The miracle of Brother Scott and the Mammonites

By Grumpy Geezer  Even taking into account the brown paper bag kakocracies of Johannes…

The Priorities of General Motors: Ditching Holden

It seemed to be a case of grand misrepresentation. Holden cars, those…

Political donations: buying votes?

Listening to ABC’s QandA last night (17/02/20), I had a light bulb…

Another John Clarke Inspired Sketch: Mr Saye De…

In the Style of Our Late Master, Mr John ClarkeBrian: Now,…

Acceptance and Action

What is the world coming to!Even Andrew Bolt – maybe in a…

Corrupto-virus threatens world governance

By Ad astra  People the world over are understandably alarmed by the recent…

The pretentious "pretender"

In his book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from…

Corporate Occupations: The UN Business “Black List” and…

Mikhail Bakunin, in that charming anarchist tradition, regarded the state as an…

«
»
Facebook

The miracle of Brother Scott and the Mammonites

By Grumpy Geezer  

Even taking into account the brown paper bag kakocracies of Johannes Bjelke-Petersen and Robert Askin or the dodgy brothers operations of Fast Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi and Sir Lunchalot McDonald of Terrigals infamy there can be little doubt that we are now experiencing the most rancid regime in our history.

It has become apparent via the post-election rorting scandals that Brother Scott Morrison did not leave his electoral fortunes entirely in the hands of the Infinite Spirit. Perhaps ScoBro felt that the Big Guy could not be totally relied upon to deliver the much coveted miraculous election win despite his fervent swaying and praying being topped-up with his salary sacrificing to Jesus via the Horizon Church (sic) retail showrooms.

Holy payola was obviously seen as no guarantee of favours to be repaid so a backup plan must’ve been thought necessary – the bribing of mere mortals within at-risk and marginal electorates with hundreds of millions of re-purposed tax payer dollars. It was a risk mitigation strategy – after all if the celestial CEO had spent 6 days of hard slog creationing and you’re intent on salting the earth at the centre of it all then you need to hedge your bets. (Backing off the Big Guy with the Mosman Rowing Club and its ilk seems a tad blasphemous to me, but then I’m no theologian; but ScoBro’s deity will be across all of the nuances of religious-based commercial transactions I’m sure).

It seems that Jehovah & Co. were cool with all of that – delivering the requested miracle, albeit caveated by a tiny 2 seat majority. Perhaps with the blatant lies, the fraudulent election posters, Greasy Palmer’s $80M down payment for future favours and their 6 year track record of deceit, incompetence and graft the Big Guy was not convinced enough to give his full endorsement.

Regardless, we are stuck with these criminals for another 2 years – a frontbench that reminds me of Halloween trick or treaters from the burns ward and a backbench the like of which you’d expect to find under a serial killer’s floorboards.

We have a dysfunctional ragtag collection of misfits and spivs led, for the moment, by a smirking, incompetent and incontinent space invader from The Shire and a bobble-headed nonentity from Wagga Wagga, the Talking Thumb, who’s clearly been snacking on the Clag. As awful as this pair are they are both under threat from within by even worse alternatives. Kommondant Herr Spud-Dutton, the sadistic, neo-fascist rhizome from Dickson and Tamworth’s Barking Barmy, a purple-headed poster boy for a campaign warning women not to leave their drinks unattended and who has the coherence of a drunk on a bus shaken awake by a pot hole.

This L/NP is a coagulation of weirdos and shonks that is not so much a party as a death-of-democracy wake attended by flatulent aunts, uncle pervys, bagmen, corporate apple polishers, onanists, loose stools, Dogger’s Guidebook subscribers, sky pilots and scorched earthers.

Their grifters would not think twice about selling shares in a Rolf Harris Child Care Centre franchise to the befuddled in the nation’s raisin farms.

The autocrats within would happily taser widows and set fire to homeless people.

The door rattlers would steal from disabled kiddies’ Christmas stockings.

They have a bell-bottomed, helmet-haired harridan with a pebble-creted vajazzle who remains in AFP witness protection. There’s a bloated Filippino slum tourist whose oft-threatened crossing of the floor has been limited to-date to getting from the pole dancing to the titty bar and whose weight loss regime consists of taking a shit and having a haircut. There are water thieves and grass poisoners; there’s a Treasurer who provides us with all of the confidence of a recalled airbag; there’s an automatronic Finance Minister who’s as empathetic as a proctologist’s forefinger and a nut farm escapee who conjectures that a greenie conspiracy set the country ablaze to … wait for it … save the trees.

In short, we have weirdos, freaks and dullards; but their primary, shared characteristic is that they are all liars and thieves.

They’ve tried and tested a range of methods to avoid scrutiny – showing at least they had some small sense of shame. But now their deviousness has morphed into chutzpah; they’re playing the Trump card – “what are you going to do about it?”

So it is, unbelievably, getting worse. I feel a little bit of sick in the back of my throat. God save us.

(Thx to Frankie Boyle for a few of those insults).

This article was originally published on The Grumpy Geezer.

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

Corrupto-virus threatens world governance

By Ad astra  

People the world over are understandably alarmed by the recent eruption of a novel coronavirus (now named COVID-19) and its spread to countless countries, bringing in its wake widespread disruption, chaos, panic, illness and death. Previous coronavirus infections: SARS – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), and MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) haunt our memory. We fear how widespread this epidemic might become, what the final toll of illness and death will be, and how it might affect us personally. Although dismayed by the profound effects of this coronavirus, both personal and economic, we are somewhat reassured by the response to the virus, both in the field and in the laboratory. As Australians, we are proud of the contribution our doctors and scientists are making in developing a vaccine.

But are we as alarmed by the endemic nature of an old virus – corrupto-virus (2020+ CoV) – which continues to infect systems of governance the world over with flagrant corruption under our very noses? We ought to be. COVID-19 will eventually dissipate, but corrupto-virus is here to stay.

It has always been so. Reflect on the intrigue and backstabbing that characterised political behaviour as far back as the days of Ancient Rome. So little has changed over the years that it is too easy, too lazy to say ‘What’s new?’ and carry on as usual. That would ‘permit’ our leaders to believe that we, the people, have not noticed their behaviour, that we do not care, that they do not need to review how they conduct themselves, that they do not need to change.

Let’s review some contemporary examples of corrupto-virus.

Take the impeachment of Donald Trump. We all know, including the US congress and Senate, that Trump did just what he is accused of doing. He used his powerful position as US President to gain political advantage in the 2020 US Presidential election by attempting to bribe another nation to investigate alleged wrongdoing by an opponent, Joe Biden. By threatening to freeze millions of dollars of congressional approved aid to Ukraine unless President Volodymyr Zelensky did as he insisted, Trump thought he had him over a barrel. There is no doubt about it. Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton recently confirmed this in a book he’s writing. But what did we see? The Republican dominated Senate, assigned the task of carrying out Trump’s impeachment ‘trial’, decided to not hear any witnesses at all! Have you ever heard of a trial where key witnesses were deliberately excluded?

Everyone knows the whole process was a cynical charade, but Trump got away with it because his Republican colleagues valued saving his skin and the political heft of the Republican Party more than justice, fairness and decency. Everyone knew Trump would be found ‘not guilty’. Prudently, he made no reference to his impeachment in his State of the Union address, but at a subsequent ‘prayer breakfast’ could not resist an exhibition of arrogant triumphalism’ when, after brandishing the front page of The Washington Post: ‘Trump Acquitted’, took the opportunity to lambaste his opponents, sack several of them, and viciously demean all those who sought to convict him, reserving his most extreme vitriol for one of his own: Mitt Romney, who had the moral courage to call Trump out.

Looking further afield, we see overt corruption in the Soviet Union where President Vladimir Putin is engineering an indefinite role for himself as President. Look at China where Xi Jinping is President without term limits, a position he manoeuvred for himself.

Let’s not get too smug though. Reflect on our own political turmoil.

I won’t go over the details of the Bridget McKenzie ‘sports rort’ affair; details are to be found in Accountability in the Canberra Bubble published here on 14 February, and anyway she’s already gone to the backbench. Suffice is it to say that she, her department, and the PM’s department too, carried out one on the most spectacular episodes of audacious pork-barrelling in Australian political history. Forget the rorting by the oft-quoted Ros Kelly. By comparison, she was an unsophisticated amateur. The best she could muster was a whiteboard! McKenzie and her entourage had a stylish spreadsheet. A professional rorter, nothing but the most elaborate colour coded display would do.

The ABC’s Andrew Probyn did a fine journalistic job in exposing, day after day, the depths to which the rorts descended. The subsequent parliamentary inquiry uncovered still more details of this monumental rort. Each new piece of evidence, each new rort uncovered astonished us, but apparently not our PM, who in response to questions about them, resorted to an old Turnbull stunt, labelling journalists’ pointed questions as ‘editorialising’, prefacing his answers with ‘I reject the premise of your question’, and old-fashioned lying. And like Basil Fawlty’s deflection of questions about the War, he probably thought ‘he got away with it’, so dangerously out of touch is he.

Are we as ordinary voters awake to the depth of corruption that we are seeing in contemporary Australian politics? Are we willing to ‘call it out’? Are we willing to pass judgement when next we get a vote? Or will we just drift along?

It’s so easy to become complacent, so easy to accept the corruption, let alone the sheer incompetence of the Morrison government, so easy to let our preoccupation with the cricket or the football or the golf distract us from how our nation is being governed, how poorly our government is addressing the crucial issues of climate change, inequality, and a stuttering economy, and how incompetent, dishonest and corrupt our politicians have become. As the image that heads this piece highlights, money, and with it power and influence, is at the heart of all corruption, as the recent ‘sports rort’ saga so strikingly demonstrates.

If we let our leaders off the hook, we will have only ourselves to blame.

So this piece is a heartfelt call to be aware of the peril we face while the Morrison government is in charge, an earnest call for the courage to speak up loudly, a plea to call out its corruption, its self-serving behaviour, and its incompetence. Otherwise we are doomed. The corrupto-virus epidemic will continue unchecked. Unless we can bring about a change, our beloved country will wither, and we with it.

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)

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

Daze of our Lives

By Robert Stygall  

The Prime Minister had phoned him earlier that week. After the usual pleasantries and a couple of Barnaby jokes, he had been offered the newly created post of Minister for Special Projects. He asked what the portfolio would be responsible for and Scomo had said it would be broad ranging. The initial responsibilities would be managing the response to the Coronavirus outbreak and the recent bushfires.

After he had finished the phone call he started to wonder if accepting the role had been a good career move.

He had not got off to a good start. One of his first actions had been to form a new entity titled Pandemic Authority Australia. In typical Australian tradition he had shortened the name to the acronym PandAA. This had not gone down well with the Chinese government who took it as a not too subtle jibe at both the source of the virus and the Premier himself.

Next was the Bet 365 comment. Bet 365 had started taking bets on how many Coronavirus confirmed infections there would be in Australia each week; they had even changed their tag line to ‘Gamble and Sneeze responsibly’. Some members of the public had questioned him whether this was ethical. He replied that to date they had predicted the level of Coronavirus infections more accurately than the Health Department. Later he regretted the comment and apologised, (on the advice of his political adviser).

Finally, the problem of where to provide additional quarantine facilities. Christmas island was full and so was the remote mining camp.

He decided it needed to be an island that was relatively easy to access. Without consulting the bureaucrats, he decided on Fraser Island. Government scientists subsequently pointed out that dingoes roamed the Island and could easily contract and spread the virus. He was old enough to remember events at Ayers Rock and suddenly he could envisage the headlines again, ‘A Dingo killed my baby’. The Fraser Island proposal was cancelled and when the story was leaked, he blamed it on fake news.

The bushfire inquiry was also proving somewhat problematic. Scomo had issued a number of caveats relating to the process.

  • He was to refer to the post bushfire world as the new normal;
  • In defining the new normal he was not allowed to use the words human-induced climate change;
  • He was not to mention the names of the climate deniers in the government, let alone admit that they existed (much like human-induced climate change).

Next was the decision to have a Royal Commission. He was charged with coming up with the terms of reference. A tricky task that required the illusion of delivering real analysis and action without implicating any previous Government failures or confirming human-induced climate change as a cause.

He really was beginning to regret accepting the role but was determined not to be the bunny. So, in the time-honoured tradition he decided to form an Advisory Committee. He considered himself socially aware and a Woke Bloke, so he let it be known that he would encourage diversity on the Committee. In particular he asked his staff to search for a lesbian, Aboriginal, Muslim to join his Committee. Surprisingly, no candidates came forward.

The final nail in his coffin came with another phone call from Scomo. ‘There are reliable rumours circulating that you are having an affair with a very young intern in your office, given you are married with two children, this is very serious. Is it true?’ The very long silence said it all.

He could envisage the headlines, ‘Bushfire Minister-Smouldering Affair’, ‘Bushfire Minister-Fiery Passion’, ‘Bushfire Minister’s new flame’ …

The next day, after less than two months in the role, he announced his resignation, citing ‘I want to spend more time with my family.’

It wasn’t long before the hashtag #internabuse started to trend like the Coronavirus and went viral.

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

Comedy without art (part 12)

By Dr George Venturini  

In the name of that ‘mateship’ Australia has followed the United States in the wars it fought in Asia since the second world war. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again, Syria, recently Mindanao, and ‘by proxy’ Yemen – uniquely among the United States ‘allies’ – Australia has been present for each and every one. Whether it benefits from that behaviour is another matter altogether. “The pitiful level of debate about foreign and defence policy in the country allows us to avoid searching self-analysis. Government and Opposition advance in lock-step and the camp followers in Canberra’s think-tanks tag along behind. Almost universally the practitioners engage in what might be called strategic solipsism,” wrote Professor Henry Reynolds. And he concluded: “We react with outrage at intimations that China may send naval units to dock in Vanuatu while we intervene in Mindanao with army, navy and air force. Can there be any wonder that others are astonished at our unregarded hypocrisy?” (H. Reynolds, ‘The Best of 2018: Australia’s perpetual ‘war footing’,’ Pearls and irritations, 26 July 2018).

Halfway through Turnbull’s prime ministership, Professor Allan Patience commented on Australia’s American leadership distraction:

“As widely agreed, Malcolm Turnbull is a great disappointment as Prime Minister. He came to the job after two jarring years of Tony Abbott’s authoritarian and ideological leadership. The result was that many voters longed for an entirely different approach to Abbott’s dismissiveness of the science of climate change, his ‘Anglophilia,’ his cavalier use of Royal Commissions to nail political opponents, his inhumane policies on asylum seekers, his opposition to marriage equality, and his thuggish political style. Abbott wanted to take the country back to the dullness of the ‘fifties, much as John Howard had tried to do. Most voters have progressed way beyond this kind of nostalgia. They want to see progressiveness, inspiration, hope and a vision for the future in their politicians. Turnbull fooled everyone into thinking he was the man to provide it. But he has failed dismally to deliver. His timorous approach to public policy reform suggests that in Turnbull we have a hollow man as leader.”

Lamenting that “Bill Shorten is a similarly limited political creature”, Patience went on to say that “What we badly need is to see intellectually astute and highly principled people like Gillian Triggs, Waleed Aly, or Julian Burnside governing in our parliaments. It is unlikely they would fit into any of the existing political parties. Maybe it’s time to think of an entirely new political party with an agenda that is inclusive and concerned about the wellbeing of all citizens – one the befits an independent country able to offer real leadership in its region and the world. Until that happens we are likely to remain in pathological thrall to the Americanization of Australia.” (A. Patience, ‘Australia’s American Leadership Distraction,’ Pearls and irritations, 12 October 2017).

Of course, American administrations rarely think of many countries like Australia as ‘allies’. Rather, they see them as colonies, subject states, tributaries, client states and acolytes to be used and abused as the needs and dictates of U.S. foreign policy require. Most client states realise that and make the best of it. Some of their agents are caught in the relationship: one of them was joint commander of the Multinational Force in Iraq which destroyed Fallujah – city of some 300,000, known as the “city of mosques” for the more than 200 mosques – in 2004. (Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre is a documentary film by Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta which first aired on Italy’s R.A.I. state television network on 8 November 2005) In 2005 the Pentagon conceded the use of white phosphorous as an incendiary weapon against the residents of that city; it contributed to the estimated death toll of over 6,000 civilians. The ‘allies’ conferred on the joint commander the Australian Distinguished Service Cross, on one side, while the other side awarded the American Legion of Merit.

A few months after his profession of loyalty to the Great and Powerful Friend, and on an occasion he never imagined in one of his many lives, Turnbull – one time an avowed republican – just before meeting Queen Elizabeth II said that “most Australian republicans are Elizabethans as well.”

“That’ll be right!” might have uttered some ‘well balanced’, ‘no worries’ Australian. Helots might not have reacted anyway; they would be contented in their moronic machismo and console themselves and note hopelessly: “the way things are.”

“Politics is full of unpredictable events,” Turnbull said during a press conference before his visit to Buckingham Palace.

His view, at least on 12 July 2017, was that another referendum would not be supported by the majority of Australians during the Queen’s reign.

The Australian Republican Movement – that he was – is currently pressing for an ‘advisory ballot’ in 2020 to determine whether voters want an Australian head of state and how that person should be chosen. That would then be followed by a referendum in 2022.

The Opposition had urged the Prime Minister to raise the issue with Her Majesty, but Turnbull, speaking before the visit, refused to reveal what he would have said to the Queen because “discussions … are always confidential.”

He did, however, pay tribute to the 91-year-old monarch’s “selfless public service”, described the forthcoming meeting as “an honour”, and declared that he would “obviously look forward to her advice and wisdom.” …”She has after all known and advised many, many prime ministers.”

Turnbull also refused to say whether he would raise the release of the ‘Palace Letters’ – some of the correspondence between Sir John Kerr and the Queen ahead of the Whitlam Government’s Ambush in 1975. The contention remained, then – and was recently re-confirmed – that the letters are personal papers, rather than official, and subtracted to the view of ‘indiscreet eyes’.

They are still to remain inaccessible until 2027 and after that time ‘The Monarch’ could still veto the release. (‘ ‘Republican’ and ‘Elizabethan’ Malcolm Turnbull meets the Queen at Buckingham Palace,’ abc.net.au, 12 July 2017).

When the mystery of ATM will be fully examined, Turnbull will not so much be remembered for his three-word slogan: “Job and growth.” He probably would not want that – too ‘common’ for a person of his world-standing.

In June 2009, when Turnbull took the leadership of the Liberal Party for the first time, former Prime Minister Paul Keating thought that he had some useful insights into the man. He decided to share them with the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Keating told Rudd on the phone that he had studied Turnbull over the years.

Rudd was to understand three key things about Turnbull. First, he should know that Turnbull was brilliant. Keating paused a little. Second, that Turnbull was utterly fearless. Keating went for a longer pause.

At this point, an irritated Rudd, demanded to know, “Is there any good news here?” Keating replied with his third point: Turnbull has no judgment. Keating must have felt feeling vindicated in August 2018 when a Macbeth-manqué was cast into the soap opera of infidelity led by characters such as Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison.

But, before the end, Turnbull had one more, grande opportunity to affirm himself as a master of destiny.

It was about the banks.

Returning to the subject, already considered as at 2013 – hence at the beginning of the ATM Coalition government – one will note that in 2019 Australia’s major banks are four of the seven biggest corporations on  the Australian Securities Exchange Ltd. by market value, and worth around $360 billion combined.

The biggest of them, the Commonwealth Bank, has at various points in time been Australia’s most valuable company and currently is second only to B.H.P., the Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum public company.

Many Australians directly own shares in the banks, while most have stakes through their superannuation funds.

The big four also completely dominate Australia’s financial landscape, with combined assets – mainly loans owed to them – totalling more than $3.6 trillion, more than twice the value of Australia’s annual economic output, which stands at $1.73 trillion.

In terms of size and assets, the four banks run as follows: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, $975 billion; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, $943 billion; Westpac Banking Corporation $880 billion; and National Australia Bank $807 billion.

A 2016 report by The Australia Institute think tank found that these assets generated large profits for the major banks – the highest in the world.

The list is as follows: Australia 2.9 per cent; China 2.8 per cent; Sweden 2.6 per cent; Canada 2.3 per cent; the Netherlands 1.9 per cent; Spain 1.8 per cent; France 1.7 per cent; Japan 1.4 per cent; United Kingdom 1.2 per cent and United States 0.9 per cent. (Sources: The banker, an English-language monthly international financial affairs publication owned by The Financial Times Ltd. and edited in London, United Kingdom; International Monetary Fund; and The Australia Institute).

Australian banks’ profit was equal to 2.9 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2016.

Australian banks are highly concentrated. More than 80 per cent of mortgage borrowers have a loan with one of the four big banks.

The four big banks have concentrated on mortgage lending. Mortgages require banks to hold less in reserve to protect against losses, hence traditionally much safer than other loans. That makes them much more profitable than most other forms of lending.

During the past two-decade property boom banks have received more exposure to real estate than their counterparts in other countries.

Together the four banks hold almost $1.4 trillion in mortgage debt, which is equivalent to about 80 per cent of Australia’s annual economic output.

The big four banks dwarf the rest of Australia’s retail, or consumer-focused, banking sector – even the local branches of major international banks which are dominant in other countries.

A long history has permitted a large growth in size.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was established as a publicly owned bank in 1911, and privatised between 1991 and 1996. It grew to be the largest of the four banks by acquiring eight institutions between 1913 and 2017.

The Bank of Australasia, established in 1835, became the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited through a series of acquisitions and mergers – eight altogether  between 1837 and 2009.

The parent of Westpac, established in Sydney in 1817 as the Bank of New South Wales, was the first bank in Australia. Ten banks were absorbed during the following 160 years. Re-arranged and renamed in 1982, Westpac acquired other institutions in Australia and overseas, in 2008 merging with St. George Bank.

The National Australia Bank resulted in 1982 from the merger of the National Bank of Australasia and the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, both well over a century old at that point. This is the story of their growth. (A. Linden, W. Staples, ‘Hayne’s failure to tackle bank structure’, theconversation.com, 5 February 2019).

As already seen, after the so-called Global Financial Crisis, scandal mounted over scandal in the banking sector. And, almost regularly, investigation has followed investigation since the embrace and implementation of neo-liberal theory.

In the early 1990s there were royal commissions into the $1.7 billion Tri-continental/State Bank Victoria collapse, the $3.1 billion State Bank of South Australia collapse and the W.A. Inc collapse which explored the interrelated activities at Rothwells bank, the $1.8 billion collapse of Bond Corporation and the A$1.2 billion siphoned from Bell Resources.

A decade later in 2003 there had been the Owen report on the $5.3 billion collapse of Australia’s largest insurer HIH.

But ‘the market’ might have been ready for another inquiry, investigation, or royal commission into the activity of the banks.

Of course, there had been many of such reviews in the past 25 years: the Campbell Inquiry of 1991, the Wallis Inquiry of 1996, the Cooper superannuation review of 2010, and the Murray Review of 2012. Each either missed or downplayed the links between poor governance, industry structure, systemic misconduct and prudential risk.

By early 2016 the Greens and Labor Opposition began to call for a new inquiry into banks’ operation. Labor’s request was not specific on the terms to be given to a royal commission; it simply called for a broad inquiry into ‘misconduct in the banking and financial services industry.’

The Greens, actually, wanted to go one step further:

1) to establish a people’s bank which offers basic products at a competitive rate, putting people before profit;

2) to break up the banks, by separating retail banking, investment banking and wealth management arms. A separation of banks’ activity is often described along the lines of the American Glass–Steagall – the 1933 Banking Act. The Act provided for the separation of commercial and investment banking. It was amended by the Banking Act of 1935 which clarified the 1933 legislation and resolved inconsistencies in it. The legislation prevented commercial Federal Reserve member banks from: a) dealing in non-governmental securities for customers, b) investing in non-investment grade securities for themselves, c) underwriting or distributing non-governmental securities, d) affiliating – or sharing personnel – with companies involved in such activities. Conversely, Glass–Steagall prevented securities firms and investment banks from taking deposits.

3) to cap the obscene pay packages that banking executives receive;

4) to replace a weak and compromised A.S.I.C. with the A.C.C.C. to fight for the rights of banking customers.

The Greens said it clearly: when big banks rake in $31.5 billion in profit – as they did in 2017 – while screwing over their customers, privatisation has failed.

Some twenty six times the Opposition was unsuccessful; the government consistently declared that there was no need for a royal commission.

Now Prime Minister, when Treasurer of the Turnbull Government, Mr. Morrison was scathing of any suggestion of investigation. That may be understandable; he is after all just a vulgarian marketeer.

But the Prime Minister? Here is a successful ‘highly transactional businessman’ by self-definition – having been in turn a journalist, lawyer, merchant banker, and venture capitalist. He has been an aggressive defender of Kerry Packer against allegations made by the Costigan Commission, afterward an independent practitioner, until he turned to investment banking with such success that by 1997 he would  become a managing director of Goldman Sachs Australia, eventually becoming a partner in Goldman Sachs and Co.

If there was ‘nothing to see here’ for intriguer Morrison, it is hardly credible that such lack of vision affected a person of the calibre of Malcolm Bligh Turnbull.

The Government’s resistance to a royal commission was risky but understandable – up to point.

In 2013, when the Coalition came to power, it was determined to weaken measures Labor had introduced. Eventually, it was thwarted by the Senate crossbench, with the Senate disallowing its changes.

But why the Government was so keen completely to shield an industry where wrongdoing had been so obvious is not entirely clear. Maybe it was for a combination of several factors: a mix of ‘free market’ ideology, a callously indifferent ‘let-the-buyer-beware’ philosophy, and – much more likely – some close ministerial ties with the banking sector.

The Government insisted that  it had already put in train a good deal to clean up the industry, including a one-stop-shop for complaints, higher standards for financial advisers, beefing up the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and a tougher penalty regime.

The government had missed the point.

As Ian Verrender remarked, A.S.I.C. went missing in action with the banks.

“It’s not that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, A.S.I.C. is in need of added muscle. It needs to grow a spine.

A.S.I.C. is the law enforcement agency that shies away from enforcement, particularly in the top end of town.

Ask yourself this – when was the last time a major corporation or executive was hauled before the courts? If you’re having trouble coming up with an answer, you’re in good company.

In the past decade, our banks have been responsible for multiple breaches of the Corporations Act.”

And as the Hayne Commission had begun making extraordinary discoveries, Verrender wrote:

“[The banks] have admitted to rigging interest rate and foreign exchange markets. They’ve repeatedly stolen from their customers. They’ve happily charged premiums and then refused payments to legitimate insurance claimants.

Since the financial crisis, they have forked out more than $1 billion in fines and compensation for their misdeeds. But not one senior banking executive has faced a court room for any of this.”

The truth of the matter is that A.S.I.C. is a gun-shy regulator.

Verrender explained: “Since its inception decades ago, ASIC has had the power to launch criminal and civil proceedings against big business. But for the past 15 years, it has deliberately chosen not to.

Instead, it’s opted for what’s known as “enforceable undertakings” – effectively a slap on the wrist and a hollow threat that it may take real action if it ever happens again.

Why? One explanation is that it became gun shy after suffering a series of humiliating court defeats prior to the global financial crisis.

But a more disturbing possibility is that it is increasingly concerned with its own financial performance. In fact, in recent years ASIC has become a significant source of government revenue.

Its data base, which holds company and director records, reaps around $720 million a year for the Federal Government through access fees, more than double the cost of running the regulator.

That’s not all.

Continued Wednesday – Comedy without art (part 13)

Previous instalment – Comedy without art (part 11)

Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some seventy years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reached at George.venturini@bigpond.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

Accountability in the Canberra bubble

By 2353NM  

The Australian Federal Police have dropped the investigation into the political ‘hit job’ Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor failed to execute on Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. For those who came in late, we noted last December.

Morrison has also spent a considerable amount of political capital defending Energy Minister Angus Taylor. Apart from being implicated in a scheme when the government paid $80 million for water rights without receiving any water, meeting with the then Environment Minister to discuss why no action should be taken when 30 hectares of protected grasslands in the Monaro region of New South Wales was poisoned by a company in which Taylor has a beneficial interest and claiming an increase in carbon emissions over the past three years is good news, Taylor is also under investigation by the Parliament for an ongoing argument with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Taylor wrote to the Lord Mayor in his Energy Minister role suggesting $14million spent on international travel was inconsistent with the Mayor’s public position on emissions reduction, as well as leaking the letter to the media. It’s a pity the real figure was a somewhat more palatable $15893.29 (and $5308.88 on domestic travel). Taylor claims the fault wasn’t his; regardless Australia is still talking about it coming into December (a month later).

You could argue that Taylor has apologised to Moore, it was an honest mistake and everyone should move on, however you would be wrong. If it was an honest mistake, why was the letter leaked to a media outlet that has a history of dislike of the current Lord Mayor of Sydney and a track record of minimising or outright denial of the effects of climate change, despite the hollow claims of the octogenarian head of the company that owns the masthead? Sydney City Council metadata demonstrates that there was no evidence that the ‘incorrect data’ relied on by Taylor and his office in their explanation was ever loaded onto the Council’s website.

The same AFP is still investigating the ABC and News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst (including raids on ABC offices and Smethurst’s home last June) over the publication of what was claimed to be official secrets, namely

that the heads of the defence and home affairs ministries had discussed draconian new powers to allow the Australian Signals Directorate to spy on Australian citizens for the first time.

Under the mooted plan, spies would be allowed to secretly access emails, bank accounts and text messages with approval from the defence and home affairs ministers.

Under current laws the Australian federal police and domestic spy agency ASIO have the power to investigate Australians with a warrant and seek technical advice from ASD, which is not permitted to produce intelligence on Australians.

As Katherine Murphy observes in The Guardian

Sticking with the sliding scale of harm, it is true that nobody is ever going to lose any sleep over an issue as micro as the size of the Sydney City Council travel budget, and whether a commonwealth cabinet minister thinks it’s a good use of his time to pick a student politics fight with a local government official.

But I suspect a number of us do care if documents have been falsified and whether fake documents are being deployed in public debate.

That would seem to me to be quite harmful activity in an age where citizens in democracies don’t know who, or what, to trust in politics and public life, and are suspicious of institutions that once enjoyed significant levels of respect.

Not being able to determine what’s true, and people not being held accountable when falsehoods happen, is incredibly harmful. It’s more than harmful, actually. Corrosive is a better word.

In deciding not to investigate, the AFP also determined that getting to the bottom of the Taylor/Moore imbroglio would require a “significant” level of resources.

Taylor has not been vindicated here as Morrison says. The AFP have chosen, rightly or wrongly, not to investigate an apparent pitiful attempt at tipping a bucket on a political rival as it would consume too many resources.

At the same time, journalists have been ‘under investigation’ by the AFP for a considerable period, presumably using plenty of resources, for doing their job — accurately reporting information that should be in the public domain. Regardless of the opinion of the Government of the day or the AFP, we should be aware that even if you are not under investigation by law enforcement authorities, there are plans to allow a secretive government agency to be able to intercept your emails and phone calls if approved by government ministers who potentially have similar ethics to the one minister who has just resigned for pork barrelling vulnerable electorates, another under a cloud for allegedly using his influence to assist his personal business ventures and has the time to apparently play childish political games.

Most jurisdictions in Australia have an independent body that investigates apparent corruption in politics and government. The Federal Government doesn’t. Taylor has questions to answer over the water rights dealings noted above, as well as the apparent falsifying of data for political ends. McKenzie only ‘resigned’ once she became a political liability to Morrison.

Since McKenzie ‘resigned’, her fingerprints are all over another $150 million that was granted to a number of organisations in marginal coalition seats for ‘female change rooms’ and ‘pools’. There were no guidelines or application process. Councils in NSW and Victoria found out about the grants in their local newspapers. In Queensland, a grant of $2 million to build a pool at a school in Brisbane’s rapidly expanding northern suburbs has been refused by the State Government as the land is needed for classrooms. Yes, a pool is useful for students for around an hour a week, an accessible classroom building has far greater usage with apparently far less federal funding.

In addition, it is currently being reported that Infrastructure Minister (and Deputy Prime Minister) McCormack awarded 94% of infrastructure grants to areas represented by the coalition political parties.

And they keep refusing to consider legislation for a ‘Federal ICAC’.

What do you think?

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)

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

The War on Climate Change has already begun and we are losing. How on Earth are we going to win it?

By Elizabeth Dangerfield

Not by burying our heads in the sand. Not by waiting for everyone to be reasonable and listen to the evidence. Not by leading from behind. Not by appeasement. Not by believing we can have our cake and eat it too. Not by waiting for technology and science to save us. Not by business as usual and hoping that adaption and resilience will be enough to get us through.

We can only win the war on climate change through courage, conviction and a willingness to change. We can only win a war on climate change if we recognise that wars don’t wait until we are all ready to fight. We can only win the war on climate change if we are prepared to make all sorts of sacrifices now in order to secure a better future. Indeed, if we do it right, our future could be better than our current present!

We have been capable of great feats of courage, determination and self-sacrifice in the past and we need to dig deep as individuals and collectively do the maximum that needs to be done to save ourselves, to save our future and to save the planet. We need to be the best humans can be.

My parents were 19 and 17 years of age, living in England when the Second World War broke out. They were young and full of possibilities, just starting off on their own lives. I can only imagine the dread that they must have felt when war was declared.  

Many people in Britain did not want to believe that war was coming. Who would? They went about their daily lives hoping it would all pass over. Politicians tried to broker deals with Hitler, they thought he was a reasonable man. They wanted “peace in their time” and deluded themselves into thinking that things weren’t that bad, and it would all work out in the end, even if they did need to appease Hitler a bit. So, they turned a blind eye when he invaded another country – the German nation needed living space after all!  

Some British people, especially members of the aristocracy and wealthy elites, admired Hitler and thought his kind of regime might do Britain good. They hated the working class getting a bit uppity and threatening the old and proper order of things. They didn’t want to face up to the truth of his real nature and some, particularly in America, saw an opportunity to make money selling arms to the Nazis.

Fortunately, some people in Britain, such as Winston Churchill, saw what was coming and tried to make the best preparations they could for the inevitable war. This was difficult without the total support of the government and the people and it meant that it was very touch and go as to whether the war would be won by the allies.

Once war was declared everything changed for my parents as it did for everyone else.  My father went off to France as part of the British Expeditionary Forces and only barely escaped with his life in the Dunkirk evacuations. My mother became a Red Cross nurse in Birmingham which was heavily bombed during the Blitz.  

On top of the dangers of war ordinary life changed dramatically. Because of the huge spending on the war effort, so necessary for survival, there were shortages of everything. My parent’s wedding cake was made of cardboard. Rationing of food and petrol was severe. Most of the men were off fighting and women had to step into their shoes, on farms, in factories and many other professions. Accommodation was hard to come by as so many houses were destroyed by bombing. Families were separated and many people killed and injured. But people kept calm and carried on despite all the hardship and suffering. They had too, the other choice was to give up. To give up everything they valued.

Of course, we are facing a world war now. It is the war against climate change and we need to mobilise. If we lose this war the results will be much more horrendous than that of the Second World War. That is such a painful truth that most of us don’t want to face up to it, and I can’t blame people for that but ignoring this horrible fact, or shooting the messengers, will only make it worse, much worse. The only thing that I can think of that would produce a worse future for us would be a nuclear holocaust or a large meteor slamming into the planet. If you don’t believe me look up the likely impact of 2, 3, 4 degrees of global warming conflated by tipping points.

Our war on climate change is also a war on the degradation of the biosphere by humans. To save our planet as we know it, we must do both. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report in 2019 provides overwhelming evidence, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, that the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever, and that we are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.  

It called for immediate transformative change, at every level, from local to global, to address this pressing issue. Such transformative change means a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values. This is the same change that the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 report indicated was urgently required in order to keep global warming to 1.5°C.  A business as usual approach means that very soon that goal will be unobtainable. Nothing, but an attitude akin to being at war on climate change will make us make the necessary sacrifices required to achieve that goal. Transformative change is just that – life-changing, like war.

The only trouble is that nobody wants a war.  A war is very inconvenient, nasty and disruptive of our comfortable way of life. Not many of us want to undertake transformative change although more of us would be prepared to concede that we are facing some sort of climate emergency after the recent bushfires.

But there is a danger that those people who have become concerned about climate change because of the bushfires, those who think that global warming is a serious problem but are not motivated to become personally involved in taking any action about it, will become disengaged from the climate emergency as everything settles down.   

In fact, evidence suggests that some people who are concerned about climate change (as opposed to those of us who are positively alarmed by it), those who are cautious about the issue, or even disengaged from it, get turned off by too much doom and gloom about its likely impact. Rebecca Huntley’s research shows that “attitudes about climate are informed not by an understanding of science, but by world views, values, political identification, social and cultural conditions and gender identity”. Age also is a big factor. Older people are generally more conservative and less likely to change.

To change these attitudes, we can participate in a myriad of conversations where we respectfully listen, knowing that people’s views on climate change have more to do with how they live their lives, their life experiences, expectations, values and prejudices, than science. We can give some the facts about climate change, knowing that many people are more likely to be convinced by a focus on how climate change action can benefit society. 

And transforming our society to deal with climate change can result in a large number of benefits. There would be less pollution, to begin with, that would make us healthier. Our health would also be improved by our more plant-based diet as we eat less meat, especially from animals fed on grain, and because we would be walking and cycling more. As we shift to electric cars our world would be quieter, cleaner and easier to get around. Cities would be much more pleasant places to be in.  

We would waste much less, recycle and repurpose much more and share much more.  Our environment would improve not just for us but for all living things. Ecological friendly tourism would be a big drawcard. We would appreciate what an amazing world we live in. Our more modest consumption would mean that we would not be driven to earn more and more in order to buy the biggest and latest of everything. This would reduce work stress and give us more leisure time.

Many jobs would be generated from the renewable energy sector and other innovative solutions for addressing climate change. We would move to more innovative and thoughtful ways of mining, agriculture and manufacturing that would not cost the Earth. We would build transitioning from old ways of doing business to new ways of doing business into our economic model. And we would work in partnership with others to achieve our ultimate goal – a sustainable, vibrant and egalitarian future.

Independent MP Zali Steggall has emphasised the positive in a private member’s bill on climate change she is going to introduce to the Australian Parliament on March 23, 2020.  She is asking for a conscience vote on the legislation which covers:

  • A positive response to the challenges of climate change
  • National plans for adapting to climate change
  • National plans for reducing greenhouse emissions and
  • Transparent monitoring, reporting and accountability

Of course, it seems when it comes to climate change many MPs don’t have a conscience at all. They are only interested in the here and now, avoiding change at all costs, and demonising any opposition. It is these ignorant, self-interested climate deniers that refuse to heed the risks of their obstruction of action on climate change, that we must challenge vociferously in our war on climate change. We need to call them out.

In the meantime, let’s hope Zali’s legislation gets through. If it does it will be a step forward for reasonableness. But it is the third part of Zali’s legislation that is the most important because it is absolutely time-critical – national plans for reducing greenhouse emissions. For some reason, fundamentally human nature I suspect, many people cannot grasp the concept that there is a deadline for saving the Earth. We are looking at ten years in which to do something concerted and effective to reduce emissions. The years are ticking past and the climate bomb is ticking fast.  

The reasonable, conversational approach to change is a very time-consuming process and many of us have been doing it for years and years, and if someone is prepared to have an open discussion, we will continue to do it. However, we simply do not have the time to wait until enough people are convinced through this incremental process. We have waited far, far too long; patiently, reasonably, hopefully, to the point where many of us think it is already too late.  

In lieu of a million conversations we need charismatic, authentic leaders who can speak to people on our behalf and convince them to follow a path of transformative change that will address their concerns, but also help them face the reality of climate change with courage, and seek solutions with determination. For it would be deceiving to say that we can tackle climate change without having to give up anything although we can inspire people to think that their self-sacrifice today may lead to a much better future for our children. It was certainly what inspired my parents.

We don’t seem to possess a Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela. At the moment, our most prominent flag bearers are a 17year old girl and a 93year old man. I look for charismatic, intelligent, well-informed leaders in Australia and I cannot find them. I go to demonstrations demanding action on climate change and the only truly inspirational speakers I find are the young people who are still at school. Who do you think can inspire Australians to want to fight to address climate change, to transform our society, to make a better future?

In the meantime, if we don’t have a single leader who can speak up loudly, clearly and persuasively about the need for urgent action on climate change we can have a million of voices speaking as one. As part of the School Climate Strike movement involving millions of people around the globe, 300,000 Australians gathered at climate change rallies around the country late in 2019. There were lots of ordinary Australians amongst the protesters who called for the Federal Government to commit to:

  • No new coal, oil or gas projects
  • 100 per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030
  • Funding for “a just transition and job creation for all fossil fuel industry workers and communities”

The Government ignored them. We need to see if the Government can ignore 600,000 protesting people or can describe a million Australians protesting as a fringe movement. All of us who are alarmed by climate change or concerned about it, need to voice our worries by turning up to the next climate change rally and the one after that, and the one after that. We should not leave it to others to fight the fight we all need to fight.

Every one of us needs to step up in the war against climate change!


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

Australia’s Pentecostal Extreme World Makeover Exposed

By Steve Davies  

Stripping away the veil

Scratching your head over the behaviour of the Scott Morrison government since its miracle election win? Wondering about the extent of the influence of Pentecostalism and extreme right Christianity over politicians, our institutions and society? Concerned about what sort of world and society is being created around us and future generations?

It’s time to cut through the smoke, mirrors and spin. To strip away the veils.

The Extreme World Makeover is a very telling part of the Seven Mountain Mandate. These sermons are marketed as training courses. In reality they are propaganda tools that provide guidance to the “Sons, daughters” and Archangels of Pentecostalism in order to dominate societies.

“No the whole deal is, again, he has told satan I am going to do this great thing with my sons and daughters. They are going to awake; they are going to arise, and they will begin to shine. And they will operate in my light in my authority and my power and they will change everything. I will not have to exert my own direct muscle. They will carry my muscle. They will crush you.” (Source: Extreme Makeover Sermon).

The zeal with which the Morrison Government is pursuing its agenda and the agenda the government itself, are a reflection of the Extreme World Makeover.

For too long people have made light of Pentecostalism. For example, by dismissing them as a bunch of babblers who believe they will be beamed up to heaven while the rest of us burn.

The reality is different:

“He is seated at the right hand of the father until all his enemies, all Jesus’s enemies, have to be under our feet. He is the head, we are the body, he’s not coming back until that happens.” (Source: Extreme Makeover Sermon).

Translation: The mission of the Pentecostal elite is to stamp the institutions (Mountains), of our society with their ideology and dominate those who do not believe as they do. When they achieve that Jesus will apparently return.

Strip away the religious rationale and content and what is being foisted on Australian society and our democracy by our own government makes foreign interference look like a tea party.

The devil in the detail

Extreme World Makeover is the ninth session of a Seven Mountain Mandate course given by Johnny Enlow (senior pastor and leading Seven Mountains Mandate activist).

In my view it is more accurate to refer to these sessions as sermons. His sermon was uploaded to YouTube on 6 March 2019.

The work of Enlow and others is based on the ideology of dominionism. Evangelicals, including Pentecostals who subscribe to that ideology believe that Christians should shape societies and nations by taking control of key institutions (Seven Mountains).

“Dominionism is the theocratic idea that regardless of theological camp, means, or timetable, God has called conservative Christians to exercise dominion over society by taking control of political and cultural institutions.”

In his book, The Seven Mountain Prophesy, Enlow describes seven mountains that shape societies and nations. The mountains (sometimes referred to as spheres), are family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.

The Seven Mountains Mandate is a Christian Right strategy of political and cultural infiltration and conquest.

The Mandate has a long history and is also a means of unifying and growing the Christian Right. Some say, of dominating Christianity itself. The Christian right and neo-conservative politics increasingly work hand in glove. The Mandate is a propaganda weapon.

The convergence of interests between the Christian Right and neo-conservatives was reflected in the election of Donald Trump and, indeed, that of Scott Morrison.

“The parallels between Donald Trump’s unexpected triumph and Scott Morrison’s “miracle” election win are remarkable. A week on, it’s increasingly apparent this was a Trump-like victory.”

This convergence is so strong that after Scott Morrison’s election victory:

“Some of Australia’s most extreme Christian-right parties have withdrawn from politics, claiming the election of Prime Minister Scott Morrison had rendered them redundant.”

Scott Morrison has made no secret of his religious affiliations. He attends Horizon Church (formerly Shirelive) – a Pentecostal Christian church affiliated with Australian Christian Churches and the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God denomination.

Furthermore, it is public knowledge that Brian Houston, founder and senior pastor at Hillsong Church, is Scott Morrison’s mentor. Research undertaken by Church Watch Central draws a direct line of sight between Brian Houston, dominionism and the Seven Mountains Mandate via information from Alphacrucis College.

“In researching the Australian Christian Churches, we came across a PDF put out by the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) education hub and Hillsong’s epicentre of indoctrination – ‘Alphacrucis College’.”

Both the PDF document and the article by Church Watch Central lists Hillsong’s churches. As is Horizon church (under its former name ShireLive).

The Alphacrucis document also states:

“Since 1948 the College has been training men and women for effective Christian ministry. This continues to be a strong emphasis of AC and is being enhanced by the college offering education and training for the broader marketplace. AC’s mission is to equip Christian leaders to influence all spheres of society, including business, education, politics, media, and arts and entertainment.”

Church Watch also points out that:

“They are claiming to be Pentecostal but then subtly push their dominion mandate and blatantly push New Apostolic Reformation heresy like the Seven Mountain Mandate.”

The history is quite convoluted, but in essence, what Church Watch are saying is that the Pentecostal Church itself has been infiltrated by dominionists via the Seven Mountains Mandate strategy. Religion is one of the Mountains and the objective is to capture the peak of that mountain.

The critical question that accrues from all of this is to what extent are the views, policies and actions of the Scott Morrison government are being influenced by the New Apostolic Reformation, Seven Mountains Mandate propaganda and dominionist ideology.

What is certain in all of this is that this government has a case to answer, the parliament needs to hold them to account and the people of Australia have a right to answers.

The Extreme World Makeover sermon of Johnny Enlow

And just like in the television ads of years gone by, there’s more. You, dear reader, be the judge.

This particular sermon is the ninth in a series and in many ways is the most telling. It runs for over an hour. I decided to transcribe the first 12 and a half minutes of the sermon as this is where Enlow sets the scene in order to frame the mission.

I also transcribed the last 10 minutes as it is a call to action that frames the mission and the role of believers and leaders. To motivate the army.

The intervening 48 minutes essentially provides religious interpretations to construct a world view for audiences. To take them on a journey that ultimately leads them to their mission and assignment.

My intent in taking this approach is to make it easier for you, the reader. The proponents of dominionism have been very good at clouding information in religion in order to garner support and infiltrate institutions.

Setting the scene

Before reading this transcript you may prefer to first view the part of the sermon that sets the scene. I have highlighted key points in the transcript.

Setting the scene video

Setting the scene transcript

Call to action

You should certainly view the part of the sermon that is very much a call to action. I have highlighted key points in the transcript.

Call to action video

Call to action transcript

* * * * *

The agenda described via the Seven Mountains Mandate is clear. Fortunately, those who advocate Seven Mountains Mandate document themselves well. They’ve hidden themselves in plain sight behind the veil of a variety of church brands and, I might add, clever marketing.

The Seven Mountains course (or as I call them, ‘sermons’) provide critical insight into the mindset, strategies and infiltration tactics being used to achieve dominion over us and our democracy.

The actions and behaviour of the Morrison Government reveal its commitment to subjecting Australia to an extreme makeover. To theocratise our institutions. All of this is happening in Australia without our consent and without any public dialogue. The threat to our society and democracy is clear.

In all of this it is important to note that, the same as in the United States, there is common ground between neo-conservatives and the Pentecostal movement and that this agenda, this extreme makeover, is global and Australia would be a prized trophy.

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

Women not safe from violence in mental health inpatient facilities

RMIT Media Release

Women who spend time in mental health inpatient facilities are not being protected from gender-based violence, according to new research.

The study, “Preventing gender-based violence in mental health inpatient units” shows women have experienced sexual assault, harassment and related threats from other inpatients, visitors and even staff in some facilities.

Conducted by researchers from RMIT University and Charles Sturt University, the study also found many services lacked appropriate policies and procedures to support women who reported such violence during their stay.

Lead researcher from RMIT, Dr Juliet Watson, said while some examples of women receiving supportive responses were uncovered, incidents of harassment were frequently disbelieved or not taken seriously.

“Women told us about staff who dismiss their experiences as misperceptions and tell them to ignore it,” Watson said.

“But if a woman is perceiving some behaviour as violent, she should have the opportunity to decide what action is taken. Staff should then respond in a way that ensures she feels safe.”

Many of the female clients staying in these facilities have previously survived violent trauma.

The study found the experience of being restrained by staff, which is common during treatment, may also be a trigger for traumatic memories of past abuse.

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) commissioned the study.

ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow said there was an urgent need for trauma-informed care.

“This is a profound breach of trust by our health system,” Dr Nancarrow said.

“Mental health service providers need training and support. It’s crucial they understand the impact their actions might have on women with a history of sexual, domestic or family violence.”

“If women are to have access to safe, dignified and effective mental healthcare, we need to build a gender lens into hospital policies and procedures.”

She said the study was part of ANROWS’s growing body of evidence about how an understanding of gendered violence can be embedded in health policy and services.

This research includes the WITH and SUSTAIN studies, and ‘Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence‘.

While mental health facilities have introduced processes to protect inpatients from violence, the models most commonly used across Australia do not employ a gender lens, and as a result leave women exposed to gendered violence, including domestic violence.

“We need mental health facilities to place the agency of women at the centre of their treatment,” Nancarrow said.

“This means consulting closely with each woman to build a plan of recovery that is sensitive to her history and respects her own judgement about what will keep her safe.”

“Feeling safe is a requirement for getting well.”

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

Comedy without art (part 11)

By Dr George Venturini  

Helots

Since 2013 Australia has been governed by a Coalition of ‘Liberals’ and ‘National’ parties. The Hon. Tony Abbott M.P. was Prime Minister from 18 September 2013 to 15 September 2015. He was succeeded by the Hon. Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, Prime Minister from 15 September 2015 to 24 August 2018. Since that day the Prime Minister has been the Hon. Scott Morrison.

They make up the ATM government.

Quite a lot has been written in this essay about the government of Mr. Abbott and more the reader will find in a serialised contribution in fifty parts to Australian Independent Media Network by the title, The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment, which began on 2 June 2016. (‘The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment,’ theaimn.com, 2 June 2016).

The ATM phase of Australian politics which began with Abbott will be remembered for the profoundness of his three-word slogan: “Climate change = crap”.

The successor, Malcolm Turnbull, was always in politics, or rather his own type of politics.

Having graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws, he went to the Brasenose College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, earning a Bachelor of Civil Law. For over two decades prior to entering politics, he worked as a journalist, lawyer, merchant banker, and venture capitalist. He made loadsamoney. On the side, he chaired the Australian Republican Movement from 1993 to 2000, and was one of the leaders of the unsuccessful ‘Yes’ campaign in the 1999 republic referendum. He was first elected to the Australian House of Representatives for the Division of Wentworth in New South Wales at the 2004 federal election, and was Minister for the Environment and Water from January 2007 until December 2007.

After coming second in the 2007 leadership election, Turnbull won the leadership of the Liberal Party in September 2008 and became Leader of the Opposition. However, his support of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme proposed by the Rudd Government in December 2009 led to a leadership challenge by Tony Abbott, who defeated Turnbull by a single vote. They became enemy for life. Turnbull has been accustomed to ‘have his way’, and sufficiently fortunate in that. Though initially planning to leave politics after the narrowest of defeats, Turnbull chose to stay and was later appointed Minister for Communications in the Abbott Government following the 2013 federal election.

Citing consistently poor opinion polling for the government, Turnbull resigned from the Cabinet on 14 September 2015 and challenged Abbott, reclaiming the leadership of the Liberal Party by ten votes. He was sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia the following day.

Once in power he abandoned any political principle which had once been his ticket to ride, concerned only about the appearance of leadership. As Mike Carlton would write: “He [became] the mayor of a Potemkin village. Behind the facade there is nothing. His impulses are Trump-lite: a reverence for the banks and the big end of town; a blind belief in neoliberal, trickle-down economics even as it is daily more discredited; a disdain for the disabled and disadvantaged, immigrants and refugees – anyone who does not fit the Darwinian conservative matrix. He has evidently abandoned any attempt to rein back the quasi-fascist ambitions of Benito [Dutton M.P., the former walloper who would become his ΝέμεσηNemesis] and his furious construction of a security superstate to monitor us all.

Turnbull’s reaction to Nine Entertainment’s takeover of Fairfax Media was instructive. “To be frank, I welcome the announcement,” he said. “I think bringing them together will strengthen both of them.” No sliver of doubt, then, that this further concentration of media ownership might not be for the public good. Trumpist again, all that mattered was the deal.” (‘Fairfax and Turnbull’s Potemkin village’, The Saturday Paper, 4 August 2018).

This was written less than three weeks from the final defeat in a coup de theatre.

There is a fairly diffused view that the styles of Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull may vary, but on many important issues the substance is similar. 

Neither is a businessperson in the traditional sense. Donald Trump is a real estate speculator and Malcolm Turnbull is an investment banker.

John Menadue early perceived the similarities of these two ‘great men of destiny’. Barely a week before Turnbull’s demise, this is what he wrote: “On climate change, they now have very similar views. Despite what we thought were Malcolm Turnbull’s views on climate change he has turned out to be very flexible. He is now joined at the hip with Donald Trump as a climate sceptic. Both of them are committed to underwriting and even subsidising coal-powered electricity generation. By failing to address climate change they are both imperilling our planet. It is as serious as that.

Both Turnbull and Trump are committed to the ‘trickle down’ approach of large corporate tax reductions that it is claimed will promote jobs and growth.”

And there is more:

“Both Trump and Turnbull also believe that tax cuts should favour wealthy individual taxpayers despite all the global signs that it is bad for the economy and adds to inequality. Turnbull’s dismantling of [Australia’s] progressive tax system will add to inequality. People who live in harbour side mansions or grandiose hotel complexes just don’t get it.

Donald Trump both preaches and practices protection for industry as shown in his tariff increases. Malcolm Turnbull preaches free trade but in practice, he is also protectionist. As a result of his government’s policies we now have a 300% rate of protection for our ship-building industry in South Australia, a $12b annual subsidy for Private Health Insurance and an effective ban on imports of secondhand cars.

Both Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump go out of their way to accommodate influential media companies. Donald Trump has very close relations with Fox News in the US. It is his media base. In Australia the Channel 9 takeover of Fairfax could not have occurred if the Turnbull government had not removed the restrictions on cross-media ownership laws last year. In defending these changes in the law in support of the Channel 9 takeover, Malcolm Turnbull told us ‘all the media companies strongly support these [new] laws’. This is no surprise. Turnbull used to work for Channel 9. Turnbull mimics Trump in wanting to oblige particular media  and especially the Murdoch media.

Donald Trump rails against ‘false media’. Malcolm Turnbull does it differently. He attempts to intimidate the ABC and cut its funding to bring it into line.

Donald Trump is direct and racist in attacking Muslims, refugees and Mexicans coming across the border. Malcolm Turnbull is more careful but his intent is the same. Asked about ‘African gangs’ in Melbourne, Malcolm Turnbull gave us the typical dog-whistling approach. He said ‘Well I’ve heard about [these gangs] from people in Melbourne… Well, I’ve heard it. I’ve heard people, colleagues from Melbourne say that there is real anxiety about crime in Melbourne. It is a real issue.’ Donald Trump would have put it more directly, but the result is the same. Both appeal to racism.

On foreign policy and defence issues, Malcolm Turnbull has quite deliberately linked himself and his government to Trump policies.” (J. Menadue, ‘Prime Minister Trumpbull,’ johnmenadue.com, 17 August 2018).

Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump have a lot in common. The language may be different but the substance is very similar.

As Greg Jericho acutely noted, “He may not be as vulgar as Trump but Turnbull uses the same playbook.” On more than one occasion Turnbull showed that he was willing to appeal to the lowest common denominator. In the end there is only one rule which counts: if business says something is what is needed, when then that is what is provided, and that is how it is justified. (‘He may not be as vulgar as Trump but Turnbull uses the same playbook,’ The Guardian, 29 July 2018).

Their first encounter confirms such a view.

Malcolm Turnbull met Donald Trump for the first time on 28 January 2017, over the telephone. A record of their conversation was to be kept confidential, presumably; and certainly Turnbull might have thought so, considering the way he spoke. But The Washington Post came in possession of the transcript and published it in its entirety. It does not make for good reading about a person with the masque of Turnbull.

After the customary profession of a vassal’s loyalty, Turnbull is heard saying: “I believe you and I have similar background”, after which Trump grabs the opportunity: “This is exactly right.”

Well, here was the man born with a sense of predestination to greatness, and a vaulting ambition to go with it, intelligent, selectively urbane and cultivated, and once Rhodes Scholar at Brasenose College, Oxford ‘mixing’ with a person of the character of Trump. Books have been written on the subject of Trump’s past history.

For the present purpose, the final judgement of the Australian National University Chancellor Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans A.C., Q.C. makes essential quoting, and with unconditional approval: “[Trump is] manifestly the most ill-informed, under-prepared, ethically-challenged and psychologically ill-equipped President in US history. Personally driven by instinct and impulse, unhampered by knowledge or judgment, he has led an administration acting so far on the basis of postures rather than policies.  While the commentariat is beginning to find some comforting early signs that the adults are regaining charge of foreign policy, anyone betting on this administration delivering consistent, coherent, constructive and decent outcomes over the next four years is making a very big gamble indeed.” (‘Speech: ANU Chancellor Professor Gareth Evans explains Australia’s key foreign policy themes,’ National Press Club, Canberra, 13 April 2017).

It is quite possible that Turnbull has a much similar view of the world as Donald Trump’s – a raw opportunity for money to gain power.

So, Turnbull proceeded to say this much of the detainees at Manus Island and Nauru to such unhinged orange creepoid: “… none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under supervision for over three years and we know exactly everything about them.” [Emphasis added]

Turnbull was trying to have Trump honour President Obama’s agreement to take some 1,250 of the detainees.

And to persuade Trump, and speaking at the same level, Turnbull later said: “ … I can say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.”

Later on during the conversation Turnbull confirmed: “These guys are … economic refugees.” [Emphasis added]

This happens not to be true; and the fact that it was said a few minutes before would not make it true now. A little over two years after this conversation took place, on 19 February 2019 the S.B.S. News service at 18:30 published the figures, obtained from the Australian Government – it seems. On Manus Island there were 584 detainees, of whom 456 are U.N.H.C.R. certified refugees; 121 are persons whose claim has been rejected; and 7 are ‘under protection’- whatever that means. And on Nauru there were 431 detainees, of whom 330 are U.N.H.C.R. certified refugees; 26 are persons whose claim has been rejected; and 75 whose claim is yet to be assessed. Probably most of the 456 + 330 certified refugees have ‘lived’ in those squalid places for up to five years.

Then came the pièce de résistance. Turnbull abandoned himself to this: “I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides.”

It sounds something like: “I am as good as you, mate.” (‘Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull’s phone call: The full transcript,’ abc.net.au, 10 January 2018).

Continued Saturday – Comedy without art (part 12)

Previous instalment – Comedy without art (part 10)

Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some seventy years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reached at George.venturini@bigpond.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

Time to Inspire the Rising Generation of Forgotten People: The Prospects for Near-Sydney Federal Electorates in 2022

By Denis Bright  

Only Nostradamus would dare to predict the final outcomes of Federal Election 2022.

The federal political checkerboard across Metro Sydney and near-Metropolitan electorates along the transport corridors between the Hunter Valley, the Illawarra Region south to the federal electorate of Gilmore and in Outer Sydney’s West to the Blue Mountains continues to be highly contestable.

Perhaps the wealth divide will be a more significant issue as the Australian economy slows and concern mounts about environmental issues relating to sustainable urban planning, housing affordability and climate change.

Outer near-Metropolitan Sydney electorates will be the first to be affected by the prevailing recession in private sector investment beyond the LNP’s cherished property-market which continues to thrive. New data is expected to be released on 28 February for the December Quarter.

As the 80th Anniversary of the appeal by Robert Menzies on behalf of the Forgotten People approaches in the next election year, there is a significant new wealth income across Sydney and near-Sydney electorates. Here the top 10 per cent of income-earners take 36.6 percent of overall income (Matt Wade in the SMH 16 June 2019).

The new generation of Forgotten People comes from a very different background to those anointed by Menzies in his radio broadcasts during the early phase of the war with Japan in 1942 (ABC News 22 May 2017). There was a strong element of intra-coalition rivalry embedded in Menzies’ radio address.

Relations between the two coalition parties were so toxic that Menzies had invited the Governor-General to install John Curtin as the leader of a bipartisan national government. Instead the UAP-Country Party Coalition struggled on until two independent members decided to support the formation of a minority Labor government without the need for an early wartime election.

Just after the Battle of the Coral Sea (4-8 May 1942), Menzies’ canvassed the future political prospects for a new generation of Quiet Australians whom he anointed as the Forgotten People in a radio broadcast in Sydney on 22 May 1942 (Tom Switzer, ABC News 2017):

On May 22, 1942, Menzies delivered the first of his weekly broadcasts on Macquarie Radio. The essays covered an extensive range of national political issues — from problem drinking, to compulsory unionism, to taxation policy.

In it, the former (and future) prime minister did what all successful political leaders have all too often done: appeal to the middle ground — in this case, the forgotten middle class, who neither ran big business nor were members of labour unions.

Menzies specifically named “salary earners, shopkeepers, skilled artisans, professional men and women, farmers” and the like.

“They are envied by those whose benefits are largely obtained by taxing them,” Menzies said. “They are not rich enough to have individual power,” he noted. In turn, he said, “they are taken for granted by each political party.”

Menzies admonished a bishop who had wanted to divide society into two classes, by observing:

If we are to talk of classes, then the time has come to say something of the forgotten class — the middle class — those people who are constantly in danger of being ground between the upper and the nether millstones of the false war; the middle class who, properly regarded represent the backbone of this country.

Understandably, this is a sensitive period for LNP historians, and the details are usually selectively omitted.

Image from Crisis at Home and Abroad: Governor General Lord Gowrie (centre) signing the Declaration of War on Japan.
Left to Right: Frank Forde, John Curtin, Lord Gowrie, Ben Chifley, Herbert Evatt.

Within days of the anointment of the Forgotten People broadcast, five Japanese submarines rendezvoused some 35 nautical miles off Sydney to fine tune plans to attack Sydney Harbour. Three midget submarines took on the daring mission between 31 May and 8 June in 1942. Details of the raids are provided by the Australian Navy. The Japanese sea plane used in aerial reconnaissance was mistaken for a US light aircraft on a training exercise.

John Howard also conveniently broadened the political target base of the Forgotten People to include the aspirational voters who had just elected LNP members to Macquarie, Lindsay, Parramatta, Hughes, Gilmore, Robertson and Paterson in the 1996 landslide. Electoral redistributions have since modified this checkerboard. Labor has only partially recovered its heartland base over twenty years later.

With the return of majority LNP government by the slenderest margins on 18 May 2019, Scott Morrison’s one seat majority after the appointment of the speaker is challenged by internal leadership tensions. Such tensions are not confined to the comparatively recent post-Howard era since 2007 although they have been intensified recently by the size of the National Party bloc in both houses of parliament which is now running at twenty following the withdrawal of the now Deputy Speaker Llew O’Brien (Wide Bay)  from the National Party caucus. Almost one fifth of LNP Coalition in the House of Representatives is still from the National Party.

Historical Examples of Coalition Rivalries

Back in 1940, gains by the Labor Opposition tilted the balance in the UAP-CP Coalition towards the Country Party. By 1943, the Country Party held almost 35 per cent of conservative seats as Labor made further gains in urban areas like Sydney. In Sydney, the urban conservatives within the UAP were reduced to just three federal seats of Wentworth, Warringah and Parramatta at the 1943 election with the Country Party surviving in four regional seats.

Aware that Prime Minister John Curtin ran a minority government until the 1943 landslide to Labor, Robert Menzies worked to revitalise urban conservatism while Arthur Fadden was still Leader of the Opposition from the now marginal regional Country Party Electorate of Darling Downs. Most of the Menzies’ breed of Forgotten People are from the urban middle-classes and are highly compatible with Scott Morrison’s references to the Quiet Australians of Sydney and beyond.

New Era of Labor Revival in Sydney

The swings and round-abouts from the 2019 election essentially maintained the status quo in near-Sydney electorates. Labor was still ahead by 22 seats to 13 in Metro Sydney and on the near-Sydney corridors despite the intensity of the LNP’s campaign to remain in office.

With the football season approaching, it could be noted that federal seat tally near Sydney and Melbourne is currently 43 to 23 in Labor’s favour on the AEC’s metropolitan and near-metropolitan spatial maps. Ironically, the safest LNP seats like Bennelong, North Sydney, Warringah and Wentworth have become volatile and receptive to moderate liberals and independents.

In the electorate of Wentworth, Dave Sharma MP was keenly aware of the closeness of the likely result with strong pockets of support for the Progressive Independent Kerryn Phelps who won the by-election on 20 October 2018.

As a seasoned ex-diplomat Dave Sharma tends to focus on security issues and international relations in his Hansard speeches and relishes in coverage of perceived non-controversial electorate issues like the pre-election sports grants to the Wentworth electorate (Megan Gorrey, SMH 26 April 2019):

Mr Sharma, who is gearing up for a rematch against Independent MP Kerryn Phelps in the federal seat of Wentworth, joined the Swans chief executive Tom Harley, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

The Coalition said at the event that it would set aside funding allocated in the federal budget to build a facility for elite football and netball teams at the Moore Park site.

Dr Phelps, who holds the once-safe Liberal seat on a narrow margin after last year’s byelection, said she had not been invited to the announcement in her electorate and Mr Sharma “had no role there”.

“It certainly created a lot of controversy in the area,” Dr Phelps said. “People stopped me in the street and said they were really angry about it.

Bridget McKenzie, Josh Frydenberg and Dave Sharma at the Sydney Cricket Ground (AAP)

Significant numbers of voters in less affluent parts of Sydney still wanted to give market ideology another chance either directly through the LNP or in-directly by casting protest votes for minor centre-right parties in the outer metropolitan and near-metropolitan electorates.

As the hopes generated by the Morrison Government for a speedy economic revival fade, it is doubtful if the old rhetorical mantras will retain their magic until 2022 (Prime Minister’s press conference 6 February 2020):

The Liberals and Nationals have always enjoyed a wonderful relationship. Indeed it’s been the Coalition of Liberals and Nationals that has formed the governments that have been able to deliver for Australians to provide that stability, to keep our economy strong, to keep the focus on national security, to keep our borders secure. But most importantly, the heart of the relationship between the Liberals and the Nationals is our deep passion and conviction for supporting the needs of rural and regional Australians and our belief in the future of rural and regional Australia. And at its heart, that’s what the Coalition is about.

Responding to the social divide in the vicinity of Sydney and responding to hopes for action on climate change is a potential challenge to the existing balances on the 2019 election map from the AEC.

Loss of the seat of Lindsay in 2019 was a major blow to the permanent revival of Labor’s fortunes in Sydney’s Outer West. Here the Green primary vote was insufficient to get Labor across the line after preferences.

The LNP is quite deeply entrenched in Sydney’s Inner Western Seats of Reid and Banks since 2013. The LNP’s hold on Hughes commenced in 1996. The LNP’s margin in Hughes easily survived the strong swing to Labor in 2007.

Even in Sydney’s Inner West, the size of the Green vote was hardly threatening to Labor’s hold on Sydney and Grayndler.

As public opinion swings more strongly in favour of action on climate change, progressive independents might win currently safe LNP electorates like Bennelong on Green preference votes as in the current electorate of Warringah.

The Emergent Problem of Urban Disadvantage

Such progressive appeals are less receptive in near-Metropolitan electorates.

Surprising inroads were made into the primary votes of the major political parties in electorates like Hunter and Paterson from the return of One Nation in 2019. Here the One Nation vote is essentially a protest vote that is embedded in insecurity about jobs, living standards and confusion about energy policies.

A One Nation vote of over 20 per cent in some booths in Hunter should be cause for concern because there is no strong balancing Green vote. In the Muswellbrook East Booth for example the One Nation vote of 28.31 per cent exceeded the National Vote of just 22.10 per cent with Labor losing almost 25 per cent of its primary vote on 2016 returns.

Except for the Central Coast electorate of Robertson, Labor’s final vote held up well after preferences at least in the near-Metropolitan electorates.

Acknowledging the rise of One Nation in disadvantaged Labor Heartlands, justifies a reappraisal of the value of lobbying for a more even-handed allocation of One Nation preferences. Federal Labor managed to secure support from both One Nation and the Jacqui Lambie Network on other controversial issues such as reductions in company tax rates for large corporations and changes to industrial relations legislation.

A more proactive stance on housing affordability, sustainable energy transitions and protection of liveable wages will certainly help Labor in its management of the protest vote from One Nation in disadvantaged near-metropolitan and regional seats without affecting strong preference flows to Labor from Greens candidates.

Treating the One Nation vote as essentially a protest vote against the excesses of market ideology should attract more One Nation preferences back to Labor at a higher rate than the 45 per cent flow in Patterson or the 29.73 per cent in Hunter.

Back in the 2016 election, the One Nation preference flows in Patterson ran at 63.73 per cent to Labor. There was no One Nation candidate in Hunter. In Dobell, 55.84 per cent of One Nation preferences went to Labor in 2016.

Through pragmatic negotiations and direct campaigning against tight preference allocations against Labor, it might be possible to revert to this situation which helped to deliver the Queensland seats of Herbert and Longman to Labor in 2016 and created an even distribution of One Nation preferences in the then highly marginal Central Queensland seat of Flynn. This does not involve any drift to One Nation policies but a re-emphasis of Labor’s traditional policies against social disadvantage, particularly in outer-metropolitan areas.

Under the circumstances of the LNP shrill appeal to self-interest in 2019, maintaining the status quo was surely a remarkable result.

Just off the AEC map, the seat of Gilmore was won back by Labor after being held by the LNP since 1996 under two LNP members. It is immediately to the south of the electorate of Whitlam on the AEC Map.

Retaining the electorate of Macquarie was a high priority for the LNP in 2019. Labor’s Susan Templeman held on in Macquarie despite a 2 per cent swing after preferences by the narrowest margin of 371 votes after winning the seat in 2016.

Further south and well outside the Newcastle-Wollongong Corridor, Labor comfortably retained the three ACT electorates and the marginal bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro despite a swing against Mike Kelly on both primary votes and preferences.

With the right consensus-building policy leadership, Labor can overcome the challenges faced in 2019 in less advantaged metropolitan and near-metropolitan electorates. The protest vote from One Nation delivered seats like Herbert and Longman to Labor through a more balanced allocation of preferences in 2016.

Even prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Dr Ken Henry raised his concerns about the limitations of market ideology and reliance on commitments to interest rate reductions and cuts to government spending as the crucial variables for our future welfare (Michael Janda, ABC News 6 December 2019):

Former Treasury boss Ken Henry says “something is desperately wrong” with Australia’s economy, which is beset by “structural deficiencies” that cannot be fixed by interest rate cuts or government largesse…

…The man who guided the Australian Government’s economic policies for about a decade after the turn of the century said current policymakers needed to question whether their present course of interest rate cuts and tax reductions could do anything to boost the economy given these more fundamental problems…

…Dr Henry argued the main reason productivity was declining was a lack of business investment in new technology and equipment that increased the efficiency of their workforce.

“Business investment today as a proportion of gross domestic product is almost as low as it was in the depths of the early-90s recession,” he said.

“The reason why Australia celebrates a current account surplus today is because business investment is so weak, we should not be celebrating this, this is sending us a signal that there is something desperately wrong in Australia.”

Just recently, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was still welcoming the upturn in the property market as a positive sign without any inhibitions about the problem of lack of affordability in housing and rents (Jennifer Hewett, AFR 20 January 2020):

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg may still be talking happily about “stabilisation”, but the rapid price increases of the past few months render that description ludicrous. Prices are only stable in the sense that a fast-speeding car can still stay on the road but risks a big fine or a crash. In this case, those in charge of the rules of the road are still trying to catch up to a race they hadn’t realised was restarting.

After a late and unexpected surge in the last few months of 2019, Melbourne and Sydney prices are already up nearly 1 per cent in January according to CoreLogic figures. Real estate agents are juggling a flood of potential buyers rather than the typical January drought.

Cut-backs in federal revenue sharing with the NSW Government are expected to increase in the post-federal election cycle as National Partnership Payments to NSW are wound-back. The 2019-20 NSW Budget Papers show the financial stresses which are being imposed on NSW by the Morrison Government:

There are no National Partnership Payments to NSW for Housing under the Morrison Government. This places pressure on the state government to embark upon more privatisation initiatives to off-set revenue shortfalls.

The days of the Quiet Australians are surely numbered in these times of environmental catastrophes, stagnation of private sector investment and social injustice as well as the shocks generated by recent intrigues within the LNP Coalition.

Wanting Australians to be so docile is really an attack on our national character as noted by the ETU in its opposition to an attempted ban on Union logos on building sites which has been ignored on unionised construction sites:

In a shock to many, the order explicitly included the Eureka flag – a longstanding symbol of freedom and democracy for millions of Australians. The ABCC wrote to builders instructing them that they had to remove:

“images generally attributed to, or associated with an organisation, such as the iconic symbol of the five white stars and white cross on the Eureka Stockade flag.”

Citizens’ journalist Denis Bright checking out the good, the bad and the ugly in corporate society and back-pedalling against unfair wages and working conditions under the false flags of free enterprise and trickle-down wealth agendas. 

 

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

Chris Kenny vs Paul Barry and the ABC

Kenny is very upset by Paul Barry’s presentation of Media Watch (Feb 3 this year) in which Barry discussed the views of several well-known right wing journalists and had videos of them stating their views. No doubt he would also be upset by the Four Corners program on the ABC the same night, by the way Jim Molan was exposed on Qand A, and by the film and panel discussions on Nine’s 60 Minutes last night (Feb 9).

Kenny is writing under the heading: “Media Watch host Paul Barry fans flames, dodges climate change facts.” (The Australian, pay-walled)

“Fans flames.” A poetic touch.

“The ABC’s Media Watch, hosted by Paul Barry, claims the high moral ground, declaring it exposes “conflicts of interest, journalistic deceit, misrepresentation, manipulation and plagiarism”. But the problem is it is full of journalistic deceit, misrepresentation and manipulation itself.

“Rather than measure reporting against facts, the program weighs journalism he does not like against the opinions that dominate the left-green Zeitgeist.

“…it misrepresented people and facts in order to promote global warming alarmism and denounce News Corp journalism.

“…my repeated position… based on public scientific and expert documents was only that activists were grossly exaggerating the role of climate change.”

And here we come to the crux of the matter: there is News Corp climate change and there is “activist” alarmist, exaggerated climate change. And not just one News Corp climate change; there are many of them, as Kenny explains:

“Barry said we “all sing from the same song sheet on climate change”, when clearly we have  differing views (perhaps from the groupthink of the ABC this diversity is hard to comprehend). What we have in common is a thirst for the facts, which we inject into the debate. But Barry’s critique avoids facts.”

So, in Barry’s presentation in which the people he was critiquing and who spoke for themselves on sound bites, there were no facts?

And of course, having no single coherent climate science is the major characteristic of sceptics/deniers.

Ian Plimer says CO2 has nothing to do with climate change; Bob Carter said CO2 is a greenhouse gas; Richard Lindzen says there has been no global warming in the past 20 years; Jennifer Marohasy says we need to keep assembling data more so we see the cycles which drive our weather events; Judith Curry says we will not see the really bad effects of climate change until the end of the C21st or into the C22nd; some people say volcanoes drive climate change; someone said climate is being driven by stream of photons coming from an exploded sun deep in the universe…

James, younger son of Rupert Murdoch, says that the Murdoch media is not doing enough on climate change.

In the WE Australian 8-9 Feb, Kenny said this:

“The climate election [May 2018] should have settled all this but, alas, the climate saga is alive again.

“[The climate saga] is “the ridiculous conscription of belief into science.”

That is, it is as Ian Plimer claims, just a primitive religion filling in a spiritual emptiness.

Kenny goes on:

“There is nothing about the climate debate in Australia that is normal. The level of misinformation is disturbing and deliberate. The amplification of the issue’s significance in this country by environmental, media and political activists is inversely proportional to the nation’s global role in the solution.

“Paul Barry also misrepresented Rowan Dean [Spectator Aust. Editor] ‘who says climate policy in Australia could only have a small (1,3 percent) effect on bushfire intensity’.”

Kenny tried to defend his position, of not being in denial, by quoting himself from the past:

(Dec 14, 2019) “The expert analysis shows that if there is a long term influence from either of these blights [bushfires and drought], it will be to make each of them slightly more common in  a land where they are common already. Whatever Australia does on carbon emissions can have no impact on any of this, at least for decades to come as global emissions continue to rise.

(Jan 18, 2020) “The reason these climate changes should be relatively marginal in the discussion is that they relate to making an existing catastrophe slightly more common.”

“Slightly.” “Slightly more.”

So what is all this chatter and palaver all about. It is really about the word “unprecedented.” Kenny refuses to acknowledge what so many people are saying, people who were there, that they had never seen anything like the fires we saw recently. Kenny is not reminding us about this in detail or what he said in defiance of this common exclamation, that there is nothing “unprecedented” about these latest fires.

Back in Jan 18, 2020, Kenny listed three fires which he claimed were “even worse” because more people tragically died in these fires than in the recent fires. That was the extent of his research and attention to verifiable information.

See what he says back then:

“Media Watch focused on how some of us challenged and exposed claims made as far back as  November that this season’s fires were unprecedented.

“We did this through diligent attention to verifiable detail and historical records.

“Barry dismisses these assessments, not based on facts, but based on opinions he prefers.

“Some of his preferred opinions were from authoritative voices but were still but opinions – what matters are facts.

“Clearly his [Barry’s] thesis, his whole show, is not about facts, fairness and reality, it is about distorting reality so he can share the vibe of the climate activists.”

So we are told here that there are the facts of the News Corp journalists and there are the mere opinions of climate alarmists and other people of opinion. There is the balanced science of the journalists, and there is the beat-up exaggerations of the climate activists. Fires over the past 6 months or so, over most states, are only “slightly” different from fires in the past. Only Murdoch Media people know the truth, the “real” truth, not just opinions.

Then of course we could go to other news sources and see the real facts about the recent fires: the number of people who tragically died, the number of houses and property destroyed or damaged, the extent of the burnings across most states, the destruction of livestock and wild animals, destruction of the environment, the insurance costs, the costs of lost income, the cost of time and energy taken up with fighting the fires, the on-going costs…

You will not find anything like it by looking into the past 200 years in Wikipedia or somewhere. These fires are unprecedented!

And what of the future?

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

Magic money

By 2353NM  

Naturally enough in the wake of the catastrophic bushfires that have affected most states since last October, there has been a national discussion on theories that, according to their proponents, would have reduced the risk of bushfires starting or would allow us to more effectively attack the raging bushfires if implemented.

Some of the theories have been simply crazy. The ‘greenies’ are claimed to have a policy that prohibits hazard reduction burns. No one has ever produced a copy of this policy, in all likelihood because it doesn’t exist. Even if the mythical policy did exist, the Greens don’t have enough representation at any level of government to make the policy into legislation without the assistance of at least one of the two major political parties — or to enforce it.

Sadly, another myth is Morrison’s claimed financial assistance to volunteers that have been called into action over the summer. While the ‘headline’ sounded good, the ‘headline’ is a fallacy.

While an incredibly small minority of the fires were caused through malicious activity a lot of them were caused by lightning and other natural causes. That’s where climate change comes in. The ferocity of the blazes and the speed that they travel, burning vegetation and man-made objects that have dried out due to a lack of customary rain is a direct result of climate change. Spring 2019 was the driest on record. The 6 hottest Australian days on record were all in December 2019.

While hazard reduction burns are a successful tool in the reduction of the severity of bushfires, the problem is that changing environmental factors significantly reduce the timeframes available for safely completing those burns.

Professor David Bowman, director of the Fire Centre Research Hub at the University of Tasmania, said it was becoming harder to carry out preventive burns.

Professor Bowman said there were risks to preventive burning and fire agencies were limited by things like weather.

“The weather windows are shrinking and if you burn in the wrong conditions you can also smoke out cities and create ill health,”

So it’s probably not a surprise that the planned hazard reduction burns in a number of Australian states fell short of the plan last year — they just ran out of resources and time. Regardless of how ‘nicely’ we talk to the climate you can probably bet that it won’t change anything, so the only other option is to determine a way to complete the burns on a shorter timeframe — which inevitably involves more resources, and money to pay for the resources. Experts are saying we need a five-fold increase in funding for hazard reduction burns. They’re probably right, experts usually are.

Money is the problem here. Governments of all persuasions have offered carrots of tax cuts to various groups of people for years with the hidden stick of a reduction in services that is hoped won’t be noticed. We have the absurdity of the federal government up until very recently vowing and declaring that a surplus budget is more important that just about anything else (maybe with the exception of family holidays to Hawaii) while refusing to spend money on all sorts of worthwhile projects.

While it’s easy to tell the ‘gummit’ to fix it, we all have to share the blame. State and local governments in particular get their revenue from taxes and charges, and until we have a federal government that understands Modern Monetary Theory, so does the federal government. History tells us we vote for a potential government that will give us all a tax cut (that probably won’t give us the money to buy an extra coffee or chocolate bar each week — but that’s irrelevant apparently) rather than the potential government that is planning to improve services to the public. We also complain about the extra 10 cents per trip on public transport, or the extra $50 on our rates or registration bills, all of which is used to maintain or improve the government services we all use on a daily basis. We are the problem — political parties wouldn’t offer tax cuts rather than services if the electors didn’t lap it up.

Funding hazard reduction burning is primarily a state responsibility. But the $16 million reduction in funding for ABC radio news doesn’t reflect the importance of broadcasting local and relevant information across the regions affected by bushfires this summer despite damage to their own equipment. This isn’t a one off. The ABC has done this in most, if not all, natural disasters that have occurred in Australia in the past 50 years or more. Funding for the ABC is a federal government issue.

We also have a universal medical insurance system called Medicare that didn’t receive an increase in the benefits payable for years — causing some who can’t afford the ‘gap’ payment to postpone or even cancel plans to receive health care in an appropriate timeframe. It is also a concern when this description of the public-school system and facilities in parts of the USA is demonstrably better than public and private schools can do here. Schools are a combined state and federal funding responsibility.

The current federal government is solely responsible for the Centrelink ‘robo-debt’ debacle, through outsourcing and casualisation within the federal public service. They are also responsible for not employing enough people to fix the issue. The loss of corporate memory within the federal public service will come back to haunt us — just as ‘under the table’ cuts to the provision for firefighting equipment and hazard reduction burns has done in the past few months.

It may be the 21st Century, but getting something for nothing is still an illusion if you think about it. So next time a politician promises that ‘everything is awesome’ and we can afford tax cuts for all, maybe we should be collectively asking what funding are you removing from services we all rely on to ‘magic’ the money for the tax cut out of seemingly thin air?

What do you think?

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)

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

Manual for screwing the Earth – Part two: Strategies (iii)

By Elizabeth Dangerfield  

Continued from Manual for screwing the Earth – Part two: Strategies (ii)

Strategy 3 – Suppress any possible opposition

You can really get some good tips on suppressing opposition to inaction on climate change from Australia’s last three prime ministers; Mr Abbott, Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison. They have got it down to a fine art. First get rid of independent commissions, councils and advisory bodies, watchdogs and the like that might tell you things that you do not want to hear. Mr Abbott abolished the Climate Commission. He also scrapped the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which was set up to support new and emerging renewable technologies and scrapped the COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water as well as the National Water Commission.

Secondly, downgrade government commitments to doing something about climate change and in fact anything that protects the environment. Mr Abbott abolished key ministerial positions of climate change and science. He started dismantling Australia’s world leading marine protection system and downgraded national environment laws. Mr Abbott also overturned the “critically endangered” listing of the Murray Darling Basin.  He requested the delisting of World Heritage status for Tasmanian forests, defunded all international environmental programs and slashed the Biodiversity Fund. Mr Turnbull removed emissions reduction target from National Energy Guarantee and dumped the Clean Energy Target. The NSW Government is drafting legislation to prevent planning authorities from rejecting or imposing conditions on projects based on their impacts on climate change.

Next, install climate deniers/sceptics in positions that are in charge of the government’s work on the environment. This immediately stops the flow of any pro-action on climate change advice. Mr Abbott appointed a climate change skeptic to head a review of our renewable energy target. He also appointed a climate skeptic to the position of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment. Mr Turnbull hired Sid Marris, former head of climate and environment at the Minerals Council of Australia, to be his climate and energy adviser. Mr Morrison appointed Angus Taylor, long-time campaigner against the Renewable Energy Target and a fierce critic of wind energy, as Minister for Energy. Mr Morrison appointed Melissa Price, a former general counsel for Crosslands Resources, which owns the Jack Hills iron ore project in Western Australia, as Minister for the Environment. Mr Morrison appointed Matt Canavan, who doubts the importance of climate change mitigation and is a strong advocate of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, as Minister for Resources.

Then reduce funding and staffing to departments and agencies and scientific bodies and restrict their capacity to work on environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity. Mr Abbott cut spending on science and innovation to the lowest levels since the data was first published. He cut hundreds of jobs at the CSIRO then ripped a further $111.4 million over four years out of the operating budget of the CSIRO. He cut 480 jobs from the Environment Department which help protect places such as Kakadu, Antarctica and the Great Barrier Reef. In 2017 the Marine Park Authority had to scale back surveys in a year of massive coral bleaching, due to lack of government funds.

Insist that government departments and other bodies give you the advice on climate change and similar issues that fits in with your anti-Earth policies. Mr Abbott directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stop investing in wind power. He banned the Clean Energy Finance Corporation from investing in roof top solar panels and other small-scale solar energy. Mr Turnbull ignored advice that renewable energy was not to blame for South Australian blackouts. The Coalition Government told Great Barrier Reef scientists to focus on projects which would make the government look good and encourage more corporate donations. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority, which reports to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, was “accused of maladministration, deliberately ignoring the best science on the river, and leaning on the CSIRO to alter reports on the adequacy of the basin plan and ignoring the impact of climate change in its future planning.”

Allocate taxpayer funds in a way that shores up society for your anti-Earth policies. Mr Turnbull tried to loan Adani $1 billion to build a railway link to the Carmichael mine and promised to “fix” native title problems. Mr Morrison’s Energy Minister said there was too much wind and solar in the electricity grid while indicating more taxpayer money for existing coal and gas. 2019, Ms Price, Minister for the Environment, asked for a review of how climate policy could be used to upgrade existing coal stations after being lobbied by an energy company.

Exploit every possible loophole you can to try to prevent groups like Get-UP taking effective action. Also ensure that not-for profit groups and charities are not able to express their opinion of the best policies for the people they look after without risking their funding.

You can use the excuse of addressing security concerns and terrorism to tighten up on surveillance and to restrict freedom of information. One step is to ignore the Freedom of Information Act or make the process so long winded as to be unhelpful or provide little useful information. This helps to keep your acts in the dark if you are in government.

Weaken democratic rights so the ability to protest about lack of action on climate change is severely curtailed. Mr Abbott removed the community’s right to challenge decisions where the government has ignored expert advice on threatened species impacts. He tried to introduce laws to stop citizens exercising their legal rights to stop big developments that damage the environment. Mr Turnbull sought changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to stop conservation groups challenging environmental ministerial decisions. Governments are bringing in new laws to make peaceful protesting more likely to get those participating into serious trouble with the law.

Counteracting terrorism and protecting national security can be used as a blanket to silence dissent. Some ways of doing this are to: restrict free speech, harass and prosecute journalists, prosecute whistle-blowers, prevent reporting of government wrong-doing, invade people’s privacy, reduce civil liberties, lock up people in gaol without any public scrutiny, dish out justice as the government wishes, crack down on peaceful protests about climate change and concoct legislation to stop people doing anything effective to reduce the impact of climate change on the planet.

In doing this, it helps if you can paint dissenters and the like as enemies of the state. For example, boat people can be painted as terrorists, criminals and illegals and protesters demanding action on climate change as eco-terrorists and useless fringe dwellers. These labels tend to stick and then you can treat such people so harshly that others will be afraid to take up their cause. By labelling organisations like GetUp who suggest people boycott businesses that support the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, as anarchists and anti-freedom, you can be in a position to legislate against them.

If you really want to screw the Earth and you are not yet a dictator of a country you need to maintain the outward appearance of being a nice guy whilst systematically doing all you can to maintain the status quo and look after your own interests. It helps if you know nothing about climate science and have experience in putting a spin on things while doing exactly as you like.

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

Manual for screwing the Earth – Part two: Strategies (ii)

By Elizabeth Dangerfield  

Continued from Manual for screwing the Earth – Part two: Strategies (i)

Strategy Two – Create a Parallel Universe

Remember the movie Back to the Future 2 where Biff goes back to the past, buys a racing almanac, returns to the future, and uses it to bet on horse races to become one of the richest men on the planet? He creates a parallel universe, one that is dystopian for all but sociopathic Biff. Creating an alternative universe where black is white and white is black is a really good tactic for screwing the Earth. The only real prerequisite for this alternative construction of the truth is that you need to be able to lie ruthlessly and convincingly. Fortunately, people rarely challenge what they want to hear and they really like strong leaders in uncertain times.

A few white lies didn’t hurt anyone, right? People seem to have no qualms about posting lies on social media. President Trump uses lies very effectively to convince people that the truth is fake news. Three years after taking the oath of office, President Trump has made more than 16,200 false or misleading claims. This is a great strategy if you want to screw the Earth, because the only way to save the Earth is to face up to the reality that is the truth. So, you want to practice being audacious and blatant. After all, it has been said by an expert liar, that if you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.

The good thing about lies is that they are endlessly modifiable. So, start with the most brazen – the Earth is not warming up at all! We are overdue for another Ice Age so don’t worry. If that doesn’t go down too well, try – the Earth has gone through periods of global warming before – it’s all part of the great cycle of life. A geologist or two are quite happy to bang on about this, as is Donald Trump who has made it very clear; “It’ll get cooler. It’ll get warmer. It is called weather.” That should fit in well with people’s idea of the seasons.

Image from churchandstate.org.uk

With all those maximum temperature records being broken people might just become a bit suspicious so you could try – the Earth is warming up, but this has nothing to do with humans. This is a very important lie because if global warming is not caused by humans then we do not have to worry about continuing to use fossil fuels and we can continue to exploit every possible resource on the planet.

Some people might begin to make a bit of a fuss about the continued use of fossil fuels so you could say – maybe greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere are a problem but we can’t stop using fossil fuels because it would absolutely wreck our economy, put thousands and thousands of good people out of work overnight and renewables are unreliable – they cause blackouts.

Of course, those bad bushfires were a bit of a bummer but you can say – We have had bad bushfires, droughts and dryness and storms before, not to mention very high temperatures – what is happening now is nothing new. Okay, we may be experiencing climate change just a tad – there is no dispute!!! But it is easy to deal with, we will just burn all the undergrowth in all our forests, create deserts around towns, arrest all the arsonists and ban greenies. We are doing enough to reduce emissions and now we just have to adapt and show resilience. Not only that, climate change should be embraced it is good for us, so be happy.

Of course you have to be really superb at ignoring the facts and immensely talented at telling falsehoods to get away with so many big lies because there are so many experts, climate scientists, reputable bodies, well regarded organisations and even the saint of all biologists, David Attenborough, coming out and insisting that climate change is happening, humans are causing it, it is already causing a lot of damage and it is going to be disastrous for the world.

So, this is where you need to bring out your big guns – Scientists, scientific organisations, the United Nations, NASA and similar bodies are all liars and deceivers. They are part of the big climate cult conspiracy – all of them. Nothing they say about climate change can be believed. Not only that they are all in it for the money. David Attenborough is so old he has gone daft – been living with the gorillas for too long. But don’t worry we are onto them.

It is easy to discredit scientists, just troll through all their work until you find a mistake. Then you say – told you so, you can’t trust them. They only have to be wrong 0.1% of the time to be discredited but you can be wrong 99.9% of the time and people will still believe you. Another trick that works a treat is to misquote the work of a scientist or quote it out of context. You can use that to say black is white and white is black before the scientist knows what has hit them.

You can also say you are doing one thing when in actual fact you are doing the exact opposite. Take a leaf out of Mr Morrison book he says his government is doing really well at reducing emissions and will meet the Paris Agreement targets in a canter which is the opposite of what we are actually doing.

Then of course you just have to get one scientist to come out as a climate denier and you are home and hosed. They don’t have to be a climate scientist they just have to wear a white coat. It is staggering what people will accept. One climate denying scientist’s opinions is worth more than the combined opinion of 11,000 experts in climate change.

You can grab onto one fact and use it to discredit a whole institution. For example, you can find temperature records from colonial Australia in 1896 which show some very high maximum temperatures. Therefore, you can say that the climate in Australia has been as hot as it is now for over a century and the Bureau has deliberately falsified the facts by not counting recordings made before 1910. It matters not to you that the temperatures were recorded in the sun, that thermometers were hung in different places depending of the whims of the recorders, that standard recording equipment was not uniform and properly used until after the turn of the century. Who cares about scientific method and the complexity of an issue if you can just seize on one figure to convince Australians that meteorologists are liars!

It is like living in medieval Italy where the thought that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not vice a versa was so inconvenient and so disturbing to the powers-that-be that they would have tortured and no doubt burnt at the stake the greatest scientist of the age if he had not recanted his outrageous and unwanted views. Maybe we need the Spanish Inquisition. Don’t worry the following strategy will show that we are going down that path.

Continued tomorrow with Manual for screwing the Earth – Part two: Strategies (iii)

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

Manual for screwing the Earth – Part two: Strategies (i)

By Elizabeth Dangerfield  

Continued from Manual for screwing the Earth – Part one: Personal Prerequisites

Manual for screwing the Earth – Part two: Strategies

Or why we are in the mess we are

In the movie The Hunt For Red October, the American National Security Advisor says “Listen, I’m a politician which means I am a cheat and a liar and when I am not kissing babies I am stealing their lollipops.” The aim of Part Two of The Manual For Screwing the Earth is to enable you to be a cheat, liar and stealer of lollipops with impunity.

There are three key strategies to do this: Whip up support for your anti-Earth policies; create a parallel universe; and suppress any opposition. Please note due to some sort of technical difficulty the links in the text don’t seem to support screwing the Earth. 

Strategy One – Whip up support for your anti-Earth policies

The first thing you need to do is to nurture people’s inner demons – their fears and prejudices. Using these demons, you can turn people against any group you like.

You might take a leaf out of Prime Minister John Howard’s tool kit for the 2001 election.  Many people thought “I told you so” when he suggested that despicable Muslim boat people threw their kids into the ocean to ensure they could get into Australia. What heartless beasts! Such demonising worked a treat. It allowed the Australian Government to lock refugees on Manus Island and throw away the key – after all, they were criminals and terrorists and unwanted. It also got the Howard Government re-elected.

Trump kicked off his campaign for President by claiming Mexicans seeking entry into the United States were mainly rapists, drug dealers and criminals. He said; “These aren’t people. These are animals.” This strategy won him a lot of self-righteous supporters who could vent their racist attitudes to people of Mexican heritage living in the United States. Some thought ‘getting rid of the dregs of society’ was a great idea.

So, bear in mind that it is always good to have a scapegoat. Hitler had quite a few – Jews, gypsies, communists, homosexuals, disabled people – basically anyone who was not ‘normal’ and therefore made others feel bit afraid or resentful. Then it is just a short step to generating hate and dissatisfaction. Voila! You have a faithful following. None of what Howard, Trump and Hitler said was true but the moral is that if you tell a really big lie and it fits with people’s prejudice, they will believe it and support you even more. This manual should be called The Joys of Propaganda.

If you can convince your followers that they are the victims, that they are the underprivileged, that they are losing out, that they are not getting their full due of respect or rewards, all the better. Just remind them of all those lazy people on social security benefits squandering their taxes, all those demented tree huggers stopping them cutting down every tree on their land, greenies stopping all hazard reduction in national parks. It doesn’t have to be true as long as people feel the world is against them, but you are on their side. You will make them feel great again!

Now, if you want to screw the Earth you just need to demonise anyone interested in preserving the environment and taking action on climate change. Call anyone who protests about lack of action on climate change socialists, misfits, and eco-terrorists or worse – inner city latte drinkers. Blame the Greens for the bushfires.

Now you can’t do all this by yourself – you need help. You need friends in high places and what better place to find them but in the fossil fuel industry. After all you want the same thing, for the status quo to remain the same and none of your interests to be threatened by change. And they are ready and able. In 2017-18, fossil fuel companies openly donated $1,277,933 to the ALP, Liberal and National parties. The actual contributions were likely to have been 5 to 10 times this amount. This is very handy for running election campaigns and well worth a quick trip to a coal mine or bringing a lump of coal into the Parliament.

Of course, you won’t get far without having the print, broadcast and social media on side. So, it is a good idea to sidle up to a powerful media baron and see if you can be partners in screwing the Earth. Never knock back a drink with the likely successor to the Murdoch empire. They can get their favourite climate deniers to spout forth as if they are the greatest experts on climate change in the world. Of course, their ‘facts’ can be challenged but by the time the retractions (if any) appear on the inside back page of the newspaper readers have moved on. Meanwhile, readers will take what the climate deniers say as gospel because it fits so closely with their prejudices which you and the media have so carefully nurtured.

Image from YouTube

Misinformation is the key here. And there are no greater masters at spreading misinformation than talk back radio hosts and newspaper columnists. Australian Andrew Bolt is sublime at it. You can learn a lot from him. First of all, it pays not to be an expert in a subject and to have no qualifications in the area, that way you don’t intimidate your listeners or readers, you never have to come to grips with the complexity of issues, never have to think deeply about the topic and never have do any painstaking and tedious research. You are free to assert whatever comes into your head, cherry pick the science that fits in with your ideology and prejudice and inflame public sentiment against those who want action on climate change.

Social media can really help to spread disinformation. For example, YouTube is pointing millions of people towards climate misinformation videos and as a result it is making lots of money. Every time an ad is shown on a YouTube video, the advertiser pays a fee of which 55% goes to the video creator and the other 45% to YouTube. YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is giving anti-climate change videos free promotion and showing misinformation to millions who wouldn’t have been exposed to it otherwise.

And if that is not enough, you can get the trolls on your side. They are a particularly nasty group of self-righteous vigilantes that enjoy flooding people’s social media pages with unsubstantial ‘facts’, personal opinion and invective. They are God’s gift to the sociopath. Everything they say can be refuted but all this takes a lot of time and effort so most of the knowledgeable people targeted just give up. But unknowledgeable people are very susceptible to this line of propaganda at times of heightened emotion.

We are in the age of the influencer and it is just great that people would rather believe the opinion of anyone other than those who actually know what they are talking about.  Influencers pop up overnight but experts like scientists have to spend years learning, practicing and thinking about their subject. Sucks to be them!  Which brings me to the next strategy.

Continued tomorrow with Manual for screwing the Earth – Part two: Strategies (ii)

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

Scroll Up