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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.”

How many experts does it take to turn on a light bulb?

Despite countless bodies, committees, reviews and an army of bureaucrats, we are still no closer to an energy policy and prices keep rising.

In 2005, COAG set up the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) as rule maker and as a provider of advice to Ministers on how best to develop energy markets over time.

That same year, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) was formed as part of the ACCC to act as the regulator of the wholesale electricity and gas markets in Australia to enforce the rules established by the AEMC.

In 2009, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) commenced operations to manage the National Electricity Market (NEM) and the Victorian gas transmission network.

“AEMO also facilitates electricity and gas full retail contestability, overseeing these retail markets in eastern and southern Australia. It is additionally responsible for national transmission planning for electricity and the establishment of a Short Term Trading Market (STTM) for gas.”

In 2011, we had the Garnaut Climate Change Review which included recommendations for developments in the electricity sector.

In 2012, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was established to manage the government’s renewable energy programs, with the objective of increasing supply and competitiveness of Australian renewable energy sources.

That same year, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) was established to facilitate increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector.

In 2014 we had the Warburton Review into the Renewable Energy Target.  Modelers ACIL Allen were paid $287,468 to assess the effect of the RET on energy prices but, under instructions from the government, were also told to assess the cost of coal-fired generation while ignoring climate, carbon, financing risk, as well as community opposition. In other words, to ignore commercial reality.

In March this year, Scott Morrison directed the ACCC to hold an inquiry into the supply of retail electricity and the competitiveness of retail electricity prices.

In June, the Finkel Review on how to maintain security and reliability in the National Electricity Market was released.

Then in August, COAG established a new Energy Security Board (ESB) to coordinate the implementation of the reform blueprint produced by Australia’s Chief Scientist.

Yesterday, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) announced the formation of an Expert Advisory Panel “to gain important perspectives from senior energy leaders during a period in which the energy sector is undergoing unprecedented and rapid change.”

And we are paying $29 million for a feasibility study into Snowy-Hydro 2.0 whilst they refuse to release previous feasibility studies into the project.

The Clean Energy Council is the peak body for the clean energy industry in Australia.  Instead of forming more committees and commissioning more studies and reviews, perhaps we should just listen to them.

“Unfortunately the entire energy sector and the business community are relying on our politicians to work together towards national long-term energy and climate policy. Without these foundations, it’s increasingly difficult for businesses to invest with certainty in projects that typically have investment horizons which are measured in decades rather than election cycles. The lack of long-term policy is making it very difficult to anticipate where the energy market goes from here, what happens to wholesale energy prices, how much old generation will retire – and when – and where the price signal comes from for new investment.

So in the absence of long-term policy and strategy you get announcements like Snowy 2.0 and the South Australian Government building their own gas generator.  These are essentially direct government intervention in a market that is increasingly unfit for purpose. Until state and federal politicians are prepared to cooperate however, what has been a lost decade in energy investment could potentially stretch on for much longer.

The bit of good news in all this is the Renewable Energy Target, has begun to work in earnest thanks to the complementary support from a number of state and territory government schemes, along with ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Rooftop and commercial-scale solar continues to be installed, and the business case improves every year. And every month more projects reach financial close and prepare to start work.

The unprecedented program of works which will be under construction in 2017 now adds up to more than $5.5 billion in new investment and over 3000 jobs. That’s more than any other year, including the Snowy Hydro Schemes of the past and future.”

It should be remembered that, under the Gillard government, the country did briefly have a clear direction which has since been replaced by the chaos we see now resulting in years more delay.

The government has adopted the catch phrase that they are “agnostic” when it comes to energy generation.

Considering the government’s deliberate avoidance of the implications of climate change, their refusal to accept the findings of reviews that show renewable energy will make energy cheaper in the medium term (if not already), their devotion to coal when private industry have no desire to invest, and the uncertainty created by changing policy and lack of firm direction, I don’t think agnostic is an appropriate description.

Rather than “We cannot know everything”, they are more like Sergeant Schultz.

“We know nothing!”

Empty attack is back

It’s not surprising that the government has decided to target Bill Shorten personally and to run a scare campaign on Labor’s policies rather than pointing to the scoreboard after two terms in government.  There’s not a lot worth drawing attention to.

When asked about his government’s achievements on Monday night, Malcolm Turnbull claimed the Gonski school-funding reforms which, as Leigh Sales reminded him, are just fine-tuning of a Labor policy that the Coalition fought tooth and nail against.

He mentioned the restoration of the ABCC but the Commissioner has been receiving some flak from judges.

In April last year, a case brought by Nigel Hadgkiss against the CFMEU was labelled “an abuse of process” by the judge who ruled the director of Fair Work was being “unjustifiably vexatious” and was seeking to “relitigate” matters that had already been settled between the employer and the union.

Yet this case was one often mentioned by Michaelia Cash and Malcolm Turnbull to justify the reintroduction of the ABCC in December last year.

In March this year, Hadgkiss was in the firing line again when a federal court judge blasted the ABCC for wasting time and taxpayers’ money on taking two CFMEU officials to court for “having a cup of tea with a mate”.

In scathing and extraordinary criticism of the construction industry watchdog, Justice Tony North told parties on Friday it was “astounding” that commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss had briefed silk and conducted days of hearing with dozens of participants, including Australian Federal Police, over “such a miniscule, insignificant affair”.

“For goodness sake, I don’t know what this inspectorate is doing.”

He said when the ABCC “use[s] public resources to bring the bar down to this level, it really calls into question the exercise of the discretion to proceed”.

Malcolm claimed another achievement was “reducing company tax so that small and medium businesses can invest and get ahead.”

Yet the March quarter business investment survey showed that firms in non-resource industries had capital outlays of $75 billion in the 12 months to March, which was a minute 0.9 per cent increase over their spending a year earlier.  It is exactly the same as they spent in 2008-09, despite 40 per cent growth in the nominal economy in that period.

The Economic Outlook released by the RBA this month showed that strong profits don’t necessarily lead to more investment.

Although mining companies’ profits have been strong over the past year or so, this is not expected to lead to much additional investment spending; information from the Bank’s liaison and company announcements have indicated that firms have generally used the additional income to pay down debt, pay dividends and increase share buybacks.

Capex figures released today show some improvement but the graph tells the real story.

Malcolm also asked “What about reforming child care, so that families on lower incomes in particular get more access to child care than they could before?”

Except you can’t get child care assistance unless you are working, but you can’t work unless the kids are in care.  There is no grace period.  Families earning $65,710 or less who fail the activity test (minimum four hours a week work or study) will have their access halved to 12 hours a week.

“Maybe you lose a job, you’re between contracts, your casual shifts change or perhaps you have a child who needs to go through therapy assessments, or an elderly relative who needs settling into residential care.  For whatever reason, if one parent doesn’t meet the activity test you lose your child care subsidy completely,” said Sam.

The reforms do mean that some working parents needing childcare are better off but it comes at the price of an indexation freeze for two years in the base rate and maximum payment rates for family payments.

Malcolm then bravely claimed “We don’t talk about infrastructure: we’re getting it built. Whether it’s Snowy Hydro; whether it’s the inland rail; whether it is one big infrastructure project after another, we’re getting on with it.”

We are spending $29 million on a feasibility study for Snowy-Hydro and they haven’t even decided the route for the inland rail yet so Malcolm is engaging in premature congratulation.

Danny Price, an energy economist and former adviser to Malcolm Turnbull, said Snowy 2.0 would use 30 per cent more electricity pumping water up a hill than it generated by letting it flow down the hill and put “a massive load on the system, equivalent to a large aluminium smelter”.

“When announcing Snowy 2.0, it was said that water will be pumped up the hill using surplus renewable supply. However, it will be many, many years before that is true. In the meantime the largest beneficiary of Snowy 2.0 will be base-load, coal-fired generation. The truth of the matter is that Snowy 2.0 breathes new life into coal.”

Malcolm then went to the Coalition safe place.

“What about the way in which we’ve taken one step after another to ensure that Australians are protected against terrorism?”

One could argue that Howard’s decision to invade Iraq, along with the Liberal Party’s deliberate decision to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate, added to the threat rather than alleviating it.  They have been warned time and again to stop alienating the Muslim community who are the actual ones keeping us safe.

Malcolm confidently stated that “Every one of our policies will deliver more investment and more employment,” but they claimed the same thing with the abolition of the carbon and mining taxes and the introduction of the free trade agreements, none of which lived up to the promises.  The government’s own modelling shows that, by 2035, the three FTAs with China, Japan and Korea will have produced an estimated total of 5434 additional jobs.

If that was the best Turnbull could come up with, it’s no wonder he has decided his campaign strategy is to say “Labor is running an anti-business, anti-investment, anti-jobs, politics of envy campaign, which will only set us back.”

In the absence of any real achievement or credible policy, empty attack is back.

The rule of law “is not a smorgasbord to be picked at will”

When newly elected secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sally McManus, defended the right of unions to take unlawful industrial action, there was outrage.

Leigh Sales opened with the loaded question “Do you believe in the rule of law?”

“It shouldn’t be so hard for workers in our country to be able to take industrial action when they need to,” Ms McManus responded.  “I believe in the rule of law where the law’s fair and when the law is right, but when it’s unjust I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.”

The politicians went on the attack.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Senator James McGrath, said the rule of law “is not a smorgasbord to be picked at will”.

“It’s the entire underpinning of our legal system, indeed of our society,” he warned. “Taken to the extreme, what she is saying is that the union movement and the unions are not going to obey the rule of law in this country and that is a disgrace.”

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash was likewise alarmed, declaring: “This is an extraordinary admission … that [Ms McManus] believes she is above the law and that unions can pick and choose when they obey the law and when they do not.”

Bill Shorten joined the critics. “That’s what democracy is about.  If you don’t like a law, if you think a law is unjust, use the democratic process to get it changed.”

Malcolm Turnbull was scathing.

“If she doesn’t believe in obeying the law, if she believes the law only applies when it suits her, then I don’t think we have a lot in common in terms of values,” he said.  “This is a nation governed by the rule of law and if she thinks if she and her unions are above the law then there is not much work we can do with her, I am afraid.”

Peter Dutton joined in with his typically crass contribution.

“The ACTU has ended up with this lunatic running the ACTU, taking them further to the left, and Bill Shorten has nothing to say about it,” he said.

Well right back atcha kids.

You have been talking about changing the rules about citizenship in the constitution for decades and now your inactivity has come back to bite you.

Ignorantia juris non excusat

My generation are a bunch of hypocrites when it comes to political correctness

According to a recent survey commissioned by Australian Seniors Insurance Agency, 86 per cent of people over 50 believed “having to be politically correct all the time” was ruining society, and 86.6 per cent said it was “inauthentic”.

The first thing that struck me when reading that was why an insurance agency would be asking that question.

The second was that my generation are a bunch of hypocrites.

The argument put forward against political correctness is that it stifles free speech, that we can’t discuss important issues for fear of offending someone, that we can’t pass off stereotypical insults as humour.

These same people who find political correctness such a burden are the ones who scream blue murder if anyone suggests it might be a good idea to move Australia Day from the day when Terra Nullius was appropriated by an invading force.

As these people solemnly declare Lest We Forget on ANZAC Day, anyone who dares to mention the tragedy of war, or asks that we remember today’s victims, will be mercilessly hounded.

Discussion about changing our flag from a representation of our colonial past is howled down.  Anyone who disrespects the flag in any way feels the fury of those wearing Australian flag thongs and singlets.

Saying Happy Holidays to children departing for the Easter or Christmas break unleashes an enormous backlash from grandparents who want Easter hat parades and Christmas carols to be compulsory.

And woe betide anyone who doesn’t stand for the National Anthem.

Apparently correctness only becomes political when speaking about the less powerful.  Any questioning of adherence to the traditions of the past is quashed.

As people criticise Islam for oppressing women, they accuse those who speak about female discrimination in our society of playing the gender card or of being ‘feminists’, like that is a bad thing.

Any talk about the inequality that is such a drain on our economy and a blight on our society is met with cries of class warfare and the politics of envy.

Any attempt to protect the environment is condemned as green lawfare or even worse, socialism.

Calls for marriage equality are spun as an attack on religious freedom and, even more bizarrely, on freedom of speech.

Should marriage equality be passed into legislation, the Catholic Church want the right to sack any employee who marries their same-sex partner, just as the public service used to sack women when they got married.

People want to reserve marriage for heterosexuals but if you try to reserve computers bought with Indigenous grant money for Indigenous students, all hell breaks loose.

As I listened to John Eales’ regret at having turned his back on the All Blacks doing the haka, I thought about the importance of showing respect.

As I read cries for help from those incarcerated on Manus and Nauru, I felt heart wrenching empathy for these people whose lives have been destroyed by politics in both their homelands and here.

As I read the list of female Muslim world leaders, I wonder about the calls to free Muslim women by people who treated our first female leader with such disrespect.  It is unfathomable that the supposed bastion of freedom and opportunity, the US, has never had a female leader.

The article quoted an interview with 55 year old Bathurst teacher Vicki Evans who says she’s constantly being told off by her three children, all in their 20s, for opinions they say she shouldn’t be allowed to express.

Ms Evans says that her children’s sensitivities are clearly not a product of her parenting, but blames universities and television for encouraging political correctness

“You can’t say anything that’s offensive and that could be deemed to label anyone. You have to be always aware of perceptions, apparently.”

Our children have grown up in a multicultural society, a society where women have control over their own reproduction and are not confined to gender-based roles, a society where homosexuality is not hidden away in a closet, a society where Aboriginal descent is not a shameful secret.  Our children come from an ethnic mix which is less concerned with the symbolism of our past and more concerned with empathy and tolerance.  Religion plays less of a role in their lives than it did in their grandparents’.

Schools work tirelessly against bullying while the children’s grandparents fight for the right to be able to offend, insult and humiliate people for who they are.

Programs to increase understanding and acceptance of diversity, like the Safe Schools program, are reviled as sexual grooming and social engineering.  Grandparents who grew up when homosexuality was illegal think their grandchildren must not even speak about it lest they become somehow infected by the disease.

Endless research has shown the harm caused by exclusion and isolation, the stultifying consequences of low self-esteem, the anguish of depression and mental ill health.

The grandparents of the world should be the nurturers, the carers, the protectors of peace and the facilitators of the future.  Instead, we have perverted the noble fight for freedom and inclusion into a defence of a past characterised by war, intolerance, hatred and division.  Instead of sowing seeds that will benefit others, we are greedy and selfish, wanting to protect our privilege.

Instead of belittling the political correctness of Gen Y, we should recognise that our children are better people than us and should be applauded for their enlightenment, not dragged backwards by their grandparents’ ignorance and fear of change.

It can’t go on like this

In August 2015, with the Abbott government in disarray and a few weeks before Malcolm staged his coup, Laura Tingle wrote an article in the AFR which she could publish again tomorrow.  It forcibly underlines how nothing has changed under Malcolm Turnbull and begs the question of how long he can survive.

The following are her words from 2 years ago….

It has been a noisy, out-of-control week in Canberra: the Liberal Party has imploded over same-sex marriage, the government has announced a farcical climate change policy, the credibility of its trade union royal commission has been shredded (insert citizenship woes instead). But in the hallowed space of the cabinet room, and even in the Parliament, it’s been much quieter.

Ministers reflect on the painfully thin agenda before the cabinet: thin in subject matter as well as substantive submissions. Parliament has not been overwhelmed by major legislation to debate.

A meeting of the National Security Committee of the cabinet has, however, recently asked for a list of national-security-related things that could be announced weekly between now and the election.

How much scrutiny has gone in to these “announceables” is unclear.

National security being the new religion, it’s a bit rude to ask any questions, to the point where senior ministers insisted during a bid for funds by a national intelligence agency some months ago that the “bean counters” from Treasury and Finance be kept out of the room.

Bombing Syria. Messing with the constitution to get a political outcome on same sex-marriage. These are now the playthings of a prime minister so desperate, so out of control that he is overseeing the complete surrender of proper governance to day-to-day tactics.

The problem is that it isn’t even working for him. Every issue that is running in politics at present is highlighting the bitter divisions, or policy confusion, or both, within the government.

Cabinet ministers are publicly brawling over the appropriate legal vehicle, and timing, for deciding the question of same-sex marriage. Attorney-General George Brandis dismissed Scott Morrison’s suggestion that there should be a referendum, and was publicly backed by two other senior ministers. Six MPs indicated they would cross the floor to vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

Coalition MPs recognise that Tony Abbott’s suggestion this week that the issue of same-sex marriage issue should go to “the people” was a purely political gambit to get it off the agenda short-term, shore up his support with conservatives in the party room, and bury it all together long-term.

But the glaring tactical flaws in this idea – the belief it would both stop the debate and could somehow stop same-sex marriage being an election issue – are so spectacular that even some of those close to Abbott are scathing.

Then again, the Prime Minister is now at war with his own party. His tactics are as much directed at his colleagues as his political opponents. He was quite happy to allow a party room debate to take place that  saw 16 of his ministers argue against his position on same-sex marriage.

It’s not just on issues of social policy, however, where things have gone off the rails.

The government continues to announce policies that are long on columns of smoke, large in cost and short in detail.

Last week, the government announced it was spending “$89 billion” on “a strong and sustainable naval shipbuilding industry”.

This week, the government announced a climate change target that overwhelmingly relies on policies that have not yet been announced but which the government says can reduce our carbon emissions by 26 per cent by 2030 at a cost of $60 billion, compared to its claim that Labor’s policies (also not announced) to cut carbon by 40 to 60 per cent would cost $600 billion. (Shades of Morrison’s lies about the cost of Labor’s tax reform)

If you hang around in Canberra long enough, you start to recognise the point where a government has become terminal, where the death spiral is irretrievable. It’s got nothing to do with the polls, or leadership rumblings.

It’s the point where the sheer stupidity of its decisions is so obvious, so craven, so contradictory, that everyone involved – ministers, backbenchers, the opposition, the media, voters – just know it can’t go on like this.

Pauline says she is defending Australian values yet she offends pretty much every value I hold

It would be ridiculous to draw any sort of equivalence between Pauline Hanson and ISIS but there are some similarities.

ISIS followers brandish a particular black and white flag.  Pauline’s followers drape themselves in the Australian flag.

ISIS wants to ban other religions.  Pauline wants to ban Islam.

ISIS wants to dictate what women can wear.  Pauline wants to dictate what they can’t wear.

ISIS uses social media to get their message out and to attract followers.  So does Pauline.

ISIS refer derisively to “moderns.”  Pauline mocks the “inner city intellectual elites”.

ISIS want their own state with strongly defended borders.  Pauline wants the same thing, stopping immigration entirely.

ISIS have a caliph.  Pauline has made it very clear she is the supreme leader of her party and has aspirations for greater power.

ISIS decry the western media.  So does Pauline.

ISIS appeals to violent extremists who think their way of life is best and want to impose it on others.  So does Pauline’s One Nation.

ISIS cannot accept the changes in the modern world and retreat to fundamentalism.  Likewise Pauline.

Pauline definitely doesn’t encourage her followers to go around killing people but her special brand of ignorant intolerance mixed with the certainty of a fool comes with its own dangers.

She emboldens the racists, the bigots, those who are fearful of difference and those who cannot adjust to a changing world.  She fuels their fears and gives them targets for their anger.

She passes on completely wrong information, as in her advice about vaccination, and then brushes it off saying “someone told me”.  She is not interested, nor capable it seems, of being informed about anything by independent experts yet is putty in the hands of unscrupulous lobbyists and the weirdos she surrounds herself with.  She is possibly the only person who could trust Malcolm Roberts about climate change, Brian Burston about the ABC, and James Ashby about strategy.

Pauline’s hysterical Islamophobia threatens our national security by attacking and alienating the very people who are keeping us safe – the Australian Muslim community.  It is their children who are being seduced, radicalised and killed.  It is their homelands that are being torn apart, their relatives oppressed, displaced or killed.  It is their religion which is being blasphemed, their reputations questioned.  They are working with our security and law enforcement agencies to keep us safe and to purge their ranks of this poison which has changed their lives far more than it has ours.

Pauline says she is defending Australian values yet she offends pretty much every value I hold.

Let’s talk about immigration

Whilst politics has always been an adversarial arena, the last decade has seen parliamentary debate sink to such a low level that they have become an impediment to rational thinking and progress.  As they battle each other for the funniest zinger or most cutting accusation, the country lumbers on with no direction.

The reality show that is Canberra has dealt itself out of any relevance in addressing the issues facing our country.  They are more interested in keeping their job than actually doing it.  Looking for someone to blame is more important than looking for a solution.

As they tear each other apart, let’s ignore them for a moment and talk about immigration.

Immigration is a topic about which people often hold very strong views which can lead to passionate disagreement.

Some opponents to immigration offer reasonable arguments, concerned about unemployment, housing, inadequate infrastructure, dwindling resources, population growth and the strain it places on the natural environment.

Others fear people who are different.  They are suspicious of people who speak another language, who look different, who wear different clothing, who pray differently.  They think, because ethnic groups often gravitate together, that they are taking over areas and pushing out ‘locals’.  They will never ‘assimilate’.  They are frightened that Australian ‘values’ are under assault and that minorities will impose their ‘way of life’ on us all.

If we are going to stop the race to the bottom between Hanson, Bernardi, and the right of the Coalition, we need to address the genuine concerns and the unnecessary fears that opportunistic politicians are exploiting.

Many of the concerns of the first group could be addressed if we put our minds to it.

We don’t have a housing shortage in Australia.  Our problem is the concentration of people in urban areas exacerbated by policies favouring investors.  One of the reasons people concentrate in the cities is for the employment, another is for access to facilities and opportunities.

If we could encourage people to settle in regional areas, this would relieve the burden on the cities and revitalise our country towns which would improve the services they could provide.

Barnaby Joyce’s solution to this is to forcibly relocate people, moving existing jobs to his electorate.  He also wants to build an inland freight rail.  And some dams.

A far better plan would be to build the high speed rail passenger network linking Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane via 12 regional centres.

It would give regional areas the population to maintain schools and hospitals and small businesses thus providing employment and services in the town.  It would open up affordable housing.  It would allow fast access to the cities when required.  It would free up existing rail lines for freight, reduce the number of cars competing with trucks on interstate highways and the number of passenger flights clogging up our airports.  It would reduce congestion in the cities and demand on stretched resources.  It would reduce pollution from cars and planes.  Migrants could be encouraged to settle in country areas who would welcome them and help them become part of a smaller community where people know each other.  Tourists could get off the crowded beaten track on the coast.

Populations tend to plateau naturally as people become better educated and more prosperous.  In Australia, our fertility rate (average number of children born to each woman) is below replacement level at 1.9.  We are having less children and breeding later, which slows growth.

Aside from immigration, a contributing factor to population growth is our increasing longevity.  This certainly should influence our planning for the future but old people don’t keep having kids so the effect is not exponential.

It should also be noted that skilled migration saves us the cost of educating the worker and provides a significant return to the economy.  It should be used discerningly to fill temporary shortages whilst we train our citizens to fill identified areas of need.

The concerns of the second group of opponents to immigration I find harder to accept.

In my opinion, the more diverse, tolerant, inclusive and accepting our society is, the safer we are.  People come here knowing what the country is like – why would they try to change it into the country they have left?  We are all different.  We all have something to offer if accepted and encouraged to do so.  We don’t have to look alike or have the same beliefs or eat the same foods.

Problems arise when people feel alienated or isolated – all people, not just migrants.  It’s no fun when people keep putting you down, not because you have done anything wrong, for just being who you are.

If migrants are having trouble adjusting to life in Australia, we should help them.  We should not demand they give up their identity and their heritage.  We should help them learn English and educate them about cultural differences they may encounter. There are some cultural practices that are completely unacceptable in Australia and against our laws.  We should have in place a process that deals with new arrivals to explain any differences in the law between their country of origin and Australia that may cause problems eg child marriage and female genital mutilation which are common in some countries (this is more cultural than religious).

I cannot hate someone because they are different to me.  Differences teach us things, bring us new ideas, help us to evolve, combining the best of our experience and thoughts to improve and grow.

Australia is a wonderful country and we should not let our politicians, or a few extremists, try to scare us into thinking otherwise.

PS And for pity’s sake, just bring the poor souls from Manus and Nauru here.  We have a “ring of steel” protecting the seas to our north so an influx of new boats is unlikely and we would save a fortune and go part way towards restoring our international reputation.

One Nation can only dream about an approval rating like the ABC’s

There is nothing more excruciatingly embarrassing than watching One Nation give a press conference.

Out came Pauline, flanked by Malcolm and Brian, to gleefully shove it up the arse of the ABC.

How dare they ask questions about her plane, sorry James’ plane, or is it Bill’s plane.  How dare they question Malcolm’s citizenship.  How dare they still talk about climate change when there is no empirical evidence.

We all know they are “jihadi sympathisers” and “harbingers of terror apologists” who have “a fatwa on Pauline Hanson” as Malcolm Roberts told the Daily Mail (seriously).

Senator Burston bravely said he would block government savings measures unless ABC funding was slashed by at least $600 million in the last Federal Budget.

Well Pauline’s going to teach them a lesson!

Buoyed by her success at removing the head of Australia Post (according to her), Pauline has demanded that the ABC provide details of the wages of any staff receiving over $200,000.

What she intends doing with that information is unclear.  If we are going to demand that people who are paid by the taxpayer justify their wages then we could start with our politicians.

“The Government has also agreed to undertake a competitive neutrality inquiry into the ABC and to legislate a requirement for the ABC to be ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’,” Senator Hanson said.

Now you can’t tell me that Pauline came up with the phrase “competitive neutrality”.  Perhaps the “extensive consultation with industry bodies” was helpful in putting the words into Pauline’s mouth – like “fair and balanced”, the Fox News slogan.

When asked what she meant, after an awkward silence, she said she didn’t think the ABC should be allowed to bid for sports telecasts.

Gee I wonder who put that thought in her head?  Are all those regional viewers Pauline is so concerned about expected to sign up to Foxtel if they want to watch sport?

The ABC Charter already compels it to be “impartial” and “accurate.”  When asked how that was different from “fair and balanced”, Malcolm Roberts fired up, no doubt remembering his humiliating appearance on Q&A, saying impartial meant they could, and do, ignore whole sides of arguments.

According to the dictionary, impartial means “treating all rivals or disputants equally”.  Synonyms include: unbiased, unprejudiced, neutral, non-partisan, non-discriminatory, objective, open-minded, equitable, even-handed, fair, fair-minded, just.

What Malcolm fails to understand is that, when you talk shit, informed people call you out on it.

Pauline proudly announced that “the Government has agreed to greatly enhance the ABC’s provision of services to rural and regional Australians.”

No new funding, they just want a bigger slice of it spent on regional areas despite the 2016 annual ABC Appreciation Survey finding that “79% of Australians believe that the ABC does a ‘good job’ covering country and regional issues, in comparison to the 43% that believe commercial media does the same.”

Pauline has also secured a commitment to provide an additional $12 million dollars in funding for community radio measures.  Funny, I didn’t hear her complaining about the last budget in which the Community Broadcasting Program lost $1.4 million per year over the next four years.  Pauline thinks community radio provides a “diverse and independent voice” as she signs up to allow Murdoch to take over our media completely.

One Nation has also requested a register of foreign ownership interests in media companies.

“If any foreign ownership is at 2.5 per cent it must be on a public register,” Senator Hanson said.  “Higher than that – 5 per cent – it goes to the Foreign Investment Review Board to be looked at.”

I wonder if she realises that Rupert is a foreigner?

According to the survey, “A large majority of Australians—86% compared with 84% in 2015—believe the ABC performs a valuable role, with 49% rating the ABC as ‘very valuable’, the highest level since 2009. A large majority believe the Corporation provides quality content, and that is doing a good job satisfying its charter obligations.”

Pauline can only dream about an approval rating like that.

I will close with a rather disturbing excerpt from PHONy Senator Brian Burston’s maiden speech just to underline what fruitcakes this crowd really are.

“A further example of elite contempt for ordinary Australians is public broadcasting. The cultural Marxist takeover of the ABC began in the late 1960s when Allan Ashbolt stacked the current affairs department. Ashbolt introduced the radical critique of mainstream Australia that had become fashionable in university departments of humanities and social science. Almost 50 years later, there is not one conservative program or anchor on the ABC—not one, in a billion-dollar enterprise. The ABC’s oppositional stance to traditional Australia has grown to include the two other taxpayer-funded public broadcasters, the Special Broadcasting Service, SBS, whose explicitly ethnic mission is to cater to the identity and interests of the multicultural community, and most recently the National Indigenous Television network, NITV, created to represent the identity and interests of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. For budgetary reasons, NITV is now within the SBS stable. All three broadcasters are biased against mainstream Australia. They distort Australian political culture and support aggressive political multiculturalism. The systemic bias of public broadcasting is one of the clearest manifestations of a hostile cultural establishment. This bias has been known for decades but the conservative side of mainstream politics has failed to correct the situation. The time for complaint and diagnosis is over. It is time for the nation to break the bias of public broadcasting before that bias breaks the nation.

How might this be done? The main proposals have been to defund and privatise the ABC. But the country needs public broadcasters. Despite or perhaps because of their biases, the ABC, SBS and NITV have constituents who benefit from their services. It would be sad to throw the babies out with the bathwater. Might not balance be achieved between channels? A fair balance might be struck by leaving the minority ethnic channels intact while transferring funding from the ABC to establish a new channel that might be called the Patriotic Broadcasting Corporation, whose explicit mission would be to represent the identity and interests of mainstream Australia. It would present news and current affairs from the perspective of the historic Australian nation. Stripped of its mainstream content, the remaining ABC structure would receive funding commensurate with the size of its inner city, Greens-voting constituency.”

The Coalition have had ten years to come up with a policy that works

Reflecting back on the Coalition’s six years in Opposition, it’s no wonder they are in such trouble now.

Instead of developing policy, think about what they spent their time doing.

They pursued Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson mercilessly in an effort to bring down a minority government.

They spent years trying to pin some wrongdoing on Julia Gillard from decades ago, before she even entered politics.

On a daily basis, they announced a running tally of asylum seeker boat arrivals and ranted endlessly about the “Egyptian jihadist terrorist kept behind a pool fence” (who turned out to be an accountant)..

Joe Hockey cried about the unaccompanied minors who may be sent offshore while Bronwyn Bishop described the Malaysia solution as a “hideous trade in human flesh.”

They decried the stimulus package that helped Australia avoid the recession the rest of the world suffered and spent endless time talking about pink batts and school halls.

Day after day, they screamed like banshees about the “great big new tax on everything” chanting “axe the tax”.  (A bit rich from the party that brought us the GST)

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation was a green slush fund making non-commercial loans with taxpayers’ money.

The mining tax was simultaneously destroying jobs whilst raising no revenue.

Labor was killing the car industry by insisting that claims for business usage be supported by a log book.

The NBN was an expensive “white elephant”.

Labor spent too much on foreign aid and not enough on defence (read strike force capability and attacks on other countries).

We had a “debt and deficit disaster” because the government was “spending like a drunken sailor.”

Labor backstabbed a sitting Prime Minister and were riven by disunity and dysfunctional navel-gazing.

Aside from their usual union bashing and lower taxes for the wealthy, the only policies they came up with were Greg Hunt’s Direct Action, which has seen us pay billions to make emissions rise, and Tony’s signature Paid Parental Leave Scheme that didn’t even make it past his own party.

Contrast that with Shorten’s Labor Opposition who have developed policies on taxation reform including negative gearing, capital gains, superannuation and family trusts.  They have a plan to have 50% renewable energy by 2030 and to introduce new emissions standards for motor vehicles.  They have pledged to invest in TAFE and apprenticeships.  To name a few.

As the Opposition continues to develop and announce policy, the government has mired itself in Tony Abbott’s mud pit.

In response to Penny Wong’s heartfelt speech about the children of same-sex couples, Abbott cast his side as the victims.

“It is not homophobic to maintain that, ideally, children should have both a mother and a father.  Yet I fear much moral bullying in the weeks to come – invariably from those demanding change.”

And therein lies the problem at the heart of this government.

Aside from constantly blaming others in any discussion (think Gillian Triggs), Tony simply cannot handle change.  He cannot react to changing circumstances let alone anticipate them.  He cannot absorb new information because he is too entrenched in his long-held views.  He strongly feels the ‘natural order’ of the past must be defended – that we should do things the way we have always done them.

And he isn’t the only one.

Our Deputy Prime Minister (for now) and many of his Nationals are equally responsible for hamstringing the government.

To stay leader of the Liberal Party, Turnbull has to appease Abbott and his band of dinosaurs.  To get the support of the Nationals to govern, he has to give Barnaby what he (read Gina) wants.  To get anything through the Senate, he has to deal with Pauline Hanson’s crazies.

The only way this impasse can be broken is for Turnbull to stand up and actually start leading his party and reminding the Nats that they are very much the junior partner who would never sit on the government benches without the assistance of the Liberals.  In fact, at the 2013 election, the Liberals won 74 seats on their own (16 of the 22 LNP elected members were from the Liberal Party).  He should also cut One Nation out of negotiations (they’re mad as cut snakes) and concentrate on Xenephon.

Unless that happens, the very loud conservative minority in our parliament will continue to hold the country back in the last century.

They have already wasted 10 years.  How long will it take them to come up with a policy that works?

Malcolm and the Malcontents eight years on

In November 2009, Four Corners aired a program called Malcolm and the Malcontents.

At the time, Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the Liberal party but his support for an ETS was being challenged by Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and Cory Bernardi who feature in the program.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had ominously identified climate change as “one of the great moral, economic and environmental challenges of our age.”

Malcolm Turnbull passionately stated that he would “not lead a party that is not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am.”

Three weeks later, Turnbull was gone.

The program is a must watch and should be compulsory viewing for every parliamentarian.  Eight years on and the situation is the same, the players are the same, and the misinformation continues.

To watch it, click on the following link and then click on play in the top left corner under the title.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20091109/ETS/

If you prefer, you can read the transcript here.

You won’t be disappointed.  The similarities with today are uncanny.

As you listen or read, pay particular attention to Barnaby Joyce’s role in all this.

Move on to a Guardian article from 2012.  Same people bleating on.

Many of the climate sceptics, influential in elevating Tony Abbott to Coalition leader, say they see nothing to convince them that human activity is causing the climate to change.

”It is an indulgent and irrelevant debate because, even if climate change turns out to exist one day, we will have absolutely no impact on it whatsoever … we really should have bigger fish to fry than this one,” Senator Joyce said.

South Australian senator Cory Bernardi, formerly Mr Abbott’s parliamentary secretary, said: ”I do not think human activity causes climate change and I haven’t seen anything that changes my view. I remain very sceptical about the alarmists’ claims.”

When Warren Truss was considering retiring, there was a significant number of the Nationals Party room who wanted “anyone but Barnaby.”

Mr Joyce has been accused by those within the Nationals of being a “grandstander”, of needing complex information in a small number of dot points and not putting in enough hard work. Others love him as a “retail politician” — able to cut through with one-liners.

Jumping ahead to April 2017, and Barnaby Joyce expressed ‘surprise’ when the NSW Young Nationals backed a resolution for an emissions intensity scheme.

Barnaby dismissively responded saying “I had lots of ideas when I was starting off in the National Party, too.  And some of them change over time, like John Maynard Keynes [said], ‘As I get new information, I change my mind. What do you do?'”

I see no sign of evidence ever changing Barnaby’s mind.

The EIS proposal has the support of the Labor Party, National Farmers Federation, Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, Origin Energy, BHP Billiton, EnergyAustralia, the Australian Energy Market Commission, Senator Nick Xenophon, as well as the Young Nationals and others.

How come Barnaby, with Abbott and Bernardi shouting from the rear seat, STILL get to say no?

You can’t stop society evolving

 

As, one by one, my family and friends get rid of their land lines despite my protestations that I knew their numbers off by heart and I live in a mobile black spot so rarely use one, I have had to concede that you can’t stop society evolving.

Sometimes, as in the case of mobile phones, emails and computers, this evolution is due to technical change.  No longer do we wait for the postman to bring us paper bills.  No longer do we troddle off to the bank to stand in a queue so we can pay them.  No longer do we go searching for a public phone that still has a handset attached.

In other cases, we are forced to change in response to a threat.  Medicine has taught us the benefits of cleanliness and a good diet and the dangers of smoking and lack of exercise.  Climate change is making us change the way we use power.

And sometimes, evolution in thinking occurs.

There was a time when women were considered the possessions of, first, their fathers and then, their husbands.

There was a time when people of colour were considered inferior.

There was a time when homosexuality was considered unnatural.

Thankfully, we have evolved past this ignorance.

The stranglehold of religion on our daily lives is diminishing.

More and more people are questioning the relevance of dressing up in ceremonial robes, burning incense and chanting responses to worship a supernatural being.  We no longer need the fear of some divine retribution in the afterlife to make us obey the laws that protect our society.  Morality and good deeds are not the sole province of believers.  Women are no longer willing to accept the role of vessels and vassals.

And yet this diminishing minority of faithful seek to stem the tide of evolution.

They want the right to dictate how others must live their lives.  They want to decide what a family should look like.  They want to determine who is in and who is out, whether it be women in the priesthood or gay people who want to marry.  Their exclusive club wants to deny women control over their own bodies and the terminally ill the right to die with dignity.

The ridiculous notion that we will spend an enormous amount of money on a postal survey to determine if gays are equal before the law is an anachronistic obscenity.

Marriage equality will happen regardless of Lyle Shelton and Tony Abbott.  It will happen because it is right.

Freedom of speech? You gotta be shitting me

 

In 2013 Tony Abbott described marriage equality as the “fashion of the moment”.  Now he says it would lead to religious intolerance, the stifling of free speech, and a regime of paralysing political correctness.

Just to be clear, political correctness is “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”

Tony seems fixated on protecting the Aussie right to sink the boot in and to keep the bastards out of our pubs – oh no, wait…. that was women and Aboriginals.

Tony’s concern for religious freedom comes from the man who thought the burqa should be banned, the man who called for a “religious revolution” inside Islam, declaring “all cultures are not equal”, the man whose government insisted the school chaplaincy program must not fund non-religious counsellors, the man who insists that our laws and our school curriculum should be based on some “Judeo-Christian” heritage.

Freedom to follow Tony’s religious beliefs?

Tony is concerned that businesses will be forced to serve gay people.  Fine.  Dean Smith’s Private Members Bill gave wedding related businesses the right to refuse to serve gay couples if the business could show a religious affiliation.

Master stroke I thought.  You have to fill in forms to deny customers.  What business owner in their right mind would want more paperwork so they could get less work?

His concern about the church’s rights seems misplaced.  Perhaps Tony is not aware that the Catholic Church routinely refuses to marry people – people who aren’t Catholic, people who are divorced, for example.  So no issues there.

Somehow I think they might just come on board rather than lose numbers.

As for freedom of speech, you gotta be shitting me.

ABC journalists and commentators have been instructed they may not use the term “marriage equality” for fear that the public might actually realise this is discriminatory.

Public service employees have been warned that their social media feeds may not show any opinion critical of the government even if they didn’t write it.  They must spend their time deleting others’ comments.

Legal aid groups have been told their funding will be axed if they engage in advocacy.

Environmental groups have had their charitable status threatened and their ability to launch legal challenges curtailed.

NGOs have had gag clauses reinserted in their funding contracts.

Professionals working on Manus and Nauru, along with journalists, have been threatened with prosecution if they speak about the intolerable abuse that is occurring.

How on earth could allowing your sister to marry her partner compete with that for stifling free speech?  In fact, how can it stifle freedom of speech at all?

When Tony Abbott mobilised forces to vote against Australia becoming a Republic, he used his usual sloganeering.

Don’t know? – Vote ‘NO’

No say! – No way! – Vote ‘NO’

Keep the status quo! – Vote ‘NO’

What will they be this time?

Tykes against dykes?

One can only shudder in anticipation.

“Strong leaders” don’t blame others when their plan doesn’t work

During the 2013 election campaign, Joe Hockey was asked “Should you win the election, at what stage will you own the economy and at what stage will it no longer be Labor’s fault?”

He responded “We will own the economy from day one, whether it’s Labor’s fault or not… I’m not afraid to accept responsibility and I’m not afraid to be accountable. We will own it from day one. We will be responsible for the Australian economy.”

Apparently that doesn’t include responsibility for electricity prices and security which, well into their second term, the Turnbull government are still blaming on Labor.

As Barnaby Joyce turned purple during a vitriolic rant in Question Time yesterday that it was all Labor’s fault that prices are so high, Turnbull tried lamely to convince us that being told our contract was ending was some sort of “strong leader” win to drive prices down.

In an astonishing display of short term memory loss, hypocrisy, and downright gall, Turnbull taunted Labor that they had no plan on energy.

Ummm….they had an emissions trading scheme in place and working well until you trashed it Malcolm.

We had bipartisan support for a renewable energy target, until you trashed it.

They had provided certainty to the renewable energy industry that attracted investment, until you trashed it.

They had subsidised home insulation and solar roofs, until you trashed it.

Energy demand and emissions were going down, until you trashed it.

Under Labor’s implemented (rather than talked about) plan, polluters paid billions to the government and so were incentivised to move towards sustainable practice.  Until you trashed it with your stupid Direct Action Plan which sees us paying billions instead for no result.

You commissioned the Finkel Review and then refused to adopt its centrepiece, the Clean Energy Target.

The newly appointed head of the Australian Energy Market Commission has said an emissions intensity scheme is the most effective policy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  You have ruled it out.

You said you would subsidise one million solar roofs.  Then chose not to.

You said you would plant 20 million trees.  Then relaxed laws which resulted in land clearing at “globally significant levels”.

You put Barnaby Joyce in charge of water.  Then he let people steal and resell it.  Hard to plan hydro storage when rivers are drying up.

By using creative accounting, you are simultaneously claiming we will meet our 2020 reduction targets whilst conceding that emissions will be more than 5% higher than those in 2000.

The Queensland Renewable Energy Expert Panel found that a 50% renewable energy target could drive $6.7 billion of new investment in their state, and deliver a net increase in employment of 6400 – 6700 full-time equivalent positions on average per year between 2020 and 2030.  You mock them.

You want to spend government money on building a railway line for a coal mine that no-one will finance.

You want to spend money on carbon capture and storage which has proven commercially unviable.

You want to take years to build very expensive new coal fired power stations when ultra-super-critical produces twice the emissions of gas-fired technology.

The CEO of CS Energy, who produces a third of Queensland’s power and runs two of the most advanced coal-fired plants in the country, said “CS Energy certainly has no intention of building any coal-fired power plants, ultra-centre super-critical or not.  And it would surprise me greatly if there was any more coal-fired technology built in Australia.  I think when you look at the risk of the investment, you’re talking about $2 billion-plus investment up-front. These assets have a plant life of roughly 40 years, and so it’s a very, very big long-term bet.  So given the current uncertainty, I think it would be a very courageous board that would invest in coal-fired technology in Australia.”

Matthew Warren from the Australian Energy Council, the body that represents all the major power generators, offered the same critique of the Turnbull doctrine.

“Plans for expansion to coal-fired power stations has been basically shelved over the last decade.  We’re now looking at gas and renewables as the mainstay of the investment for us, at least for the next 10-20 years.”

Oliver Yates from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation said “It’s not really a technology which, ah, would be one that is likely to have a long-term path, and therefore would, again, be very risky for the taxpayer to invest in.”

Turnbull likes to pretend he is backing renewable energy but mainly he just makes announcements, shuffles existing money around and commissions, and then ignores, reviews.  What will he do when he finds out his nation-building energy saviour from the 50s, the Snowy-Hydro, fails a cost-benefit analysis?

Before the election, the Australian Solar Council chief John Grimes spoke of the Coalition’s track record of “contempt” for renewable energy.

“The Turnbull government is again showing utter hypocrisy by raiding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for its latest election stunt,” Grimes said.  “This government has twice tried to axe the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. It’s tried to axe the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), it’s taken the axe to the Renewable Energy Target and now it plans to slash $1.3 billion from ARENA.  Today’s announcement [the Sustainable Cities Investment Fund] is not new money. It is simply using the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as its slush fund.”

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition was also critical of what they called “rebranding,” used to cover up a lack of ambition on global warming.

“This is the third time the Prime Minister has re-announced clean energy money that has existed since 2013 and the Coalition spent most of their time in government trying to cut,” said AYCC national director, Kirsty Albion.

Malcolm, despite your trail of destruction on environmental issues, with privatisation and the free market operating apace, power prices have soared while you have been in office.

You are four years into your term in government and you are still blaming your predecessors and continually asking the Opposition what their plan is. That’s not what governing is about.  You were put there to fix things and you haven’t.

Every industry player (other than the Minerals Council) has told you that your plan stinks.

Stop pointing at others.  That’s not what “strong leaders” do.

Labor should get specific about job creation

Bill Shorten needs to be better prepared with some specifics when asked about Labor’s plan for job creation.

Obvious answers are the renewable energy industry and building infrastructure but there is one Labor initiative that never rates a mention that will create jobs in every part of Australia – the NDIS.

In July, the Productivity Commission released a report which estimated that “1 in 5 new jobs created in Australia over the next few years will need to be in the disability care sector” and that “Present policy settings are unlikely to see enough providers and workers as the scheme rolls out.”

Just to emphasise that point, “the NDIS workforce will need to more than double from 2014-15 to 2019-20, and the number of NDIS providers will need to increase by between four- and ten-fold.”

This is an enormous employment opportunity with a vast range of skills and abilities required.

The following are just a few areas of assistance needed by the aged and people living with a disability that could provide flexible employment opportunities:

Doctors who do house calls

Community nurses

Cleaners

Drivers

Gardeners

Handymen/women

Companions

Administrators

Daily respite activity centres

Disability aids

Home modification

Auslan interpreters for the deaf

Therapists – occupational, speech, physio

Counsellors

Health advocates

Training assistance animals

Meals on wheels

Assisting with computer skills and communication devices

Medication reviews and management

Legal services and financial advice

In the short term, the PC recommends giving experienced staff more hours to allow ‘on-the-job’ training and mentoring of new staff to expand the overall workforce more quickly.

During the transition period, they suggest temporarily relaxing the restriction that paid informal carers must not live at the same residence as the participant, which is an obstacle to providing care for those in rural and remote areas.

They also stress the importance of skilled migration where residual shortages remain persistent — especially in the case where allied health professionals may be lacking in particular regions.

While these measures will help to address workforce shortages in the transition period, more attention also needs to be paid to the longer-term training and development of the workforce.

Armed with appropriate regional information about demand for services, the government could incentivise certain courses and re-examine minimum standards and payment awards.

Facilitating people remaining in their homes with appropriate care and support not only improves productivity and quality of life for customers and their carers, it actually saves money as it is far more expensive to provide institutional care.

Tony Windsor, during the NBN debate, said the Senate had been told that If the package of technologies enabled by high-speed broadband can keep 5% of elderly people in their homes for just one extra year, Australia could save $60 billion over ten years on aged care facilities ($4 billion a year in bed operating costs and $20 billion in capital costs).

Speaking of the NBN, there’s another Labor initiative whose potential for job creation should be emphasised.

According to Antony Green, there is a high likelihood of a Commonwealth election in September-October 2018.  If I was Bill, I would give every Labor MP the task of coming up with specific suggestions for job creation in their region and more broadly at a national level.  If they spent a short while researching on the net, reading the many expert reports that are available and media commentary, they are more likely to have an informed basis for ideas than if they waste time drinking with locals at the pub or having photos taken with shovels.

Operational matters are now on the nightly news

When Scott Morrison was Minister for Immigration he very firmly stated that speaking about operational matters was a no-no.

“That goes to operational matters that, whether they affect current or future operational activity, you will not be getting commentary from this podium or that podium either way on those matters.  We want to make it crystal clear: operational and tactical issues that relate to current and prospective operations… will not be the subject of public commentary from these podiums.”

Lieutenant General Campbell advised that the secrecy was necessary “to prevent the potential for messaging to people smugglers with regards to changes to procedures or our tactical activities that might evolve over time”.

Personally, I would have thought that loudly advertising every interception would have had a deterrent effect on the people-smuggling trade but I’m not a politician.

Apparently, this same logic does not apply to terrorism.  We are filled in on every detail, often as it happens.

Television crews are invited along on raids.  If they don’t make it in time, the police provide them with footage.

People who have not been charged with anything at all are named and their homes and families filmed.

We are told what evidence has been collected.  It often gets paraded on the nightly news.

We are told how explosives enter the country, what the suspects planned to do with them and how.

We are told in detail about the inadequacies in our customs and border protection and what new measures might be trialled, at the same time as we are told there is no possible way we can scrutinise all mail and cargo or patrol our entire coastline.

Every day we are told more and more.  What chemicals to use.  Where you can get them.  How to build a bomb.  How to smuggle it.

We even advertise who dobbed the suspects in and what raised their suspicion.

If you were a terrorist network, or even just a disturbed teenager with bad thoughts, you just got given a hell of a lot more information and ideas.

Even if you can’t make a bomb, our politicians are keen to point out how simple it is – all you need is a knife, or a car, or some acid.

The aim of terrorism is to create fear and mistrust – something that our politicians and media have willingly aided and abetted.

They give the terrorists the attention they crave, the publicity they need to reach potential new recruits.

They victimise, alienate and isolate innocent people – Yassmin Abdel-Magied for example.  Would she have been hounded out of her home if she wasn’t a vocal Muslim?

The police and military didn’t used to be used for advertising but now they are paraded before the cameras whenever the politicians need a distraction.  Operational matters are now broadcast on the nightly news and described in detail to the Murdoch press who always go that step further in promoting hatred and blame.

Stop disclosing every last detail of foiled terrorist plots.  Stop giving them publicity.   Stop disclosing sources.  Stop telling the media how security was breached and what new measures you are implementing.

Stop using national security as a political plaything.

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