(no subject)

Author rumpole
Date/Time 28 Aug 2008 3:15:46pm
Subject Should the Bible and Koran be banned from schools?

Some people think that "teaching" religion to children is a form of child abuse.

Should government funding be taken away from church (Christian and Muslim) run schools on the grounds that they are indoctrinating children into a belief that is not substantiated by scientific analysis?

Should teaching religion at schools be made illegal?

Should "scripture" be replaced by other forms of "ethical" education, if so, what?

(no subject)


Bill Shorten
Before entering Parliament Bill Shorten was one of Australia’s best-known trade union leaders. As secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union he was a major player in the national industrial relations debate and gained widespread prominence for his role on the scene of the Beaconsfield mine disaster in Tasmania in 2006.
As a key member of the Victorian ALP’s right-wing Centre Unity faction for more than 20 years, Bill was always expected to pursue a career in Parliament. He was elected to the seat of Maribynong, covering Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs, in the 2007 election and was promoted straight to a senior role as Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services.
Bill is one of a new breed of Labor politicians who are expected to take senior leadership roles in the party through the Rudd years and beyond.
Born in Melbourne in 1967, Bill graduated in arts and law from Monash University and – unusually for a trade union leader – completed a Masters in Business Administration from Melbourne University. Apart from his union and political activities he also served as interim CEO of the Australian Netball Players’ Association and on the advisory board of the Australian Cricketers’ Association.
Bill is married to Debbie Beale, daughter of former Victorian Liberal MHR Julian Beale. They live in Moonee Ponds.

Christopher Pyne
Christopher Pyne was 25 when he entered Parliament as the Liberal member for Sturt, in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide, in 1993.
Christopher was born and raised in Adelaide and graduated in law from Adelaide University.
He became active in politics as a teenager and played a prominent role in the South Australian Liberal Party, as president of the Young Liberals and as a member of the State Executive.
Factionally aligned with the moderate wing of the party and known as a supporter of former Treasurer Peter Costello, his opportunities for advancement under John Howard’s leadership were limited. It was not until March 2007, eight months before the government lost office, that he was promoted to the front bench as Minister for Ageing.
Following the election Christopher was runner-up in the contest for Liberal deputy leader and was given the portfolio of shadow minister for justice, border protection and assisting the shadow minister for immigration and citizenship.
Christopher is married to Carolyn and they have four children, Eleanor, Barnaby, Felix and Aurelia.

Kerry Chikarovski
After a career as a solicitor, Kerry Chikarovski was elected to the New South Wales Parliament in May 1991.
After only thirteen months in Parliament she was appointed Minister for Consumer Affairs. She later held the portfolios of Assistant Minister of Education, Minister for Industrial Relations, and the first Minister for the Status of Women appointed in NSW.
In December 1994 Kerry was elected Deputy Leader of the NSW Parliamentary Liberal Party – a position she held until the State election the following year which Labor won. In Opposition Kerry held the portfolio responsibilities of Corrective Services and the Environment. In December 1998 she was elected Leader of the NSW Parliamentary Liberal Party, the first woman to lead a major political party in NSW.
Following the 1999 election loss Kerry continued in the leadership until 2002, retiring from politics at the 2003. She then established her own consultancy advising individuals and organisations who seek her experience in working with various levels of government.
Kerry is a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium and is involved in many community projects, including the boards of a number of charities.
In 2004 she released her life story – Chika – which has been described as an uncompromisingly honest account of life in the difficult world of the NSW Parliament.
Kerry was born in Sydney in 1956. She grew up in the northern suburbs and attended the University of Sydney. In her spare time Kerry enjoys working out at the gym and spending time with her grown-up children, Lisa and Mark.

Eric Beecher
Eric Beecher started his career in newspapers as a journalist on The Age newspaper in Melbourne. He later worked at The Sunday Times and The Observer in London and The Washington Post in the US. In 1984, at age 33, he became the youngest -ever editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, and in 1987 was appointed editor-in-chief of the Herald and Weekly Times newspaper group. In 1990 he became a founder, CEO and major shareholder in The Text Media Group, a public company which produced newspapers, magazines and books, which was acquired by Fairfax Media in 2003. In 2003 he formed Private Media Partners, which acquired in 2005. Since then he has been a founding shareholder and chairman of three further online media ventures:, and He has also held positions as chairman of the Lighthouse Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation servicing homeless youth, chairman of the Victorian Government's bid committee for Melbourne to become a UNESCO City of Literature, and chairman of the Victorian Government's Reference Group to create a Centre for Writing and Ideas. In 2000 he delivered the annual Andrew Olle Media Lecture and in 2007 was awarded the Walkley Award for Journalistic Leadership.

Jane Caro
Jane Caro wears many hats; including author, lecturer, mentor, social commentator, columnist, workshop facilitator, speaker and award winning advertising writer. The common thread running through her career is a delight in words and a talent for using them to connect with other people. A skill she developed and honed during her very successful 30 years as an advertising writer.
Today, she runs her own communications consultancy and lectures in Advertising Creative at The School of Communication Arts at UWS.
She has published two books; “The Stupid Country: How Australia is Dismantling Public Education” co-authored with Chris Bonnor (New South 2007), and “The F Word. How we learned to swear by feminism” co-authored with Catherine Fox (New South, 2008) and is working on a third.
She is sought after as a speaker and workshop facilitator by a wide range of organisations, in both the public and private sectors, including most recently the AEU, ACTU, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Sydney Leadership (NSW Benevolent Society), Women in Finance and AMP. She is also sought after by the media to comment on a range of issues from advertising and marketing to education, feminism, women and work, and parenting.
She used to appear regularly on Channel 7 Sunrise, and is now a semi-regular panellist on Richard Glover’s Political Forum on Radio 702. She is also a regular panellist on the ABC’s top-rating show on advertising “The Gruen Transfer.”
She remains in high demand by advertising agencies as a freelance writer and her advertising work has won many national and international advertising awards including Cannes (2004), AWARD, London International, ATV, Asia Pacific, One Show, Mobius, Kinsale, and Caxton.
She is often asked to judge both national and international advertising award shows and remains the only woman to have been Chair of Judges of AWARD (Australasian Writers and Art Directors Association) and both Adelaide and Brisbane Art Directors Awards.


(no subject)

From the Q & A message board:

"Author rumpole
Date/Time 26 Aug 2008 2:51:37pm
Subject The next panel

From the Q&A web site

"This week on Q&A expect the fur to fly with controversial journalist and author John Pilger on the panel. He is joined by Minister for Small Business, Craig Emerson, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Sharman Stone, Political Editor for the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher and Opinion Page Editor for The Australian, Rebecca Weisser".

This panel has very little in common and I can see another boring episode coming up where the participants know little about the others subjects.

I would suggest that with the minister for small business on the show, an appropriate opponent would be the chief of the Small Business Association, or Choice magazine to provide an alternative point of view to the minister on his portfolio.

I can't really see the point in the minister for small business and the shadow for Indigenous affairs on the same show."

Thoughts? Comments?

(no subject)


Sharman Stone
Dr Sharman Stone has been the Liberal MP for the seat of Murray, in rural Victoria, since 1996.
She is currently the shadow minister for the environment, heritage, the arts and indigenous affairs, and before last year’s election had been Minister for Workforce Participation for nearly two years.
Sharman was born in Pyramid Hill, a small town within the Murray electorate to the west of Echuca, in 1951. She was educated at Monash University and La Trobe, gaining degrees in anthropology and sociology and a PhD in economics. Before entering Parliament Sharman was Manager of International Development at the University of Melbourne.
She is the author of numerous publications on race relations, environment and geology, including Aborigines in White Australia (1974).
In Parliament Sharman has pursued a range of social, regional and indigenous issues, and served on the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation from 1997 to 2000. Before joining the Ministry she was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministers for Environment and Heritage, and Finance and Administration.

John Pilger
John Pilger grew up in Sydney. He has been a war correspondent, author and filmmaker. He is one of only two to win British journalism’s highest award twice. He has been International reporter of the Year and winner of the United Nations Association Peace Prize and Gold Medal. For his broadcasting, he has won France’s Reporter Sans Frontieres and Academy Awards in both Britain and America. His first film, The Quiet Mutiny, made in 1970, revealed the rebellion within the US Army in Vietnam that led to its withdrawal. His 1979 documentary, Cambodia Year Zero revealed the horrors of the Pol Pot regime. He is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Heroes and A Secret Country, a history of Australia. His latest is Freedom Next Time. In 2003, he received the prestigious Sophie Prize for ‘thirty years of exposing deception and improving human rights’. In a British survey that asked people to name the fifty heroes of our time, Pilger came fourth, behind Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.
“John Pilger unearths, with steely attention to facts, the filthy truth and tells it as it is” – Harold Pinter.

Craig Emerson
Craig Emerson has represented the seat of Rankin, in outer suburban Brisbane, since 1998. Now Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy, Craig is regarded as one of the Rudd government’s most innovative policy thinkers.
Born in Baradine, NSW, in 1954, Craig studied economics at Sydney University and then completed a PhD in the subject at the Australian National University in Canberra.
He has extensive experience in government at both the State and federal levels. From 1986-90 he was economics adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and subsequently he was senior policy adviser to Queensland Premier Wayne Goss. Other positions he has held include CEO of the South-East Queensland Transit Authority; Director-General of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage; and Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Craig has a deep policy interest in such areas as innovation, deregulation and ecologically sustainable development. He has written widely on challenging policy issues and on securing a prosperous future for Australia. His other interests include rugby league, volleyball and the guitar.

Peter Hartcher
Peter Hartcher is one of Australia's leading journalists. He is the political editor and the international editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, and chair of The Diplomat magazine.
Peter is a three-time foreign correspondent who has worked as a journalist for 25 years writing about politics, economics and foreign affairs. Before taking his current position at the SMH, Hartcher wrote for the Australian Financial Review for a decade. He worked as its Washington bureau chief, its Asia-Pacific Editor and its Tokyo bureau chief.
Peter is author of three books. His latest book was Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the Missing 7 Trillion Dollars, published in US, Japanese, and mandarin Chinese editions. The book, published in 2005, foretold the collapse of the US housing bubble and the recession now unfolding there. His previous book was about Japan's epic mismanagement that led to the collapse of the Japanese economy in 1989, a bust from which it is still recovering.
He has just finished writing a book on the collapse of the Howard Government and the rise of Kevin Rudd. Titled To The Bitter End, it is to be published by Allen and Unwin in November on the anniversary of the 2007 election.
Peter has been published in international journals including The National Interest in Washington and the Financial Times in London, and has won Australia's highest journalism award, the Gold Walkey. In its annual bias-o-meter of Australia's political pundits, the website found in 2007 that there was no fairer or more balanced journalist writing about national politics.
Peter was born in Sydney in 1963. He has three children. He and his partner, Mindanao Laube, live in Sydney.

Rebecca Weisse
Rebecca Weisser is the Opinion Page Editor for The Australian. Her father, Mendel Weisser, was a Polish-born economist who arrived in Australia as a friendly enemy alien aboard the SS Dunera in September 1940 and was interned in Hay, NSW. Her mother was a history and English teacher. She spent a peripatetic childhood in Armidale, NSW, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom before studying at the School Without Walls in Canberra and the ANU where graduated with first class honours in Arts. She spent five years working in Europe and lived in a squat in London and a cave in Granada, Spain before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1990 and serving in Vanuatu and Mexico. In 1998 she joined the Qantas public affairs department followed by a stint at the Australian Catholic University. She has worked at The Australian as a leader writer, journalist and feature writer and was appointed to her current role earlier this year. She is married and lives in Sydney which she navigates on a folding bicycle.

(copied and pasted verbatim from