Archive for August 2007

National polling well

August 30, 2007

Two new polls have come oput recently, a NZ Herald DigiPoll, and a Roy Morgan. Here are the results averaged out:
National 50.4%
Labour (this is no joke) 33.9%
Greens 6.5%
NZ First 3.4%
Maori Party 2.65%
Act 1.2%
United Future 1%
Progressive 0.25%.

If those were the election results, and all electorate seats styed the same, our new Parliament would look like this (figures in brackets are those if NZ First wins an electorate):
National 63 (62) enough to govern alone in both cases.
Labour 43 (41) quite a lot more retirements are needed to stop sitting MPs loosing their seats.
Greens 8 (8)
NZ Fisrt 0 (4)
Maori Party 4 (4) one being an overhang in both occasions.
Act 2 (1)
United Future 1 (1)
Progressive 1 (1) being an overhang.

These results look promising. However don’t count votes before they are cast. Remember that it is still a year before the elction, and there were polls with national on 10 point plus leads only a few months before the last election. A large part of national’s support is still soft.

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A victory for democracy

August 30, 2007

Thats what the recent installment of Gull as Turkey’s President is. To sumarise the story so far, Gul is a member of the AK (Justice and Development) Party, a moderate centre-right Islamist party in Turkey. Despite claims of its opponents, it has no record of pushing anything which can be labbled radical Islamist, but it does have a record of delivering macroeconomic stability, strong economic growth and foreign investment and low inflation. In April he was nominated by the AK party (which is the party with the most seats in the Turkish Parliament) to be the countries 11th President. When the voting came, he was defeated not because of a lack of votes, but due the quorom-busting (not attending so ensuring there can’t be a quorom) of the opposition. Following this defeat new elections were called, and the army gave veiled threats of a possible coup. In the new elections, voters gave a convincing mandate to the AK Party, which won 47% of the vote. After the election, Gul was renominated by the AKP, and because the opposition didn’t engage in quorom-busting a second time, Gul was elected. This can only be seen as a vote for Democracy and no to military coups.

The allegations that Gul was a radical Islamic fundamentalist on the grounds his wife wears a headscarf were ridicolous. Even if the AK does move the country in an Islamist direction, military coups have no place in a modern democracy. The turkish military (which staged 3 coups, the last in 1980) needs to understand that.

Labor policy

August 30, 2007

One important election issue in Australia is Industrial relations (IR), and the Howard government’s “work choices”  programme. Before disscussing the new Labor industrial relations policy, It is important to understand the current system. Under workchoices, there is now a single National system of industrial Relations laws, instead of 8 State or territory ones (a sensible move, given that many bussinesses, if not operating internationally, operate Australia wide) , and the creation of a new authority called the Australian Fair Pay Commision to oversee the system, and set the minimum wage. Employees sign “Australian workplace agreements” (AWA) with their employer, which last for a period of five years, setting out the employment conditions. AWAs can be individual agreements, but collective agreements also allowed. There are 5 minimum employment conditions that all AWAs must agree to, namely a minimum wage of $13.74 per hour (generous compared to New Zealand), 4 weeks paid annual leave with 5 weeks for shift workers, 10 days personal leave, the option of up to a year of unpaid parental leave, and 38 hours per week to constitute normal hours. Companies with fewer than 101 employees are exempt from unfair dismmisal laws, and unfair dissmisal laws don’t apply to workers who have been employed for less than 6 months, or those who have been dismissed for “bona fide” operational reasons. Strikes and industrial action is allowed after secret ballots, in a narrow range of circumstances, the full details avaliable here. Significently, unions will not be allowed to strike during the life of an agreement, only when negotiating new agreements. The sources for the above information are linked.

Yesterday, Labor anounced its Industrial Relations policy, which will phase out AWAs by 2012. The minimum standards will be expanded to include public holidays (employees must have the right to these, and if required to work on one, be given an alternative day of with extra pay), paid leave for jury or other community service, a right for parents with children under 5 to get flexible woking hours (this can be refused on reasonable bussiness grounds with permission from a new “Fair Work Australia” authority, which will be a fusion of several existing groups including the Australian Fair Pay Commision, and will be given the power to hear (instead of the courts) unfair dissmissal cases. Also under the new minimum standards, employees will need to be given certain information from employers about their legal rights, and a right to redundancy pay. The protection for companies with fewer than 101 employees from unfair dissmissal rights would be removed. With the abolition of AWA’s, employers would be forced to negotiate with a collectively with employees (e.g. a trade union) if employees voted for that in a secret ballot, whereas under the existing system an employer can veto a collective agreement and refuse to negotiate with a union.

In conclusion, WorkChoices is hardly the end of workers rights as some of its opponents make out. It does guarenttee several minimum conditions in law (which should safe guard basic employment rights), but does seriously reduce the power of Unions, and makes it easy for employers to dissmiss unproductive employees. Having said that, the Labor proposal is not extremist (by keeping the 6 month probationary period, is more right wing in that aspect than Wayne Mapp’s “90 day no rights Bill”) and will not make the economy collapse. It is more softening the rougher edges of WorkChoices than overturning it.

Response to its my body, its my right arguement

August 27, 2007

One arguement used by supporters of leglized abortion is that the fetus unborn child isn’t really a person, its part of its mother’s body, and therefore the mother has the right to kill it. A similar arguement was expressed on this blog in response to this post by bumblewumble, who says “Golly, I’d hate to be a woman. People telling me what I can and cannot do with my body all the time”. The simple reality is that the unborn child is not part of the mothers body, but a seperate living person. Yes- it may be located within the mothers body, but it has its own seperate DNA right from the moment of conception, and at 12 weeks it has a functioning brain, a beating heart, can “breath” amnoitic fluid, and has all its internal organs in place. It has a nervous system, and this has led some to argue it can feel pain. The only things it relies on its mother for is food, oxygen and water, so it is just as much part of its mothers body as a person on life support needing an oxygen machine is part of that machine. By 20 weeks the unborn child can recognize its mothers voice. A good timeline of fetal development is availiable here.

Now this may not convince you of the pro-life position.This might. In 1999, a spinal bifida operation was preformed on a twenty-one week old unborn child (now born, called Samuel) in Nashville, Tenessee. Samuel reached his arm out of the womb and grabbed the finger of the doctor. To be fair to the supporters of legal abortion, there are conflicting stories about the incident, but there is not doubt about the fact that by 21 weeks a unborn child can make descisons to move around the womb, and thus the events could theoritically happen. See the film showing it (and what you want to kill if you support legal abortion) here. A true miracle that everybody should see.

Pick a better name for the Electoral Finance Bill

August 27, 2007

Actually, I’ve already picked one, which is used frequently by me on this blog- The Anti-Free Speech Bill. David Farrar is running a poll to determine a better name here.  Unfortunately I can’t vote, as the university computers (the only internet access I have) I get told I must enable cookies. The most popular choice so far is the “Free Speech (Abolition) Bill” with 30.4% of the votes. Second is “Helen Clark Preservation Bill” on 17.4%. “Helengrad Gag Bill” takes third on 10.6%. The other names are Anti-Democracy Bill (7.6%), Shut Down Dissent Bill (2.6%), Criticism Prevention Bill (6%), Electoral Theft No.2 Bill (also 6%), Freedom From Expression Bill (6.5%), Labour Party Corruption Validation Bill (8.7%) and the Politician Preservation Bill (3.6%).

Another Labour lie

August 27, 2007

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. I have been busy with university work.

 Helen Clark here says it is not the Labour party which has launched personal attacks John Key in recent weeks but the media. Yeah Right. The attacks were made in speeches by Labour politicians like Pete Hodgeson. The media only reported on those attacks.

Sedition back

August 24, 2007

The Parlimentary select comittee has reported back on the Bill to remove the crime of Sedition, and it has recomended that the Bill proceed unamended. Good. it’s ironic that Labour is trying to ban people from advocating the otherthrow of the Government by democratic means, while at the same time legalising people from advocating its overthrow through non-democratic means.