Australia Votes 2007: Labor releases tax plan

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Election 2007

Labor has released its tax plan, following the announcement from the Liberal/National coalition that they would provide tax cuts costing AU$34 billion if re-elected. The government has placed pressure on Labor since their announcement on Monday, urging Mr Rudd to release the opposition’s tax plan.

Under Labor’s system, the government’s planned tax cuts for Australians earning more than $180,000 per year would be scrapped, saving $3 billion. The savings would be spent on health and education for working families.

Speaking in Canberra today, Mr Rudd announced that if elected he would spend $2.3 billion on tax rebates for parents with children in primary and secondary schools. The refunds would be available to those who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit A. Mr Rudd claims the plan would be available to around two million children.

A Rudd government would offer a 50 percent education rebate to parents, up to $750 per child for primary school aged children and up to $1500 for children in secondary school. The rebate could be used for a variety of purchases but not for school fees. Mr Rudd said the rebate would help to equip children for the digital age.

“If mum and dad are spending money on buying a laptop, spending money on buying a home computer, spending money on … purchasing internet connection, education software printers and books, those expenditures, (they) will be eligible to claim the 50 per cent education tax refund that we are putting forward,” Mr Rudd said.

“We need to equip our young people with the skills necessary to participate in the digital economy of the 21st century.”

Mr Rudd vigorously denied that he rushed the plan out after the government’s announcement. “We have been working on this education tax refund for the better part of four, five months,” Mr Rudd told reporters.

Labor would spend $400 million of the savings on Labor’s national health reform plan, while the remaining $200 million would go to the budget surplus.

Under the health reform plan, an elective surgery strategy would be implemented with the aim of reducing waiting times. Mr Rudd said the waiting times experienced by some Australians were unacceptable.

“We intend … to establish through the use of other funds as well a plan which would create a national elective-surgery strategy to reduce waiting times across the nation,” Mr Rudd said.

About 25,000 Australians are on waiting lists for elective surgery despite having passed the clinically acceptable waiting period, he said.

“That’s unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Rudd also said that Labor would embrace tax reform by flattening the number of tax rates from four to three, at 15, 30 and 40 percent by 2012-13. This contrasts to the government’s planned tax cuts bringing rates to 15, 30, 25 and 40 percent.

If Labor is elected, those paying the highest tax rate would pay around $10 a week more than they would under a Howard government. Mr Rudd said that he was not waging a class war and believed those paying the top tax rate wouldn’t mind investing in the country.

“If you’re on $180 grand and more, as people like myself are, I don’t think you really need it just now,” said Mr Rudd.

“What I say instead is that most people in that bracket wouldn’t mind an investment going into bridging the digital divide for the whole country.”

“If we were waging some sort of class warfare, we wouldn’t be in the business of outlining the long term goals that we’ve put forward – a flattening, prospectively, of the tax system down to three rates rather than four with a top marginal tax rate of 40.”

The government has criticised the plan, with Treasurer Peter Costello claiming that Mr Rudd copied “91.5 percent” of their tax policy. He accused the opposition of never having a tax plan.

“Mr Rudd talks about education – if he’d have brought his exam paper in after copying 91.5 per cent of the answers from the student sitting next to him, he would have got an F for fail.”

The Treasurer said that it would be unlikely that a Rudd government could deliver tax cuts as it could not manage the economy well enough to deliver them.

“Unless you can manage the Australian economy, these tax cuts will not be deliverable,” he said.

“Mr Rudd and Mr Swan do not understand the Australian economy. This is entirely clear from the fact they have spent four days copying 91.5 per cent of our tax plan.”

Mr Costello said that a Rudd government would have a dilemma if elected, in that he could not follow the coalition’s policies.

“He never had a tax policy,” Mr Costello said.

“He hadn’t done the work, five days after our tax policy, his great contribution to the tax debate in this country is to say ‘me too, but’.”

“The trouble with ‘me too, but’ is, it’s OK for Mr Rudd to say ‘me too, I’ll be like Howard and Costello and adopt their policies’, but if he gets in Howard and Costello won’t be there writing the policies.”

Mr Costello said that when Kevin Rudd runs out of ideas, the union movement would step in to provide guidance. “So who is going to say ‘me to, but’ to them? I think the union movement will be giving him a few ideas,” said Mr Costello.

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Arson suspected in Namdaemun gate fire in Seoul

Monday, February 11, 2008

Around 8:50 p.m. Korean Standard Time (11:50 UTC) on Sunday, a fire broke out at Sungnyemun Gate (more commonly referred to as Namdaemun Gate), one of the most iconic South Korean landmarks, located in the center of Seoul.

Approximately 30 firetrucks and 90 firefighters were sent to the site and were able to bring the initial blaze under control by around 10:30 p.m.

However, around 10:40 p.m., the fire rekindled at the second floor of the gate, as firefighters were in the process of extinguishing embers. By 11:00 p.m. the fire had spread over to the roof of the gate. The Korean Fire Department reports that the second blaze had started as the Department was seeking permission from the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration to dismantle parts of the gate in order to stop any possible further fires from spreading.

At about 12:40 a.m. of the 11th, the second floor had collapsed, and the fire was spreading to the first floor; at 1:50 a.m. the first floor collapsed.

Officials have yet to reach a conclusion on the origin of fire, and have presented three possibilities; arson, electric faults or accidental origins.

As the interior of the second floor of the Gate is off-limits to civilians, the Korean Fire Department initially eliminated the possibility of arson, and stated that an electric short or spark from the electric lighting could have been the cause. This possibility was later discarded as a firefighter reported, after examination, that there was no electric wiring on the second floor, as Korean Cultural Heritage Administration regulations prohibit it.

Three eye-witnesses have submitted testimonies. A taxi driver has reported seeing a man in his fifties climb up the staircase carrying a shopping bag, shortly after seeing sparks. Police have stated that the driver’s testimony differs in several crucial factors from the other two witnesses.

Firefighters have reported finding two cigarette lighters on the second floor, inceasing the possibility of arson as the cause.

Police have been unable to obtain evidence from the four closed circuit televisions(CCTVs) installed around the gate.

Officials of the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration have stated that restoration will take two to three years and will cost 20 billion won, equivalent of 21 million USD.

Officials report that no sprinklers or fire alarms were installed inside the gate, and only eight fire extinguishers were placed on both the first and second floor.

Namdaemun, built during the Joseon Dynasty, is the oldest wooden structure in Seoul and was entitled ‘National Treasure No. 1’ in 1962 after restoration.

In recent years, arsons started by evangelical Christians have damaged many Buddhist temples and Korean momuments.

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Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP

Friday, June 26, 2015

Annabel Goldie, Scottish Conservative Party leader from 2005 to 2011, has announced she will stand down as an MSP at the next elections in 2016. Goldie, who has been an MSP for the West Scotland (previously West of Scotland) electoral region since the Scottish Parliament’s formation in 1999, said she intends to focus on her role in the House of Lords, where she has been a peer since 2013.File:Annabel Goldie.jpg

In a statement today, Goldie said leading the party was an “enormous honour” for her. She also said: “It has afforded me both satisfaction and pleasure to serve my constituents and to serve the parliament and I will look back with great happiness at my time as an MSP. I am grateful to friends and colleagues from all parties for their support. Sometimes we found common ground, sometimes we disagreed but never I hope with rancour nor disrespect. Politics is a rough trade but we have built a strong parliament in Scotland of which we can all be rightly proud.” She said because of Ruth Davidson, her successor as Scottish Conservative leader, the party is now “in fine fettle and stands a great chance of making real progress in the years ahead,” concluding by saying: “I look forward to continuing to work as part of that effort in the House of Lords in the years to come.”

Davidson responded to the news by calling Goldie an “unstoppable force”, adding: “She has been an inspiration to a whole generation of Scottish Conservatives, and she has been a tremendous mentor, support and friend to me. In Holyrood, she has fostered both affection and respect from all members – regardless of their political affiliation – and her retirement from the Scottish Parliament will leave an Annabel-sized hole which won’t ever quite be filled. She is unique.” Meanwhile, David Cameron, UK Conservative leader and UK Prime Minister, said: “Annabel is one of those rare breeds in Scottish politics, somebody known by her first name alone. When she was Scottish Conservative leader, I valued her sage advice. She has been a towering strength to our party in Scotland, a doughty debater in the TV studios and Scottish Parliament and has one of the sharpest wits around. I wish her a long and happy retirement after 17 years unstinting service at Holyrood – but look forward to seeing her on the red benches of the Lords for years to come.”

In Holyrood, she has fostered both affection and respect from all members – regardless of their political affiliation – and her retirement from the Scottish Parliament will leave an Annabel-sized hole which won’t ever quite be filled. She is unique.

Goldie, the Scottish Conservatives’ first ever female leader, was elected unopposed. She took up the role in the aftermath of David McLetchie’s resignation from the role in an expenses usage controversy and subsequent resignation of Brian Monteith from his Conservative whip role in the Scottish Parliament for briefing the media against him. Meanwhile, as Scottish Conservatives won 18 seats in the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and 2003, the party had been less successful in UK general elections in Scotland; Conservatives went up from zero out of a possible 72 UK MPs in Scotland in 1997 to one in 2001. This led to Goldie remarking in her inaugural speech in 2005 that: “The wheels are back on the wagon – and I’m the nag hitched up to tow it.” She also said: “The party is still way ahead of where it was in 1997. And my first task is to take it forward to 2007.” However, under Goldie’s leadership, the number of seats the Scottish Conservatives won in the Scottish Parliament slightly decreased from 18 in 2003 to 17 in 2007 and to 15 in 2011. At the same time, the number of Conservative MPs stood at one out of a possible 59 after the 2010 UK general election.

In the aforementioned 2005 speech, she also said the party could be trusted with devolution in Scotland, adding: “making devolution work better means real devolution: not the lumbering and cripplingly expensive array of government departments, government advisers, consultants, quangos, quasi-quangos and agencies with all their expensive appendages, but devolving down to people and their communities, their right to make their own decisions about their lives, how for example they procure healthcare and how they educate their children.” Goldie would go on to sit on the advisory board for the Smith Commission, which was set up to examine which further political powers should be devolved to Scotland following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. More recently, Goldie supported a reduction in the voting age for Scottish Parliament elections from 18 to 16 in a vote earlier this month, commenting: “I think it is an opportunity for them to continue their high level of engagement in topical affairs that we saw with the independence referendum.”

Goldie, a member of the Salvation Army’s West of Scotland Advisory Board and a Church of Scotland elder, is not the only Scottish Conservative MSP intending to stand down in 2016. Mary Scanlon, Gavin Brown, Alex Fergusson and Nanette Milne all reportedly intend to leave the Scottish Parliament next year.

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KKE: Interview with the Greek Communist Party

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wikinews reporter Iain Macdonald has performed an interview with Dr Isabella Margara, a London-based member of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). In the interview Margara sets out the communist response to current events in Greece as well as discussing the viability of a communist economy for the nation. She also hit back at Petros Tzomakas, a member of another Greek far-left party which criticised KKE in a previous interview.

The interview comes amid tensions in cash-strapped Greece, where the government is introducing controversial austerity measures to try to ease the nation’s debt-problem. An international rescue package has been prepared by European Union member states and the International Monetary Fund – should Greece require a bailout; protests have been held against government attempts to manage the economic situation.

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Al Sharpton speaks out on race, rights and what bothers him about his critics

Monday, December 3, 2007

At Thanksgiving dinner David Shankbone told his white middle class family that he was to interview Reverend Al Sharpton that Saturday. The announcement caused an impassioned discussion about the civil rights leader’s work, the problems facing the black community and whether Sharpton helps or hurts his cause. Opinion was divided. “He’s an opportunist.” “He only stirs things up.” “Why do I always see his face when there’s a problem?”

Shankbone went to the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem with this Thanksgiving discussion to inform the conversation. Below is his interview with Al Sharpton on everything from Tawana Brawley, his purported feud with Barack Obama, criticism by influential African Americans such as Clarence Page, his experience running for President, to how he never expected he would see fifty (he is now 53). “People would say to me, ‘Now that I hear you, even if I disagree with you I don’t think you’re as bad as I thought,'” said Sharpton. “I would say, ‘Let me ask you a question: what was “bad as you thought”?’ And they couldn’t say. They don’t know why they think you’re bad, they just know you’re supposed to be bad because the right wing tells them you’re bad.”

Contents

  • 1 Sharpton’s beginnings in the movement
  • 2 James Brown: a father to Sharpton
  • 3 Criticism: Sharpton is always there
  • 4 Tawana Brawley to Megan Williams
  • 5 Sharpton and the African-American media
  • 6 Why the need for an Al Sharpton?
  • 7 Al Sharpton and Presidential Politics
  • 8 On Barack Obama
  • 9 The Iraq War
  • 10 Sharpton as a symbol
  • 11 Blacks and whites and talking about race
  • 12 Don Imus, Michael Richards and Dog The Bounty Hunter
  • 13 Sources
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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Marion Schaffer, Oakville

Monday, September 24, 2007

Marion Schaffer is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Oakville riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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New case of Mad Cow disease found in Canada

Monday, January 23, 2006

A cow in the Province Alberta, Canada, has tested positive for Mad Cow disease, said Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials on Monday.

Officials also stated that the six-year-old cross-bred cow did not make it into the human or animal feed chain.

“Last evening the…laboratory for BSE located in Winnipeg confirmed the presence of BSE in a cross-bred cow born and raised in Alberta,” said CFIA chief veterinarian Brian Evans. “The animal was detected on the farm where it was born and no part of this animal entered the food for human consumption or feed for animal consumption purposes.”

It is the fourth case to turn up in Canada since 2003.

Evans also stated that it is too early to tell whether or not export markets would ban Canadian cows and beef.

The United States has seen two cases of Mad Cow disease. The first was discovered in December of 2003 in the state of Washington. Officials later linked this case to Canada because the cow was born on a farm in Alberta. The second infected cow was discovered in Texas in 2005. The later case was diagnosed in England after earlier samples tested had shown conflicting results.

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Bloomberg and Clinton create green alliance

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Former President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have revealed plans to merge their climate leadership groups C40 and the Clinton Climate Initiative on Wednesday.

Bloomberg serves as the chair for C40 Cities, an organization of cities devoted to tackling climate change. Together with the Clinton Climate Initiative, a program of the William J. Clinton Foundation, the two high profile environmentalists believe the alliance will assist cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a range of energy efficient and clean energy programs.

“I am pleased and honored to be here with my friend President Clinton. He has been a life-long champion of climate initiatives and I can think of no greater partner in this effort,” said Bloomberg.

President Clinton said the merger will “make it possible to create jobs and grow economies through reduced emissions. By combining forces with the C40, I believe the CCI Cities Program can continue to expand this work and make an even greater impact.”

Mayor Bloomberg also announced that the fourth C40 Summit will commence on May 31st in São Paulo. Both Clinton and Bloomberg will give keynote addresses at the summit, which is attended by the Mayors of many of the world’s major cities.

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Typhoon Melor on path towards Japan

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Typhoon Melor, a tropical cyclone in the Pacific, has weakened somewhat over the past few days, but is still a powerful and dangerous storm as it tracks towards Japan. Forecasters say the cyclone will strike the islands of Okinawa before making landfall near Tokyo on Thursday.

The storm is among a series of damaging typhoons that have formed in the Western Pacific over the past few weeks, including Ketsana, which caused devastating flooding in the Philippines.

“Minami Daito is expected to be hit by violent winds and rough seas with a sea swell of more than nine metres [30 feet] from late Tuesday to Wednesday noon,” a forecaster said. After that, the storm could strike Honshu on a path similar to that of a typhoon in 1959 which killed thousands of people.

Although Melor is unlikely to cause such destruction, residents are still preparing for strong winds and heavy rain as the typhoon closes in.

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

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