Shifting sands in the Galilee Basin

Wondering what’s happening with Adani?Well there have been a few developments of…

Playing Politics with tax doesn't Help Anybody !

Why do you think that the coalition always couch their legislative program…

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

Wednesday 20 June 2017Understanding the conservative's desire to eliminate a state-owned broadcaster…

The government ignores the value of the ABC

It took the offer of a Chinese company to bring better telecommunications…

Rocking the G7: Trump Stomps His Allies

Disruption, disturbance, eruption, the words crowning the presidency of Donald J. Trump,…

Day to Day Politics: Two weeks of mayhem.

Tuesday 19 June 2018After further consideration and another clue I am prepared…

The perils of popularism

This week we originally were going to be discussing Pauline Hanson’s One…

Cutting High Functioning Autism Funding Re: NDIS

By Jane SalmonThe person who allegedly killed Euridyce Dixon has been said…

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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.

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.”

Day to Day Politics: Was there ever a greater fool?

Wednesday 13 June 2018

1 ‘Wam’ who frequently comments on my posts, asks:

“Your strength of purpose is strong, Mr lord, still nothing on Singapore or G8, oops no Russia yet, G7?”

Well, I shall keep this brief. Every picture tells a story.

Any number of captions could suitably tell this story. These are mine.

“Was there ever a greater fool that would denounce the collective minds of the world’s leaders as being inferior to his?”

Before Donald J Trump was elected I had a piece reblogged on the US site “Crooks and Liars”. I wasn’t very complimentary.

Here are just a few snippets from my essay:

“So emphatically poor of political morality is the U.S. now that there is a distinct possibility that an ill of mind billionaire entertainer in Donald Trump might trump a second grade movie actor to become the next president.

How a man of such ill repute, threatened by two countries to be disallowed entry, could even be nominated beggars belief. It even questions the sanity of those who would contemplate his election.

To think that the Republican Party could ever consider a megalomaniac like Trump as a nominee to run for the Presidency illustrates just how low the GOP have fallen.

If character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of life, governing moral choices and personal and professional conduct. Donald Trump is devoid of it. He is nothing more than a walking talking headline for all that’s unscrupulous about American politics.

Character is also an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of a presidential campaign. His transparency is there for all to see. We sit before our televisions and watch his antics and ponder at the gullibility of the American people and say …

From Down Under we see a sick deluded man of no redeeming features, full of racial hatred, bile and misogyny. A deluded pathetic liar unsuitable for the highest office in the land, if not the world. He sees complex problems and impregnates them with populism and implausible black and white solutions.

He is a person of limited intellect and understanding only capable of seeing the world through the prism of his own wealth. The far edges of knowledge seem to have passed him by. Matters requiring deep philosophical consideration seem beyond him.

His opinions on subjects of internal and international importance are so shallow that one would think he spent the entirety of his youth in the wading pool at the local swimming pool, or six years in grade 6 and never academically advanced.

He is a crash through politician with a ubiquitous mouth. Trump remains an incoherent mess who bounces back after each disaster thinking he has been impressive while those around him are laughing their heads off. Entertaining in a uniquely American way he might be to the hillbillies but leadership requires worldly character.

Is America to have, an ignoramus of first world order, as President?

It might be said that my description of Trump has descended into what Americans call hyperbole.

If I have, I make no apologies.”

It therefore follows that my opinion of Trump’s rather theatrical performance at the G7 is much the same as the aforementioned description of him. It seemed the only reason for his attendance was to head the cast while the other performers were intent on putting together a decent show.

Change in world affairs takes much time, great delegacy, immense patience and above all supreme leadership. Nothing can be achieved without a change in the hearts and minds of men.

Do we think China came into the family of nations in the last five minutes? No, it has taken forty years or more.

My thought for the day

“What the world needs is less nationalism and more internationalism.”

Day to Day Politics: Economics is about perception, not what is, but what we perceive it to be.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

The electorate has always believed that the Liberal Party are better managers of the economy. That it is a myth, is unimportant. “Life is about perception, not what is but what we perceive it to be.”

Pensioners will always vote for the Coalition even though the right of politics couldn’t give a stuff about them. The perception is that they offer security in old age.

The Coalition will be hoping that the next election will be fought on the economy, which they have historically seen as their strong suit. Although it is a myth they are right in doing so. “Life is about perception, not what is but what we perceive it to be.”

What is different as we move toward the next election, is that the perception has become more understandable. There are answers to claims of superior economic management.

This has always been so you might argue but I would counter with the fact that the punters are now more aware. Even the pensioners know they are not getting a fair go.

The voice of unfairness has risen and is declaring its share of the country’s wealth.

Why should the rich get richer off the back of the worker? Why isn’t there a more equitable distribution of the country’s wealth?

I believe this voice has been rising for some time. The people now have a clear definition of just what “drip down economics” and “Neoliberalism” is and how it makes the rich richer and the poor, poorer.

In the past, the “born to rule”mentality of conservatives had emboldened them into believing that just being in power resolves the issues. It won’t this time. Again, the punter can see that having a bunch of entitled politicians has not advanced the nation one iota.

In fact, in many areas, we have gone backwards.

The concept of equality of opportunity has, like fairness, entered the intellects of the people. They now consider better services might be obtained from a fairer/ better tax system and that equality of opportunity isn’t just a three-word slogan.

An observation

“Labour is prior to and independent of, Capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” – Abe Lincoln.

I read yesterday in The Australian (firewalled); Ross Fitzgerald said he has been following Australian elections for 40 years. Beginning to think the coalition will win. Better the devil you know mindset. Turnbull is disliked. But Shorten is feared.”

I could easily counter that by asking if he were that feared “how come he almost won the last election?”

It is with simple efficiency of words that Labor can counter the Coalitions self-anointed “better managers of the economy” title.

So, let’s pretend we are in the midst of an election campaign and the subject is the economy.

For obvious reasons we can only speak of what we know. What we don’t we will have to leave unknown. Fair enough.

A We will always be better managers of the economy and you will have more surpluses under a Coalition Government.

Since 1945, significant budget surpluses have been achieved only rarely: once by Ben Chifley, three times by Bob Hawke, and eight times by John Howard, who shared another with Rudd, who was elected during the 2007-08 fiscal year. That is, the Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments managed only a few, small surpluses. So much for the claim about the Coalition’s Fiscal management.

And the surpluses by Howard came from an unprecedented, never to be repeated mining boom and the sale of public assets. So let’s keep it in perspective.

By the way, the current budget is now $532 billion in debt and the interest is about $18 billion pa. Which is a record far worse than Labor’s ever was.

Company profits are up.

Yes, they are with the help of the workforce. But where is the trickle down effect you speak of? How much time does it need to seep through? We are not looking for a flood.

Strong economic growth.

Yes, that’s true but again it’s the worker who is making it possible and China of course. Without their buying of our commodities, we would be stuffed. Out in the real world, the worker is doing it tough because of your policies that hold wages down. What are you doing about it?

It’s only 12 months ago that you were saying. We have a spending problemnot a revenue problem. An inflow of revenue prior to the budget was welcomed with open arms. What do you mean exactly?

Labor is to blame for everything.

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.

Employment is strong. We are producing record jobs numbers.

Yes, that’s commendable but we are just marching up and down on the one spot. Last I looked, for every job available 19 people wanted it. Fewer full-time jobs are being created and those with jobs want more work. Really we are only creating jobs for those who immigrate. Yes, that’s a good thing but what about the others.

F We are giving Tax cuts in the form of 500 dollars cash in your hand before the next election. Will that apply every election as under John Howard.

But Labor is offering twice that. Why don’t you match it?

And in order to build a better economy we are offering large tax cuts to the Multi-Nationals including the banks. And I might add to those who pay no tax at all.

Are you serious? You mean you are giving tax cuts to companies who are making record profits, to banks who treat their customers with gross unfairness, and to those who don’t pay any tax. You must be kidding, right. Fair dinkum. Giving tax cuts to people who should be in jail. You cannot be serious. How unfair can you be? What about the ordinary worker. What’s in it for them? If it’s all so honky dory why the tax cuts in the first place?

Of course, this isn’t the complete picture and each party will have more to add during an election. My assumption is that yes, the economy is on the improve, but it’s not because of anything the government has done, legislated or promoted. Therefore, arguing against every perceived positive statement is relatively simple.

My thought for the day

“The left of politics is concerned with people who cannot help themselves. The right is concerned with those who can.”

Day to Day Politics: Something very weird about last week

Monday June 11 2018

There was something very odd about last week. It had an eery quietness about it that was disturbing. “Politicians this quiet!”, I thought to myself. Then I thought it might have been the fact that the Coalition had a week without a scandal of sorts. An oddity in itself.

That it went by without as much as a comment was surprising. It was worthy of a headline at least. Then it hit me with all the hostile silence of a calm before the storm.

It had the air of election about it. No I don’t mean the five July by-elections. This was definitely the odor of the big one.

I was sensing a firming up of a September election. A date that I have been predicting for six months or more. It just had that suggestion of spring in the political atmosphere.

Then I stumbled upon a piece by Mark Kenny in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald that sort of confirmed my rather glib feelings. “Sooner the better,” I thought to myself as the slightest feeling of sanguinity swept through me.

According to Kenny, or rather, sources confirm (how I dislike that phrase), that the:

“Opposition has recently stepped up its internal processes for completing policy documents, finalising candidates, and mapping out its media buys.”

An observation

“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 very democracy that enables it to exist.”

My take on it is that besides September the longer Turnbull waits the less advantageous are his choices of surprise.

If the Coalition were to improve their vote, even win one or more of the Labor held Super Saturday seats then it is more than likely that Turnbull would take a ride to Yarralumla.

It would of course mean that the good voters of Mayo (SA), Longman (Qld), Braddon (Tas), Perth (WA), and Fremantle (WA) would go back to the ballot box in after just having voted two months previously leaving Turnbull to answer the question of why the elections could not have been held concurrently.

Whilst it would mean a double back flip with pike by Turnbull the angst would be short lived.

The unnamed sources that Kenny subscribes too also suggest that the economics are turning back to the Coalition:

“Economic growth of 1 per cent last quarter putting growth over the year to March at 3.1 per cent – well ahead of the 2.75 per cent budget prediction, was the government’s best news since its near-death 2016 win. Allied with record jobs growth and rising company profits, the expanding economy reinforces the Coalition’s “jobs and growth” message.”

It is this part of Kenny’s assessment that I take exception with. It well maybe that the Government now has a viable economic message to put to the people but it is one to which the opposition has a counter argument at every turn. One that I will argue in tomorrow’s Day to Day.

My thought for the Day

“Just because we are governed by clowns it doesn’t mean we have to laugh.”

Day to Day Politics: We badly need a change in government

Saturday 9 June 2018

We are in a post “World financial crisis” period where people have come to realise that it was greed and lack of regulation that caused years of suffering from recession, country to country.

Australia didn’t suffer as much because our government with foresight acted quickly. Only today with recovery imminent do conservative politicians dare mention the GFC. When at its most destructive they said it never existed.

Nevertheless, good things are starting to happen. Economies are picking up and employment is getting better. However, we have been left with a set of problems that are not solvable with traditional conservative economic remedies.

Before moving on we should at first visit our economic boom under the Howard/Costello Governments. Richard Dennis in the latest “Quarterly Essay” has a lot to say on this subject.

“Australia just experienced one of the biggest mining booms in world history. But even at the peak of that boom, there was no talk of the wonderful opportunity we finally had to invest in world-class mental health or domestic violence crisis services.”

 “Nor was there much talk from either major party about how the wealth of the mining boom gave us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in remote Indigenous communities. Nope, the peak of the mining boom was not the time to help those who had missed out in decades past, but the Howard government thought it was a great time to introduce permanent tax cuts for high-income earners. These, of course, are the tax cuts that caused the budget deficits we have today.”

 “Australia isn’t poor; it is rich beyond the imagining of anyone living in the 1970s or 80s. But so much of that new wealth has been vacuumed up by a few, and so little of that new wealth has been paid in tax, that the public has been convinced that ours is a country struggling to pay its bills.

Convincing Australians that our nation is poor and that our governments “can’t afford” to provide the level of services they provided in the past has not just helped to lower our expectations of our public services and infrastructure, it has helped to lower our expectations of democracy itself. A public school in Sydney has had to ban kids from running in the playground because it was so overcrowded. Trains have become so crowded at peak hours that many people, especially the frail and the disabled, are reluctant to use them. And those who have lost their jobs now wait for hours on the phone when they reach out to Centrelink for help.”

 

In essence Dennis is painting a picture of how different Australia might be now had the riches from the boom been spent on infrastructure and services like health and education instead of spending it on tax cuts to secure peoples votes at the next election.

The Neo-Conservatives of today have failed to catch onto the fact that those in the real world are in the early stages of revolt. Even those who benefited from Howard’s tax cuts have come to realise the injustice of it all. That Australia, for all its wealth and riches, was looking after the rich and privileged and that it’s those very same people they intend to reward again with the money of the less fortunate.

Richard Dennis again:

“Although people with low expectations are easier to con, fomenting cynicism about democracy comes at a long-term cost. Indeed, as the current crop of politicians is beginning to discover, people with low expectations feel they have nothing to lose. 

As more and more people live with the poverty and job insecurity that flow directly from neoliberal welfare and industrial relations policies, the scare campaigns run so successfully by the likes of the Business Council of Australia have lost their sting. Scary stories about the economy become like car alarms: once they attracted attention, but now they simply annoy those forced to listen.’

 

The reason I’m writing all this is because conservative governments have broken so much of the fabric of our society, destroying our democracy along the way while neglecting how humanity functions. It needs fixing, and it needs to be done quickly.

The ethics of health care often lags behind the benefits of technological advancement because it encroaches on old religious beliefs or mysticism. Rapid change brings with it the need for new rules and regulation that question traditional values and concepts.

So, I ask myself which of the major political parties is more qualified to embrace change, implement it, and legislate it. And do so with the common good as a guiding principle.

By scrutinising the historic social reforms of both of Australia’s major parties and comparing them we can determine who is best qualified to take us through this ongoing period of change and the political, social and economic reforms necessary.

The left side of Australian politics has implemented the following reforms or policies that have directly contributed to change for the better:

A National Health Scheme, a National Disability scheme, compulsory superannuation, a National Broadband Network, Paid Parental leave, major educational reforms, a price on carbon, equal pay for women, the Aged Pension, Mabo and the Apology, and of course the Hawke – Keating major economic reforms that have given the country 24 years of continuous growth.

It has never been afraid of change.

The right side of politics has implemented the following:

The Howard gun buy back, the GST that benefitted the rich, an increase in immigration after the Second World War and Harold Holt introduced a bi-partisan referendum that gave indigenous people the right to vote in 1967.

And there I have to stop. The Liberal Party website sets out a comprehensive list of “Achievements in Government” and they are achievements as opposed to major policy reforms.

In a world where science, technology and the availability of information progresses so quickly change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making, with its own inevitability.

Conservatives oppose change and are wary of science and intellectualism, as was demonstrated by the Abbott Government.

They seem locked in a world that no longer exists without any comprehension of how much the world has progressed. Remember Abbott wanted to destroy the internet.

They believe in traditional values (whatever they are) without recognising the historical elasticity of society. That change is inevitable. We are governed by rules and regulations. It is the only way change can be civilised and cohesive.

Leaving individuals to pursue their goals without the infrastructure society provides and allowing Capitalism to go on unregulated can only lead to disaster. A society that has change for the common good at its heart can only be attained with conventions, guidelines, systems, laws, policies, instructions and procedures.

Whilst the central argument of conservative philosophy empathies, and overtly supports the rights of the individual it can never initiate the reformist zeal for change like the left.

I have concluded that a society facing the changes confronting us can only achieve worthwhile change under the umbrella of a social democratic philosophy.

An ideology that believes in equality of opportunity, an equitable share of the country’s wealth, individual rights and liberties within a societal framework that guarantees that no one left in need. Where government solves the problems of change with the participation of all that have a vested interest in it.

Change that only serves the secular interests of the rich and privileged is change doomed to fail. Every facet of society including the democratic process needs constant and thoughtful renewal and change. Otherwise we become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see better ways of doing things.

My thought for the day

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

Day to Day Politics: Ad hoc news of the week.

Friday 8 June 2018

If you have been wondering where I have been the last few days the truth of it is that I got lost in the words of a couple of my quotations. I have been writing them and hopefully living by them most of my adult life.

“You cannot always change what happens to you. Often you have no control over it. What you do have control over is the way in which you respond.”

Responding to this one took some time but eventually I broke through. Anyway, it’s better than taking pills.

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

Resolving issues takes time and these are still a work in progress but at least I have put fingers to keys and the words still grow. Just needed a little water.

Anyway, given that time has been against me today I thought I would make some ad hoc comments about current affairs in our beloved world of politics and culture, and invite you to comment or discuss them.

1 Figures show that our economic growth reached 3% for the March quarter and the Treasurer is bragging that it is the Government’s doing. However, if you look more closely you will see that the 3% is almost wholly attributable to the commodities China purchased from us.

Our economic performance is solely on the back of China’s continuing growth. Can it continue? No one knows.

An observation

“The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages … It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom or our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile” (Robert Kennedy 1968).

An economy dependent on one nation’s purchases is not a very stable one.

2 Of course political donations from other countries should be banned and the internal ones should be revealed in real time. It’s common sense and defeats corruption. So what’s stopping the implementation?

3 Apparently four of those accused of being dual citizens spent a cool million dollars on travel expenses over the past 6 months. Seemingly they weren’t ineligible until the High Court said so. But that’s really flying high.

4 One Nation is down to 2 seats now. Are they finished?

Now six party figures have fallen out with Senator Hanson.

Quality of leadership is so vitality important. If you think you own the Party then the others in the end will reject you.

Or it could be argued that if elected as a party representative you should stay with that party for the duration of the term.

Not sure I agree with that.

5 The Government has members of the IPA in its ranks including Fifield, whose only aim is to demolish the ABC. He should declare his hand or step down. At the moment it’s the tabloids, the IPA, the Government and shock jocks versus the ABC.

6 Because I write about these things I thought I should watch the family of the century interview. What a non-event it must have been for the blue rinse set that loves a bit of tittle-tattle over the back fence.

There were no questions about the Christening, circumcision, what best private school, travel expenses or costs. And not a bit about where to send the blue knitted blankets. Oh, and not a word about Barnaby contesting the seat of New England after what was a train wreck interview.

7 A thought: We are desensitised now. We read these articles and feel weary. We struggle to comprehend why these elected representatives behave so unethically and immorally as we race out the door to catch the train to our casual jobs.

8 One thing overlooked this week was the fortnightly Essential Poll that showed a big lift in the Labor vote. It sometimes seems like the only Poll that matters is Newspoll:

“Labor roars back in the latest Essential poll, despite a slump in Bill Shortens personal ratings.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll sharply reverses a recent trend away from Labor, who are back to leading 54-46 on two-party preferred after their lead fell to 51-49 in the previous poll. This is apparently driven by a four-point drop in the Coalition primary vote, but as usual we will have to wait until later today for the full numbers. However, it’s a curiously different story on leadership ratings, on which Malcolm Turnbull gains two on approval since last month to reach 42% while remaining steady on 42% disapproval, while Bill Shorten is down four to 33% and up five to 46%. Turnbull’s lead over Shorten as preferred prime minister is unchanged, shifting from 40-26 to 41-27. Like ReachTEL and unlike Newspoll, Essential has posed a straightforward question on company tax cuts that finds approval and disapproval tied on 37%. The poll also finds 68% support for an increase in Newstart.”

My thought for the day

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

Day to Day Politics: For adults only

Saturday 2 June 2018

Introduction

Terence Mills
May 29, 2018, at 9:46 am

Bernard Keane from Crikey sums up Barnaby Joyce: 

Barnaby Joyce has always been effective at exploiting the media. He had a product that they lapped up: a confected authenticity; the accountant and Riverview alumnus posed as a salt of the earth, true blue old-style Nat, complete with Bjelke-esque gabble. Journalists loved the maverick pose and then when he surrendered that in a quest for the leadership of his party, they loved his plain speakingand his readiness to offer a quote on anything. Joyce became the front bar monarch reigning with a schooner instead of a sceptre in the local pub. He was good copy, and he knew it. He and the media existed in a perfect symbiotic relationship.

That Joyce was entirely without substance, a man of poor judgement, a man given to the making extraordinarily damaging statements off the top of his head, a believer in kooky conspiracy theories, rubbish science and half-arsed economic ideas, never troubled the media. Few questioned his rise to the deputy prime ministership; few wondered how good an idea it was that a man of such apparently limited intellect and little to no common sense should be a key figure in cabinet. Best retail politician in the countrywe were told, a bloke who could channel rural Australia like one of those overpriced, taxpayer-funded irrigation channels Joyce got for his irrigator mates channelled water.

John Millar

Most people claim to be looking forward to their day in court so they can clear their name..Cash is seemingly aware of the penalties for lying under oath and that her day in court will do everything BUT clear her name. It is already manifestly clear that she repeatedly misled parliament, normally a sackable offence by itself. And using taxpayer funds to defend her unlawfully appointed ABCC chief is unjustifiable in any pub.

That Greg Hunt, like others in cabinet, has not been sacked is but a reflection of the lack of power the Prime Minister has. How Ministerial standards have deteriorated since John Howard came to power.

Controversies

John Lord

Planning a celebration. Taking my wife out for lunch. Good food, a bottle of Merlot.
Good government starts today. We are just so happy.

Paul Bongiorno

We are a sad country when we think indefinitely detaining innocent refugees and their families is a vote winner. Sick, disgusting and immoral.

On Adani

The Turnbull Government has found another way to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into the project.

They plan to use government credit agency EFIC to pump the project full of money via the backdoor, handing over huge sums to Adani’s subcontractors.

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Dont wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope. #HelpOthers

Barnaby Joyce is to receive $150.000 for a silly sordid interview about his moral weakness yet victims of sodomy and child rape are to get the same amount under the redress scheme. Work that out.

Malcolm Farr

It’s always fascinating to hear a debate between Hanson and Mathias Cormann, two people for whom English is a second language.

Barry Tucker

Barnaby Joyce has joined the call for the fed govt’s acquisition of Liddell power station in order to re-sell it to Alinta.

Barnaby says the power station must be used for its intended purpose — which was to burn coal.

Yet another crisis. As I said last week, they come with Trumpish frequency.

Kelly O’Dwyer

After the decision to have the citizenship by-elections on the same day Labors National Conference you could hardly describe the Speaker as independent.

Did Bill Shorten give 100,000 dollars to Get Up without authority from the AWU Union?

We are desensitised now. We read these articles and feel weary. We struggle to comprehend why these elected representatives behave so unethically and immorally as we race out the door to catch the train to our casual job.

The Poll Bludger

Top Tweets of the week

Lloyd Bakeley

The softly spoken Greg Hunt, just another nasty Tory Tosser…that is how they speak to one another privately about Wimmin. #got #caught #out #slime #bag

Barnaby Joyce 7/2/18

And so it’s a private matter and I don’t think it helps me. I don’t think it helps my family. I don’t think it helps anybody in the future to start making this part of a sort of a public discussion. So, as much as I can, I will keep private matters private.

Lynlinking

Craig Kelly to cause trouble if Libs dump him.

The Australian

Liberal MP Craig Kelly has threatened to quit the government and be an outspoken crossbencher if he is rolled as the party’s candidate for the federal electorate …

Bill Shorten

This is a must-watch. Turnbull is cutting the pension and forcing people to work until they are 70. Just so he can give big business and banks an $80 billion tax handout. So out of touch.

Best read of the week

A comment by Miriam English on my post “Fairdinkum what a mess we’re in

On the other hand, many cities in USA are moving in the opposite direction, basically telling Trump and his hyper-religious morons to go screw themselves. They are opting for low energy programs and granting immigrants safety. There is a change around the world, where the mayors of cities meet to discuss how they can benefit their citizens and improve life in their cities.

People all over the planet are getting fed up with political and religious extremists. The extremists seem to be unaware that theyre generating a strong movement against themselves.

Yes, inequality is rising unchecked, but anger against those who are obscenely wealthy is mounting, and there will be a reckoning. I hope it will be non-violent, in the form of crushingly strong progressive taxes against them. That will be needed to pay for the universal basic income (UBI), which I think will be necessary in the near future.

Extreme poverty and starvation are being eliminated at a rate never before seen in all history. The well-being of the worlds poorest is improving like never before and this is seeing population growth rates decline. The spread of the internet on cheap mobile phones and tablets ($50 from China) means education is spreading like never before too. The increasingly expensive educational institutions are becoming irrelevant as their qualifications are no longer much use anyway. We are starting to move to a kind of education where people learn simply because they are curious, instead of wanting mere certificates.

While politicians in Australia, USA, and a handful of countries lie about climate change and try to cripple the renewable energy revolution, it has nevertheless become an unstoppable tsunami. Coal has already lost; its advocates just dont know it yet. Wind and solar power are already the cheapest forms of power and the market is driving it despite our wrongheaded politiciansattempts to thwart it.

Cheap 3D printers are coming of age. Even though I live below the poverty level here in Australia, I bought one a while back, and have a much better one on order which includes a 3D laser scanner that lets me put an object on its platter and scan its shape into the computer, where I can modify the shape before printing it out if I wish.

I can publish my novels and artwork and computer programs on the internet for free and download thousands of other ebooks, audiobooks, music, videos, and computer programs for free or almost free. I already have 6 novels, 26 short stories, and 4 plays online and am working to finish 2 more novels right now. Weve never been able to do this before. How will creativity flower when we have billions of people doing this? It will be a new Renaissance.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting better at an astonishing rate. When it surpasses us in intelligence, as it is certain to do, we will be able to find solutions to our most pressing problems that currently defy us: How do we prevent corruption in politics? How do we fix the broken thinking that causes religion and other magical thinking? How do we build a space elevator? How do we have a net-zero-energy society while living luxurious lives? How do we stop, and reverse, the destruction of the other lives we share the planet with? How do we fix the climate change problem? How do we prevent people identifying with ideas (the main cause of polarisation and conflict), and instead help them simply be themselves?

There are terrible things happening at the moment, but also wonderful things.

Tim’s titbits

On this day 2 June 2016

On Tuesday 31 May 2016 the first debate of the election campaign between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Leader of the Opposition took place. What follows are my thoughts on it immediately after. Nothing has changed.

The individual can only answer the question of who won the ABC debate and it will depend on his or her particular allegiance to either party. To others with some objectivity, well they may see it as a draw. People from the left like me will score it to the Opposition Leader on the basis of him being more passionate.

My clown of the week

A few contestants this week. On Tuesday I must have had a moment of heightened telepathy when I included these four in my comments about the character of conservative politicians. So, Hunt swears at old ladies, Cash declines, to tell the truth, Hanson loses control of her emotions and her party and Barnaby needs time off to count $150.000.

After much consideration, my weekly award goes to the mild-mannered Minister for Health and lying, who gave a woman of some standing (a grandmother of 71 and Mayor no less) a stream of expletives and then took 6 months to apologise. On top of that, it seems he did the same to the former head of his department.

My thought for the day

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

Day to Day Politics: Fairdinkum, what a bloody mess we’re in

Friday 1 June 2018

I wanted to connect with you on a few things and see if you agree. Some people on the other side of the political spectrum have accused me of being overly negative toward the conservatives. As hard as I try I find it difficult to find anything positive to write about them.

In fact, I have always been of the view that as we approach the ballot box it is time to reflect on just how the incumbent government has improved the lot of its constituents. And I don’t mean by the addition of a swimming pool in the electorate in which you live.

Let’s take a worldview for the sake of this exercise because what happens elsewhere seems to affect us in one-way or another.

On June 1 in the year 2018 just where are we? What are we facing and what are governments of all persuasions doing to improve the lot of the world and its people?

The world economy by all accounts is improving but most of the world is still struggling to overcome the dramatic effects of the 2008 global financial crisis.

There is no doubt that inequality will be a problem for both those who have and those who have not into the future as we face an ever-increasing gap between rich and poor.

We are educating our young for jobs that won’t exist in 10-20 years time. Entire industries are disappearing; jobs are gone and will not be coming back. Robots and 3D printing will replace much of our existing employment.

Full-time work is becoming a thing of the past with underemployment escalating.

Retirement is soon to rise to 70 and pensions are shrinking.

Wages are at an all-time low and don’t look like moving upwards at any time soon, yet executive wages seem to have no ceiling.

People from all around the world seek to escape the persecution they experience in their homelands but face a similar persecution when they knock on the door of their neighbour.

Our children will be poorer than us. They won’t be able to live in our prohibitively expensive cities.

In spite of a move to increase educational standards our standard of education will not guarantee our kids a job. The wealthy and privileged will probably remain so and get even wealthier.

Equality of opportunity favours those with the ability to pay for an education.

The world around us is retreating from the toxicity of declining standards of leadership resulting in deteriorating democracies leading to a form of populism that exploits our worst instincts and feeds on fear. Living standards are beginning to fall.

Corruption has invaded every country not least our own and one of our major parties, the Liberal Party, reckons we don’t have a problem. You would have to be blind Freddy to reach that conclusion.

Our media and its position as the fourth estate has so declined that they are now reduced to opinion pieces that lack truth and investigative objective reporting has become a thing of the past.

Trust in our political system and politicians themselves are at an all-time low of just 13%.

A crazy man holds the future of the world’s environment in his hands. In fact, the passing of time has proven beyond doubt that the white house is a house for a psychopathic monster and the acolytes that follow him.

As the planet gets hotter, the seas rise, the same crazy man, the president of the world’s most powerful nation disavows climate science and says that climate change is a fake Chinese plot to steal American jobs.

Countries are stockpiling or developing nuclear weapons. The US, in the name of making America great again, is increasing spending on its military and China is flexing its military muscles.

And why is it so? It is because men have never really grown up. It seems that no matter where you look war games are being played. Morons of the highest order are acting out the hair-trigger game of war. Doom and gloom seem to be the order of the day. Wars and famine abound.

Whilst all this is happening our politicians seem intent on playing the game of power and self-interest.

It’s a question I keep asking myself. What has this Government been doing for the past five years? Indeed, what are their plans to address many of the things I have mentioned in the future?

Will they announce in an election campaign the plans they should have enacted when they were elected?

Am I overly concerned about the state of our democracy and those who govern?  Am I right to be anxious about the future of our grandchildren? I think so but you are at liberty to tell me otherwise.

My thought for the day.

”The state of the world raises the question. When did God die?”

Day to Day Politics: Cash must be hiding something. What did she know?

Thursday 31 May 2018

1 We can thank Malcolm Turnbull, for ridding his party, and the nation, of the combatant pugilist Abbott. He was rewarded for his effort with election winning polls and a personal popularity rating the envy of any celebrity. Initially, with a charismatic personality, he seduced and beguiled his way into the hearts of those who wanted nothing more than to see the back of Abbott and some who didn’t.

The punters welcomed, for the time being at least, his sense of reason, fairness, discretion and natural charm, even if these characteristics seemed out of place in a party so demonstrably right wing.

Along the way, he inherited a bunch of highly educated morons who despite the dozens of certificates that ordained their offices have proved to be complete imbeciles.

For whatever reason, they seem to attract those who are filled with a racist streak, a born to rule mentality, a lust for power, a blind religious zeal or a straight-out hatred of all things the opposite of conservatism.

People like Tony Abbott,Julie Bishop,Peter Dutton, Kelly Dwyer,Christopher Pyne, Josh, Freedenberg,Mitch Fifield, Barnaby Joyce,Concetta Fierravanti- Wells, Michael McCormack, Kevin Andrews and others all come across as somewhere between deranged, comical, nasty incompetent, childish, arrogant, or just plain ignorant. Each in their own way processes traits of these afflictions in their character.

The leader of these people, of course, has proven to be the most hypocritical leader the nation has ever had.

In this instance, however, I’m talking about Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash who has been ordered to give evidence in the Australian Workers Union (AWU) raids case.

Cash is a woman who, unfortunately for her, has a grating voice that seems to carry a tone of vindictiveness. Although well dressed it appears, as though the large chip she carries on her shoulders has compromised her deportment such is her over animation. Mind you this is not foreign to many of her colleagues.

So why would Senator Cash, if she has nothing to hide, instruct her lawyer to have the subpoena set aside so that she is not forced to give evidence.

The AFP raids were part of an investigation into whether Shorten gave an unauthorised amount of $100.000 to Get Up.

But the question also arises as to whether Senator Cash knew about the raids in advance. If she did then that clouds the issue quite considerably.

There is a lot more water to flow under the bridge on this one.

“The media adviser for the Fair Work Ombudsman, Mark Lee was also embroiled in the saga.

He was due to take up a position in Senator Cash’s office, which never happened after the leak allegations were aired.

Mr De Garish, Mr Lee and ROC official Christopher Enright have also been called to give evidence.

AWU national secretary Daniel Walton said the union still believed the raids and investigation were unlawful.

“We think it’s vital the court is assisted by the evidence of witnesses who we believe are relevant to the issues in the case. That is why we sought subpoenas,” Mr Walton said in a statement.

“If we are to understand exactly what happened then we believe the testimony of these individuals is critical.”

We can only conclude that if she knew about the raids and was forced in court to admit it then she would incriminate a lot of people and the case might be dismissed.

Big stakes being played for here but I suspect, like anything the AFP is involved in, it will just fade into oblivion.

2016 June Revisited

During the corresponding week of April, I wrote at length about the need for a Royal Commission into the financial sector. I think those who have so stridently opposed one underestimated public opinion on this one and are already into scare campaign mood. In reality, the banks are about as popular as politicians. Here are a couple of small examples of why one was needed.

If one is looking for reasons to justify a Royal Commission into banking here is a small but significant one. The cash rate is 2%. The bank card rate on credit is 21% or thereabouts. A 19% differential.

Here is another. Why is it, if you try to get a $10k personal loan unsecured at around 8% you have a 50/50 chance of being knocked back, but banks can’t give you a $10k credit card at 20% quick enough?

Here are some bigger ones.

The fact is that on the evidence thus far our major banks are probably (should I use the word allegedly) guilty of insurance fraud, rate fixing and dodgy financial planning practices. They have no conscience when it comes to profit.

The objection to a Royal Commission brings into focus just what sort of a democracy we are, or want to be. Are we one where the people are represented by the government of the day or some sort of corporatocracy where the government is just a political appendage of large corporations?

2016 June Revisited

Waleed Aly wrote an interesting article this week in which he used a metaphor “The planets are beginning to fall into place for Labor” to explain how the growing discomfort with societal inequality in its many forms was giving Labor a narrative to really differentiate itself with the conservatives.

They ranged from the willful horror of Trump to the rights defence of the banking sector, into the unfairness of the Coalitions monetary policy, the fact that major companies and individuals don’t pay tax and the Panama papers. Notwithstanding the fact that the rich are becoming disproportionally wealthier year by year.

2016 June Revisited

I have written on this subject on this blog before about inequality previously.

Aly is correct though. Both in Australia and overseas there is an acceptance that big business and right-wing governments are cheating. That government is not representing the ordinary citizen rights. The opposite is true.

Governments are representing the interests of the privileged, the rich and big business. Labor has a chance to get back to its grassroots and represent the common good of the people. I hope they grasp it.

My thought for the day

 “We must have the courage to ask of our young that they should go beyond desire and aspiration and accomplish not the trivial but greatness. That they should not allow the morality they have inherited from good folk to be corrupted by the immorality of evil minds”

PS My worst fears came to fruition. Yes, I am regretfully sorry to inform you that Barnaby Joyce is Prime Minister.

Day to Day Politics: The Murdoch machine has started its right wing crusade

Wednesday 30 May 2018

In recent weeks, once it became apparent that an election was imminent, the Murdoch Media ramped up its attack on the left of politics. The Australian newspaper changed the way their polls counted preferences so as to give the impression they were closer than they actually were.

In reality, Monday’s results should have shown a 6 point difference between the parties. The tabloids have started their outrageous front page insults sowing the seeds of untruth followed by inaccurate stories like the one that accompanied The Australians poll.

The independent poll assessor “The Poll Bludger” had this to say:

“Also featured is a poorly framed question as to “when should company tax cuts be introduced”, which primes responses favourable to cuts both in the wording of the question and the structure of the response options, two out of three of which are pro-tax cut. For what they are worth, the results are that 36% favour such a cut “as soon as possible”, 27% do so “in stages over the next ten years” and, contrary to polls that haven’t privileged a positive response in this way, only 29% want one “not at all”.

Of course, The Australian is Rupert Murdoch’s favourite broadsheet. It loses around $20 million every year but Murdoch refuses to give it a decent burial, instead, using it as a feeder publication for the likes of Jones, Bolt and Hadley and other shock jocks of dubious accountability.

Shock jocks who shout the most outrageous lies and vilify people’s character with impunity and in the process do nothing to promote decent democratic illumination.

The Australian online edition is full of anti-ALP headlines that at times beggar belief. One example is their support for the Government’s massive tax cuts for the top end of town. One day recently I counted 10 headlines either supporting the government or attacking Labor.

In every publication, derogatory names for the Leader of the Opposition are used more often than “stop the boats.” Because of there juvenile nature none have captured the imagination of the public. Now they are having another go with “Unbelieva-Bill.” Unbelievable isn’t it.

Of course, these days Murdoch and his majority-owned newspapers; with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary, he has damaged it, perhaps irreparably. His only interest seems to be the elimination of the ABC and the superiority of right wing conservatism.

Declining newspaper sales have resulted in lost revenue and profits. It is losing its authority, real or imagined. As a result, newspapers, in particular, have degenerated into gutter political trash in the hope that they might survive.

Despite an avalanche of “deplorable government” stories Murdoch continues to support Turnbull. There is no logical reason to do so. He could just as easily print/post the truth.

As for Coalition politicians they lust after the nearest mike to spread their lies and blame Labor for all that ails society. Yes despite 6 years in power they press the default button and sprinkle well-rehearsed words that place the blame for everything on Labor.

My thought for the day

”This Government’s performance over its time in office has been like a daily shower of offensiveness raining down on society.”

 

Day to Day Politics: Barnaby Rejoycing-$150,000 for political gutter gossip

Tuesday 29 May 2018

There are no laws that would prevent Barnaby Joyce from sharing a bit of prime gossip, or gutter talk depending on your upbringing. If it weren’t for the money he probably wouldn’t do it.

The dictates of one’s own conscience might take a bit of a pounding but in this case, the principle of the matter is outweighed by the dosh.

Yet again the conservatives show scant respect for manners or convention, which by the way are central tenants of its philosophy. But one might have thought that he would wait until leaving politics before putting his dirty laundry into the washing basket.

But then gutter politics has always been their forte. In this instance, while Labor is campaigning about the use of family trusts and unfairness Joyce is setting one up with the benefits from his own mismanagement of his personal affairs.

In fact, while trying to make out that the trust will benefit his son in future years it is also a neat way of saving tax.

And while he is giving this tell-all interview with the Seven network he might make mention of the following.

It’s the old conservative “them and us” rule. Remember back in August 2017 when he had an inappropriate drunken outburst in a Shepparton hotel. It is but one example of why he should never have become the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

In a beery voice filled with the local liquid amber- in a pub in Shepparton Victoria, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia opened his loud mouth a little too far and admitted he was involved in stealing water.

Philip Coorey of the AFR reported it thus:

“In doing so, he effectively confirmed he had made Malcolm Turnbull take water away from the environment portfolio and give it to him so he could protect upstream interests.

“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,” he said in the recording.

“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.”

Basically, he had admitted that he had broken the law.

It was just one of many stunts, mishaps, disasters, calamities and catastrophes that plagued his career.

An observation

‘’It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t’’

And so it eventually came to pass as these things so inevitably do that Barnaby Joyce had to step down as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. The affair had broken him.

Those who seek to rule from the confines of narrow thought and buffoonery always come to the same end. Joyce has a history of ill-considered policies and inept thinking that has been very costly to the Australian taxpayer.

He reached the high altar of leadership with a mixture of country ockerism and controversial speech that persuaded people that he was acting in their best interests when he was really about his own.

No doubt Joyce, like former Prime Minister Abbott, will in due course want his old job back. That is why his resignation must be looked on as an interim measure. Were the people of New England duped?

I mean this is a guy who positioned himself as a conservative, a practicing Catholic, sang the praises and sanctity of marriage and all the while he was having an extramarital affair! Isn’t this ‘false, misleading and deceptive conduct’?

What about the allegations on another affair with another staffer and an apparent abortion? What about the allegations of the affair with a high power lobbyist?

Given that the majority of Australia knew all about the Campion ‘affair’ and ‘the pregnancy” what more is there to tell.

What more does the 7 Network expect from him for $150 grand?

The disputes between Nationals and Liberals is continuing unabated. They are in a mixed marriage that cannot survive. Both have within their ranks conservative extremists who would be better off with Bernardi and his crew.

The Nationals have never acted in the best interests of their constituents and would be better off alone.

However, the big winner in the Joyce scandal was Malcolm Turnbull who tried everything to get rid of Joyce.

Still, it never encouraged him to reveal the contents of the agreement that has been holding him back all these years. However, whilst Turnbull got his way he may have stood on a rusted nail in the process.

An observation

‘’Wouldn’t it be good if in our parliament, regardless of ideology, we had politician’s whose first interest was the peoples welfare and not their own”

When the day finally arrived and Barnaby Joyce became Deputy Prime Minister of Australia we ended up with a Prime Minister who firmly believed in a Republic, equality in marriage and the science of Climate Change and a deputy who did not. The intellectual gap between them was of sagacious proportion.

It has been said of Barnaby that he is the best retail salesman in Australia. I would suggest the public sees him as a person of mockery. It’s not so much his ocker image.

After all, Hawke and Keating had colourful turns of phrase. It’s the depth of comprehension. The understanding of things beyond politics.

It seems incredible that a man who was one of the principal instigators in 2009 of the downfall of the then opposition leader could become his deputy.

It also seems implausible that a Senator who had crossed the floor to vote against his party on 19 occasions could lead it.

Leadership demands more than just a “retail” personality. It requires, in the sense of leading a country, a deep insightful worldview. Anyone who has seen Joyce on a Q&A panel with guests who present an understanding of life in all its variances will acknowledge that he has not the capacity to appreciate life beyond politics.

He is like Abbott, caught in a world that the rest of us have left far behind.

My thought for the day

“Be generous with your praise and considerate with your criticism.”

Day to Day Politics: Why do they think that telling lies works?

Monday 28 May 2018

What follows is part of a transcript of an interview by Barrie Cassidy with the Health Minister Greg Hunt on Insiders yesterday. We break in where the subject of border protection raises its ugly head.

HUNT:  Well, you’re absolutely right about the tricky issues. It doesn’t matter when, where or how, they are divided on Border Protection. You’ve got a new MP, Ged Kearney who wants to rip apart the national border protection regime, and that means more drowning’s at sea, more arriving by boats…

CASSIDY: Well, hang on just before you go on you said ‘rip apart the police’, what she says is she doesn’t like indefinite detention. Do you like indefinite detention?

HUNT: We have a position which is crystal-clear and that is…

CASSIDY: Indefinite detention?

HUNT: We have a position which is crystal-clear and that is we will not allow people who come to Australia via people smugglers to settle in Australia, crystal-clear, and the ALP with Anthony Albanese, on the one hand, leading a push internally to weaken border protection will open the floodgates. And what will the consequences be….

CASSIDY:  But what she is critical of is this concept of indefinite detention. What is so wrong with people expressing concern about indefinite detention? You can understand why the argument behind having offshore processing, the Labor Party started that. Why, though – what is wrong with saying indefinite detention is just too cruel?”

HUNT: There is something much deeper here and that is the ALP has a large section, virtually half of the party that wants to rip apart their current border protection, alleged support – alleged support for the Government’s regime.

CASSIDY: But who is saying that? Who’s saying that? Who is saying they want to rip it apart?

HUNT: When you look at what Ged Kearney is focusing on. When you look at what Anthony Albanese is focusing on.

CASSIDY: Indefinite Detention.

HUNT: When you look at what the motions are that are coming before…

CASSIDY: Sorry, what has Anthony Albanese said around this issue that rips the policy apart?

HUNT: They are not committed to maintaining the current border protection regime and…

CASSIDY: But I haven’t seen anything that Anthony Albanese has said that supports that?

HUNT: I think you will find that there is a schism at the heart of the ALP, you have Bill Shorten who pays lip service, but when they were in government, they had 1,200 lives lost at sea. That was a catastrophic human failure, catastrophic. We stopped those drowning’s, we had people taken out of detention. They put people into detention, and we have had them taken out. That is a shameful record that they have and they do it allegedly for humanitarian reasons, but with a humanitarian outcome, which is shocking and shameful and tragic.

The Prime Minister had the same message in his address to the Liberal Party State Council on Saturday.

Every time Peter Dutton gets to his feet in the Parliament he repeats the same story verbatim.

But where is the truth of these words? As Cassidy says “Who is saying that? Who’s saying that? Who is saying they want to rip it apart?”

The fact is that every time they say it they are telling a lie and they know so.

Where is the evidence?”

Before he became the current incarnation of himself Malcolm Turnbull said this:

“The politicians and parties that can demonstrate they can be trusted, that they will not insult the people with weasel words and spin, that they will not promise more than they can deliver, that they will not dishonestly misrepresent either their own or their opponents’ policies – those politicians and parties will, I submit to you, deserve and receive electoral success”.

Clearly, because there is no evidence that any official of the Labor party is on the record as saying that they intend to bring back an old policy it must then be evidenced that those saying so are making it up. In other words, they are telling lies.

The only truth is that there are a number of people on Nauru and Manus who are incarcerated indefinitely when they haven’t committed any crime. Why is it so?

Well, you would have to ask the Government but the first it would seem is that the government cannot find another country that will take them. The second is that they are using them as an example to others who might want to come.

If that is the case then the Government needs to make it clear to the public that seeking asylum in Australia, contrary to international conventions, is punishable by indefinite detention. Shame my country shame.

Why I think the truth is a necessary part of society and in particular politics

How important is truth in politics? As a writer who happens to love the way words can be constructed to shape a thought, send a message, express love, anger, or convey an action I am lost without them. Without them, something vanishes from our discourse. Without words, the ability to communicate the seemingly endless aspects of human emotion is taken from us.

Words, of course, are at their best when they are accompanied by a factual truth of what they are wanting to convey.

An observation

”Have we reached the point in politics where TRUTH is something that politicians have convinced us to believe, “like alternative facts” rather than TRUTH based on factual evidence and sound arguments”

The acceptance of lying generally and more particularly in politics is not only alarming but is also a reflection of the decline of ethical standards in society.

My thought for the day

“Do you shape the truth for the sake of good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you? Alternatively, do you simply use the contrivance of omission and create another lie? I can only conclude that there is always pain in truth but there is no harm in it.”

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