Wednesday 29th April 1998

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Recent stories exclusive to  (how to) subscribe/rs of the Australian National News of the Day:

Second One Nation protest surprises Bob McMullan - 28th April  
Sultan of Brunei buys up big tracks of Australia - then negotiates Indonesian "settlements" 25th April
Maritime Union of Australia win in the Federal Court 22nd April
Just who is behind the dock war? 19th April
One Nation Birthday Party on Pauline Hanson's farm 10th-12th April
One Nation state and federal candidates meet in Toowoomba 4th -5th April
Hindmarsh Island Bridge case thrown out by High Court 2nd April
The Hindmarsh Island Bridge farce revealed
31st March
UN agrees to make our fresh water a "global commodity".... beware farmers - your fresh water dam WILL cost you! 28th March
Courier Mail's national affairs reporter Peter Charlton attacks MAI concerns and breaches ethics guidelines 28th March

Current topical links (available to all readers):
[Links to the MAI]
[Queensland One Nation State Election website] [One Nation Federal Web Site]
Archive of weekly features (available to all readers):
[The Canberra Column] [Economic Rationalism]

Today's Headlines
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Since October 1995

Pauline Hanson meets campaign support team at Toogoolawah

Last night about 200 supporters joined Pauline Hanson, David Oldfield and Blair campaign co-ordinator, Ross McConnell, all seen here on the right, as strategies were developed and discussed to develop the platform for Pauline's re-election campaign.

Somewhat larger group than the twenty Australian Labor Party supporters who came out to see Bob McMullan launch their Oxley candidate, Bernie Ripoll's campaign yesterday!

The full report, with images, can be seen at this link.

Bigger, Bigger, Boom!.

This week's article on economic rationalism by Graham Strachan takes a look at the banks...

On April 7, 1998, it was announced in the US that financial giants Citicorp and Travelers would merge in a record $70 billion deal, the largest corporate merger ever, creating the world's biggest financial services company operating in 100 countries. The new company, to be called Citigroup, would also be by far the most valuable in the business, with a market capitalization of about $135 billion. Much of Wall Street liked the deal, and Citicorp's stock shot up. The merger was similar to one early last year that joined Morgan Stanley Group Inc., with Dean Witter Discover & Co. And if ‘much of Wall Street’ liked these deals it goes without saying they must be ‘good for everybody’.

Meanwhile BankAmerica is merging with NationsBank, WorldCom with MCICom, Sanduz with Ciba Geigy, Mitsubishi Bank with the Bank of Tokyo, Union Bank Swiss with Swiss Bank Corp, Banc One with First Chicago NBD, and KKR with RJR Nabisco, all forming huge conglomerates on borrowed money, most of which is imaginary due to the fractional reserve banking system. Bigger, bigger, bigger....then what?

High Court yet to decide.

The High Court is yet to decide on the outcome of the dispute between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Patrick Stevedores.

There has already been one big loser. Patrick's - even key Coalition politicians are now disappearing like the slimy little snails that they are into the depth of the brittle shells. Peter Reith and John Howard, outspoken to a fault against the MUA before the Federal Court decision against Patrick are now very hard to find....

Trade body rejects US move to save turtles

London Times April 28 1998 WORLD NEWS

THE World Trade Organisation (WTO) has overturned an American ban on shrimp caught in nets that endanger turtles, so threatening moves to protect endangered animals and plants across the globe (Nick Nuttall, Environment Correspondent, writes).

The decision makes it illegal for the United States to uphold its two-year ban on imports of shrimp caught by Indian, Pakistani, Malaysian and Thai fleets. The ruling has angered environmentalists who see making trade more responsible as the key to improving the fortunes of threatened habitats and species.

Tony Juniper, campaigns director of Friends of the Earth, said yesterday: "The WTO has sent the signal that free trade firmly rules over the environment. It sets a dangerous precedent, limiting the ability of sovereign nations to protect the planet." Duncan Brack, a senior research fellow in trade and the environment at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, said if Britain tried to protect mahogany by banning wood from poorly managed, unsustainable forests, it would now face similar action.

He added that next month's WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva was an opportunity for Tony Blair, on behalf of the European Union, to express disappointment at the stance.

MAI files update:

Response from ministers at MAI meeting - 27/28 April 1998.

and OECD meeting at ministerial level.

"Government Not Considering Signing The MAI - MFAT Official"

A Government official said today that the government was not considering signing the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. The statement came during a protest organised by Wellington No MAI Action Group at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coincide with Finance Minister Bill Birch's presence at MAI negotiations in Paris today (Tuesday).

The No MAI group had a Bill Birch look-a-like auctioning of New Zealand outside the Foreign Affairs and Trade building. This included the selling of schools, hospitals, roads, the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand culture and New Zealanders' right to democracy. Among the bidders were Pepsi, Shell and McDonalds and other transnational corporations (TNCs).

The Group presented a letter addressed to Don McKinnon outlining the reasons why they oppose the MAI. It was accepted by Peter Kennedy, Director of Trade negotiations, who after a brief discussion stated that "the government was not considering signing the MAI".

"We find this hard to believe," said Karen Skinner, spokesperson for the group. "The Government and its officials are trying to pretend nothing is happening while they sign away the rights of current and future generations of New Zealanders."

"The MAI is a an absurd agreement. Bill Birch is in Paris negotiating on New Zealanders behalf, but he has no mandate to do so. This agreement has been negotiated in secret and there has been no proper consultation with New Zealanders," said Ms Skinner.

The Ministry official claimed that the consultation with New Zealanders had been more extensive than any other country's. "This is a blatant lie," said Ms Skinner. "Canada had the agreement discussed at provincial government select committee hearings - and those provincial governments ended up opposing the agreement."

"The patronising attitude shown by Peter Kennedy is reflective of the government. They are scared that New Zealanders have found out about this agreement and are actively opposing it. This is just the beginning, we will fight the MAI and similar agreements such as APEC at every stage". Ms Skinner concluded

Making the news" -
an indepth exposé of media and political collusion at the highest possible levels in Australia.


State in One Nation's hands

A timely report in today's Courier Mail reveals the lies of the Australian Labor Party's "put One Nation last" scare campaign.

The move has now backfired on the ALP as can be seen by the latest One Nation press release on preference votes, entitled "News on Hanson poll stops at the Queensland border".

Here is the article by Ross Fitezgerald, Professor of History and Politics at Griffith University:

The message from all the published opinion polls on the likely outcome of this year's state election is clear. There will be a drop in the primary vote of all the major parties.

This is a result of the disillusionment with the major parties. Usually disillusionment with the government leads to a boost in the primary vote of the opposition. However, that fact that Labor was in government in Queensland just over two years ago has nullified this usual trend.

The result will therefore come down to third-party preferences. In the case of third party voters, their second preference vote will be just as important as their primary vote. Especially given the fact that we no longer have compulsory preferential voting, the distribution of the preferences of third-party voters will determine the next Queensland government.

However, it will not be the preferences of the Greens and the Democrats which will have the biggest impact on the outcome of the forthcoming election. Rather, it will be preferences from One Nation.

While it is true that One Nation is having the greatest impact on National and Liberal voters, it is also having a small but significant impact on the Labor vote.

That is why the ALP recently leaked its confidential research to The Courier Mail. It shows a secret preference deal between the Nationals and One Nation could cost it government if disillusioned Labor voters simply follow the One Nation "how to vote" card. When a One Nation spokesman said the party would direct preferences against sitting members, a shudder went through sections of the ALP, because this will disadvantage the ALP more than the Nationals due to the location and nature of the marginal seats.

The Nationals, for their part, will be battling to hold the state seats of Gympie, Barambah, Callide and Warrego against the One Nation push. Issues such as guns, Wik and competition policy are devastating the traditional National vote in what used to be safe heartland.

The nomination of rural industry leader Ian McFarlane for the Liberals in the Darling Downs seat of Groom is being seen as a smart move in Liberal circles but it will not stop the anger in the bush. After all, McFarlane is nominating for the Liberals not the Nationals.

The importance of third-party preferences, particularly from  One Nation, could see not only a close election result but the result itself might not even be known on election night.

That depends on the campaign and how the leaders and their deputies perform. How strong Borbidge/Sheldon and Beattie/Elder are perceived to be by the electorate may well determine whether there is a last-minute shift to give either the ALP or the conservatives a clear mandate.

Joan Sheldon's disapproval ratings provide another strategic problem for the Coalition. Do they try to hide her in the campaign or soldier on regardless? Will it be a re-run of the Rob and Joan show from 1995 or will conservative strategies just opt for the Rob show, occasionally accompanied by his wife Jenny?

Interestingly, Peter Beattie has already started the Peter and Heather Beattie show, with wife Heather making a two-day, high profile visit to Townsville for Anzac Day engagements and a visit to the Cowboys vs Sydney City Rooster football match. Heather Beattie is also engaged in a schedule to "meet the people" morning teas with key marginal seats.

The Queensland election campaign is only a few weeks away. It could be as close as the 1995 result.     

As a matter of interest the ALP hold ten east coast seats north of Brisbane by less than 5%. If One Nation put the ALP candidate last in these seats there is a strong likelihood that all seats would be lost to One Nation (anyway) or a Coalition party. This would decimate there hold on the upcoming state election.

Interesting times with the likes of Beattie and Beazley more than likely regretting their "put One Nation last" stance as the chickens come home to roost.

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Personal trivia, from the global office:

Another perfect day in paradise. Getting cooler.

Have a good one.

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