He's got a stocking fetish?
But seriously though, it's really disappointing that Labor will be having a "conscience vote" on this issue. I hope this doesn't mean (as is being predicted) that the bill will be defeated.
I agree with everything Penny wrote in her article.
She's great value.
I believe she & her partner are about to become parents soon, too.
Bob is a dyed-in-the-wool country boy, Msolga. They all have a thing for woolen stockings.
Life after the party
November 20, 2011 - 12:00AM
In the first interview since her fairytale political career was cut short, Labor's former star recruit Maxine McKew cuts loose. Julie-Anne Davies reports.
MAXINE McKew is still bristling with anger and a palpable sense of hurt. It is 15 months almost to the day since the voters of Bennelong changed their minds and voted back in a conservative MP (gun tennis player John Alexander) to represent them in the Federal Parliament.
But it would be wrong to dismiss McKew — herself a gun at her own game, which was journalism until the Australian Labor Party came calling — as a washed-up political sook.
The whole nation was watching as Labor's star recruit got turfed out of politics at last year's election after just one term, just as they had watched goggle-eyed in 2007 when she stormed into Canberra, dragging John Howard's political carcass behind her. ...<cont>
.....After some toing and froing, the government will push to make this week - the last time Parliament will sit until February - a winner by having the House of Representatives pass the legislation.
The Coalition will seek to make it a week of failure for the government. It started yesterday by sending out a group email reminding voters that Thursday, the day Parliament rises, marks the fourth anniversary of Labor taking power.
"Australians are paying a high price for four years of Labor's reckless spending, broken promises, waste, drift, deficit and debt,'' says the now-familiar refrain from Liberal HQ.
Unsurprisingly, Labor will seek to disabuse voters of this notion and end on a high note to underscore what Gillard proclaimed 12 months ago would be a year of decision and delivery.
The big daddy will be the mining tax. Not only will its passage through the lower house give the government a boost as it goes into Christmas, the tax itself is proving increasingly fractious inside the Coalition. People from the most surprising quarters within are now starting to say the Coalition should keep it, albeit in an amended form.
Wilkie, Oakeshott and Windsor are yet to reach a deal to support the Minerals Resources Rent Tax, as it is formally known.
Oakeshott and Windsor's concerns do not even involve the tax, which will be levied on coal and iron ore, but the impact on the environment of coal seam gas and other mining such as coal. Windsor has asked for ongoing proceeds from the mining tax to fund a permanent program of bioregional assessments.
Windsor and Oakeshott are believed to be close to a deal and Wilkie too has said he doesn't want this to be too big a point of difference with the government. ....
video: China begins taxing oil and gas giants
Updated November 21, 2011 09:31:33/ABC News
China has begun taxing big oil and gas companies for the environmental destruction they cause.
Independent MPs back mining tax
By Jeremy Thompson/ABC news online
Updated November 21, 2011 16:11:38
Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor: Their support is a big boost to Julia Gillard's Government. Photo: Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor: Their support is a big boost to Julia Gillard's Government. (AAP: Alan Porritt)
The Federal Government has secured the support of key independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie for its mining tax.
The independents have secured a $200 million program to examine environmental concerns over coal seam gas mining and an increase in the tax threshold from $50 million to $75 million for small companies.
But the passage of the bill is by no means assured.
The Greens, who have threatened to block the legislation if the tax threshold is increased, are insisting the foregone revenue of $20 million a year be made up by other means.
However the support of the independents is a big boost to Julia Gillard's Government, which is trying to get the tax through the Lower House before Parliament rises for the year on Thursday.
It has been buoyed by Labor Party-commissioned research showing 56 per cent of people do not think average Australians are benefiting from the resources boom.
The Government has agreed to a demand by Mr Wilkie to lift the tax threshold at which the tax will apply to $75 million from $50 million and phase in another increase to $125 million.
Mr Wilkie had expressed concerns about how the tax will affect small miners, a concern shared by Western Australian independent Tony Crook.
The Tasmanian MP says 20 to 30 companies will pay the tax when it reaches the $125 million threshold.
"That will go some way to making for a fairer tax for the small mining companies," he said.
"At the end of the day they are the companies that are going to become the big companies."
Mr Wilkie said he was unable to negotiate any change to the depreciation provisions, but accepted the Government had negotiated in good faith.
But Mr Crook says he will not be supporting the tax and argues the Government should consider amendments to protect small miners.
"Some companies may choose to put their projects on the backburner or not proceed at all," he said.
"This will have a massive detrimental affect. There should be every inducement to keep these mining companies going and keeping people employed."
One of Mr Windsor's key sticking points was a commitment that any decisions about coal seam gas projects are based on rigorous scientific evidence.
The Government has agreed to his request.
Greens leader Bob Brown says his party will not budge from its demand that any amendments deliver a revenue-neutral position.
He said it was now up the Government to "get creative" to fund community services that would suffer from the $20 million decrease.
"Twenty million is 200 or 300 nurses or teachers sacked off the payroll. Andrew Wilkie might explain that to the nurses at the Royal Hobart or the teachers at Ogilvie High," Senator Brown told reporters.
"Giving a free $20 million back to the mining industry - and these are corporations turning in a profit of over $100 million a year - isn't something we are going to entertain.
"It's up to them to make this a revenue-neutral arrangement and it's part of a stand we're taking here for average Australians."
Earlier today, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott refused to respond to press reports that some in his party now favour the tax, despite the Coalition’s pledge to repeal the measure if it wins government.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted an unnamed Liberal MP as saying there is a growing view within the Coalition that the tax will be needed to fund the party's promises.
West Australian Liberal Mal Washer has already publicly supported the tax - but says he will not cross the floor to vote with the Government.
Asked twice about the rumblings within his own party, Mr Abbott this morning would only say "this is a bad tax from a bad government".
After the second question, Mr Abbott told reporters to change the subject.
"I've made it very clear what our position on the mining tax is - if there are other issues we want to deal with today, that's great."
Greens to play hardball on mining tax shortfall
By Jeremy Thompson
Updated November 22, 2011 10:09:05/ABC online
Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, listens during the senate Qantas hearing in Canberra. Photo: "We are going to take a stand on this": Bob Brown (AAP: Alan Porritt, file photo)
The Greens have again warned the Government they will not pass the mining tax unless it finds the $20 million a year lost to the tax through a deal with independent Andrew Wilkie to raise the tax threshold.
Staff from Greens leader Bob Brown's office will meet prime ministerial advisors this morning and Senator Brown will meet Prime Minister Julia Gillard this afternoon in a bid to negotiate a way through the impasse.
Mr Wilkie was successfully lobbied by mining companies to trade his vote for an increase of the tax threshold from $50 million profit a year to $75 million.
The move will cost the budget $20 million a year, prompting Senator Brown to declare this morning, "We are going to take a stand on this".
He said the money can be found from other concessions the government gives the mining industry, such as fuel rebates or research and development rebates.
This morning, Finance Minister Penny Wong promised to find the money to placate the Greens, but did not detail where the cash would come from.
She said the money would be found in the updated budget forecast to be made in the Treasurer's mid-year economic forecast document (MYEFO), which is due after parliament rises on Thursday.
"In terms of the various elements that have been agreed, we will provision for them and they will be reflected in the updated figures," Senator Wong told AM.
But Senator Brown said the Greens would not wait for MYEFO, and said Greens MP Adam Bandt would vote against it if the bill went to a vote tomorrow.
That means the government would have to secure the unlikely votes of either maverick independent Bob Katter or Western Australian MP Tony Crook. ....<cont>