Denying First Nations people a voice will achieve…

For some reason, I find myself yet again writing about this referendum.…

From Balloons to AUKUS: The War Drive Against…

When will this hate-filled nonsense stop? Surveillance balloons treated like evocations of…

It's frightening when you join the dots in…

By Andrew Klein  In 2023 we see violence against segments of the…

Solar industry feeling the heat over disposal of…

University of South Australia Media Release The renewable energy sector is facing a…

Brits spy on master spy writer

By Andrew Lownie  I have never considered myself as a dangerous radical or…

Criminals at Large: The Iraq War Twenty Years…

The arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for Russian President Vladimir…

Spent Matters: The AUKUS Nuclear Waste Problem

When Australia – vassal be thy name – assumed responsibilities for not…

For The Parents, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles With…

Ok, I wrote this sometime last century and I was never sure…

«
»
Facebook

Search Results for: who will win

Day to Day Politics: Who will win the next election?

It’s only as we come closer to a pending election that polls take on meaning. Otherwise, they are just a guide to how people are thinking at the time. Yesterday I received a comment on my Monday post that said:

“It’s always troubling when consistently people will vote against their own interests!  No wonder Mal has never been happier. The Murdoch propaganda machine is working better than truth!” – Justin Van Kampen

The first sentence, in particular, remained with me for the residue of what was left of the day. Its true, I thought to myself, pensioners will vote for conservatives in the blind assumption that they are the masters of money and will look after them. The truth, however, is that only Labor has ever done anything for them.

For many of us who critique the performance of government, it is beyond our comprehension as to how people would continue to vote for a party which has been so demonstrably poor, continue to vote for them, even when they institute policies that work against them.

So what is it that brings about this allegiance to a particular party. In the first instance, the best place to look is within oneself. For myself, it is a deeply ingrained sense of social justice or a fierce desire for equality – for helping those who cannot help themselves – that government is there to guide society and see that there is an equitable distribution of the country’s wealth.

In all that, or what influences it mostly, is a poor upbringing, deprived of formal education but an awareness of the possibilities of just what life offered. And I suppose a mind that was ripe for it.

As for my opposites, I really cannot say other than I have to think that for the same philosophical reasons they are the reverse of me. In our allegiance, reasoning by family influence also has its place. Just what percentage vote a certain way because Mum and Dad did is unknown but it must be substantial.

Why is it that, as Justin Van Kampen asks, do  “people consistently vote against their own interests!” Again we have to explore ourselves and ask questions. For example could I, if the party I supported were as incompetent as the current Coalition government, vote for another party. 

My allegiance to Labor is so ideologically attached that I couldn’t imagine doing so and I think for the same reason it’s why we see conservatives ready to support the Coalition regardless. That they would do so is beyond us, but in reality, we are the same, although as a rule, Labor is not out to hurt those who support it whereas Coalition policies do hurt country people and the elderly who vote for them.

If this is so, it raises yet another question. Are the Australian people so dumb as to reward an obvious extreme right-wing government with a hypocrite as its leader with another term in office after wasting almost 6 years of the country’s potential?

They would have to hate Bill Shorten a lot to do that or believe that Turnbull with another term under his belt would have enough courage to lead.

I have always found that people on the extreme right of politics have no problem explaining their hatred of the left. Sometimes with a raised voice of vile disgust and sometimes, but not often, with a logic that surprises. But when it comes to explaining what conservatism stands for they can barely raise their voice.

In America, people can and do swap parties but in Australia, we seem to be attached like glue, either left or right, with a growing percentage of swinging voters and it is these folk who win or lose elections. Of course the dissatisfied Conservative can always adhere themselves to Pauline Hanson or the upset Laborite can cross to the Greens.

There is no doubt that with the demise of institutional politics that more and more people are turning away from the major parties.

Having said that, recent results around the world would indicate a shift to the left and if you were to put away the Newspoll results in Australia that would seem to be the case.

When discussing polling in Australia it has to be remembered that any movement of a point of two means that hundreds of thousands of people changed their minds from the last poll and one has to ask whether that is reasonable or just within the margin of error.

What do we make of those 10 or 20% in the middle who we think decide the winner? Are they self-indulgent who vote for their own best interest or are they thinkers that have the country’s best interests at heart.

I think the latter and I think they will vote Labor. There are three factors in play here. Firstly more young people will come onto the roll this time around and this will be complemented by the rush of young folk who enrolled for the marriage equality survey. A substantial amount I believe.

Secondly, the AEC intends resetting some boundaries which will see the Coalition starting from behind. Winning this election will be tough enough for them without a handicap.

Thirdly Labor will have a truckload of dollars to throw at them in addition to their woeful governance.

As far as Justin’s comment that goes:

“No wonder Mal has never been happier. The Murdoch propaganda machine is working better than truth!”

The fact is when you measure the cross-platform influence of media his domination has been greatly diminished. Recent research by Andrew Catsaras has crunched the data and ranked the “influence index” of Australia’s major newspapers and their online duplicates. 

It tells us that The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) has the highest cross-platform audience at 3,521,000 over a seven-day period, and also the highest percentage of readers who have “a lot of trust” in what they read in that publication.

It is followed by The Age on 20.5, The Australian 12, Herald Sun 9, Courier Mail 9 and The Daily Telegraph 6.  Therefore we can conclude that his influence is in decline.

Research and chart are here. 

Trying to predict who will win the next election is but an opinion. Some opinions are better than others. Mine is based on 60 years of following politics reading and writing about it every day and by no small measure of analysing. By putting down my bias and concluding in opinion who might win.

Based on all the available measures before me, in my opinion, Labor will win by 15 to 20 seats.

My thought for the day

In my opinion, we would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self-interest groups.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 213 total views

Day to Day Politics: Who will win?

Saturday July 2 2016

At this time last year Newspoll showed Labor clearly ahead of the Coalition 53% to 47%, nearly a direct reversal of the 46.5% to 53.5% result at the September 2013 federal election.

Of course at the time Tony Abbott was Prime Minister and things were going downhill rapidly.

On the eve of this election the mainstream media has come out strongly in support of the conservatives, as have the bookies. The reason the newspapers back Turnbull is simply that they are more qualified to manage the economy. How they can say that when the government has doubled the debt is beyond me.

A few days ago Newspoll released its last poll showing the LNP 51/49. The next day Essential had the reverse followed by Fairfax Ipos 50/50 and Galaxy 51/49 to the Coalition.

With so many polls saying the same thing any fair-minded person would assume it’s going to be close. But then we know in recent times the polls have a miserable record. The English general election, Brexit, Queensland and Victoria all produced shock results.

In Australia our very democracy is under threat from a government that is extremist in its views. A self-serving government that has a hypocrite as a leader. A government that places capitalism before environmentalism.

In 2014 it proved beyond doubt that it wanted the poor to contribute more to the wealth of the rich and privileged. Its budget of that year was universally condemned as the most unfair ever.

Turnbull’s predecessor, of course, did more to damage the institutions of our democracy than any other. People are angry at anything and everything.

The people have experienced three years of wasted governance, and some have already expressed their attitude by walking away from the system altogether.

If Turnbull does win it will be with a reduced majority and, therefore, a reduced authority. Turnbull won’t last 6 months before Abbott starts to chip away. It’s also possible that even the joint sitting might not be enough to pass the ABCC legislation. How embarrassing would that be? In case you had forgotten, the ABCC is the reason we are having this election. Others are fed up with all the sanitised political gratuitous rhetoric that does nothing more than insult our intelligence. It’s been going on for far too long and people are up for a protest. We in Australia are often slow to see these things but when we do . . . look out.

What we are seeing worldwide is people ‘protesting’. Protesting at their treatment. More often than not they are ignorant of the facts and are just protesting against anything. They just want their voice to be heard.

For years now we have been living with Labor’s self-indulgent leadership wrangles and the Coalition’s far right ‘born to rule’ mentality.

Every time you read a newspaper you see how corrupt Australian society has become.

I believe that scandal after political scandal has at last woken us from our apathy. We are angry and we want to take it out on some one. How dare they treat us like this? Screw the polls. We don’t give a shit about the rights and wrongs, we just want to be treated with some respect.

People are disgusted with Turnbull’s caving into the ratbags on the right of his party. He has turned out to be as bigger liar as was Abbott. As hard as that might be.

For me Turnbull’s hypocritical leadership on gay marriage, the NBN and the environment must play on the minds of the voters as must the appalling performance of the government.

Ongoing banking scandals, political donations and ministerial deceit, and growing inequality surely will not escape the public’s attention. So too his repetitive cave-ins on tax reform. The fact that they are split on so many issues must also come into play.

Bill Shorten out campaigned Malcolm Turnbull, presented by far the better policies and leads a united team.

The voters are primed to take to someone with weapons of mass destruction. It might as well be the government. Don’t be surprised.

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?”.

PS: Of course I might be completely wrong. The public might be happy with the unconstructiveness and in-fighting of their governance.

 915 total views

Why Labor Won’t Win Aston And Other Predictions…

  • How would you like your steak, sir?
  • Like a construction suggestion from the Dutton Opposition
  • Rare, it is, sir.

Headline from the future: “ALBANESE HONEYMOON OVER. LIBS WIN ASTON!” 

While most of the commentary seems to be suggesting that Labor is in with a strong chance to win the Aston by-election, it seems to be overlooking a few key points.

The first is that no government has won a seat off the Opposition in a by-election for over a hundred years and, while once-in-a-hundred-year floods are happening quite frequently these days, it’s always dangerous to ignore history when making predictions. If you cast your mind back to that “super Saturday” when all those Labor seats were up for grabs after the High Court ruled that the MPs dual citizenship made them ineligible, you’ll remember how all the commentators suddenly remembered this fact AFTER the Coalition failed to take a single seat off Labor.

The second point is that Aston was considered a safe Liberal seat until the most recent election. While it’s possible that Alan Tudge’s personal following might have been what got him over the line last time, it’s also just as possible that Tudge’s personal disapproval rating is what people were objecting to.

And the final point is that this is the sort of area where Dutton’s: “Why does everything cost more under Labor?” whinge is likely to resonate. This is the sort of electorate that believes that the Liberals are better economic managers no matter what evidence is placed before them. I remember a small business owner telling me that things were improving under Kennett and that conditions for people like him were improving. Of course, I should qualify that when I refer to him as a “small business owner”, I mean someone who was a small business owner under Labor but had been unable to keep his business going after a few years of Jeff.

I know it may seem to be rash to be declaring the Liberals over the line when we don’t even know who their candidate is and surely the good people of Aston would think twice if the candidate wasn’t the right fit, but that’s not what makes me less than one hundred percent confident with my prediction.

And it’s not that I don’t think that Labor doesn’t deserve some criticism for a few things, such as the refusal to look at raising the rate of the dole, but I’d suggest that those saying that they’re no better than the other side haven’t had a good look at the other side lately. Even though there are areas where Labor haven’t lived up to people’s hopes, there are definitely individuals who are thankful that Labor won the last election. And I don’t just mean that family from Biloela…

When it comes to action on climate change, The Greens are critical because Labor aren’t doing enough, but the Liberals come to Labor’s rescue by telling us that they’re doing too much. This seems a great way for Dutton to win back the seats lost to the Independents because of the frustration with the climate wars.

The main problem that the Opposition have is their lack of a clear strategy beyond the Let’s Oppose Everything that Tony Abbott successfully used. While it worked for Abbott and he eventually managed to stand up in Parliament and tell everyone that the adulterers were back in charge, we’ve since had ten years of the Coalition telling us that they’re better than Labor and now that they’re in charge everything is just fine and we’ve got an energy policy plan which we’re working on and we should have it ready any day now. Abbott was also challenging a government that had been in power for a couple of years and could be considered responsible for what was happening. While commentators say that Labor can’t get away with blaming the Liberals forever, it does seem reasonable to at least wait and see if Labor’s proposal to fix a problem works.

Which is where the Opposition’s cantankerous behaviour starts to frustrate most sensible people. It’s not enough to stand in the way of possible solutions because you don’t believe that they’ll work, particularly when you rarely suggest an alternative that you think would work. Maybe Sussan Ley can suggest adding an extra “l” in “Australlia” because numerology has worked so well for her, but I can’t recall hearing any proposals for reducing energy prices beyond opening up more gas because more supply will drive the price down. And no, if we open up more gas fields we’re not going to reserve any for our own country because that would discourage exploration and the way to drive down prices is to sell enough overseas because if we were government then we’d have plenty and what do you mean we were government until recently?

The rising cost of living, growing homelessness, health, climate action and a host of other things are now Labor’s problem to deal with because they are the government. In many cases, action was demanded before Labor came to office and it’s reasonable to be frustrated and impatient because these things should have happened yesterday. But it must be nice for Labor when the can simply say, “Look, we wanted to do something, but Peter Dutton wouldn’t let us.”

It seems to me that the electorate is a bit sick of this boasting that we’re better than the other side and that they want some sort of attempt at fixing things from both sides. They don’t want their steak rare, they’d rather something that was well done.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 

 5,110 total views,  6 views today

Liberals Attempt To Win Youth Vote By Asking Them To Check Under Their Beds…

The other day an interesting thought struck me. And when I say an interesting thought, I mean one that might be interesting to other people. Thoughts that are interesting to one individual are often quite dull to others but talkback radio still exists for some reason…

Anyway, the Coalition was comparing the energy price thing to a Soviet type solution and suggesting that it would be ineffective in the long-term because we all know that only by allowing the market to charge whatever will they look for more gas and once there’s more gas then they’ll sell it more cheaply because that’s how the law of supply and demand works and if you get In the way of that we’ll have gas prices as high as they are now.

In the midst of this, I read an article about how the youth of today were less likely to vote for the major parties and of the major parties there were even less likely to vote for the Liberals than when we were all communists who refused to go and protect the Australian border in Vietnam.

Having the sort of memory that enables me to remember more than one thing at a time, I put the two things together… Yes, I do realise that this is not actually unusual for a normal human being, but it is rather remarkable for anyone commenting on politics.

So here’s my interesting thought:

NOBODY UNDER 30 WAS ALIVE WHEN THE SOVIET UNION COLLAPSED!

Ok, there may be some who were politically aware nine year olds around in the early nineties, but I suspecting that nobody under 40 actually remembers Soviet Russia. And while they may have picked up the odd thing about it from popular culture, it’s not yet ancient enough to form part of history lessons at school.

Saying to the average person under thirty that price controls are like Soviet Russia is like saying we need to talk about the elephant in the room and ask Hannibal to remove it. No, not Hannibal Lecter… The one with the elephants… What do you mean you’ve never heard of Hannibal? 

Yes, I’m thinking that the old “reds under the bed” strategy may just be a little 1950s to succeed with today’s youth… Or even today’s “I’m 40 and I wonder where my youth went” crowd.

In the USA we’ve gone from a time when just the hint of a connection to Russia would have had people calling for your head to a situation where, not only was President Trump able to say that he met with Russians but they didn’t help with the election, but you also have people asking why there’s a problem with Russia invading Ukraine…

Whatever your views on the various things, you’d have to say that America has certainly changed when it comes to concerns about Russian infiltration.

Peter Dutton and his mates may well be right about the price control not solving the problem of rising energy costs but I don’t see their rhetoric as being quite as effective as the “great big tax on everything” that they employed against the carbon pricing that wasn’t a tax. In the latter case they were trying to make us scared that everything would be unaffordable with stories of Whyalla being wiped off the map because of all the $100 lamb roasts. Making people scared of something that might happen is a lot easier than telling them that what IS happening needs to be fixed but what the other party is proposing won’t work and instead they should not do it. It sort of begs the question that if this won’t work, what’s your plan?

And, of course, as Angus Taylor explained, they’d have one if they were in government and it would be a better one but it’s up to Labor to have a plan and they don’t, apart from the one which we said won’t work and instead we should be in government because then we’d know what to do because we’d have a plan. Or as Sussan Ley said, “We’re in opposition we don’t have policies, but if we did then we’d add an extra ‘c’ in the word ‘policy’ because numerically speaking that would mean that our policcies had more substance than Labor’s!”

(That last quote is from memory so I may not have it 100% verbatim but I think I got the gist.)

Speaking of Sussan, I hear that she’s been counting the numbers and many of her colleagues are very impressed because Peter Dutton had to take his shoes and socks off to do that and even then he got it wrong and we ended up with Scotty “I’m ambitious for this guy standing next to Malcolm” Morrison.

I was going to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, but apparently you can’t do that any more. At work, I wrote on to someone’s going away card: “Merry Christmas and good riddance, you lazy, fat turd!” and he said that he had a good mind to report me. Honestly, political correctness has gone mad.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 4,016 total views,  2 views today

What The Liberals Need To Do To Win According To The Liberals Behind The Loss!

“The Liberal Party must monitor Teal statements and commitments as they will be the basis for future candidates campaigning against Teal incumbents. In addition, public comments by Teal campaign leaders are foreshadowing the possibility of Teal campaigns in additional seats currently held by the Coalition at the next election. The Party should be conscious of candidates as they are announced and work with Liberal incumbents to develop plans to counter these future candidates’ campaigns.”

The Liberal Party Review of 2022 Election

It’s interesting that one of the takeaways from the election loss was that they need to campaign against the Teals…

Now there’s a lot to unpack in that sentence before I even start on the rest of the Liberal review of what went wrong.

Let’s start with their problem of talking about the Teals as though they’re just another political party. You only have to read a bit of Tim Dunlop’s book, “Voices Of Us” to understand that one of the big pluses that the so-called Teals had was that each one of them was a local and built their campaign with locals. The idea that they were somehow the puppets of Simon Holmes A Court misses the point that each individual group was working hard to get an independent candidate elected because they were tired of having their views ignored by a candidate who’d toe the party line.

The idea then that you need to keep a record and try to “counter the campaigns” overlooks the fact that each of these independent candidates will have either built up a strong support base with their performance as a local member or not. The “campaign” will only play a minor part in their re-election.

But even allowing for that minor part we’re still left with two problems:

  1. The idea that you need to drag the other candidate down by attacking what they’ve done and said rather than changing your policies so that people are more likely to vote for you because you’ve embraced the parts that appealed to people. This may work in one electorate but not in another depending on what the individual candidate has achieved, but it’s not like fighting another political party where what one says or does reflects upon them all.
  2. In the possible event of a hung parliament, you’ve just made it more likely for the Independent to stick with the Labor Party rather than embrace the party that’s been attacking them. Let’s not forget that a number of the independents natural home is the Liberal Party. Even ignoring the family pedigrees of Allegra Spender and Kate Cheney, there’s no certainty that any of them would support a minority Labor government if the Coalition were holding out the right incentives. Conservative independents have supported Labor in the past; there’s no reason to think that the Liberals couldn’t persuade a number of the independents to support them… Well, no reason apart from the fact that they’ve spent all their time trying to suggest that the Independent MP’s ideas are radical and that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

But let’s leave aside the Teals and ignore the fact that even if the Liberals won back every one of these seats, they’d still need to pick up seats from Labor.

Now I’m not going to be silly enough to suggest that the Liberal Party are finished as a viable party but when you look at their inability to learn from their mistakes, you have to wonder.

Let’s begin by looking at the choice of people to do the review: Brian Loughnane and Jane Hume. The latter was a major contributor to the 2022 campaign and I’d suggest that she may have been a little too close to the action to be considered a dispassionate observer. It’d be hard for her to view things objectively. While Brian hasn’t been federal director of the Liberal Party for a number of years, he IS married to Peta Credlin, so clearly his judgement is a little suspect.

Anyway rather than getting people with an outside perspective like Rob Baillieu and Julia Banks OR Michelle Grattan and John Hewson, they chose two people with close connections to the party. This is like being asked to do your own performance review at work and then to evaluate what you were like as a reviewer.

Nevertheless, there were a number of problems identified by Hume and Loughnane, including not having enough women and having too much Scott Morrison…

In order to solve the problem of not having enough female candidates, it was suggested that they have more, and, in order to achieve this, they need to look at things like preselections and branch structure and don’t even think about a quota… Of course, while it would be nice to have more candidates who weren’t white males, it doesn’t help when your female candidate has all the charm of Holly Hughes – who it may surprise you to learn is NOT the love child of John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop. Indeed the idea of “love child” and Bronwyn Bishop being in the same sentence is a very, very difficult concept.

One of the other problems they identified was Scott Morrison…

Now, I know I’ve pointed this out before but whenever I read something about Peter Dutton being a warm, cuddly sort of guy who we’d all warm to if only we knew the real him, I always think that in 2018, his close colleagues considered him for leader and decided that they’d rather have Scott Morrison as PM.

Anyway, the report told us:

“Perceptions that the Government and the Prime Minister (in particular) had not adequately managed the response to the pandemic (despite Australia’s internationally leading position in responding) and, very importantly, that the Prime Minister was not attuned to the concerns of women and was unresponsive to issues of importance to them.”

As for that last point, I wonder if Jane had to ask Jen to clarify…

As for the bit about adequately managing the response to the pandemic, I liked that they added the brackets about “Australia’s internationally leading position in responding”, just so we knew that the voters didn’t know what they were talking about.

Still, that seems to be a popular refrain from the Liberals. Even today Paul Fletcher was suggesting that Labor had “demonised” Morrison rather than accepting that Scotty had made that possible not only by what he’d done but by the large list of what he hadn’t done. Playing “April Sun In Cuba” on the ukulele and not knowing all the words works as an example of both and pretty much sums up his time as PM.

The Liberals consistently overlook the fact that their views on a number of issues are inconsistent with the majority. They’ve been elected on a number of occasions because of their perceived ability to manage the economy. This is like when your hairdresser gives you a running commentary that you ignore because you like the way he cuts your hair and the rest of it doesn’t seem important enough to find a new one. However, with their inability to actually deliver the Budget surplus they promised and the blowout in government debt to triple what it was when it was an emergency have left people feeling like they’ve been given a mullet they didn’t ask for.

It’s all very well to blame Labor, the pandemic and various other things, but if Labor do actually balance the budget the Coalition will have a long road back to government.

 

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 6,066 total views

Community gardens: Growing global citizens one child at a time

University of South Australia Media Release

It’s often said that ‘from little things, big things grow’. Now, research at the University of South Australia is showing that the simple act of gardening can deliver unique learning experiences for primary school children, helping them engage with their curriculum while also encouraging a sustainable future.

Partnering with teachers and primary school students in a weekly gardening project, researchers found that working in the garden had multiple learning benefits, from transdisciplinary learning, to fostering sustainability and global citizenship. In the Australian Curriculum, sustainability is described as a ‘cross curriculum priority’ indicative of the transdisciplinary nature of learning for sustainable and harmonious interaction with the environment.

Adjunct UniSA researcher, Dr David G. Lloyd, says it’s vital that children have opportunities to appreciate and connect with nature.

“Gardening can open a whole new world of interest and opportunity for children. Working in a community garden is not only about growing edible food; it’s also about connecting to place and nature, as well as grasping the importance of sustainability,” Dr Lloyd says.

“Community or school food gardens can help us to better understand the value of living locally and demonstrate how we can be more self-sufficient. They show us how to live with a lower carbon footprint, and how we can enjoy our connection to our natural world.

“In this project we found that primary-aged children can adopt sustainability principles simply by growing their own food, connecting with others, and respecting the environment. And at the same time, we showed that transdisciplinary learning can occur throughout the gardening experience.”

The project engaged Year 4 (aged 9-10 years) and Year 1 (aged 5-6 years) primary school students in a three-hour-a-week gardening activity, where they grew their own food in the Old School Community Garden in Stirling. Their gardening activities were also supplemented by school-based learning about the children’s ‘in-field’ experiences.

Co-researcher and UniSA Associate Professor Kathryn Paige, says the gardening project illustrates how out-of-the-box activities can incorporate the school curriculum.

“Finding different ways to engage students is an ongoing challenge for teachers. But when we find something that works on multiple levels – like gardening – it’s an activity that should be encouraged,” Assoc Prof Paige says.

“For example, in the community garden children learnt maths when they counted out plants and measured distances between seedlings; chemistry, when they tested the pH levels of soil and diluted liquid fertilisers; science and biology, when they discovered facts about plants and ecosystems; plus, literacy, when they read instructions and retold their experiences at school. They also improved their social skills as they engaged with their peers.

“The fundamental importance of this activity was holistic learning: connecting to the world around us, the community in which we live, and understanding how we all interact.

“We’re living in a time of globalisation, where we’re reaching social, environmental, and economic limits.

“By encouraging teachers to embrace immersive, whole-of-curriculum initiatives that connect education and sustainability principles, we’re positioning the younger generation up for success.”

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 5,188 total views,  2 views today

The Right Wing disinfosphere and the King

There is set to be some anxiety in monarchist groups in the community as they reconcile the ascent of King Charles III to the throne with their fear. Even in educated hard right circles like The Spectator Australia’s readership, conspiracy theories about him are evident.

In the “Flat White” online part of The Spectator Australia in July, an anonymous column was posted about “Prince Charles’ ‘Great Reset.’”

The Great Reset is conspiracy theory that argues that the World Economic Forum Davos set are billionaires planning a Green totalitarian takeover. The name is derived from a WEF plan (repackaging the standard Davos message) released in June 2020 promoting sustainable development in the economic reset provoked by the pandemic. It encouraged “green growth, smarter growth and fairer growth.” The then Prince Charles was used as the face of it in the promotional video at its launch.

The Spectator column argues that the Climate Emergency is an “excuse” created “as a non-negotiable reason to dismantle the free market and democratic governance.” The author posits that governments are using Net Zero to destroy the agricultural sector and rip wealth from the middle and working classes who will then be forced to depend on handouts.

The core of the author’s vitriol is saved for “stakeholder capitalism,” a concept that is a key to the Great Reset and sustainable economics. It is the (flawed) model where businesses are pressured towards cleaner practice by ESG scores. Environmental, Social and Governance metrics are intended to balance Milton Friedman’s impact on shareholder capitalism that dictates profit is the only responsibility. These ideas are, according to the column, socialism.

The new King was, by this account, not just enacting a “betrayal of the ordinary citizen,” but of the system and his role: “to protect the constitutional monarchy from rising climate fascism and globalism (also known as international socialism).”

The author believes capitalists and entrepreneurs can solve any problems without government “climate cult” interference. The widespread failure to help Australian regions beset by bushfires and floods over the pandemic moment has been superseded by the image of 1/3 of Pakistan under water and over 30 million people homeless and without food. America’s West Coast is in dire water peril with cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix existentially threatened. The facts would seem to contradict the author’s contention. No plucky entrepreneur is likely to fix this.

The comments beneath the column are filled with more overt conspiracy theory rhetoric of this kind: “the mainstream media is owned and controlled by these same WEF loving globalists” and the “takeover agenda” of the WEF. According to these posts, the Number of the Beast was apparent in Great Reset materials. There are many reasons to disdain the self-satisfied posturing of the WEF set, but the label “fascist totalitarians” is a stretch, and the belief that they are satanic is ludicrous.

The adjective “globalist” signifies part of the association of the Great Reset conspiracy. As with so much of the “conspiracy smoothie” that has suppurated out from QAnon over the pandemic era, this term denotes the antisemitism at work. Globalists and lizard people terminology (also in play about the Royal Family) are coded antisemitism. Toxic ideas about “elites” (more antisemitism) creating a pandemic and using mandates and vaccines to destroy society in a number of different ways are at the heart of the narrative. Elite-controlled paedophilia, the QAnon central panic, is also implicit in some versions of the conspiracy.

On the swamps of social media, the “elites” are weather-engineering the floods on Australia’s east coast to displace the residents and build “smart cities” as part of the WEF “high-tech dictatorship.” A number of ugly responses to the Queen’s demise in these spaces illustrate that they placed her in the evil “elite” category.

The Great Reset conspiracy, depicting climate action as socialism linked to the WEF, emerged from the Heartland Institute. This “thinktank” at the core of the climate denial industry is a feeder of ideas into the right wing disinfosphere. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News has been a major amplifier of the fear mongering about the Great Reset and its looming socialism to be imposed by Green “elites.”

Naturally what Fox mainstreams, so too does Sky News Australia. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue has used Great Reset conspiracy theories as a case study on disinformation in 2022 Australian politics. They highlight the absurd rhetoric on Sky, where billionaires are Marxists aiming to destroy capitalism. Sky After Dark echoed Tucker Carlson and other Fox talking heads in aiming to foment hysteria about this threat to freedom. Rowan Dean described the WEF as “a hardcore leftist eco-horror show replete with quasi fascism” and the Great Reset as an end to democratic rights with a society ruled by the elite.

Pauline Hanson then introduced the Great Reset to Parliament. Ralph Babet, Clive Palmer’s $100 million dollar senator, touted reading Glenn Beck’s 2022 book The Great Reset on Facebook on the 3rd of September. (Beck apologised in 2014 for ‘helping tear the country apart” in his time fearmongering on Fox News and talkback radio. In 2021, he retracted the apology on Fox, returning to the grift.)

So social media spreads pictures of King Charles being poked in the chest by a Rothschild to convey a more blatantly anti-Semitic form of this conspiracy being promoted by Sky. The Spectator Australia funnels it into the educated right they are radicalising. All seem happy to portray the Davos billionaires, who are prinking up their free market capitalism with decorative furbelows of social justice posturing, as agents of capitalism-destroying totalitarianism.

Any attempt to create climate action that might mitigate the horrors of the worst version of the climate crisis is thus immediately discredited as a form of Great Reset oppression. Right wing Americans are taught to fear the Green New Deal as a communist threat that would rob them of all their rights. Disasters in Australia that could provoke the public to pressure for action are remodelled as the work of the elites or pretexts for totalitarianism.

This battle between the billionaires who want no action taken and the billionaires who would like to appear to be doing something without doing anything is thus transformed into an existential struggle between freedom-loving battlers and a totalitarian progressive elite.

And so King Charles’s history of support for environmental projects and sustainable development has drawn the many conspiracies about his family into the Great Reset horror. The very people most keen to display their respect for the crown are torn by their climate denial loathing of anyone promoting policy to address the crisis. It will be interesting to see how they reconcile their ambivalence.

This was originally published at Pearls and Irritations as Murdoch, the Prince/King and conspiracy theories

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 7,042 total views,  6 views today

Casting Malevolent Shadows: Liz Truss Wins the Tory Leadership

10 Downing Street is set to be bathed in social media guff with the victory of Liz Truss.   Confirmed as Boris Johnson’s successor, the new British Prime Minister won by a slimmer margin over rival contender Rishi Sunak than anticipated. Nonetheless, 81,326 votes to 60,399 was sufficient to guarantee her a secure margin – for the moment. (The turnout had been 83 per cent.)

There is little doubt that the Tory selectorate – a good deal of it – seem to adore her. That hardly makes them, or her, representative of a broader constituency, and certainly the same constituency that voted for Johnson in 2019. Certain conservative voices have even warned that the Tory party now resembles, in part, the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn stormed through the ranks with an adoring base of party supporters and ideological brio. The broader electorate were not quite so enamoured.

The challenges the new prime minister faces are biting. The country is facing energy bills Truss has herself described as “eye-watering”. But despite this, she is willing to deliver £30 billion in tax cuts via an emergency budget and a reversal of April’s rise in National Insurance. Betraying a characteristically woolly understanding of economics, notably on progressive taxation, she sees no problem about the accrued benefits to higher-income earners. “The people at the top of the income distribution pay more tax – so inevitably, when you cut taxes you tend to benefit the people who are more likely to pay tax.” That’s sorted then.

Over the weekend, a promise was given of some emergency plan that would emerge within a week of her taking office, with a specific focus on targeting the sharp spike of energy bills. This would go “hand in hand” with a plan to increase domestic energy supplies. All of this was vague compared to Sunak’s promises to provide relief to pensioners and the low-paid from rising energy costs while also cutting Value Added Tax on energy bills.

BBC’s Newsnight, in an effort to get a sense of what the UK is in for, trotted out a few Conservative views favourable to Truss as the flexible, adjustable figure. Baroness Morgan of Coates predicts “a combination of approaches” that would make it hard to “pigeonhole” Truss. The editor of the Conservative Home website, Paul Goodman, noted her “adaptability” over the course of her political life. “So although she has this reputation as an ideologue and she has very clear ideological roots – originally as a Liberal Democrat – she is somehow the darling of the Leavers who in the [Brexit] referendum was a Remainer.”

What was striking, and utterly deceptive, was the effort by Truss to show herself as a changeling of sorts, rather than a figure of a dying status quo. This, despite being a Cabinet member for ten years. Sunak, despite being comparatively new, was given the touch-up of status quo inflexibility, one padded by expensive suits and tastes. It did not matter that he seemed, at least relatively speaking, less inscrutable and more focused on the immediate crisis.

In her speech of uneven quality and many fictions, Truss doffed her cap to Johnson in a tribute that can only trouble those who wished him gone for good. “Boris, you got Brexit done. You crushed Jeremy Corbyn. You rolled out the vaccine. And you stood up to Vladimir Putin. You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.”

Hardly agreed upon history, but it seemed to be an infection coursing through the ranks. Thanks were also given to Johnson by the Tory party co-chair, Andrew Stephenson, suggesting an outbreak of masochism.

Through this, both the disgraced Johnson and his opponents in the Labour Party will be holding out hope. Truss was critical of those who removed him for the number of calamities he inflicted upon himself, his party and the British public. And then there was that bitter distinctly non-concessional speech by Johnson, taking aim at the vicious, knife-bearing “herd instinct” that had robbed him of office.

Johnson’s supporters are promising to be a disruptive bunch. Many have already put out teasing feelers suggesting a return when the time is right. Johnson’s former chief of staff, Lord Udny-Lister, is one willing to wager that Johnson “is going to be watching all of this and if something happens in the future […] the ball comes loose in the scrum, then anything can happen.”

The Sunday Mirror has reported that 12 Tory MPs are willing to submit letters to the 1922 Committee to express no confidence in the incoming prime minister – and this, even before Truss sets foot in 10 Downing Street. For Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen in Lancashire, such a move was “certainly suicidal”, while former Conservative chancellor Lord Hammond warned Johnson not to linger like a “malevolent shadow”.

The Truss factor has also given British Labour a boost of seven percentage points. Party strategists, as part of this bounce, have already readied a campaign in the so-called Red Wall seats, using previous, leaked remarks from Truss about how British workers produced “less per hour” than their foreign equivalents, “and that’s a combination of, kind of, skill and application.” But opinion polls do not deliver election victories. The Tory party machine, cunning, ruthless and mendacious, does at least know something about that.

 

Image from huffingtonpost.co.uk (Photo supplied by the Labour Party)

 

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 5,004 total views,  4 views today

How Australia can generate a $52 billion windfall from science

Science & Technology Australia Media Release

Australia faces a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment when we can choose to supercharge our science and technology strengths and generate a $52 billion windfall for our economy – or consign ourselves to a future with our fate in the hands of others.

Heading into the Jobs and Skills Summit, new analysis by Science & Technology Australia shows how even a modest investment to train Australia’s first generation of bench-to-boardroom scientists could powerfully supercharge our national economic growth.

Science & Technology Australia wants to recruit and train Australia’s first generation of bench-to-boardroom scientists with the skills, networks and commercial knowledge to bridge the ‘valley of death’ in science commercialisation.

Science & Technology Australia President Professor Mark Hutchinson is one of Australia’s first generation of scientist-entrepreneurs. Under his leadership, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Nanoscale BioPhotonics has created 16 startups with a combined market capitalisation and market value of nearly $520 million.

“Imagine the potential of an Australian economy powered by up to 2000 more entrepreneurial bench-to-boardroom scientists,” said Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert.

“If just five per cent – a very conservative figure – of a new generation of bench-to-boardroom scientists achieve the level of success we’ve seen from some of our nation’s brightest commercialisation stars, it would generate a $52 billion return for the Australian economy.”

“That conservative level of success would not just create a wealth of new jobs for Australians, it would kickstart whole new industries and create an economy powered by science.”

Science & Technology Australia warns the nation’s economic competitors are rapidly scaling up their investments in science, technology, research and development.

If Australia keeps pace, the country can seize huge opportunities for the economy including new jobs, national income, intellectual property and sovereign capability.

“Right now, the world is in a fierce science and technology race to rapidly advance societies and economies,” Ms Schubert said.

“The stakes are high. If Australia doesn’t keep pace, we face the grave risk that the country will end up as a consumer, not a creator – eroding our sovereign capability and deepening our reliance on other countries.”

“But with bold strategic investments now, Australia can keep ourselves in play.”

“A few decisive steps now will get us on the train to a destination of an economy and society powered by science. Miss that opportunity, and we will be left stranded on the platform.”

This month the US passed the CHIPS and Science Act 2022 – a $52 billion boost for science and semiconductor research and development dubbed a “once-in-a-generation investment in America itself” by President Joe Biden.

The bold investment plan includes a $10 billion outlay in regional science and technology hubs and manufacturing, and vast new investment in STEM workforce development and STEM education from pre-school to university – with a focus on diverse communities.

“Australia should be every bit as ambitious for our science and technology ambitions.”

At the launch of National Science Week this month, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said “the most important piece of micro-economic reform which faces the nation today is infusing our economy with science and technology.”

Science & Technology Australia participated in the science and commercialisation roundtable this month leading into the Jobs and Skills summit.

The bench-to-boardroom plan is one of five policy fixes proposed by Science & Technology Australia to advance the urgent imperative of creating the “future powered by science” outlined by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in his Science Vision Statement.

  • Setting a bold new ambition for Australia to become a global STEM superpower;
  • Training Australia’s first generation of ‘bench-to-boardroom’ scientists;
  • Fixing chronic job insecurity in science to end the brain drain;
  • Confirming the Budget funding for research commercialisation investments; and
  • An urgent boost for breakthroughs in Australia’s discovery research grant budgets.

About Science & Technology Australia
Science & Technology Australia is the nation’s peak body representing more than 90,000 scientists and technologists. We’re the leading policy voice on science and technology. Our flagship programs include Science meets Parliament, Superstars of STEM, and STA STEM Ambassadors.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 4,904 total views,  2 views today

Whistleblowing at Twitter: Mudge Spills the Beans

It must have been music to Elon Musk’s ears. Twitter, a platform he has had a patchy relationship with, has been the recipient of various blows inflicted by Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the company’s former head of security. This was no mean feat, given the company’s reputation as being essentially indestructible. But Mudge was left with every reason to seethe; his tenure abruptly ceased at the company in January this year, allegedly for reasons of “ineffective leadership and poor performance.”

The poor performance tag would have raised a few eyebrows. Zatko has earned a formidable reputation in the field of cybersecurity, largely for being adept at undermining it. Known through the 1990s by the sobriquet “Mudge”, he probed security vulnerabilities in incipient web networks and kept company with such hacker tribes as Cult of the Dead Cow. His activities were sufficiently noteworthy to interest both the Senate and President Bill Clinton, whom he briefed about emerging vulnerabilities in the networked age.

The Twitter appointment made sense, in so far as it was intended to layer and pad security in light of the July 2020 breach which saw a teenager hijack the accounts of a number of figures, including Kanye West, Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

This month Zatko, represented by Whistleblower Aid, the same legal non-profit who represented the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Among the suite of spicy accusations, Mudge claims that Twitter executives deceived the regulators and the company’s own board of directors about “extreme, egregious deficiencies” on the issue of hacker defences, and about “meagre efforts to fight spam.” Looming large is the prospect that Twitter might have breached the terms of its own 2010 settlement with the FTC. (In May, it was fined US$150 million for breaking its own privacy promises.)

On the security issue, Zatko insists that half of its 500,000 servers used unencrypted software while roughly 4 in 10 employee laptops were insufficiently protected from external threats. Up to 30% of computers blocked software updates that would remedy security defects. Thousands of the laptops with bare protections also had access to Twitter’s source code, the result of inadequate testing by company engineers.

As for the matter of legitimate users, the disgruntled Zatkoclaims that Twitter has little to no incentive to identify the true number of spam and bot accounts that populate the information ecosystem. (According to Omnicore, the number of monetizable daily active users, as the figure stood on February 21 this year, was 217 million.)

In May, Twitter spokeswoman Rebecca Hahn stated that, “Twitter fully stands by … our statements about the percentage of spam accounts on our platform, and the work we do to fight spam on the platform, generally.” In the never-ending quest to cleanse the platform, up to half a million spam and bot accounts were removed each day. In July, that number had risen to 1 million.  

The accusations also went to Twitter’s approach to specific countries and their infiltration of the company. India comes in for special mention, as the “Indian government forced Twitter to hire specific individual(s) who were government agents, who … would have access to vast amounts of sensitive data.” This fact was not disclosed to users. A further claim is made that the company “received specific information from a US government source” that at least one employee was working for a foreign intelligence agency.

Twitter’s stung CEO Parag Agrawal took to the battlements, circulating an email to company employees challenging the “claims about Twitter’s privacy, security, and data protection practices.” What had been published so far was “a false narrative that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and presented without important context.” There was something wooden, and unconvincing, in the note. Admitting that it was “frustrating and confusing to read, given Mudge was accountable for many aspects of this work,” Agrawal would not have filled the ranks with confidence.

Attorneys presenting Zatko promptly released a statement countering Agrawal’s claims. Their client had persistently “raised concerns about Twitter’s grossly inadequate information security systems to the Company’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors throughout his tenure.” Zatko “repeatedly objected to the misrepresentations and pressed concerns about the dire state of the Company’s information security posture” to both Agrawal and Omid Kordestani, head of the Risk Committee. The Risk Committee, is it charged, preferred “information that whitewashed the problematic” nature of that information security posture.

Musk is seeking to break his agreement to buy Twitter for the value of US$44 billion, claiming that the inaccurate count on “monetizable daily” users would have a “material adverse effect.” Just to make matters even messier, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX is countersuing the company for fraud and breach of contract.  

The questionable number of legitimate Twitter users as pointed out by Zatko is being lapped up, with Musk taking delight in noting the board’s refusal to disclose the facts to the public. Alex Spiro of the law firm Quinn Emanuel representing Musk, found Zatko’s “exit and that of other key employees curious in light of what we have been finding.”

Musk’s legal team have subpoenaed Zatko and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, though it is unclear whether the case will necessarily be better for it. Mudge is also wanted for questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee. What the allegations have shown is that big tech and its manifestations are rather seedy, and that’s putting it mildly. Few heroes in this saga will be found, but there are villains aplenty to pick from.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 2,238 total views

Cynicism wins out over hope

A young social worker recently told me that her clients were showing deep cynicism toward “the government”. This includes any government, of any stripe, because where they once had hope that life could become more pleasant, or at least less punitive, now they realise that all governments are without compassion, or even understanding.

Of course she deals mainly with people who are involved with either welfare support, or child protection issues, maybe housing problems. Read that for ‘the poor’. Those who rely on the government to improve their lives, or to make it at least liveable.

The election of a Labor government has made no difference to this cohort: They still live on around $40 a day, their housing is hopelessly inadequate, if they have a roof over their heads; their prospects of finding decent work are often out of reach, their health is worse than anyone else’s.

The list is long, but if you choose to turn a blind eye to others’ suffering, it doesn’t matter. You have an opinion that you deserve that bottle of French bubbly, that quick holiday to the snow. You might not have thought too deeply about it, but your brunches on Sunday morning will continue, because you can afford it.

You know it, because you have heard it all, many times. “You get a go if you have a go.” “Life is a race.” “Tax cuts for the rich” because the last government promised them.

We don’t say it out loud, but most of us agree that the poor are being punished for their poor life choices. Of course we also know about the inequality built into the system, and the skills and intelligence lottery, the parents raffle, but best to blame the poor for their conditions. “She shouldn’t have married him” shouldn’t be worthy of a life sentence of abuse, or children going hungry.

We have developed a particularly selfish middle class in this country. Perhaps it is the loaded education system, where we pay a subsidy to educate the children of the rich, and those aspiring to be rich, while starving the public schools of resources. That way you get a never-ending supply of what used to be called “factory fodder”.

That is why we have a splintered workforce, roughly divided into two. The ones with a degree or a trade, and a job at a good salary, comfortable working conditions, and that smug sense of achievement which comes from stepping up into your expected role, with all the trimmings, and not much in the way of struggle.

The others are those who don’t get sick pay, or regular work, or comfortable conditions. Often they deliver your Uber Eats, should they arrive in one piece. These are the people who inhabit your fever dreams, with rotating bodies in beds in slum like conditions, usually non-white, but jolly good workers picking up the jobs no-one else wants.

If you want to experience these divisions first hand, go to the races in Melbourne, during Cup week. There you will see the greedy and the entitled, feasting on fine wine and throwing away more good food than ten food-banks collect in a week.

See them lurch to the bookies to place bets which could cover the rent for an entire family for a week. See them vomit, or fighting among themselves, at the end of the day; but it is never from shame, but over-indulgence.

I was going to talk about the poisonous leadership of this country, and the corrosive effect it has had on generations of Australians, but these Australians know better than to live these empty lives of consumerism.

Possibly their grandparents bored them with tales of how we used to take care of each other. Yes there were social divisions, but not like these divisions.

Now we accept the difficulties in finding enough food, decent housing, health care as the unavoidable consequence of living in a mercantile world. We conveniently blame ‘the economy’, the wheels within wheels which dictate social inequality. Which is nice, but untrue.

We choose the society we live in. We allow governments to ignore sections of the community, because it doesn’t affect us. But as human civilisation faces possible extinction, might it be time to reflect on our own greed and profligate ways?

Taking care of the others is called for, and should civilisation crash and burn, I would like to know I at least thought about, and acted on behalf of, those who need our help. As the waves crash over Brighton Yacht Club …

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 4,270 total views,  2 views today

All of a sudden energy from the sun and wind is looking very affordable

On 30 April, less than a month before the election I penned this piece, about the foreshadowed spike in energy prices, about to hit Australian consumers: Coalition promises higher electricity costs!

I wrote it because it was quite clear that the Coalition were not going to come clean before the election and it was a known major factor that was going to hit Australian businesses and consumers as winter came on.

The prices for coal, gas and petroleum products are all being hit largely due to the Ukraine war, the sanctions placed on the Russians, profit gouging by OPEC and, in the domestic context, a complete malaise on energy policy over the ten years of Coalition rule.

Clearly, we can’t do much about the supply of petrol and diesel products as we are wholly reliant on offshore producers and refiners and OPEC have told the world that they will not be increasing production to ease the shortages. However, we could start by accelerating the transition to electric vehicles now that we know that the man, who said they wouldn’t tow your boat or get you and your family to your favourite camping spot, was lying.

In the meantime we still need petroleum products to get us through the transition.
Interestingly, Venezuela holds the planet’s largest reserves of untapped oil but that won’t help us as the US have sanctions on the Venezuelan government – evidently they don’t like President Nicolás Maduro. Another fun-fact: Iran holds the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves but their exports are also under US bans and sanctions for much the same reasons.

As regards coal and gas, we are major producers of both and we have the ability to reserve or hold back a portion of our production for domestic consumption at prices that are not determined by world market fluctuations. Something that is obviously necessary until we can break the grip of fossil fuels and replace them with price-stable renewable resources – Vladimir Putin does not control the supply of sunlight or wind although he may think he does.

In the UK the conservative government has imposed a twenty-five per cent’ windfall profits tax’ on oil and gas companies. A windfall tax being a one-off tax imposed by a government on producers and suppliers who, through no effort on their part, were lucky enough to benefit from something they were not responsible for – in other words, a windfall profit.

Our gas and coal producers are also in the fortunate position of being recipients of these windfall profits due largely to geopolitical happenings in other parts of the world: the question is, should they reap these windfall profits and should we be funding them?

The former Coalition government knew that this supply and demand price crunch was coming, it’s been forecast for over twelve months, but they suppressed the release of information because it didn’t fit with their election narrative and apart from that they love to see ‘can do capitalism’ in action. From comments made by the new leader of the Coalition, they will now be using these price spikes to attack the new Labor government for incompetence in office even though, you will note, the new government were only installed a matter of days ago – that’s Voldemort for you.

You may recall that the Gillard government enacted The Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT), a tax on profits generated from the mining of non-renewable resources in Australia. It was a replacement for the proposed Resource Super Profit Tax (RSPT). The tax, levied on 30% of the “super-profits” from gas production and the mining of iron ore and coal was introduced on 1 July 2012.

The Coalition, led by Tony Abbott, went to the 2010 and 2013 elections promising to repeal the tax. They considered the tax to be the actions of a socialist regime and when they won office at the 2013 election the tax was repealed. I wonder what they now think of Boris Johnson’s actions with his windfall profits tax which, is essentially the same thing?

Surely it is time that we had some coherent taxation laws governing the extraction and sale of our non-renewable resources until such time as we can put in place reliable renewable energy infrastructure, which will not be subject to geopolitical price manipulation. We need to ensure continuity of price-stable energy rather than pandering to the multi-national mining conglomerates.

I have a great deal more confidence that the new Albanese government will do this contrasted with the flashmob we have just cartwheeled out of office – don’t let us down, Albo!

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 5,960 total views,  6 views today

Fly against the wind with me when you vote today

What comes around once every three years and leaves us washed up in a sewer for the next three, ever since the beginning of the Howard years? The stench of old and new age Liberals gorging on their federal supper and measuring the economy by how well rich people are doing. Blame it on Labor you say, precisely!

Here we are, end of the third week of May, much ado about nothing and I bet many of us are numb, frustrated, angry and tired from all the trash our Federal Government has thrown at us in the last two months and more. The mainstream media have gone feral, not just recently, but have been playing us for fools for far too long. The Liberals think they can buy us out at election time with trickle down economics, pork-barrelling, pocket money and crumbs from the parliamentary corporate table; leave us for brain dead the next three years, and that is more a measure of their management of the nation, their intellect, the economy and epitome of their imagination. What imagination you say, precisely! Do they really think we have never heard of Modern Monetary Theory and lost our enthusiasm for humanity and the world around us.

Laura Tingle wasn’t the only witness to the abject failure of the Australian press – They let us all down, led by that pack of juvenile hounds Murdoch (News Corp), Sky and other commercial channels Seven, Nine and Ten. But make no mistake even the ABC has its planted moles with their political, social and commercial prejudices, gotchya games, trivia, bullying, rudeness, disrespect, selfish and irresponsible behaviour; all those important questions the mainstream and commercial media missed, that would have led to a more informed debate, intelligent, fair, safe and progressive democracy.

And didn’t Scomo and his band of highwaymen enjoy the ride, surfing the chaos he helped create with that smirk, avoiding our public broadcasters. Another missed opportunity!

Right up to the last day, Morrison and the Liberals botched it just like they botch everything they touch, with their bog-eyed phone-it-in last minute emergency legislation, which they weren’t going to bother with – and a hundred thousand Australians were about to be left stranded on election day, they forgot about our Constitution. What Constitution you say, precisely!  Good luck with those phone calls.

The fundamental democratic right of all Australians to vote? What next a robovote debt and fine to those excluded by the State from voting to add to the insult, ‘look I can take you off the list if you give us a call beforehand and then you get out of voting’. There for the Grace of Morrison trudged we, well too many of our neighbours.

There was a hole in your pocket dear Scomo,

a hole in the bucket dear Scomo, who cares?

I wonder if the slogan master and the Liberals will storm the High Court if they don’t get their own way or lose office, or perhaps Dutton will call in the army if he loses his seat?

Life under the Liberals has become a tragic farce for this country – a bucket of lies and holes for those who want it all, no matter the cost. From the economy’s point of view, there was no bottom to that bucket – Yup One Trillion the Liberals have amassed in public debt the last 9 years, three times the national debt accumulation since WWII from 1945 to 2013, when Labor last held office. Morrison and Josh have the gall to lecture us about their superior management of the economy, their financial prowess – over and over again we are reminded of the size of their egos and penises.

And then Clive Palmer quite literally rolls in again three years later to buy his way into government and advertising space with his own cashful of porkies, and I was recently reminded of that Fawlty Towers sketch on greed – Oh what a degustation parody all played out in nauseating sublime truth and vomiting, ‘One more preference Mr Palmer, it’s wafer thin’ – Social media meme, not that the mainstream media have noticed, too busy trying to catch Albanese out on another Gotchya trivial pursuit question – public mockery and humiliation. What little mindless cooked up facts, statistics and fantasies was that you say, precisely!  Then Adam sorted them all out at the National Press Club, ‘Google it mate’.

I got three phone calls at home this week. The first, an auto message from Johnny Howard, bless him, the man who should be behind bars. I put the phone down after a few colourful expletives. The second was on behalf of Marise Payne, and we all know this was because it was just too hard for Scomo to show his face here in the Blue Mountains after those 2019/20 bushfires. We didn’t see or hear from him then and we wouldn’t shake hands with him now. The third was a call from someone who claimed he wasn’t a Liberal on behalf of Sarah Richards, the Liberal candidate for Macquarie, a Liberal who wasn’t a Liberal you say, nah I couldn’t quite work it out either. Well, he got more than a few expletives and he politely thanked me for the conversation. ‘What conversation?’ I said, and then he rabbited on about the wonderful diversity of opinion in Australia and how we can debate and exchange views peacefully and politely (not that I see much of that in Parliament), and what he loved about Australia.

All the time meanwhile I am thinking is this some kind of euphemistic rodent excusal for all the corruption, lies and abuse, exploitation and rejection of climate change, refugees, aged care workers, nurses, older people, pensioners, women, aboriginal communities, the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the jobless and under employed, chronic wage stagnation, robodebt, Indue cashless welfare scam, the rorts, pork-barrelling, the French, the Chinese, Afghans, Iraq, Solomon Islands and that pesky ‘Australian Pacific back yard’. Here am I thinking and once every three years, we get the pleasure of a phone call or three from an anonymous Liberal who isn’t a Liberal who enjoys having an unsolicited conversation about how wonderful the Liberals are, how safe we are in Liberal hands, and at the first sign of disgust and disbelief from me, he murmurs ‘I don’t think this is going to be successful’ – ‘For whom’ I cried, ‘for you or me?’ What the hell, the arrogance, precisely! ‘We’ll have none of that up here in the Mountains’ I says, ‘you might get away with it in Sydney’, followed by a few more John Howard expletives and another serve for absent Scomo. Conversation, diversity of opinion, I mean wow, where do these Liberals get off with their home intrusions!  Well, that was the day before yesterday, and I never mentioned all the trees cut down for brochures in my post box, almost every bloody one of them from the same desperate fund thumping party.

Garbage bin collection comes round only once every 3 years, so decreed since Federation. That is all we get for our taxes, rates and levies, and now it’s time to put out the trash.

Little plug here for the Australian Greens, Labor and a handful or more of thoughtful Independents who don’t turn towards the lying Liberals or Nationals for undercover deals. There I’ve said it. Let Murdoch and the turncoat mainstream and commercial media who banish us to their ignorant corporate TV and social media virtual off world big brother sunrise fiefdoms – eat your hearts out, let them bleed.

I don’t know about you but I have four daughters and five grandchildren, and I want them along with all the other children and younger generations of this country, to have a decent and fair world to live in a few years from now. One not ravished by climate change, Russian aggression and political oppression, where we speak kindly of our neighbours and help those in need, not demonise them as the Liberals do for sake of the economy, or abandon them as the Nationals, the Clive Palmers, Gina Rineharts, Andrew Forrests and Australian corporate oligarchs do, occasionally selectively sharing their philanthropic or charitable mercenary deeds and ill-gotten tax free wares and trinkets. We are but a shadow of those we rightly fear, beneath fear itself. I’m looking for a progressive kinder egalitarian socially intelligent neighbourly Australia, is that too French or socialist for you? Time to shake off these rusty chains.

So let’s show them Australia who’s really in charge. Bugger the polls, today we have our say.

 

Photo from iStock

 

FLY AGAINST THE WIND WITH ME

If you can spare thirteen minutes of your day

for sake of the next three years and well beyond;

If you are undecided, choked numb by smoke and mirrors

or with a moment’s hesitation have your say;

If you are not quite sure the whims and moods

of this land, who would take your money, shake your

hand, pretend to care, lie again, cheat and lose their way;

If you are angry, still standing after bushfire, flood

and virus, doubt or wonder who should lead us

beyond this crucial merry-go-round of May;

And if you want only the best for your country, your children,

not the worst we’ve seen in bogan disarray;

Listen up, yours can be a future worthy for the taking,

let’s fly against the wind together and yes, remember –

Then my friend, you are ready to cast that vital vote today.

 

[AB, 21 May 2022 Australian Federal Election]

 

 

PS: And if you play the videos there’s more, you’ll not be disappointed!

Smoke and Mirrors by friendlyjordies

 

Liberals Corruption List by friendlyjordies

 

The state of journalism in Australia – Brainless questions posed to their readers in the last few days by Murdoch’s lapdog press –

Courier Mail: Who do you think would become Liberal leader if the Coalition loses – Peter Dutton or Josh Frydenberg? Neither if they lose their seats and who the fuck cares?

The Mercury: Do you think those infected with Covid should be able to vote?  WTF!

Daily Telegraph: Tomorrow is the big day. Do you know who you are voting for? Too bad if you don’t and a nightmare for the rest of us.

Daily Telegraph: Should parents apologise for bringing babies on flight? Does flying with a crying baby require compensation? Do journos and editors get a hard-on from asking these questions, get a seat in business class! Too bad if the wealthy business woman sitting next to you has that baby.

Daily Telegraph: Do you think wages will improve under Labor? There’s a lot Labor can do to make it happen, does it matter what their readers think?

Daily Telegraph: Should NSW legalise euthanasia? Great idea if Rupert lived in Sydney.

The Australian: Who would make a better PM, Morrison or Albanese? Depends if you are going to ignore or count the lies and corruption of the last 3 years even apart from Morrison’s abject failures, incompetence, arrogance, bullying and bragging. Ignore truth, fact, science and integrity at democracy’s peril – Maaaaaate!

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 

 4,074 total views

Noise Matters: Wind Farms, Nuisance and the Law

For years, the Australian wind farm has been reviled as ugly, noisy and unendearing by a certain number of prominent figures. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott pathologized them, calling wind turbines the “dark satanic mills of the modern era,” being not merely aesthetically problematic but damaging to health.

The latter view has been rejected by the National Health and Medical Research Council, which found “no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans” though it accepted at the time “that further high quality research on the possible health effects of wind farms is required.” Literature examining the nature of wind farm complaints also notes “large historical and geographical differences in the distribution of complainants in Australia.”

Current Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is another figure who never misses a chance to question the broader use of wind power. In New South Wales, where his electorate is based, he has warned the NSW government to “be careful” about using more turbines. “It’s not a bowl of cherries in this space,” observed the Nationals leader in characteristically gnomic fashion, “and that’s why you’ve got to keep your base load power going.”

This has placed him at odds with the State government and its renewable energy agenda. Criticism of the New England renewable energy zone as turning his electorate “into a sea of wind farms” did not impress NSW agriculture minister Adam Marshall in December 2020. In The Land newspaper, Marshall, who is also a member of the Nationals, regarded such criticism as “banal and binary and prehistoric”.

On March 25, the Victorian Supreme Court gave private citizens some cause for joy, and policy makers and corporations a potential cause for concern, in challenging the way such farms operate. The judgement found that the noise from the Bald Hills Wind Farm based at Tarwin Lower in South Gippsland, “caused substantial interference with both plaintiffs’ enjoyment of their land – specifically, their ability to sleep undisturbed at night, in their own beds in their own homes.”

There had been a sufficient nuisance to warrant the awarding of damages and an injunction on the company from continuing to cause the noise at night, Bald Hills having failed to establish “that the sound received at either [the plaintiffs’ houses] complied with noise conditions in the permit at any time.” While the relevant Minister for Planning might “initiate enforcement action,” it was up to the court or tribunal to determine whether compliance had taken place.

The two individuals in question – John Zakula and Noel Uren – sued the wind farm in 2021 claiming the infliction of “roaring” noise by the wind turbines. It transpires that Bald Hills had form of the most condescending sort. Since commencing operations in 2015, it had received “many complaints from neighbouring residents and landowners about noise from wind turbines.” In 2015 alone, the Bald Hill complaints register recorded 50 complaints, some from Uren and Zakula, and all about noise disruption.

The company’s behaviour in responding to the complaints did not impress the court. Justice Melinda Richards decided that awarding aggravated damages was entirely appropriate. “The manner in which Bald Hills dealt with the plaintiffs’ reasonable and legitimate complaints of noise, over many years, at least doubled the impact of the loss of amenity each of them suffered at their homes.” The judge decided that Uren should receive $46,000 in aggravated damages, with Zakula to pocket $84,000.

Justice Richards was not amiss to the implications of such a decision. Unlike the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, she showed no signs of pre-historic tendencies in her reasoning. Wind power generation, she accepted, was “a socially beneficial activity.” There was no reason, however, why it was not “possible to achieve both a good night’s sleep and power generation at the same time.” The evidence presented to the court “did not suggest […] that there is a binary choice to be made between the generation of clean energy by the wind farm, and a good night’s sleep for its neighbours.” The company could well have responded to the complaints of Uren and Zakula adequately “while continuing to generate renewable energy.”

When seen in its more specific context, the decision furnishes the renewable energy sector with a critical lesson. Even when engaged in socially responsible activities – in this case, renewable energy production – companies must be mindful of the implications of their behaviour to neighbouring residents. Being green and environmentally sound are noble ventures, but hardly enough when it comes to inflicting a nightmare upon residents.

Dominica Tannock, representing both plaintiffs, suggested after her clients’ victory that, “The implications are corporate Australia will have to be very careful about complaints.” It was incumbent on the company to behave reasonably, fairly and “protect people’s sleep and if they don’t there is a precedent [now that] they can be shut down.”

The owner of the Bald Hills Wind Farm, Infrastructure Capital Group, said little in a statement response to the ruling, merely that it was “currently absorbing the judgment and its implications.” They will not be the only ones.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

 2,852 total views

The Upside Of Scott Morrison Winning The Election!

Ok, I know that everyone took it for granted that Labor would win in 2019. And I know that the true believers are worried about history repeating. I know that nothing’s predictable and that there exists a chance that Scott Morrison will be able to hypnotise large numbers of the public into forgetting that his government has made Tony Abbott look empathetic and Billy McMahon look competent.

Even though I point out that this is not 2019 where Scotty From PhotoOps was largely unknown and that he seemed pretty harmless to a lot of people and hadn’t we just seen those “Back in Black” mugs which made some feel they’d be a bit silly to risk all that sound economic management, some people will still be shaking in their boots and fearing that we’ll have three more years of this bumbling bozo.

While much of the media commentary centres on the campaign and the narrowing of the opinion polls and how difficult it’s going to be for Labor to pick up the necessary seats. it’s worth remembering that he only has to lose a couple of seats and he’s in minority government. It’s also worth remembering that – by and large – 2019 was accurate in terms of the poll numbers in the weeks before the election with the exception of Queensland.

Yes, I could go on pointing out the differences and it wouldn’t soothe the nerves of those who fear that Morrison will do it again. And who knows, he might.

So with that in mind, I thought I’d concentrate on the upside of Morrison’s win.

He’ll destroy the Liberal Party.

Think about it. The NSW branch are already pissed off and have taken him to court. Of course, one of the people who tried to take him to court had his party membership revoked under some by-law which confers god-like status on the Prime Minister. How many other dissenting voices would Morrison get rid of after the election?

Morrison has also changed the rules to stop the party getting rid of him without a two-thirds majority. Add to this the fact that he’s trying to stack the party with acolytes so that it’ll be impossible to remove him.

Then we have the coming interest rate rises. Now, normally the Liberal Party have enough sense to lose an election just before the economic shit hits the economic fan. Look how John Howard said, “Stand down and leave it to Peter Costello to win? No, not only would that be terribly unsatisfying because I’ve enjoyed holding out the treat and then taking it away and there’s no fun in actually giving it to him, but I think we’re about due for another recession which we can then blame Labor for… We have to think long term and then I can have a bit of a rest and come back as leader like Lazarus with a quadruple bypass…”

(Ok, I have no actual record of John Howard saying this but – like Angus Taylor – I don’t need to have anything to back up the things I think are true; it’s enough that I believe that it might be true. Actually, it’s enough for me to want it to be true.) 

Moving on, Scotty is re-elected and they can’t get rid of him, even though most of the country is waking up like somebody who drank too much and decided to get back at their ex by having a one-night stand with the first eligible person who came along only to discover that their definition of “eligible” was considerable different after three wines, a vodka cocktail and what was that last drink I ordered shortly before saying, “Viva Mr Speaker…”

Anyway, the only option is for the moderates to leave the party, form an alliance with the Independents and create a party which they’ll call the “Fuck Scott Morrison Party” until they can agree on a name that’s more acceptable to the AEC, even though there’s general consensus that the basic sentiment in the name is acceptable to more than seventy percent of Australians.

Far-fetched? Perhaps. But not as far-fetched as the general media interest in opinion polls when – if the election ends up being a win to the Coalition – I could be just as accurate if I pulled two numbers out of a hat and said that this was the two-party preferred vote. Ok, maybe the numbers need to be 50 something to the equivalent 40 something but you get the drift.

In terms of this election campaign, the line “Whatever happened to the Budget emergency?” probably won’t be used but Labor might like to consider: “When Scott Morrison says if you vote for me, you know what you’ll get, we’d like to agree, but is it what we deserve?”

Ok, it’s more than a three-word slogan but sometimes the truth can’t be expressed succinctly. Although the PM did say something about, “Better the devil you know…” Perhaps, Labor could try something like “It’s time we didn’t have a devil for PM…”

I guess this is why I’m not in advertising!

 

Image from thebugonline.com.au

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

 1,120 total views