Reasons not to

Oh for a government who didn’t spend all their time finding reasons…

Convenient Demonologies: Stopping Migrant Caravans

President Donald J. Trump has been engaged with berating human caravans, a…

Hell hath no fury: The makings of a…

By Dr Strobe DriverNormally I restrict my opinions to international relations issues…

Remembering the Peace Makers: What the Armistice Commemorations…

Those in the war industry and the business of commemorating the dead…

Morrison's latest prop

So the Liberal Party has hired a bus as a new toy…

Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power

Soft power was always a term best suited for eunuchs. It relies…

What does a minute's silence mean?

It means, "shut the f*ck up!"It means, make no noise!It means let…

According to the WEF, the planet is 'on…

The Global Risks Report 2018 produced by the World Economic Forum lays…


Search Results for: open letter

An open letter to Andrew Bolt

By Christian Marx

Once again, the shrill cries from Andrew Bolt can be seen in his latest crusade for “free” speech. According to his warped world view, hate-speech is acceptable and should never be censored.

Bolt has been all bent out of shape by the news that many sponsors have withdrawn their funding of Sky News after the white supremacist, Blair Cottrell appeared on Sky voicing his opinions. Bolt’s scatter-gun rant against Metro trains and public transport minister, Jacinta Allan is typical of Bolt. All deflection and no substance. Maybe he needs to be told …

Dear Andrew,

Once again you rave on about censorship. Interesting. Can you tell me why mainstream media is gagged from reporting on your boss, Rupert Murdoch`s Middle Eastern interests? I have never seen mention of this either at the ABC or any commercial networks. Could it be that the ABC is being silenced by the hard-right apparatchiks infesting the ABC boards? Or perhaps the relentless attacks from the LNP/IPA have cowed the ABC into silence? Or at least it seems that way. Your hypocrisy appears to be breathtaking! For those who are unaware of Murdoch and his Middle Eastern financial interests, here is an expose on his company Geanie Energy that you might like to read, and here is another.

In your article from last week, you go on to accuse the ALP state government as “Tin Pot dictators”. Absolutely laughable. You then assert that $400,000 has been stolen from taxpayers. Really? How about the 30 million given to Rupert Murdoch in tax payer’s money to Foxtel?

You bet it was a mistake to have Blair Cottrell on Sky News … but this was no accident. Rather, I believe it was another deliberate attempt by Sky to push the envelope and test the waters. A very cunning attempt at normalising a toxic agenda of racism. I mean, you and Blair share very similar belief systems. True, you have not claimed to admire Hitler, but many of your articles are filled with racial and ethnic scapegoating. Your ridiculous article on immigration was yet another hard-right spin-fest, tailored to the lowest common denominator of your sub-normal IQ demographic.

I have no doubt that if the Cottrell interview was well-received, Sky would have been very pleased with the results. It is only because the backlash was so severe and sponsors pulled away from Sky that this interview was quickly pulled. Predictably as always, instead of management getting the sack or demoted, it was the presenter who copped a hiding. So typical of conservatives, really.

Michaela Cash and her grubby attacks on unions and the silly police raid on union headquarters and leaking to the press, springs to mind. Who copped the flak and the blame? Certainly not Cash! It was one of her junior underlings who took the fall.

You go on to say that Sky is the only broadcaster to ban Cottrell. I say to you, only because they began haemorrhaging sponsors. Stop your virtue signalling! It is true that the ABC once had Cottrell on, but it was on a panel and others were challenging his ideas in a robust debate.

Sky was different. They had him on to propagate his manifesto unchallenged. This was a blatant attempt to manipulate an already rabid-right audience into further dangerous waters.

You then go onto whinge about Sky being pulled from state rail. Why the hell should a public entity be forced to peddle extremist far-right dogma from a far-right, private media platform?! It has no right to defile the ears of ordinary citizens going about their business in a public space!

You go on to say that the opinion shows from Sky are very popular. Bahahaha. Give me a break. Sky opinion shows rate dismally compared to the ABC. Sky News rates on average 12,000 viewers from 6pm to midnight. As I said, absolutely dismal!

Which is why I suspect that Sky is now going to be broadcast on free-to-air media.

The ugly truth is that you are giving the impression that you are a paid puppet for Rupert Murdoch and his extremist views. Sky and Herald Sun etc push one man’s opinion and vision for the world. That vision is an ugly dystopian, neoliberal capitalist model. Unlike myself, who bows to nobody, I am a free agent who is able to expose the truth and all the lies peddled by the rich and their toady politicians. This is ultimately why commercial media is a dinosaur. It only reflects the views and wishes of the extremely wealthy.

Seeking to divide the nation through race and culture is the only way the far-right can win votes. In my opinion their policies are so toxic to the average citizen, that scapegoating, fear and hatred is all they have. I’m reminded of the Wizard of Oz: A booming, hateful exterior, but once the curtain is pulled back I can see strings manipulating every move, and there is nothing but a sad, embittered old man who long ago sold his soul to the devil for easy money.

Christian Marx is a political and social activist interested in making the world a fairer place. He has a Bachelor of Social Science and has a keen interest in sociology, politics and history. He was one of the organizers of the March in March rallies in Melbourne and is the founder of the progressive news and information page, “Don`t Look At This Page”, and is also a co-founder of “The Global Revolution” website.

Open Letter to the Australian People and Others


The People of Australia.

The Hon the Governor General.

Government House
Dunrossil Drive
Yarralumla ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6283 3533
Fax: (02) 6281 3760

The Hon Members and Senators of the Parliament of Australia.

The Hon Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.

Hon. William Shorten MP.

Parliament House
ACT 2600

Senator Louise Pratt.

Of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee.

Parliament House
ACT 2600

The Hon Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

Hon. Penny Wong

Parliament House
ACT 2600

The Leader of the Australian Greens Party.

Senator Richard Di Natale

Parliament House
ACT 2600

The Hon Independent Members of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia:

Hons: Andrew Wilke; Nick Xenophon; Jacqui Lambie; Derryn Hinch; Pauline Hansen; David Leyonhjelm; Bob Katter; Lucy Gichuhi; Lee Rhiannon;

Parliament House
ACT 2600

The Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

Justice Kiefel AC

PO Box 6309
Kingston ACT 2604

The Director Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.

Ms Sarah McNaughton SC

4 Marcus Clarke Street
Canberra City ACT2601

Phone: (02) 6206 5666
Fax: (02) 6257 5709

The Commissioner for the Federal Police.

Andrew Colvin

GPO Box 401
Canberra ACT 2601

The Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Colin Neave

Level 5, Childers Square,

14 Childers Street
Canberra City ACT 2601


The facts referred to in this correspondence constitute a formal Complaint.



For the purposes of this Complaint I refer to the newspaper article in the Sydney Morning Herald dated 6 November 2016 and for which I here provide a link.

On or about 2010, Malcolm Turnbull, with his wife Lucy Turnbull, received a benefit from the Commonwealth (‘Cth’) in the form of an agreement and payment to undertake consultancy and research work for the Cth. The funds for the work undertaken were paid to Turnbull and Partners in which Malcolm Turnbull is a major shareholder and co-director. The Cth funds were paid to Turnbull and Partners from the then ALP government of Julia Gillard shortly before the federal election in August 2010. At this time, Malcolm Turnbull was sitting in the Commonwealth House of Representatives as a member of the opposition. Shortly after Turnbull and Partners entered the agreement with the Cth and received the funds, Malcolm Turnbull then re-nominated as a candidate for the federal election of August 2010. Being re-elected at that August 2010 election, Malcolm Turnbull continued to sit in parliament while the corporation he jointly owns and controls with his wife, Turnbull and Partners, was continuing to undertake the work under the agreement with the Cth.

Section 44 of the Commonwealth Constitution Act provides grounds for disqualification of a candidate in being elected to the House of Representatives. It states:


Any person who:

(i)  is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power; or

(ii)  is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer; or

(iii)  is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent; or

(iv)  holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth; or

(v)  has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons;

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

Of particular relevance to Malcolm Turnbull’s circumstances is sub-section ‘(v)’. As a member of a small company, with only two members and two co-directors, himself and his wife Lucy Turnbull, Malcolm Turnbull did not fall within the exception provided by that subsection as Turnbull and Partners was not a company consisting of more than 25 members.

The consequence of these facts is that, at the time of the election in 2010 and of his nomination, Malcolm Turnbull was disqualified from being chosen or from sitting in the House of Representatives before, during and after the election of 2010 while he still received a benefit or a financial advantage from the Cth in the form of his salary from the Cth. While obtaining that financial advantage Malcom Turnbull, throughout that time, did also cause a loss to the Cth.

Part 7.3, section 135 of the Criminal Code (Cth) states, inter alia, the following:

                        Part 7.3 — Fraudulent conduct


Division 135 — Other offences involving fraudulent conduct.


                       135.2   Obtaining financial advantage

(1)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person engages in conduct; and

(aa)  as a result of that conduct, the person obtains a financial advantage for  himself or herself from another person; and

(ab)  the person knows or believes that he or she is not eligible to receive that financial advantage; and

(b)  the other person is a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

(1A)  Absolute liability applies to the paragraph (1)(b) element of the offence.

(2)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person engages in conduct; and

(aa)  as a result of that conduct, the person obtains a financial advantage for another person from a third person; and

(ab)  the person knows or believes that the other person is not eligible to receive that financial advantage; and

(b)  the third person is a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

(2A)  Absolute liability applies to the paragraph (2)(b) element of the offence.


Hence, on the basis that he was disqualified person by being ineligible to sit in the House of Representatives due to his company Turnbull and Partners having an agreement with the Cth, and on the basis of that company and him receiving an advantage by way of payment from the Cth, on the balance of probabilities, and most likely also on the standard of beyond reasonable doubt, it is highly probable that Malcolm Turnbull breached  s 135.2 Criminal Code (Cth) and committed the criminal offence of obtaining a financial advantage from another party that he was not eligible or entitled to receive. That other party was the Cth and, as a consequence, Malcolm Turnbull has committed an offence of a fraudulent nature against the Cth pursuant to Partb7.3.

Further, it is evident on the facts stated above, that Malcolm Turnbull did first commit this offence at the time between when Turnbull and Partners entered the agreement with the Cth, that he continued to commit the offence through the period during which he sat in Parliament and received a financial advantage from the Cth and leading up to the August 2010 election, and that he continued to commit that offence at the time he nominated as a candidate for election to the House of Representatives in 2010 and  also through the period when he sat in Parliament after the 2010 election and each time he received a  salary payment from the Cth. It is also evident that he continues to commit that or another offence to the present day by retaining the financial advantage he has obtained.

In the circumstances, given the gravity of the offending and the paramountcy of the Constitution, it is imperative that Malcolm Turnbull be immediately arrested, charged with the offence at s 135.2 Criminal Code Act, and that he be tried for that offence. Given Malcolm Turnbull’s position and the need for a deterrent in regard to the commission of similar types of offences, it would not be unreasonable for the maximum sentence to be imposed upon Malcolm Turnbull should he be found guilty of the charge.

The people of Australia should not be subject to such a flagrant breach of the Constitution, or the criminal law by a person who is an experienced and practiced lawyer and who now purports to be a leader of their nation and an officer of the Crown.

The rule of law requires that Malcolm Turnbull be charged and tried for this offence.

If people in the position of Malcolm Turnbull are not seen to be subject to the law, then the whole legal and political system will be brought into disrepute in the mind of the public as institutions that are inherently biased and corruptible as there will be one law for some and another for others. Furthermore, should Malcolm Turnbull not be brought to justice for this offending, such a public perception would not be unwarranted as the principle of the rule of law would be seen as merely an ideology invoked selectively to oppress the lives of some but to enhance the lives of others.

I refer this Complaint to your immediate consideration and attention.

Yours Faithfully,

An Australian Citizen

On Behalf of the People of Australia.

Readers are invited to print off this open letter and post or email it to their local MP or to one or more of the addressees listed on the letter.

An Open Letter to Andrew Bragg

Dear Andrew

I am responding to your thoughtful opinion piece in The Guardian which aims to justify the Liberal Party’s creation of The Fair Go propaganda website.

I’m so sorry that the Liberal Party feel so weak and neglected by the mainstream media that you have to spend money to create a website to get your voice out there. Feeling powerless, like you have been blocked from the national debate, must be an awful situation to find yourself in. I hadn’t realised that the readership of your mastheads at News Ltd had shrunk to such an inconsequential size that you can no longer rely on them to campaign on your behalf. How horrible for you. I wasn’t aware that your IPA representatives appearing on every ABC news show are having such a hard time getting your point of view across. It must be awful to have all this coverage and still be losing the argument.

I did know, however, that your ranting right wing cheer squad on Sky News gets less views than some of my blog posts. And I’m a nobody Andrew! I don’t even get paid for putting my opinions out there, yet more people are interested in what I have to say than watching Chris Kenny whine and bitch. This must be more than frustrating for you, poor thing. It’s no wonder you felt compelled to publish a piece in The Guardian to finally get your voice out to sizeable audience. Good on you for doing that.

But, Andrew, I hope I can make you feel a bit better, a bit less meek and downtrodden, by straightening up some of the misinformation, or perhaps the misunderstanding, that you have included in your piece. Firstly, you need to remember that Australia is a democratic nation. As irritating as this fact is for you, it means that us Australians have every right to give a few dollars here and there to fund organisations that represent our interests, such as GetUp, or trade unions, or environmental groups, in order to contribute our resources towards the political debate.

I know how much you would prefer if us pesky little peasants would just sit down, shut up and let your political movement of big business money trample all over us. But that would just make things too easy for you, Andrew! Us people, we have lives and opinions and rights and needs and wants, which includes the right to join political movements that represent us.

I must admit, it is an uphill battle for the sectional interests of us small guys. As you no doubt know from your Liberal Party fundraisers, big business has infinitely more money than the individuals who donate small change to environmental groups, GetUp, unions, any progressive cause you can name.

Remember when the Labor Government wanted to even up the playing field of funds distributed from selling Australia’s natural resources by introducing the mining tax, and your Liberal Party, side by side with billionaire Australians, with the all-powerful mining lobby, campaigned to kill that policy? The miners spent $22 million, which is small change to them, I know, Andrew! But what hope do I have, who earns an annual salary the size of Gina Rinehart’s lunch bill, of having a say in political debates, without democratically pooling what little resources I have into a David-like voice to respond to the Goliaths representing the Liberal Party?

We noticed when Prime Minister Turnbull spent $1.75 million of his own money, again, loose change to him, to help himself get elected. Does this sound like the actions of the weak and powerless? We noticed that Julie Bishop’s Mid Winter Ball gown cost $36,000, which is substantially more than a Newstart recipient receives in a year.  Cheer up Andrew, your power is in safe, rich hands!

So, really, you don’t need to feel so sad about your current predicament, where you think you’re voiceless and powerless, when really you’re holding all the cards in a loaded deck, and us little guys are barely chipping into the power you have to control the way we live our lives. For example, if unions are so big and powerful, how come some of the country’s lowest paid workers have just had their penalty rates cut after your side won your tireless campaign to reduce their wages? Why do unions face some of the toughest industrial laws in the world, such as not having the legal right to strike?

We know you’re disappointed that WorkChoices is democratically dead, buried and cremated, but in actual fact you should be cheering, as you’ve managed, against the odds, to bring in your WorkChoices-utopia by stealth, with casualisation, near-zero wage growth and precarious work the new norm for millions of Australians. This is all while your business mates reap 40% increase in profits, yet, in their powerful, almighty position, choose not to pass any of these rewards onto the workers who created the wealth. Geez Andrew, if this is what it means to be powerless, you guys are doing pretty nicely without power!

I hope this letter has made you feel better about your position in the political debate. It must be down-heartening every time you check the stats for the laughingly called ‘Fair Go’ website to find still no one is engaging in your content and you only have 242 followers on Twitter. You’ve no doubt paid Parnell McGuiness’s PR consultancy far too much money to create the site and it’s not getting anywhere near the audience these dollars would get you if you invested them in well written, relevant and less-propogandist content on a quality opinion site. But hey, you’re right that we should all have a fair go. Keep at it and us little guys will keep at it too. It’s only fair that we each do what’s in our best interest.

Yours Sincerely

Victoria Fielding

An open letter to moderate, peace-loving Muslims

By Michael Frost

Dear moderate, peace-loving Muslims,

I know every time there is a major Islamic-inspired terrorist incident you’re called on by angry radio hosts and newscasters to renounce all violence and condemn the perpetrators. And every time this happens your imams and muftis release such statements and appear before the cameras reading them to us.

But I’m not writing to demand a similar condemnation from you.

I already know you want to practice your religion in peace and leave me to practice mine as well.

I know you are as horrified by the recent acts of slaughter in England, Egypt and Indonesia as I am.

I know you want extremists to stop bringing dishonour upon Islam and attracting global revulsion toward your religion.

I know you wish it would all end.

But in case you think the whole world sees Islam as nothing but a hotbed of religious fanaticism and violence, I want you to know, that even though many of us won’t admit it, Christians have a very unhealthy relationship with violence too.

We have tried to rule the world with a Bible in one hand and a sword in the other. We’ve fallen to the seductive temptations of violence, authority and control many times. We are addicted to the myth of redemptive violence.

And I don’t have to go all the way back to the Crusades or the Inquisition to find examples. Just the last century alone is full of tragic illustrations of how we’ve tried to further our faith by violence and oppression, whether it be in Ireland, Bosnia, Waco, Oklahoma City, Manilla, or Johannesburg. And that doesn’t even include the hundreds of Christian priests and clergy around the world who have been found guilty of sexually and physically assaulting thousands of young people in their care.

Then, of course, there was our illegal invasion of Afghanistan and the war in Iraq (under false pretences about WMDs) resulting in the death of over one million people.

Dear moderate, peace-loving Muslims, there are Christians who know that violence achieves nothing. We speak from experience here. Although for a while it feels like strength. It feels good to lash out, to exact revenge, to think we’re defending the honour of our God. And it’s disturbingly tempting to believe that much can be achieved by marshalling military might to champion the cause of Christ. But in the long run all it did was compromise the vision of our faith and undermine our preaching about Jesus, the man of peace. In the end, our standing in the world and the integrity of our faith has been weakened, not enhanced, by our use of violence.

Believe me, even though your stance against Islamic violence often feels as hopeless as my stance against Christian violence, we can’t give up.

So the next time your leaders make public statements condemning these atrocities committed in the name of Islam, please know that some of us stand with you. Some of us share your revulsion and are ashamed of our fellow believers who have trampled on our God’s reputation by inciting or using violence to further our cause.

We know how hypocritical it must sound for those of us whose governments bombed and invaded your countries to insist that you condemn the violence of your extremists, men and women who don’t act in your name at all.

But condemn them we must. Together. As Christians and Muslims who have both renounced the way of violence and who want these evil acts of terror to stop. Now! And we know the best chance of that happening is for a movement of ordinary moderate, peace-loving people from your faith and mine to emerge to stand together and say to the extremists in each of our religions, NOT IN MY NAME.

Ramadan mubarak.

This article was originally published on Mike Frost and has been republished with permission.

Michael Frost: I am is a 20-year veteran of the academy, but I still don’t call myself an academic. On my immigration forms I write “teacher” in the occupation box. I’ve taught at Morling College in Sydney that whole time and am currently the head of the missiology department there. My doctorate examined a mission-shaped approach to being and doing church, and I’ve written a bunch of books in that field. Some of them have even been popular. Thank you if you bought one. I helped launch the Small Boat Big Sea community in Manly. I enjoy music by guys who can’t sing that great (Dylan, Cohen, Cave), hiking the national parks of North America (15, so far). I co-founded the Forge mission training network. I have won camel races in Kazakhstan, cliff-diving competitions in Thailand, and chess tournaments at the Kremlin. And I have spoken with Elvis (not all this might be true).

Open letter to PM Turnbull about automation

By Ad astra

Prime Minister

The people of Australia are aware of your desire that this nation and its people be agile, enterprising, and ever ready to adapt to change. I applaud your aspiration.

While some changes receive much publicity such as global warming, there is another, just as crucial, but which scarcely receives a mention. I am referring to the march of automation and the consequent displacement of humans from work they once did.

As robots progressively replace the workers who perform physical work, as algorithms make redundant people who perform cognitive tasks, the human toll increases as more and more are swept into unemployment.

The predictions are frightening. Robots are taking over jobs in manufacturing, agriculture, transport, tourism, hospitality, catering, retail, online sales, health and aged care, the service sector, and communications. Already, algorithms are being used in seventy percent of financial transactions. The trend is accelerating.

Whilst it is acknowledged that many benefits follow in the wake of automation and that productivity gains could be substantial, and while it is expected that automation will enhance national prosperity, the human cost is either being ignored or discounted by planners.

It is predicted that in the decades ahead many millions of people will lose their jobs, both here and overseas, leaving them without an income, dependent on welfare for survival.

Inequality, already high and rising, will be exacerbated.

Which brings me to the purpose of this letter.

Since it is the function of governments, civil authorities and planners to predict the future and plan for it, I seek your response to these questions:

  • What steps has your government taken to address the issue of automation and its sequelae?
  • Is there a department, a parliamentary committee, or an external body or group that has been commissioned to address the issue of automation?

If there is such a group:

  • What are the predictions about the proliferation of robots and algorithms?
  • Over what time frame has the predictions been made?
  • What effects are predicted to result from automation?
  • As people are displaced by automation and become unemployed, what provision is being made for their welfare and that of their dependents?
  • Has any consideration been given to the idea of guaranteeing all who unsuccessfully seek work or become unemployed a universal basic wage to enable their survival?
  • Does your government have a plan to manage this radical change to the work environment and the social contract of work for all?

I seek answers as a concerned citizen, deeply troubled by what lies ahead as automation takes its toll on our people.

I will anxiously await your response to my queries. In my view, in the same way as global warming threatens physical existence on our planet for all living things, automation threatens the very fabric of our human society. Both threats are dangerous; both demand the urgent attention of those to whom we have entrusted our future.

Yours respectfully

What do you think?

Have you seen any signs of Turnbull or his ministers taking any preemptive action on automation?

What action should he take?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

For Facebook users, The Political Sword has a Facebook page:
Putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword – ‘Like’ this page to receive notification on your timeline of anything they post.

There is also a personal Facebook page:
Ad Astra’s page – Send a friend request to interact there.

The Political Sword also has twitter accounts where they can notify followers of new posts:
@1TPSTeam (The TPS Team account)
@Adastra5 (Ad Astra’s account)

Open letter to Senator Derryn Hinch

Australian Budget Owls is a group of concerned citizen economists who believe debate in Australia should be informed by Modern Monetary Theory. Australian Budget Owls write open letters challenging what we see as false and misleading statements, based on a zombie economic orthodoxy, described variously as “fake knowledge” and “junk economics” by leading academic economists. We ask the proponents to put up or shut up, provide clear and valid reasoning, which we would say doesn’t exist, to support their position or, change.

Dear Senator Hinch,

We write to address your comments in the media regarding home ownership for younger Australians.

Australian Budget Owls is a group of concerned citizen economists, informed by Modern Monetary Theory.

In our model of the economy we believe that money is created by banks endogenously. While this is somewhat controversial, we note that the Bank of England released a working paper in 2015 essentially confirming our views. The banking system can create as much money as it can sell, at the interest rate set by the government through the reserve bank.

The consequence of this is obvious. The supply of money, available for speculation on house prices, and hence the resulting bubble and corresponding levels of private debt, are constrained by:

  • the interest-rate set by the reserve bank,
  • prudential rules set by APRA,
  • any other laws constraining the lending by banks that may be decided by Parliament and,
  • taxation of the proceeds of housing speculation currently given discounted treatment.

The aforementioned all fall within the purview of the parliament and government, and therefore are the responsibility of you and your colleagues.

Conclusion – Parliamentarians have a social responsibility.

Your comments that younger Australians should not expect to own their own home are, from the perspective of social equity, unacceptable to us.

We would like to suggest that you, and your colleagues in parliament, consider the work of economist Prof Steve Keen on private-sector debt. Specifically, adopting a long-term policy targeting a private sector debt to GDP ratio in a similar manner to the way we now target inflation. In addition, you may wish to consider professor Keen’s Modern Debt Jubilee proposal to defuse the systemic risk associated with current high levels of private debt.

Best regards,

Damien Smith
Australian Budget Owls

An open letter to Francis Sullivan

Your ‘Where to from here?’ speech as CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council on 10 March 2017 was admirably frank about the Catholic Church’s causes of the abuse crisis.

It did not, however, in our view, go far enough in its blame or solutions.

It is surprising that, as you claim, no one “was prepared for the extent of the abuse and the appalling rate across male religious orders and within the priesthood”.

But there was plenty of evidence of the abuse.

The culture of denial and secrecy was led from the very top of the Church in Australia over decades. It continues to compound the abuse suffered by victims by denying justice to perpetrators and those who shielded them.

We are surprised that you thought “maybe the Church had up to 100 paedophiles in its history”. This is so far from the reality elsewhere, known even before the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was announced.

It seems extraordinary that you seem unaware of the implication of the thousands of press reports of such abuse from around the world over decades and the billions of dollars that have been paid out in damages in the US, and millions of Euros in Ireland.

Other sources include the 2015 film Spotlight, concerning the exposés of the Boston Globe journalists, the books Double Cross by David Ranan (2007) and Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church by Fr. Thomas Doyle, A.W. Richard Sipe and Patrick Wall (2006).

Also relevant to the scale of abuse is the Holy See’s representative telling the United Nations Human Rights Council on 22 September 2009: “From available research we now know that in the last fifty years somewhere between 1.5% and 5% of the Catholic clergy has been involved in sexual abuse cases.”

Worldwide there are about 500,000 male priests and religious which equates to between 7,500 and 25,000 abusers, most of which have abused multiple children or vulnerable adults in their care and on numerous occasions.

At the same time the Vatican’s UN representative sought to excuse such sexual and other violence against minors by clerics on the grounds that most abuse is “ephebophile” not paedophile.

Nevertheless this kind of abuse is normally criminal action and constitutes a serious abuse of trust and misuse of authority that frequently ruins the lives of those abused and their families.

Such abuse has been a problem since the inception of the Church.

As early as 1963 it was brought to the attention of the Pope in an audience by the Order of the Paracletes that had even considered, but eventually abandoned, an “Island Retreat” in the Caribbean for recidivist abusive priests, such was the extent of the abuse.

Also, in its 2014 Concluding Observations  (see in particular paras 43 and 44) the Holy See received the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child’s harshest possible criticism which received worldwide publicity.

The UN Committee noted in para 19 that the Pope’s own Pontifical Commission to sanction bishops covering up abusers was to be “empowered to receive children’s complaints of sexual abuse”.

But, of course, as we know now, the Pontifical Commission was without resources to do anything.

Long before Commission member Marie Collins left in disgust, or indeed before Peter Saunders was quietly ousted from the Pontifical Commission, the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child raised alarm bells about this Commission.

The UN Committee’s Observations, just as valid today, continue: “The Committee is, however, concerned that the Holy See has not established a mechanism to monitor respect for and compliance with children’s rights by individuals and institutions operating under its authority, including all Catholic schools, worldwide and in Vatican City State.”

You have rightly acknowledged recent concerns about the Pope’s disinclination to tackle such abuse effectively, but these are simply yet a further symptom of what has been evident from the start of his pontificate.

One of the first indications of this was the refusal to take these UN recommendations seriously; it surely cannot have been without his knowledge that the UN Committee was in effect attacked by the Holy See for its concluding observations.

The Pontifical Commission never had any executive power, and we now learn, resources. It exists to give the illusion of action being taken.

Similarly, the Tribunal the Pope announced to prosecute bishops who covered up abusing priests was abandoned in June 2016 soon after it became evident that these bishops or senior Church figures would con- sequently be vulnerable to secular justice, mainly in the USA. This almost pain-free procedural Tribunal alternative, free from criminal sanctions, never sat.

There have been numerous other accusations of the Pope’s disinclination to act in this area, easily found in the media. The Vatican continues to refuse to instruct, as the UN recommended, that reasonable suspicions of abuse be reported to secular authorities and insists that incriminating information be kept out of secular reach.

You are correct in drawing attention to implications of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine Faith’s refusal to co-operate, even the basic courtesy of acknowledging letters from those alleging abuse far less investigating them.

The combination of a reluctant pontiff and an obstructive curia is a Church, also a nation state, that undermines the rule of law with impunity.

Abusers and their enablers go unpunished by secular courts able to impose realistic punishments for crimes, and many victims go uncompensated.

Despite your mea culpa the Church still ferociously fights both criminal and civil cases, even when there is no doubt about guilt.

We wish we shared your optimism that greater lay involvement would help, given the Curia ignore even requests by the Pope to observe the most basic courtesies.

It would go some way to improve matters for the future if in all countries:

  1. Reporting of institutional abuse were made mandatory;
  2. Statutes of limitation were lifted for child abuse cases where the Australian Commission showed that on average reporting took over 30 years;
  3. No religious organization is in effect immune to being sued because of the nature of its legal persona, which is never a bar to it receiving assets;
  4. ‘One law for all’ with no recognition of parallel legal systems; religious institutions should not be permitted to exempt themselves from the law of the land; Canon law must not take precedence over Australian law.

Mr Sullivan, would you support such proposals?

Signed …

Rationalist Society of Australia, Melbourne

Rationalist Assn of NSW, Sydney

Plain Reason, Adelaide

Humanist Society of Queensland, Brisbane

National Secular Society, London



An open letter to the LNP regarding the Cashless Welfare Card

By Tina Clausen

After having worked as a professional Social Worker for twenty years, including in agency management and interdisciplinary team leader positions, then having to leave the workforce due to illness, how dare you assume that I am suddenly incapable of managing my own income and decide that I should be treated like a child and a criminal.

You are taking away my basic Human Rights of dignity, self-determination and social freedom. You are also illegally disadvantaging me by letting Indue retain interest earned on money in my account as well as forcing me to access goods and services that are more expensive than I get them for now. Money is tight and I’m managing my budget accordingly, you and private for profit company Indue will blow my budget out the window.

Logistically and practically the card is not working and is a nightmare for the general public, whom you are employed to serve in their best interest. This is in no ones best interest except Indue and its shareholders. The $4000 or more the scheme costs to manage per person could be better spent on increasing beneficiary payments, at least that way the money would be funneled back into local communities and thereby stimulating the economy.

The card was initially brought in to support people that had difficulties managing their income appropriately due to addiction issues. That is where it can be targeted, at an individual level for people identified within existing frameworks as being at risk eg via police, child safety services etc.

It is not appropriate to bring the card in wholesale across entire communities and eventually across the nation. We all have the right to live without excessive government interference in our day to day lives. This card only benefits Indue and the big chain stores especially. It is big brother in full action.

Another issue is that whereas Newstart recipients can leave the scheme when they find employment, people with chronic illnesses or disabilities will be stuck on it for life. They already have a hard time and now you want to punish them further?

I would not be able to continue my cheap insurance with Budget Direct, I would have to go to more expensive insurance providers. People can’t shop at cheap fresh food markets or garage sales but can go to Woolworths or the very expensive David Jones. 20% cash does not come close to meeting costs where you are unable to use the card, can’t even pay off a credit card debt or a mortgage with a re-draw facility if some people have those loans as you are not allowed to transfer money to those.

Unscrupulous individuals as well as shop owners are already taking advantage of people on the card and ripping off the most vulnerable in our society. They do this by taking a percentage of desperate peoples money in return for a cash exchange and shops in areas with little competition massively increase their prices. We are talking 200-400% price hikes.

The sad thing is the card doesn’t even address the initial issue the card was brought in for – those few who might actually need such assistance have found ways around it out of sheer desperation or embark on crime sprees to make up their shortfall.

We are a free country and as politicians there to serve the people you have no right to impose such a punitive and draconian scheme on unwilling Citizens. We NEVER voted or said “yes” to such a scheme.


Tina Clausen.

March in March protests against pay cuts, welfare cuts and the Cashless Welfare Card will be held around Australia on the 25th of March.

To support the most vulnerable in our society, please get involved. Visit the March Australia Facebook page for list of marches in a town or city near you.


An Open Letter to Indue on the Welfare Card Scheme

Indue Ltd
C/- Stargroup Ltd
(Formerly ICash Payment Systems, Formerly Reef Mining).

PO Box 523 Toowong
QLD 4066 Australia

P: +61 7 3258 4222
F: +61 7 3258 4211

5 March 2017

Re the ‘Healthy’ Welfare Card.

Dear Indue Ltd – its Board, Directors and Shareholders,

I am aware that the Commonwealth Human Services Minister in the Turnbull government, Alan Tudge, is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ for income management purposes in the near future. As an Australian citizen I am aware that levels of unemployment in Australia are high and unlikely to fall soon due to the policies of the Turnbull government and that, therefore, there is a high risk that I may become unemployed in the near future and, hence, subject to the income management welfare card scheme initiated by the LNP government and, specifically, by the Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and the Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

I am also aware that Indue and its owners are to be paid between $4000 and $7000 from the Australian budget as fees for each person on the income management card system including possibly for myself in the future. I understand that how much Indue actually receives of tax payer’s money for each person in its management scheme as an administrative fee, including possibly for myself in the future, will depend upon whether the person resides in an urban or regional location. However, given that the Turnbull government intends to extend the operation of the income management welfare card scheme to all welfare recipients soon then the profit Indue can anticipate making from the scheme is in the region of $4.6 billion dollars. I note this amount is an additional amount of expenditure on top of the existing welfare budget as I understand the implementation of the welfare card system does not create any savings for the government that can be accredited against the alleged budget deficit. In my view this money would be better spent on reducing the alleged debt or on the people of Australia as a whole and not on creating profits for a private company with political connections such as Indue.

I am further aware that those amounts are to be paid to Indue as fees from the Department of Human Services budget which departmental budget is itself obtained entirely from the Australian Consolidated Revenue Fund that belongs to all the Australian people. I am aware that the fee amounts Indue is to receive, or that it has already received so far, for performing its income management duties to welfare recipients, have been, or will be, appropriated by the Department of Human Services from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purported purpose of providing welfare for the Australian people and not for misuse as payment of profits to a private company such as Indue.

I consider that if I am compelled to participate in the card scheme and become subject to Indue’s income management scheme in the future then Indue would become my fiduciary. In the case Hospital Products Ltd v United States Surgical Corps Justice Mason of the High Court of Australia said the following:

The accepted fiduciary relationships are sometimes referred to as relationships of trust and confidence or confidential relations …The critical feature of these relationships is that the fiduciary undertakes or agrees to act for or on behalf of or in the interests of another person in the exercise of a power or discretion which will affect the interests of that other person in a legal or practical sense. The relationship between the parties is therefore one which gives the fiduciary a special opportunity to exercise the power or discretion to the detriment of that other person who is accordingly vulnerable to abuse by the fiduciary of his position. The expressions “for”, “on behalf of” and “in the interests of” signify that the fiduciary acts in a “representative” character in the exercise of his responsibility…

Given that the Turnbull government is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the income management welfare card scheme in the near future and given that I am likely to become unemployed in the future, it is almost certain that Indue will manage my income in the future and that it will do so purportedly in my interests and on my behalf as my fiduciary. On that basis, Indue would owe me the duties and obligations that usually accompany fiduciaries. Those duties would include, but would not be limited to, the obligation of complete disclosure to me, the prohibition against personally profiting from the performance of its duties to me, the obligation to avoid a conflict of interests and duties and a duty to protect me from any possible or actual losses from its management of my income. Losses that I would likely sustain from the income management welfare card scheme would include losses of opportunities to buy cheap goods or services at a cash price that I could not obtain by use of the card due to the restrictions on access to cash in the card system. Anticipated losses would also extend to any additional financial service fees I will incur due to me being forced to use the card in being denied access to cash. In those circumstances, in its capacity as my fiduciary, I would be entitled to hold Indue liable for those and any other possible losses I incur due to the operation of the card and Indue’s management of my income.

I also note that in the Hospital Products case his Honour Chief Justice Gibbs said:

A person who occupies a fiduciary position may not use that position to gain a profit or advantage for himself, nor may he obtain a benefit by entering into a transaction in conflict with his fiduciary duty, without the informed consent of the person to whom he owes the duty.

By this correspondence then, and on the basis that Indue will likely seek to become my fiduciary in the near future and stands to gain from that capacity, as it has already done with the huge profits it has already obtained from the income management welfare card scheme so far, I give notice that I do not consent to Indue managing my income or becoming my fiduciary at any time or of obtaining fees from anyone, including from the Government, for any income management services it purports to undertake for me or on my behalf.

I give further notice that if I am compelled to participate in the card programme I will hold Indue and its owners liable for any and all losses or liabilities I sustain due to the operation of the welfare card and of the income management system. Those losses and liabilities will extend to any legal costs I incur in challenging or remedying Indue’s management of my income without my consent.


An Australian Citizen 2017

An open letter to ABC Radio National

By Mark Delmege

I really don’t understand how you people see things. The US was a large part of the reason why Libya was destroyed and a large part of the reason why Syria is such a mess. The wars (regime change efforts) against both countries created the waves of refugees into Europe and the deaths tens or hundreds of thousands, and along the way emboldened terrorism in the region and across the world.

Yet you criticise Russia for trying to end the terrorism and instability.

And Trump, to his credi,t says he wants an end to this too. He wants stability and friendly relations with Russia.

What’s not to like about that?

Obama and Clinton both supported arming terrorist groups. There is no doubt about this. France, Germany and the UK were/are willing partners with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar in this. I’d argue it is a joint criminal enterprise. These are the facts of recent history.

We know this even if you people are afraid to say so. It’s why we don’t trust you lot (ABC AM/PM, Adams etc) anymore.

It’s why journalists are seen as liars and why you have so little credibility.

Trump, for all his faults is not a racist. He has received awards (note plural) for his inclusiveness from people like Jessie Jackson. At one of his recent rallies he held a rainbow flag and said how he would protect LGBTI and Q people.

He is against Muslim fundamentalism and I see his rise as an end to the USofA alliance with Muslim Brotherhood types. This is a good thing.

Yet you belt away establishment imperial lefties and others don’t seem to see the wood for the trees.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a supporter of four on the floor US style capitalism, but I can appreciate that some good might come of a the Trump presidency

When are you people going to understand that more of the same – as in Obama’s foreign policy – is a recipe for further disaster?

We know that when you and (and the SBS) ran White Helmets and AMC videos and reports that they were bought and paid for propaganda productions – groups that are aligned with terrorists in Syria – and paid for with Western money – this is war propaganda and I can’t believe that your people don’t know this. As far as I understand this is illegal to do – yet you do it. Why? Is this subservience to Empire? Are you directed by Government or do you not have the intelligence to know better?


Editor’s note: the ‘Your Say’ section provides an opportunity for our readers to have a say on any issue that is important to them. This does not mean that The AIMN fully or partly endorses the views or opinions we publish from our readers.


An Open Letter to America


Dear America,

Our relationship is over. Please delete my number, unfriend me on Facebook and un-tag me from all of your photos. In fact, it might be best if you never mention we were friends to anyone, ever. I would prefer you pretend you don’t know me because, you know, it’s pretty embarrassing for anyone to know how close we once were.

I can’t totally forget the good memories, but your disgraceful behaviour has tainted them. I grew up thinking you were like this cool older cousin who always made me laugh and who I could trust to be brave whenever I needed you. You always had the good guy winning. The aliens were always defeated, the asteroid never once destroyed the earth, the bomb got close to going off but never did, the super-hero always saved the day, and the story unfailingly had a happy ending. That’s what you got me used to. That’s the image I have of you in my head. That’s what I was brought up to expect to happen. It was always so satisfying to see the brave and the strong battle adversity and come out on top. You taught me so many great life lessons; to never give up, to always believe in myself, and to do it all with a cheesy self-confident grin. But all this is ruined now. In the place of love and affection, all that is left is hurt and regret for ever trusting you in the first place. You’ve become a mean, nasty, racist, woman-hating, bitter, twisted shadow of your former self, so much so that I hardly recognise you. You’ve betrayed me so badly, I promise I will never trust you again.

We thought it was a joke at first. You know, like your crazy habit of building up all the tension, and then at the last minute, sweeping in and saving the day. But this time, this time it’s turned into a nightmare. When he said he could shoot someone and people would still vote for him, well, we were a little surprised he still got the nomination after that. We gave you the benefit of the doubt and we watched the debates and after that, it was obvious he just wasn’t cut out for the job and we were sure you agreed with us. The wall building, and the racism, and the hatred, and the division, we thought that was totally the opposite of what you were like. Then came the pussy-grabbing, and particularly us females, well we were hurt and outraged that he was even given a chance to excuse that behaviour because frankly, we thought we were all way past this boys-will-be-boys defence for sexual assault. And the lies, America. The lies were so blatant and so constant. We thought you were against lying and cheating, because we’ve always been taught, from a very young age, that liars and cheats never prosper. That bad people don’t win? What happened to those values America? What happened to truth, fairness and being good? How have you lost your way so badly?

From where we’re sitting, it was more than a little suspicious that he wouldn’t release his tax returns. He quite clearly hadn’t paid any tax, but somehow you guys over there didn’t really seem to mind. Then the contractors started lining up, telling us all about how he conned them out of the money he owed them, and how he sent their small business broke. He went on and on about his amazing business skills, but all this defied logic when it was so clear his fortune wasn’t anything like he said it was, and his father had bailed him out every time he lost everything. If there’s one thing we knew about you, it was how much you love business success, so you can imagine how confusing it was for us to hear about all his failures, but for you still to claim he knew what he was doing? You never seemed to ask for details and always believed he could just wave a magic wand and make everything ok. How has this happened America? How could you possibly all be so stupid? How did you not ask for details? How did you take this weirdo at his word? How did you never check the details?

But right up until today, call us suckers, we kept the faith in you. We kept saying that it would all work out in the end. We trusted that maybe you were a little lost, but that you would wake up and you would say enough is enough, this can’t be good for everyone, and that justice would prevail after all. No matter how unhappy you were, we thought you’d find a way, together, to make things right. We never thought hate would win over love. You’re the ones who always showed us this could never happen. You’re the reason we believed you would do the right thing.

After reading this, you can understand why we’re so disappointed in you, and must sever all ties going forward. We would have liked to have enough good will left to wish you well, but unfortunately after the way you’ve disregarded our feelings, our fear of nuclear holocaust, and our economies which still haven’t got over the last time your sub-prime-mortgage scandal screwed us all, we haven’t anything nice left to say to you.

We do feel sorry for all of you who fought hard to stop this happening. If any of the good-Americans would like to find homes somewhere else, we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

To the rest of you selfish fuckers – you deserve everything you get. Enjoy your evil, lying, cheating, ugly orange-man hampster-head making all your laws and screwing all your lives. The fairy tale America is dead. You’re dead to us now. Welcome to your own self-made Armageddon.

Yours sincerely,
The rest of the world

Open letter to Simon Birmingham

The Weasel often writes letters to elected officials… as the dictum goes: If you smell something, say something.

The most recent pronouncement by our erstwhile federal education minister that creative careers were a lifestyle choice had a particular odour. The lack of response from the reigning opposition parties also left much to be desired. So while the intended recipient for below missive was originally for Mr Birmingham; I encourage you, good reader, to freely appropriate the text and send to all those elected officials you believe would benefit from my educational inquiry.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dear Minister Birmingham  [or insert name of senator or MP here]

I am writing to you regarding recent comments [by the Federal Education Minister] that described creative careers as a lifestyle choice.

I would like to enquire why the government of the day is ignoring the actions of most other technologically developed nations. In the UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, creative industries are identified as key drivers in revitalising manufacturing sectors, and on-shoring production or services that in previous decades been shifted to less expensive markets.

The U.K., France, South Korea, and Germany all have policy that explicitly links creative industries to programs designed to build or enhance innovation; and gain competitive advantage in the shift to Industry 4.0. Many countries now have dedicated creative industry hubs to create and enhance networks and connectivity between creative professionals and other industries.

To state that creative careers are a lifestyle choice ignores the essential function of cultural events in our society. It ignores the economic contribution. It ignores the contribution to the expression of the Australian character by thousands of actors, painters, dramaturges, designers, editors, architects, writers. Finally, it ignores the contribution that trained creative’s deliver in innovative thinking to thousands of Australian businesses. You can read more about how vibrant and vital creative professionals are on the AusTrade website.

If the current government is truly serious about innovation, then engagement and investment in creative careers and industries is essential. Design thinking is inherent in all creative pursuits, and those are exactly the structured innovative skills Australia needs to regain economic strength.

In the new knowledge economy, superior creative thinking can conquer limitations of scale or distribution. The emerging decentralised, interconnected, and data-rich manufacturing landscape has opportunities waiting to be discovered and exploited; and it is creative professionals who are best positioned to think outside the box, make use of limited resources, and take advantage of connectivity to drive innovation.

In light of all this, I would like an answer to the following questions:

Why does the Education Minister consider creative careers non-essential to the Australian economy?

How does the government plan to succeed with an innovation agenda without using design thinking, or input from creative professionals?

I have included links to some of the sources to which I refer in this letter. I encourage you to investigate them further.
I look forward to your reply

Yours Sincerely

The Weasel Creative-Industries


Deutschland creative industries

UNESCO Science report: creative industries driving innovation what everyone must know about industry 4.0

An Open Letter to Peter Costello

Dear Peter Costello,

I am writing in response to your allegation that the mining industry has been ‘treated shabbily’ by Australia. Apparently you don’t think they’ve had a fair deal, what with the billions of dollars of profit they’ve sucked out of the earth, from the dirt owned by Australian citizens. What would you like? For us all to give the mining executives a big hug, or a pat on the back, to say ‘thanks for royally screwing us over?’ Perhaps you would like us to cook them each a cake? A mud cake perhaps? Sorry. It never occurred to me to do this.

But hang on. You’ve said what you want. You want there to be a section in the Australian curriculum where school students are taught to bow down to the rich miners and kiss their toes, begging them to hire them to drive trucks for big bucks, and to spend weeks away from their family at a time, to live the Australian dream of helping mining executives get rich? What should this part of the curriculum be called Peter? Perhaps it could be a whole subject? Kissing Gina’s arse? How about, how-to-rip-off-battlers-to-line-the-pockets-of-shareholders? How about a practical-lesson-in-sending-Australia’s-wealth-overseas so none of us get any benefit from it unless we’re wealthy enough to have huge superannuation accounts? Wealth inequality for dummies perhaps?

But you really do have a point, in your funny old way of being wrong while still somehow managing to make sense. A bit like how you claim to be a really great ex-Treasurer, and to be oh so worried about debt and deficit, while also conveniently ignoring that little problem of your actual legacy which, low and behold, screwed all of us. I see a pattern of incompetence forming here. Richard Denniss puts your yearly cost to Australia at $56 billion dollars per year. Ouch Peter! What is it you like to say about inter-generational theft? Maybe everyone should learn all about your incompetence at school? Maybe we should have a Royal Commission into Peter Costello’s Incompetence to get to the bottom of how you managed to leave such economic destruction in your wake?

But really Peter, you’ve got a point about the mining industry deserving a place in the school curriculum. In fact, I applaud your call to give our children a chance to learn how they missed out on a once in a generation mining boom because the mining industry, with the help of your Liberals, crushed Labor’s super-profit tax in order to protect their unfair rort of taking all the wealth for themselves. I definitely think it’s a great idea to educate children about the ills of wealth inequality, so that they understand that life doesn’t have to be this way. They have a right to be told by their teachers that people like you shouldn’t be making decisions on their behalf. Because you don’t have their best interests at heart. And nor do the mining executives who you like to exalt as the mythical heroes of the Australian economy. I’m sure Australian children will be very interested to learn how your Liberals cancelled their chance to get their fair share of mining’s benefits, from the soil they all collectively own. They’ll no doubt be howling about this when they find out how much superannuation they’ve missed out on, money they needed in retirement. They’ll be pissed when they find out you preferred to let the mining executives live it up on their dime, stealing from their bank accounts so they’ll have to retire the day before they die. Good on you Peter. It’s definitely a good idea to tell all the kiddies about this con. Education is, after all, the key to a better future.

Speaking of education, I wonder if you have the figures at hand of how much education funding we could have enjoyed had your government, the one where you controlled the money, thought about taxing the mining industry properly and putting that revenue somewhere useful, such as into the education budget? Actually, let’s not get you to do the sums because we know how hopeless you are with accounting. Remember the time you sold all the gold at rock bottom price? When I say ‘the gold’, just to be clear, it wasn’t your gold Peter, it was ours. Remember when you lost billions of dollars of Australian money, money that belonged to those school children who never heard anything about it?

Now I come to think of it, you really should be ashamed of yourself Peter. You’ve screwed over the Australian people time and time again. I have no idea why anyone thinks it would be a good idea to listen to your opinion about anything. What are you doing these days anyway? When you retired you said it was to spend more time with your family. But then I recall, you’ve been appointed to, hang on, what the actual… Australia’s independent sovereign wealth fund? That’s really taking the piss Peter. You’re the last person I would let even think about walking anywhere near Australia’s Future Fund, let alone giving you the keys and letting you drain it all away, sell the farm and watch the proceeds melt to nothing, until the future is free of any funds. But of course you still get paid. What a joke Peter. What an absolute joke. Who on earth would give you such a responsible position, when you’re so clearly ideologically inappropriate and incompetently reckless with money to boot? I think I can guess.

I think it’s time you did the whole country a favour and just go away. And in particular, stay away from the young people Peter. You’ve done enough damage. You’ve treated us all very shabbily. It’s time we had a chance to fix your mistakes for the benefit of all our futures.

Yours Sincerely
Victoria Rollison

An Open Letter to Malcolm Turnbull about Misuse of the Word ‘Free’

Bird in a cage

Dear Malcolm Turnbull

On the day you took the job of Prime Minister of Australia, you laid your flag in the ideological-dirt by proclaiming your intention to run a ‘thoroughly Liberal Government committed to freedom, the individual and the market’. I’ll cut to the chase. This letter calls bullshit on your misrepresentation of the word ‘freedom’. I think it’s time we all saw through this smug cover for what you are really running: a market that benefits the privileged over everyone else.

Let’s have a look at what the word freedom actually means. Here are two useful definitions: ‘The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint’. ‘Exemption from external control, interference, regulation’. Comparing these descriptions to the rules that you prefer to run the Australian economy by, it’s obvious that your idea of a ‘free market’ makes us all, collectively, not-free.

The muddying of the water starts with your notion that government regulation constrains freedom. The only thing government regulation does, which is why, coincidentally, you don’t like it, is to constrain the greed of you and your rich mates so you can’t monopolise resources in order to keep getting richer. The fact is, your ‘rich get richer’ rules are constraining our economy and in turn, our collective wealth. Government policies which level the playing field are actually making us all freer, and richer. All of us.

Let’s look at your job as an example. If there existed a free market for the job of Prime Minister, the only thing I would need to get this job is to be the most merited candidate. Tony Abbott disproves the freedom of the Prime Minister market by showing that any moron, born with a silver spoon, with a private school education, who lives in a blue-ribbon Liberal seat full of voters who would vote for the Liberal candidate even if that candidate was a misogynist bucket of cement, who can box his way to Oxford, is eligible for the top job. No merit required.

You also disprove the idea of meritocracy in the market for Prime Minister yourself, through your waffling-weak-incompetence, which so far in a year has made you a bigger disappointment than the Australian swimming team at Rio. In your world, freedom might mean the availability of means in which to donate $2 million dollars to your own campaign, without even noticing it gone, to ensure you win government by a one seat majority. But that’s not merit Malcolm. That’s buying your way out of trouble.

What this really comes down to is that you say freedom fries and I say potato. Where you see freedom in mining markets, I see big miners paying their way out of a fair rate of tax for selling resources that belong to Australians. Where you see freedom in healthcare, where the rich have access to better lifesaving services, I see those who can’t afford the services locked into health problems that limit their freedom to do what they want with their lives. Where you see freedom when your government stops taking responsibility for a social safety net, and hollowing out services for the disadvantaged, I see a small square box that locks poor people into prison-like poverty, where they don’t have any freedom to live their lives in dignity. Where you see freedom in education, where the rich can buy their way to test scores that privilege their futures over those who weren’t born into wealth, I see the poor chained at the bottom rung of the ladder, which they have no hope of climbing because your rules have removed the rungs. This is not freedom Malcolm. This is entrenched privilege. This is stacking the deck in favour of the people who already own the deck and all the deck chairs on it.

You have famously said, over and over again, that there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian. I beg to differ. Australia was better off without you and your greedy ideological crusade to lock us all away from a free Australia. A truly free market promoting government, under the real definition of the word free, would provide all the necessary regulatory requirements to ensure there is nothing constraining the freedom of all citizens to live a fulfilling life; to have the healthcare, the education, the job and career opportunities, the quality of life that should be afforded equally no matter the circumstances they are born into, to anyone who has the motivation and strive to achieve it.

Australia will never be the best version of itself until we strip away the limits to our freedom, which stop us meeting our full potential. When the rules you want us to play by mean that all the resources for wealth are unequally cloistered away by the upper-echelons of the wealthiest in society, and sometimes diverted into Panama tax havens, in order to privilege only the already rich and their offspring, to buy their way to success, to remove freedom for everyone else to compete, you do the whole country a disservice. When our collective talents aren’t given every opportunity to contribute – the freedom to contribute – our country is stifled by your rules of the game, where, low and behold, only people like you, the undeserving, can win.

You need to get out of the way of real freedom Malcolm. You need to stop being a roadblock in the way of meritocracy and embrace the true meaning of the word ‘free’. Only then will it really be an exciting time to be an Australian.

Yours Sincerely
Victoria Rollison

An open letter to Malcolm Turnbull

Dear Mr Turnbull,

You may believe that you have won, in some fashion, to keep being the government of the day. You may believe that you will be able to restrict the people with your extremely harsh agenda against the quickly growing disadvantaged.

You don’t appear to understand history very well. Since it has always been one of my favourite topics, and I read far outside the realm of history classes at school, I will explain something to you.

Revolutions occur because of austerity. Plain and simple.

The French, British, Chinese, Russian, Irish, Italian, German, Danish, Indian (and therefore Pakistan), Mexican, Spanish, South African, Polish, Egyptian, Chilean and Argentinian revolutions are just several of many.

When people on a mass scale start seeing injustice, they can no longer take it and they do finally start using their energy to overpower the perpetrators. The fact that you aren’t listening, nor are you looking to history, means that you are repeating history, over and over again.

I have seen extreme levels of absolute waste on pointless, pathetic projects that your government undertakes. I have also seen funds being allocated to support big business at the expense of the working class and the poor. I see you selling off parts of the country that were always for the benefit of community. I see your government stripping away Australia’s assets for the benefit of overseas conglomerates. And all the meanwhile you prefer to hold millions in offshore banks saving yourself a few precious dollars in Australian tax.

Others have started seeing it, too.

The thing is, you may be able to smother us for a short while, but the timing will be temporary. People have already noted how sick to death they are of you, as well as where the funds should be going. They are seeing how wide the gap between disadvantaged and advantaged is. In silent witness they have seen your government give more to privileged in our country and less to the disadvantaged. They are silent no more.

People in the community have started caring for each other. You are left behind in this. Unless you stop the austerity on us, and put austerity onto the organisations that pay little to no tax, then according to history you won’t be in your job for much longer.

People will get sick of seeing your government introduce oppressive laws. They will get sick of the rich getting richer. They will get sick of you thinking you have control over everyone, the way a perpetrator of domestic violence thinks they have control over their victim.

And, eventually, they will do something about it. And nothing you do or say will be able to stop them.

This is your warning. Stop changing the laws and budget for the benefit of the chosen few, or suffer the consequences that history has shown us can easily happen. Start changing the laws and budget for the benefit of Australia, so the rewards reaped can be immense, or we will be doomed as a nation. And you will be doomed with it.

Tracie Aylmer

Scroll Up