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#################### Geoff Seidner
Sunday, 29 December 2013
Cut and Paste - 27/12 A little bit of niggle, a lot of hypocrisy
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APPARENTLY, the cupboard is bare when it comes to paying the new freedom commissioner.
The squeeze is on. Judith Ireland, Fairfax Media, Monday:
TIM Wilson's appointment as Human Rights Commissioner could see cuts to a program on school bullying as the Australian Human Rights Commission accommodates his six-figure salary without any extra funding from the government. The incoming Human Rights Commissioner, who is due to take up his position in February, will be paid about $320,000 -- a sum equal to that of his fellow commissioners, though less than president Gillian Triggs.
Times are tough. More Ireland:
PROFESSOR Triggs said Mr Wilson's salary would have to come out of the commission's current annual budget of about $25 million. "This really does squeeze the commission," she said. Professor Triggs said that she and the other commissioners would meet in January to decide where cuts would come from to make room for Mr Wilson's salary, but suggested that an anti-bullying program and a program on education for older Australians might be in the firing line.
ATTORNEY-General George Brandis says the Australian Human Rights Commission should have no trouble finding the money to pay for the salary of Tim Wilson. He has suggested the commission look at its own staffing expenditure, which has nearly doubled in the past three years.
Doubled? Do the maths, Gareth:
"IF the commission decides to increase its staffing costs by 50 per cent in three years, it is difficult to understand how the salary of a single statutory officer cannot be met by economies within its staffing expenditure," Mr Brandis said.
Someone should at least say sorry. Andrew Bolt on his blog, Tuesday:
TRIGGS should publicly apologise to Wilson for antics which seem to me very close to workplace harassment and bullying. And if she's so concerned that his wage will force her to scrap anti-bullying programs I'd suggest this wealthy woman either donate her own salary to make good the difference or, even better, resign.
Busted in the HRC's annual report. Sinclair Davidson writing on the Catallaxy Files blog, Monday:
ON page 150 we get to see the staffing profile: 143 employees (of whom only 38 are male). More than half of the commission are on salaries above $72,900 . . . Over 90 per cent of the Human Rights Commission employees earn above the median wage.
The Australian's editorial on Wilson's elevation, December 19:
SO far, there's no sign of creating a hypocrisy commissioner, although in the spirit of Voltaire, The Australian will always stoutly defend the right of Greens, Labor, Liberal and Nationals politicians, even stray ABC broadcasters, to freely express themselves.
Big call. Malcolm Farr and Simon Benson, news.com.au, January 30:
VOTERS will go to the polls on September 14 in what will mark the longest election campaign in the nation's history.
Not so big. Laura Tingle, Australian Financial Review, January 31:
CRITICS argue that by announcing the election date from a position of weakness, Ms Gillard will only stir the pot of resentment among voters who just want the government gone now. But there are strong arguments in support of the decision . . . By putting the date out there, the Prime Minister maximises the time in which, as she put it, she looks like she is governing rather than campaigning. The time when she can look like a prime minister in control of events rather than hostage to them.
On second thoughts. Tingle, Australian Financial Review, December 20:
JULIA Gillard's unprecedented decision to announce the election date nine months early only crystallised voter exasperation with the government. Voters just wanted the election out of the way and the government gone . . . Voters just ponder what is needed to break the political competence drought.