newspapers that prevented this information from spilling out across the web and genuinely causing a catastrophic leak.

We have consulted regularly with the DA-notice committee, Downing Street, the White House and the intelligence agencies, giving them time to raise concerns and flag up anxieties. We have listened carefully to the arguments made to us, agreed not to publish certain things, and redacted all names and sensitive operational details.

That said, we understand that some people will always warn that any form of disclosure has a damaging impact on the work of the security services – but this cannot mean the end of all questioning and debate.(1)

Though I might post this, given recent Snowden revelations

(1) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/11/snowden-files-survey-confusion-nsa-role

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

RIGHT OF REPLY FROM CR ROSEMARY WEST, COUNCILLOR, CITY OF KINGSTON



RIGHT OF REPLY FROM CR ROSEMARY WEST, COUNCILLOR, CITY OF 
KINGSTON

RIGHT OF REPLY FROM CR ROSEMARY WEST, COUNCILLOR, CITY OF

KINGSTON

Statement to the Hon Bruce Atkinson, MLC, President, Legislative Council
requesting a right of reply to allegations by lnga Peulich in the Legislative
Council, 8 February 2012

I seek a right of reply to statements made by Mrs lnga Peulich MLC about me in
my capacity as ward councillor and seek to correct the parliamentary record on
those issues on which Mrs Peulich stated in the Council.

Mrs Peulich has made a statement to Parliament in which she claims that I have
acted improperly as a Councillor of the City of Kingston. Mrs Peulich has
accused me of using ratepayers' funds for political purposes to assist my reelection
(in relation to ward meeting notices sent by Council to central ward
residents in accordance with Council ward meeting policy) and has claimed that I
have abused the trust of ratepayers. She has called on the Minister for Local
Government to refer the matter to the Office of Local Government for
investigation. Her statement is headed "Political advertising" and is now easily
and widely accessible on the Internet.

I have thrice been elected to Council on a commitment to "community
consultation before rather than after Council decisions are made." In this spirit, in
each of my first two terms, I have held at my own expense at least two ward
meetings to which I have invited residents to raise any issues they wish, while
nominating on the meeting notice a number of issues already raised with me to
which I am seeking their input.

These meetings have been held in council premises and attended by officers
who have been able to provide expert advice. I have found them to be very
useful in raising new issues and resolving troublesome existing ones and have
had good feedback from those who have attended. To quote an email of
appreciation from a prominent Kingston citizen received after my February 2012
ward meeting: "these meetings ... enhance the causes of democracy and
community engagement."

I consider such ward meetings an important means for me to honor and
implement Section 3E(1) of the Local Government Act, which requires councillors
to "advocate and prompt proposals which are in the best interests of the local
community." Ward meetings assist councillors to act in the community's best
interests by bringing residents together to help us define what those best
interests might be.

With a number of new councillors in this council term, I was one of several
councillors who suggested that Kingston should fund ward meetings, as a
number of other councils do. The policy was adopted in mid-201 0 by five votes to
three, with one councillor away.

The policy is careful to avoid politicisation by ensuring that ward meetings will not be held within 6 months of State, Federal or Council elections. Councillors who
do not hold a ward meeting can allocate the $1000 a year of council funds
deposited in our ward funds for this purpose as grants to local community groups
or individuals as defined by Kingston's ward funds grants policy. The policy
states that "Council Business will support Councillors in calling a meeting with
their local ward constitutents." lt provides for "letter drop, (and) advertising in
local media" among other expenses to be paid for out of the ward meeting funds
allocation.

My ward meeting was planned, notified to residents and conducted fully in
accordance with Council policy. I cannot see how this could have breached the
Local Government Act or the Victorian Electoral Commission Act, or suggest how
such a breach might have happened. As my ward meeting notice does not
mention the election which was still nine months away, nor whether or not I am
standing for re-election, I cannot see how anyone could seriously believe it is
electoral material warranting authorisation.

Before previous elections, publications did not need to be authorised until the
election campaign period, which is now 32 days for this year's election.
I therefore seek the opportunity to correct the public record by having my
response incorporated in the parliamentary record.

Rosemary West, Councillor, City of Kingston(1)

Thought I might post this. Cr. West of my local council Ward responded to some cheap-rot thrown about her.

Note:
(1) http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL2010-14No146.pdf