Albo in The Lion's Den: The Sky Interview,…

We pick up with Mr. Albanese and the trained monkey already in…

Albo Enters the Lion's Den: The Sky Interview,…

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese (Albo) has, for some reason, spoken to…

The Climate Solutions Packapooticket

Whenever government Ministers are asked to expand on how we will achieve…

Grief for the Present, Grief for the Future

By Elizabeth Dangerfield  Like so many in Australia at this moment, my anxiety…

Comedy without art (part 4)

By Dr George Venturini  At its heart, Australia is a system of representative…

The economy is not our master

By RosemaryJ36  I have a very dear family member, who subscribes to The…

Janus-Faced on Climate Change: Microsoft’s Carbon Vision

“This is a bold bet – a moonshot – for Microsoft.” So…

Asking Peter Dutton ...

A couple of days ago I received this message from a Facebook…

«
»
Facebook

Kaye describes herself as a middle-aged woman in jammies. She knew Tony Abbott when they both attended Sydney University where she studied for a Bachelor of Science. After 20 years teaching mathematics, with the introduction of the GST in 2000, she became a ‘feral accountant’ for the small business that she and her husband own. Kaye uses her research skills “to pass on information, to join the dots, to remember what has been said and done and to remind others, and to do the maths.”

The Climate Solutions Packapooticket

Whenever government Ministers are asked to expand on how we will achieve our emissions reduction targets beyond the “meet and beat” catchphrase, they bring up the $3.5 billion grandiosely named “Climate Solutions Package”.

So let’s unpack that packapooticket.

“The Government will provide $3.5 billion over 15 years from 2018-19 for a Climate Solutions Package to deliver on Australia’s 2030 climate commitments”

Ummm…that takes us out to 2032-33 with only $233.3 million on average spent each year.

But wait…that’s actually “$2.0 billion over 15 years from 2019-20, including $189.1 million over four years to 2022-23, to establish a Climate Solutions Fund that will allow for expanded investments in low-cost abatement currently underway through the Emissions Reduction Fund”

To put that in perspective, the government spent $185 million reopening the Christmas Island detention centre in a hissy fit after the Medevac bill passed. Then they closed it.  Then they reopened it to house that enormous risk to security, the family from Biloela, costing a further $30 million to house four people, two of whom are little girls.

The government also plans to spend “up to $1.38 billion in equity over six years from 2019-20, to support the delivery of the Snowy 2.0 project, subject to Snowy Hydro Limited (SHL) achieving financial close on the project and the commencement of the main project works, expected in 2020.”

When this project was first announced, Snowy 2.0 was to cost $2 billion, be completed in 4 years, entirely funded by Snowy Hydro Ltd. Two years later, Prime Minister Morrison announced Government approval of the Business Case, at an estimated cost of $3.8 billion (with an upper limit of $4.5 billion): “following Snowy Hydro Board’s final investment decision on 12 December 2018, the Government has reviewed the project’s business case and is satisfied that the project stacks up” – so much so that the government will now be kicking in $1.38 billion.

Snowy Hydro hasn’t released its (partial) Business Case, claiming it contains commercially sensitive information. Nor has any financial information been provided – quelle surprise.

The National Parks Association of NSW has released an extensive paper showing why this project doesn’t stack up.

We are also paying a lot for oversight of the project.

“$5.5 million over four years from 2019-20 (and $0.8 million per year ongoing) to the Department of the Environment and Energy, and $4.3 million over four years from 2019-20 (and $0.7 million per year ongoing) to the Department of Finance, to support Commonwealth oversight of SHL and the Snowy 2.0 project.”

Moving on, the government will provide “$61.2 million over four years from 2019-20 to establish the Energy Efficient Communities Program, which will provide grants to businesses and community organisations to improve energy efficiency practices and technologies to better manage energy consumption” and a further “$18.0 million over six years from 2019-20 for households and businesses to improve energy efficiency and lower energy bills.”

Well, that’s great, if you forget about all the similar programs that the Coalition government have axed, like the one million more solar roofs across Australia and at least 25 solar towns, the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund, the National Low Emission Coal Initiative, Energy Efficiency Programmes, the National Solar Schools Plan, Energy Efficiency Information Grants and Low Carbon Communities.  They also tried to get rid of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and were successful in reducing the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The government also budgeted “$56.0 million in 2018-19 for a feasibility study to accelerate the delivery of Marinus Link, a second interconnector between Tasmania and the mainland, to unlock pumped hydro storage potential in Tasmania and provide more affordable and reliable electricity for homes and businesses.”

However, a feasibility study into the project released in February last year, funded by a $10 million grant by federal government agency ARENA, warned that the costs will probably outweigh the project’s benefits unless about 7000 megawatts of coal-fired generation capacity in the east coast electricity market is prematurely retired.

This rate of closure assumes Australia adopts a target to cut emissions by 52 per cent by 2030, based on 2005 levels – far higher than the government’s 26 per cent target.

The last part of their “Climate Solutions” is to provide “$0.4 million in 2019-20 to develop a National Electric Vehicle Strategy to ensure a planned and managed transition to new vehicle technology and infrastructure.”

Which is rather at odds with Scotty’s impassioned opposition to the Labor party’s support for electric vehicles when he said in April last year that electric vehicles were unaffordable and were “not going to tow your trailer. It’s not going to tow your boat … Bill Shorten wants to end the weekend when it comes to his policy on electric vehicles.”

It’s also less than the $530,000 Bridget McKenzie spent fitting out her new office in Wodonga.

On this most important of issues, the greatest threat to our nation, the government is having as much impact as a ping pong ball bouncing around from one announcable to the next.

Our very survival depends on turfing these self-serving incompetents and replacing them with a government who recognises the risks we are facing and is willing to act to mitigate the worst of the catastrophe that awaits us if we fail to act decisively like yesterday.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

We won’t be lectured to about anything – and we make no apology for screwing the country

Any pretence at transparent, accountable government has been abandoned.  Evidence based policy making and expert advice are no longer necessary for the Coalition who seem to think they are there by God’s grace and are therefore beyond scrutiny let alone reproach.

Freedom of information has become a farce.  The excuses for not providing information are ridiculous.  The amount of time and money spent fighting court orders is contemptuous and wasteful.  The length of time to comply when forced, and the material that is then redacted, makes the whole exercise futile.

The Coalition don’t need advice from anyone.  Infrastructure Australia, Sports Australia, the Human Rights Commission, the panel who shortlists board appointments at the ABC, The Australia Council for the Arts – what would they know?

Surely they realise that infrastructure is most important where it might win you votes, sports grants are photo opps for aspiring or struggling candidates, the AHRC are soft on borders, the ABC is full of woke capital-city greenies, and what arts are there beside ballet and opera?

They got rid of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.  We don’t need forward planning when we have Special Envoys like Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott, Warren Entsch and Jim Molan on the ground telling it like it is to the boys in the bar.

Water management has morphed into a lucrative trade, as Angus Taylor can attest.  Despite towns running out of water and farms turning into baked earth, we can always find plenty of water for mining and large cotton farms and plenty of money for non-existent flood water or land flow trapped by unnapproved earthworks.

Apparently we have something called the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR).

“AIDR is supported by its partners: the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, the Australian and New Zealand National Council for fire and emergency services (AFAC), the Australian Red Cross and the Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.”

One would have thought they would be front and centre during this crisis…except they are part of Peter Dutton’s mega-portfolio and Poida don’t need no stinkin’ advice from alarmists.  Sick refugees invading our shores is by far the greatest risk to our nation.

Everybody, including the RBA, the Business Council and ACOSS have pleaded with the government to raise Newstart – to stimulate the economy, to help people get job ready, and to lift people out of abject poverty.

But that’s not the way of the party who will give a go to those that have a go.

Who cares if property tax concessions have skewed investment away from more productive enterprises and made housing unaffordable.  Who cares if excess franking credit refunds result in companies paying no tax.  If they didn’t give it to their shareholders they would be hiding it offshore anyway.  Who cares if wages are stagnant, workers are exploited and their rights eroded.  The only reason they have a job is because the Coalition gives their employer a helping hand.

Religious freedom and freedom of speech are extremely important to a government who has no clue how to govern.  Except religious freedom seems to mean that religious people have the right to discriminate against anyone they don’t like and they are to be protected from anyone calling them out on it.  Likewise, freedom of speech will be afforded to bigots but not to protesters or journalists.

The government has great respect for our First People – look, they even finally gave the portfolio to an Aboriginal man.  But don’t think that means constitutional recognition, a voice to Parliament, self-determination, a treaty, changing the date of Australia Day, the right to manage your own financial affairs, or even to receive utilities or services.  Being disadvantaged is a lifestyle choice.

The Auditor-General has written countless scathing reports about grants without due process, contracts without tender, a lack of value-for-money assessment, poor record-keeping, no follow-up appraisal, and a myriad of other concerning issues – so the government even gagged him when he produced a report they didn’t like about their huge cash splurge on military equipment.

But make no mistake – they are taking a methodical approach to screwing this country and they will make no apology for it!

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

If Scotty-from-Marketing was fair dinkum about reducing emissions, he would drop the spin

It’s all over the news.  Morrison is finally thinking about maybe allowing the word emissions to be said.

Not that he is going to increase our target or not rely on accounting tricks to meet it, or anything reckless like that.  When asked for specific policies, the answer seems to be “technology”.

Only Labor puts jobs and growth at risk, like with their “uncosted, ineffective” 50% renewable energy target for 2030.

As bobbing head Kate Carnell told us, “A 50 per cent RET will put jobs and growth at risk,’’ further stating that modelling showed the existing RET pushed up electricity prices, costing the economy up to $28 billion and a net loss of 5000 jobs.

Yet today, The Australian is reporting that the government “is set to release a draft technology roadmap later this year, [which] lays out an investment blueprint and includes more than 100 new technologies and hopes for at least 50 per cent of energy sources to be renewable by 2030.”

A bit like their turnaround on electric vehicles.

Michaelia Cash screeched her valiant defence of tradies’ utes before the election, but when the government produced their glossy brochure, Climate Solutions Package, we find that they are claiming emissions reduction of “up to 10 million tonnes by 2030” for their as yet to be determined “electric vehicles strategy”.

They make these announcements but they have no plan, as bemoaned by Energy Security Board chairwoman Kerry Schott, who said the lack of national leadership to coordinate the sector is putting electricity security and reliability at risk, adding that the National Energy Guarantee – the plan that cost Turnbull his job – would be a good option.

Aside from the continual flip-flopping and lack of a coherent direction, Morrison’s spinning of the numbers shows this is all still a PR exercise for him rather than any genuine acceptance of the urgency of the problem we are facing.

The Coalition talking points advise all government politicians to parrot-like repeat the phrase “Emissions today are 50 million tonnes less on average each year under our government than under the previous government.”

What he neglects to add is that was thanks to the large drop in emissions under the Labor government.

The talking points also insist that the government will “meet and beat” its Kyoto targets.

Just to show what bullshit that is, on page 8 of the government’s recently released “Australia’s emissions projections 2019”, Table 3 shows that emissions in 2000 were 536 Mt CO2-e and are projected to be 534 in 2020 – that is less than a 0.4% reduction, a far cry from our commitment to reduce emissions by 5% from 2000 levels.

The report also states that “Emissions are projected to decline to 511 Mt CO2 -e in 2030 which is 16 per cent below 2005 levels.”  That too is a long way from the 26-28% reduction we promised to make.

Would it be too much to ask that we drop the “talking points” crap and actually tell the truth about the current situation so we can make a plan that actually reduces emissions without having to resort to accounting dodges and PR spin designed to make it look like you give a shit?

Enough of the lies!

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Lies and videos won’t cut it any longer, Scotty

2019 was Australia’s warmest year on record.  It was also our driest year on record.

The country is on fire and water is running out.

Our annual national mean maximum temperature was 2.09 °C above average, smashing the previous record of +1.59 °C in 2013.  The annual national mean temperature was 1.52 °C above average.  Not looking good for us to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Record low rainfall of 277.6 mm also smashed the previous record of 314.5 mm set in 1902.  It’s been much drier than both the Federation and Millenium droughts, except for parts of Queensland who got enormous amounts of rain in a very short period early in the year causing catastrophic devastation.

Whilst Scotty may admonish us that it would be “absurd” to link any one fire to climate change (does he actually know how many fires are burning?), it would be criminally absurd to ignore the fact that all the years since 2013 have been amongst the ten warmest on record for Australia. Of the ten warmest years, only one (1998) occurred before 2005.

Stop saying we can’t make a difference and bloody well work out how we can both through our own actions and through global leadership.

If I hear any more crap about meeting our emission reduction targets “in a canter”, when everyone knows that it is only being achieved by fiddling with land use change figures and carry over credits, I will scream.

Your own report says that, since 1990, transport emissions have increased by 63.5%, fugitive emissions by 51.4%, stationary energy excluding electricity by 53.1%, electricity by 38.8%, and industrial processes and product use by 33.3%.

The only way we can even pretend we have reduced emissions is by claiming that Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) emissions have reduced by 110.4% – a figure that is notoriously difficult to verify and that conveniently ignores bushfires.  We may not be cutting down as many trees but we have just burnt down millions of hectares.

80,000 people packed out the Domain for the School Climate Strike last September.  Another 30,000 marched this evening in Sydney.

Lies and promotional videos won’t cut it any longer, Scotty.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Behind Twiggy’s headline

It’s amazing how much money can be found to respond to a disaster when people seem so unwilling to spend anything to avoid one.

Remember how emissions reduced when we had a price on carbon?  And how our power prices were supposed to tumble when it was removed?

It’s also fascinating how innovative companies become when sticking with the old polluting ways may hurt the bottom line as well as the environment.

Not to be outdone in this flurry of philanthropy, up steps Twiggy Forest to announce he is donating $70 million towards relief efforts and to building the nation’s long-term resilience to bushfires.

Except he’s not really donating it so much as deciding how he will spend it.

His charity, Minderoo Foundation, “has committed to mobilise volunteers from Western Australia”, for whom he will pay interstate travel and accommodation expenses.  He is calling for “at least 1250 volunteers – including firefighters, medics, tradespeople, mental health workers and ground clean up personnel.”

These volunteers will be deployed “in response to direct requests from relevant authorities and communities.”

Another logistical headache?  And what about employing the locals?

Twiggy will give another $10 million to a recovery fund.

“The initiative will provide funds directly to communities, in collaboration with organisations such as Australian Red Cross and The Salvation Army, with all administration costs covered by Minderoo.”

Why not just give it to the Red Cross Appeal?

But the bulk of the funds – $50 million – will go towards “convening leading experts to develop a globally relevant national blueprint for fire and disaster resilience.”  Is such a thing even possible?

“With the support of leading international non-profit environmental organisation Conservation International, these efforts will draw on existing research and expertise in Australia and overseas and accelerate innovation to develop new approaches to mitigate bushfires.”

Who is Conservation International you may ask?

They are an American “environmental charity” who have no connection to Australia and nothing to do with firefighting.

A 2011 report questions their credibility as well as their “close links with controversial companies, including Cargill, Chevron, Monsanto and Shell.”

“A leading environmental charity has been accused of corporate ‘greenwashing’ after a senior employee was secretly filmed by undercover reporters discussing ways in which the organisation could help an arms company boost its green credentials, the Ecologist can reveal.

The female CI employee was recorded describing how the organisation could help the arms company develop key environmental messages, identify target audiences and craft a communications plan as part of one package offered by the charity.”

In their 2018 report, What If, Conservation International discuss part of their strategy to combat climate change.

“Fortunately, nature can provide at least 30% of the annual emissions reductions needed. We work to confront climate change by protecting and restoring the forests and mangroves that absorb and store carbon.”

Oops.  Too late.

This ‘what if’ approach appeals to Twiggy’s Minderoo Foundation.

We begin with a sense of curiosity – is there a better way to solve this intractable problem? We form and test ideas, then seek to implement and analyse them. Once evidence bases exist, we work to ensure these new approaches are embedded in mainstream policy and practice. Success is doing ourselves out of business. We want to find sustainable solutions to the challenges we are tackling.”

The old trial and error method?  Or damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead?

Speaking about his foundation to the AFR Magazine in May 2018, Twiggy said “We are prepared to lose, to come second, to fail, in order to explore what systemic change looks like.”

Or you could read all the research by the myriad of experts in the various fields and listen to their advice,

And maybe stop making a fool of yourself before you even begin by saying, whilst global warming might be a thing, “the biggest part” of the devastation was caused by arsonists.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

The mates in faith that Scott Morrison admires

In 2008, Scott Morrison used his first speech in parliament to tell us how he had been “greatly assisted by the pastoral work of many dedicated church leaders”, specifically mentioning “pastors Brian Houston and Leigh Coleman.”

Most people are aware of Brian Houston, leader of the Hillsong Church, after he was censured by the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse for his failure to report to authorities his father’s confessed serial sexual abuse of children, and for the grave conflict of interest in dealing with the sex claims himself.

This is the man that Scotty wanted to bring to dinner at the White House.

But you may not be aware of Leigh Coleman, another former Hillsong executive who, two years before Scotty’s confession of admiration, was investigated for allegedly ripping off government funded Indigenous charities, as reported by The Australian.

“The Government has admitted that Hillsong Emerge chief Leigh Coleman received $80,000 of federal indigenous development funds to top up his salary, despite having only indirect involvement in the projects.

It also paid Hillsong Emerge $82,500 to fit out its office in the Sydney suburb of Redfern. Mr Coleman uses the office to run the Christian Business Directory, which touts for advertising worth up to $2000 an item.

The new material shows Mr Coleman received $80,000 in annual salary for his part in administering two indigenous business development programs. Hillsong Emerge’s federal funding in both programs, by Indigenous Business Australia, was discontinued this year after revelations in federal parliament that only a tiny portion of the millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money reached the Aboriginal community.

The vast majority of the funds went to employing Hillsong Emerge staff, including $315,000 to cover the salaries of seven workers in Redfern.

In one year, the program made just six “micro-enterprise development” loans to Aborigines, which were worth an average of $2856 each.

The discontinuation of the IBA funding programs came only weeks after Hillsong Emerge was stripped of a separate $415,000 federal grant for community crime prevention.

Liberal MP Louis Markus, a Hillsong church member who once worked with Mr Coleman, won the seat of Greenway in Sydney’s northwest at the last election with the campaign support of Hillsong members. Labor MPs have alleged in federal parliament that the commonwealth grants to Hillsong Emerge were a reward for Hillsong’s political support.”

Five years later and Mr Coleman was in the news again with this article from news.com.au

“A CHRISTIAN charity which has so far spent more than $1.3 million to generate just $330,000 in loans for Indigenous Australians is being investigated.

Many Rivers Microfinance is run by a former Hillsong executive who has already come under parliamentary scrutiny over an earlier loans program that delivered only a trickle of funds to the Indigenous community.

In 2006 Leigh Coleman’s operation at Hillsong Emerge – the evangelical group’s former benevolent arm – had its funding discontinued after revelations the vast majority of taxpayer dollars went to employing staff.

Mr Coleman’s current program at Many Rivers has since successfully raised millions of dollars from the Federal Government and some of the country’s biggest companies including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Westpac.

But since its inception in 2007 to the end of the 2010 financial year the latest available records show it has delivered just 74 microenterprise loans worth a total of $330,000.

While declining to provide evidence as to how the reported $1.375 million had been spent delivering them, the charity said that – like the discontinued Hillsong pilot – the bulk had gone on staff salaries and training.

A presentation delivered by Many Rivers to potential donors, and obtained by news.com.au, claimed a single field officer in a “developing regional community” would cost the charity $250,000 to support per year.

Since 2010, Many Rivers has obtained an additional $1 million from the Federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, $522,000 from the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace relations and more from the West Australian Government.

Westpac Bank has provided $1 million over five years as well as all loan capital since mid-2010. Other private donors include Transfield, Fortescue Metals Group, Chevron, Woodside Petroleum and Exxon Mobil as well as law firms Blake Dawson and Minter Ellison.

As CEO of Many Rivers, Mr Coleman has been paid an undisclosed amount for his services on a contract basis since the charity’s creation as a legal entity in 2007 through his private firm Looking Glass Holdings, which he runs with his wife Vera.

These services were never put out to tender. Vera Coleman was listed as a member of the company in the 2007-2008 financial statements.

Vera Coleman is also a former Hillsong Pastor and, according to her CV on the Looking Glass Trust website, worked for Hillsong Emerge between 1996 and 2007 and helped initiate the pilot for the Redfern component of Hillsong’s microfinance program which her husband oversaw until it had funding cancelled.

She also helped develop the controversial “Shine” program for young women which was criticised for teaching young women self esteem through learning how to apply make-up, style their hair and walk with books balanced on their heads.”

Nikki Sava’s book, Plots and Prayers, reveals that Scotty and his fellow Pentecostal and close friend and numbers man Stuart Robert, prayed that “righteousness would exalt the nation,” in the minutes before Mr Morrison was made prime minister by the Liberal party room.  “…righteousness would mean the right person had won,” Mr Robert told Savva.

Independent Australia have an excellent article revisiting the ‘litany of transgressions’ by  the righteous Stuart Robert.  It’s a long list but it didn’t stop Scotty from promoting his mate in faith.

Pentecostalism is on the rise in Australia, particularly with the young.

“Australia’s largest churches in every capital city and in the regions are all Pentecostal churches,” said Andrew Singleton, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Research at Deakin University.

“Starting with Hillsong in Sydney and churches in Melbourne and Adelaide like Planet Shakers, Riverside Church, Paradise Church are all Pentecostal.

“More people are attending Pentecostal churches than any other Christian denomination, they put bums on seats.”

If people are not concerned about the deliberate infiltration of politics by conservatives with religious backing, they should be, particularly when they are preaching their “prosperity doctrine” to our youth and our politicians.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

The Liar from the Shire, caught out again

In May 2016, when Scott Morrison was Treasurer, the National Aerial Firefighting Centre called for a “national large air-tanker” fleet to confront a growing bushfire threat.  Despite a Senate inquiry backing the proposal, the government rejected it in September 2017, “noting that bushfire responsibility is a matter for each state and territory.”

Are firetrucks or planes to come to a screeching halt at the border?  Do we ignore another state’s need to keep our resources in case we need them?

Smoko has defended his decision not to meet with former fire chiefs last year, who were also calling for more aerial firefighting capability, saying he chooses to listen to those ‘in their jobs now’.

Then up pops NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons who says the federal government has sat on a business case for a boosted national aerial firefighting fleet for at least 18 months.

Former fire chief Greg Mullins confirmed that.

“The Prime Minister keeps saying that whatever the fire chiefs request, they get, but that’s not true,” Mr Mullins said. “The business case has been on the desk for two years. Had the fire chiefs had certainty with the $25 million, we would have more aircraft in the sky.”

Last November, Mullins was saying that, not only had the government refused to meet with former fire chiefs, but those currently in the job were not included in discussions and were told not to mention global heating.

“This government fundamentally doesn’t like talking about climate change,” Mullins said. “We would like the doors to be open to the current chiefs, and allow them to utter the words ‘climate change’. They are not allowed to at the moment.”

Our leader (cough) has gotten the international attention he craved but I don’t think 2GB and the Murdoch rubbish are going to help this time.

Those who know are calling bullshit, Scotty.

And it’s only gonna get louder.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Do the smoky hokey

Scott Morrison is trying desperately hard to find the right language to reassure Australians that he believes climate change is “real” but that he won’t do anything that might cost money to address it.

He wants us to be “patient” as he methodically changes his mind about whether volunteers should be paid since they “want to be there”, whether the ADF should be deployed, and whether we might in fact have to bring in some more aerial firefighting assets.

No “knee jerk reactions”… and certainly nothing that could possibly resemble being proactive from our PM.

He talks a lot about the funding that the Commonwealth is handing out.  Because we all know we can’t have Labor’s “unfunded empathy”.

The Messiah from the Shire seems a little flustered that people expect him to actually do something – show some leadership maybe?

He keeps saying now is not the time for politics or photo shoots.

But what else has he got?

To quote another pretender to the leadership … he’s a “bit of a weathervane“.

February 2017

 

April 2018

The treasurer, Scott Morrison, has smacked down a backbench push for the Turnbull government to back a new coal plant, arguing that high-efficiency coal does not mean cheap energy, and taxpayers would also be left on the hook.

March 2019

With the Nationals agitating for a commitment to coal, the Prime Minister also announced that a High Efficiency Low Emissions coal-fired power station in Collinsville, about halfway between Townsville and Mackay, would be considered in addition to the competition policy projects

You put your coal hat on
Take your coal hat off
Put your coal hat on
Then you give a little cough
You do the smoky hokey
Then you turn yourself around
What was that all about?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Australia’s record-breaking start to the New Year

At 10am, Canberra was again the city with the worst air quality in the world. Same as yesterday.

Australia recorded its hottest day on record on Wednesday, 17 December, with an average maximum temperature of 41.9C, beating the previous record by 1C that had been set only 24 hours earlier.

Many thousands of people have had to abandon their holiday plans and are fleeing the danger we have been told to expect on Saturday.

Australia is the worst-performing country on climate change policy, according to a new international ranking of 57 countries. The report also criticises the Morrison government for being a “regressive force” internationally.

Australians have the world’s second-largest household debts, hovering around 120 per cent of GDP.

As at December 20, gross government debt was at a record $561.8 b up from about $274 b when the Coalition came to government in September 2013.

ACOSS reminded us of the following facts during Anti-Poverty Week 2019:

Three million people are living in poverty in Australia (ACOSS & UNSW, 2018) – that’s one in eight adults and almost one in six children.

In the whole country, there were only 2 rentals affordable for a single person on Newstart, according to Anglicare Australia’s 2019 Rental Affordability Snapshot. On any given night in Australia 1 in 200 people are homeless (Homelessness Australia, 2018) and the number is growing every year.

FoodBank’s 2018 Hunger Report found four million people in Australia had experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months.

There is only 1 job available for every 8 people looking for paid work or more hours (ABS, 2018).

There were around one million people in Australia receiving Newstart, Youth Allowance or another allowances at December 2018, with half of Newstart recipients over the age of 45. More than one in four people on Newstart have an illness or disability, but do not receive the Disability Support Pension. More than 100,000 parents are on Newstart, the majority of whom are single women (as their youngest child is aged eight or more and they therefore do not qualify for parenting payment).

The Royal Commission into Aged Care described it as “a sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia as a nation… a shocking tale of neglect”.

“We have uncovered an aged care system that is characterised by an absence of innovation and by rigid conformity. The system lacks transparency in communication, reporting and accountability.  It is not built around the people it is supposed to help and support, but around funding mechanisms, processes and procedures.”

And the same story is emerging from the disability royal commission.

The 2019 Closing the Gap report on Indigenous disadvantage shows we are failing to meet targets in five of the seven target areas – child mortality, life expectancy, school attendance, employment, and reading and numeracy.  Yet we steadfastly resist letting them advise us on their needs in order to address these areas of continued disadvantage.

But how good is the view of the fireworks from Kirribilli House when knocking back a few coldies with the boys?

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Lucy, you are a waste of space

No doubt like many of you, I received a Christmas email and card in the post from my local member, Lucy Wicks.  She chose a very bad time to try to promote herself to me.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who backed and believed in me and the Morrison Government following my re-election for a third term in the May election.

Thank you to my supporters and all those who voted for me. I am looking forward to representing you over the next few years in Canberra and making sure your concerns, issues and needs are heard at the highest levels of government.

I also look forward to ensuring our election commitments including the additional commuter car parking at Gosford and Woy Woy stations and the $70 million Central Coast roads package are delivered.”

Seriously?  Carparks?  As we burn?

She goes on to talk about her attendance at school presentations and her Christmas card competition before mentioning that “some properties have been adversely affected” by the megafire that has threatened and choked us all for weeks.

Lucy is “so relieved there has been no loss of life or serious injuries.”  She then informed us that “the volunteers have been overwhelmed by the donations. They have enough food, snacks and drinks to last some time so residents still wanting to show their support can visit the NSW RFS Donations Page or make an online donation to the NSW RFS Trust Fund or a participating brigade” before urging us to “Be kind to each other and take care.”

Righto. Her government will do nothing other than instigate another inquiry into why the state governments aren’t dealing with this whilst urging us all to do and give more.  Meanwhile, she will endorse the underwriting of more fossil fuel burning power stations and more coal mines to funnel profits to foreign shareholders.

I normally treat Lucy with the ignore which she deserves – she is dumb as a post – but this time I just had to respond.

“Please take me off your mailing list.

Your government’s inaction on climate change, your cruelty to asylum seekers, your determination to keep unemployed people in poverty, your failure to act to reform the aged care and juvenile justice systems, your lies about emissions reduction through accounting tricks, your callous dismissal of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, your enabling of water theft…and so many other travesties….make me ashamed of my country.

You wonder why wages are stagnant when wage restraint is your admitted policy.  Your unholy war waged against workers having a voice through unionisation has emasculated any chance of workers sharing in the record profits that their labour has produced for the companies for whom they work – companies who then avoid paying any tax to compensate the country for providing a well-educated, skilled and healthy workforce and the infrastructure to support their business.

Your homophobia was writ large in your sycophantic speeches against marriage equality.  These people are our children, our brothers and sisters.  How dare you make it a priority to ensure that discrimination against them continues.

You have young children.  Does your political ambition outweigh any desire to make the world a better place for them?

Look at the bills you prioritise – they are crap.  You ignore what the country needs in order to feather your own nest and promote the greed of your donors.

And STOP sending me birthday and Xmas cards at my expense.  Don’t you people pay for ANYTHING yourselves?

Oh, and btw, we still don’t have mobile reception.  Three elections you have been promising to fix that.

You blocked me from contacting you.  I shall return the favour.  Leave me alone.

You are a waste of space.”

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Stop panicking, no crisis here

Whilst there may be some truth in asserting that “the direct connection to any single fire event” and climate change “is not a credible suggestion”, how about when hundreds of catastrophic fires are burning all over the country?  How many lives, how many homes, how many businesses must be lost?  How many animals must die?  How much forest must burn before our PM finds the link “credible”?

Does our stand-in Elvis and Deputy PM impersonator still think the warnings from experts about the catastrophe we are now enduring are “the ravings of some pure enlightened and woke capital city greenies”?

How long is the PM going to peddle the line that “We are carrying our weight. We are meeting and beating our target” when the whole world knows that is a bald-faced lie?

“We will stick to the policies we took to the election” says the PM who thinks a promised holiday for his daughters is more important than responding to a national emergency.  He won’t “act in a knee jerk, or crisis or panicked mode.”  He’s so calm about it, he won’t act at all.

Our PM is “comforted by the fact that Australians would like me to be here”.  Well I am so glad that ProMo is comforted but I think he is missing the point.

Your feelings are completely irrelevant, turkey.  You buggered off when the country was in crisis.  I bet many of the people fighting these fires, or those watching their homes burn, had holiday plans too.

And if our current excuse for leaders are not bad enough, we are once again subjected to stacks of photos of our ex PM out there posing in his fire gear, with praise heaped upon the man who destroyed any chance of this country taking any credible action to reduce the risks posed by climate change.

Both Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison have been prepared to sacrifice the world for their own brief moment on the stage.  And Morrison will follow Abbott, not with a bang but a whimper.  We can no longer indulge their selfish ambition.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Why are wages low? Because it is government policy

As Frydenberg and Cormann front the cameras to talk about Labor (will they ever realise they are in their third term in office?), everybody keeps talking about the need for wage growth and scratching their heads as to why it isn’t happening.

It isn’t happening because we have a pro-employer government who has made wage restraint a goal.

It was only 9 months ago that David Speers asked Senator Linda Reynolds “Do you agree flexibility in wages and keeping wages at a modest level is a deliberate feature of our economic architecture?”

An outraged Reynolds quickly replied “No I don’t. No, absolutely not. And for Bill Shorten to even suggest that, I think, shows a fundamental lack of understanding about economics.”

“Well I’m actually quoting Mathias Cormann, the finance minister, here. Your colleague. He says that wage flexibility is ‘a deliberate feature of our economic architecture,” Speers said.

“He’s absolutely right,” Ms Reynolds replied.

Two contradictory answers, 16 seconds apart.  At least she blushed while she blustered.

“The whole point – it is important to ensure that wages can adjust in the context of economic conditions – is to avoid massive spikes in unemployment, which are incredibly disruptive,” Cormann told Sky News in March.  “This is a deliberate feature of our economic architecture.”

Undermining the power of unions has been key to this strategy.

Malcolm Fraser changed the Trade Practices Act to ban workers from taking action in solidarity with other workers.  He also created the Industrial Relations Bureau to act as an industrial “tough cop on the beat”.

Howard introduced the Workplace Relations Act 1996 to extend the scope for non-union agreements, followed later by WorkChoices which limited the scope of collective bargaining, and wound back protections against dismissal.

The organisations created by the Abbott and Turnbull governments (the Registered Organisations Commission and Australian Building and Construction Commission) have been so nakedly anti-union that they have repeatedly broken the law they are supposed to uphold.

Michaelia Cash’s hand-picked Commissioner, Nigel Hadgkiss, had to resign, but not before he ran up a $436,000 legal bill at public expense trying to defend the indefensible.  Cash knew this court case was coming up when she appointed Hadgkiss.

Being a government for employers and the wealthy, the Coalition has never understood the importance of wage earners sharing in the wealth their labour generates.

Showing just how completely out-of-touch they are, Eric Abetz, as Employment Minister, warned of a coming “wages explosion” in 2014 where “unsustainable wage growth” would push “thousands of Australians out of work”.

Instead, we have seen the Fair Work Commission, in a highly politicised process led by Deloitte Canberra managing partner Lynne Pezzullo (Dutton side kick Mike Pezullo’s wife), cut penalty rates to the lowest paid workers, affecting mainly women and young people.

We have seen parental leave entitlements cut, with mothers who combined their workplace entitlement with the government entitlement condemned as “double-dippers”.

Increasingly insecure employment, underemployment, sham contracting, labour hire firms, the casualisation of the workforce, the gig economy, and foreign worker visas are all stripping workers of entitlements and any hope of collective bargaining.

Frydenberg and Cormann, in the brief moments when they are not talking about what would have happened if Labor had won the election, will tell you that household disposable income is growing the fastest it has in a decade.

What they will never admit is that, whilst the average has gone up, the median has gone down.

Since 2009 and the global financial crisis, the average and the median have moved in different directions.

The average household’s annual real disposable income has climbed a further $3,156. The median (or typical) household’s income has fallen $542.

The reason they won’t mention that is because the lower fifty per cent of the population never enter their consciousness.  We are the leaners, the bludgers, the burdens, those who won’t have a go.  It’s our own fault that our parents didn’t start a trust fund for us and provide us with the deposit for our first penthouse and a position on the board of the family company.

All we have to bargain with is our labour and they have made it basically illegal for us to even do that.

And yet, it is us in the lower fifty per cent who keep these charlatans in power – a classic case of Stockholm syndrome.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

A couple of quick take-outs from MYEFO

Josh Frydenberg keeps telling us that, now that the budget is back in surplus, he will be able to pay down Labor’s debt.  This will save us a kazillion on interest payments that will be spent on schools and hospitals.

Yeah … right.

Ignoring the fact that most of the debt has accrued under the Coalition government, MYEFO shows that, despite expected budget surpluses over the forward estimates, Australian Government Securities (AGS) on issue, otherwise known as gross debt – the thing we pay interest on – will increase from $556 billion at the end of this financial year to $576 billion by the end of the forward estimates.

No wonder Frydenberg wants interest rates to keep dropping.

Also mentioned in MYEFO was that, from next financial year, the underlying cash balance will, for the first time, include expected net Future Fund earnings – over $5.5 billion a year and rising.

Another way to boost the bottom line without having to do a thing.

They will need whatever they can get because the cost of their war toys keeps blowing out by astronomical sums.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Australian workers are ‘standing on the outside looking in’ as the wealthy share the pie

Monday’s MYEFO will apparently include yet another downgrade to forecast wage growth.

According to the September Wage Price Index, private sector wages rose by 2.2% in the year to the end of September.  Public sector was a little better at 2.5%.  Neither of them approach the 3.5% that had been predicted by Treasury in the 2016-17 budget or even the 2.75% forecast in April.

Josh Frydenberg predicted in the last budget that wages would grow by 3.75% next financial year.  That is also sure to be cut tomorrow.

Meanwhile, corporate profits are booming.  Despite “global headwinds”, over the last three financial years, profits have increased by 22.2%, 10.0% and 10.9%.

Whilst the CEOs and shareholders might be reaping the benefits, the workers whose labour produces this wealth are not.

The latest HILDA survey, which measures Australia’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics, revealed an interesting fact.

Since 2009 and the global financial crisis, the average and the median (or typical) disposable income have moved in different directions.

The average household’s annual real disposable income has climbed by $3,156. The median household’s income has fallen $542.

This shows that the rich are getting richer.

As Alan Austin points out:

“Clearly, the big corporations are dining out while the majority of Australians are finding their income, wealth and quality of life gradually declining. The Coalition’s management of the economy is allowing foreign predators to extract Australia’s wealth with little or no return to the people of Australia, and to permit local corporations to escape the tax burden the majority of workers are unable to avoid.  These policies are serving neither the economy nor the citizens.”

It’s all very well to aim to “grow the pie”, but most of us are outside looking in at the feast being shared by the privileged few.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Do you ever hear a government politician even admit that we have any problems?

The role of government should be to identify, prioritise, and deal with the challenges we face.

But do you ever hear a government politician even admit that we have any problems?

Instead, we get to pay for them to advertise the great things they have done/are doing/will do if you re-elect them twice more.

Even the drought is seen as normal.  It will rain one day.  Give them a bit of money in the mean time until the prayers kick in and get some publicly funded empathy training on how to look like you care.

They claim credit for things that haven’t happened yet – like re-announcing the same infrastructure spending over and over or using promises and accounting tricks to pretend we are reducing emissions when they are clearly going up.

We only hear what they think is good news.

It was pretty horrifying to read that, in Australia, the old-age relative income poverty rate is 23%.  It is even more shocking when compared to the OECD average of 14%.

How can you brag about continual growth for decades which has resulted in almost a quarter of our older citizens living in poverty?  Where is this growth going?

The OECD report also blows away some of the myths about the “burden” of Australia’s aging population.

“Australia is ageing more slowly than the OECD average. Given the relatively limited involvement of the government in pensions and the slower ageing process, there is less of an issue of public finance pressure than in many other OECD countries.  Public expenditure on pensions is projected to remain well below half of that of the OECD average.”

The main reason for that is our compulsory superannuation scheme.  Yet at every turn, the Coalition have fought against this and still seek to undermine it.  The weasel word avoidance of answering any questions about the scheduled increases to the superannuation guarantee do not bode well.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index (a measure of consumer concern about their future spending and savings), rose 2.9 points over the September quarter with worries over health expenses, government policy and the ability to fund retirement, rising most.

Concerns over the cost of living continue to be the single biggest driver of overall anxiety with 60% of Australians saying that utilities and groceries added most to their cost of living expenses over the past 3 months.

Young people aged 18-29 are stressed about rent and other debt.  In the 30-49 age group, it’s mortgages and children.  Older people are worried about bills and home improvements.

By income, far more consumers in the lowest earning group were impacted by rents and those in the highest income group by their mortgages.

“Any improvements in incomes are in part being funnelled into paying down debt and this is expected to continue over the next 12 months. Debt remains a concern for many Australians, with more than 1 in 5 of all Australian consumers indicating they had spent more than they earned in the past 3 months.”

In this sort of environment, low interest rates are not driving investment and tax cuts aren’t driving spending.

We hear a lot about Australia’s comparative ranking in standardised testing which inevitably leads to calls from conservatives to get back to basics mixed in with a lot of teacher bashing.

But you won’t hear them admitting that Australia has the third highest hospital admission rates for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a rate that is almost twice the OECD average.

Who, or what, do we blame for that?  Why aren’t we making this a priority to reduce?

In Australia, almost two-thirds of adults (65%) are overweight or obese, and over a third of children aged 5-9 (36%) are overweight. Furthermore, the proportion of Australians overweight or obese has been gradually increasing in recent decades.

Yet try to introduce anything meaningful to address that, other than advertising campaigns, and the sugar lobby or the fast food industry will tell us that it would be too costly to them.

Time and again, in so many areas, we see the government creating problems that don’t exist in order to deflect from or ignore the ones that do.

This isn’t strong governance.  It is an abrogation of responsibility in favour of imaging.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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

Donate Button

Scroll Up