The Guardian 23 February, 2005

Dingo bytes

In Western Australia, you can tell an election campaign is in full swing because the law-and-order, fear-and-loathing wagon has been rolled out. The Liberals have announced their latest: Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. These would ban particular individuals and groups from visiting certain areas or meeting up with other certain individuals or groups considered by the law to be "trouble-makers". The bans could be issued through the courts solely on the basis of someone dobbing someone else in as a "trouble-maker". Liberal leader Colin Barnett said the new law was aimed at being "tough on young people". Premier Geoff Gallop then promised a $5 million crime fighting package and that Taser stun guns would be issued to police. Top that, Barnett.

It's called "asbestos aid". Construction companies are using the deadly stuff for reconstruction projects in tsunami-hit towns in Sri Lanka. Ian Cohen, NSW Greens MP, who was in Sri Lanka when the tsunami struck and stayed on for a month to help in the relief effort, says the asbestos industry is carrying out "an aggressive campaign" to convince South-East Asian countries that asbestos is safe to use. In a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer Mr Cohen said the overwhelming need is for building products and called on the government to tie the provision of aid to the use of safe, ecologically-sustainable materials. He said workers were also removing asbestos debris "in a manner unacceptable in Australia".

Want a sure-fire guarantee of becoming a member of parliament? Step one, become a multimillionaire. Like Malcolm Turnbull, the merchant banker who steamrolled the sitting member for the Sydney seat of Wentworth. He has a long list of corporate connections. These include a whole mass of investments in managed funds, shares in listed and unlisted companies, the ownership of a whole lot of expensive real estate and miscellaneous investments such as livestock, farm plant and machinery, art work etc. No end of potential conflicts of interest there.

CAPITALIST HOG OF THE WEEK: is French nuclear power giant AREVA which has the Howard Government on side to allow it to expand uranium mining in the Northern Territory's heritage listed Kakadu National Park. In fact, that's precisely how Federal Treasurer Peter Costello put it: "The government is not against expanding uranium mining."

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