Thursday, 6 February 2014

South Africa's women's empowerment and gender equality bill and other news and views for Thursday 6 February

What happens when you restrict information. When a government decides to be clever and restrict information and not answer questions it should not be surprised if there is a backlash. That’s what happened with that ABC report on the burnt hands allegations. The journalist might have failed to make it clear that he was reporting allegations rather than some established fact but trying to establish what actually happened is hard when you are confronted by a wall of silence. And any journalist worth his salt would be sceptical about a subsequent blanket denial from a government that was not prepared to even investigate whether the boat people returned to Indonesia might just have been telling at least some of the truth. Thanks therefore for the Fairfax papers for continuing to probe away, The piece on the website “Investigation: ‘burned hands’ on the high seas” by Indonesian correspondent Michael Bachelard raises further matters that deserve more than this government’s assertion that it is somehow unpatriotic to take seriously anything said by a would-be asylum seeker. Read it and judge for yourself.
Care is needed with industry assistance. The difficulty that comes from being in a coalition with the party of rural socialism is about to become apparent for Joe Hockey. The Treasurer might have been the tough guy when refusing further assistance to the motor industry and telling Coca Cola Amatil to get lost with its outrageous attempt to get government help to bail them out from a bad investment at SPC, but how will he treat drought stricken farmers and graziers? The National Party is now buzzing around seeking extra concessions for those affected by a lack of rain but surely droughts are just part of the normal cycle in that kind of business. Why should rural industries not be covered by the Hockey statement today that: ”The business sector must shoulder more of the burden.It must restore corporate accountability and rely less on government assistance. It must stand on its own feet and it must pay its fair share of tax.”
A story that probably won’t make the Aussie tabloids. From London’s Daily Mail who pinched the story from Vanity Fair
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Culture Brazilian style. While our Joe is declaring “the age of entitlement is over, the age of personal responsibility has begun” in Brazil the government has come up with a new kind of handout. Not exactly welfare this time but a cultural coupon worth $20 a month for ordinary workers. Reports the Washington Post:
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A serious attempt at gender equality. From South Africa’s Business Day
2014-02-06_gender2Other bits and pieces noted along the way.
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