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Roswell (not his real name, of course), is American born though he was quite young when his family moved to Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Science and spent most of his working life in Canberra. His interests include anything that has an unsolved mystery about it, politics (Australian and American), science, history, and traveling. Roswell is our SEO guru so most of his work at The AIMN is in an admin role, though he does produce regular articles.

Move over Rupert – Google now calls the shots

Rupert Murdoch was once asked: “of all the things in your business empire, what gives you the most pleasure?” Murdoch instantly replied: “being involved with the editor of a paper in a day-to-day campaign…trying to influence people”.

I don’t think many on the Left side of politics would argue with that.

His attacks on the Labor Government in Australia during the 2013 election campaign and the Labour Opposition in Great Britain demonstrate this.

Heavyweights in the independent media harbour the ambition that one day they too will have to power to influence election outcomes, however they are resigned to the likely scenario that it could take at least a decade for the alternative media to have the numbers to wield such power.

Now they have an unlikely ally.

Internet giant Google.

Business Insider reports that in the United States ‘Google will have a massive influence on the 2016 presidential race’ by deciding ‘which results pop up when people enter a search term’. Hm, that’s interesting. But how?

Google’s ‘search engine manipulation effect’ (SEME) allows Google to ‘take a diverse group of undecided voters, let them research the candidates on a Google-esque search engine, then tally their votes — never mentioning that the search was rigged, giving top link placement to stories supporting a selected candidate’.

‘Essentially it comes down to Google’s ability to decide which results pop up when people enter a search term’. Researchers, they write, expected this bias would sway voters, but ‘they were shocked by just how much: Some voters became 20 percent more likely to support the favored candidate’.

So to put it simply, Google can have ‘extraordinary power over how voters cast their ballots’.

Looking at the United States again (where the research is being carried out), by making a minor tweek to its algorithms only negative or positive stories about Donald Trump will dominate the returns from a Google search.

Matt Southern from the Search Engine Journal writes that:

If Google’s search algorithm started to surface more positive results than negative for a candidate, searchers could end up having a more positive opinion of that candidate.

This kind of influence could sway election results given that most presidential elections are won by small margins.

Is this dangerous? Possibly, but no more dangerous than the control and influence that Murdoch holds.

But would Google ever do it?

Maybe. Imagine this: Al Gore had considered entering the 2016 presidential race. Did you know he was once an adviser at Google?

One of Al Gore’s first moves upon leaving office was to take a job at Google as an adviser. Al Gore took this job a full three years before the company went public in 2004, and it is rumored that Gore received stock options that were valued at as much as $40 million.

If Gore had decided to run, I’m sure someone at Google could have tweeked the algorithm to his advantage.

And we would have never known.

By the way, did I mention that Rupert Murdoch hates Google?


Labor need to stand for more than just climate change

The latest email from Labor read:

Roswell —

In case you missed it: last week Tony Abbott committed all of us to one of the weakest emissions reduction targets in the developed world – 26%.

This means we would fail to meet our commitment to help limit climate change to 2 degrees in the lead up to the Paris Climate Change Conference. Climate scientists say that if the world fails to limit warming to 2 degrees, we reach a dangerous tipping point where there are natural changes that release huge amounts of greenhouse gases like methane from melting permafrost and huge forest fires. That’s why we have to have a serious commitment to joining the world in limiting warming to 2 degrees, but it’s clear the only way to get real action on climate change is to get rid of Tony Abbott. He never believed the science of climate change, and not even the rest of the world can convince him.

The polls show the Australian people are well and truly over this guy, but a week is a long time in politics and we can’t assume we won’t have one hell of a fight on our hands to win back government and put in place a decent and responsible climate policy. To do that we need passionate Australians like you to give us a fighting chance at the next election and righting this wrong. Can you contribute $5 today?

The next election will be a choice between real action on climate change vs none. Labor has a vision to reach 50% of renewables by 2030 and we want to see our country do its part to reduce emissions. Please help us and together we can get this message out – climate change is too important for us to remain quiet.

Thank you for your support,

Skye Laris
Digital Director

Maybe, to a point, the next election will be a choice between real action on climate change vs none, but I don’t agree that it’s the only issue as they so suggest.

Perhaps they need to read my earlier post and start getting real vocal in their support for things like:

  • same sex marriage (glad to see that they do)
  • the National Broadband Network (which they’ve gone quiet on)
  • raising taxes for the rich (which they haven’t mentioned)
  • taxing the super profits of mining companies (which they’ve also gone quiet on)
  • getting rid of internet regulation (OK, they’ll be called hypocritical after first having supported it, but they shouldn’t have supported it in the first place)
  • holding politicians financially responsible for promoting false statements
  • investing in the construction of a high speed rail (they’ve also gone quiet on this)
  • pricing carbon emissions (we’re starting to here a whimper about this, but it’s all negative rubbish coming from Murdoch)
  • not allowing Coal Seam Gas (CSG) projects in Australia.

For goodness sake, start fighting for what the people want and don’t be afraid to mention it.

And by the way, I can’t spare the $5. However, if you start being a bit more proactive in listening to your supporters then I might chuck in ten.

Are our elected representatives really representing us?

The House of Representatives currently consists of 150 members, elected by and who represent single member districts.

How can they possible be representing us when people are asked:

  • Should Australia allow same sex marriage and 67 per cent say ‘yes’ (other polls show this as high as 72 per cent) yet most of our politicians don’t support it.

  • Should the Australian government continue to invest billions of dollars into the development of the National Broadband Network and 60 per cent say ‘yes’ but the government ignores them.

  • Should Australia raise taxes on the rich and 60 per cent say ‘yes’ but the government does the opposite.

  • Should Australia tax the super profits of mining companies and 71 per cent say ‘yes’ but the Abbott Government repeals the mining tax.

  • Should the federal government regulate the internet and 70 per cent say ‘no’ yet look at what the government (supported by the Opposition) has legislated.

  • Should politicians be held financially responsible for promoting false statements and 80 per cent say ‘yes’ . . . well, that’s a joke.

  • Should the federal government invest in the construction of a high speed rail and 61 per cent say ‘yes’ yet the government hasn’t even floated the idea.

  • Should Australia set a price on carbon emissions and 43 per cent say ‘no’ yet the government listened to them.

  • Should the government allow Coal Seam Gas (CSG) projects in Australia and only 47 per cent say ‘yes’ yet the government supports it.

If the elected representatives are not representing us, then who the hell are they representing?

Please note: the polls, like any poll, are always open to interpretation.


We stand with Coonana

I am hoping to raise funds to help Annette Paul, an Indigenous Australian living in Coonana; a remote community that the Western Australian government has cancelled all funding to.

Due to these funding cuts the community has no water and no power. The school has closed down, the community shop has closed down, and the health centre has also been forced to close down.

Slowly, the people of Coonana left their traditional home and moved to other communities such as Tjuntjuntjarra: a 7-8 hour drive north east of Coonana and 170ks west of Kalgoorlie.

5527336_1439385311_0789 Annette is now the only person living in Coonana. Rightly so, she refuses to leave because of her close connection to country. She has many relatives that have passed, including her mother, and they lay at rest in the Coonana cemetery. She is worried that if she did leave, what would happen to Coonana, her home and her country.

Annette survives by relying on her sister Delphine to deliver bottles of water, food and other basics she needs to see her through until the next fortnight. Some nights she goes without basic essentials.

The funds I hope to raise will go towards and include a solar power package to provide power in her home, a large rain water tank for fresh drinking water, and a reliable vehicle so Annette’s sister can continue to deliver fresh food.

If you are able, please donate to Annette via this link. Let’s also show the Western Australian government that it is not that easy to break a person’s spirit.


Some climate change denialists are really stupid

Above is a photo of some place in Greenland. The unknown place looks a lot more hospitable than most of the photos I’ve seen of Greenland.

Greenland offers up a cold, icy, unwelcoming landscape. And this is the evidence, apparently, that the world is cooling – not heating.

Some climate change denialists are really stupid. The voice behind the logic that gives us Greenland as the best evidence that the world is cooling belongs to one of them.

I’ve read some amazingly inane comments from climate change denialists, especially from those who oppose solar or wind farms. You’ve probably seen them too: wind farms will blow the Earth off its axis; too many solar panels will soak up all the sun’s heat. Or then there’s the old favourite: It’s cold and it’s raining today so how could the planet be getting warmer?

Then I met one. In real life. They look and act like ‘normal’ people . . . but then they speak.

I am so amused with the one I met that I feel compelled to share it with you.

Said man was hired to do some handy work, which he promptly completed before bailing me up about this climate change nonsense.

“Look at Greenland” he roared. “The place is covered in snow. It must have been green once – that’s why they called it ‘Greenland’. It sure ain’t green anymore. Because the world is getting colder it has been snowing there for the last hundred years. What more proof do we need?”

Everything I offered in objection was padded away as an excuse. Greenland dispelled the climate change conspiracy!

He left without me educating him on how Greenland got its name. Apparently Erik the Red named it Greenland in an effort to entice settlers there. If the settlers had any inclination beforehand of how cold and miserable the place was then they wouldn’t have set foot near it.

Thankfully for their descendants . . . the place is getting warmer.


Things that would make the Murdoch media scream (if Labor was in power)

Hardly a day goes by where we don’t learn of something utterly terrible happening to our environment, our economy, our reputation, or our people. And the underlying thread to all of these is an incompetent government. The Abbott Government, to be precise.

Think back to the days of the Rudd/Gillard Governments and the daily dose of gloom and doom we were fed by the Murdoch media. Plus of course, their endless sensationalism about anything and everything from the clothes Julia Gillard wore to the way Kevin Rudd flicked his hair. It was so pathetic.

As was pointed out by someone here the other day, Julia Gillard was the first Prime Minister in 40 years to see interest rates, the unemployment rate, and the inflation rate under 5 per cent at the same time. But according to the Murdoch media we were all going to hell in a basket. And weren’t they rabid about it?

Well, what a mess we’re in now, but what does the Murdoch media say about these, to name just a few examples:

  • The crashing dollar.
  • The Stock Market’s worst day in three years.
  • Low interest rates (which were bad under Labor, according to Joe Hockey).
  • The highest unemployment level in 20 years.
  • The Prime Minister’s excessive travel claims.
  • A Prime Minister who talks like a raving mad man.
  • Funding cuts to essential services.
  • Housing affordability (or lack thereof).
  • Business closures.
  • Budgets not being passed.
  • Links to the Mafia (no matter how remote),
  • Asylum seekers dying under the government’s watch.
  • Protestors taking to the streets (on which they’ve been quiet, but I remember them giving oxygen to the ‘convoy of shame’ against the ‘carbon tax’).

I could go on, but I’ll leave that up to you to add to the list.

The point is, any of those would have been thrashed to death by the Murdoch media if we had a Labor Government. Their silence now is disturbing. Don’t you think?

It’s rather amusing that they claim to be the voice that holds governments to account. It’s a pity it doesn’t include the Abbott Government.


I once booed Adam Goodes

Adam Goodes is an Australian I rate highly as not only a footballer but as a pillar of our society. His performances off the field are just as outstanding as those on it. Unfortunately, because of the continued racist abuse he receives from fans he may not grace the football field again.

Most games I’ve seen him play will at some stage see me applauding his legendary skill, but one game in 2008 I booed hysterically (at the TV in the comfort and safety of my lounge room) after he engaged in some fairly rough play . . . against a team I follow (hence the fanatical booing).

He was reported for the incident. To my dismay he beat the charge.

The Swans were playing the Lions the following week and Lion’s coach Leigh Matthews was incensed. He obviously didn’t want Goodes lining up against his team, and had this to say:

. . . Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews described Sydney’s dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes as a “protected species” before Saturday night’s Gabba clash.

Asked a seemingly innocuous question on Friday about who would play on the Swans’ danger man, Matthews made it clear what he thought of Goodes beating a striking charge at Wednesday’s AFL Tribunal hearing.

The not guilty verdict that allowed Goodes to line up for a club record-equalling 194th consecutive match clearly rubbed Matthews the wrong way.

“Many players are envious of Adam Goodes for many reasons. We hope that his protected species status ends when he comes over the white line,” Matthews said in Brisbane.

“I don’t know about the umpires (if he’s a protected species), but (at) the tribunal he certainly is.

“And he plays for the Swans so he’s got the double whammy.

“And he’s got the dual Brownlow Medallist `get out of jail free’ card, so he’s got them all.”

Wow. Yes, it was a big deal at the time. Imagine if he said that today!

But getting back to my point . . . I booed Adam Goodes. I’ve probably booed him a number of times since, and if he continues to play, which I truly hope he does, I will boo him again if he engages in play that is contrary to the rules of the game. I will boo any player for the same reason (except those on my own team, of course). And I will applaud Adam Goodes for his skills, as I would any player of any team (and especially mine, which goes without saying).

It would be sad if we couldn’t engage in some light-hearted or heartfelt booing if it is in the spirit of the game. It’s also sad that Indigenous players are subjected to racist taunts by fans and players.

But most of all, it is sad it has come to this.


Why didn’t Tony tell Bronwyn to pay the money back?

There’s something odd about Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella’s wedding.

You most probably think that the odd thing is “why would anybody want to invite Bronwyn Bishop to their wedding?”

No, that’s not it.

Or you might think that it’s odd that anyone would want to attend Sophie Mirabella’s wedding anyway.

No, that’s not it either.

This is what I think is odd:

Tony Abbott (another person I wouldn’t invite) attended the 2006 wedding and charged the taxpayers for his attendance. In 2013 he paid that money back.

Other attendees from the Coalition who had charged the taxpayers for traveling to the wedding – George Brandis, Scott Morrison, Barnaby Joyce – have also paid the money back.

We are to believe that Bronwyn Bishop hasn’t.

So where is this odd?

Well, if in 2013 Tony Abbott paid the money back, as did the other three luminaries as noted above, why wasn’t Bronwyn told to as well?

Wasn’t she made aware that this could go pear-shaped?

Or maybe she was, but thought she was above all that.


Tony said what?

I don’t like listening to Tony Abbott at the best of times, but sometimes he comes out with some absolute gems of stupidity that can’t be ignored. At other times he astounds me with his penchant for hypocrisy, and of course there are his litany of regular lies that are nothing less than jaw dropping.

And just when we think we’ve heard everything up pops this little gem from a speech he made in 2004 to the Young Liberals:

Politicians shouldn’t tell lies. But some information (about private conversations and private lives, national security and Cabinet discussions, for instance) is necessarily confidential no matter how much journalists (and possibly their readers) might like to know. Governments shouldn’t break promises but if circumstances change in ways that make keeping a commitment wrong, a full explanation should be given to the electorate.

Definitely a man of his word, isn’t he?


The Whitlam SJ Model – the small electric car that saved Australia

By Keith Davis

Ford, General Motors, and Toyota have pulled the pin on us and tens of thousands of Australians are about to be dumped on the job scrap heap. Workers in our car factories are about to be booted out the door and workers in the car component add-on industries are about to have the same experience as well. Instead of moaning about it all over our mutton stew there actually is something that we, as a nation, can do to turn this situation around to our decided advantage.

When we look back in time the date of June 12 2014 may well prove to be one of those seminal moments in Australian history. One of those moments in time that led us to grasp the opportunity to mould our economic destiny for more than just the foreseeable future.

But what was it that happened on that date? Well … on the surface it was something pretty simple. Elon Musk, the CEO of the Tesla Motor Company in the US released a media statement. And this is what he had to say:

Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

So there you have it. The intricacies of Tesla’s electric vehicle technology is laid bare for all who, in good faith, want to use it.

And personally I don’t care if, as some motoring pundits have lately intimated, that Elon is simply a class A businessman who sees a great future in every manufacturer picking up on and buying Tesla’s lithium ion batteries. Good luck to the gent if that one plays out to his satisfaction because I for one would like to see an off-griddable version of that battery hanging off every suburban garage wall.

BUT HERE’S MY VISION. And I’m more than happy for our visionless politicians to pick it up and run with it and claim it as their own idea. I’d be more than happy if they did that.

We have soon to be defunct car factories that are full of machines that manufacture cars. We have vehicle design engineers who have not yet in force joined the brain drain and left our shores. We still have a vehicle component add-on industry. In other words we have all the necessary ducks in a row to produce an all-Australian electric vehicle.

We also have open source access to Tesla’s Model S all-electric vehicle technology. The Model S has a range of 500klm before a re-charge is needed and it is a luxury Commodore sized sedan. But I am not suggesting that we build a Commodore sized electric vehicle. I am suggesting that we build the smaller Whitlam SJ Model all-electric vehicle right here in Australia.

The Whitlam SJ Model would be a small sedan or hatchback, about the size of a Hyundai or Golf, and mainly designed to cater to the transport needs of city dwellers. And let’s face it, most of us here in Australia live in cities. And most of us are lucky enough not to have to rack up anything near 500klm of commuting time in a week. And how many large sedans and SUVs do we really need frustratingly blocking our line of sight at intersections?

Our design and electrical and mechanical engineers would have to down-scale Tesla’s technology to fit into the Whitlam’s smaller body space. That’s a given and it can be done. This is one of those wonderful cases where the ‘size does matter’ brigade will be left weeping in their soup.

So let’s imagine that we are producing the Whitlam SJ Model and that we are flogging it off as cheaply as we can. At the moment we can pick up a small internal combustion powered commuter buzz-box for $15,000 to get us from A to B in our cities. We use the term buzz-box because those small internal combustion engines whine along and produce that annoying high compression buzzing sound. Makes it hard to hear the best of Led Zep unless you crank up the sound system to the max.

The other annoying thing is that you have to pay the multi-nat energy companies money to fill the fuel tank of the buzz-box with petrol.

The Whitlam SJ Model gets us around all of those annoying facts. Electric motor technology is whisper quiet. You don’t hear the car coming engine or exhaust wise – all you hear are the tyres on the road. But much better yet – the Whitlam SJ Model will allow us to give the terminal wave-off to all of those multi-nat energy companies who always seem to jack-up their fuel costs just before we all hit the road on the first day of our Easter holidays.

The Whitlam SJ uses electricity as a locomotive fuel. We can continue to pay the multi-nat electricity providers over the top prices for their volts or we can go fully off-grid and give the electricity suppliers a solid wave-off too.

So here’s some positive facts. The Whitlam SJ Model is quiet; it produces no exhaust emissions; it will handle your week’s worth of city commuting; it frees you from a very expensive reliance on multi-nat fuel providers if you go fully off-grid; and you’ll probably end up waggling a very independent finger at energy companies and the government … mmm, think about that one!

Right at about this moment all the negative naysayers, and most of our politicians, will kick in with all of their reasons why none of this will ever work. Run a good idea past them and they will expend an inordinate amount of energy and hot air in tearing that good idea totally apart … that is kind of their lemming auto-default mode.

Firstly they will demean the off-grid concept. Both the government (who loves coal) and the energy companies (who want to keep you firmly within their financial grasp) will fully disparage any effort by any citizen to be totally energy self-sufficient. By going fully off-grid and charging up your Whitlam at home you will be cocking a snoot at all the vested interests who want to maintain their lucrative conduit to your wallet … and they will do everything within their power to stop you.

They’ll also throw in that while running the Whitlam around in the city is all well and good you’ll hit huge problems once you get out on to the national highways because Servos don’t have power charging outlets. So I say … we only need Motels to have those power-charging outlets don’t we?

After that they will say that Toyota is about to release their first fully hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle so why bother building the Whitlam SJ Model at all. The Toyota vehicle has great range and farts nothing but water out of the exhaust pipe. All of that is quite true. It will probably prove to be a great vehicle. But if we buy one of them we are simply guaranteeing that we will remain wedded to the fuel supply chain of the energy-providing multi-nats. You’ll still have to pull into the Servo and buy your hydrogen from them won’t you? They’ll still have you by the short and curlies won’t they?

Then they’ll say that because the Australian market for vehicles of any type is so small it simply wouldn’t be economic to produce the Whitlam SJ here and that we wouldn’t sell enough of them to Australians to make the whole enterprise economic. In that regard I would fully agree with them … but then … politely and in simple easy to understand language of course … I would gently point out that the major market for the Whitlam SJ Model was never, and could never be, the Australian market. The Australian market would be an add-on.

Even a rocket scientist could tell us that the Indian and Chinese middle classes, all those hundreds of millions of middle class type big city commuters, are probably looking around for a viable alternative to the hundreds of millions of air-fouling buzz-boxes that they are currently using to flit about from A to B in their grandly polluted cities. That, to put it bluntly, is where the market is.

And here’s where truth and common sense kick in because the Whitlam SJ Model will not save tens of thousands of Australian jobs in South Australia or anywhere else across the country.

To reach the economy of scale required to supply the vehicle demands of the Asian market our Whitlam SJ Model car manufacturing factory would need to be just about fully automated. It would need to crank out the Whitlam like widgets … huge in volume and cheap in price. It would need to do to the Asian market what the Asian market has happily done to us for decades … provide a good sound little vehicle at a cheap price. We would have to out-Hyundai Hyundai. But we could sell an awful lot of cheap sound little Whitlams in Asia by my reckoning.

We would also need to think on a national scale.

Automation is already pushing a lot of our jobs out the window. That process will continue and only accelerate. Google the term ‘a basic income guarantee for all’ and you will see what I am getting at here. As a nation we need to figure out a way to not only produce wealth … but we also need to figure out how we can distribute that wealth equitably amongst all our citizens.

The Whitlam SJ is not designed to produce wealth for the already wealthy … it is designed to produce wealth for We, The People. It is up to us to ensure that our politicians get that message.

So there you go. Elon Musk of Tesla has basically said “go for it if you are replete with bravery, guts, and good faith”. It begs the question … as a nation, are we replete with bravery, guts, and good faith?

As a rider to all of the above … you are probably wondering what the SJ in the Whitlam SJ Model stands for.

It stands for Social Justice of course. And there is a delicious irony in the thought that if we adopt SJ as a national mindset, not only in the car manufacturing sphere, but also across the tendrils of our political landscape … such a move could very well prove to be the making of a more modern and equitable Australia.

How good would that be?


I smell a pair of hypocrites

When Peter Slipper was Speaker all hell broke loose over the misappropriation of cab charges totally around $900. Tony Abbott had this to say:

“The Speaker is the guardian of parliamentary standards. The Speakership is one of the most important offices in the Parliament. The Speaker is there to uphold the integrity of the Parliament and now we have very, very serious allegations against the incumbent Speaker, allegations … of potentially criminal misuse of entitlements. These are very serious allegations indeed. Yes, the Speaker is entitled to the presumption of innocence but he does have quite a lot of explaining to do.

It’s also very important that the Prime Minister act to ensure the integrity of the Parliament. … The Prime Minister, to uphold the integrity of the Parliament, needs now to require the Speaker to step down until these matters are resolved. It’s also incumbent upon the Australian Federal Police to swiftly investigate the potentially criminal allegations that have been made against the Speaker.

I can’t underestimate the seriousness of this. The Speaker is required to maintain parliamentary standards and yet there are now these extremely serious allegations against the Speaker himself. So in order to maintain the respect and the reputation of the Parliament, in order to preserve the integrity of the Government and our institutions, it is very important that the Prime Minister act swiftly to require the Speaker to step aside and it’s very important that the Australian Federal Police quickly investigate these matters so that they can be resolved as soon as is humanly possible”.

I thought – based on his hardcore beliefs that Speakers need to uphold certain standards and that these are to be upheld by the Prime Minister – that he would go into an absolute rage over Bronwyn Bishop’s arguable misappropriation of $5,200 of tax payer’s money to hire a helicopter (of all things) to get from A to B.

“He is sure to join in with the public outrage”, I thought. He set the goal posts during the Slipper saga. But no, he had this to say: it was all “village gossip“.


At least Christopher Pyne could be trusted to stand by his word:

“The Opposition is calling for Peter Slipper to stand aside until he has been cleared of all the allegations against him, as the embattled Speaker faces new claims of travel rorts.

Mr Slipper stood aside yesterday from his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives while criminal charges about his possible misuse of taxpayer funded Cabcharges are being investigated.

Mr Pyne has also called on the government to help resolve the matter by going to an election.

“He is sure to join in with the public outrage”, I thought (once again). But no, he had this to say: “Awful on the day we remember the anniversary of the destruction of MH17 that Labor wants to play politics over the Speakership”.


Hypocrites the pair of them. Either that, or different rules apply to the Liberal Party.


I want a government that governs for 23 million Australians

I want a government that governs for 23 million Australians.

Not for some greedy, aging expatriate billionaire who looks at his country of birth as nothing more than a profit centre.

Not for some disgustingly rich mining mogul who wants workers to be paid $2 an hour.

Not for an Indian mining billionaire that nobody has ever heard of who wants to tear up our heritage-listed treasures.

Not for the Church.

Not for American corporations who want to take away our ‘freedom’ once the TPP is signed.

Not for the Australians who believe they are born into entitlement.

Not for the mining companies who want not only to take traditional lands away from the first Australians but destroy all that is sacred in those lands.

Not for those families who have a salary of $250,000 or more.

Not for some outdated public policy think-tank.

Not for the minority of Australians who will vote for the Coalition because the boats have (allegedly) stopped.

Not for those Australians who will hide under the bed whenever Tony Abbott waves a flag.

Not for those Australians who won’t open their arms or their hearts to people in need.

Not for the shock jocks who think that their opinion is public opinion.

Oh how I could go on.

No, I want a government that governs for 23 million Australians. At best, the current government falls short by about 20 million.


“This is the kind of fortnight Tony Abbott likes to have”

Reproducing emails from the Labor Party is becoming quite a habit of mine. At times I’ve been critical of their messages – such as when they think that signing a petition is going to change the government’s mind on whatever – and at other times I’ve been quite happy to help spread their message.

Their latest email – from George Wright (ALP Campaign Director) – is one worth spreading.

Most of what is raised in the succinct little email is not news, however there might be one or two points in there that conveniently escaped the notice of our media, and subsequently your attention too.

Anyway, here’s the email:

Dear Roswell,

This week, in the paper, Tony Abbott was quoted as saying he and his Government have had “the best fortnight in the life of this Parliament.”

Let’s quickly examine the Abbott Government’s “achievements” over the last two weeks:

  1. Tony Abbott undermined the independence of the ABC and banned his ministers from going on Q&A.
  2. He prevented the Clean Energy Finance Corporation from investing in wind farms.
  3. He also asked the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stop investing in rooftop solar.
  4. He caused division in his Cabinet by approving a coal mine in the Liverpool Plains.
  5. The OECD rated Australia as the 6th worst in the developed world for women in the ministry.
  6. His Government and Party started tearing itself apart about marriage equality.
  7. His $8.43 GP tax came into effect.

Sadly, this is the kind of fortnight Tony Abbott likes to have . . .


Now here’s a man who will say and do anything

This was disappointing but predictable news yesterday:

The Abbott government has opened up another front in its war on renewable energy by pulling the plug on investments in the most common form of alternative energy, rooftop and small-scale solar.

As a storm raged over the government’s directive to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation [CEFC] to no longer back wind energy projects, it emerged that it has also put a stop to solar investments other than the largest industrial-scale projects.

The CEFC, (we are told in the article):

. . . had made it possible for low-income people and retirees to invest in solar and take advantage of the power bill savings that flow.

And that, because of this latest move:

“Tony Abbott is keeping people trapped paying higher electricity prices . . . “

Let’s stop there and go back a couple of years.

Here’s (just one instance of the hundreds of times) Tony telling us we’d be be pocketing $550 because – you guessed it – he was scrapping the dastardly ‘carbon tax’ and electricity prices would tumble by that amount:

And here he is explaining it in absolute detail:

And now, with his latest directive, people will be trapped paying higher electricity prices.

Yep, he’s a man who will do and say anything.

By the way, who among you experienced a drop in your electricity prices when the ‘carbon tax’ was repealed?

Tony Abbott puts his faith in an onion

I have been rummaging through articles at The AIMN looking for totally bizarre comments from Tony Abbott but I downed tools when I read this on the Prime Minister’s own web page (from a doorstop interview):

Prime Minister, how concerned are you about the problems in China and Greece, those economic problems spreading to Australia and specially the plunge in Chinese stock prices?

Prime Minister: Michael, look, the important thing to do is whatever we can to build a strong and prosperous economy locally, and again I get back the the Grocery Code of Conduct. This is about ensuring that we have the strongest possible local businesses. We have a great supermarket system. That rests on the shoulders of great local suppliers and this is about ensuring that we continue to have very strong local suppliers, best possible product at the best possible price so that we get the best possible deal for consumers – and if we do that we will avoid the problems that we see overseas.

Seriously, his response would have been more intelligent if he had just stood there with head trembling. (If the interviewer wanted an intelligent answer he would have certainly got one from AIMN author John Kelly).

I can’t believe he said that. Does he know it’s on his web site for all the world to see and mock? Maybe it’s there as a practical joke. Maybe someone in his office hates him.

I began to doubt if even here at The AIMN I could find something so utterly bizarre. So utterly out-of-this-world stupid.

But I carried on with the onerous task. Surely there had to be something to match this incompetence.

And there was! From Tony Abbott’s Environment was this gem:

Ever since I was old enough to understand the term, I have regarded myself as a conservationist.

As a child, I used to play in the gullies and creeks surrounding the Lane Cove National Park. I wasn’t as careful then as now about protecting fauna, such as the red-bellied black snake, but I loved the bush for its potential for adventure and sense of solitude.

In the valley behind our house, I first learnt to sleep under the stars. On canoeing trips, I learnt to read a map. On student bush walks, I developed a sense of direction.

What was so stupid or incompetent about that? Nothing on the surface of it, but it was when the author dissected it down that the true stupidity was revealed:

Reading a map on a river. In a canoe! Wow. What a life changing moment that must have been. It clearly made him an expert in the field on the environment.

No wonder people such as Andrew Bolt rate him more credible than most of the world’s scientists. Scientists spend at least three years studying at university to become knowledgeable in their field. Tony Abbott reads maps. While floating down a river. How could you doubt him? How could you doubt a person who has a sense of direction because he walked in the bush yet needs a map to paddle a canoe?

I think we’ve got some worries ahead of us. We could be handing the future of our environment over to a man who needs a map to paddle a canoe.

Or is basing our whole economic survival on an onion (which I hope has prominence in the Grocery Code of Conduct).

I must admit, our Prime Minister is a deep reservoir of knowledge.