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Tag Archives: Australian Labor Party

The Racist Agenda Was Made to Destroy The Working Class

The fear of ‘the others’ permeates everything lately. Social media, politicians, commentators and the mainstream media are enabling a culture of stigma and ‘othering’. Fear of people we don’t understand shuffles beneath the surface of individual thought.  These fears have a parasitic grip on beliefs, ideas and thought. It channels thought, word and deed through the prism of fear. This fear is a man-made construct, developed by conservatives to destroy the working class.  It can be framed as the pre-agenda of the real agenda. The real agenda for the conservatives is as always – to destroy the working class. The pre-agenda is to establish a base, through fear of others, to help them get there.

Racism, Fear and Work Choices

This pre-agenda was first tried in the 1990’s with the aim to support the real agenda. That was to see more people embrace Howard’s Work Choices. In the 1990’s the stigma and fear of Indigenous people and Asian people was developed with a particular aim. That is fear would grip people. They would turn to those speaking out loudest against Indigenous people and Asian people. This would then, see people turn to the Government’s ‘paternalist-guiding hand’ agenda. In other words, stand with the Government to destroy the unions and destroy the working class. Even better if you were working class yourself and you left the union.

It was not going according to plan. To save some face, Howard had to terminate his association with the person he mentored, developed and gave a platform to, to be the voice of the pre-agenda. The agenda of racism. A person so ‘brave’ her voice shook when she spoke. A person dressed as an everyday Australian suburban woman. The mother at school, the tuckshop lady, the shop owner, the corner store worker. The person we don’t really know but feel comfortable ‘having a chat to.’ This person was Pauline Hanson. Pauline Hanson was to be the very voice to create a culture of fear, stigma and racism. This fear was to be so great that people’s attention would divert away from the atrocity of Work Choices. So blinded by fear of others, they would support it. 

Work Choices Enabled

As history has shown us, this backfired. It was the wrong time and the wrong targets of racism for longevity. It did work in part. A conservative Government was in for four terms and the biggest defining piece of anti-worker legislation was enabled.

However, the uptake was not strong enough for people to be blinded to the plight of the worker and the destructive anti-worker policies put forward by the Howard Government.The Rights at Work movement was the light of the working class fighting against the darkness of Work Choices. Good trumped Evil and in 2007 the working class won. We are seeing no such movement today. No such swell of deep angst organising to take up the cause. The ‘fear of other’s’ is blinding people to the real agenda. There appears to be no lessons learnt from the Work Choices era.

The Agenda of Fear Enables Attacks on the Working Class

Prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, racism, hatred and xenophobia suck the life from rational decision-making like an insidious contagious disease.  Once it has obtained its grip, this fear underpins and drives people to agree and believe in political ideology and political direction and policies, they would normally not have agreed with or believed in. The fear that we must stay safe from ‘the others’ now underpins agreement. Agreement to attack the worker and demonise and denigrating the poor. Those who choose to do so defend this stance vehemently. They see this as the just thing to do. It does not matter what the consequences are.

The Howard Government, along with the Abbott-Turnbull-(?) Government underpins their policy decisions with the idea that the working class do not know what is good for the country. That is, to allow the free market to flourish, by allowing the owners of the capital to tell the owners of the labour what they will be paid, how they will work and the conditions they will work in. Not to stand in they way of big business.

This is a Disturbing Reality

The fear of others is so great that some of the people who fought against this in the 1990’s are not remotely interested in what is happening to the working class, the jobless and the poor. They are too busy battling the ghosts the agenda of fear has conjured. The conservatives appear to have chosen the right time and the right targets of racism and stigma.

Muslims, in the minds of the fearful, are far more frightening than Indigenous people or Asians. In the 90’s these targets of victimisation were “stealing our social security money, stealing our jobs and stealing our land.”  Today, in a nutshell, the belief among the fearful is that Muslims will take over the world and force us to become ISIS.”  

Therefore, they must seek solace in ‘the brave’ – find their ‘protector.’  When Pauline Hanson’s voice shakes today it sounds much more brave to fearful ears, as the fear is much more magnified today with Muslims as the target. Hanson is indeed much more appealing as a consoling leader, as she speaks the loudest and the media makes her the centre of attention, which reinforces her words as ‘normal and justified.’  This is a disturbing reality towards the success of the conservative agenda of destroying the working class.

Too Busy Battling Ghosts

Today in 2017, the fear of others is so great that some of the people who fought against Work Choices in the 1990’s are not remotely interested in what is happening to the working class, the jobless and the poor. They are too busy battling the ghosts the agenda of fear has conjured. The fear of things that may never, ever happen and are not happening underpins their decisions to support anti-worker, anti-welfare and anti-community policies. They will even argue that these things are not happening, although the nightly news will tell the stories of what has been passed in parliament and although they can watch both houses live. It is a case of blanket denial, because ‘Pauline stands up for us Aussies against those Muzzie Bastards – Have you even read the Koran?‘  

They will scream, yell, insult and rant at those who are awake to the fact that these policies are being passed and are deeply concerned about their implications, and call them liars or ‘too sensitive’.  They are practised at standing firm with everyone who agrees with them and calling it ‘the right’ and those who they shun and don’t agree with them ‘the left.’

For Hanson voters, Attacking Workers Is Pro-Worker

Hanson advocates appear to have a twisted belief that Hanson, a conservative, Christian, nationalist, ex-member of the Liberal party, who shows immense support for the Liberal Party and who wants to abolish all penalty rates, abolish holiday leave loading and voted for the ABCC, somehow is ‘for the worker.’ This would indeed make Hanson ‘left’ on the political spectrum.

Yes, the pro-working class voter of yesteryear, now see being angry at the passing of legislation that will increase worker deaths, where a worker has no right to silence, that removes mandatory employment of apprentices, that sees income ripped from low paid workers and harsh and unjust punitive measures on the jobless, as weak and ‘not concerned enough about ‘the others’ (who will destroy our freedoms). Workers rights have become secondary to many people who are actually good working class people, simply blinded by unfounded fear. That is a disturbing reality.

Right Time. Right Targets

This time, the conservatives appear to have chosen the right time and the right targets of racism and stigma. This is also a disturbing reality.

With so much talk about Australian values lately; attacking the worker and denigrating the poor were conservative agendas that people would fight tooth and nail against. It was against our values. They would rise up and join the struggle to ward off this narrative from becoming the norm.

The narrative of the pre-agenda is, however, strong and it has born an entirely new class of voters. Voters who are now welcoming these baseless attacks on the working class and the poor as ‘the new acceptable norm’.  Some choose to ignore the implications, such as anti-worker policy passing both houses. Others see it as a ‘sacrifice’ for the greater good, of staying safe and not letting ‘the others’ destroy us, take over our country, our jobs and our freedoms. 

Some of these people are true conservatives. Some are the non-union working class, some are union working class and some are jobless and/or are living below the poverty line. The majority of people within the ‘right wing agenda-Hansonite groupings’ supporting this ‘pre-agenda’ are the very people conservative politics attacks.

The Mini Resistance

The desire to keep fear and prejudice strong within individuals has now formed into a collective, via contagion and has formed into a mini-resistance.  It is suffocating the empathy and understanding of the plight of the worker, the jobless and the poor. There are those who were in the trenches with the working class in the 1990s, who are now fighting against the worker, shoulder to shoulder, embracing the enemy of the working class.

There are those who fight by shouting their prejudices and wearing them on their sleeve; angrily scream at anyone who dares to ‘not see the real truth.’ Their truth.

Then there are those who consciously or unconsciously deny their prejudices. They don’t want to say these things out loud. They just want to think them. Pauline Hanson, other conservative politicians, conservative commentators and the media will say these things for them. (She speaks for me). This gives them a new confidence to speak these prejudices out loud for the first time. To speak them gives a sense of reinforcement and belonging. For some, the feeling is almost euphoric. A relief beyond comprehension. They feel they are finally part of a collective. A resistance and that they ‘belong.’

This sense of belonging brings a sense of security and protection. A belief that if the ‘protectors’ – the one’s who are loudest attacking ‘the others’ will keep us safe from harm. However, it is through this false sense of reality, that real harm is being ignored, disbelieved. For some who have made the complete transformation to anti-working class – they embrace it.

The Racist Agenda. A Man Made Construct to Destroy the Working Class

What other anti-worker, anti-welfare policies will dedicated ‘Hansonites’ ignore, accept, condone and defend, all in the name of staying true and remaining loyal to the resistance that fights against minorities and speaks loudly to denigrate ‘the others?’

The racist agenda is a man-made construct developed as a pre-agenda to assist the conservative Government to destroy the working class. In 1996, “Howard’s Battlers” of the working class enabled the biggest onslaught on the working class we have ever seen. In 2017, “Pauline’s Battlers” are on the rise.

People must stop allowing the unrealistic fear of others to underpin and guide their beliefs, opinions, and decisions and take notice of the attacks on the working class. They must make a conscious choice. Support the workers and the jobless. Otherwise, support the Christian-Conservative Nationalist anti-worker agenda of Hanson and the rest of the right-wing parties. Supporting Hanson, the Liberals, The Bernardis, the Xenophons and Hinch, gives zero support to the working class.

Otherwise, this time, the conservatives may win and sustain real longevity. The attacks on the working class may completely destroy everything unionists and the working class have fought for, were jailed for and died for.

Is the “Defence Land Grab” Turnbull’s “Carbon Tax Lie?”

In 2010, Tony Abbott, supported by the media in epic proportions, touted Gillard’s infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” as THE lie that cost Abbott the Prime Ministership. Moving forward to 2017, an even bigger lie has been revealed. This just may be THE lie which allowed Turnbull to hang on by the skin of his teeth to power.  This lie is the Turnbull Government remained silent on the compulsory acquisition of farming land in Central Queensland for supplying land to the Singaporean Army for defence training.

Lust for Power and Political Lies

When the lust for political power is such that it sees citizens denied their rights, or it denies voters to make an informed vote, it is up to all of us to stand up against that.

Prior to the election in May 2016, the LNP MP for Capricornia, Michelle Landry announced that the Turnbull Government was investing in defence at Shoalwater Bay.  Landry was pleased to announce that this would pump millions into the local economy and it was a positive for small business.

In all instances, Michelle Landry framed the Shoalwater Bay investment in terms of an upgrade, implicitly insinuating that the upgrade was to existing facilities. Landry omitted the cold hard facts that this also included, or had even the potential to include compulsory acquisition of nearby farming land, owned by local farmers for generations (see maps in link above).

In addition, Bill Byrne, QLD Labor Minister for Agriculture has also accused Defence Minister Marise Payne of misleading the Senate.

QLD Labor Minister Byrne said that:

“There is no doubt in my mind that vital information was withheld to gain electoral advantage, and I am raising the possibility that Minister Payne… misled the senate estimates hearing,”

How Long Have They Known?

On 18th March, 2016, Defence Minister Payne issued a press release which detailed the enhanced development of training operations between Singapore and Australia.

military-increased-access

Therefore, in March 2016, the Defence Minister, Minister for Trade and Investment, Special Envoy for Trade and the Foreign Minister knew that an increase of Singaporean Troops was earmarked or military training facilities. The question is:

Did not one of these Ministers have any awareness that this increase would indeed require an expansion to the military training areas?

Was this promise made without even developing an understanding of how it might impact on people living in the region or the impact on our economy?

Has the Member for Capricornia, shown absolutely no interest in asking her own Party about any perceived negative impacts on the constituency she is supposed to represent? 

Do You Even Budget?

The Federal Budget papers do not detail any expenses for upgrading the Military Operations in Shoalwater Bay.

However, in capital expenses, the Government does commit to $29.9 billion over 10 years from 2016‑17 to 2025‑26 to support initiatives in the Defence White paper which includes:

A number of ADF training areas in northern Australia will receive upgrades by 2020, including Shoalwater Bay (Queensland)

Once again, Shoalwater Bay and Townsville are only discussed as upgrades and not as an expansion.

In October, Senator Payne took a question from Senator McDonald regarding the memorandum of understanding with Singapore. Senator Payne detailed that the Singaporean Army will invest “around $2.25 billion in upgrades to Australian training areas while up to 14,000 Singaporean troops will join our own for training for up to 18 weeks per year in Australia.”

However, in Senator Payne’s response in the Senate, she details that this inclusion in the Defence White Paper includes increasing international defence engagement. The CSP will particularly enhance training area access and joint development of facilities.

Shoalwater Bay Expansion

The expansion was announced in the Senator on 8th November. Senator Payne advised the house that she would make sure that ADF would conduct extensive engagement and consultation. This has not occurred and Farmers were advised via a letter of the compulsory acquisition of Land, a shock to many. The Coalition Government decided upon compulsory acquisition of land without consulting Farmers. 

This afternoon I updated the Senate on how the Government is engaging with local businesses and community leaders in Central and North Queensland ahead of the implementation of the Military Training Agreement with Singapore.

Posted by Marise Payne on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The strategic partnership is detailed as developed in May, the White Paper states upgrades as an aim. However, in May, 2016, the Government did not detail any expenses for an expansion, just an ‘upgrade.’ The Government knew the increase in Singaporean Personnel and the aims of the strategic plan, at least in May. Why did they not question the logistics of this increase? QLD Minister Bill Byrne goes into much more depth here.

Lies or Incompetence?

The Government either hid the information regarding the compulsory acquisition of farming land from voters prior to the election, or they were incompetent in their planning with the Singaporean Army in the land area that was required to achieve the aims of the strategic plan.

If the Government was evasive and did not disclose in May that this land was a necessity to acquire by force of compulsory acquisition, then the Government is also incompetent by excluding the loss of revenue from Beef Producers in the region in the Agriculture revenue within the Budget. This will rip approximately 100,000 head of cattle from our local producers and severely impact on the two meat works in Rockhampton.  Rockhampton is the Beef Capital of Australia. This Defence threat to farmer’s land will hand this title to Casino in NSW.

The Defence Land Grab Lie

To put the omission of the compulsory acquisition of farming land into perspective of the infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” is that the Coalition rests on just 76 seats. Just enough to form Government. The Carbon Tax Lie was touted by the Coalition and by the media as the lie that denied Abbott the Prime Ministership.

In Queensland the Coalition won 21 seats. There are quite a number of seats in QLD that the coalition holds onto with very slim margins. Michelle Landry’s seat of Capricornia scraped through with only 1111 votes, with the majority of Liberal votes coming from the rural areas via postal votes. The nearby seat of Flynn, saw the local Labor candidate, Zac Beers, almost decimated O’Dowd’s comfortable seat, leaving O’Dowd with a swing against him of -8.96. Capricornia was one of the deciding seats in the election. Flynn now sits on a margin of 2.08, 1,814 votes.

These are just some examples of regional seats in Queensland, where the Liberal National Coalition and indeed the local LNP MPs fighting to keep their seats would know full well that attacks on our farming community and a farmers land grab would have banished at least Landry and O’Dowd into oblivion.

In Regional Queensland regardless of whether we live in town, or out on a property, or what our traditional political beliefs are, everyone is united in standing up for the farmers. No doubt, many Australians feel the way regional Queenslanders do and would have voted accordingly.

Announcements Before the Election

As detailed above in March, the Defence Minister met with Singapore to discuss mutual aims for Defence, including access and development of training facilities. From May, the Coalition were spruiking their deal with the Singaporean Army, which would bring 14,000 Singaporeans to the region for training.  The ADF website details that:

“Identifying a remote parcel of land for Singapore Armed Forces training was considered during development of the agreement, but was dismissed due to the limited benefit for the Australian Defence Force.”

Therefore, in May, the Coalition knew full well that an expansion was required. In no instance, did Michelle Landry or Marise Payne identify the expansion and what land was to be (initially) used. They simply implicitly stated that they were ‘upgrading existing facilities’ to house the increase of Singaporeans.

The revelation that the Liberal National Government had no contingency plan if this ‘parcel of land’ detailed above fell over and that would mean forced acquisition of farming land, speaks to the either a cover up and deceit to voters or blatant incompetence.

How the LNP Duped Voters – Psychological Projection

Psychological projection is a tried and true campaign style of the LNP, particularly in Queensland.  Psychological projection is when someone takes their undesirable feelings or beliefs and projects them onto others, with take the focus of them and project it onto others.

For example, if the Liberals stated the opposition would ‘harm families’ but knew it was their party and not the opposition, that had a plan to abolish funding that would harm families. This is psychological  projection. This technique is also used by Republicans in America.

Setting up for the Campaign

On the 4th May, the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry posed a question to the Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce. This question was put forward to demonstrate how much the LNP invest in helping farmers. This is such a contradiction in terms to the real truth that an expansion would heavily impact on Beef production and supply for the Capricornia region. Landry had already established a platform that LNP supports farmers and Labor does not prior to the election. That smells very much like a precursor for the campaign strategy below.

At the Norman Road booth in Capricornia, where I handed out HTV cards, Landry’s fly-in campaigners from down south (because her local volunteers do not appear to be in abundance) were screaming:

“Labor Hates Farmers!!!” 

They were also telling voters not to vote for the Katter Party or Glenn Lazurus as “they are funded by the dirty filthy unions.”  The absolute hatred for the worker by the LNP in Capricornia also runs deep.

If this was the campaign style at one booth, then it would stand to reason that this was the campaign strategy at many booths.

The truth in this, is that whilst Landry’s mob were screaming “Labor Hates Farmers!!” it was indeed Landry’s mob who were getting set to do the dirty on farmers in the Capricornia region.

Labor Supports Farmers

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Minister Bill Byrne, QLD MPs Jim Pearce and Brittany Lauga and Federal Senator Murray Watt, have organised forums and rallies to give these Farmers a voice.  Brittany Lauga also organised counselling services for local farmers as, readers would appreciate the impact on their emotional health with this decision is heartbreaking and as Lauga said, quite urgent.

Please see the video below from the Rally, including a brilliant speech from local Farmer, Pip Rea.

Shoalwater rally against defence land grabs.

Posted by Queensland Country Life on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Never Underestimate the Vote in QLD

We have already seen what happens in QLD when the Government defies the wishes of the electorate.  In 2012, QLD Labor were banished to seven seats, for selling QLD Rail. In 2015, the LNP were thrown out of office after one term, with Labor taking 37 seats from the opposition for a total of 44 seats. Our assets are not for sale. Not now. Now ever.

Similar anger would have been felt from Queenslanders, on July 2, if they knew about the compulsory acquisition of farming land. This would have most certainly resulted in a very different parliament than we have today.

What You Can Do

Yesterday, the Federal Government said they would look at ‘alternatives’ due to the outcry from local farmers. However, local farmers are not satisfied, with some suggesting this is just to take the heat off of the first week in Parliament.

Bill Shorten has written to the Prime Minister personally and The QLD Premier has requested COAG be held in Rockhampton.

“IF he has any guts he will come here and face you.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Premier, commenting on the Prime Minister “The Rally” Rockhampton 1st February, 2017.

However, that is not a victory.  A victory is no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land.  That is the outcome local farmers want.

To support Farmers you can like and encourage friends to like the Marlborough Defence Land Grab Facebook Page

Sign and share the Stop the Australian Farm Land being Blown Up Petition

Write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Defence Minister Marise Payne and your local member and insist upon no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land for Defence Training to accommodate the Singaporean Army

Listen and Share Ray Hadley’s scathing interview with Barnaby Joyce linked below:

Renting our Land to the Singaporeans

Barnaby: If we say we will never forcibly acquire anything, we will never build another road, we will never build another dam…..

Hadley: Yeh but they are not giving it to the Singaporeans…….

Hadley: Barnaby, Barnaby, the one thing we never get involved in is BS…..

One thing Hadley is right about – this entire thing is B.S. 

 

Federal ICAC: The Keys to the Electoral Mint?

By Tim Jones

Would the promise of a Federal ICAC give one of the majors the keys to the electoral mint? Tim Jones urges Turnbull or Shorten to take the microphone.

ICAC – The Keys to the Electoral Mint

In what is evolving into a series of ongoing scandals of rorting and corruption, federal MPs’ expenses are increasingly under the microscope – as they should be. However, scrutiny of use of taxpayer money should be constant. It should not just be a reaction to a particular scandal. Calls have been made to establish a federal version of the state anti-corruption body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

There is a serious political opportunity here. We are in an age where, according to one recent poll, 80% of Australians think politicians are corrupt. The federal leader who introduces the bill to establish a federal ICAC has the keys to the electoral mint. As the one (seemingly) honest politician, they could win elections for their party in a landslide for years to come. If the other party rejects the proposal, so much the better. You take that fact, and you break them with it. They support corruption, or they have something to hide and so on. The campaign literature writes itself.

Is Shorten Wasting an Opportunity?

The fact that the LNP appears to reject the idea outright gives Labor leader Bill Shorten this very opportunity. However, his support for the idea has been weak, much like his leadership.

This is a consequence of Kevin Rudd’s no knifing clause in the Labor constitution. This was designed to create stable leadership by making it impossible to knife the leader. However, this job security has bred complacency in Mr. Shorten and a marked lack of leadership.

Even accounting for the fact that he was on holiday during the Sussan Ley scandal (and why would you not come back early at the presentation of a half-volley on leg stump?), his silence on this scandal has been deafening. The reason behind this silence is not clear. A don’t ask, don’t tell policy among politicians? A fear at what would be found if his own or his colleagues’ expenses reports were scrutinised, or something else? Whatever the reason, Mr. Shorten’s silence on this issue is deafening.

The ICAC Board

Who would sit on such a board? Naturally, sitting politicians would be banned – foxes guarding the hen-house and all that. Sitting politicians should have no say in who will be on the board, for the same reason.

I wonder if anyone else has noticed that certain former politicians, including Dr. John Hewson, Dr. Craig Emerson and perhaps also Kristina Keneally, offer sober analysis and often criticise their own side of politics. These people are examples of being able to take the politician out of the party and the party out of the politician. Are they infallible? No, and no-one is saying that. But they are outside the current hyper-partisan political battlefield and so are more likely to offer something approaching impartiality.

Other possible appointees would include political science academics, CPAs and other financial experts. For the I in ICAC to mean anything, there would be no government oversight of the board a la former NSW Premier (he has since resigned).  Mike Baird, caused trouble for an an ICAC investigator after they uncovered inconvenient truths about him.

There should be no communication between government and board, aside from subpoenas for records and testimony. Any sitting MP or Senator found with falsified records, or who lies to the board, will be terminated and prosecuted. Funds recovered and an immediate by-election called with no appeal. The parliamentarian should, of course, surrender any post-service pensions or entitlements upon conviction.

The time has come for corruption to end. The age of transparency must dawn. All parliamentary expenses, both during and post-service, are paid for with tax dollars. The people have a right to know how those monies are spent.

Mr. Turnbull or Mr. Shorten, take the microphone

 

Originally published on criticalanalystsite

 

Jobs And Grr… Sorry, I meant to say Jobs and Gr…

Sorry, that was meant to be “growth” in the title but for some reason “growth” just stopped, and I think we all know the reason why it’s so hard to have any sort of gr…

Gro…

G-G-r-r-o…

Oh dear, it just won’t appear.

Anyway, I think we know the reason. It’s because of you.

Well, you all complained. You all ridiculed them about “Jobs And Growth”, so it’s your fault that the last quarter didn’t have any growth. It ran away because it didn’t like have to appear after “jobs” all the time. It couldn’t put up with the humiliation any more.

After all, it can’t be Scott Morrison’s fault that we don’t have “jobs and growth”. Couldn’t be. Ok, ok, maybe it’s not totally your fault. Actually when I think about it, like everything else, it’s Labor’s fault for blocking those company tax cuts. Now, I know Tony said that they were going to be a “no excuses” government, but this isn’t an excuse, it’s a reason. Besides, Tony’s not the Prime Minister any more…

Well, not at the time of writing, anyway, but if that changes before I hit publish then the rumours about him not launching a challenge until Malcolm’s approval rating goes so low that installing Ivan Milat as leader would give the Liberals a boost were wrong.

So, after giving the matter consideration, I think that we can safely say that the lack of growth can be put down to Labor’s decision to block the company tax cuts because reducing the government revenue from profitable companies would encourage all those unprofitable companies who pay little or no tax and the economy would get a boost somehow. I mean, remember the boost cutting the mining tax gave to the miners! Look at how cutting the carbon tax has the economy growing in a way not seen since the GFC!

And speaking of the carbon tax, thank goodness the Minister for Saving And Wrecking The Environment, Mr Frydenberg was able to clear up the confusion about an emissions scheme. Apparently when he said:”We know that there’s been a large number of bodies that have recommended an emissions intensity scheme, which is effectively a baseline and credit scheme, we’ll look at that,” he meant that they’ll view it, shake their heads, before announcing that they can’t consider it because not only is it the most cheap and effective way of reducing emissions but they can’t consider it because it was never on the table, unlike so many of the things that were on the table earlier in the year like the GST or the states having their own income tax. By “look at it”, many of those institutions peddling fake news like the ABC and Fairfax tried to imply that “look at” means the same thing as “consider”, in much the same way that they tried to imply that when Abbott said that he and Labor were identical on Gonski that it meant that they would both implement it, when Abbott merely meant that they had the same election policy. Really! Next they’ll be trying to ask us to believe that the jobs from the “jobs and gr…” slogan were meant to be jobs for people already living in Australia, which is the sort of xenophonic, racist nonsense that Labor and their union mates try to push…

Of course, if One Nation say exactly the same thing we should listen to them because they received nearly five percent of the vote in some states and you can’t ignore with people scoring that many votes in a democracy. In fact, you’re even allowed to disagree with them… but only after acknowledging that they have a point and maybe it is time that we replaced the High Court with the judges from “Masterchef”.

Anyway, it’s good to know that young Josh has come out and explained that on Monday he was misquoting himself when he talked about an energy intensity scheme and as our fearless leader, Malcolm Turnbull pointed out, there was nothing about an emissions intensity scheme in the review and that Josh Frydenberg was clearly being confused with someone who speaks on behalf of the Liberal Party when only Cory Bernardi is authorised to announce policy without checking with anybody on planet Earth.

What have you really noticed about Bill Shorten?

With so much of the same old, same old meeps about the Lib-Lab monopoly/duopoly and the clatter of mismatched voices who want something new, but can’t articulate what that is; the question is “have you actually taken the time to notice what Bill Shorten is about?”

Is it possible that for some, the inner voices of cynicism and pessimism developed by participating in the mob culture of screaming against a two party system, automatically disregard even the most progressive and positive reforms from Shorten’s Labor, just because they are a major party?

Is it possible that some are so fixated on the decisions of leaders of the past they did not agree with? Is it possible that due to this, they are not yet ready to notice Labor in 2016 and view them with a clean slate? Turnbull has been afforded this opportunity, but I do not notice this being extended to Shorten.

Is it possible that this is just a rant by someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause? Possibly. That is for the reader to decide.

However, all I can talk about is what I have noticed from my own perspective. So I will outline a few things that really strike me about Bill Shorten and his leadership and the direction he has been taking Labor thus far.

I will do this as counters to two distinct areas of the narrative I have noticed in the context of myth breaking,  of “Both Parties are exactly the same” as I see it – “Underpinning Values” and “They are selfish and out of touch and just don’t listen.”

 

Myth: Both the Major Parties are exactly the Same

Underpinning Values

I personally always find this statement extremely confusing. I will begin with the underpinning values of both parties, as I see them.

Liberals – The Liberal’s values are underpinned by individualism. In terms of public social policy, they believe that everyone is born equal and it is up to the individual’s inherent propensity to ‘make it in life. They believe, this in turn this develops the country as a strong and prosperous country.  Liberals believe in small Government intervention as they see Government intervention makes individuals lazy and reliant on Government and this weakens society.

Government intervention is usually paternalistic with punitive measurements seen as a guiding hand, that is required to motivate those without an internal propensity for self-development.

They believe in low taxes and favour a user pays system instead of major investment in Government funded services. The Liberals are semi anti socialism of the public sector and favour privatisation and outsourcing of the public sector where they can achieve it.

They believe in the free market and the balance of power in favour of the employer is the best result for the economy.  Liberals have a disregard for the value of a person’s labour and believe low wages and low cost to employers create more jobs and are drivers for the economy.

Liberals do not promote Government intervention in high unemployment as a large surplus labour force drives wages down, as opposed to a tight competitive labour force.

The Liberals believe in maintaining the status quo through conservative and nationalist values.

Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott, continue to champion their commitment to these values. Abbott being more vocal and committed to these values than Turnbull, who is committed to these values, but remains largely silent on the intent or values which underpin his policies. 

Malcolm Turnbull’s reason for going to a double dissolution election, was a policy which has star chamber type elements and strips away the civil rights of the worker, including apprentices. He saw this as so important, so vital to the progress of the nation.

Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s abhorrent budget cut regime progressed and championed by Turnbull, with all the pomp and ceremony of an entitled King.

Labor –  Labor’s values are underpinned by a form of collectivism and solidarity. Their valued are based on democratic socialism, egalitarianism and laborism. Labor recognises that not everyone is born equal and that it is the Government’s duty to intervene and provide assistance to those who need a hand up to achieve equality. They believe in a Welfare State to provide protection and social and economic benefits to the nation’s citizens.

Government intervention is incentive based and with a propensity towards proactive rather than reactive measures. (Such as investment in preventative health measures and needs based education funding).

Labor believe in the socialism of the public sector as opposed to the privatisation of the public sector to provide the best services to the community.  They believe the right assistance can develop individuals into strong, productive citizens, able to engage in the community, and break down the hindrances that were preventing them from doing so. Labor’s values consider external factors to the individual’s inherent drive and personality, and do not seek to place blame on the individual, but seek to address these hindrances and strive to provide an egalitarian society.

Labor’s overarching philosophy is Laborism, which values the labour of the working class. Laborists believe in the protection of safe work, rights and wages. They also believe this drives productivity and keeps the economy strong. They strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to work and a fair days work for a fair days pay. They believe in the Fair Go for workers.

Laborism is consistent with Government intervention in job creation projects to bring equal opportunity to everyone through the ability to access secure work, self development and career progression. They strive for low unemployment as this also creates a better standard of living though higher productivity and higher wages.

Labor believes in collective progressive policy which seeks to challenge the norms of the status quo. They are the leaders of every major positive reform contemporary Australia has ever had, such as: Medicare, Superannuation, Collective Bargaining, Fair Work Tribunal, Gonski, NDIS and NBN  

Under Bill Shorten’s leadership, his message is clear that he has returned to the true Labor values ingrained in Laborism which distinguishes Labor as a defiant opposition to the conservative alternative.

His very vocally championing egalitarian values and laborism as progressive solutions. His rejection of the increase to a GST as it would hurt the most vulnerable, his damning rejection of changes to Medicare and tenacious protection of our universal health system, his rejection of the removal of penalty rates and his submission to the Fair Work Commission to protect same.  His endless counter attacks on the Government to protect pensioners and families from harmful cuts and to stop the Liberals making the unemployed starve for six months!

His policy for protecting workers from underpayment, from exploitation and ensuring clarity of the term “Internship” to separate this from an essential learning or training activity from one of exploitation of the working class. In addition to policy for mandatory quotas of apprentices in Federally funded projects and investment in upskilling and training in new technologies.  There many more examples of this differentiation between Shorten’s Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals, and they can be found here.

Both parties are selfish and out of touch – they just don’t listen to the people

Liberals – The Liberals view of “the people” traditionally focuses big business as centric to their policy development.  A key focus of economic policy management is built around the rhetoric of welfare bashing of ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘taxed and taxed nots’ so cuts will be met with little resistance from the public, through the stigmatisation of this group.

Engagement with the “community” is often restricted to attendance at high end functions, with high end priced tickets for high end donations.

As described in the section above, the attacks on families, welfare recipients and workers are a testament to how out of touch the Liberals are with the every day Australian and their families.

Turnbull’s “look at moi” empty verbose rhetoric, where he talks at people and not to them. An example of this is, his common phrase of, “We simply must remember….” in my view is a clear indication of class separation where the ‘people (a forgetful and unintelligent lot) need a gentle paternalistic guiding hand from those who need to remind us of our place.”

Labor – The Labor movement invests in grass roots activism. Under Bill Shorten engaging with the public has been a central focus.  Community Cabinets in QLD were introduced by the Labor Government and Shorten’s personal style is community forums, where he openly takes questions from the floor and answers questions in an open public forum.

Shorten has done about 150 public forums in the last 18 months and numerous live Facebook feeds direct to anyone on Facebook who cares to subscribe to his live posts.

As for if Shorten is in touch with the people. I will leave you with his budget reply address for you to decide.

My personal view on Shorten

I have had the personal opportunity to attend one of Bill Shorten’s community forums.

In my own experience, he fielded a huge variety of random questions and answered them in detail. He was relaxed and open and quite focused on the night being about the people and their questions and not about us listening to a speech about him or Labor.

I had the opportunity to ask a question.  He approached me after the event and asked me to write to him in more detail with my concerns and expressed genuine interest in speaking to me further. I saw him openly engaging with others with genuine interest as well after the event.

He did not have to do that. He did not have to seek me or others out. He had enough people around him to purposely avoid me, if he wanted to. It speaks to his genuineness as a leader. I wish everyone could meet Bill Shorten because until you meet him up close and speak with him, you don’t realise that much of the negative media portrayal and other people’s negative perceptions are so very wrong.

I have not been truly excited about the vision of a Labor leader in a long time, but I truly connect with Shorten’s vision and leadership. In my opinion Shorten is the real deal. His ability to remember names, faces and detail of questions at community forums is phenomenal. You kind of need to see this in action. He is a highly intelligent man with great compassion and a great passion for people and their concerns, which is truly visible at a community forum.

I truly believe he will win the next election outright and will go down as one of our greatest Prime Ministers in our history.  I have 100% faith in him and the direction he is taking Labor.

Conclusion

It is such a shame that for many engaged in ‘left politics social media commentary’ disregard the shift in direction under Shorten’s leadership.  It is disappointing that those on the ‘left’ who oppose Shorten’s Labor discuss him as if he has evolved from some 1980’s mindset where neo-Liberalism was forging it’s place across the world and judge him on the decisions made by former leaders, which really should be critiqued in the context of that time. It is also frustrating that the progressive policies and Laborist solutions he is putting forward, fall on already made up closed minds and deaf ears.

Whether you think this post is just a rant from a someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause, or a genuine attempt to implore people aligned with the left to view Shorten and his modern Labor party with a fresh open mind and really critique his current direction which is ingrained in the values of laborism and truly engaging with the the people. As well as a plea to not to continue to compare and contrast with the decisions and leadership of Hawke, Keating, Rudd or Gillard, which many say they have issues with, then that is up to the reader to decide.

Labor’s policies will not suit everyone, nor are they perfect with no room for improvement. However, it is very, very evident that Bill Shorten making a dedicated effort to meet as many people across as many communities as possible and he is really listening and is open to positive and progressive ideas for change and he has already led substantial policy development as a testament to this shift to the left and laborism.

For those who genuinely and fiercely arguing to topple both of the major parties from power and who are insisting Shorten does not have ‘Leftist’ values –  have you really truly taken the time to noticed what Bill Shorten is about?

Originally published on Polyfeministix

Cashless Welfare – Enough is Enough!

Yesterday I watched Bill Shorten’s address on the McKell Institute’s Report ‘Choosing Opportunity’ where he spoke passionately about equality and a fair go. However, to achieve real opportunity, the first thing we must acknowledge is that stigma and discrimination are not conducive to equal opportunity.

Income Management, Cashless Welfare and Basics Card all have the same aim.  The aim is a paternalistic approach of a ‘guiding hand’ to set those unfortunate enough not to have a job on the path to ‘wholeness.’

The aim of income management is to enforce a patronising approach which places the burden of shame and stigma on the unemployed, because the Government cannot be bothered to engage in job creation; because oh! that’s right, “the market will sort it all out.” Bullocks!

The aim of income management is to inconvenience, stigmatise, and label the unemployed as ‘others’ who are not part of the ‘normals’ in society.

The aim of income management is to conduct surveillance of the unemployed (Dee, 2013).

The aim is to extend a measure that was originally aimed at reducing alcohol abuse and child abuse in remote communities and now has extended to so many.  The current and previous Governments have placed control measures on those who do not need controlling. That is not the “Fair Go” Australians long to return to.

With the NT having more than four times the number of all the other income management sites combined, it really begs the question if this measure is indeed racist and the extension of this measure is to appear ‘not racist!’

The McKell Institute explains three types of welfare models in their report:

“The study identified three main forms of welfare state: the ‘liberal welfare regime,’ which emphasised market efficiencies and demonstrated limited government interventions; the ‘corporatist regime’ which is committed to preserving the traditional family, and invest in social insurance programs that encourage motherhood and provide benefits that encourage mothers to return to work; and finally the ‘social democrat’ model which pursues equality.

If the underpinning construct of Bill Shorten’s speech and the McKell Institute’s report is equality; then income management simply must be high on the list to be abolished.

With donations reform and perks for politicians in a huge big glaring spotlight; Australians should be rising up and screaming about situations such as the excerpt below, instead of getting reeled into the agenda set by the media.  I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of people absolutely fixated on the Dastyari saga and counter-attacking with dodginess from the Liberals. Meanwhile, in the land of cashless welfare, people can eat plastic or starve!

cashless-welfare

It is time for change. It is time to stand up now. It is time to stand up for the jobless, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and the disabled, who have their income managed by the Government.  These are the people who matter.  These people. The innocent, the vulnerable, the labelled and stigmatised.

Enough is enough.  If you truly believe in a Fair Go. If you truly believe the Fair Go underpins everything we believe as Australians, please write a letter to the following insisting on the abolition of mandatory income management for welfare recipients in Australia.

Minister for Social Services
The Hon Christian Porter MP

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services
Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Members representing your electorate
Your local MP

Senators in your state
Senators

Enough is enough!

Originally published on Polyfeministix

Dee, M 2013, ‘Welfare Surveillance, Income Management and New Paternalism in Australia’, Surveillance & Society, 11, 3, pp. 272-286.

 

In defence of Pauline

A probably unpopular take on the return of the female redhead who challenges our parliament and how we see ourselves as Australians.

Ms Hanson would have got in anyway. The changes to the senate rules didn’t make her return any more likely.  What made it inevitable was the failed economic and social policies of state and federal governments that led the same anti-modern voters who elected Ms Hanson 20 years ago to come full circle.

Brief History
After Ms Hanson was ‘betrayed’ by her own party apparatchiks, these voters tried minor parties.  They muddled about trying to find a voice that reflected their own thoughts. Suddenly Tony Abbott gave them true hope that Australia would return to the halcyon and mythical days of the 1950’s, when men were Men… and White. Then he got the sack, and was replaced with an urbane do-nothing who was completely clueless about what was going on below the executive floor, let alone at the bar in the country pub.

The last few months under Turnbull gave voters time to think. Time to realise that maybe they’d been conned. For years, many of these voters have bought the ‘aspirational’ market-will-provide line trotted out by the LNP… It’s only recently that people are actually figuring out that trickle-down doesn’t work; but don’t yet understand what happened. People voted to stop the boats, and then lost the farm.

This time, just as last time, Pauline Hanson has attracted groups with an axe to grind. The Socialist Alliance, Animal Justice Party, and other groups on the Left are just as guilty of this sin.  It should not call into question the legitimacy of Ms Hanson as a representative, or the legitimacy of those who voted for her.

E-con 101
We are in the midst of another labour-force revolution, coupled with major shifts in social identity. Types and terms of employment are in flux; and so far, no one has any clear answers on how we can transition from where we are into the future. That scares most people. For people who have missed out on a promised life of stability; and who feel marginalised and under siege by changing labour, cultural and social norms, it is terrifying.

Hanson appeals to people who cannot cope with contemporary life, let alone the future; different cultures or skin colour are not really the issue. When pressed only the true believers have problems with race and sexuality.  For the majority, those things are an obvious symptom that they can use to define their position. The real problems come from change, from different ways of thinking, the rise of technology and change in labour, the shifting sands of meaning, being unable to trust the local newspaper (if you still have one).

If you read the One Nation website, it is an almost incoherent rant. It is filled with the confused and bitter ramblings of everyday people, who have no comprehension of the policy and economics that have led to their current condition. This is a group of people who have no particular political, economic or social ideology.  They thought our society was still based on the True-Blue, Fair-Go, rustic simplicity represented by the 1950s. Now they have awoken post GFC to discover that the new century is a complex and frightening place, and they want someone to blame.

We need to accept, despite how they express their concerns; people do have valid reasons to be concerned.  In the last 20 years Australia has become one of the least protected markets in the world.  However, the prosperity promised as result of these changes never arrived. Instead services and businesses have shrunk and vanished. Lives have been whittled away by neo-liberal economics and globalisation from the Right; and shifts in worldview and social justice from the Left.  This is a group of people who are no longer at the centre of Australia’s life, and they have been left to fend for themselves without any help to transition or understand the change.  They feel justifiably marginalised…

…as an intermission, I suggest you all take a moment to watch THIS and then come back.

Peoples is People
Supporters of Ms Hanson don’t see themselves as racist or homophobic; just as their mirrors on the Left probably don’t see themselves as social fascists.  They are just humans who are uncomfortable with diversity, and don’t know how to express themselves. The intellectual Left has had decades sitting in ivory towers to reform language to accommodate diversity.  For most in regional Australia or outer city suburbs, casual sexism and racism is a way of demonstrating affection.  Labelling a person as racist, sexist or homophobic doesn’t make them so, it only shames… and then angers them. But, again, they do not know how to express their confusion.  Pauline Hanson gives them voice. She is representative of the views of thousands of Australians.  The difference is that she is happy to take money from David Koch to air these grievances in public, rather than just bitching into a pot of Four X.

These Australians (and they exist on the Left as well) don’t care about facts, they just know how they feel. They don’t want to think about consequences, or geopolitics, or climate change, or complexity; they want things to be simple, and they don’t want to have to change. They don’t want to think about policy, they just want government to take care of them; and they will give their vote to anyone who promises to do that. Last election it was Tony, this time it’s Pauline.

The saddest thing about all this reaction to Ms Hanson, is that it didn’t have to be this way. Pro-environment sentiment in the bush is at an all-time high.  The Greens candidate Jeremy Buckingham has large support for his pro-farm stance. The Greens and ALP could have gone into the regions and actually spoken to these people.
If they had heard their grievances, and took them seriously enough to have the lengthy conversations needed to bring understanding, then the past two elections would have been very different.

A classic example of this is renewable energy. Regional and outer suburban manufacturing is collapsing.  Ironically, if a ‘jobs and growth’ argument for renewable energy and action on climate change had been prosecuted more effectively, it’s likely we would be a lot further along to reaching our emissions target.  Instead we are facing the prospect of a Royal Commission into climate science.  All because no one bothered to address the dog-whistling from the Liberals, and actually explain the issues and opportunities.

The shrill and uncompromising front presented by angry voters is just that; a front. However, while anti-corporate ranting is accepted without question; too often intellectual and urbane progressives have not bothered to engage with the people Ms Hanson represents, purely because of their views on social policy.

Which is unfortunate, as those views are rarely concrete, and more often simple, easy targets for confusion and anger: It’s a lot easier to blame an immigrant (or a corporation) than unravel the economic and policy choices responsible for ones current state. If anyone took the time to talk, they’d find reasonable, if uninformed people who are willing to give up acting on social prejudice for better work opportunities and better services.

As seen by the non-partisan cooperation between progressive greens groups and conservative farmers in the Liverpool plains or The Great Barrier Reef, on many levels Ms Hanson’s supporters are natural allies against the destructive aspects of corporate neo-liberalism.  If the socially and economically just future we all claim to wish for is to become a reality, complaining about Pauline Hanson isn’t going to help.

If the elections of 2010 and 2013 should have taught us anything, it is that mud-slinging and ignoring citizens only further fractures our society; with serious deleterious effects on our economy, civil society and democracy. If progressive, intellectual, inclusive citizens are truly concerned about what’s happening in regional Australia; then they need to stop criticising and start having conversations.

Will you have to swallow your own prejudices?  Yes.

Will you have to work with people you do not like? Yes.

Will it be hard work?

Yes, democracy is hard work; anyone who tells you different is selling something.

 

Australian Voters – What are you afraid of?

The tight polls indicate that a number of Australians are afraid of what a change of Government will bring. However, the thought of remaining with the Liberal Government makes me very afraid.

I still recall that day in early high school so vividly. I was yelled at, embarrassed to the point of tears and pulled out of class.  I was ordered to sit on the verandah, because my parents could not afford the proper text book and the teacher decided I was not ‘ready to learn’. That experience, really drove home that the battlers could sit alone and cry red-faced in shame and be on the outside looking in, or they could use their voices to speak up.

I knew that public education in the early 1980s was considered free for all students and that I was entitled to an education.  (My Mother had told me time and time again “you don’t need money to be clean, honest, intelligent, kind, well mannered, etc., etc.,)

That day, I furiously marched to the Principal’s office at lunchtime and I made a formal complaint.  I stood up straight, looked him in the eye and asked him loud and clear, if I was allowed to be excluded from class because I could not afford the text book.

For a reason I cannot remember now, (possibly being thirteen and misunderstanding the political framework!) I threatened to report the school to the Governor General and guaranteed that he could stand me in front of class and ask me questions. I argued that it would be revealed that I knew more than most of the students who had text books. I was angry and offended that the school had drawn a line between my intelligence, my willingness to learn and the amount of money my parents had to buy a stupid text book!

After some scornful lecture reminding me that it was somehow a thirteen year old’s responsibility to ensure I had the right books for school and I was ‘ready to learn’, I was given a ‘loan’ of a second hand book.  I had to promise I would protect this book with my dear life until the end of the year and I was curtly reminded that ‘forgetting to return the book would be considered stealing from the school.’   That was also a stark reminder of how a low socio-economic background was an immediate negative judgement of one’s morals.

Two things were important that day: A rule existed to prevent unfairness and I had the courage to speak up. 

Rules and Societal Norms shape who we are

Legal rules and also societal norms shape who we are. They shape our nation. The democratic system of parliament is the system which enables the rules by which we live. If the school had a rule implemented that stated I could be excluded because I did not have the correct book, I could have sat on the verandah for the rest of the year. Not learning and not participating. Some kids would not have complained, as I did.  

An important point is that not everyone has the same levels of self-efficacy to use a complaints system, or to even question if they are a victim of unfairness. The rules should be there to protect people so they do not need to have an inherent self-confidence to right any wrongs.

This is the reason I take politics and voting so seriously.  The Liberals, time and time again implement ‘rules’ or laws, that not only make life hard for the disadvantaged, but also make it hard to complain and achieve fairness.  We see this in Education, in Health, in Welfare and in unemployment programs to name a few.

This is the future under the Liberal Government I see and what we have seen for the past three years and in previous Liberal Governments state and federal.  A system of rules, that makes life harder for battlers. A system of rules that makes it harder for battlers to have a voice.  A system of rules that is the antecedent to unfairness and a divided society.

The Liberals seek to make that verandah I sat on, even wider between the thirteen year old me and inclusion in that classroom.  

The Liberals seek to make rules, that would have the Principal tell the thirteen year old me, ‘that it was my fault, I can do better, get richer parents, shut up, sit down and do as you are told, or we may arrest you.’

The tight polls indicate that a number of Australians are afraid of what a change of Government will bring. However, the thought of remaining with the Liberal Government makes me very afraid:

I don’t want to live in a world where a Liberal Government works hard for a greater divide between the rich and the poor. 

Where the practices and policies of the Liberals ensure the working class have no rights and can be replaced by foreign workers in the dead of night.

Where the practices and policies of the Liberals make the disadvantaged choose between seeing a doctor or buying food.

Where the ideology of the Liberals does not see marriage equality as a right for all citizens.

Where the Liberals favouritism of austerity is implemented in times of severe, global economic uncertainty.

Where a narrative which harms and stigmatises people is encouraged and supported and sometimes led by members of the Liberal party.

Where Liberal/Conservative/austerity-laden budgets are designed to give the wealthy money and see the poor grasping for the trickling down of the scraps.

Where the spending decisions of a Liberal Government produces a health system so underfunded that death of Australians is realistic consequence.

I don’t want to live in a country where a Liberal Government makes rules to make life harder for the battler or makes it harder to protest against unfairness.

Another term of The Liberals. That is what makes me very afraid

If you are NOT voting 1 Labor, what are you afraid of?

  • Does ensuring Medicare is in the safe hands of the Labor party  – the party that invented Medicare and the party that has fought against cuts to Medicare by the Liberals for years and years, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring that all children have the funding they need for more individual attention to excel in school, make you afraid?
  • Does a party who fights for the rights of the worker, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring that our health system is properly funded, so Doctors and Nurses can do their jobs properly, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring transparency, KPIs for processing, independent overseer, child guardian, refugee tribunal and funding UNHCR camps to eradicate the need for boat journeys, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring that the party that got us through the GFC unscathed, managing the economy in a transitional environment or global instability, make you afraid?
  • Does a history of delivering major reforms that have progressed this nation forward such as: NDIS, Enterprise Bargaining, Medicare, Superannuation and Gonski, make you afraid?
  • Does the underpinning ideology of a fair go, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring that we have a fibre-laden, first rate technology National Broadband System, make you afraid?
  • Does every citizen having the equal right to marry, make you afraid?
  • Does the idea a party can have 100 positive policies, presented and costed before an election, make you afraid?

Vote Labor to put people first on July 2. Don’t be afraid.

Originally published on Polyfeministix

Plebiscite: NOT a Civil and Respectful Debate

A Shorten Labor Government promises to pass Marriage Equality within the first 100 days if they win the election.   An Abbott-Turnbull Government favours a plebiscite. Both of these cases were argued at the first Facebook leaders debate last night.

Leadership Debate 17 June, 2016 – Marriage Equality Plebiscite

Malcolm Turnbull:  I support same-sex marriage, if we are returned to Government, there will be a plebiscite, then all Australians will get a say on the issue.  I’ll be voting yes. Lucy will be voting yes. We will be urging people to vote yes.  I am very confident it will be carried.

Bill Shorten: Now the argument says, Oh Plebiscite, it’s very democratic.  But the truth of the matter is that this is a debate where I don’t believe that people’s relationships and love for each other need to be submitted to a public opinion poll.  I think we have seen two terrible events in the last week that shows hate and extremism exists in modern societies. And I don’t want to give the haters a chance to come out from underneath the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people.

Malcolm Turnbull: With great respect to you. I believe Australians are better than that. I believe we can have a discussion about marriage equality. It can be civil. It can be respectful and we will make a decision as a nation and then, as a nation we will respect the outcome.

The debate on marriage equality so far, has been anything but civil or respectful. Therefore, one can conclude Turnbull is one or more of the following:

  • Outright lying
  • Responding with empty platitudes
  • Playing semantics with the words ‘can be’ and ‘will be’
  • Intentionally arrogant and insulting towards the people who have already expressed they have been harmed by this debate
  • Ignorant and out of touch with the commentary already occurring within this debate
  • Supportive of the hateful and harmful commentary from the Anti-Marriage Equality lobby and considers this commentary, a civil and respectful debate.

Let’s take a look just a small taste of how the marriage equality debate has developed thus far. It has been far from civil.

*Warning: This post contains comments and pictures that may be upsetting and hurtful to LGBTI people, their families and allies. 

A Taste of the Respectful and Civil debate thus far:

ssm1

Leaked pamphlets, to feature in an upcoming campaign against same-sex marriage, suggest children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to “abuse and neglect” and more likely to be unemployed, abuse drugs and suffer depression.

The pamphlets, obtained by Fairfax Media, have been prepared and funded by Chris Miles, a former Liberal MP and member of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

“Not only is the information on this flyer wrong, it will put the lives of young gay people and the children of same-sex couples at risk by reinforcing the message that they and their families are broken.” (Croome, AME)

The Rainbow Noose
ssm2

Australian Marriage Alliance advertisement opposing marriage equality

AUSTRALIAN anti-gay-marriage group Marriage Alliance has depicted a woman with a rainbow noose around her neck in its latest internet campaign.

The group is claiming that same-sex marriage will increase suicide because people who are against it will be bullied over their views if it becomes law.

What About the Children?

Australian Marriage Alliance television advertisement opposing marriage equality. The central message that only children who have a mum and a dad “Miss out” on a real family.  

Alexander Regan, a 17-year-old boy with two lesbian mums, said on the petition that he was deeply offended by the commercial.

“I’m signing this because I’m a child of two absolutely loving lesbian parents and I’m really offended that this advertisement blatantly slandering same-sex parents’ ability to be parents simply based on their homosexuality,” he wrote. “My mums are amazing and I honestly need nothing more than them and their love in my life.”

Booklet

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“This booklet denigrates and demeans same-sex relationships and will do immense harm to gay students and students being raised by same-sex couples.”

“The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.”

Mr Croome said he has received several complaints from teachers in Catholic schools who were horrified to learn at staff room meetings that the booklet will be distributed.

Comparing Marriage Equality to Animal Sexual Activity

ssm3

A federal Nationals MP has drawn a comparison between same-sex relationships and two rams having sex in a paddock, provoking condemnation for the ‘offensive’ and ‘inappropriate’ statements, with the Greens calling on him to apologise and retract them.

Educating Children and Parents about the dangers of Marriage Equality

 

ssm4

Parents took to social media to express concern over the event some described as “highly offensive’’, “extremely bigoted’’ and “totally inappropriate to be sent out through a Catholic school parent email list’’.

In a plea sent to the school, obtained by the Mercury, one parent said: “Although the teachings of the Catholic religion is one of husband and wife I find it inappropriate that the Catholic Diocesan of Wollongong  would find it appropriate to be “informed” about this topic by a (group) with a clear agenda leading up to a federal election.’’

“There are many families within our school community that would be extremely offended by this type of ignorant propaganda as they are not a ‘family’ as is defined,’’ the email said.

ssm10

The Australian Christian Lobby has compared same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program to the Holocaust, dubbing them all “unthinkable things” that happened because societies lacked strong moral guardians.

offensive FFP.JPG

offensive tweet.JPG

Peter Madden is running for the Tasmanian Senate with the Family First party and his campaign is anti-marriage equality and anti-Safe Schools.

On Monday he made a comment on Twitter: “Though Orlando is abhorrent, it doesn’t change the real & present dangers of the gay marriage agenda to Aus children.”

People have condemned the insensitive tweet and even called the hopeful politician “scum”.

“Absolutely disgusting. Completely offensive,” one commented.

As I live in a Regional Town, I am dedicating a section just to debate within regional communities. 

There are extra complexities to consider in regional communities for LGBTI people. There is no Mardi-Gras. There is no wide-spread community support. Young LGBTI people often move away from the area quickly and there is a high rate of suicide. A harmful and hurtful debate only places further stress on young LGBTI people in regional communities.

ssm7

ssm6Mr Christensen, the Member for Dawson, posted a photo on social media showing a gun loaded with a rainbow coloured magazine.

“My point is that people saying ‘let’s follow America’ in their argument for same-sex marriage … well what about the right to bear arms?” he said.

“I mean, you wouldn’t follow America on that one.

George Christensen, LNP Member for Dawson.

 

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“Many kids do flee Mackay straight after high school,” she said.

“I am sure this has something to do with it. People do not feel welcome here. You get shunned. So people leave and go to places where it is acceptable.”

BuzzFeed News asked Christensen (QLD LNP MP) what he thought about LGBTI teenagers in the area feeling as though a program like Safe Schools is needed.

He (Christensen) likened it to children wanting to eat ice cream.

“Kids love everything. Kids would love free ice cream at school,” the MP said. “Is that good for them? Y’know. Of course they are going to defend something they are being told is good.

“But is it good? Is it social engineering? I think it is clearly social engineering.”

comment1comment2

Using the plebiscite as campaign fodder.

The Capricornia Young LNP accuse the Labor candidate of vandalising the LNP member’s office.  (The Labor candidate responded in the original thread that she was there to support the rally and was writing “Love is Love” on a heart-shaped post it note.  The other person in the photo is the gorgeous Ben Norris from Big Brother, who spoke at the rally.

marriage equality rally

I attended this Equal Love Rally.  We held a peaceful rally. Marched a distance to the LNP Member’s office and those who desired could place a post it note on her door with a message in support of marriage equality.

Equal Love Rally

SMS to the Editor – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

TMB SSM

This is such a small sample from the commentary within the debate against marriage equality thus far and it does not do justice to the plethora of uncivil and disrespectful commentary from the Anti-Marriage equality lobby found within this debate. 

This quote from Shirleene Robinson, spokeswoman for Australian Marriage Equality calls for people to understand that language and narrative can cause deep hurt to people.

“Words can inflict terrible harm sometimes and we would ask that people of all opinions remember that,” she said. “The use of intemperate language can cause deep hurt among LGBTI people and their families.”

Deciphering the Leaders Debate Comments.

A plebiscite – Abbott-Turnbull Government

I refer back to Turnbull’s comments within the leadership debate:

“….then all Australians will get a say on the issue”
“….we will make a decision as a nation”

Normally Turnbull palavers on with great verbosity and his words can be deciphered and reduced to something quite simple.  On this occasion he used a few words, but it translates to much more:  That is:

“When considering marriage, Australia currently recognises two groups of people: heterosexual people and LGBTI people. Australian law currently only respects the right to marry belongs to heterosexual people and excludes LGBTI people and discriminates based on gender.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government thinks the appropriate way to redress this gender based discrimination is for Australian citizens to decide if LGBTI people are the same as them, or a lesser class of citizen.  LGBTI people belong to a minority group.

The Government will ask LGBTI people (the minority group the current law discriminates against) to vote on this.

However  we will ask the majority – their friends, their allies, people who are apathetic and indifferent, but we also think it is important to ask people who do not consider LGBTI people ‘the same’ or ‘normal’ and should not have the same rights and also those who harbour a deep-seated hatred and contempt for LGBTI people.  

These people will make up of the majority group who will decide whether to uphold discrimination towards the minority group.

To ensure people are informed before they vote, as part of this, we will force LGBTI people and their families, loved ones and allies, to listen to the hateful rhetoric from people who argue that we should uphold this discrimination and LGBTI people should remain as a lesser class of citizen, which could cause deep hurt and harm to this group.

To ensure enough information is out there to decide whether LGBTI people are a lesser class of citizen or not, this will cost approximately 160 million dollars of taxpayer money.

It should also be noted that if a majority votes to continue discrimination towards the minority group, then discrimination based on gender should be fully respected and upheld. “

End Translation.

The Legislative Approach – Shorten Government

The legislative approach states that: Discrimination exists within our marriage law and separates citizens and discriminates based on gender. We will move a bill to redress that discrimination and ensure every citizen is equal under the eyes of the law.

Marriage Equality NOW.  Say NO to a plebiscite.

Day to Day Politics: A party full of liars.

Sunday 24 April 2016 – 71

1 On NEWS 24 on Saturday morning I listened intently to yet another interview with Greg Hunt. I have previously called him the Coalition’s second biggest liar after Tony Abbott. He was typically using his best flamboyant language to say that Australia is the envy of the rest of the world for its direct action on climate change. As usual he was lying by omission. When asked about a recent declaration by the independent Climate Change Authority that Australia would have to decrease its emissions by 40/60% if it was to achieve its future targets he simply ignored the question and continued on with the absurd suggestion that we were, more or less, the world’s best performers .

In spite of all the science that has placed the problem beyond any reasonable doubt people need to recognise that half of the Coalition still don’t accept the evidence of climate change. This week we had the Attorney General (the same Senator who cannot use a computer) saying that the science is still unsettled.

Most of us accept evidence based, peer tested, evidence. There are three cohorts of people who don’t. Luddites like Brandis, religious nutters, and capitalists who worship profit before people.

The vast majority – in excess of 97 per cent – of scientific papers on climate change agree its causes are primarily man-made.

CSIRO Chief Larry Marshall said:

“The question has been answered, and the new question is what do we do about it, and how can we find solutions for the climate we will be living with.”

Senator Nash, who happens to be responsible for regional development, told Sky News there were “varying views” on climate science and she was of the opinion it was still up for debate.

An observation.

Asked where the Paris deal left Australia’s climate change policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross Garnaut said: “Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”

So how does a leader with firm well known supportive views on the subject cope with so many deniers in his party? Well the answer is he doesn’t. He allows them to lead him.

2 And the leader himself lies about the affect Negative Gearing will have on the value of peoples homes. His deputy lies about Labor’s debt. The Treasurer and his assistant use goobly gook words to confuse people about the state of the economy,ignoring the fact that there was a Global Financial Crisis and that they have themselves increased our debt substantially.

3 Not to be outdone in the lying stakes Sophie Mirabella, the bride of bitchyness, in a debate with other candidates for the seat of Indi says that her party withdrew $10million dollars allocated to the local hospital because she didn’t win.

Of course logic tells you that had that money been available it would have been a policy in her campaign. Her contemptuously  outrageous statement will probably cost her any chance of winning the seat. What it has done however is to reinforce the perception that unless you live in a marginal seat then your vote doesn’t count for much.

I live in the seat of Gippsland. The city of Traralgon is currently experiencing rapid growth. It requires a new swimming complex and arts district. On many occasions I have said that until the seat becomes marginal that it’s wishful thinking. The current Member is Darren Chester who holds the seat by around 14 per cent. In the last reshuffle he was made Infrastructure Minister. Guess what?

4 On other matters Bill Shorten has said that Labor will accept the umpire’s decision on Penalty Rates which will be handed down at some point during the campaign. It will probably go against the grain and upset the Union Movement but as he says:

“I’ve said I’ll accept the independent tribunal,” “just like that”, it was ultimately up to the commission” he said.

“I’ve got my opinion. At the end of the day though, the way minimum wages get set in this country is through evidence, it’s through the submissions of workers, their representatives and employers.”

5 A small but important point from the last IPOS Poll suggests that Labor needs to do more to attract the young vote.

At 32 per cent, the Greens’ primary vote among 18 to 24-year-olds is seven points ahead of the Coalition and just one point behind Labor’s 33, highlighting the century-old social democratic party’s problem with losing voters from the left.

Labor’s vote is 20 points down from its peak of 53 per cent in mid-2015, the height of the Abbott government’s political woes.

It was only a very small sample but never the less is a concern. It does also of course reflect just how unpopular the Coalition is with the young.

6 This week’s final Crickey Bludger Tracker combined poll analysis has the Coalition on 50.1 and Labor 49.9

“It’s close but no cigar for Labor in the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which projects the Turnbull government grimly hanging on to a parliamentary majority.’’

My thought for the day.

It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who dont’.

 

Day to Day Politics: On the eve of the last election.

Saturday 23 April 2016   -72

Author’s note: On the eve of the last election I was forced to confront the reality that the party I supported couldn’t win. This is what I wrote:

I am still no further advanced in answering the question “who will win the election?” I think my mind is still in cause and effect mode. Thoughts of consequence invade me. So I ask the reader to indulge me for a little longer.

I have always thought that at the centre of any political philosophy should be the common good. In saying this my thoughts often drift toward a better way of doing politics and the term commongoodism is central to my internal debate. It sounds idealistic, this common good and it may not in itself be suited to all political persuasions but it is worthy of examination. Conservatives for example may never be able to overcome their dislike of equality. It is probably more acceptable to the left than the right. But politics after all is about ideas and compromise. I ask myself if the isms of left and right have gone past their used by dates? Many questions arise. Do they suffer from the tiredness of longevity? Is there a possibility that a new politic could emerge from the ashes of this election. Can a society deeply entrenched in political negativity and malaise, rise with a renewed interest in the common good, and still retain the essential ingredients of a vigorous democracy where a wide ranging common good test could be applied to all policy. Even have a caveat placed on it.

Have left and right so fused into each other that they no longer form a demarcation of ideas? Could the ideologies of the two somehow come together to form this commongoodism? Who would decide the common good? How could one define it? Could capitalism embrace the common good or would it need a work over? Could conservatism which empathises individual responsibility and opportunity embrace it? What would common good values be? Some might even say there is no such thing. That’s all a bit like political scrambled eggs I know but they are the sort of philosophical questions I ask myself on my daily walks. You see that although I still value my leftish views I do really believe that modern political thought and practice needs to move beyond self-interest and the attainment of power for its own sake. And not just nationally but internationally. But particularly in Australia where politics no longer meets the needs or aspirations of the people and is held in such low esteem that politicians are barely relevant.

I have long felt that the political establishment has taken ownership of a system that should serve the people but instead serves itself. It is self-indulgent, shows no respect for the people it serves and lacks transparency. These thoughts I know challenge established political thinking. They may even be controversial, but politics, as we currently practice it has no future as I see it.

There I have finished my dummy spit, my dose of idealistic medicine.

10 AM Friday.

Now I will answer the question.

Who will win tomorrows election?

Well it won’t be Labor and here are three reasons why.

Firstly, despite the growing influence of the Fifth Estate the mainstream media still packs an enormous punch. In advertising the success of one’s spend is measured by the resulting sales. The media can measure its influence in the polls. Labor has been the victim of the most concerted gutter attack ever thrust upon an Australian political party. And from all sections of the media, although one in particular, News Corp, has gone well beyond the realm of impartiality. Labor has been drowned in an avalanche of lies, repugnant bile, half-truths and omissions. The media has lost its objectivity and news reporting in general has become so biased that it no longer pretends to disguise it. The MSM has forsaken truth, justice and respectability in its pursuit to protect privilege. They print and tell lies with such reprehensible consistency that a gullible and politically undiscerning Australian public has never really challenged. As a famous business man once said, “I spend a lot of money on advertising and I know for certain that half of it works”.

The Fifth Estate (including me) has attempted to counter these nefarious attacks but in my view it is three years away from reaching its full potential. Having said that I plead some degree of ignorance, and I must say, I am absolutely astounded at how many people participate in social media and the voice it gives them. However in three years’ time its ability to influence the younger generation will have risen exponentially. Added to that will be a declining older generation.

Secondly, Tony Abbott has been a man who has adopted an American Republican style shock and awe approach in his pursuit of power. Main stream media has hailed him the most effective opposition leader in Australian political history. This is solely based on his parties standing in the polls and says nothing about the manner in which he lies and distorts to bring about this standing. Perhaps they should rethink the criteria they use.  On a daily basis and in the parliament he has sought to abuse, disrupt proceedings and tell untruths that normal men would not. His gutter style negativity has set a new benchmark for the behaviour of future opposition leaders. Luckily though, he may be the only one of his characterless ilk, and future opposition leaders may be more affable. However, the consistency of his negativity has had an effect on an electorate in a state of comatose.

Since the election date was announced he has portrayed himself as a different person. An indifferent public has been fooled by this chameleon disguise. He is simply a politician who climbs from the gutter to spread his pessimism everywhere. David Marr uses these words to sum up the character of this would be Prime Minister:

“An aggressive populist with a sharp tongue; a political animal with lots of charm; a born protégé with ambitions to lead; a big brain but no intellectual; a bluff guy who proved a more than competent minister; a politician with little idea of what he might do if he ever got to the top; and a man profoundly wary of change … He’s a worker. No doubt about that. But the point of it all is power. Without power it’s been a waste of time”.

On the other hand, John Hewson described him as lazy and indolent.

Thirdly, this where the truth hurts. My Party can at times be its own worst enemy. For the six years it has been in power it has governed well. Despite the enormous difficulty of minority governance. This is indisputable when you look closely at its economic record, the legalisation passed in the Parliament and the reforms from within a minority framework.

Its problems though have not originated from everyday governance. In this sense it has been no better or worse than any other. Rather its problems stem from personality conflict and the pursuit of power.

Politics by its very nature is confrontational and uneasy with those who pursue power for powers sake, or those who think they have some sort of ownership on righteousness.

Labor had two formidable intellects in Rudd and Gillard. In fact, combined they would total the entire opposition front bench. This clash of personalities supplemented by an inability to sell its policies has for six years damaged Labor immeasurably.

And this is the main reason why Labor will lose. Not because they haven’t governed well. But because life is about perceptions, not what is, but what it appears to be. We have painted a picture of dysfunction. Rightly or wrongly that is the perception.

In conclusion, if you are a praying person I suggest you get on your knees and ask that Abbott not be elected tomorrow night.

And in the aftermath, if we stand still in the midst of these challenging and changing times we will stagnate. We simply must move on and confront those oblivious to the common good with all the resources at our disposal.

My thought for the day.

‘I think acceptance and embracement of change is one key aspect of what we try to define as wisdom’.

 

Day to Day Politics: Why would you vote for them really?

Friday 22 April 2016   -72

1 There is not an area in public life, be it sport, leadership, commerce, or whatever, where performance is not the key indicator of one’s success or otherwise. On that criteria you would think the Coalition wouldn’t have a chance of winning the upcoming election. That any opposition would be a mile in front of this excuse for a Government.

Under Abbott and then Turnbull they, by any standard, have governed poorly. So much so that they really don’t deserve to win. It would be fair to say that a vote for the Coalition would be a reward for governance that doesn’t even approach mediocrity.

Having said that, one then asks how come they are still favourites to win? Is it because people think Labor would be even worse. The perception that the Rudd/Gillard governments also governed badly is still strong in the public’s mind. I use the word perceived only because in reality they were, as governments go, no better or worse than many. Indeed, it’s true that for their tenure they suffered a crisis of leadership.

The truth is though that there is always a percentage of voters who will vote the same way every election regardless. The ‘mum and dad influenced’ me types.

Current polling would suggest the electorate is split down party lines and once again it will be the swinging voters who will sway the day. That of course is taking a universal view, whereas it might be individual seats with special interests that may decide.

Whatever it is the question remains: “Why on earth would you vote for a government whose performance has been so abysmal?”

2 Peter Martin makes some interesting points in an article for The Canberra Times. Here are some.

A About the Budget advertisements.

“Never before has a budget advertisement been prepared ahead of the budget itself. In fact, rarely before has a budget needed an advertisement”.

B About revenue.

“When you hear someone say we have a revenue problem, what they are saying is that Australians should be taxed more, that the tax burden on the Australian economy must be increased,” Treasurer Scott Morrison says. “Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen agree – that is why they are proposing, even boasting, that they will increase the tax burden on the Australian economy by over $100 billion over the next 10 years”.

C About debt.

“Under Tony Abbott’s and Malcolm Turnbull’s watch, net government debt has grown from $202 billion to $279 billion and over the next three years will head for $347 billion”.

“Morrison is planning to turn his back on reality on Tuesday week. Down the track, someone is going to have to do the hard work and put taxes up”.

An observation.

“People need to wake up to the fact that government affects every part of their life (other than what they do in bed) and should be more interested. But there is a political malaise that is deep-seated”.

3 Inequality is starting to play a role in this election. 40 prominent Australians have sent an open letter to the Prime Minister saying that “By allowing corporations and wealthy people to set up shell companies and shift profits offshore, our politicians are giving the mega rich the tools they need to hide public money through tax dodging”.

In addition, Labor is considering maintaining the 2% tax surcharge on the wealthy.

4 It’s still only early days. Labor is already in election mode but the Coalition seem unsure as it whether the starter has fired the gun.

My thought for the day.

“The right to vote is the gift that democracy gives. If a political party is not transparent in supplying all the information necessary to exercise this right. It is destroying the democracy that enables it to exist”.

 

Day to Day Politics: Coalition playing catch up politics.

Thursday 21 April 2016  -73

1 So what happened to the “it’s not a revenue problem”? The Coalition is set to raise a lot of it with the news that they are about to hit the superannuation of high income earners. So they should of course. It was an immoral tax discount that had it continued would have in the next couple of years cost as much as the aged pension. Labor can rightfully claim that the Coalition is playing catch up politics because it had addressed the problem months ago.

Remember not so long ago the Treasurer was adamant they would not touch super. This is further proof that it is Labor who is setting the economic agenda.

Mind you, the most confusing of all Coalition spokespeople, Matthias Cormann on News 24 was denying the policy but we all know the good news leaks have begun.

Also consider that Tony Abbott was saying that Labor intended raising five taxes, “a carbon tax, a “housing tax” (reduced negative gearing), a “wealth tax” (a lower capital gains tax discount), a “seniors tax” (superannuation) and a “workers’ tax” on smokers, and they would oppose it all. Now they have ticked off two of them . . . for now.

An observation

The word “lying” (in political terms) has been replaced with the more subtle reference of “overstatement”.

2 Playing catch up also applies to the Coalition’s proposal to make the banks pay the restoration of funding that it had taken away in the 2014 budget. It is estimated thy will have to fork out $120 million. Although given their propensity for ripping people off we might safely assume it will be the consumer who eventually foots the bill.

The Government plans to strengthen ASICs powers but is still saying no to a Royal Commission which the public are overwhelmingly in favor of.

With a list of accusations about poor financial advice, dodgy life insurance, mortgage fraud, rate rigging, corporate bribery and corruption you would think they would take it more seriously.

To quote Ross Gittens:

“For years they’ve been locked in a race to maximise profits. They’ve put profits and executive bonuses ahead of the interests of their customers, and seem keen to resume profit maximising as soon as the fuss declines”.

In any case they are yet again reacting to Labor’s initiatives.

3 At this point it looks as though the Government is set to use our taxes to sell its budget. Well they wont deny it so I’m assuming they will. The dishonesty is appalling. The use of taxpayer funds for political purposes should be banned.

The advertising campaign is set to highlight measures including, super changes,multinational tax changes and an increase to the tobacco excise. All measures the Opposition has had on the table for some time.

Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos is set to face a Parliamentary Enquiry into Liberal Party donations. Remember the NSW Electoral Commission is holding back money until it reveals the names of private donors. In order to pass the basic pub test Arthur might have to take a lie detector test this time.The last time he gave evidence before ICAC he was suffering from selective amnesia.

5 Further research by Corporate Tax experts reveals that 76 of Australia’s biggest multinationals pay on average 16.2% tax which is half the corporate tax rate.

6 Julie Bishop is again repeating and repeating her lie of 2015 when she said that the Coalition inherited ‚‘the worst set of financial accounts inherited by any incoming government in Australia’s history‘‘ Back then she won Fact Checks Zombie, for the undead claim of the year.

Update. Despite Ms Bishops multiple repetitions of the claim, she was, and still is wrong.

7 Flashback circa 2013.

“As far as school funding is concerned, Kevin Rudd and I are on a unity ticket. There is no difference between Kevin Rudd and myself when it comes to school funding” Mr Abbott said.

My thought for the day.

“Never in the history of this nation have the corporate and privately rich been so openly brazen”.

 

Day to Day Politics: How will the young vote when they’re pissed off with politics?

Why are so many voters so reluctant to vote? The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) released figures after the last election that revealed 20 per cent of eligible voters did not cast their ballot in the last federal election and 25 per cent of young voters failed to enrol for the next election.

Of those aged 18-24, 400,000 people did not enrol in time, meaning they were ineligible. In the 2010 Election 3 million people didn’t vote. And a large portion of these were young people. It is evident from the polling and surveys that young people are turning away from politics.

It is a problem that deserves serious attention because it is affecting the spirit of our country’s democracy.

“It is clear from the evidence that the trend is for increasing numbers of otherwise eligible electors to remain outside the electoral system,” Electoral commissioner Ed Killesteyn said.

Are the young not participating in the political process simply because they are uninformed morons, feel disenfranchised or are they actually intelligent individuals exercising some form of protest?

“When you guys get your act together we might consider voting.”

It is a topic that has interested me for some time and some time ago I had the opportunity to test some assumptions. My daughter is PA to the Campus Director, Doug Doherty, at the Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon in country Victoria. The College enjoys a reputation for academic excellence and was about to hold their Annual Student Elections. The elections are overseen by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and in part duplicate some facets of the electoral system.

On the same day I was invited to conduct a focus group with final year students who would be eligible to vote in the next Federal or State elections.

Two members of the AEC sat in as observers together with the Campus Director. My purpose was to ascertain how well versed the students were politically. Were they cognisant enough on the subject to render an informed vote?

With such a broad agenda facilitating a group such as this can be challenging, even thorny. One has to keep moving things along and not become bogged down on particular issues.

I began with all the required protocols and opened with this statement:

“People need to wake up to the fact that government affects every part of their life and should be more interested. But there is a political malaise that is deep seated.”

After a short discourse into the meaning of the word malaise, and a little reticence of unfamiliarity, the group of six boys and six girls quickly displayed a vibrant disposition to engage in the proceedings.

I asked a couple of starters. Who was Australia’s first Prime Minister? What does the name Parks mean to you? To my surprise the name Barton came forth as did a reference to Parks being the father of the constitution. I noticed one of the AEC people raise an eyebrow. I followed up with a question on the date of Federation. A couple of boys quickly identified the date and it became apparent that they were more politically attuned than the others. It didn’t however prevent the others expressing a view. The discussion was lively, animated and thirsty for quantitative expression.

With the preliminary questions out of the way I entered unchartered waters. What policy areas do you feel strongly about? One lass ripped into the Queensland bikie laws which rather took me by surprise. I let it go for a while before introducing the matter of Climate Change. This really got them going and a consensus of opinion arose that politicians were treating the matter flippantly. After all it was their future that was at stake, not theirs. The group raised the matter of equality and when I steered it toward Gay Marriage (a delegate subject for a Catholic environment) I was taken with their maturity. These young people are being taught how to think and not necessarily what to think, I thought to myself.

Eventually the Asylum Seeker issue raised its head with a united consensus of altruism. “How could we treat people like we do?” asked one young lass. I concluded that they had an elevated view of social justice.

Even when I broached the subject of the Separation of Powers they were inclined to the view that the Church had too much sway relevant to its influence in society. I wondered if they knew how many Catholics were on the front bench. On the separation subject they did not have a definitive knowledge but unhesitatingly displayed a willingness to jump in the deep end. Such was their zeal for learning.

All this of course eventually led to the inevitable question. What do you think of politicians in general? There answers took me by surprise because they came out in support of our pollies, thinking that in the main they had honourable intentions. Opinions varied when lying entered the discussion. They became quiet animated with their disapproval of the amount of lying in current politics.  Did Julia Gillard lie? Empathically ‘no’ was the answer. How was she treated? Appallingly, they answered.

The group felt that it was the media that characterised and shaped the personality of politicians. When I mentioned the word Murdoch a look of total contempt crossed their faces.

What informs you? I asked. Is it your parents, TV, newspapers, social media? Overwhelmingly the answer came back ‘’Social Media’’ This was unsurprising. It would seem from this group that family had little or no influence. They didn’t trust newspapers or commercial television. They were independent thinkers.

What they had little tolerance for was older people’s reluctance for change, their inflexibility to consider new ideas. It wasn’t a narcissistic display of youthful know all sagaciousness I was hearing, but rather a genuine desire for change for future prosperity and environmental necessity.

The group as a whole did fall down when I broached Ideology. However, it was an area where they showed the greatest thirst for learning and it is an area in which the school curriculum lets students down. When I asked. Do you think the school curriculum teaches you enough about politics? They answered with a collective no. And in what year should it be taught? Year 12 came the reply.

They described Political Philosophy in terms of a predictable Left versus Right argument. The Labor Party tried to do things for people but the Liberal Party was for the rich and big business. A familiar response. I read to them differing explanations of various ideologies and their eyes opened with an eagerness for more information.

I moved on. Does our Constitution guarantee free speech? The assumption was that it did although the two knowledgeable lads differed but couldn’t quiet nail it. “It’s only implied” I said and the assumption disintegrated with looks of disbelief. “We just assumed it was in the constitution!” the group voice chorused .

Could they explain Australia’s system of Government and how the voting system works? Definitively, no, they could not but they made a fair stab at it. They didn’t think there was too much Government citing our geographical isolation and diversity of population. They all identified the three tier structure, understood the voting process if not its methodology.

My time was running out and there were many questions I wanted to cover. Do you know the name of your Member of Parliament? What electorate are you in? What is a gerrymander? How does a bill pass the Parliament? Do you know what hypocrisy is?

I managed to get through them all in my allotted time and finished with one final question. Should Australia become a republic? On this one I found their answers to be simplistic, even thoughtless. But then as one who fought for the referendum with much vigour I might be a little biased. Still, I thought if this college had debating teams, the question “should Australia have its own head of state” would make a good one.

So what did my focus group accomplish? I confess that I expected the group to only have a rudimentary knowledge of politics and its complex machinations. I was pleasantly surprised with their depth of insight into policy and current events. They were indeed informed, bright, well-mannered, articulate and educated. What they lacked in practical knowledge they easily made up for with desire and an enthusiasm to know.

An old adage states: “There is no sin in not knowing, the sin is in not wanting to know.” They expressed a desire to know.

Their school was indeed fostering observation and curiosity but the pity is, I thought to myself, is that we have young adults eager to embrace social political enlightenment and we don’t accommodate the learning of it in our schools. I am sure that in the hour or so that I had with them their knowledge of the political process increased exponentially.

How difficult would it be to foster a few discussion groups such as this?

The young are not voting, this is a serious issue, a serious democratic deficit that we need to attend too.

My thought for the day.

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

 

Day to Day Politics: I have never seen them so angry. The nutters I mean.

Saturday April 9 2016

1 The Crickey BludgerTrack analysis of combined polling this week has it 50.8-49.2 to the Coalition.

After a few weeks where it appeared the trend to Labor had tapered off, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate records a solid nudge to Labor this week on the back a Newspoll result crediting it with a 51-49 lead. BludgerTrack doesn’t go quite so far, but it does have the Coalition losing a full point off the primary vote since last week.

There is much happening on all social networks. The fact that things are not going well for the government is reflected in the angriness of the right-wing commentary. Even The Australian has been giving the Government a bit of stick.

I myself have taken a bit of a battering this week on some Facebook pages that purport to be discussion pages.

Every day I write my opinions on a variety of subjects. They are my own thoughts based on my political philosophy, many individual and collective influences, and my world view based on 75 years of living experience.

On some Facebook pages it’s astonishing just how many on the right of politics swear blind they never read, would never contemplate reading my work, so abhorrent it is to them. Then they go on to opine about it.

Whatever intelligence I might have affords me no understanding of this.

Here is an example after I questioned an individuals civility.

‘Far from it John, I am being very tame given it is social media. You should see the real me when it comes to people like you. You represent everything that caused over 100 million deaths last century. I think it is funny the very thing that allows me to tolerate you is the very thing you are trying to destroy. You seem so proud of what you are. Don’t be :-)’

And for the things they say about this blog. Well I’ll leave it there.

2 It has now become apparent that the future of the Government sits with the budget. A budget that has two competing requirements. Firstly one that addresses spending.

This is a budget that is critical to the future of Australia. The Abbott/Turnbull government have blamed Labor for all manner of things and promised to fix everything. The have said that revenue is not the problem, spending is. They have committed to cutting spending without raising revenue.

Everything that was once on the table and presented as a grand plan has been swept from it. The budget has become the plan.

A leading player on the right, Cory Bernardi said the Government’s priority was ‘getting the budget back in the black and making government sustainable’.

No we cannot continue to spend more than what we earn.

Bernardi went on:

‘This is a critical budget for the future of the country. It’s a critical choice for the future of the country because we cannot continue on spending 50 or 60 billion a year more than we have in income and taking further income in is not the answer.’

The Government has placed itself between a rock and a hard place. Its ideology demands that it doesn’t hurt its own constituency. That is why it won’t address the revenue issue. It’s called votes.

Barry Cassidy in an article for The Drum makes my second point with this comment.

‘But can the Treasurer fashion a budget that does all that and also serves as the political document that saves the day? Can it be both economically tough and politically pragmatic?

I don’t think so. And I might put this question.

How can the Government, given the unscrupulous behaviour of the corporate world possibly argue for tax breaks for business in the budget and at the same time ignore the ordinary punter.

3 The Governments main thrust of attack has been centered on Union corruption. Parliament is being recalled at an enormous cost to debate the ABCC legislation.

The waters of this debate have been muddied this week with the release of the Panama papers, serious allegations of corporate cheating globally, and the atrocious behaviour of some of our banks.

And of course the appalling management of Arrium reminds us that the corporate world has taken an almighty hit this week. The government on the one hand cannot be seen to be Union bashing whilst on the other be seen to be condoning the behaviour of their corporate mates.

An observation.

A strong banking system is vital for the Australian economy but it shouldn’t be a licence for corporate economic immorality.

4 The Labor Party has taken the lead with an announcement on Friday that there will be a Royal Commission into the financial sector if it wins office.

The Government throws a tantrum saying there is no need. That ASIC and other regulatory bodies have adequate powers to deal with the issues.

Which of course raises the question that if they are doing their job of regulating why are we seeing scandal after scandal relating to financial services.

A friend, Russell Green, on Facebook posed this question.

‘At the risk of harping on a well-worn record. Given the events of the past few months with regard to companies and individuals not paying any tax, regardless of its legality, and the subsequent release of the “Panama Papers”, the time has come for governments to give up on income taxes and pursue transaction taxes instead. Income Tax has become optional in the eyes of many. Whereas transaction taxes are in fact very collectible. As it is the institutions themselves that collect and pass on the tax. This form of taxation would be extremely difficult to avoid. In simple terms get rid of all income and company tax. And replace with a percentage, whatever is able to replace that lost revenue, of each transaction. Keep the GST at 10% but make it on everything. This would have the effect of destroying the tax avoidance industry; stop the need for negative gearing; the cost of doing business would be that; and Australia would become a tax-free haven. There would be so much to gain. The only people who would be fearful of this are those that stand to lose what they currently avoid by devious means.’

Make any sense or just food for thought.

5 Finally. Even after yet another report and subsequent findings into parliamentarian’s expenses we still find politicians feeding themselves from the public purse.

Barnaby goes one better than Bronny chartering two $4000 helicopter rides to visit a village near his electorate office.

Then today we find it’s actually four.

On top of that we find that other are paying off their Canberra homes on the public purse using their travel allowances..

These are some of the culprits.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Social Services Minister Christian Porter, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and Assistant Defence Minister Michael McCormack.

They stay in houses or apartments they own and claim the travel allowance when in Canberra, which can work out at a minimum of $1000 a week or $18,000 a year.  That’s it I have had enough.

My thought for the day.

Never confuse what you want with what you need’

 

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