Scott Morrison is completely out of touch

Many of us were disenchanted with Malcolm Turnbull, but Scott Morrison is completely…

PM steps up religious crusade

By Brian MorrisAustralia has already been described as a ‘soft theocracy’.  The question…

Adani To Go Announces Its Intention To Continue…

Every now and then The Australian Financial Review has an article that…

From Aristophanes to Knight Or "Is something else…

By George TheodoridisIt is a case -as it bloody nearly always is- of…

Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under

There is something peculiar doing the rounds in Australian food circles.  The…

What do think tanks think?

By Henry JohnstonAuguste Rodin’sThe Thinker is universally regarded as a symbol of…

Complicit in corruption reprint

Breaking news....well kind of.Company linked to alleged foreign bribery conspiracy in Nauru…

Marketing Pixiedust

Regardless of the prognostications of politics in Australia, the ‘message’ delivered by…

«
»
Facebook

John has a strong interest in politics, especially the workings of a progressive democracy, together with social justice and the common good. He holds a Diploma in Fine Arts and enjoys portraiture, composing music, and writing poetry and short stories. He is also a keen amateur actor. Before retirement John ran his own advertising marketing business.

Never allow racism to disguise itself in the cloak of nationalism

Thursday 16 August 2018

I don’t think there is a greater societal problem in the world today than that of racism.

When a person declares inwardly using self-deceit or ignorance that he or she is superior because, certain factors, such as skin colour make it so, then they are racist.

When a person declares outwardly using self-deceit, ignorance or just blind hatred that he or she is superior just because of the colour of their skin, ethnicity or the faith they follow then they are racist.

Their racism has probably been handed down to them by the sins of the fathers. They are not born into it.

Such racist thoughts were expressed in the maiden speech of Queensland Senator Fraser Anning who called for a “Final Solution” to immigration.

His speech has been widely criticized for its obvious Nazi overtones and blatant racism. The “Final solution” was the phrase used by Hitler for what he called the Jewish problem. It called for the extermination of an entire race of people to satisfy a crazed mind.

To say that Anning’s words were insensitive would be an oversimplification.

Anti-Semitism or the practice of it can be traced back to medieval Europe. Jews were banned from many countries because they refused to practice the faith of their conquerors.

They were also hated because they loaned money and charged interest, which was forbidden in the Christian faith.

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Jews were expelled from France, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

Josh Frydenberg was one of many MPs who were upset by Anning’s speech saying that at least 1.5 million children were killed in the Holocaust.

“Fraser Anning is a father,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“Let alone the 10 million people that were killed by the Nazis, of which six million were Jews.”

Mr Frydenberg said his comments were completely unacceptable and extremely hurtful.

He has no excuse and needs to quickly apologize.

But Anning’s speech wasn’t just about anti-Semitism. It was about trying to save a world that has long passed us by. About trying to save a faith that the facts show will die out in the next 20 to 30 years. About restoring an image of the average Australian of the 50s. About white authority and superiority. About Nationalism and not internationalism.

Men of Anning’s and Bob Katter’s background and vintage, I’m sure, walk through each day singing “Click go the Shears” while the rest of us concede the contribution that immigration has made to the culture of our country and that culture and values are but a work in progress that never gets completed.

And for all the imperfections that must by nature come with it, we just work our way through them.

I mention Bob Katter because during my lunch break I tuned into News 24 to see Bob give Fraser a grouse round of support.

He is the quintessential Australian Ocker who should be cracking his whip in the outback where the crack of his tongue can do no harm.

His press conference was full of factual errors and exaggerated nonsensical talk that, when the camera pulled back, revealed that he may as well have been talking to himself. Which was probably a good thing. Three very young junior journalists constituted the press conference.

We are confronted with yet more odious loathing. This time it is directed at those from Africa. It doesn’t matter what their country of origin if they are Muslim they will suffer the full thrust of minorities xenophobia. Just as 99 per cent of Muslims want peace so do 99 per cent of Australians.

In my piece We cannot let racism win I wrote:

“We have a long history of finding fault with things we don’t understand. At various times we have blamed communists, Jews, women, the devil, indigenous people and witches, even God, for all manner of things.

I have been privy to the ignorance that history has recorded on these matters and I am angry with the likes of Pauline Hanson, Peter Dutton and our Prime Minister who would seek to deny Australia of others who desire to, not only seek their personal freedom, but also the opportunity to give of themselves to the advancement of this great nation.

When I sit on the platform at Flinders Street Station and watch the passing parade of ethnicity I can but only admire a country I could never envisage from the same seat in the 1950s.”

My thought for the day.

Never allow racism to disguise itself in the cloak of nationalism”

PS. Senator Hinch probably best summed up the speech when he said he sat through the speech by Senator Anning. Said he believes in free speech. But it was the most racist, hateful, spiteful diatribe he has heard in 50 years in journalism. “excruciating” and “Pauline Hanson on steroids”.

Yes, Prime Minister. Fishy, well not at all, you see …

Sunday 12 August 2018

Aid Memoir: Meeting between the Prime Minister of Australia and the Minister for Energy and the Environment the Rt. Honorable Josh Frydenberg representing the Commonwealth, and Dr. John Schubert representing The Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

April 9 2018

Schubert: “Good afternoon, Prime Minister, Minister Freydenberg. Please take a seat. May I enquire as to the reason for your visit?”

Turnbull: “I want to give your company $440 million. No, it’s closer to half a billion …

Schubert: “Good lord, that’s a lot of money. And might I enquire as to why you have selected us?”

Turnbull: “Do you mind if I close the door. You understand that this is all highly confidential.”

Schubert: “What is?”

Turnbull: “Well you see, in the May budget we managed to cut $500 million from Early Childhood development. Nobody noticed. Nice piece of work by the Treasurer wouldn’t you say, Josh?”

Frydenberg: “Yes, Prime Minister. It went as planned. ‘Save’ might be a better word Prime Minister.”

Turnbull: “Pardon.”

Frydenberg: “A better word than ‘cut,’ Prime Minister.”

Turnbull: “Of course.”

Frydenberg: “Yes, Prime Minister”

Turnbull: “Yes of course, Josh. Well we managed to save some money and we think you are well placed to put it to better use. The reef for example. And some of your directors are friends of ours. A lot of them actually. Lucy even had two of your directors over for lunch. Anyway the money will eventually make its way to the right places.”

Schubert: “The reef, you say. What it needs most is urgent action against climate change.”

Turnbull: “Oh goodness no, we were not thinking along those lines at all.”

Schubert: “Oh I see. I’m beginning to get your drift. Yes we don’t do climate stuff. It upsets some of our donors. Tell me how did you find us?”

Turnbull: “Some of my friends at Goldman Sachs recommended your foundation. Have you had a chance to peruse the agreement?”

Schubert: “Well to be honest it did pass my desk but I thought someone was trying to pull my leg. For example it said we could spend $40 million on administration no questions asked. It sounded well; it looked a little fraudulent if you ask me. If it’s a grant, it would seem to lack process, due diligence is “entirely absent”. There isn’t much transparency.”

Turnbull: “Doctor, if you’re not interested we can … ”

Schubert: “Oh please don’t take me the wrong way, Prime Minister. The agreement also indicated that the CSIRO would have to approach us for funds.”

Turnbull: “Is that correct, Josh?”

Frydenberg: “Yes, Prime Minister.”

Schubert: “A bit like winning tattslotto, isn’t it? Won’t someone find out that $500 million has gone missing from the early childhood development budget. That fellow Shorten is rather smart.”

Turnbull: “Probably not, but if they do the storm should pass in a few days. Any further questions? Anyway it has passed in the budget.”

Schubert: “Well there is the question of transparency. I read that Law professor Tim Stephens has jumped in, saying that cutting greenhouse gas emissions was a key to helping the reef. You know we don’t get involved in that area. Actually we don’t believe in that. Well most of our members don’t.”

Turnbull: “Yes, you said that before.

I thought you would have been better briefed than this.”

Frydenberg: “Yes, Prime Minister.”

Turnbull: “I know you have been busy with energy Josh but how much does John know.”

Frydenberg: “The more he knows the less the better, Prime Minister.”

Turnbull: “Yes I realise that, Josh but … “

Frydenberg: “Yes, Prime Minister, it’s just that the climate, if you will pardon the pun, has gotten a little out of control and I have been trying to fix it so I asked Christopher to do the briefing. He rang this morning to say that what I thought he said was only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I thought he meant is not what he meant at all. That when he says something and I take it to mean one thing he has the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard at all. Man’s a bloody fool.”

Turnbull: “Yes of course I understand, least I think I do. Josh, you stay behind and brief Mr. Schubert thoroughly. It’s a good chance to pick up a little extra on the allowances. Mr. Schubert has got to understand the end objective here.

And tell Pyne not to worry so much about what people think of him. Jesus, if only he knew how little they did.”

Frydenberg: “I think he needs a manager boss, if you want my opinion he has been handling himself to long. Too busy thinking about what’s in it for him.”

Turnbull: “Umm we have a few like that. Delighted to have you on board, John.”

Schubert: “Thank you, Prime Minister. Well gentlemen if you don’t mind its Friday and I have a luncheon appointment with the CEO.”

Turnbull: “Why don’t you take the staff and break the news? I’m sure the 8 of you will be in for promotions all round.”

Schubert: “Just amazing to think that you would hand responsibility for the reef’s future to one tiny private charity. I’m sure that with former executives from BHP, Origin Energy and GE Mining on the board that we are the right folks for the job.”

Turnbull: “Yes, so are we. That right, Josh?”

Frydenberg: “Yes, Prime Minister.”

Postscript

Frydenberg: “What do you think, Malcolm?”

Turnbull: “Most of it will be up to you, Josh. Just keep everyone as confused as you possibly can. We don’t want anyone to know what the end game is. Especially the public servants.”

Frydenberg: “Yes, Prime Minister. Remember Orwell wrote an excellent book for dyslexics called 1948.”

My thought for the day

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

This goes beyond Bolt: It’s about racism and the government’s involvement.

August 9 2018

On the same day that Indian-born migrant Akshay Venkatesh was receiving the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics, the Australian born son of Dutch immigrants, mediocre columnist Andrew Bolt was publishing an article full of racist gobbledygook to titillate those on the extreme-right of Australian society.

The piece titled; “The foreign invasion” claimed that a “tidal wave” of migrants was “changing our culture.” In it he pointed out the proportion of Chinese, Cambodian, Indian and Jewish people living in various suburbs.

He has, as a consequence of his rather thoughtless, some say racist observations, been referred to the National Press Council.

Although usually an insipid few with fewer teeth, I expect this time the Council will be a little harsher.

Kaye Lee in her piece for The AIMN last week title “Andrew Bolt is a threat to our social cohesion” quotes from Bolt’s article:

“Immigration is becoming colonisation, turning this country from a home into a hotel. There is no ‘us’ any more, as a tidal wave of immigrants sweeps away what’s left of our national identity. Another 240,000 foreigners joined us last year alone, not just crowding our cities but changing our culture.”

She responds thus:

“Let me begin by saying Bolt would not be included in any group I would call “us”. We most certainly do not share the same values. And whilst we might both be speaking in English, we do not speak the same language.

Bolt singles out groups such as Chinese, Cambodian, Indian and Jewish and quotes what percentage of the community where they live that they represent

He laments, “Dandenong now has an official Little Indian Cultural Precinct, with 33 Indian businesses.”

One would have thought he would commend their industry in starting up businesses that provide employment and pay taxes but no, Andrew thinks this is a bad thing.

Bolt’s own history makes his words seem very hypocritical. His parents migrated to Australia the year before his birth. Even though he was born here, in a 2011 interview, Bolt reveals how hard he found it to settle in.”

It is not my intention to cover all of the very critical aspects of Bolt’s piece as Kaye Lee has done, but rather seek the “why” of what pretext he uses to justify the filth masquerading as journalism that he writes.

After all, Kaye has done a fine job on the angle she took particularly with this put down:

“For the son of Dutch migrants to lecture us about the dangers of “colonisation” of Australia by newcomers takes unbelievable gall, ignorance of history, and a complete lack of self-awareness”

There is nothing I would disagree with in her piece. Yes, he does find our opera not of his standard and he did work for Bob Hawke on two campaigns.

In 2016 the conservatives failed in an attempt to alter the legislation pertaining to free speech. I wrote:

I find it quite disconcerting that the Prime Minister of our country finds it necessary to ring a certain Murdoch columnist to inform him that legislation pertaining to freedom of speech would not be proceeding.

As if the journalist in question was on some sort of a promise of personal reward and needed to be pacified.

As I was scrolling down the comments on Kaye’s piece I came upon a point of view that happened to agree entirely with my own.

Terence Mills, commenting on Kaye’s article, wrote:

“Bolt has latched on to a money-pot, there is big money in being a contrarian, on being outrageous, unconventional and controversial.

These guys don’t actually believe in what they are spouting but like little kids teasing an animal, they keep on doing it just to get a reaction and of course a few more dollars.

Sadly, the echo chambers of Sky and 2GB are fertile ground, where they thrive following the template developed by Fox News in the US and by the dirty-digger.

But let’s not kid ourselves that they are serious commentators or that they believe in the controversy that they peddle: they are just another version of the Kardashians without the big arses – well, other than Latham!”

Putting the money aside for a moment I have always felt that people like Jones and Bolt fill a void in the Australian psyche, a place where the non thinking fools of the world dwell and are comforted by those who say things in a childlike black and white manner that they can understand.

An observation

“We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the shock jocks the media and other self-interest groups.”

Obviously it is the money that attracts them but to justify their presence they need to raise the standard as people become acquainted with it. So in order to maintain the viewers, or reader’s interest, their expectations, it progressively becomes more outlandish – more tantalising – seductive-more flirtatious-more provocative – more stunning and more enticing and in their desire to maintain some dominance, that’s exactly what the shock jocks and mainstream media do.

They choose to prostitute themselves in order to remain relevant and justify the huge salaries they receive. As if telling the truth wouldn’t suffice. If they think their audience is going to sleep they crank up the rhetoric and become more sensational.

So it’s all about the money. They get paid enormous amounts to spread their filthy commentary. The more outrageous the better. Filth, like sex, sells.

It is well-known that Bolt years back was looking for a niche in the industry that would make him stand out in political commentary. One that would pay exceedingly well. He visited America where Fox was experimenting with blatantly biased right-wing news. He took their advice.

These perverted peddlers of verbal violence and dishonesty are the most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongers seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded.

They use free speech as a justification to incite racism, validate hatred and promote both religious and political bigotry.

Where as it should be incumbent on people to display decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view.

People of the ilk of Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtson, Miranda Devine, Dennis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny and Tom Switzer. Gerard Henderson Paul Sheehan, Miranda Divine, Alan Jones, Rupert Murdoch, Michael Smith. Steve Lewis and Ray Hadley spread their abominable words to which clings a currency of untruths.

I don’t think any fair-minded person could argue that when things aren’t going well for the Coalition they drag racism or national security into the mix to further muddy the swamp in which they dwell. We can go back to when Philip Ruddick was demonizing refugees by not even referring to them as people.

They were in trouble against Kim Beasley and John Howard, played the race card with his children overboard comment, which he knew to be untrue but he let it go anyway. He could have disclosed the truth prior to the election but didn’t.

In spite of the fact that we have never had a serious terrorist attack in Australia the Coalition continuously tries to create an atmosphere of scare mongering. Their anti-immigration stance come racist sentiments always come to the fore when they are in trouble politically.

At the moment they are recovering from the bad news of the recent bi-elections and are hopelessly cornered with their tax cuts for big business. Together with that they are struggling to get the Energy Guarantee over the line. Climate change never passes the lips of a divided ministry.

Hence Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s continuous hyping of “African gangs” destroying the calmness of Melbourne’s culture. People are afraid to leave their homes. Fairdinkum, one would think there is a civil war taking place. The sad thing though is seeing the Prime Minister follow suit with same racist comments.

Playing the race card has always been the conservative default position when things are going bad for them and you can prove it historically.

Writing in The Saturday PaperMike Seccombe drew the analogy of Dutton’s “African Gang” attacks with those of Kevin Andrews in 2007. Sudanese refugees were used to try to save the Howard government.

I said they had form. Seccombe wrote:

“At the time former Liberal immigration minister Ian Macphee (a descent and honest man) argued that John Howard had deliberately shattered the bipartisanship on race issues that had settled after the abolition of the White Australia policy.

Macphee traced this back as far as 1988, when Howard decried the “Asianisation” of Australia and led the Opposition to vote against a Bob Hawke motion supporting a racially non-discriminatory immigration policy. Macphee told Seccombe: “I’d always known Howard was a racist, but he demonstrated that clearly in that motion.” Macphee described the continuing efforts of conservative politicians to exploit issues of race for political ends as “quite tragic”.

Channel 7’s involvement in putting to air a dishonest view on African gangs must also be mentioned for its lack of societal responsibility. The Somali community is larger than one or two small gangs. The police wont even describe them as gangs.

Further evidence of this base racism was evidenced in Tony Abbott’s tenure of Prime Minister when he almost daily tried to whip up a storm, or perception, of continuous chaos and bedlam.

All around the world people are experiencing this sort of Trumpish propaganda that is very reminiscent of the days prior to Hitler’s takeover of Germany.

On 2GB last week Abbott asked“why do we store up trouble for ourselves by letting in people who are going to be difficult, difficult to integrate?”

He was advocating the complete exclusion of an ethic group from this country. I have never heard an Australian politician do this before.

So Andrew Bolt’s despicably xenophobic piece for Murdoch’s Herald Sun last week became a bit much for some people. He spared no one. From Chinese to Indian to Vietnamese to Muslims to Jews. The only group he let alone was followers of Christ.

Former senior journalist at The Australian George Megalogenis was appalled, tweeting: “A short history lesson for my old mates at News. The bigotry in your news and opinion pages would make Robert Menses turn in his grave.”

Paddy Manning writing in The Monthly reported that:

“Author Richard Flanagan said in a powerful speech at the Garma Festival yesterday, the Uluru Statement from the Heart demanded too much of Canberra’s politicians: “It demanded [they] imagine their country anew, stronger, richer. It required people who knew a life of the mind and a life of the soul, a largeness and generosity of spirit, and all these things are not just absent in the Turnbull government but consistently attacked and destroyed by them whenever they appear in Australian life.”

But of course Sky News topped it all off by interviewing Neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell. Cottrell appeared on Sky to give his views on immigration. He was once the leader of far-right group the United Patriots Front and advocates a photograph of Hitler in every classroom and that every student should be handed a copy of Mein Kampf.

We have recently seen the retirement of Gillian Triggs and Tim Soutphommasane made a retirement speech last Tuesday. Both are to be congratulated for publicly standing up to people like Bolt, Abbott and Turnbull.

In his speech Soutphommasane said that we had “good reason to boast that it is one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world.”

“Never been a more exciting time to be a dog-whistling politician or race-baiting commentator in Australia.”

“This is dangerous territory, … When politicians resort to using race in advancing their agendas, they inevitably excite racial anxiety and stir up social division.”

Soutphommasane concluded by labelling anti-racism the “highest form of patriotism.”

Personally, I have never turned my back on racist remarks be it at the football at a pub or a restaurant or the work place because that is what we must do.

Without even mentioning the redheads name I think I have established that the right do indeed have a long history of race baiting in Australia.

I started with Andrew Bolt so allow me to finish with him by repeating some words I wrote in 2014:

People who support Bolt and his racism need to ask just why it is that he is fixated on the subject of race (and Muslims and climate change for that matter) and the answer is simple. Murdoch has built his news empire on smut and controversy. The formula has made him extremely wealthy. And there is no doubt that Bolt is paid extraordinary amounts of money to proliferate the pages of The Herald Sun with this sort of gutter journalism.

It is where the truth goes to die.

My thought for the day

“An enlightened society is one in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.”

 

Corruption – Corruption – Corruption. The Coalition is in deep trouble. The case for a National Anti – Corruption Body.

Saturday 4 August 2018

There have been calls for a National Anti Corruption body for some time now but there has always been reluctance, mainly by politicians, to subscribe. The Greens have been onside, the Conservatives cannot see the reason for having one and Labor have recently declared an Anti-Corruption Body to be official party policy.

The reluctance of the conservatives is understandable because they are embroiled in so much corruption that it would make your hair stand on end. Well, not mine.

No, I’m not forgetting the corruption of Eddie Obeid. It combined with other scandals overwhelmingly presents the case for a national body.

What is corruption?

In general, corruption is a “form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit.”

There was a time when a suggestion that Australia, or indeed its citizens were corrupt, would be treated with disdain. You might accuse other countries of being corrupt but certainly not Australia.

Somewhere along the way, we learnt that greed was good and in all manner of ways, money meant power and money corrupted. And so like rust corruption spread itself in its many guises throughout the community. Throughout business, throughout religion, sport, politics and the media.

The stench of the corruption is so bad that I would be justified in saying that initially, we need more than just a National Anti-Corruption body. In some instances, Royal Commissions would be completely in order to precede the setting up of a permanent body.

As I will demonstrate with the words that follow Australia is inundated with political corruption of the conservative’s creation.

When Malcolm Turnbull took over the Prime Ministership Barnaby Joyce took over the water portfolio. It was part of Turnbull’s conditions of employment. The ones the people of Australia were not allowed to see. So much for transparency in government.

After a few too many drinks in a pub in Victoria on the 27 July 2017, Joyce let it all out saying that:

“We have taken water, put it back into agriculture, so we could look after you and make sure we don’t have the greenies running the show basically sending you out the back door, and that was a hard ask,”

“A couple of nights ago on Four Corners, you know what that’s all about? It’s about them trying to take more water off you, trying to create a calamity. A calamity for which the solution is to take more water off you shut more of your towns down.”

Two nights earlier Four Corners had raised allegations of water theft.

In the pub, Joyce said that he had given water back to agriculture through the Murray Darling Basin plan so the “greenies were not running the show”.

His remarks were completely opposite to a press conference where he compared water thieves to cattle and sheep thieves, saying people who broke the law would be dealt with by the proper processes.

From that, you would determine that Joyce himself had broken the law. Later, enquires were held but the terms of reference meant that Joyce would not be accountable.

If the matter had been refereed to a national corruption body he would probably be in goal.

Ashbygate: In December 2012 Mr Justice Rare’s found that an attempt was made by James Ashby (now Pauline Hanson’s chief of staff) and others with the express purpose of bring down the Speaker of the House of Representatives and in turn the government. Yes, you read correctly. He said there was a conspiracy to use the legal system to remove a government. Do I need to repeat that or does the reader grasp the seriousness of the judge’s findings? I hate to sound alarmist but when people are found guilty of crimes of this nature you would think it would prompt alarm bells in the community, the media, and dare I say it the AFP.

I WAS OUTRAGED WHEN THIS STORY BROKE AND TIME HAS NOT DIMINISHED MY ANGER.

You would think that after Mal Brough had, on national television, admitted complicity in the affair that some action would take place. But no,

The AFP decided that neither James Ashby nor Mal Brough would be charged over the copying of Peter Slipper’s diary. Then they dropped its investigation.

How the Liberal Party dodged a bullet and how the AFP reached its decision will remain a mystery. The only person to have gotten it right in my view was Justice Rare. And let’s not forget how complicit Christopher Pyne was.

How come a small almost undetectable charity by the name of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation was visited by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and Environment Department secretary Finn Pratt and offered its Chairman John Schubert $443 million? No tender, nothing.

The company funds climate denial groups and managing director Anna Marsden at a Senate enquiry agreed that climate change was the greatest threat facing the reef. She rejected suggestions that this fact jarred with the membership of the foundation’s “chairman’s panel”, which includes executives from heavy polluters AGL, BHP, Shell and Peabody Energy.  

A bit sus you might say. Well, read these tweets. Wouldn’t pass the pub test and is the sort of thing one might refer to an Integrity Commission.

Rob Oakeshott

Want $443 million from Govt in Oz today? 1. Big political donations. 2. Form a group with a fluffy name – Ozn Water, Rain Corp, or even ‘Great Barrier Reef Foundation’ (a group of 55 large energy and banking companies who pay $20k membership) 3. Avoid tenders and go direct to PM.

Craig Emerson

OK, someone has to put a name to this scandal, or it will default to Reefgate

Bernard Keane

So the best part of half a billion was handed to big business pals in a private meeting with no process, no records, and no public servants.

This stinks. And rich indeed from @TurnbullMalcolm who demanded Rudd and Swan resign over faked Utegate allegations.

Kristina Keneally

The Prime Minister’s ‘private meeting’ with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, when he offered them $444m of public funding, was more private than first thought. It now turns out that there were no public servants present.  Just Turnbull, Frydenberg & GBRF Chair Dr John Schubert.

Rob Oakeshott again.

Want $443 million from Govt in Oz today? 1. Big political donations. 2. Form a group with a fluffy name – Ozn Water, Rain Corp, or even ‘Great Barrier Reef Foundation’ (a group of 55 large energy and banking companies who pay $20k membership) 3. Avoid tenders and go direct to PM.

This “captains call” looks positively corrupt. I cannot think of any circumstance that would justify it. Come Friday when I scan the morning papers there is nothing to be found on the subject. Well only another tweet from Bernard Keane.

“I’ve administered a Commonwealth grants program. I (briefly) ran a procurement area. I’ve worked on major procurements (Australia Network). I’ve read scores of ANAO reports. The $440m handout to the GBRF is the most egregious case of maladministration I’ve ever heard of.”

David Spencer summed it up nicely with this tweet.

“Absolutely. Imagine if a Labor PM, had given an unsolicited grant of nearly 1/2 billion $, with no transparent process, to a private organisation. The Murdoch press in particular, would be apoplectic, and rightly calling for full disclosure. But this is the LNP, so hardly a peep!”

My view is that giving all this money to a small company who specializes in grants to those who deny climate change, might be a way of securing the votes of those in the Coalition who are prepared to vote against the Energy Guarantee policy.

This one concerns the Employment Minister Michaela Cash. Now that the AFP has told the AWU that it was referring the matter of leaking to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, and will formally refer at least one aspect of the investigation to it in coming weeks – meaning criminal charges could be laid.

There was a time when Ministers would resign for much less.

Every time the Minister hears a word with U at the front she seems to get her knickers in a knot.

The raid goes back a decade and concerns a donation the Union made to GetUp!

Cash has repeatedly contended she had nothing to do with any tip-off but it is very strange that the media arrive at these raids before the AFP. It has also happened with other raids of a different nature in the past.

Then we have the deplorable case of Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery and former intelligence agent Witness K who are facing prosecution on charges of breaching the Intelligence Services Act five years after details of the operation were initially reported in the media.

At a time when negotiations were taking place with East Timor over rights to oil and gas Australia was spying on them in order to gain an advantage.

That my country should seek to do this makes me sick in the stomach. It’s those who did the bugging that need investigating not the whistleblowers.

All the men involved did was to reveal the truth. Now 5 years later The Turnbull government wants to prosecute the two men where as in fact they should be giving them the order of Australia.

John Lloyd is the public service commissioner, appointed by Tony Abbott in 2014. Prior to that, he was a long time member and former director of the Institute of Public Affairs. The institute keeps the funding of its organisation private. Well, one did become known last week with a donation of a cool  $5 million from Australia’s richest women.

Lloyd has decided to retire after the release of some emails and a grilling at a Senates Estimates meeting that questioned as to who he was working for.

You can read about it here.

Yet another review of the ABC is to be undertaken by former Foxtel head Peter Tonagh. One would think there might be a conflict of interest given he is also involved in a quest for a billion-dollar government contract. He is part of a consortium that includes a friend of the Prime Minister, Scott Biggs, who just happens to be in the race for a Commonwealth government visa-processing contract?

Where is all that transparency Turnbull talks about? It raises the question as to why they should bother tendering when the Great Barrier Reef Foundation didn’t have too.

With all this corruption going on the question also arises as to why it has taken years for the Coalition to sort out the what can only be described as a political scandal at its worst. The VET FEE – HELP scheme involving our Government handing out billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money to private Colleges when there was literally no public benefit.

Yet again the government has shown its capacity for corruption.

Then we find a person of moderate intellectual capacity, George Christensen, is flying to Japan at the expense of the Minerals Council of Australia to plead for a new coal-fired power station to be built here, at the request of Resources Minister Matt Canavan?. At the very least this is highly inappropriate and yet again demonstrates a Government in Turmoil.

10 Last but not least we need an answer from the Government as to why for two years it held firm against a Royal Commission into the financial sector. We already know that financial advisors acted corruptly for the big banks and that the banks and the government knew about it.

If you are thinking at this stage that I’m making it all up I’m not. I have already written enough about the Governments readiness to use our money to fund Adani and how politically expedient the Nine-Fairfax deal was for the Government.

There was a time in our political history when we could justifiably say in the midst of a discussion about corruption “no, not us” But not under this sleazy lot we can no longer do so. It is time to act.

Back in March 2018 the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst, delivered a major report following a visit in October 2016.

In the report, he made it clear that he was “astonished” to observe “mounting evidence of regressive measures” being pursued by the government.“ (See link above) and  “astounded” with the frequent public vilification by senior public officials” of charities, community groups and democratic institutions critical of the Government

“In February, Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index found that Australia was continuing a steady slide down the scale. Our country ranking had not changed – 13th for three years running – but our score had notably decreased over the last six years. In 2012, Australia scored 85 out of 100, but it had since slipped eight points to a score of 77, down from 79 in 2016. Transparency International’s local chairman, Anthony Whealy QC, told the ABC that Australia’s ranking suggested a failure to deal with serious public sector issues: “These include money laundering, whistleblowing, political donations and the effectiveness of our systems … the Government has simply not faced up to the need to have an independent corruption agency at a national level.” New Zealand topped the rankings, perceived as the least corrupt country in the Asia-Pacific, with a score of 89.

That’s where Australia should be, not third behind the Kiwis and Singapore. It’s time to arrest the slide before it gets any worse.”

And so I rest my case for an Anti-Corruption Body. I’m not fussed about what it might be called so long as it has some balls to investigate matters like the aforementioned.

My thought for the day.

“How utterly dispiriting it is when the hearts and minds of men and women are so utterly corrupted by this virus of political lies, but more demoralising it is that ordinary people catch the same infection.”

 

30 plus reasons why you shouldn’t vote for an incumbent government who couldn’t govern a kindergarten

1 August 2018

Newspapers and media outlets in a rush to make themselves relevant within a life or death struggle for survival, push all sorts of controversy.

Two things stood out during the by-elections. Firstly the importance they made of the constant flow of polls, and secondly, the “Kill Bill” campaigns.

Despite knowing from past evidence that individual seat polling is notoriously inaccurate, Murdoch news continued to push them as though they were God’s gift to determining the winner – and they didn’t.

Again, despite having run the same course many times the “Kill Bill” campaign by Newscorp and others, yet again fell flat because Australians don’t like “playing the man.” The naming of Bill Shorten as a liar every day by the PM doesn’t cut with a lot of people, and he would be well advised to stop.

The importance of reporting factually what was said, or the truth or otherwise of it, seemed to take second place to whatever controversy could be manufactured.

The media do it because they like to think they alone have the power to elect governments, forgetting that it is the public that votes them in or out.

Finding the truth and reporting it should be more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.

But Newscorp has started its pre-election propaganda in earnest. Not even the failure to influence will stop them.

Confronted with going to the polls in the knowledge that they would repeat it again in a few months time, punters were faced with a number of local issues. That aside, the average punter would be well aware of the many national issues that the country faces. The first question they might ask is:

What good reason do I have to change my vote from last time? Should I change my vote because of all the nonsense about citizenship?

Since the Coalition repealed the ‘carbon tax,’ a tax that had been working well and emissions were dropping, the Coalition who had put ideology before the common good, the Coalition has staggered like drunken adolescents from one side of the street to the other.

Abbott’s former department head admitted that his mission to axe the tax was only ever about the politics. Nothing whatsoever about reducing our emissions and honoring our commitment to the Paris accord.

Scott Morrison has admitted that bringing down the price of electricity is more important that reducing our emissions, and will rely heavily on the National Energy Guarantee to do so.

But wait a sec. Labor has decided not to go along with the Coalition and it will now require the support of Senate crossbenchers.

Really, you cannot blame Labor. This is nothing more than a monumental stuff-up and a con job to boot.

What erroneous spin they have been conducting since they repealed the carbon price.

Labor says it will oppose the policy even if it is approved by the states and territories. Labor’s energy spokesman, Mark Butler has described the NEG’s carbon emissions reduction target as “unrealistic” and warned that the policy will adversely affect jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector.

Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes is of the same view, while Victorian Energy Policy Centre director Bruce Mountain has questioned the need for the NEG.

So after more than 10 years of the conservative far-right’s view that they know more about climate change than 95% of the world’s climate scientists, we are no further advanced.

The Prime Minister has nowhere to go other than to revisit his conscience, examine it and say that he should have stuck with his original principles. Or confess, at least, that he is controlled by the far-right of his party.

It has been suggested that the Government will have to write down the value of the National Broadband Network, however Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says they have no intention of doing so.

Ratings agency Standard and Poors has issued warnings that the value of its investment in the National Broadband Network is under threat from 5G mobile technology, saying that it will eventually supersede its hybrid technology.

The ratings agency also says that Australian consumers compared to other countries pay much more for an inferior product. Unless it finds a way to reduce its rates, the NBN will turn out to be a very expensive stuff-up. Just like so many others this Government is responsible for.

Other observations

In terms of the environment I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today.

On the NBN: The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow.

PS: I will leave the “My Health Record” debacle for another time, and I haven’t mentioned Robodebt, DVA and Comcare.

The Abbott/Turnbull Governments haven’t a record of achievements to fall back on. Those that the do list are; a) jobs and growth b) tax cuts to companies with an annual turnover of up to $50 million and Australians earning more than $80,000 c) dubious historic education reform: transparent, universal, consistent needs-based federal funding for Australian schools (what about the Catholics?, and d) marriage equality. (I think the public can lay claim to that).

Peter Dutton repeatedly plays the race card and this time the Prime Minister entered the fray. Men, women and children will next year enter their 6th year of imprisonment with no foreseeable release date. And they haven’t even committed a crime.

Will Dutton now continue with his wild almost crazy assertions that Labor will allow the boats to return if they win the next election?

Future leader they say. “Wow.”

An observation

A leader with any character would slap down members of his cabinet who roam the   road of racism with all the force of a heavy roller.

6 The isolation of the voice of Barnaby Joyce may have been a political masterstroke, but it has left the National Party isolated and without a voice.

Who is it that leads them?

Abbott is not done with yet. He is now advocating we opt out of the Paris Agreement and also cut immigration.

Having proposed tax cuts to big business, Turnbull now faces dropping them. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. If he keeps the policy it is nigh on impossible to sell it, but if he drops it he will be seen not to have the courage of his convictions.

In times of national security, fears the propagandists have successfully promoted the LNP as being best able to handle those fears.

Should we expect something terrible to happen before the next election? Or just a lie about the possibility?

10 In spite of doubling our debt, the economy is being promoted as being in good shape by the Murdoch media. That’s not the truth, of course.

11 Jobs growth is being promoted as outstanding, but is barely keeping up with our immigration intake. Do the punters really believe the line being fed to them?

12 Climate Change is still of major concern to the public. True colours, please. That means both parties.

13 The Coalition contains some of the most outstanding liars and hypocrites our Parliament has ever seen, including the Prime Minister. Is it possible the punters have finally seen through them?

14 “News Corp Australia has called on the government to review the charters of the ABC and SBS and to restrict the public broadcasters from unfairly competing with its newspapers, websites and Sky News.

Rupert Murdoch’s Australian arm has told a government inquiry the Internet has transformed the ABC and SBS into “news publishers” who have the advantage of being taxpayer-funded, while denying commercial competitors revenue.”

15 Please note: Polling in individual seats is notoriously unreliable. I told you so.

16 After having been dragged kicking and screaming by Labor and the Greens to have a Royal Commission into banking Malcolm Turnbull still wont contemplate a national ICAC.

17 Almost everyone besides the Coalition believes that unemployment benefits are one reason many Australians are poor. They are simply inadequate for people to live on.

18 The question is, “are we entitled to know?” When Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister after successfully challenging Tony Abbott the National Party placed certain conditions on him before they would form a Coalition.

Is he, or both, entitled to keep the secret to them selves or conversely are the voters entitled to know?

19 Last Wednesday morning Scott Morrison was doing a presser on News24. Addressing the price of electricity he said that if you wanted prices to come down you needed to support the government’s National Energy Guarantee policy.

He went onto say that higher emissions targets would result in higher electricity prices. The truth of that is very debatable however; my point is that if you believe what Morrison said then you can only conclude that the Coalition has entirely given up on lowering our emissions. What a con job they have been conducting since they repealed the carbon price.

You can almost get used to Murdoch’s lies and bullshit but this takes the cake.

22 We still await the outcome of the enquiry Michaelia Cash.

“What we know is [federal police] have referred the matter to the DPP,”

“They would not do that lightly … They only do that when they think laws have been broken.”

23 The Liberals have been in power 16 of the last 22 years. If people think the country is stuffed, they should know whom to blame.

24 For all ABC’s faults, I for one would march in the streets to demand it be protected, and I’m sure hundreds of thousands of people would do likewise. A comprehensive and factual news service is essential to democracy and the ABC is our only hope of ever having one.

25 Somebody sent this to me but for the life of me I cannot remember whom:

Five years since the Federal election campaign Labor lost ushering in the nationally destructive Abbott-Turnbull Government that has taken us backwards. Note: some items are already listed.

– No world leading NBN.

– No carbon price.

– No booming alternative energy industry.

– No Gonski scale school funding.

– A weakened NDIS.

– No republic.

– Damaged relations with China and our region.

– Subservience to the fascist Trump.

– Wage stagnation.

– Attacks on multiculturalism.

– Attacks on welfare for the poor and vulnerable.

– Massive tax cuts for the wealthiest. Australians and foreign corporations.

– Attempts to undermine Medicare.

– More expensive University degrees.

– $500 million cuts to university budgets and research.

– Shrinking home ownership.

– Every day cost of living up.

– Higher debt.

26 Although science tells the Government that sugar, salt and fat are the main causes of our health problems, it refuses to limit the amount of these toxic substances in food.

27 The Prime Minister’s refusal to acknowledge the Uluru Statement in our constitution is a tragedy and should be revisited ASAP.

28 A Facebook friend sent this list. The PM has FAILED abysmally to:

– Set a high standard in government

– Stand up to the IPA bullies

– Stand up to traitor Murdoch

– Hold his party to account

– Display moral leadership

– Call out racism

– Be truthful

– Respect Melbournians, one of the best cities in the world

– To dismiss racist Dutton

– To protect the vulnerable

He is totally UNFIT to be PM, ever. Disgusting coward. Like others he is racist, he backs racists, he fails to call out racists, he encourages racists.

29 The Coalition spent two years fending off a royal commission into the banking sector. When Shorten and to be fair, the Greens, got their way, look at the results.

Now they are trying to fend off a national ICAC.

30 Perpetual infighting between the ultra right neo-conservatives and the moderates has been a hallmark of this Government, and who knows, the Prime Minister might even resign.

My thought for the day

The real enemy of neo-conservative politics in Australia is not Labor or indeed democratic socialism. It is simply what Australians affectionately call. A fair go.

Society versus Capitalism. And the winner is …

Monday 30 July 2018

Saturday’s by-election results presents, if repeated at a general election, with a rather unique opportunity to change the face of Australian politics.

In the busyness of life we have allowed, what at first appeared to be just subtle changes to our society, to manifest into dramatic ones?

We have allowed capitalism to overrun the society we once knew. Everything today is measured by money. Success is measured by the accumulation of it.

Capitalism says, “Greed is good.” Its supporters, contrary to the distaste it infers to others, reckon it’s a positive. They say that greed grows profit and profit is the beginning of innovation and products follow. Products mean choices for those who can afford them.

Money enhances your capacity to get fairness in law. It places you at the front line of the surgery queue.

Capitalism never fights for fairness or equality of opportunity, only for what it can wring out of those who have not, in order to make richer those who have.

Sports people no longer play for the sheer joy of it. In local competitions they demand to be paid for their unexceptional talents.

Large companies screw down wages and ask their suppliers to supply for less than a fair price then try to pay as little tax as possible, if any at all.

Government tells us this is ok because if these firms make loads of money it will drip down to the have not’s but they have never shown us just how it works. All the drip down theory has ever done is make the shareholders of companies wealthier.

There is now a defined disconnect between capitalism and society. Unregulated capitalism has no interest in the health of society, its happiness, its quality of education, our play or indeed the beginning and end of our lives. It is only interested in profit.

People of rightist persuasion believe that so long as the people at the top, the wealthy and privileged, that have all the wealth, get richer and richer, then the others can survive on a meager safety net.

I remember Peter Costello being asked at the end of his tenure as Treasurer about the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. His answer was to say; “but at least the poor have not become poorer.” It was untrue then and manifestly untrue now,

Just ponder that for a moment and you can see the attitude of the conservative mind.

Indeed we live in a time where horrible things are being perpetrated on us by capitalistic manipulation. The shame is that we have normalised it and adjusted accordingly.

But what about a society that is rich in people because it has invested in education in quality health services and things that really matter?

Have we never measured the savings in preventative health that might be derived from more investment in the system, let alone the happiness factor?

We have forgotten what society is and why we should invest in it in order to create a fairer, better-off and content society. Capitalistic propaganda has reduced us into not knowing the difference between what we want and what we need.

We have been taught to want, want, want, to create more and more profit. In the process of all this wanting we have created a society that suffers from affluenza with a throw away mentality.

We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and its best mate capitalism.

Margret Thatcher said (paraphrased):

“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich”.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said this:

“They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers…call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order”.

Do people ever stop to think how manipulated we have become?

Everything is about our own self-interest, the capitalists not ours. Narcissism has become a national pastime firmly embedded into our psyche.

It is all very well for people of my vintage to see all the pitfalls of what happens when you close down the avenues of political debate. When wealth resides in the hands of a few. When the media is condensed to one voice. We can only raise our voices in loud protest.

On this subject speaking about the merger of Nine and Fairfax my friend Stuart Whitman said:

“The merger (takeover) of Fairfax by the Nine Network does not bode well for the diversity and quality of news sources in an already highly concentrated, Australian media landscape.

Access to evidence-based news with journalistic integrity is integral to an informed populace participating in how they are governed and by whom.

I am sick with fear looking across Australia and around the world as the pillars of democracy gradually crumble everywhere.

There’s a deep anti-democratic rot eating away at trust and the rule of law and reason within our political parties, and across the media and our public institutions.

The capacity to think critically and express ourselves openly and rationally, and compassionately, is being crushed under the weight of ever concentrating power and people too afraid, too confused or too comfortable to challenge it.

What are we left with in the end – the rule of brute power and thuggery justified by wealth and privilege carving up the spoils for an elite few behind closed doors?

Dark times indeed.”

Or as Paul Keating said:

Nine had never done other than display “the opportunism and ethics of an alley cat.

“There has been no commanding ethical or moral basis for the conduct of its news and information policy. Through various changes of ownership, no one has lanced the carbuncle at the centre of Nine’s approach to news management. And, as sure as night follows day, that pus will inevitably leak into Fairfax.

“For the country, this is a great pity”.

Only capitalists in cahoots with big business would seek to eliminate diversity of opinion. Certainly a democratic society would not. There can be no doubt that if the Coalition were to win the next election then the big prize to go after would be the ABC.

We are now a competitive capitalist society. We compete for jobs, for houses, for the best of everything, for places at universities even for childcare. It’s a capitalistic society. It has to be competitive. Competition is the name of the game.

Capitalism tells us that poverty is the fault of the victim but wealth comes from virtue and both are the natural order of things and that meritocracy is a term used to explain that those at the top of the social scale have merit but is also a slur against those at the bottom.

But can we not be satisfied with what we have and build a better society around it.

Why is it CEOs, entertainers and sports stars receive such excessive payments?

Surely “regulated capitalism” incorporating free markets can do more for society without there being an inference that it hinders individual pursuit.

In the absence of a better monetary system ideas are needed for how “regulated capitalism” can more effectively merge with business and how business can better improve its relationship with society.

Business must strive to become more worker friendly and embrace the concept of adding value to society and sustainability for itself. Together with cooperative Unionism a more harmonious society, intent on fairness and equality, might emerge.

Drip down economics is being critiqued all around the world but Conservative Capitalists still believe that the key to personal success or failure is within each individual‘s control. That a safety net is not required. Just three-in-ten Americans agree that government has a responsibility to help the poor.

As usual they see capitalism as separate to society. That capitalism exists as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

All it has ever done is immorally make the rich richer beyond measure and the poor poorer on many levels. It has to end with a society for the common good where profit/wealth over and above what is reasonably fair and justifiable is fed back into society to enrich it for the benefit of all.

Richness obtained simply by the practice of overcharging must end and wealth acquired by inheritance should be taxed but riches acquired by hard work, diligence, entrepreneurialism, and enterprise should be encouraged.

My thought for the day

“The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the most of everything they have.”

 

We cannot let racism win

Thursday 26  July 2018

It’s a sad day for Australian politics when our Prime Minister plays the race card.

To the point of boredom he tells us that we are the most successful multi-racial country in the world, yet at the same time tells us people are scared to leave their homes to eat out.

On the eve of some important by-elections, Malcolm Turnbull is doing whatever he can to give those standing for his side of politics a better chance. If his means playing the race card regardless of the facts, the truth, or personal belief, he will do so. I don’t believe he is a racist.

Peter Dutton started it saying that African gangs were “wreaking havoc” in Victoria. Sudanese particularly.

Here are some extracts from a sensible fact-laden piece the Melbourne Age reported in a video piece by Waleed Aly:

In an eight-minute editorial package written with The Project producer Tom Whitty, Aly on Thursday presented a number of statistics that placed question marks on recentclaims by several politicians that violent African gangs were “wreaking havoc” in Victoria.

“This week the Prime Minister said something interesting,” Aly started, cutting to a video of Turnbull in a 3AW interview earlier this week.

“There is real concern about Sudanese gangs,” Turnbull says in the video. “You have to be walking around with your hands over your ears in Melbourne not to hear it.”

“What’s interesting,” Aly said, “is I live in Melbourne and the only place I’ve heard concerns about Sudanese gangs is on talk-back radio, where the PM made those comments. But the PM was adamant: people are scared.”

According to Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency, crime has actually dropped 9 per cent in the last year in Victoria,” he said. “Sudanese Victorians make up 0.1 per cent of the population and account for just 1 per cent of all crimes committed last year.”

Adding that while the Sudanese community is clearly over-represented in the crime stats, Aly said that what’s more interesting is that “Australian-born Victorians were responsible for 71.7 per cent of the crime committed last year”.

Despite these figures, Aly pointed out, Turnbull continued to push the point that there was an issue with African gangs specifically.

We read in yesterday’s online Guardian that Australia will consider adding a “values test” for those considering permanent residency in order to protect its “extraordinarily successful” multicultural society.”

I have asked on social media on many occasions if someone could tell me just what specific Australian values there are that are not universally held by other social democracies. I have never had an answer.

In London the Citizenship and Multicultural Minister Alan Tudge, last week, in a speech to the Australia/UK Leadership Forum was suggesting a “values” test to fend off “segregation.”

“Segregation,” I thought to myself. I dislike the word intently for the images it places before one’s eyes, but nevertheless it is something we have practiced for as long as immigration has existed and is as natural as life itself.

When the Italians came to Melbourne they gathered together in Brunswick, the Greeks in Carlton and the Vietnamese in Springvale and now Box Hill. And so on. Then over time they disintegrated and neatly integrated into general society.

“Some of the challenges to social cohesion that we are facing today are similar to ones that the UK is facing – such as ethnic segregation and liberal values being challenged,” Trudge went onto say.

His speech was full of racial overtones calculated to incite further violence back home. And it seems to be working.

The front page of the Saturday New Daily reads “Wild scenes as far-left protesters clash with cops at far-right event in Melbourne.”

An observation

“The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.”

A headline in last Saturday’s Australian (fire-walled) read:

“Malcolm and the True Believers” by Greg Sheridan: “The PM reveals he prays regularly, believes in afterlife and is inspired by Jesus.”

Given that Jesus was the world’s first socialist he arguably has a conflict of interest.

Australian politicians currently have a 15% trust rating. When people in the LNP who are not necessarily racist deliberately play the race card to steal a few votes from a real racist in Pauline Hanson they not only shame themselves but the nation itself.

When the Prime Minister seeks to incite racial hatred he demeans himself and the great office bequeathed to him.

An observation from Craig Emerson:

“Howard tried this in 1988 with Asian immigration. Who would have imagined Turnbull would try it again in 2018. The Liberals haven’t changed in 30 years. Very sad for our country.”

Dutton was at it again last Sunday and twice this week I have seen him repeating the same stuff.

Growing up as a small boy in Brunswick I witnessed this thoughtless bigotry. I was told not to walk to school on the side of the street where the Jews lived but happily sought their friendship when I arrived.

I lived through the period of Italian and Greek immigration when most Australians through their ignorance looked upon them with disdain. Later they celebrated the marriage of their sons and daughters to them even overlooking a religious divide.

I celebrated as Australia began to absorb the breathtaking contributions of these nationalities that saw us grow as a nation.

Along the way there were tensions but they never stopped the Advance of Australia fair.

I observed the advent of Asian immigration and all the recycled hatred only to see it vanish in the same way the Greek and Italian animosity did.

Now we are confronted with yet more odious loathing. This time it is directed at those from the Africa. It doesn’t matter what their country of origin if they are Muslim they will suffer the full thrust of minorities xenophobia. Just as 99 per cent of Muslims want peace so do 99 per cent of Australians.

We have a long history of finding fault with things we don’t understand. At various times we have blamed communists, Jews, women, the devil, indigenous people and witches, even God, for all manner of things.

I have been privy to the ignorance that history has recorded on these matters and I am angry with the likes of Pauline Hanson, Peter Dutton and our Prime Minister who would seek to deny Australia of others who desire to, not only seek their personal freedom, but also the opportunity to give of themselves to the advancement of this great nation.

When I sit on the platform at Flinders street Station and watch the passing parade of ethnicity I can but only admire a country I could never envisage from the same seat in the 1950s.

My thought for the day

“Lying is wrong but lying to defend a lie is appalling immoral.”

As Tony Windsor tweeted:

“Turnbull would fail his own test …now the man with no values, no beliefs, no idea… a floundering father Emerald, like Trump he is someone to be ashamed of as PM.”

Why do they call me ‘honourable’ when I’m so obnoxious?

Thursday July 5 2018

The Honourable David Leyonhjelm is a member of that august chamber known as the Australian Senate, or the Upper House. Once upon a time it was little heard of and went about its business of reviewing the legislation of the Lower House, the House of Representatives, in an orderly fashion, suggesting amendments where it felt they were warranted and appropriate.

Occasionally individuals like the Tasmanian Senator Brian Harradine did deals. Or parties like the Greens or the Australian Democrats passed legislation with conditions attached, but it all seemed to be orderly and debated with a dose of decorum always respecting a mandate if it was legitimate.

Until recently it was a chamber of dignity, formality and solemnity where one struggled to recall the names of its members so unobtrusive was its work.

Somewhere along the way all the dignity of the august chamber seemed to vanish. The once displayed politeness and respect for fellow Senators, regardless of persuasion was replaced with the vulgarity and crudeness of the David Leyonhjelms of society.

He was one of those dregs of society who somehow weaselled their way into this once well-mannered chamber with so few votes as to fill an eggcup.

It is highly unlikely that a more characterless person has ever been elected to the Senate. The slime from which Leyonhjelm comes has no likeness for the apology when wrong, choosing instead to throw more abuse at his opponent.

By his very nature he genuinely believes that he should, under his version of free speech, be able to call you what he likes and if you take offence then it’s entirely your problem.

An observation

The contention that everyone has recourse to bigotry and hate speech is a nonsense.

The ongoing saga over his remarks about fellow senator Sarah Hanson-Young are rightly being condemned for what they are and by most men of respectability. Those who support his gutter smear tactics are of the conservative ilk that finds abuse normal to them.

He has been asked to apologise from the Prime Minister downwards but shows no signs of doing so. It is now over a week since Senator Leyonhjelm told Senator Hanson-Young to “stop shagging men” during a debate about violence against women.

His sole achievement has been to highlight his own character and some men in the Australian Parliament who are nothing more than cowardly grubs with misogynistic personalities.

If you look at some of the personality traits of men in our two houses you will see dreadful liars and insipid personalities. Something that as a nation we should be ashamed of. We need men and women of character and trustworthiness able to debate the most complex questions without resorting to the depths of uncouth spitefulness that Leyonhjelm does.

Both of our Houses of Parliament have descended into the swamp that Trump talks about and is responsible for. Our swamp, like theirs needs draining of those who would run around “slut shaming” and acting like Incubus voyeurs persistently observing sex, misery or scandal.

The Parliament is full of witless people like Leyonhjelm who are completely devoid of wit, humour, words of intelligence with the eloquence and debating skills to give them meaning.

Mostly our two houses embrace a maleness that believes in conflict as a means of political supremacy over and above the pursuit of excellence in argument.

The support Leyonhjelm got on Sky News on Sunday from the unmemorable Rowan Dean and former parliamentarian Ross Cameron, saying she was “well known for liking men,” and even falsely naming someone she was supposed to have slept with was regrettable.

Sarah Hanson-Young has every right to pursue this crass uncouth vile human being who is totality unfit for public office.

Why do we address this man as honorable when his only interest is in enshrining his attitude towards women and other matters as just free speech and enshrine it in law?

Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer added her voice to the calls for Senator Leyonhjelm to apologise, telling Fairfax Media: “People have a right to be treated with dignity and respect in their workplaces. An apology is clearly in order for the comments made.”

People like Leyonhjelm,the pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty are the most vigorous defenders of free speech because their warped minds think it somehow gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy.

Women of Australia please stand united against these cowards who so mistakenly believe they are men.

My thought for the day

At some time in the human narrative … in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you.

The drips win the week

Saturday 30 June 2018

Introduction

I should have posted this piece last Saturday but because of some issues with my password and my lack of understanding of cyber security, it wasn’t possible. I take full blame, and apologise unreservedly for all the inconvenience. God only knows I have enough trouble with the pop up toaster. Anyway, I have added new material to bring it up to date.

Drip-down conservative economic theory had a big win last week and the MSM are wetting their slacks with Shorten’s slip of the tongue comment about tax.

However, the tax cuts have forged a demarcation line down the centre of Australian politics. On the left you have a leader with a lifetime of serving the worker, openly intent on making Australia a fairer place with better hospitals, better infrastructure a better standard of education with a greater concentration on those things that glue a society together.

On the right we have a leader born and bred into wealth and privilege intent on making the rich richer in the foolish belief that by doling so he will raise the standards of the poor and middle class.

Nowhere in the world can there be found any evidence of drip-down economics working. Unfortunately though it seems that aspiring to be rich is now the right’s catch phrase. That’s what everyone is hoodwinked into believing.

In America the people are told that everyone can aspire to be President but they have woken to the fact that they cannot. Aspiration is fine but it should come with honesty and equality. That all the aspiration in the world can make everyone rich and powerful. Americans have learnt this and now see it for what it is.

Money has been so promoted as the answer to everything that people actually believe it. We can no longer get by on what should be ample because we are persuaded that we must have more to simply survive.

My thought of the week

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

Comment of the Week 

GetUp! tweet:

“Setting aside everything else wrong with Turnbull’s tax cuts for the wealthy – @PaulineHansonOz complaining about politicians giving themselves pay increases, on the same day she votes to give herself a $7000 a year tax cut, is just bloody bizarre.”

The Scandal Sheet

You gotta admit it’s a good line! “The trouble with Pauline Hanson is she’s looking for three senators with lower IQs than her – it’s an impossible task,” Mr. Palmer told Fairfax Media.

Liberal Branch Meeting brawl

And they say that manners are part of conservative ideology.

On this day in 2015

Retiring Coalition Senator Sue Boyce has made some startling revelations. Tony Abbott is sexist. The Coalition has been dog whistling over Asylum Seekers. She felt the party had moved further to the right and bemoaned the absence of women in the party. The shocker though was describing Morrison as an “extremely Christian Man”

The latest Poll Bludger

IPOS 53-47 To Labor yesterday.

Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

My warning of a poll drought in the previous post hadn’t reckoned on Fairfax’s Ipsos series, which fills the void with a 53-47 result for Labor, down from 54-46 from the previous poll six weeks ago. As best as I can tell, all we have to go on at this stage is an editorial in The Age that suggests both major parties are on 35% of the primary vote, which is a two point drop for Labor and a one point drop for the Coalition.

Top Tweets of the week

Adam Bandt

BREAKING: Turnbull’s tax cuts for MPs and millionaires passes Parliament, with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation & Centre Alliance’s (ex-Xenophon) support. They’ve just voted to end progressive taxation in Australia and send us on the path to becoming a US-style unequal society

Paula Dale

Seriously this Gov’t can’t be voted out soon enough they have no care for us who are doing it tuff 😣no penalty rates low wages and now tax cuts for the rich what is Australia becoming?

RabidLeftieHamster

Can someone please explain to me why Hanson had a recent shitfight with Burton over his support for this tax plan and now is voting for it herself?

Bill Shorten

Voting themselves a $7000 tax cut. And what are they cutting to pay for it? Yourlocal schools and hospitals.

Katharine Murphy

Am I the only person who thinks all the hammering of “aspirational” is a bit high concept? What does it even mean? Don’t voters just want to know the nuts and bolts of the respective packages? Aspiration is like a unicorn, desired but never sighted.

Quentin Dempster

Australia is now being governed by a new coalition: LNP/PHON/Murdoch Press. Victory for the Battler’s?

George Megalogenis

Apology accepted (as an ABC contributor). But those reader comments were no better or worse than what some of your senior commentators write/tweet about the ABC on a daily basis. Time to drop the vendetta and return to the national affairs journalism that made my old paper great.

GetUp!

Setting aside everything else wrong with Turnbull’s tax cuts for the wealthy – @PaulineHansonOz complaining about politicians giving themselves pay increases, on the same day she votes to give herself a $7000 a year tax cut, is just bloody bizarre.

Sky News

Shadow Assistant Treasurer @ALeighMP: I don’t think there’s anything fair or Australian about the notion a surgeon should pay the same marginal rate of tax as a nurse.

Tim’s titbits

Turnbull has suddenly become the friend of the worker. After removing some of their penalty rates. Presiding over increased cost of living. Wage stagnation etc.

Richo is saying if Labor does poorly in the by-elections Albo will become leader. And the election will be in September. He said.

Braddon is probably gone for Labor. Longman not looking great either.

It’s gotten worse these last twenty years. Lack of diversity in parliament. Gene pool is too narrow.

4 Paul Kelly wrote a good article today. Saying this week was Turnbull’s most significant parliamentary win in 2 years. I would say in the time he has been PM. Sets us up for a traditional class-based election. Do people want to pay higher tax but have the money pay for services like hospitals? Or do they want to pay less tax. Which encourages aspiration.

5 President trump will visit Australia later in the year. Means election will be next year for sure.

6 Senate passes PM’s income tax cuts 37 Votes For 33 Against.

The Senate comprises of 76 Senators ,12 from each State and 2 from the ACT and the NT.

The bill passed the upper house 37 votes FOR to 33 AGAINST.

Labor has 26 senators, Greens have 9 senators

Liberals have 26 senators
National party has 5 senators
PHON 2 senators Pauline Hanson Land, Peter Georgiou WA
Centre Alliance 2 senators Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick both SA

Labor senators, the Greens and independent Tim Storer opposed the plan.

Under the first of three stages in the plan, low- and middle-income earners will get tax relief of up to $530 a year from July 1 with benefits for people earning up to $200,000 to come into place in 2024.

The entire package cleared the Senate with the support of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (2 votes) and Centre Alliance 2 votes”

My clown of last week

The red-headed one, yet again, still, on going.

Can someone please explain to me why Hanson had a recent shitfight with Burston over his support for this tax plan and now is voting for it herself?

My thought for the day

“Having the ability to admit that you are wrong is an absolute prerequisite to discernment and knowledge.”

A baby’s cry insinuated itself on the adults in the room

Friday 29 June 2018

As I was basking in the sunshine of my granddaughter’s birthday party last weekend, watching their childish frivolity, their laughter and their naughtiness – the inventiveness of their play, in staggered flickering pictures I was taken back to the body of a little boy washed up on the shore like a rag doll.

It’s a picture that has remained indelible on my mind but is now erased by one depicting another little boy looking up at the President of the United States. It’s on the front cover of Time Magazine.

Both pictures in their own way depict man’s inhumanity to children of a lessor responsibility. Kids of insignificance. Leaders suggest we shouldn’t be that bothered because they aren’t us: they are of another creed. Australia’s reputation in the treatment of other nations brings tears to the eyes of an old man desirous of pride in his place of birth.

Oscar Cásares in a piece for the Washington Post tells an amazing story about children crying that captures the essence of the language of crying:

“There’s a reason we took a collective gasp when we saw the photo of the bloodied and ash-covered face of a 5-year-old Syrian boy after an airstrike hit his family’s home in Aleppo, or the image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy whose drowned body had washed up on a Turkish beach, or even further back, the iconic photo of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl, naked and terrified after her village was scorched with napalm. That wasn’t a Republican or Democratic or independent gasp — it was just a gasp, proof of our shared humanity.

We are wired to take care of those more vulnerable. This is what we do as humans.”

 

We always pick up the baby first.

At this point I wonder if at the beginning of any peace conference if it would make any difference if the participants were given a baby of another race, in a bassinet to look after for the duration of the conference.

When the babies all began crying for their milk in unison would the politicians “pick up the baby.”? What would they do? One would hope that they wouldn’t reach for a jacket with “I really don’t care. Do U? ”Silk screened on the reverse.

Meanwhile in Australia I read that “In three weeks, Bernadette Romulo will be sent back to the Philippines while her son remains in Australia.”

“I don’t know where to start,” Romulo says. “It’s painful every minute.

“Every day I remind him of what’s going to happen, I’m preparing him. I always tell him, always pray at night, always remember everything that I tell you, be kind to people, spread love to everyone.

“And then I always tell him … I don’t want him to be angry about what happened. He is angry and he wakes up in the morning and he’s angry. He’s a child, he doesn’t really understand things at the moment. I help him, I say keep praying and I will be there always.”

THIS IS NOT THE AUSTRALIA I GREW UP IN.

THOUGHTS FROM 2015

On this day in 2015 I wrote The PM gets what he wants from The Murdoch papers? What an utter disgrace. He knows whose side Rupert is on. Front pages of The Courier Mail and The Daily Telegraph are totality reprehensible and a leader with any character would say so.

Also in 2015. A week is a long time in politics. Last week in parliament the PM was enthusiastic in his praise for the ABCs production of The Killing Season. This week he wants to know whose side they are on. Pathetic hypocrisy but totality predictable. I note that Peter Greste says Q&A with Zaky Mallah ‘didn’t cross the line’ to incitement. He says the government is shooting the messenger in slamming the program.

I thought Richard Ackland got it right with this quote:

“The hysteria over Zaky Mallah on Q&A would make Joseph McCarthy proud.”

The public have faith in the ABC, as shown by this week’s Essential poll, which found the most trusted media were ABC TV news and current affairs (63%), SBS TV news and current affairs (61%) and ABC radio news and current affairs (58%).

4 I am assuming Andrew Bolt will come out strongly in support of Zaky Mallah’s right to free speech in his column this week.

Come on, Aunty, defend yourself

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

In case you didn’t know, Murdoch’s share of English newspapers is 34% but in Australia his newspaper titles account for 59% of all sales of daily newspapers, with sales of 17.3 million papers per week, making him the most influential newspaper publisher by a considerable margin. His closest rival, Fairfax Media has 22 per cent.

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

“I feel people on the right of politics in Australia show an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination. They have hate on their lips and their hate starts with the beginning of a smile.”

 

Day to Day Politics: In amongst the bullshit some things are worth reading

Friday 22 June 2018

When I awoke Wednesday morning at 5.45 it was cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. I did those things that nature demands of us, made a cup of lemon tea, and set about sharing my daily post on numerous Facebook pages.

That takes a good half hour and then I dip my fingers into the many news sites and other places of information I follow. With anticipation I plunge my aging fingers into the many sites that might inspire me to pick a subject that I think requires my thoughts or observations. By this time my choice of subject is well-advanced.

Before I know it it’s nearly 8am. Bugger it, it’s time to prepare my wife’s breakfast. Before I do I try to get into the inner sanctum of The AIMN. God this is annoying.

I was already logged in and it dropped out. When I try again it bans me for a day and I feel like a little boy who has been admonished by his teacher. “Bloody technology,” I think to myself knowing that I wont be able to post on Thursday. The same thing happened last Sunday.

I turn on the television to News 24 and I am greeted with the smiles of the usual presenters. Fruit salad with yogurt, another cup of tea and it’s all done. Come 9 I’m back in my study still deliberating my next article.

I go back and peruse all the things I bookmarked earlier and begin to read. Obviously I start with The AIMN, which I think could do with a change of name and a bit of a makeover. The old girl looks as though she hasn’t been to the hairdressers for a while.

(Well rinse the blood from my toga, I go back to The AIMN and I have been reinstated). Thats crazy.

1 A piece by Dr. Binoy Kampmark attracted my attention about the  POTUS and international diplomacy.

“In short, the current US president likes the bruising, the bullying and the cajoling in the abstract name of US self-interest. Forget the distinctions and the similarities. There are no values in any shared sense. There is only his road.”

 My next point of call is the Roy Morgan daily newsletter. It has a lead in piece in the Australian Financial Review.

“There is still dissent within the Federal Government regarding its proposed national energy guarantee. Some Coalition MPs oppose the government’s inclusion of a carbon emission reduction target of 26 per cent in the NEG. They include former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has told a party room meeting that Abbott made a firm commitment at the Paris climate talks in 2015 to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. Abbott alleges that he had been “misled by bureaucrats”.

 What a perverted liar the man is.

My next stop is the Progressive Secular Humanist web site that leads with the headline:

“President Pence Would Be Worse Than President Trump”

As Trump’s troubles continue to grow, conservatives and liberals alike are wrestling with the very real possibility that Trump will be forced out of office due to scandal and/orincompetence, leaving a President Mike Pence in charge of the nation.”

 I happen to agree with the headline and all it suggests. If you look into the Vice President’s past you will find a very deluded man.

Then I read an article by Dana Milbank in the Washing Post, which contends that Obama’s Presidency was before its time.

“Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” President Barack Obama said in the passage, first reported this last week by Peter Baker in the New York Times.

I hate to say it, but I think the former president was correct.

Ten or 20 years from now, America will be much closer to the majority-minority nation it is forecast to become in 2045. A racist backlash to a black president wouldn’t matter as much.

But what was naively proclaimed in 2008 as post-racial America was instead kindling for white insecurity, and Trump cunningly exploited and stoked racial grievance with his subtle and overt nods to white nationalism. He is now leading the backlash to the Obama years and is seeking to extend white dominion as long as possible, with attempts to stem immigration, to suppress minority voting and to deter minority census participation.

5 Then I go back to a piece by Terence Mills at The AIMN: Playing Politics with tax doesn’t help anybody!

“Why do you think that the coalition always couch their legislative program with wedges for Labor? Is it their way of having fun or can they just not resist the opportunity to play politics, even with something so fundamentally important as tax policy?”

Now I’m at the much-maligned ABC where Jane Norman has written an article about the growing influence of conservatives within the Liberal Party. I have no doubt that they will eventually take control and if they win the next election then Turnbull will have to turn conservative with them.

The Liberals’ conservative faction is growing — and so is its influence over the party”

Upon the death of Philip Roth, David Marr wrote a telling piece about the banning of his book Portnoy’s Complaint.

“How Portnoy’s Complaint made Australia a better place”

I remember the time well when Australia was such a prudish place. A time when the then minister for customs Don Chipp gave Australia a new rating for sensitive books and film. He went onto keep the bastards honest by forming the Australian Democrats. His brother was a little less famous for up ending my middle stump whilst playing cricket for Heidelberg.

My favourite author Tim Winton writes a telling piece for The Guardian about boys.

“About the boys: Tim Winton on how toxic masculinity is shackling men to misogyny”

“And the wonderful thing about getting older – something many women will understand – is that after a certain age you become invisible. And for me, after years of being much too visible for my own comfort, this late life waterborne obscurity is a gift.”

 Some writers write stories, others like Winton seem to be able to craft sentence’s plucked from the experience of life itself.

I came by an essay in The Monthly by former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and became totally taken with it.

How politics works in Australia, and how to fix it

“My own experiences over the decade from 2007 bore out this early intuition, and what I’m about to say may shock you. There are good people in there, on all sides of the chamber. Sometimes, the system works. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in a committee room where the evidence tendered by passionate and experienced witnesses is being weighed up and solutions sought, and everyone has left their party affiliation at the door. You’ll sit in mild disbelief as amendments are proposed and accepted without a fight, and you’ll know by the end that your close-knit little team helped make the law kinder, or fairer, or smarter. When the system is working it barely makes the news, but you can hardly blame the press gallery for failing to report on those times when your elected representatives are behaving like adults”

10 And finally with my “Add to reading list” still filled to the brim this one from Politico by Kevin M Kruze is well worth a read.

“How corporate America invented Christian America”

“It was a watershed moment—the beginning of a movement that would advance over the 1940s and early 1950s a new blend of conservative religion, economics and politics that one observer aptly anointed “Christian libertarianism.” Fifield and like-minded ministers saw Christianity and capitalism as inextricably intertwined, and argued that spreading the gospel of one required spreading the gospel of the other. The two systems had been linked before, of course, but always in terms of their shared social characteristics. Fifield’s innovation was his insistence that Christianity and capitalism were political soul mates, first and foremost”

And to think that after 25 years of reading Biblical verse I always believed that Jesus was the world’s first socialist.

So, it is Wednesday, I’m ready to post my piece for publication Thursday but guess what happens. Yes, I’m locked out for another day. I try again early Thursday morning to no avail, and then at 11.30 I’m reinstated. Yippee he silently says to himself.

My thought for the day

“My reason cannot understand my heart but I know my conscience does.”

PS I still have about 75 Articles in my “to read” box but I will get around to it.

 

 

Day to Day Politics: You bet I’m angry.

Wednesday 20 June 2017

Understanding the conservative’s desire to eliminate a state-owned broadcaster is as simple as ABC. Conservatives don’t believe in state ownership of anything. They believe private enterprise and competition is the best way for all businesses.

It’s the same with health. They believe, philosophically, that individuals should fend for themselves and pay for any health service required through a private service.

That they do is simply a convenience or necessity of politics. A rule they break when politics demands it so.

The ABC was founded on 2 July 1930. Its purpose was to ensure that audiences had reasonable access to a range and high standard of radio services. The ABC was based on the BBC model and was originally funded by a combination of licence fees and some government funding. The ABC’s early services included twelve radio stations across the country offering live music, sport and information programs for 11 hours a day. It was quickly embraced by Australian households and became a fixture of daily life for many.

Well over the years it has done more than that. It has become a national institution performing much better in both programming and digital media than its commercial counterparts.

People in country areas find it essential in the function of their daily existence. It offers services far beyond those provided by the commercial stations both in television and radio.

By the way, have you heard a National Party MP defend it since the Liberals overwhelmingly voted at last weekend’s talkfest to sell it? Yes, break it up and sell it, they voted with capitalistic eagerness.

After the vote, senior members ran around saying “never, never” even though the vote was overwhelmingly to do so.

Even though they were high-ranking MPs and Senators, who could foresee the quicksand they were walking into, they are also members of the IPA from which the idea has its genesis.

One of them was the mercurial Scott Morisson who shouted with heightened blood pressure that the Government would never privatise our ABC but then suggested the broadcaster should “demonstrate to the Australian people that they are acting impartial and unbiased”.

In an article headed “The ABC is an indulgence we can no longer afford” by the NSW Young Liberals leader Harry Stutchbury (son of Mike) presents a case for selling off the ABC totally based on the capitalistic reason of profit. Nowhere could I find a cost for the maintenance of community standards and our taxes contributing toward it.

It’s rather like we should all accept that there is a cost to the maintenance of our general health but we shouldn’t have to pay for the maintenance of the planet.

He goes onto say that:

“The truth is that the ABC was designed for a bygone era, founded in the context of an underdeveloped media market, before TV, before radio matured and before the internet.”

What utter poppycock.

The truth is that the ABC is designed for the modern era. The ABC put to shame the commercial stations in developing the streaming technology to come up with iview, and what a success it has been.

If the Coalition were to win the next election, and particularly if Fifield were to retain the communications portfolio, then given their record of withdrawing funds from the ABC you can be certain that a death by a thousand cuts would take place.

Michael Pascoe writes:

“Yet we can expect further ABC budget cuts and more perfidious complaints about ABC reports and programs. On the current trajectory, Senator Fifield will soon be Apostrophe Man, protesting about ABC punctuation errors.”

Phil Manning wrote in yesterdays edition of The Monthly today that if re-elected, the Coalition “will be under pressure from an emboldened base” to move to privatise the ABC – if not via a sale, perhaps by tender, as Bernard Keane writes today in Crikey, as a step towards destroying the organisation.

The ABC has been attacked from both sides for as long as I can remember. Hawke and Keating were forever at them. Abbott treated it like his own personal punching bag. Enquiry after enquiry has been called (both internal and independent) with never a case to answer.

Bolt and other low-lifes have accused it, without any proof, of every bias imaginable. The Bolts of this world would never withstand the sort of obnoxious insults hurled at the ABC. That’s why the rag he writes for is at the bottom of the list of most trusted media outlets and the ABC IS THE MOST TRUSTED.

An observation

“It is a pity that fact in journalism cannot be made compulsory and decency legislated.”

The decision by the Federal Council is but one of many we will see if Turnbull wins. He may think that he would gain power for his position as Prime Minister but in essence, it will be a victory for the Trumpian right-wingers who happen to be older right wing nut cases, be they media tarts like Jones or nutter politicians like Andrews, Abbott and Abetz.

The apprentices  – Andrew Hastie, Zed Seselja, Michael Sukkar and Alan Tudge may well think they have become fully qualified.

An observation

“In the information age, those who control the dissemination of news have more power than government.”

Now that the Liberals have made this decision and the Nationals by their silence (even though once again like the NBN it is their constitutes who will be affected most) must presumably agree, it must be legitimate for Labor to take them to task over the decision. Yet another on a very long list.

Yesterday the ABC boss Michelle Guthrie gave a decent return of serve to the Liberal Party, the IPA and other Trumpian types saying that the ABC would never be a “punching bag for political and vested interests, and labelled the attacks as cynical, misplaced and ignorant.”

She is altogether correct.

My thought for the day

“Governments who demand the people’s trust need to govern transparently to acquire it.”

Day to Day Politics: Two weeks of mayhem.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

After further consideration and another clue I am prepared to say that it is still possible to have a federal election in September or October.

The next two weeks of the sitting of the Parliament the Government has a full agenda and noticeably missing is a bill to ban foreign donations.

The Prime Minister has advised he will make an apology to the children found to have been abused by the Royal Commission on 22 October. It could be delayed or bought forward if a snap election were considered to be in the Government’s best interests.

If it were to win the Government might do something about foreign donations in its next term, but why would it forego the millions it could collect for this one? And Malcolm wouldn’t be inclined to put his hand in his own pocket again. For Labor’s part it gave up this generous cash cow 18 months ago whereas the Liberal Party has its hand out to anyone who needs a favour or two, including the Chinese, which is said to be about $3 million. Note no other comparative democracies accept foreign donations.

The bill seems to have disappeared into a black hole of the Government’s own digging. Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann denies the Government is being deliberate sluggish with it.

It’s just that next election is top of mind and takes precedence over anything else. Of course, the Government runs the risk of a public backlash given the current talk of interference in our domestic politics.

Early in the New Year it is believed that the Prime Minister told the Party Room that it was in a strong position to attack Labor on National security. Shorten though is making it difficult by agreeing with anything he says on the subject:

“But efforts to paint the Opposition as weak in this area are undermined by selectivity. This is especially the case in light of government ministers frequently quoting our domestic spy chief, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s Duncan Lewis, warning that foreign interference in our domestic politics is now at unprecedented levels. This is a claim we are expected to take at face value, as there has been no evidence put forward to substantiate it.”

On Insiders Sunday 10 June Attorney-General Christian Porter talked about this threat, making it perfectly clear that it needed urgent attention before the next farce in our democratic procedures: the citizenship by-elections.

The left-wing advocacy group GetUp! says:

“ … this is exactly what the government is doing, even in this amended legislation. Its national director, Paul Oosting, says the suggestion that it is about reducing offshore influence in our political system “is a farce”. At its core, he says, this legislation is an attempt to protect the Turnbull government from criticism from its own citizens. Very broad definitions of national security, sabotage and espionage catch in their net demonstrations, sit-ins, whistleblowers and investigative journalists. All are liable to new fines or jail terms.”

It is nothing more than an attempt to wedge Labor using the most draconian legislation possible. An imperative leading up to, and into the upcoming campaigns is that national security be front of mind in the electorate. If that means scaring people, then so be it.

The Coalition – since 2013 – have brought in more security bills than they have had people charged under them. It believes national security is one of weaknesses. Personally, I would suggest that after 34 Newspoll losses it is one of the Coalition’s.

On the one hand if Turnbull were to win the three seats it is contesting he would most likely call a general election. Mind you, he would have to defy history to do it. On the other hand if he lost all three, his leadership would come into contention.

Conversely, if Labor were to lose both Braddon in Tasmania and Longman in Queensland then Shorten might find his leadership in a spot of bother with Albo sitting in the wings just waiting. Whatever happens, it will give us some insight into how the electorate is thinking.

My thought for the day

“The real enemy of neo conservative politics in Australia is not Labor or indeed democratic socialism. It is simply what Australians affectionately call. A fair go.”

Day to Day Politics: For a quiet week, there was a lot in it.

Saturday 16 June 2018

Introduction

This week ended much like the last: boringly quiet. The big event of course was the meeting of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. The Donald added to his personal embellishments of himself by describing himself as brave.

He seemed to create the impression that because he now likes the fellow he didn’t a few weeks ago, that peace is now inevitable. His self-adulation seems to have no end and it wouldn’t surprise if he declares himself God in the next few months.

But a road to peace is a good road to follow even if the instigator might be in his grave at the time the treaty is signed.

Locally, without surprise Brian Burston resigned from the red-headed party making it harder for the Coalition to secure the votes it requires to pass legislation.

On top of that with the Prime Minister declaring that he would be making an apology speech to the children who suffered abuse by Churches and other institutions on 22 October. My prediction of a September election looks rather forlorn.

My thought of the week

“You cannot expect that when you place people in a theatre of war to at the same time think that they will always act rationally.”

Comment of the Week 

Russell Green:

To avoid the misconception that the LNP are the better economic managers. This perception is, like all perceptions, the result of opinions expressed continuously i.e. PROPAGANDA. If there is one piece of legislation that I would pass if I could it would be that anything that is either printed, broadcast, narrowcast, published physically or on the Internet. It has to be backed by verifiable facts. If you can’t verify what you assert it can’t be said. I know this would have a profound effect on how the interactions between politicians, the media and the general public. It would, if nothing else, slow down the news cycle and that would be a very good outcome. It would allow for greater scrutiny and reflection of policy, claim and counter-claim.

It would indeed be novel if we the public had confidence in what we are being told instead of being bombarded with statements, whose veracity, we have very little chance of verifying for ourselves.

Democracy has not been well served by the current arrangements, which of course is what those that has the most to gain, do so well!

The Scandal Sheet

1  Strong economic growth but no trickle down. More like tickle down.

2  Is Victoria headed for another extended drought.

3  Why is there any need to cut taxes? Companies are making enormous profits.

4  Why isn’t Julia Gillard involved in the Apology to abused children function?

5  Last week Australia debt reached $568 billion and the Libs reckon they can manage money.

6  Listened to Craig Kelly on ABC24 last Saturday and I have to pose the question has he been guaranteed pre selection for his seat. Remembered he threatened to resign if he wasn’t.

7  The online survey of 2026 Australian news consumers found 41% say they tend to think very carefully about expressing their political beliefs openly on the Internet because it could get them in trouble with authorities. 45% worry it could change the way their family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances could think about them.


On this day in 2015

John Lord wrote:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott was certainly out and about yesterday. He described wind farms as “visually awful and a danger to people’s health. Of course there is no scientific evidence to say people’s health is affected and no doubt he finds the sight of coal stations spewing their filth more aesthetically pleasing.
A study conducted by the government’s own National Health and Medical Research Council recently found that there is no “consistent evidence” that wind farms damage human health.
On top of that he wishes a RET had never been implemented. His ignorance of the way the world is headed in terms of renewable energy is breathtaking in its arrogance.

His newfound frankness contradicts claims he and his ministers made before and after the election about how committed they were to renewable energy.

The Poll Bludger 

52.1 / 47.9 Labor in front.

Two new polls this week, a particularly strong one for Labor from Essential Research and a stable one from ReachTEL, produce a 0.4% shift to Labor on this week’s reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate. Labor gains two on the seat projection, those being in Victoria and Western Australia. Essential provided a new seat of leadership ratings, and these conformed with the existing impression of an upswing in personal support for Malcolm Turnbull that has so far done little to improve his party’s voting intention.

Top Tweets of the week

1 ™ = Σταυρoς©Bill Shorten spoke from the heart today about the apology to child sex abuse victims. He called for former PM Julia Gillard to be included when the apology is made. HEAR! HEAR!

On the other hand, our current PM Turnbull read from notes when announcing the apology.

2 Tom in Oz:

Shorten has: 1 – genuine conviction 2 – sense of humour 3 – ability to relate to ordinary folk 4 – can do attitude 5 – ability to explain policy.

Turnbull has: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – empty promises

3 Dave Donavan:

Twiggy Forrest is going to build a new LNG import terminal in NSW. Apparently, we have a shortage of gas on the East Coast now. Could that be because we export almost all of it? Well-done Malcolm!

4 Lynlinking:

PM’s lack of care evident Mr Turnbull should take his own advice. The last time the Prime Minister was in the Northern Territory was September. Even then, he attended only CLP functions — he was here in his role as party leader, not as prime minister.

Best read of the week

Malcolm Turnbull and ‘the $100 Billion Porker’ by Michael Griffin.

“Despite his semblance of training in economics at NSW University, albeit in economic geography, Treasurer Morrison seems to have underestimated the cost of his government’s proposed personal tax cuts to the bottom line of the budget over the medium term by nearly $100 billion.“

Tim’s titbits

Shorten did well last night on Q&A although mostly speaking to progressive voters. But made his points well.

Women tend to represent marginal seats. The safer the seat the more likely it is to be represented by a male. Generally speaking but there have been exceptions on both sides.

Richo said the libs had to change to Turnbull. Abbott was leading them to defeat.

Richo said he had to help knife Hawke.  It was the only way to give labor a chance. That was correct.  Hawke would have lost the next election.

5 Makes more sense for AEC to receive and distribute political donations.  They would ensure.  Real-time disclosure.

6  Poll bludger is saying LNP vote in Longman at the election was 49 per cent 2pp. Subtract 5 per cent. Which is the size of the anti LNP swing in Qld. You get 44 per cent 2pp. So no hope of winning that by-election. But as a friend said polling shows libs leading in Braddon and Longman.

7  Attorney general said he supports change to make it compulsory for priests to disclose abuse heard in the confessional.

Article about get up. It should be listed as a political party really. There should be a right-wing one for balance.

Ms sharkie is right. ABC. Journalists are afraid to speak out against the government for fear of losing funding. Funding should be restored.

10  That’s true re Bob Ellis – accused of pedophilia. Do have to be careful making serious allegations against dead people. Who can’t defend themselves?

11  Malcolm Turnbull has reaffirmed his belief that Robert Menzies saw the Liberal Party as centrist and progressive, and that his government has been faithful to this tradition.

12  Pm will deliver an apology to child sexual abuse victims on 22 October. Means election likely next year now.

13  Our economic growth is a bit over 3 per cent.  More than the OEDC. UK. USA.

My clown of the week

The President of the United States of America for displaying a naivety beyond belief.

 My thought for the day

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our own health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet?”

Day to Day Politics: ‘Electricity Bill’ was electrifying with a very bright spark.

Thursday 14 June 2018

It’s strange how we humans judge each other. We seem to attach ourselves to others or teams of others all with varying qualifications, distinctions and virtue.

We lock ourselves into groups for various reasons be it sporting teams, spiritual leaning or political parties.

“No man is an island” did I hear you say?

Is it just plain bias, the need to be on the winning side, or many others?

Take for example, politics. People seem to adhere themselves to two major parties with an increasingly large proportion of misfits in the middle.

When Tony Abbott became Leader of the Opposition in 2009 he became an exception to the rule of how Opposition Leaders behave. The media called him the best opposition leader the country had ever seen.

How did he achieve it? Well, every day he called the Prime Minister Julia Gillard a liar. He visited, almost daily, any manner of industrial plants and told with gross exaggeration so many lies, with so much force of personality that he became known as Dr NO.

Conversely, Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister after espousing a personality that charmed people. With voice of velvet fog he spoke of purpose, manners in debate, sensibility and innovation. He believed in science, a republic, equality in marriage and a solution to climate change.

Abbott tried to bring the same negativity to his tenure as Prime Minister and was an agonizing failure. Turnbull proved to be, after ditching a persona of “Manor of the House” to become the greatest hypocrite of a politician the country has seen.

In view of my opening remarks this of course brings me to the question of why people are attracted to an allegiance of one but not others.

Bill Shorten of course lags behind Turnbull, despite the opinion I have just given about Turnbull, which I regard as factual and fair. Shorten is probably the most unpopular Leader of the Opposition ever.

“Why is it so?” asked the professor. His crimes of personality trait are on a par with Abbott and Turnbull. He has been involved in the dismissal two Prime Ministers. He has given evidence before a Royal Commission over corruption deals and found not guilty on all counts. He is accused of giving AWU Union money to GetUp! without permission and of other Union matters pertaining to wages.

On this basis he is more unpopular than a Prime Minister who conned the people into believing he was somebody he wasn’t. In Shorten’s favor is the fact that he has never tried to be anything other than what he is: a well-educated Union Man.

I admit to having reservations about him for a long period of time but on Monday night’s Q&A I saw a more mature Bill Shorten. One who with the passing of time has become acquainted with the reality that it is really possible that he will become Prime Minister at the next election.

His performance was one of a highly skilled media performer who was on top of all the subjects, having it all down pat, as if he were talking to each questioner, personally. Prime ministerial if you like.

This must be the “Town Hall” Bill they speak of, casual and relaxed. Seriously fair dinkum handling tough questions like Turnbull promised but has never delivered.

Those at home would have seen not the leader they had formed an opinion about but one who in a Town Hall format was gracious in manner and succinct with answers. He listened to and answered questions like this with aplomb:

“Your unique use of zing, dad jokes and eccentric metaphors,” the questioner said, “despite opinion polls suggesting you’re likely to win the next election the same polls indicate you’re one of the most unpopular politicians in our country. “Do you worry that these zingers and the Coalition’s ‘Kill Bill’ strategy represent you as an untrustworthy and shifty character, and undermining your suitability as a potential PM?”

Shorten replied:

“They say to be PM of Australia you’ve got to have a thick skin. The Opposition Leader’s job is good training for it,” he added.

“I tell you what the polls tell me if you want to obsess about them: any Saturday for the last two years we would have won the election. Of course obviously there hasn’t been an election held. So I take them all with a grain of salt.”

Speaking to a captive audience of roughly evenly divided people who had firm opinions about him when they walked in I wondered how many might have changed their view after hearing him talk about basic wages, unemployment, apprenticeships, housing affordability, negative gearing, aged care, and power bills, and using economic fairness to make his points. Then he turned on the Turnbull Government’s association with big business and the big banks.

“This is more fair dinkum to me than half the rubbish we carry on with in Parliament,” he uttered as the curtain fell on a very revealing Q&A.

My thought for the day

“It is obvious that Question Time in the Australian Parliament is just an excuse for mediocre minds who are unable to debate with intellect, charm or wit, to act deplorably toward each other. And in doing so debase the parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals. Question time should be the showcase of the parliament and badly needs an independent speaker.”

Scroll Up