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The Adventures Of Barry O’Frenzy


Barry O’Farrell has been making a run to be premier of the state. It actually is not that big an athletic feat he has to do as NSW Labor is on the nose. But recently Barry has had a few moments of madness. It’s almost like what he tells us the polls mean he does not believe. It seems Barry is beginning to panic a little. Take the first point of Barry’s latest three strikes.

I love a good American analogy in the morning! Barry’s been talking tough! He made a major announcement recently in his ‘getting tough on crime’ stance. This time he aimed his talk at violence stemming from pubs and clubs. He basically made a three strikes and your out policy. Well not really. You see its a three strikes and you may be out if we decide to make this a policy! See, Barry did a Julia. When Julia Gillard made her policy on the run announcement in regards to thecitzens whatever it was called group re climate change, she neglected to talk to her cabinet about it. And Barry did the exact same thing here.

THE Coalition’s ”three strikes” policy for violent pubs and clubs was not approved by shadow cabinet before it was announced on Wednesday by the Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell. In a major policy announcement, Mr O’Farrell revealed that if the Coalition was elected, violent venues would face a penalty regime that could see a magistrate order their temporary or permanent closure if they continued to record a high number of assaults. But neither Mr O’Farrell nor the responsible opposition spokesman, George Souris, could provide complete details of the proposal, other than issuing a media release at noon following a press conference.

Key members of the Coalition frontbench were unaware of the details of the policy, despite there having been a shadow cabinet meeting in Dubbo the day before it was announced. Details of the policy were leaked to the media the day before the announcement, including that the Coalition would scrap the ”name and shame” list for the most violent hotels, which Mr O’Farrell subsequently denied. During a news conference on Wednesday the Premier, Kristina Keneally, accused Mr O’Farrell of amending the details of the announcement ”when it isn’t getting the type of response the opposition thought it would”.


Barry followed this up recently with an another announcement that smacks of pork barrelling, but he is on a winner here – for mining companies anyway. It relates to the Woodsreef Asbestos Mine outside Tamworth. The mine finished up operations in 1983. And you all maybe aware of the name of it’s parentcompany: JAMES HARDIE (remember them?) who under the Howard government were allowed to relocate its headquarters to another country. Why? Because there was a huge backlash in regards to several people who had engaged in a class action. It was a campaign championed by Bernie Banton(remember him?) who towards the end of his life had to take other fights up to Tony Abbott(remember him?) when Tony was the health minister. Of course Tony called it a stunt.

So after attempting to get James Hardie to clean up its own mine mess near Tamworth for years now, the company dragged out the issue for decades in the courts (a tactic which worked re Bernie and those afflicted by asbestosis as they are now dead), and now the NSW Liberals have decided to do the work of James Hardie for them with funds from the public purse. Yes this needs to be done. But we can forget ever reclaiming the funds from James Hardie. This is GREAT news for mining companies! Apparently now all you have to do after you extracted all the goodies you want and make all the money you want while paying minimal taxes, you can dump the clean up job to the public purse. I think this is what they call in the courts, ‘a precedent’. The other key-note in this song of crap this policy was announced by Barry one day after the ombudsman released his report. To me that is some great manoeuvring! I now expect Barry, if his party to be successful, to follow this through in government and announce policy the day after ombudsman reports from now on. But wait! There is more to the cacophony of noise in this song. Turns out the Woodsreef mine just happens to be in a electorate that the Coalition need a 4.8% swing to win. There is that baseball analogy again!

The New South Wales Opposition has pledged to spend $5.5 million, if elected, to remediate an open-cut asbestos mine in the state’s north. The Woodsreef mine, north of Tamworth, ceased operation in 1983 and has been described as an environmental disaster. It is the only known asbestos mine site in NSW which has not been remediated. Ombudsman Bruce Barbour yesterday released a report – Responding to the Asbestos Problem: The need for significant reform in NSW – in which he was scathing about the lack of action at the Woodsreef site. “The extent of the asbestos contamination at the site is extraordinary,” he said. “Excessive delays, lack of funding, no coherent plan for remediation and an apathetic approach by government to what is a significant public health and safety issue have left contamination on a scale that is of serious concern.” Mr Barbour’s report says friable asbestos is scattered across most of the 400-hectare site. He is also worried about mounds of asbestos tailings as high as 75 metres as well as an eight-storey derelict building that is contaminated. “Despite a plethora of consultants, reports obtained by government showing there is a danger to the health of people inhaling asbestos fibres, very little has been done by successive governments and agencies to deal with this serious public health issue,” he said. Mr Barbour noted that in 2009 the Department of Industry and Investment submitted a $5.5 million proposal to carry out preliminary remediation works on the mine site but the Government did not provide funding. One of the recommendations Mr Barbour makes in his report is that the money be allocated for the remediation works. The work would involve removing derelict buildings and equipment, closing a public road which runs through the site and properly securing the area to stop access. Premier Kristina Keneally said yesterday she was giving “serious consideration” to the Ombudsman’s concerns. “I have asked the Department of Premier and Cabinet to examine the report closely to consider what, if any, steps need to be taken,” she said. But the Opposition says the issue demands immediate action. It has promised to fund the remediation work if it wins the March 2011 election. “The fact that we are coming out and pledging this really indicates how urgent the matter is and how grave our fears are for human health,” the Opposition’s environment spokeswoman, Catherine Cusack, said. “We need to spend that $5.5 million to secure and make basically safe that Woodsreef mine site.” The Government estimates a complete remediation of the site would cost about $100 million.


Hmm 5.5 million to a job that needs $100 million to actually do? Some lawyer some where is going to be mightily happy!


Which brings us to Barry’s latest swing. Remember when Barry was talking about transparency and funding to the parties and stuff only last week? Remember how he wanted to stop party funding from coming from big business and stuff? He looked so noble did he not? NOT!!!

THE state Liberal Party has embarked on a fundraising drive to raise as much cash as possible before new laws limiting political donations kick in.

The party has hosted a fundraiser almost every day this week. Dozens more are planned before the January 1 cut-off. They include an intimate audience with Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell costing $10,000 a head. Under Labor’s new donation laws companies will face a cap of $5000 a year for individual donations and cash from pubs and the casino will be banned. Mr O’Farrell joined Ita Buttrose to host a lunch in the city yesterday and told donors he would announce a 100-day plan which would involve announcing 100 measures in 100 days. It was the third fundraiser Mr O’Farrell had been involved in this week after a $960-a-table fundraiser for Baulkham Hills candidate David Elliott at Darling Harbour on Wednesday.

That followed a “Let’s Go Greek” dinner with 200 people at the Athenian Restaurant on Tuesday at which tens of thousands was raised at an auction.

The Liberals’ Coalition partner the Nationals are selling $16,000 donation packages, offering a range of dinners with shadow ministers prior to the legislation going through.

One Liberal source said: “There’s a lot of pressure to try to raise some big money before the 1st of January.”

Labor sources accused the Opposition of “fundraising like drunken sailors”. “They’re like a vacuum cleaner trying to suck up every cent off the ground,” a Government source said. Labor said it was refusing to make extra efforts to fundraise before the legislation came into effect in “the spirit” of the legislation, which was assented to by the Governor this week. Labor is keeping two events: A U2 concert box with Premier Kristina Keneally at $3500 a head on December 13 and Christmas drinks with the Premier. Labor sources said they would not take extra large donations or collect Business Dialogue memberships before the deadline, but admitted the ability to fundraise had been damaged by the ALP’s expected loss at the next election. “We are holding a number of functions leading up to the holidays,” Liberal Party spokeswoman Wendy Black said.


Ah! The race to get the money in by January 1st! And there we have it.


Now luckily for Barry, baseball has nine innings so maybe before the March 2011 election he will actually hit a ball.

A. Ghebranious      2010         All Rights Reserved

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