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Roswell (not his real name, of course), is American born though he was quite young when his family moved to Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Science and spent most of his working life in Canberra. His interests include anything that has an unsolved mystery about it, politics (Australian and American), science, history, and traveling. Roswell is our SEO guru so most of his work at The AIMN is in an admin role, though he does produce regular articles.

Malcolm has gone too Far(r)

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What’s Tony Abbott up to?” was the headline that linked to an article from Malcolm Farr about Tony Abbott’s meeting with US President Barack Obama.

One wonders why Abbott would want to meet with Obama, but one wonders even more why Obama would want to meet with Abbott. Why would the most powerful man in the world want to meet with a knuckle-dragging universal embarrassment like Tony Abbott?

Farr’s answer had me choking on my sandwich:

. . . sources encouraged the perception that Mr Obama and other senior US figures were keen to consult Mr Abbott on international affairs . . .

I’ll say it again in case you missed it:

. . . sources encouraged the perception that Mr Obama and other senior US figures were keen to consult Mr Abbott on international affairs . . .

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.

What on earth has a policy barren, bungling Luddite like Abbott got to offer anybody, let alone Obama? Abbott opposes just about everything Obama stands for, notably wanting to tackle climate change and introduce universal health care – which Abbott wanted to destroy back home, and the extent of his knowledge on international affairs is restricted to wanting to bomb the crap out of the Middle East and telling Europe to close its borders to refugees.

I’d be surprised if Abbott had even heard of America before he became Prime Minister.

He has about as much to offer them as the skinny dead mouse I found behind my piano.

Malcolm’s article gets worse when he introduces Kevin Andrews into the story. He writes that:

It is as if Mr Andrews was so shaken by Mr Turnbull’s inability to recognise his brilliance he has sought the comfort of Washington, where his ministerial sparkle still dazzles.

Holy crap! Andrews couldn’t even sparkle if he was covered in fairy dust.

Bloody hell, Malcolm, did you make this stuff up?

You’re kidding, right?

 

Dear America, please don’t make Donald Trump your president

So Donald Trump wants to be president.

Well I would implore all Americans to think long and hard before casting a vote in his favour. Do you really, really want him in the White House?

I love America. One of the great things about America is that it embraces religious freedom. Take that away and not only will you diminish as the ‘land of the free’ but it just might not have the results that Trump hopes for. However, I’m not here to talk about that. There’s something else I want to warn you about.

I’ll start off with what a commenter on one of the articles on this site wrote:

I remember the first couple of weeks of Trump’s campaigning.

There were those who said that it was funny. They insisted the buffoon was in it just for publicity, he’d be gone in a month. The man was so ridiculous that common sense would prevail and people would dismiss him.

Rather than burn out, Trump has dragged the Republican candidates to [a] dangerous group … he has normalised ideas that should be abhorrent … he is desensitising the mass media. His comments draw much less outrage than they should.

Letting Trump spew his relentless, loathsome rubbish has not caused people to turn away in disgust. Rather, it has placed him as a front runner to be the next US president.

As a nation [Australia] we took a laid-back attitude . . . And how did that turn out? Well, as usual, the politicians resorted to pandering to the lowest denominators … fear and ignorance.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire

The underlying message there is that we in Australia know exactly how it turns out. We’ve had a glimpse of what life under a Trump-like disaster can be like.

And that’s how it was under our recently dethroned prime minister, Tony Abbott. In two short but destructive years Tony Abbott completely turned on its head the character and soul of our nation. In two frightening years under this manipulating dangerous man we saw the rise of patriot groups, supported by rogue politicians … encouraging racists to whip up fear and hatred with a passion never before seen in this country. And that, simply, is what changed us.

Dangerous, powerful men – supported by an obliging media – can easily change any nation. If they can change an easy going, laid back nation like Australia one can only shudder what they might do to a nation that has been on edge since the terrible events of 9/11.

You’ve been lucky not having a leader anything like Abbott: One that has made us frightened of shadows; of having us fear anyone with a long beard, a tanned skin, or a different religion. Of making us afraid that these people, at best, will take our jobs and security. At worst, slit our throats.

He turned us into a nation of nervous, frightened, angry vigilantes. Vigilantes who have set fire to homes belonging to people who speak Arabic; who threatened to kill people just because their skin was dark; who wanted people expelled from this country simply because they spoke a different language; who assaulted people in the streets because they wore a scarf around their head. No questions asked. Anyone who looked ‘different’ was a threat to our national security and had to be dealt with. Attacks on these people have become more daring, more devastating, and more frequent as each week passes.

It hasn’t helped us or ‘saved’ us one little bit, because to put it simply, the threat wasn’t there in the first place. If anything, payback might be on the horizon. Or worse still, blowback.

Tony Abbott was removed from office a few months ago but the seeds of hate he planted are now growing uncontrollably wild and unchecked.

It is as if overnight we were no longer a tolerant and welcoming nation. Fear mongering prime ministers (or presidents) don’t succeed in such nations. Their political survival hinges on maintaining their political capital: fear. And then more fear.

Yes, there are troubles in the world which must be addressed, but are they being addressed by turning people against their neighbours, their work colleagues or people sharing the same bus? Are the troubles of the world being addressed when a young Muslim lady is bashed in a busy street in your city by stirred-up punks? Punks who, only a couple of years ago, would not have batted an eye lid at the same lady.

What good is it when the public discourse is one of hatred and violence? When talk around the local bar, the restaurant table, the coffee break at work or at family get-togethers is filled with nonsense at how people from other lands or other religions are obsessed with destroying us and our country. Yes, it’s nonsense, but people are frightened into believing it to be true.

Abbott frightened us and feasted on it. Trump will do the same to you.

And like Australia you have the same gutter-dwelling media who will keep boiling the pot of racism and bigotry for their own selfish needs.

Having said all that, I must say though that we’ve been lucky to date in that only kicks, punches and threats have been flowing. Blood has not been spilled. And that’s probably because of the one big difference we have with you. We don’t carry guns.

 

Bill Shorten fires his best weapon

Labor’s bulk email today – signed by Bill Shorten – captured my interest:

Over the weekend something amazing happened.

For the first time in history, nearly every country in the world has committed to lowering carbon pollution to try to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

I couldn’t be happier with a commitment to keeping temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius and a further commitment to pursue efforts to limit increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This was absolutely necessary to preserve our environment for future generations.

But now we’ve got an agreement, it’s now up to us as a nation to do our part and make sure we leave our children with a sustainable, healthy planet. We need to join the rest of the world and adopt effective policies right here at home.

That’s why I’ve announced Labor’s plan for Australia to have net zero pollution by 2050.

And it’s why Labor will ensure that by 2030, 50 per cent of Australia’s energy will be generated from renewables. More talk won’t help tackle climate change, but stronger targets for renewables like solar will.

And then it went horribly wrong:

But the Liberals keep standing against Labor’s plans. That’s why we’ve created a petition calling on the Liberals to adopt Labor’s plan for more renewable energy. Can you sign our petition and stand up for a renewable energy future? . . .

. . .  Sign this petition and call on Mr Turnbull to adopt Labor’s plan for 50% renewables. ​

Thanks for standing with me on this,

Bill

God. Give. Me. Strength.

You have got to be kidding me.

If Bill Shorten thinks that the Turnbull Government will change their policies (and adopt Labor’s) because of a soft lettuce leaf petition then his head is filled with nothing more than small pebbles.

There’s only one way for Labor’s climate change policies to be implemented and that, obviously, is for Labor to win government. And for Labor to win government they have to win over voters – something they’ve lost the art in. Getting us to sign pathetic petitions won’t see their policy implemented and neither will it encourage me to vote for them. (Though I probably will anyway).

Bill Shorten really is coming across as a no ideas politician. If his best weapon is nothing more than blowing petitions at the government then he, or someone in Labor, has absolutely no idea what they’re doing.

Critics will hit back at me with the argument that the media hasn’t been giving Labor much of a voice, and they’re certainly correct about that, but if Labor want their voice to be heard then they have to start to roar. These continual requests to sign gutless petitions makes them appear that they have the roar of a mouse.

They can take their petition and jam it.

Oh, and by the way, nowhere in the email was there a link to their policy.

 

Australia’s gun laws are the envy of Obama

I like this ‘Your Say’ section. I can have a say, basically, and keep it simple.

So keep this simple I will.

With some ultra Right-wing politicians calling for the relaxation of the guns laws which were introduced by John Howard after the Port Arthur massacre, it’s probably a good time to hear from the president of a country whose gun laws are the same as those few politicians – and some of our citizens, I assume – are calling for.

Australia’s strict gun laws are considered a role model for Obama, who presides over a country that arguably has more gun deaths than any other, and who has had the unenviable duty to deliver statements on gun violence 15 times. When’s the last time an Australian prime minister has had to do that?  Howard, 1996.

Anyway, this little snippet from an article in The New York Times, ‘How a Conservative-Led Australia Ended Mass Killings‘ is worth throwing out there:

In the continuing debate over how to stop mass killings in the United States, Australia has become a familiar touchstone.

President Obama has cited the country’s gun laws as a model for the United States, calling Australia a nation “like ours.” On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton has said the Australian approach is “worth considering.” The National Rifle Association has dismissed the policies, contending that they “robbed Australians of their right to self-defense and empowered criminals” without reducing violent crime.

The oft-cited statistic in Australia is a simple one: There have been no mass killings — defined by experts there as a gunman killing five or more people besides himself — since the nation significantly tightened its gun control laws almost 20 years ago.

This was not the first occasion on which Obama praised our gun laws:

After the shooting at Umpqua Community College, a visibly angry President Obama pointedly noted the contrasting responses in the United States and its allies to gun violence.

“Other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings,” he said on Thursday. “Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.”

And we have idiot politicians here who want our gun laws relaxed.

I shake my head in disbelief.

They need to speak to Obama.

Something Wonky

Imagine opening the morning papers to read the startling revelation that the government’s prime objectives are to decrease services to the poor by decreasing taxes for the rich.

Imagine the papers telling us that the government’s treatment of asylum seekers is cruel and inhumane, at the same time questioning whether the boats have really stopped. And that its disregard for services offered to victims of domestic violence is appalling.

Imagine them telling us that we were never going to be $550 a year better off once Labor’s ‘carbon tax’ was scrapped, and suggest that we were being lied to all along. Imagine if the Liberal Party’s hypocrisy and double standards were being called out.

Imagine being told something else we already know: that our Parliament is composed of some complete idiots, such as Tony Abbott, David Leyonhjelm or Cory Bernardi, and our media too has its fair share, with Andrew Bolt heading the list.

Imagine them telling us that climate change isn’t crap, but the government’s NBN is. And that the government are economic pygmies and that under them our democracy has taken a battering.

Imagine the papers telling us that the government – and the opposition for that matter – are out of touch with mainstream Australians and that both are bending over backwards to win the rednecks’ votes.

Imagine them telling us that Aboriginal Australians are treated like third world citizens. Imagine them telling us that people on welfare are also treated unfairly and poorly.

Imagine them supporting calls for the end of negative gearing and for the government to stop subsidising the mining companies. Imagine them telling us that ordinary Australians will be better off for it, as more money would be available for essential services.

Imagine, in summary, that the media starting talking like us here at The AIMN. Making the same fair and obvious demands that we do.

It’s never going to happen.

Imagine too, how good it would be to sit down and have a chin wag with people like Kaye Lee, Victoria Rollison, John Lord, John Kelly, Michael Taylor, Rossleigh or Jennifer Wilson, or for that matter any of the regular or guest authors here, as well as any number of the hundreds of great commenters that frequent The AIMN. It’d be awesome, in my opinion, but the opportunity is unlikely present itself.

We won’t see the papers talk some sense, and we probably won’t have the chance to sit down with the people that do talk it.

So what’s the next best thing?

Listening to Something Wonky . . . a podcast featuring two forthright and entertaining lefties; Dave Gaukroger and Jeremy Sear, who give us a weekly wrap on what’s been happening in politics, media, and current affairs. Here is their website.

Listening to Something Wonky is just like it would be having that chat with Kaye Lee, Victoria Rollison, John Lord, John Kelly, Michael Taylor, Rossleigh or Jennifer Wilson et al. And it’s great to know there are people out there like us, people who fill the integrity void left by our mainstream media. It’s hard-hitting honesty at its finest.

I’ve been listing to Something Wonky for over a year and not an episode goes by without me inspired to want to grab a segment to write about. I could have written dozens of them, but instead I thought I’ll unashamedly give Something Wonky a plug.

What can you expect to hear then? Just the same as what we discuss here as well as the ‘imaginings’ we want from our media.

Here’s just one example of their rationale: Some of our feral right-wing politicians have been putting the fear of God into us about Muslim asylum seekers since the Paris attacks, and the media has been giving them plenty, if not too much oxygen. “Terrorists are on the boats”, they scream in fear. But as the boys point out, why would a terrorist hop on a leaky boat when they know the only place they are likely to end up (if they don’t drown) is some hell hole on Nauru or Manus Island? It’s oh so obvious, but who in the mainstream media has bothered to point that out to us?

That’s the sort of logic that is delivered in spades by this podcast. One and a half hours of it a week. It’s the best thing I know to counter the right-wing shock jocks who get regular and undeserved exposure.

The AIMN has over four million visitors a year. Even if a small percentage of those tuned into Something Wonky each week then not only will the boys appreciate it, but more and more people will get the REAL news.

Download an episode via iTunes (or whatever you use) and take a listen. I’d be interested in your views.

For me Something Wonky is a must, just like the articles here on The AIMN.

 

Spreading hate and fear the Murdoch way

The video below has been going viral and I post it here in the hope that it gets even more of a push along.

But first, the background.

Nearly one in five British Muslims has some sympathy with those who have fled the UK to fight for IS in Syria, claimed the Sun, despite the Sun wrongly interpreting an opinion poll of British Muslims’ attitudes to Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL).

The Sun (a Murdoch paper) has received enormous backlash for the article as well as receive criticism for basing the headline on a dodgy poll.

Despite a record 1200 complaints being lodged with British press watchdog over the article, this bloke has done the best job yet:

https://www.facebook.com/abu.yazan.gaza/videos/10207005388124390/?fref=nf

 

I think bloke says it all! What more can I say?

More on the backlash here:

Murdoch’s Sun slammed for wrongly claiming 1 in 5 Muslims supports ISIS.

What do Labor voters want?

Judging from the latest polls one would assume that Bill Shorten’s head is what Labor voters want first and foremost. But moments before this disastrous poll was splashed liberally on the front pages of most media sites, Labor voters had been talking about something equally as important as leadership woes: national issues.

A few months ago Labor voters were invited to vote on the issues they wanted to discuss most with Labor (which I wrote about here). Yesterday they announced the findings of this poll, which some of you might be interested in seeing:

barwithpercentage.png

Poll of Labor voters

The thing that strikes me the most is that it looks the reverse of what the media (over the last couple of years) and the Right-wing have been shrill about. It is also a message to Labor that Labor voters disapprove of the policies the Opposition is quick to show bipartisan support for with the Government.

It must be remembered that the poll closed (presumably) before the Paris attacks, and given that 7’s Sunrise have been telling us that 75 per cent of Australians believe there will be a terrorist attack on our soil, it would also be presumed that National Security might rate much higher than its low ranking.

The Paris attacks (and national security aside), one can only hope that Labor will start listening to Labor voters on the issues that are important to them. They asked what Labor voters wanted, and now they’ve been told.

I won’t hold my breath though.

 

Confusion in the Turnbull Government

Much about the Turnbull Government confuses me. Either I don’t know what they’re talking about, or they themselves have no idea what they’re talking about.

I’m convinced it’s the latter.

They say one thing while clearly meaning something else. I could write a book about the subject, but for the sake of a talking point I’ll limit it to the few examples below:

Shortly after being installed as our new you-beaut Treasurer, Scott Morrison says “we had a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and that he wanted to cut taxes further”. Yet his boss Malcolm Turnbull wants to raise the GST by five percentage points (effectively raising it 50 per cent). Malcolm Turnbull also wants to raise the revenue the government needed to provide services but it in a manner that “backs Australians rather than holds them back”.

One of them has no idea what they’re talking about. One of them is lying.

But of course we have an unfair tax system. That’s why Malcolm Turnbull has money invested in the Cayman Islands, where companies and individuals pay no direct tax.

If only our tax system was fair. No wonder he wants a tax reform that “backs Australians rather than holds them back“. Don’t hold back, Malcolm.

Speaking of Malcolm, and speaking of investments, it was he who was the most vocal critic of Labor’s fibre to the home NBN yet “it was revealed … that Mr Turnbull owns shares in France Telecom, which plans to connect 60 per cent of French households to fibre by 2020”. Yet he still tells us that Labor got it wrong. So he destroyed it. Fortunately the French have a good NBN.

We are told ad-nausem by the proud and boastful government that they have stopped the boats. So why has Transfield – who operate the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres – had their contract renewed for another five years? One would expect that if the boats had stopped then all of the detainees would shortly be either settled in Australia (unlikely) or sent to some miserable hell-hole elsewhere in the world. (Oh, I know, if Labor wins the next election then all the boats will start again. Good forward-thinking by the government).
And of course there’s the obvious: if the boats have stopped then why have detention centres!

Confusion reigns supreme in the Turnbull Government, and the Turnbull Government confuses me.

George Brandis obviously wants two laws

Oh, shoot me, please.

Attorney General George Brandis has:

. . . hit out at criticism of Tony Abbott’s religious beliefs, describing the “ridicule” to which the former prime minister was subjected as “bigotry at its most shameless”.

He is further quoted as saying:

“The incessant sneering and ridiculing of the former prime minister, Mr Abbott, on account of his religious faith was bigotry at its most shameless – made worse, if possible, by the added hypocrisy of the fact that many of those who engaged in that sneering were the very same people who like to pose as the enemies of bigotry.”

Hypocrisy! Oh dear.

This is the same George Brandis who in 2014 (in defence of Andrew Bolt, one assumes) declared that:

”People do have a right to be bigots, you know,” Senator Brandis said.

“People have the right to say things that other people would find insulting, offensive or bigoted.”

So who is the hypocrite, George?

It seems that there are two laws in this country: one for ‘them’ and one for ‘us’.

You can count me as one of ‘us’.

Bill Shorten takes climate change seriously, so guess who isn’t happy with him?

‘The frontline of climate change’ was the appealing subject of the email I received from Labor this morning. It read:

We often talk about what effects climate change will have on our economy, or on agricultural land, or how many more natural disasters we’re likely to suffer.

What we talk about less is how climate change is affecting some of our closest neighbours right now. And it’s devastating. The Papua New Guinea and island nations in the pacific are facing real, existential threats from climate change.

Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Richard Marles are visiting these islands this week and talking to people about life at the frontline of climate change.

This is an issue that isn’t going to go away – we’re likely to see and hear a lot more about it as the International Climate Change Conference in Paris approaches at the end of this month. We’ll keep you informed as much as we can.

Now you’d think that’d be a good thing. Here we have a group of politicians and a political party taking climate change seriously and placing it front and centre on the table. And added to that, they are engaging with counties that are most likely to be the first victims of rapid change.

In most countries this concern and their initiative would be applauded. But they might just happen to be countries where the Murdoch media doesn’t have the same influence as it does here. Instead of it being applauded, we see it derided. Andrew Bolt of The Herald Sun led the way:

LABOR leader Bill Shorten will test the honesty of journalists this week when he tours Pacific Islands he claims are drowning.

Will they dare report that most of the islands are in fact growing or stable? Or will they again prove they cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the global warming scare?

Shorten and deputy Tanya Plibersek plan to visit Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

As the gullible Sydney Morning Herald announced: “Labor wants to put climate change at the centre of public debate in the run-up to a major United Nations summit in Paris later this year.

Sister paper The Daily Telegraph could only feature the story as one that will see ‘Bill Shorten . . . fly 16,000km on a private jet . . .’ and mock him with the image above with the caption ‘Labor overboard with private jet tour‘, while all that news.com.au wanted to tell us was that Bill Shorten danced awkwardly while in Kiribati with suggestions that it might give us a good reason to laugh at him.

One would think that the Murdoch media don’t like the idea of someone taking climate change seriously.

Personally, I’ve had it up to my teeth with the Murdoch media. How can any important issue or any non-Coalition politician get a fair run in this country while the Murdoch media has so much power and so many right-wing fanatics spreading the Murdoch gospel?

Why would anybody want to re-elect this government?

Voters must have an intense dislike of asylum seekers.

The latest Morgan Poll is great for the government, which sees them leading the opposition 56.5/43.5.

Taking away personalities (ie, disregarding that many people obviously like Malcolm Turnbull), it really is hard to see what the government has going for them.

If re-elected, they will make life harder or more miserable for near on all of the population. “Yes we can” says the poster. And yes they will. For example, if re-elected they:

  • will be doing nothing to address climate change
  • will possibly increase the GST, costing each family about $4,000 a year
  • will continue to ignore science of any description
  • will be doing nothing about housing affordability
  • will be doing nothing about the high unemployment levels
  • will be providing us with internet speeds that are the worst in the world
  • will continue to tighten the screws for people on welfare or income support
  • will still be giving billions to the mining companies
  • they will do nothing about the huge gap in wealth inequality (quite the opposite, they will continue to pander to the rich)
  • will do nothing to help the disadvantaged in our society (they will probably cut funding even further)
  • will continue to beat around the bush as far as same-sex marriage goes
  • have intentions of changing the media ownership laws which will give Murdoch even more control of our media (and they’ll probably cut funding to the ABC even further)
  • will continue to demonise innocent people (Gillian Triggs is a good example)
  • will make it more costly to see a doctor or a specialist
  • if economists are correct, the government will lead us into a recession
  • will keep ripping coal out of our beautiful country – coal that nobody wants
  • will make tertiary education unaffordable
  • will strip away our citizenship if (as a dual citizen) we do as much as destroy a government owned coffee table
  • will spy on our every movement
  • will jail anybody who dares report on atrocities committed by the government
  • . . . and on and on the list goes

But . . . they will keep telling us that they’ve stopped the boats and we’re safe from all those murderous would-be terrorists that did sneak through because they’re all locked up now on Nauru or Manus Island and with any luck they will either rot to death or be sent to a country with an unpronounceable name where they can perish without our knowledge.

And no matter how much misery this Coalition government casts over our own lives we will vote for them because of their asylum seekers policies.

And it’s got me beat.

 

Bob Katter nails it: we are being deceived about the FTA with China

Bob Katter is a man I’ve never paid much attention to. He’s on the other side of the country and might as well be on the other side of the planet as far as I’m concerned. But when a friend sent me the link to Katter’s speech in Parliament last week on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement I sat up and took notice. It’s a gem. It sparkled. You need to see it.

Here it is:

Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (17:50): I feel sorry for the members of the government, I really do. They get a brief and they have got to get up and tell us how wonderful the free trade deal is and how it is going to save the world. I was in this place and saw the then Prime Minister stand up and lead the clapping for Andrew Robb on the free trade deal with China and I thought, ‘Maybe I know nothing about politics, but if this is getting you votes I am a Martian astronaut!’ Four weeks later he was thrown out a window.

You think you are deceiving the people of Australia. You are not. When they hear ‘free trade deal’, they hate you. Understand that, because I might not be an expert in a number of fields, but after 41 years of straight wins in pretty hostile territory, I can tell you that I know a little tiny bit about politics. I sat at the feet of the great master, Bjelke-Petersen. So if you are not interested in governing the country, if you are not interested in helping your country, maybe you might just think about your survival.

I feel sorry for the LNP. They somehow think that Australia is this big, huge country and that it can produce a magnificent amount of agricultural production. It most certainly can produce a lot more than it is producing. But it is not a big, huge agricultural country at all. There is 53 per cent of Australia that is designated as desert and 23 per cent is designated as Indigenous lands. Since the governments of Australia will not give title deed to those lands, they are sterilised. That is 76 per cent gone. There is seven per cent that is national parks. So, if you take out that 83 per cent, there ain’t a lot left.

The concept that huge areas of land will produce huge areas of food—sorry; that is wrong. There are a few thousand hectares, maybe 30,000 hectares, of land that is producing about a quarter of Australia’s beef production. They are called lot feeders. Basically the cattle do not wander around chewing grass. That is not the way beef is produced anymore in America or in Europe or in Australia. It is done in lot feeders. So you have a different concept altogether, where you do not need huge areas of land. Your competitive advantage is in that lot feeder. That is where the action comes. You have a competitive advantage in that area.

Somehow they think, ‘There are millions of people in South-East Asia, and we’re going to be able to sell all this food to them.’ Mr Deputy Speaker, I would refer you to the statistics. In fact, there is a pretty good chance that we will be importing food from those countries. Let me be very specific. When I stood up in this place 15 years ago and said that this market fundamentalism, this free market rubbish, will destroy your country, I said that Australia could become a net importer of food. Every 10 years, the imports increase at 103 per cent and the exports increase at 21 per cent. You do not have to be Albert Einstein to figure out that the graphs will soon cross.

Mr Deputy Speaker, you must understand that, if every Chinese city had two 20-storey buildings with tanks on each storey, then they could produce all of the protein requirements for China. They do not have to buy any of our beef. They do not have to buy any of our seafood product. In fact, if you look at a graph of the increase in seafood production in China, if you extrapolate that graph on for about 30 or 40 years, in theory all of the world’s protein would be coming out of the prawn and fish farms in China.

I am fascinated by how this is going to help Australia. The last speaker, the member for Lyne, touted the beef industry. I do not know if he knows anything about it. I rather doubt that he does, but he touted the beef industry. Well, let us have a look at what this free trade deal does for the beef industry. We sell our beef at the present moment at $2 a kilogram. If you look at the average price, it is a lot less than that, but I will take $2 a kilogram. Its 10 per cent tariff has been abolished, so that is a 20c advantage we get. The beef sells over there for $32 a kilogram. Those are the figures that have been given to me. But now the Australians are going to have a terrific advantage of 20c, so it is $31.80 now. Jeez, that will lead to a huge increase in the benefits for the beef producers of Australia! A difference between $32 and $31.80, and the member of parliament who sits beside me here, the member for Lyne, seriously touted that as something that is going to help the beef industry? Why doesn’t he do his homework? Why does he just take the drivel that comes from the frontbench? And the drivel that comes from the frontbench is dictated by the giant corporations that bankroll the mainstream parties.

Having dealt with the LNP, we will move on now to the ALP. If ever there was a day on which ‘Red Ted’ Theodore would turn in his grave and the founders of the labour movement would spit upon the people that sit in this House and call themselves Labor members, today is the day. When I walk out of this place, there is a magnificent portrait of a bloke called Charlie McDonald. Charlie McDonald was the first member for Kennedy, and every time I go out I salute Charlie. Six of Charlie’s first seven speeches in this place were railing against the importation of foreign labour. Well, this document opens the door to it. This man went out and helped form the Labor Party, the labour movement, of Australia. They fought and died, literally—there were three shearers shot dead at the strike, where Waltzing Matilda was written a couple of months later—and the entire executive of the AWU were jailed for three years with hard labour for having a strike. These men and their families went hungry. What happened when they got arbitration was that the miners said, ‘We’re bringing the coolies in from China. Ha, ha. Take that, Buster Brown; take that.’ And the cane plantations said, ‘We’re bringing the Kanaks in to be cane cutters, so take that, Buster Brown; take that.’

So the first member for Kennedy stood up in this place and courageously fought to create the Labor Party—and the people who sit here on $200,000 or $300,000 a year, enjoying the benefits from the creation of that labour movement, sit here and betray every principle that was put forward by those people. Charlie McDonald would turn in his grave. But I am proud to say that the people of Kennedy are still represented by people who are not sell-outs, who are not under the control of the big plantation owners or the big mining companies. No. We are under the control of the people of our area. That is who we are under the control of and proud to say it. This opens the door that the Charlie McDonalds died for. The ALP today sold them out—lock, stock and barrel. There is not a trade unionist in Australia who is not looking at the ground and being ashamed of his association with the labour movement.

Let me become very specific. I am fascinated. I am just a poor, humble, simple Cloncurry boy. Clearly, these wunderkind—over here and over there—have decided to have free markets. The honourable member over there, Mr Brough, is making faces; he thinks it’s funny! I will tell you how funny it is, my friend. You have to buy everything from overseas. The last whitegoods factory, which is at Orange, closes this year. So you have to buy all your whitegoods from overseas. About 40 per cent of the steel in your house—the roofing on it, the reinforcing steel for your floor—comes from overseas. About 40 per cent of your cement comes from overseas. All your whitegoods and all the motor cars in your garage will come from overseas, next year. The clothes you wear will all come from overseas. Your footwear will all come from overseas. The petrol you put in your car comes from overseas. Everything we buy comes from overseas. Where are we going to get the money to buy all of these things?

The honourable member there, Mr Brough, laughed at me. People have laughed at me ever since I came into this place and started talking about this. I want it on record that he laughed at me, because the history books will pass judgement upon him. They will say: ‘Who are the people who destroyed this country?’ We have to buy everything from overseas. Where are we going to get the money to buy all our petrol, to buy all our motor cars, to buy everything in our houses and to buy the clothes on our backs?

Let me turn to food—and people in this place laugh at me about this. This country is now a net importer of pork. It is a net importer of seafood. It is a net importer of fruit and vegetables. It is only a matter of time. As I said, it is 103 per cent every 10 years, the last time I looked, and a 21 per cent increase in exports every 10 years. Inevitably—as the sun rises—we will become a net importer of food. You cannot eat live cattle or unprocessed grain, but if you take those two commodities out we are getting pretty close, in fact, to being a net importer of food. People in this place have laughed at me, but the people of Australia are passing judgement upon them, already, as we talk.

Where are we going to get this money from? We have only two things now that we export, and everyone knows that they are iron ore and coal. I am not here to denigrate those industries. In fact, I pray every night of my life to the good Lord that it does not come to pass, the continuation of what we are suffering in the thermal coal industry. But I would not like to be backing myself in, and I will not go into the problems of the thermal coal industry. What you have is what you have, in iron ore.

The country has to buy everything from overseas—and all they have to buy it with is iron ore and coal. A little bit of gold. Of course, aluminium is doomed. Aluminium is electricity. It came to Australia when we had the cheapest electricity in the world, in Queensland. Australia now has the second highest electricity charges in the world. So it will be bye-bye aluminium. It will be bye-bye all mineral processing, because it all depends upon—and I am sick and tired, in this place, of hearing ‘It’s high wages that are killing us!’ Wages look pretty bloody small when compared with the cost of mineral processing, which is the cost of electricity.

It is due to the incompetence of the people in this place and of state governments who have taken electricity charges up 400 per cent in 10 years. That is what your free markets and privatisation have done: 400 per cent increase, in electricity charges, in 10 years. For 10 years before that, in Queensland, there was no increase at all. For 10 years before privatisation and a deregulation of the pricing mechanism we had no movement in price at all. My case rests. It dooms aluminium and it dooms mineral processing, so you are left with iron ore and coal. The income from iron ore and coal—maybe $150,000 million or whatever it is—is not enough to meet our imports. It is nowhere near enough.

You are living in a country that is going broke at 100 miles an hour. You cannot buy everything from overseas when you have nothing to sell overseas. The people in this place with their market fundamentalism, their fanaticism, have imposed upon Australia a regime that no other country on earth has to suffer under. Every other farmer on earth gets 40 per cent of his income from the government. Our poor farmers get six per cent. I conclude on that note. So much for your free trade. (Time expired)

 

They are not economic refugees, Mr Abbott

Liberated from his stand-in job as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott is now free to impart his wisdom on the world stage.

Last night his ‘wisdom’ was on display as he embarrassed both himself and this nation in delivering the annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture in London to an audience of ‘British Conservative Party leaders and members’.

His speech left me cold.

The crux of his speech was to tell the European leaders how they should be dealing with the influx of Middle Eastern refugees. Naturally, his own views are the polar opposite to what is happening in the real world and how the Europeans are actually dealing with the human misery.

I only want to focus on one aspect of his speech, where he classed most of the millions of people fleeing the Middle East as ‘economic migrants’.

He said most of the millions pouring into Europe were not “genuine refugees”, rather “economic migrants.”

I can’t believe he said that. I can’t believe he believes it, either. If he does, then one must wonder how disconnected from reality he is.

For two years we have listened to him talk about death cults.

I’d say that most of these people are fleeing these death cults.

We know that most of these refugees are fleeing from Syria.

Shortly before his prime ministership came to an abrupt (and thankfull) end he had made the decision to bomb Syria. This is the country where families are being dragged from their homes and butchered in the streets. This is the country where you’re lucky to still even have a home. This is the country where people are randomly plucked off the streets and beheaded (before the video of their mindless murder is humiliatingly posted on YouTube).

This is the country where young girls are being raped before their lifeless bodies are dumped in some alley.

The young, the old, men and women are being mutilated.

This is the country that has turned into both rubble and a rabble.

This is the country where the super powers are possibly to soon engage in some seriously frightening engagements.

And some idiot who used to be our Prime Minister hops onto the world stage to implore the leaders of Europe to treat these miserable souls as economic refugees.

Maybe Syria is an economic mess. But there are other problems that Tony Abbott seems to forget about.

When you’re fleeing bombs and ‘death cults’ the economic stability of the country you are fleeing would be the least of your concerns.

Someone please take the microphone away from Tony Abbott.

 

Give Labor a big tick

It was bound to happen and I’m glad it did.

After weekly emails from Labor – that were generally pointless or simply wanted me to sign a petition – I am pleased to announce that something constructive found its way into my inbox.

Instead of garbling on about nothing or inviting me/email recipients to send stern words to the government about whatever horrible policy they were trying to thrust upon us . . . Labor wants my opinion about the policies important to me.

I don’t know how many people received said email but I do hope that a hell of a lot of people are on their mailing lists. I want a hell of a lot of people telling Labor what is important to them.

Now to the email:

We want to make sure our community is heard. We have so many supporters who are passionate about so many different issues.

That’s why we’d like to hold a series of Facebook QandAs with Labor Shadow Ministers so that you can ask your questions about Labor’s plans and policies directly from the source.

So what issue are you most passionate about?

The Budget

The Economy

Education

Environment and Climate Change

Foreign Affairs

Health

Higher Education

Immigration and Asylum policy

Infrastructure

Innovation and Start-ups

National Security

The NBN

NDIS

Regional Australia

Social Security, Pensions and Welfare

Are Labor actually about to start implementing some policies? Are they actually trying to shake off the Liberal-Lite label? Are they actually trying to move forward again now that Tony Abbott and his wedge-style of politics have been swept away?

If ‘yes’ to all of the above, then “thank you, Labor”.

For two years I’ve been dumbfounded as to why the issues important to me have been ignored. There must be tens of thousands of Labor supporters who feel the same way, but at last Labor wants to hear from us.

As I’ve been the first to complain over these two years I will be making sure I am one of the first to tick some of the boxes. Please join me. We are about to be listened to.

Who provides the news: Journalists or Twitter?

I’ve noticed recently that a number of articles in the mainstream media revolve around what people are saying on Twitter.

I settle into any particular article before the journalist announces that “Twitter went into meltdown”, or “it created a Twitter storm”.

Two articles over the weekend (about the only two I read) proved my point.

The first was from the Fremantle versus Hawthorn game on Friday night: a game I cared little about but the headline sounded interesting: Hawthorn vs Fremantle, talking points from AFL preliminary final.

“Worth a look” I thought.

The second paragraph of the article ends with ‘Social media agreed’ before giving us screen shots of a number of tweets from nobody in particular.

A paragraph later – which was about a lout in the crowd – was concluded with ‘The spectator was widely condemned on social media’.

A string of more tweets.

Further down the article we are treated to tweets about the umpiring before this announcement: ‘Even Shane Warne didn’t like what he was seeing’.

Was he interviewed? No. There was a screenshot of his tweet.

Truly pathetic journalism.

The second article was more up my ally: Is it aliens? NASA sends space fans into frenzy with news of a “major announcement”.

As with the football article it turned out to be little more than collection of tweets from a bunch of nobodies. How’s this one, for example:

Wow! Can’t believe that our mainstream media even bothered with that.
I’ve only picked two articles from the weekend but it’s a trend I’m seeing more and more in the media – even in political articles. Has anybody else noticed?
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