- War looming in the Middle East
- My religion needs fixing?
- Extremists the enemy of Islam
- Drug action in female prisons
- Bali arrest may affect Corby bail
- News Forum with Angela Catterns
- Regional relocation grants scrapped
- Bizarre evidence at union hearings
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What we're talking about
- James W on Hawke-Keating: who was better PM? Does it matter? What is clear is that they were both better than the current one. more
- Tony on Stopping fighters heading overseas Why the hell stop them? If they want to go and fight and die in some desert cesspool then let them. How about we encourage ... more
- Cleangirl on "Fat" Clive Palmer is fair game? Fat is the new smoker. more
- Cleangirl on How to stop youth going jihadist? Islam seems to cost us big time, will we ever get any benefit, or is this money insurance ? more
- James W on Cardinal Pell just doesn't get it? Cleangirl, are you saying that nearly all of those found guilty of sex offences against children, don't go to jail? more
- fabrizio on Parents at forefront of terror war? Most mulsims not terrorists and have spoken up against it.Just like most catholics are not child abusers. more
- Join the Q Society on Opal Card: lengthy commuter delays? Oh well, back to the car, no delays there, LOL. more
- Tejas on Labor's broken promises generation So many books have been written about Labor recently, add this one to the list.Indeed, their demise from controlling all ... more
- Greg O on Baird polls on the rise I am not surprised. This shows the people of NSW are at last starting to think. If the corruption scandals involving the ... more
- Luigi T Cassimatis on Cyclists party to contest next election We need them in there like we need a bike seat up our backside. Dear oh dear it gets worse day by day with these creeps and ... more
- Gary on Opal Card: lengthy commuter delays? My wife and I used our Opal cards on the weekend. Not one problem, worked faultlessly, best thing ever for public ... more
- Ben on Opal Card: lengthy commuter delays? 1) Opal cards must become anonymous as promised and not delivered.2) Opal card system has to be fixed so that one does not ... more
- Samuel J James on Baird polls on the rise @Paulo - there is no other political party with the necessary credentials, the integrity, perspicacity or the skills needed ... more
- paulo on Baird polls on the rise Time to throw liberals out of NSW and try others. more
- fabio on Cardinal Pell just doesn't get it? Catholic church in the West is almost irrelevant and hypocritical .No lectures from them. more
- Cleangirl on Cardinal Pell just doesn't get it? He didn`t think before he spoke. So how about we ask the Judiciary why nearly all sex offences involving a child rarely get ... more
- Samuel J on Cardinal Pell just doesn't get it? This man is just a silly big fool. And the so called Vatican transferred this dunce to their Vatican thinking they would get ... more
- Tejas on Justin Smith's Ice Bucket Challenge Good on you Justin and to Brad Hazzard for accepting the challenge. That was a touching tribute to your mate, all in the ... more
- Angela Coombes on Cardinal Pell just doesn't get it? Thia man is not worthy of his rank. It is little wonder right thinking people are deserting the Catholic church with this ... more
- Tony on Muslim leaders anti-terror law anger You know you are on the right track and doing the right thing when so many of these lunk heads complain. All these measures ... more
Top 10 stories in Australia of 2012
Take a look back on the major news stories in Australia in 2012. From Julia Gillard seeing off a political challenge to the child abuse inquiry. AAP Senior Correspondent Doug Conway reviews the stories of 2012.
Julia Gillard comfortably saw off a leadership challenge from the man she deposed as prime minister, defeating Kevin Rudd 71-31 in a Labor caucus ballot. Her minority government survived despite the resignation of Liberal renegade Peter Slipper as speaker over sexual harassment allegations, later thrown out of court, and the enforced move of embattled former union boss Craig Thomson to the crossbenches. She fought critics of her controversial carbon price and new mining tax, survived a cabinet revolt over Palestine's UN status and flatly denied any wrongdoing as a young industrial lawyer in setting up a union slush fund for a former boyfriend. Australia's first female prime minister proved less unpopular in the polls than Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, whom she painted as a sexist and misogynist. But her biggest challenge remains, as an election year looms with her unpopular government still mired in election-losing territory.
Australia's economy remained one of the best-performing in the developed world, having sidestepped the GFC, which crash-tackled many other nations. The economy grew by 3.7 per cent in the year to June, half as fast as China's, easing back to 3.1 per cent later in the year. The resources boom remained the driving force. Commodity prices fell by 20 per cent against their peak in mid-2011, forcing BHP Billiton to scrap its $A28 billion Olympic Dam expansion in South Australia, but the investment peak in the mining boom is yet to come. The Reserve Bank cut the cash rate by 1.25 percentage points during the year to three per cent to head off a slowdown, though commercial banks did not pass on the cuts in full to homeowners with mortgages. Unemployment remained at a very low 5.2 per cent. The strong Aussie dollar hit 108 US cents before settling back around 104, still above dollar-for-dollar parity. It also hit historic highs against the Euro of 86 cents, finishing around 80.
Australia flexed its muscles as an Asia-Pacific power, winning a UN Security Council seat and the right to host the powerful G20 leaders summit in 2014. Barack Obama's re-election as US president maintained the momentum of America's pivot to Asia, which includes rotating US troops through Darwin, and visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosed down suggestions that the US military alliance could harm Australia's relations with key trading giant China. Australia welcomed Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in the Queen's diamond jubilee year, but a Gillard government white paper made it clear Australia's future lies in Asia.
The death toll in Australia's 10-year engagement in Afghanistan jumped to 39, with half of those occurring in the past two years. The deaths of five soldiers in one day was the nation's biggest combat loss in a 24-hour period since the Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam 46 years earlier. Prime Minister Gillard announces troops will start withdrawing from Afghnaistan in 2013, a year earlier than expected, and for many Australians the end can't come quickly enough.
The resources boom propelled mining heiress Gina Rinehart to a $29 billion fortune, making her not only Australia's but the world's richest woman. Her wealth ballooned by an unparalleled $18.87 billion in one year, according to BRW magazine's annual rich list, meaning she acquired a million dollars every half hour, though falling commodity prices have since pared back her fortune. She bought 13 per cent of Fairfax Media, agitated for a board seat, and became embroiled in a so-called "class war" with federal Treasurer Wayne Swan. She was also at the centre of a bitter family squabble, failing in a bid to dismiss court proceedings after her three eldest children sought to oust her as trustee of the multi-million dollar family trust.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since mid-August after being granted asylum in his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over alleged rape and sexual assault. The stalemate came after Britain refused to allow the 41-year-old Australian safe passage out of the country. Assange denies the allegations against him and claims he could eventually be passed from Sweden to the United States for prosecution over his website's publication of hundreds of thousands of classified US documents.
Thirty-two years, four inquests and one royal commission after Lindy Chamberlain screamed "A dingo has got my baby" in a Northern Territory camping ground, one of Australia's most infamous travesties of justice was officially corrected on a death certificate. A dingo killed nine-month-old Azaria after all, but Lindy spent three years behind bars before she was exonerated, and gave birth to her fourth child in jail. Her former husband Michael said: "If you know you are right, never give up ... even when it seems to be a mission impossible."
Prime Minister Julia Gillard's answer to the hot-button political issue of asylum seekers was to return to a Howard-era Pacific Solution to deter boat people. More than 7,000, however, ventured onto the high seas even after she announced the resumption of offshore processing in Nauru and Manus Island, PNG. The Manus base was contentious because island residents claimed they were not being adequately compensated. And a damning Amnesty International report accused the federal government of inflicting a "crisis of cruelty" on asylum seekers detained on Nauru, describing the island's camp as "completely unacceptable". The perils facing asylum seekers was underlined when at least 90 drowned after their overcrowded boat capsized between Indonesia and Christmas Island.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard's decision to establish a royal commission into child sexual abuse received near-universal support - a record 95 per cent backing in one poll, and the approval of all political parties, state and federal. But Sydney's Catholic Archbishop George Pell said priests hearing admissions of pedophilia in the confession box should not be required to report it to authorities, a stance sharply at odds with the views of other Catholics, including Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell. The royal commission will enquire not only into churches but all institutions, including state-run bodies, sporting clubs and organisations like the Scouts. Terms of reference are yet to be set.
ROYAL PREGNANCY AND PRANK
Happy news of a first baby for the future king William and his wife Catherine emerged when the Duchess of Cambridge was treated for acute morning sickness. But her hospitalisation in London also led to a prank telephone call from two Sydney radio hosts posing as the Queen and Prince Charles. A nurse fooled by their hoax took her own life three days later in a tragedy which sparked tearful apologies and international controversy.
@James W - I believe you are comparing essentially one rubbish dump with another with your assertions. I have never ever seen a government abjectly waste taxpayer funds like the Rudd/Gillard no hopers.Billions of dollars utterly wasted - money that would have been better spent on more public housing, health and education. The huge funds wasted on Asylum seekers, donations to Hamas and Afghanistan, the infamous Building education 'revolution' and Insulation Rorts, the AWU and Health services Unions are but more issues for a future Royal Commission to examine and made recommendations. Not the time to applaud triple A ratings made by sychophants and sympathisers of the labor party, son!Bill T Abrahams B.Ec Sunday 6 January, 2013 - 7:54 AM
Bill, when measured against ALL DEVELOPED economies, get it straight. Triple A rated by all 3 major ratings agencies, first time ever. Why would you want to present a less than accurate account of our achievements? Our debt position represents 48% of our annual income (annual tax take $315Bn), very modest indeed. The yield on Aus Govt Bonds is very low, so capitalised interest would represent about $4.5Bn pa.James W Saturday 5 January, 2013 - 1:09 PM
@James W posting here - of course Australia was best performing when compared against the likes of utterly bankrupt Greece, America, Syria, Afghanistan and even India you abject dunce. We are in some $200 Billion dollars of debt whilst great America is Trillions in Debt, Greece has gone under like the rest of them.BiBill T Abrahams B.Ec. Phd Friday 4 January, 2013 - 8:23 PM
The only story you missed is the Gov is a Coporation & operating outside the constitution.Ã?raig Thursday 3 January, 2013 - 8:44 PM
Happy New Year, here are the economic facts, 'Australia's economy remained one of the best-performing in the developed world, having sidestepped the GFC, which crash-tackled many other nations. The economy grew by 3.7 per cent in the year to June, half as fast as China's, easing back to 3.1 per cent later in the year.' Obviously someone managed things well, all bad news for the Mad Monk but great news for us. It's cost us about $15k each to get to this position. Well worth the investment given how much my properties and equities could have depreciated had has Rudd followed the northern hemisphere's procrastination in the earliest days of the GCF. His course of action has PROVED to have been highly effective in insulating us from the woes of the world.James W Thursday 3 January, 2013 - 9:44 AM
The loonys are writing the script for the economy that resembles nothing of the truth. Well said Happy New Year. What infrastructure is labor puting in? end of lease cleaning?mick Thursday 3 January, 2013 - 12:19 AM