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Trish loves to discuss Australian Politics. Her key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. Trish is pro-worker, anti-conservativism and anti-Liberalism. Trish is a proud member of the Australian Labor Party and her articles are written from a Laborist / Progressive perspective. Trish's blog is The Red Window (polyfeministix.wordpress.com)

Website: http://polyfeministix.wordpress.com

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Will They Linger with Hope or Contempt

The black summer smoulders in his veins
There are those who won’t forget his reign
The resilient fought on as he soaked up the rays
Desperate people are still without homes … but he prays

He sighs in relief … the anger’s all gone
But the global pandemic now lingers on
With doors shut hard in our faces
Poverty is now winning all of the races

The quiet ones he said he adores
Apathy voted like a zombied Horde
Will they linger with hope or contempt?
That sea of pained faces of the JobKeeper exempt?

The broken hearts of crushed lifelong careers
The precarious abandoned, newly jobless in tears
Will he pray away the pain?
Or sing us his songbook of smirks and refrains

The walls caving in on the class paying rent
Staples so bland in palettes are spent
Will they linger in hope or contempt?
Shoulder to Shoulder with those JobKeeper exempt?

Has the Murdoch Press got their tongue?
Melting their thoughts to a silent stun
Do they still think of lives taken by flames?
Will they survive their own hunger games?

At the crossroads, Oh Toto which way
Discombobulated. Fight, pray or stay.
A Yellow Brick Road paved with corruption
Good Job Angus, Well done Son

Scared Jobless and Workers flipped off as Marxist voices
Johnny took all of our rights away by Choices
Musos and Artists cry out in traumatised dread
Scott killed the Arts – we are already dead

Gough’s Grandies hock it for Education
Howard’s children controlling the nation
The IPA’s invading their classroom
Hey! Scomo – leave them kids alone!

Social distance borne a cleaner climate
But donors and barons they have decided
No Covid Climate Renewal of minds and hearts
No new regional industry. No leadership smarts.

Will they linger with hope or hunger for change?
Do they see Covid helped Houdini escape disdain?
Will they linger with eyes wide open or shut?
Will they praise him for jobs lost and wages cut?

Will they linger instructed by polls?
Caring nought for those on the dole?
Will they take his IR changes on the chin
Stare at their empty pay packets with a compliant grin?

The black summer still bubbles away under that smirk
Will they linger in hope or remember that Hawaii jerk?
Will they linger for a handshake or call him harsh names?
If HE lingers, we must ALL take the blame.

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Don’t Forget Me. Inside I Scream

A poem about the impact of natural disasters on mental health and a plea to us all to be there for the long haul.

Don’t Forget Me. Inside I Scream.

By Trish Corry

When the last ember dies in a wet embrace.
Don’t forget me. See my face.
As the smoke wisps away to kiss Venus and Mars.
Don’t forget me. For I am scarred.

When you no longer smell burnt earth and hollow bough.
Don’t forget me. My heart, it races now.
As the flames stop burning as hot as the sun.
Don’t forget me. In my mind I run.

When the blades of grass breathe green new life.
Don’t forget me. My anxiety runs rife.
As the sky smears away lipstick of scarlet red.
Don’t forget me. I’m drowning in dread.

When the cool air gently plays upon your ear.
Don’t forget me. Closed spaces I fear.
As the stars dance around a moonbeam so bright.
Don’t forget me. I’m flight, flight, flight.

When my life is no longer a tweet and a meme.
Don’t forget me. Inside I scream.
As the rain washes away the soot in my hair.
Don’t forget me. I’m deep in despair.

When the happiness returns of a brand new day.
Don’t forget me. I push everyone away.
When the birds sing, creatures nestle, and furry eyes peep.
Don’t forget me. I’m in a hole oh so deep.

When my story fades behind other lives on screen.
Don’t forget me. My anger causes a scene.
As my resilience is treasured for the fight I gave.
Don’t forget me. I don’t feel so brave.

When the dew drops fall onto luscious ground.
Don’t forget me. Even my fingertips pound.
As you see new leaves upon sunlight’s kiss.
Don’t forget me. Why am I like this?

When you fly high above me and see colour, not grey.
Don’t forget me. Why won’t these feelings go away?
As the perfume of the bush is a sensory delight.
Don’t forget me. My eyes snap wide open three times a night.

When the fire roared all around me and stole my breath.
You were there when I faced uncertain death.
I have inner scars like tentacles that twist and bend.
I need you for the long haul. Just be my friend.

Help and Recovery – Natural Disasters

“Natural disasters like bushfires, floods, cyclones, drought and other traumatic ‘natural’ events are extremely challenging for the people directly affected. The stress caused following a natural disaster can lead to ‘burnout’ and physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Some people will be able to manage the stress but for others it may be difficult to cope. Most people eventually heal and recover and go on to rebuild their lives.” (Lifeline)

Please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or see toolkits information and and helplines here –

Recovering After a Natural Disaster

 

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Hugs, Handshakes and That Smirk! Warning Signs of Low EQ and Failed Leadership

Forced awkward hugs, aggressive invasion of personal space, and forcing a handshake on people in distress, are all warnings about Scott Morrison’s Emotional Intelligence and Inauthentic Leadership style.

I Want to Wipe that Smirk Off His Face!

We collectively cringed as Scott Morrison forced a hug on New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. We watched in awkward trepidation as Morrison took up more and more of Shorten’s personal space in the Leader’s Debate. Shorten aptly nicknamed him “The Space Invader.”

There are generations of mothers out there collectively internally screaming, that they ‘just want to wipe that smirk off his face’ every single time he displays this bizarre, inappropriate emotion.

Anger and disbelief summed up our response this week as Scott Morrison forced a handshake on a Fire Fighter who had just lost his home. Moreover, we were further angered when he forced another handshake on a 20 year old pregnant mother, who had just lost her home. Gobsmacked, we watched, as she pleaded to him for help and he turned and walked away. Our arms extended, shaking and closed fisted, rose as the metaphorical pitchforks they rightly were.

The Warning Signs were Clear. Morrison would be a Poor Leader

Most importantly, the forced awkward hug on Jacinda Arden, the space invading of Shorten’s personal space and Morrison’s constant discordant smirking, alone, are warning signs.

The high focus on self, refusing to acknowledge fault, dismissing criticism, the inability to reflect on his own actions, the constant deflection to sports, refusing to acknowledge facts, a focus on him (or him and Jen) instead of ‘us’ (the people), refusal to acknowledge reality, blatant lies (even with video evidence!), a history of ruthless incivility, history of lack of empathy, his self-identity as a saviour, nicknaming himself and a lack of judgement are also warning signs.

Moreover, these are warning signs of a leader displaying low emotional intelligence and poor leadership skills. Clearly, Walkley award winning journalists should have examined this more closely; before the election..

What Political Historian Norman Abjorensen wrote about Morrison in The Canberra Times today, shows that Morrison is not struggling as a new Prime Minister. This is the latest excuse, inexperience and the challenge of a new Prime Minister; but clearly, this is who he has always been. The warning signs were all there from those who know him; but yet also voted for him as the Leader of the Liberal Party. (No wonder Julie Bishop quit!)

In a number of interviews with current and former colleagues, what emerged was a picture of a complex and secretive figure, both ambitious and ruthless, and with little capacity for empathy or care about anyone who stood in his way.

Norman Abjoresen, The Canberra Times 04.01.2020

 

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is touted as more important than IQ for leadership. You can be great at transactional tasks; but unless you can drive emotions and bring people along and feel the appropriate feelings and display the appropriate emotions – genuinely; nothing will work as well as it should. For example, if a Prime Minister smirks when he should be displaying empathy; he is exposed as inauthentic and out of touch.

There are five dimensions to emotional intelligence. I will discuss four of these dimensions as they apply to Scott Morrison. These are: Self-Regulation, Self-Awareness, Empathy and Social Skills. I have omitted Motivation for brevity.

Morrison and Emotional Self-Regulation

What Self-Regulation of emotions warns us about Scott Morrison; is he is more likely to push us into unsafe, and unfair environments. Leaders with High EQ keep us safe and environments fair.

Self-Regulation isn’t about with-holding emotion. Nor is it showing regular dramatic outbursts of anger and shouting (In fact, that is aligned with low EQ). It is about regulating emotion and applying the right emotion at the right time. This means a person must have the ability to understand the context and the situation at hand to respond. As a Prime Minister, Scott Morrison fails at doing this at a National level as well as when he communicates to each of us as individuals.

Reflection

A leader high in emotional intelligence is able to reflect on a situation and be thoughtful about it.

Morrison’s holiday in Hawaii, his secrecy around his holiday, his incompetence of clear deputy leadership at that time, his downplay of the natural bushfire disaster unfolding, are all signs of low emotional intelligence and being unable to reflect and act in a time of crisis.

Uncertainty and Change

If Morrison had the level of high emotional intelligence required of a Leader of high office, he would be able to be accept uncertainty and change and lead us through change with integrity.

There is not a starker contrast, than the entire world – the actual entire world actively working on strategies to reduce carbon emissions and act on climate change and a Prime Minister who carries a lump of coal into Parliament like a Life Like Baby Doll, he must lovingly look after all day for motherhood class.

A Global Pariah

Leaders with Low EQ will be judged by other leaders, due to the disconnect of genuine feelings about an issue and the emotions displayed about an issue. Morrison’s feelings and displayed emotions about Climate Change, and his flippancy towards action, is out of kilter with the global leadership community. The way leaders act has a ripple effect. Due to this, Morrison is already ridiculed globally. He will become increasingly isolated and become a global pariah in the community of international leaders passionate about climate change. This in-turn, will affect Australia’s standing in the global community, which could cause us significant damage to our reputation and trade options.

Morrison’s Self-Awareness is on Permanent Holiday

As a Pentecostal who participates in prayer, Morrison gives off the persona of one who is very emotionally self-aware. Furthermore, his first major speech as Prime Minister directed people to look inside his heart. Self-Awareness is about being in touch with your own emotions and feelings. Morrison paints himself as a man who is comfortable with his emotions and be level-headed enough to not get swept away by them.

Daniel Goleman, the leading expert on Emotional Intelligence, defines Self-Awareness as the most important dimension of leadership. Regardless of how Morrison paints himself as self-aware, his behaviour demonstrates otherwise. To be succinct, Morrison’s self-awareness is on permanent holiday.

Leaders with High Self-Awareness are in Tune with Emotion

Leaders with high self-awareness constantly reflect and challenge their own feelings, beliefs and emotions. They have constant goals about how to respond and behave in all situations. They actively seek feedback to improve their responses. As a result, they question why they feel a certain way about issues and events..

Most importantly, leaders with high EQ are able to develop their emotional responses in line with societal feeling rules and emotional display rules. These are the feelings and emotions we display, acceptable within our society. In short, a leader high in self-awareness should be in tune with how we are feeling and express genuine emotion to reflect back at us..

Leaders with high self-awareness, do not just reflect the same emotion we feel back at us. Their level of awareness is such, that even if they are feeling upset and distressed, they identify that others are feeling the same. They have a deep understanding of why they are feeling this way. Therefore, they display the emotions needed for others to feel safe and secure. They provide leadership and strength in dark times. Morrison fails demonstrably in this area.

It is Not About Me. (Oh Yes it is!)

Scott Morrison is facing increasing criticism about his responses and behaviour. Even those on his own side of politics are speaking out. NSW Liberal MP, Andrew Constance also echoing public sentiment that Morrison got the welcome he deserved, when when asked about Morrison’s visit to his fire ravaged community.

Morrison’s response to anger towards him, is “He doesn’t take it personally and it’s not about him.” Just by looking at this one response, we can examine how Morrison has a low level of self-awareness. Notably, he is missing a key leadership trait.

Leaders with low self-awareness are incapable of examining their own emotional responses. In addition, they focus more on self, than others. They also project a sense of being a victim, where they can. Also, they deflect and are uncomfortable talking about negative events. They also downplay situations.

When Morrison indicates, ‘he doesn’t let it (the anger) bother him’, he positions himself as a victim. A victim that is ‘strong’ and is not bothered by the anger of others towards him. In addition, he makes the event about himself and not about the fact that others are angry at his behaviours and actions. He deflects by saying, that it is not about him. When the anger is indeed about him.

There have been numerous other examples. The deflection of a poor choice of holiday time, to satisfying the wishes of his children. His beliefs about volunteer pay and his inability to reflect on these feelings dismissing them as heroes ‘wanting to be there.’ His “it can wait” attitude about emergency COAG, meetings with fire chiefs. His deep feeling of sporting camaraderie that we can take comfort in the hero worship of the cricket in times of a country on fire and so forth.

Morrison demonstrates Low Self-Awareness

If Scott Morrison had a high level of Self-Awareness, he would be able to reflect and understand why he has the feelings he has about certain issues. He would be able to identify that these feelings are incongruent with the feelings of Australians. Feedback would be crucial to him, that his emotions are coming across as callous and dismissive. Also, he would take heed of feedback that his words and actions are making people feel insecure, angry and frightened. Moreover, he would challenge himself to find the right emotion and words to comfort us and to lead us through this dark time. He does not.

Empathy – Jacinda Ardern He is Not!

If there is an example of a leader with perfect high level empathy as a construct of Emotional Intelligence, it is Jacinda Ardern. The empathy Prime Minister Ardern displays is high level in all three categories of empathy, that make up the EQ Empathy dimension. These are: Cognitive Empathy, Emotional Empathy and Compassionate Empathy.

Leaders with high level empathy are able to know and understand how others are feeling (cognitive empathy). They feel the same feelings as them at a deep level (emotional empathy) and they act with delicate compassion, but with lightning speed to move to help, when needed (Compassionate Empathy). Morrison is a total abject failure at this level.

Hurricane Morrison

Similar to the failed response to Hurricane Katrina in USA, Morrison has displayed a puzzling lackadaisical response to emergency co-ordination and urgency. In discussions about Leaders’ response to Hurricane Katrina, Daniel Goleman (Leading EQ Expert) highlights the importance of the poor response. He notes that victims were further victimised due to the indifference that the leadership showed. The abundance of TV Screens reflecting this, changed nothing.

Similarly, we watched in distress, upset, anger, tears, so many emotions as we witnessed yesterday, victims of the monstrous bush-fire, being further victimised by the indifference of a Prime Minister. A Prime Minister whose only concern was to pose as someone who cared, by literally grabbing victims’ hands and forcing them to shake his. Satisfied that he had his screen grab moment, he walked off, as he was being asked to provide more assistance.

Morrison has taken us down the dark spiral and we have crossed into the Abyss. A place beyond the netherworld, more sinister than a Prime Minister eating raw onions, or nodding for three minutes without saying anything in an interview.

Cognition, Emotion and Compassion

As a Prime Minister, it is crucial that Scott Morrison has a high level of empathy. Importantly, not only is he presiding over increasing poverty and joblessness, but now unprecedented catastrophic bush-fires that will go on for months. Bush-fires that have taken everything from people, including their lives and their loved ones.

A leader with high-level empathy, would act as Jacinda Ardern has acted in times of crisis in New Zealand. Sadly, the contrast could not be more stark. There are so many examples to give, but briefly, he would have shown cognitive empathy towards the concerns of fire chiefs, trying to meet with him for months. In addition, he would have had emotional empathy and displayed that he felt genuine emotion and empathy for fire victims and exhausted fire fighters and most importantly, he would have demonstrated compassionate empathy and acted with dedication and timely precision to do everything he could to prevent such a catastrophic event, but also respond to the needs of those affected, in abundance. He would have called urgent review and action of all climate action policies. He has failed on all levels.

However, it is not inarguable that Morrison and those around him are quite aware that he has poor empathy skills. We taxpayers just paid $190,000 for an empathy coach for him.

He Doesn’t Play Well with Others

It is every parent’s nightmare to have another parent call and say Johnny can’t come to the party because he doesn’t play well with others. In a nutshell, this sums up the necessity for leaders to have high level social skills.

Successful Leaders need high level social skills. In basic terms within EQ this is about being friendly, but with purpose. It is not just friendly banter, or being the biggest skulling bonehead dolt at the footy. Nor is it asking the open ended question repeatedly, “How good is…” with no meaning. High level social skills inspire and influence people.

Social skills in EQ are high level interpersonal skills required to bring people together for a purpose, high level negotiation, effective communication skills and change management skills, to name a few. Leaders with high level social skills also take ownership of responsibility seriously. Once again, Morrison fails at this level with great magnitude.

How the Popular Party Animal Got Fleas

Some may argue that Morrison was just elected as the Prime Minister of Australia and  he has great social skills. It is true that we see him at the footy and cricket with happy mobs. He delves into our blokey culture of beer drinking with more photo ops. Let’s not forget that awful attempt at Fatman Scoop’s Be faithful (Hands Up) song in Parliament! We see him in thumbs up photos with adoring fans. So how did the popular party animal end up with fleas?

Daniel Goleman explains that we often mistake leaders who display aggression (such as invading Shorten’s space in the leader’s debate), the blokey tough guy stance (footy, drinking, thumbs up), and archetypal leaders, ie. the mongrel leader archetype, (shouty and demeaning to opposition) or hero archetypes (everyone’s mate – Scomo) for great leaders. Goleman says that we often mistake these traits for brilliance in a leader.

However, the test is when they make it to the top. For Morrison, this is what is playing out now and he is not doing well at all. The answer of popularity is that perception of a leader’s ability in times of crisis is not judged in manufactured situations. It is judged when the leader has to apply his or her skills. In fact, it stands to reason that when a large majority of people put their faith in a leader and that leader fails them in a time of desperation and crisis, he will be sent to the dog house. And that is how he got fleas.

High Level Social Skills

If Scott Morrison had high level social skills, he would be right now effectively managing the biggest change since the industrial revolution we have faced. In a country where mining is a key industry and the shift that is required to address climate change; he is failing every single worker and every single community that needs jobs investment right now. This is an urgent requirement, not only to act on climate change; but to ensure mining regions are not left behind in poverty and joblessness when the market makes up his mind for him.

In addition, he would have demonstrated the social skills required to negotiate, direct, lead and co-ordinate the necessary prevention of and response to the more destructive natural disaster in our history.

He would not have gone off to Hawaii, or played cricket at Kirribilli House, or watched the Fire Works from his comfortable surroundings as people were fleeing terrified for their lives. In addition, he would have been available and communicated effectively his heartfelt support. He would be providing constant updates around the clock. He would give strength to those who must keep going in their delegated tasks. Importantly, he would display genuine empathy in his interpersonal encounters with victims and emergency workers.

Scott Morrison has failed dismally at every level. No. he doesn’t play well with others. He shouldn’t be at the party, let alone lead it!

Insecurity, Danger and Failure

The current crisis has exposed Scott Morrison as a failed leader. Using the concept of Emotional Intelligence, we can examine more closely why he has failed.

The terrifying aspect of seeking to understand Morrison from this angle, is that leaders with low emotional intelligence fail not just themselves, but us.

Everything about emotional intelligence underpins how safe we feel, how fair and equitable we are, how our paths to our own individual success is paved, the skills to develop the nation’s industry to name a few. Crucially, how we survive a time of crisis. The question on everyone’s lips should be – this is a natural disaster – what happens if there is a war?

It is two and half years to the next election and there are no jokes anymore. We are in for dangerous times ahead. The only hope we have is if the Liberal Party tests their new rule and he has a two thirds majority of the party to over-throw him. Otherwise, the cross bench could join together as a show of no confidence. They could refuse to pass any legislation and bring down parliament to an election.

Sadly, I think the only thing we can do is hang on. It will be a very dangerous and unpleasant ride ahead. Let’s hope we survive it. More importantly, let’s hope we survive him!

Two Things to Think About

I will leave you with a little food for thought. Goleman warns that there is a dark side to high cognitive empathy. In Narcissist, Sociopaths and Machiavellian Leaders, they are acutely aware of the pain and suffering caused. Above all, they have no sympathy for the victims to do anything about it.

I think the most fitting ending to a piece about a man who is all about himself, is to use a quote from the man’s Maiden Speech in Parliament. At the time, Morrison was talking about Africa. However, it is remarkably fitting for Australia today: As Scott Morrison once warned back in 2008:

When the history books are written, our age will be remembered for … what we did—or did not do to put the fire out ..

Scott Morrison, Maiden Speech, 2008

 

 

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Climate Bullying – A Deviant Behaviour

During and after every cyclone, flood and fire, the main push is to tell us that we are resilient. I’m sick and tired of being resilient when the Government, as perpetrators enable natural disasters and devastation to wreak havoc on us! I seek to introduce a new concept of climate bullying for discussion.

Climate Bullying

We often speak in terms of climate denial and climate activists, in doing so we merely point out a difference of opinion. Importantly, we fail to frame the problem in human terms, as one of perpetrators and victims. However, using concepts from Workplace Bullying literature, we can see there are antecedents and consequences of climate bullying.

Climate bullying similar to workplace bullying can be defined as:

Repeated and persistent negative acts towards communities and individuals, which involve a perceived power imbalance between Government and targets and create an environment conducive to natural disasters of which the negative consequences are felt by the target.

Adapted from Salin, 2003 and Einarsen, Hoel and Cooper, 2000

For many years, research has shown us that climate change will have a significant impact on the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Within each community, disasters have devastating impacts of lost homes, lost infrastructure, isolated communities and economic and business losses.

For the victims of natural disasters, the personal impacts are mild to severe psychosomatic disorders. These include, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and suicide. In addition, economic loss, homelessness, poverty, hunger and death as a direct impact of natural disasters. In addition, direct health impacts that may result in severe discomfort, disease and death.

Climate Bullying is the act of intentionally enabling an environment that is conducive to natural disasters.

Climate Bullying is a Deviant Behaviour

Deviant Behaviour is just one construct of workplace bullying. This is because deviant behaviour may also attack an organisation and not just a victim or target.

Similarly, the Government does not intentionally cause harm to the Government with this behaviour. They have a set of mechanisms and structural supports via the media to excuse such deviant behaviour.

However, Climate Bullying by the Government does share similar factors with Workplace Deviance:

It is voluntary behaviour

It violates the norms and beliefs of the country

Threatens the well-being of the country and its citizens

Dimensions of Climate Bullying

Climate Bullying as a form of deviant behaviour, also shares the same dimensions as workplace deviant behaviour (Sharma, 2019). These are:

Perpetrator/s

Intention

Target/s

Action

Consequence

Inside and Outside Perpetrators

Perpetrators of Workplace Deviance are both insider and outsider perpetrators. That is people who work for the organisation and those who are outside of the organisation.

Similarly, the deviant behaviour of Climate Bullying has inside perpetrators of Government. These are the leaders, speakers, policy developers. The outside perpetrators are other political parties, the media and those with vested interest in energy resources.

Intentional and Unintentional Harm

Intention may be to cause harm intentionally or unintentionally. An intentional motive is for any political party or independent to willingly reject legislation that will have a positive impact on reducing climate change. This is because they do not believe that climate change is real and there is no need to act on climate change.

An unintentional consequence of harm may be for any political party or Independent to willingly reject action on climate, for either a political motive to gain relevance or sustain power. This may be to insist on changes and demands that are perceived as stronger action, but are not practical, or will not be accepted by the public, because of the perceived hardship caused by the perceived stronger policy. It is an unintentional consequence of harm, if the political party who sustains power by popular vote, is the party who does not believe action is needed, because the public reject the hard-line demands of alternative parties.

Community, Political and Individual Targets

Targets are both Organisational and Interpersonal in Workplace Deviance. In Climate Bullying, Targets are communities, political rivals, individual citizens, individual activists, the science community and anyone advocating climate action. The aim is twofold. To discredit the notion that climate change is real and requires action and secondly, to discredit those who seek action.

Action

Action is the process of participation. However, action may be active or passive. An example of Active Action is a rejection of climate action. Passive Action impacts on quality of life. An example is Liberals removing Labor’s qualifications for disaster recovery funding. Another is refusing to meet with the Fire Chiefs or call an emergency COAG meeting.

Action may be direct or indirect. Direct Action intends to cause harm to a target. This is normally interpersonal. An example is the campaign to discredit action on climate change by the Liberal Party and media trying to discredit the then Labor Government by creating a ‘Carbon Tax’ scare campaign, when it was not a tax at all. Another example is the attacks on youth climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Outside perpetrators also use direct action to create scare campaigns to discredit political opponents, with similar deceitful campaigns. Such as the Greens political party and media promoting Stop Adani and the Climate Convoy to regional Queensland. That is, despite the fact that such parties were knowledgeable that one mine is not the panacea to climate action, and that there are significant and complex challenges to ‘stopping Adani.’

Indirect Action has an unintended consequence on others. An example of indirect action is one region suffering the consequence of a natural disaster, due to climate inaction. This is although their geographic boundaries do not have necessarily high carbon emissions (i.e. a rural community).

An example of an external perpetrator indirect action is former Labor Leader Bill Shorten, unable to lead action on climate change by assuring blue-collar workers of security, among the fear of job losses, political opponents were inciting and the competing demands of city progressives; resulting in the election of a climate denialist Government.

Consequences

Consequences can be both constructive and destructive. Constructive deviance may be a politician crossing the floor or a traditionally supportive cross bench rejecting support to the Government and breaking with norms and behaviours that exist. Another example is compliant media organisations that have traditionally provided free campaigning for climate denial parties, criticizing the Government’s inaction. This type of constructive deviance may push the Government into action.

Destructive Deviance is any actions that results in harm to the country and citizens, as a negative consequence of climate inaction.

Enabling Climate Bullying

The enabling factors of climate bullying are adapted from Salin’s (2003) Enabling Factors and Processes of Workplace Bullying. The enabling factors for climate bullying are motivating structures, precipitating processes and enabling structures and processes.

Enabling Factors of Climate Bullying (Adapted from Salin, 2003)

Enabling Factors of Climate Bullying, as you can see from the framework above, are complex. I will briefly outline each area. However, each individual factor requires much deeper discussion.

Motivating Structures

The motivating structures for enabling an environment of climate bullying essentially revolve around power. The desire for political power. The bowing to the powerful media moguls who deny climate change, that can make or break a Prime Minister. The power of the financial benefits of corporate donations.

The rewards and benefits of appeasing climate denialist media moguls and corporate donors is of course the ultimate power of Government.

With a supportive structure of a compliant media, a climate denialist Government can effectively campaign using propaganda about the negatives of climate change to using voter complexity as the basis to divide and rule. On the flipside, outside perpetrators can also use climate change to divide and rule, as we have seen at the last election with the noted regional / city divide between blue-collar workers and progressives. More on that later.

Precipitating Processes

The decision to not act on climate change is underpinned by a number of events or existing structures. The existing structure of coal mining is one factor. Coal mining is heavily concentrated in multiple regions. Australia is the largest exporter of coal mining in the world. Local communities and entire regions are heavily impacted by the existence of mining. Coal communities are targeted to wear the entire burden of climate change. This then creates another event where competing political interests compete over the approach to change.

Due to a high concentration of mining jobs in multiple regions and the national and local economic impacts; moving away from coal, creates fears of joblessness and poverty and economic instability.

Politicians and compliant media enable a jobs versus climate action argument. This is where the argument for a complex scenario is reduced to black and white. The Liberal Government’s argument is that we must not act as it will kill jobs.

The climate activist side is that must kill existing jobs and destabilize communities and transition them to something else. The first idea is idiotic and dangerous, and the second idea is privileged. As Labor leader, Shorten tried to straddle both idiotic and privileged arguments. If we return to indirect action discussed earlier, this straddling just caused confusion by angering progressives and leaving blue-collar workers feeling insecure.

It appears that Labor now has taken the pathway that is aimed to unite the interests of both blue-collar workers and progressives. This proposal uses our strengths in regional communities and utilises our blue-collar workers to transform communities and tackle climate change domestically and also globally. How that is received is yet to be seen. As I have written about previously, it will be a hard sell to progressives.

Enabling Structures and Processes

Climate Bullying exists due to the perceived power imbalance between Government and people. The Government also supported by compliant, climate denialist media moguls creates a further power imbalance. Opposing opinion is barely given the light of day. In addition, the Government, media and other vested interests can use social media to further ingrain climate inaction. On the flip-side, external perpetrators of activist groups and supportive mainstream and social media, can inflame the need for radical action and workers are ‘just a consequence’ or climate denialists can inflame fears about joblessness.

The cost to a climate denialist Government, so far, has been a low cost. Through simple slogans and the support of the media, the Liberal Party has won office in 2013, 2016 and 2019. This has further legitimised for the Liberal Party, that they have a ‘mandate’ to not take any urgent action on climate change.

Dissatisfaction and frustration relate to the environment that victims of bullying exist in. In comparison to workplace bullying literature, this can be summed up as the competing interests between economic stability and climate action.

Climate action policy instability, unclear goals, and a complete lack of worker centric climate action debate, has fostered an anxious and aggressive environment within this policy area.

Mining regions rejected the Labor Government at the last election. This has now created an environment where some are now calling for the Labor party to abandon blue collar workers in regional communities. This will just reinforce both motivating and precipitating structures discussed above and further enable a culture of climate bullying.

Prevention of Climate Bullying

With the greatest natural disaster in our history burning around us; it is of the very positive assumption that we must do all we can to prevent climate bullying. To do this, it is important to bear in mind the dimensions of deviant behaviour and also the factors and actors within these frameworks, that enable a culture of Climate Bullying to occur.

I have adapted Einarsen et. al.’s (2018) workplace bullying model of systems we can use to prevent Climate Bullying and enable positive action.

Ethical Infrastructure

It is a reasonable argument that climate bullying is an unethical practice. Ethical infrastructure are systems and processes designed to stamp out unethical practices. Essentially, this framework details how we, as the people, can use resources and systems to destroy the culture that enables climate bullying and the perpetrators who inflict it upon us.

The resources available to us are a Government majority, Financial Resources (including in-kind) and the level of commitment we have. This includes a shared vision.

Systems

The systems we can use are:

Climate Action Legislation

Insist every single day for climate action legislation. Moreover, Labor’s Anthony Albanese has delivered a policy direction speech that will act on climate and mitigate joblessness and poverty and create security for blue collar workers. This will unite blue-collar workers and city progressives.

Regardless of whether you have points of difference, it is essential to support Labor’s plan as the major party, so the left can unite, instead of fight on this issue.

The Greens Party must cease combating Labor as their major threat and seek unity in the way forward on legislation, well prior to an election. The fight can occur in Parliament once the Liberal Party are removed from power.

Education

Education about Climate action must be ongoing. However, as I have tried to implore people for the last four years to do so; climate action education must be worker centric.

We can no longer to afford to allow ignorance of the impacts of the structural changes to coal regions to continue unopposed. Every single person must make a commitment to educate themselves on the impacts of structural change in regional communities.

We do not have the time to insist on perfectionist policies. Clearly, we are too desperate for change to insist on our idea of perfect policy. We must look to the most likely Left party to form Government and absolutely insist that Labor policy is promoted and not rejected as imperfect.

The luxury or privilege of denying regions targeted to carry the entire burden of change, agency as participants of change, we can no longer accept. We must actively listen to regional workers and work with them to find solutions.

Education about climate change and required action should be inclusive of regional, city and rural communities. It should unite farmer and worker, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, the wealthy and homeless. We can no longer tolerate the narrative of pitting worker against worker and community against community, as has been the narrative now from climate activists for so long.

Education must also share the burden across the entire country, instead of just on regional Australia. Education about reducing impacts in cities and structural changes required in cities, is urgently required.

Unified Communication

With the outcome of the last federal election where regional communities voted strongly against ‘the Left’ and re-elected a Morrison Government. It is essential for ALL Climate action communication to be unified with the worker central. If Party Leaders and Activists are unable to find a way to unify workers at risk of joblessness and action on climate change; they should hand the conch to someone else.

Sanctions

I cannot reiterate enough how imperative it is to heal the divide between regions and cities to stamp out climate bullying. Parties and Organisations must impose sanctions on any leader or speaker who is unable to unify blue-collar workers and the communities of coal regions and action on climate change. They must formalise a strict penalty and replace leaders who exacerbate and thrive on division.

Voters must impose sanctions on any political party who attacks Labor as the main opposition party, who is in the most likely position to implement climate action. We must speak out loudly and clearly against any party who focuses their activism and campaigns against the party who can replace the climate denialists and indeed, those who are not focusing every last bit of energy on the climate denialists in power. No longer should we tolerate division on the left of politics. We must recognise that it is Labor as the major Left party who will implement action on climate change; and the points of difference can be debated, once Labor is in Government.

There must be sanctions within the Media. High-profile journalists must unify and rebel against pressures to conform to promoting political parties not committed to climate action. They must call out amongst their own cohort any journalist who promotes inaction on climate change, or who makes apologies for ineffective leaders.

The ultimate sanction is against the Government. A commitment from voters to formalise the removal of the Liberal National Party Climate Denying Coalition, who perpetrate Climate Bullying.

Resources

A Government of climate denialists is the major barrier to overcome. We must commit today to elect a Government that has the power to implement climate action. We must aim to wipe out the Liberal Party, National Party, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, The Katter Party and any other minor or Independent supporting a climate denialist Government. This needs to be done at every level of Government.

We must continue to build financial resources. So, this means a commitment of personal donations to any party or Independent that supports action on climate change.

Importantly, In-kind donations are also priceless, so therefore, make a commitment today to join a political party. My personal preference is the Australian Labor Party who can make a real difference as the major party. Issues based activism is fine; however, it is Government that implement legislation, not activist groups. Volunteering in campaigns is crucial for success.

As we know, the election is two and a half years away. However, this means that there is plenty of time for the Government and the compliant media to implement scare campaigns on every other topic to divert our attention away from the disaster that is burning around us and taking precious lives.

Importantly, the commitment must be made today, that you will never waver. That you will remain resilient to campaigns and propaganda from the right. Above all, even if you are a generational voter of the Liberal or National Parties, that you will commit today to remove them.

Put the Liberals and Nationals Last. It’s where they put You

To stamp out climate bullying that prevents action on climate change, which then results in the most devastating consequences, it is critical, for every single person in the country must make the commitment today that they will put the Liberal and National Parties LAST on their ballot.

Our future depends on it.

 

References

Einarsen, Kari et al., (2019). Antecedents of ethical infrastructures against workplace bullying: The role of organizational size, perceived financial resources and level of high-quality HRM practices. Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 3, pp. 672–690.

Salin, Denise. (2003). Ways of Explaining Workplace Bullying: A Review of Enabling, Motivating, and Precipitating Structures and Processes in the Work Environment. Human Relations, Vol. 56 No. 10, pp. 1213-1232.

Sharma, Naman. (2019). Analyzing Workplace Deviance in Modern Organizations. IGI-Global, Pennsylvania, USA.

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2020 How to Kill Propaganda with Three Blows

One word can describe the last decade  – Division. It is creeping into every corner of our countries, of our communities and even our Christmas dinners. We have the power to change the next decade by doing three simple things.

And So This Is Christmas

A number of tweets on Christmas Day summed up the culture of division that has now seeped so insidiously it has manifested around our Christmas tables. Tweets about the uncomfortable division of political discussions at Christmas. A Trump-loving uncle took pleasure in mocking his niece. He called her sensitive Sally. In addition, her own father warned she could leave if she wanted to express her views about Trump.

Christmas dinner tables should be full of togetherness and happiness. However, political division is now shunning the very people we love dearly at that table.

Our small discussion was about if people will forget about Morrison’s actions during the fires and just vote for him anyway. There was not a lot of confidence from young people at my house, that voters will hold him to account next election. These last few weeks and the weeks or months ahead, will just be forgotten.

Propaganda and Division

Voters in Regional and rural areas will vote National anyway. The propaganda from the right can also kill the left. They target just one policy people don’t like, (or can be convinced not to like). This can erase all the positives the Left may bring. Therefore, shunned by a risk-averse voting public.

Anyway, who would want to risk change with the cacophony of the superficial politically-woke-show-pony “Labor is just as bad” fan club, feeding their fears like Milo out of the tin on a spoon of sugary comfort?

The fear-driven risk-averse and perfectionist risk-averse now permeate our political culture. Both groups believe they are “Doing what’s right”. As a result, everyone outside of this group is labelled “Sheep.”

Fear Driven Risk Averse

The Fear Driven Risk-Averse see through the lens of right-wing propaganda. They do not like what is going on around them. Undecided voters prefer paternalism over change. Protected from the evils of the opposition, from losing their jobs, from great big taxes, from foreigners, from terrorists and any assortment of manufactured monsters. As we consume more and more propaganda, newspapers are now more overt and bold. They layer this with television and radio repeating the key message of protection from (manufactured) monsters. Millions of dollars were poured into online advertising and television advertisements, just by one mining magnate turned politician – Clive Palmer.

Fear Driven Risk-Averse voters believe that, changing to Labor might be bad. It sounds scary, so it doesn’t matter how bad the right is. If they doubt themselves, they are pulled back by layers of ‘monsters’ and scary situations that jeopardise their very existence. We don’t want to risk it. Don’t vote Labor!”

Perfection Driven Risk Averse

The Perfection Driven Risk-Averse see through a lense lens of left-wing propaganda. The drivers of the Perfection Driven Risk Averse are perfect policy over flexible pragmatism. This is best summed up by a description of the policy seeking organisation in Shaun Crowe’s (@ShaunCrowe) excellent book, “Whitlam’s Children: Labor and The Greens in Australia.

“(Policy Seeking Organisations) give greater priority to the articulation and defence of their policies than either the maximisation of votes or the securing of office”

In short, the perfectionist quest simply have a perfect policy. This is the driver, rather than the act of implementing the policy itself. The Perfectionist Risk Averse, come from a perspective of ethical egoism and consequentialism (Wall, 2019). In turn, chasing the perfect model of society via stated aims, there will be unequal consequences throughout society. Some sections of society will feel a more detrimental consequence than others in the achievement of that aim.

(This is where I struggle with the Greens and other ‘non-aligned’ movement organisations who attack Labor. This approach aligns with the Australian Liberals who accept negative consequences for some sectors of society, for a ‘wider aim.’ Where the Labor party work hard to be flexible to mitigate negative consequences across all sectors of society. To achieve this, it is impossible to be perfect.)

Pragmatism is Weak and Tainted

The Perfection Risk-Averse reject any non-alignment with perfectionist politics. As a result, this group sees pragmatism as weak and tainted.  Although some people may share a common goal, it is this aspect that sees them turn away from Labor and actively fight against them.

Chants from this group are: Labor are not good enough, Labor are just as bad as the Liberals, Labor supports *insert horrible thing here*, Labor can’t win with that leader, we want a better leader, just find a cross between Gough and Abbott! How hard is it! How little talent they have! Labor wants to take away our rights, Labor needs to do better, Labor isn’t doing enough, Labor doesn’t stand up enough, Labor isn’t aggressive enough, Labor is weak, Labor doesn’t really care about workers, unemployed, the environment, Asylum Seekers, Pensioners, Indigenous rights, the homeless aaarrrrggghhh. If you want REAL change don’t vote Labor! (WTF??? How did Labor lose?)

The Rise of Propaganda

This political culture is generational in some rural and regional communities. This guarantees “the right” an automatic advantage of seats. In addition, this lens of left and right propaganda now sees many people in regional towns and cities voting “against their own interests” in droves.

This video Sally McManus posted yesterday, hits the nail on the head. I agree with George Monbiot that there is a formula to combat propaganda. However, to move forward with solutions, I think it’s important to recognise two types of propaganda that target major left parties. These are the Oligarchs who target the fear-driven risk-averse and the movement parties who target the perfectionist driven risk-averse.

In Australia, hard-working Australian voters were convinced by propaganda that Labor were anti-worker. As Monbiot states, the Oligarchs have discovered the formula of convincing the poor to vote for the very rich. It is imperative to also consider and discuss the impact that movement parties have on the election of a majority left government, such as the Australian Labor Party.

Movement Party Propaganda

Like all Propaganda, Movement party Propaganda has a political aim. Crowe’s book, discusses that this is to expose any gaps created by major parties. That is because major parties need to be flexible. Specifically, these are usually post-materialism aims and also to try to disrupt the very system itself.

There is significant discussion within Whitlam’s Children from both Labor and Greens’ interviewed about motive. Brown says that the Greens do not want to “Keep the Bastards honest, we want to replace them.” Bowen agrees this is the Green’s aim, along with numerous others interviewed. Interestingly, there are various discussions about gaining enough seats to form minority power of up to 25 seats (DiNatale). DiNatale also said that he would also consider a coalition with the Liberals. However, he added this was not likely, but he would not disregard it. Milne advocates for disruption to achieve a multi-party system.

So all attacks on Labor are not from some innocent place of policy concern. There is a real political drive to gain power, even if that (in the unlikely event) means forming a coalition with the Liberals.

The Left Targeting The Left

Movement Organisations and Movement parties express propaganda through grassroots via symbols, visual and vocal, social media and via disruption. In addition, they do not seek to clarify broader aims or policy operationalisation; but allow others to interpret meaning via symbols and slogans (symbolic interactionism).

This does come in various forms and various movements. Movement organisations and parties do attack right-wing Government’s via this method and in many instances such as Unions, there is a lot of truth in the movement’s activism. However, In the instance of application to oppose a major left party, with a political motivation to replace the major party for political power, the approach should be seriously considered.

Movement Party Propaganda in Action

I speak directly about Queensland. Specifically about my experience in one regional electorate. However, the examples below were coordinated. Here are three examples:

1. The Greens campaigned in the last Queensland Election that the Labor Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk was corrupt. However, the spectre of Newman kept this at bay. Unfortunately, Labor lost a seat to PHON (Mirani). At the booths, some people definitely retorted about “not voting for that corrupt bitch.” Queensland Labor may not be so lucky to win government in 2020 if the same campaign tactics are repeated.

2. The Stop Adani campaign. The Bob Brown convoy. Targeting Labor threads and suffocating the comments in Stop Adani (even on posts about cancer care). Importantly, attacking regional QLD every day for four years. Every day for four years, if that wasn’t clear. The announcement Greens would cease coal and bragging they would force Shorten to shut down coal three weeks before the election (see above for non-clarification of specifics and interpretivism). This was very vocal in areas of high concentration of mining, with nothing else in place required to make mine workers and non-mine workers feel confident or secure, as these areas already experience high unemployment, particularly youth unemployment.

3. Greens members attending Labor functions and “Bird Dogging” the event. This occurred at Andrew Leigh’s Banking Royal Commission community forum in Capricornia. The local Greens hijacked the forum. They pushed Stop Adani. They insisted on taking the floor. Painfully, they yelled out in the audience how Greens were the “original unionists”. They loudly made bold claims and how “Labor had destroyed the Fair Work Act to disadvantaged workers.” As well, at “Change the Rules” events, Greens approached people and said, “how awful Labor is and how the Greens are the only ones fully committed to changing the rules.”

Purists to the Left of Me – Tories to the Right

So, not only is the propaganda machine pumping out bullets from the right, hitting the major left, the minority left are throwing smoke bombs at the major left. Both have a political motivation for power and both motivations are about undermining Labor and preventing Labor from gaining power. One on a grand scale and one enough to try to “disrupt the system.”

To people who are not politically aligned, thinking about their vote, it does have an impact. It is layers and layers from both sides that the major left party cannot be trusted. Emotional contagion is a powerful thing.

This is not unique to Australia. We saw it with Fox News in the USA firing Propaganda bullets at Hilary and Bernie Bros throwing smoke bombs at Hilary. In the UK we saw the right-wing propaganda firing propaganda bullets at Corbyn and the Lib-Dems throwing smoke bombs at Corbyn. In fact, Smoke bombs were thrown internally within UKLabour itself!

This is the world we created. We read it and believe it unchallenged. We participate in it.

A Leader Alone is Not Enough

The difficulty is, I don’t believe that even the most perfect, charismatic major Left leader in the world can conquer this alone. Monbiot also refers to this in his video.

A very wise older Labor member, who is very active in volunteering in the community described politicians to me once. He simply said, there are anti-community politicians and pro-community politicians. Monbiot, proposed a similar community-based view via grassroots to fight propaganda.

In the decade ahead, each and every one of us has the power to end the politics that have divided us. We must insist that our respective parties do the same. We can do this by doing three simple things.

Three Simple Things

1. Be Pro-Community – Grasp a positive idea and write to local leaders and ask them to support it. Start a petition for that idea specific to your community. Ask people in your community to support your idea.

2. Become digitally aware – Start a Google doc, Web page or a free WordPress blog, and seriously combat propaganda from both the Oligarchs and the movement organisations and parties. Detail the claim and research your heart out and provide information and facts from Hansard, Senate Committees, official documents. Seek clarification from the source and the target where possible, read widely, including the processes of Parliament. Take into consideration, the disparate aims of achieving perfect policy and if flexibility is required to achieve power to make any progress at all.

Challenge your own findings for rigour. Ensure they are defensible. Challenge all media, mainstream media, Independent Media, Blogs, Facebook posts, Facebook Groups, Tweets gaining traction and memes. Share your findings. Talk openly about your findings to real-life friends and family.

3. Challenge and be prepared to be challenged – Stand up to propagandists on both the Left and the Right. Famous not so famous and wanna-be famous. Blue Ticks to Fred the 9 digit troll. Friend, Family or Foe. Armed with facts from item 2, you can do this with confidence. Be prepared for backlash. Be prepared to disagree with people you always just agree with or agree with to keep the peace. If you lose friendships because of truth-telling, just remind them your aim is to kill propaganda and you will fight it, with or without them. Ask them if they are helping the right, or hindering the left?

Control of All Spaces

Monbiot believes we need a concentrated effort against right-wing propaganda. The spaces they can control are in the mainstream media. Although the right-wing propaganda co-ordinators use social media to advantage the right-wing of politics, globally; on the other hand, they are also against it. That is because they cannot control it. We have seen members of the Liberals condemn Twitter frequently in recent times. The Prime Minister even claiming that Policy won’t be decided by those on Twitter.

Victoria Rollinson (@Vic_Rollinson), also has frequent Tweet threads about the weaknesses of mainstream journalism, including concerns about ‘insiders’ and objective fact telling. Ronni Salt (@RonniSalt) and Jommy Tee (@Jommy_Tee) are increasingly exposing issues that require serious investigation. They have been first to expose issues such as Grassgate and Watergate that lead to mainstream media following up and claiming the credit. There are also others on Social Media, including blogs who do some great work, exposing falsehoods, hypocrisy, largesse, greed, lies, impacts of political systems and departments on the disadvantaged and corruption.

Carl Stevens sums the above up nicely here:

 

What Political Parties Can Do

For a concentrated effort to kill Right-Wing Propaganda, Movement Party Propaganda against the major left also must cease. Importantly, if they are really “Gough’s Children’ as they claim to be; they would respect that IT’S TIME.

It’s Time for Greens, Movement Organisations and ad-hoc movement groups on social media to decide if their pursuit of perfect policy or disrupting the system is more important than getting rid of the Evangelical-worker-hating-poverty-creating-economy-destroying-lazy-ineffective-climate-denying-privatisation seeking-gluttony of Conservatism that is in power right now.

They need to stop the propaganda of fear and division, and the idea that flexibility and pragmatism are a weakness to progress. Crucially, fierce debates need to occur amongst themselves if perfect policy is indeed perfect if it has no chance at all.

They need to unite against the inaction of the right and support Labor’s way forward with regional jobs, climate action, national rail and other worker-centric announcements that may be yet to come. There is no joy for anyone living in poverty or without a job, in the game of who can wedge Labor the hardest.

The Labor Party, unfortunately, does need to work within the system. They need to make themselves available to every single major news organisation and speak to all potential voters via all mediums.

Worker-Centric Policy is paramount in this time of impending global change with threats of climate and automation. They need to lead us solidly and very clearly, with no complicated aims, through to gain power to steer us through these challenging times.

Digital Literacy

All Left Parties in opposition or in State Power, must make it a priority to encourage or fund digital literacy programs. If they can do neither, the Federal Leadership must be proactive in promoting this via their own channels.

The Labor Party has the power and the technology to create tools to counter claims from all types of propaganda. Speak loud and speak often, via text and video. Importantly, be bold enough to respond to claims made via comments on Social Media. Make it known that truth-telling in Democracy is paramount and false claims and misrepresentations will no longer be tolerated by the voting public.

Bye Bye – The Decade the Fake News Died

In a concentrated effort from every single person on the left side of politics, it is possible to have 2020 as the decade where propaganda and fake news has gone to die.

It is possible. We created the world of enabling the culture of propaganda by buying into it and participating in it. Creating a new world where propaganda is unable to thrive should be an ultimate goal.

We cannot survive the impending global changes and threats under austerity and increasingly authoritarian type rule. Stay Strong.

References

Crowe, Shaun & Gallop, Geoff. 2018, Whitlam’s Children: Labor and the Greens in Australia Melbourne University Publishing, Victoria

Wall, Steven, (2029) “Perfectionism in Moral and Political Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

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Scott Morrison – These People Need Kindness More than YOU

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has truly united the country. Every single person with a beating heart and a working brain in Australia is united in their absolute anger towards him. United. Undivided. Shoulder to Shoulder. In anger. Australians have felt Morrison’s true contempt for us and have returned it with unwavering precision.

Kindness. That is Morrison’s answer. His response to abandoning the country as Leader during one of the biggest crises we have ever faced is, that “It is time for the discussion about his holiday to be over and that we should be kinder to each other.”

Kinder!!!! He wants US to be KINDER?? The arrogance just falls right out of his mouth every single time he speaks.

Here are five groups of people who need Morrison to be kind to them, RIGHT NOW. Then we might be kinder to him. (I said, Might! OK!)

Our Children

Morrison needs to be kind to our children. Our kids are absolutely terrified. They are terrified of having no future. Our children discuss with seriousness about whether to have children or not when they grow up. They are terrified of having no clean drinking water and the planet existing in a constant cycle of death and destruction.

Dad’s don’t just promise holidays. They also promise to stand by their kids, protect them always and fight for their future.

Instead of being an actual Dad, Morrison doubled down on his absolute boneheaded, mind-numbing drivel that we cannot act on climate without harming jobs. Labor has a plan to act on climate change AND protect jobs. Morrison needs to listen to that plan. NOW.

Be Kinder to our Children, Scott!

To show kindness to our Children – Morrison MUST commit to serious action on Climate Change TODAY.

He could also be kinder by holding a fully televised Youth Summit with two representatives from every single Primary and High School in the country.

Emergency Response Workers and Volunteers

Every single person in the country is emotionally exhausted watching helplessly. We watch as firefighters die, are injured, don’t have proper breathing equipment. We feel helpless as they are pushed beyond all human limits, as they try to save us.

Meanwhile, Morrison was doing bloody tequila shots at a bar in Hawaii. His clown posse back home were literally telling us exploding horse shit is the reason the country is on fire. I know where the horseshit is exploding from and it’s certainly not from the horses!

These incredible, incredible emergency workers have worked tirelessly and some without any compensation whatsoever. Workers and volunteers work in extremely dangerous conditions. Instead of showing true humility, contrition and leadership; Morrison used his arrival as a series of poor taste photo ops. These photos featured his smug face, with hard-working emergency responders as the insignificant background. Once again. The arrogance!

Be Kinder to Emergency Workers, Scott!

Morrison needs to be kinder to Emergency Response Workers and Volunteers. He needs to treat the impact the climate is having on our country, as serious as he treats security and defence. He needs to fund the absolute hell out of Emergency Planning and Prevention. Mother Nature is at WAR with us. He needs to compensate volunteers for time, expertise and lost wages.

People and Communities Devastated by Fire and Other Disasters

The worst bush fires in our history have the country in mourning. People have died, homes have been lost, businesses destroyed. Children no longer have fathers, husbands and wives no longer have the love of their life and parents grieve the loss of their children.

Amongst all this, is the tight-fisted surplus chasing driven excuse the Government calls “Disaster Relief funding.”

Be Kinder to People and Communities, Scott!

The people do not need Morrison’s faux kindness; nor his thoughts and prayers. He can be much kinder by reinstating Labor’s criteria for disaster relief funding, not punishing communities who have not had the funding for mitigation; admit that the current take on mitigation will not stop events such as massive bushfires or other disasters; but a serious commitment and action on climate change will.

As the Government has been so unkind to ENABLE disasters to occur, he should make a commitment to be kind right now. Anyone who loses their life should have a Government funded funeral and massive compensation to families. We cannot get these people back. He should commit to this immediately.

Workers, Jobless and the Poor

The jobless and underemployed are living in POVERTY, in a first-world country. The callousness and punitive set up of the social security system has and is driving people to suicide. People who are loved very much by their families are experiencing self-loathing, hunger, homelessness, depression, anxiety, hopelessness and helplessness. This is NOT Kind.

The Morrison Government has shirked all responsibility for job creation. They use joblessness in regions as a sickening plaything to not act on Climate Change. They push back against climate activists who want to shut down jobs without thinking or blinking; by fueling that and insisting there is no other way. It’s Jobs or Climate Action.

Morrison, a known show pony and lazy thinker, finds it absolutely impossible to develop a solution to reinvent communities that are now reliant on coal jobs. He finds it an absurd notion, that as leader of the country he can create new industry and job competition in regions, so coal is not the major employer and stops affecting absolutely everything.

Climate Change Impacts on the Poor

In addition, climate change affects the poorest communities unfairly. Policy direction from all parties is directed at more able and wealthier homeowners able to reduce their energy costs, rather than a national plan for ALL homes. We have treated the roll-out of our internet connection with more dedication than reducing energy costs for the poor in this country.

Also, the communities impacted the most by fires, drought, floods and cyclones are the regional, rural and remote communities, that are already so often ignored across ALL policy areas, including climate change.

Be Kinder to Workers, the Jobless and the Poor, Scott!

If Morrison wanted to be truly kind he would create a consortium immediately consisting of State Leaders, Regional Mayors, Unions and Industry affected by the necessary industrial change to forge ahead with climate action. This consortium should not be directed by the energy sector, but a genuine commitment, working with various experts to reinvent and invest in regional communities to truly diversify local economies and create true job competition in regions across energy and non-energy sectors.

Scott Morrison should be so kind as to tell Matt Canavan to stop sitting on NAIF funding and actually spend it.

It would be so unkind to leave these communities behind as global markets decline in demand for thermal coal. It would be so unkind as to agree to environmentalists demands to cease the coal industry NOW and just simply push everyone into poverty with nothing in its place. It would be unkind to refuse to sit down with Anthony Albanese and not work with Labor on Labor’s plan of action.

Indigenous Communities

Climate change is not just a human rights issue for all of us, but it is a significant human rights issue for Indigenous People. Not just in Australia, but all over the world.

Indigenous people have a deeply inherent and emotional connection to country. It is something, non-indigenous people will never feel. We must accept it is not a part of us and give full respect to those who have this wonderful gift to feel that connection.

Enabling destruction of their country through the politics of division, is arrogant and ignorant. Ignoring the expertise of Indigenous people to care for and respect the land and wildlife, is just plain stupid and endangers all of us.

In addition, climate change impacts on poorer communities which often have a high Indigenous Population. Climate Action policy also has an impact on Indigenous communities. We simply cannot just believe that solutions that do not include Indigenous input, regardless of how well-intentioned, are the best solutions for all.

Be Kinder to Indigenous Communities, Scott!

If Scott Morrison believes we need to be kinder to each other, he can also be much kinder and much more respectful to Indigenous Communities and place a specific focus on climate change and climate action policy and how this affects Indigenous Communities. But most of all, actually listen and implement solutions via their concerns and expertise.

If Being Kind is Too Hard, Scott – Call an Election Now

So, Scott Morrison says that it is time for us to be kinder to one another. It is fairly obvious from the above, that there are huge cohorts of people that he does not bestow the same kindness upon. Yet he calls for us to be kind, when he is facing personal criticism for choosing to go on holiday in Hawaii and abandoning the country, in a time of serious crisis.

The main criticisms of Scott Morrison at this time of national crisis, is his lack of leadership. Scott Morrison wants US to be kind to one another. However, he has shown an absolute void of Authentic Leadership. Authentic Leadership requires self-awareness, a genuine self, fairness and equality and significant to this time, a moral perspective.

If this challenge of being kind to just five groups of people is too hard for Scott Morrison, he needs to be kind enough to step down.

If he does not have the inherent qualities to be an Authentic Leader, he should be so kind as to go directly to the Governor-General. Morrison should advise the Governor-General that the task of Prime Minister is too difficult for him, request that Parliament is dissolved and call another election, immediately.

Yes, we can be kinder to each other. Let’s start with the level of kindness we need from Scott Morrison, right now.

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Scomo of the Hash #Smoko

I had written him a letter which I had for want of better,
Knowledge sent to where I met him down at Maccas years ago.
He was knifing when I knew him,
So I sent a letter to him,
Just on spec, addressed as follows,
“Scomo of the Hash #Smoko”

And an answer came directed,
In a writing unexpected
(and I think the same was written in potato wet with starch)
‘Twas his numbers man who wrote it
and verbatim I will quote it
“I still can’t count to forty, and we don’t know we’er he’s Marched

In my commitment to all God-Bros,
Visions came to me of Scomo,
Hopping off on a some big jet plane as the fires burned down below.
As the troops are fiercely sprayin’,
Scomo flies above ‘em Prayin’’
For a PM’s life has pleasures,
That the townsfolk never know.

And Trump has friends to meet him
And their kindly voices greet him,
In the murmur of the beaches and the luau under stars.
And he sees the vision splendid,
Of the Rapture now extended,
To Oz, the wondrous glory of great fires now seen from Mars.

I am sitting in my dingy – little office,
Where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly,
Down between the plumes so tall,
And the fetid air and gritty, of the fiery ravaged city,
Through the open windows floating,
Spreads the foulness over all

And in the place of lowing cattle,
I can hear the fiendish rattle,
Of the fire trucks and their hoses making hungry down the street,
And the language uninviting
Of the Twitter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and loudly through the thunderous click of Tweets.

And the screaming people daunt me
And their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in,
Saving koalas in their haste.
With their eager eyes now bleedin’,
And their stunted forms now heavin’
For townsfolk have no time to go,
Taking Shelter, no time to waste.

And I somehow rather do know,
That I’d like to change with Scomo,
Like to take a turn at hiding,
As the crises come and go,
While he avoids Questions eternal,
From the Walkleys and their Journals,
Cos he knows he don’t suit The Office,
Scomo of the Hash #Smoko.

 

An adaptation of Clancy of the Overflow. By A.B. (Banjo) Paterson

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Labor, Coal and Climate Action

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Anthony Albanese backed coal exports. I just want to raise some points before someone cues the pile on, on Labor… again… as usual.

Industrial Revolution and Impacts

Australia has relied on one main commodity for a very long time. Therefore, we are the leading exporter of coal in the world. As a result, many regions have a high concentration of heavy industry.

Consequently, the push away from coal globally coupled with automation means we are facing the biggest change since the Industrial revolution. Above all, this means we need to stop the division as we are facing mass jobs displacement, if not done right.

Mass joblessness, as we know has severe psychological effects on humans. For example, lack of self-worth and suicide. In addition, mass joblessness equals mass poverty. Here is one video to watch on the impacts of willingly causing job displacement. This video is about automation on Truck Drivers in the USA.

The main approach to combat climate change is to shut down coal. Coal is used globally for energy and production of other goods like steel. Currently, we are the leading supplier of coal to many countries, including China. This is $47 BILLION of export.

States benefit from the export of this major commodity. Specifically, it helps build and fund schools, roads and hospitals. This is in the form of coal royalties and other taxes.

The call for mass jobs displacement along with loss of major revenue will have severe economic impacts. In particular, it is important to think of severe economic impacts scenarios handled by conservatives are in charge. As we know, the Liberals always target the poor, which will be many of us.

Option One – Cease Coal Production

We have two alternatives. The first is the main push to cease coal production in Australia. The argument is this will raise the price of coal and put pressure on other countries to go renewable.

We are the leading exporter and there are many other export countries. Therefore, we do not know how long we cripple our economy, navigate joblessness, poverty, while other countries decide to cease importing coal. If you could predict markets & commodities you’d be very rich. (Albanese also covers this in the SMH article linked in the opening paragraph).

The Abbott and Thatcher Transactional Approach

The current push from environmentalists is to cease coal exports now. That is, shut down an industry, with nothing in its place. However, there are cries from activists, that people can just go ‘retrain’ for something else. Specifically, there is not the structure, investment or opportunities currently for this to occur. Recently, a growing number of activists are also now very adamant, we no longer have time for a transition. We just ‘have to shut down coal now’.

The current climate action push by Greens and other activists to shut down coal is the ideology of Abbott and Thatcher.

1 – Displace workers for an aim. That is – Political (Thatcher), Economic (Abbott) or Environmental (current preferred option of Greens and climate activists)

2 – Respond in a curative unemployment framework by placing the onus on the worker for joblessness with token assistance

3 – Punish joblessness

4 – Reactively respond to the fall out of joblessness and poverty

NOT Democratic Socialism

The above is not democratic socialism. It is not worker-centric. Above all, It is transactional. This approach treats workers as a commodity and ignores the human aspects of change. Seriously, if the Liberals were not invested in coal barons, they’d support this. It’s the Liberal way. As Abbott and Thatcher have already demonstrated. Or as Abbott put it “Liberating the workers’ when he shut down the car industry.

This response is a reactive response, not a proactive response. Specifically, it is ignorant of the complexity of coal regions. In addition, it is ignorant of how the highly concentrated industry of coal affects everything in regional communities. For example, the loss of mining affects jobs, business, population growth, what funding councils get, house prices, housing, future investment, employment and importantly the resultant psychological negative effects that joblessness and poverty brings.

Agency is Crucial for Change

Despite the throwing around of empty concepts of transition, those pushing transitions haven’t consulted with these regions, nor understand them. Furthermore, agency is important in change. In particular, climate change activists and Greens deny regional workers & communities self-agency as participants in change.

The above scenario is why those who have come across me before on Twitter or have read my blog, have seen me take on climate change activists and Greens.

In short, I am NOT pro-coal, but pro-jobs, anti-poverty and support self-agency & inclusion in change. To not do so, is very privileged. Therefore, my stance would be the same for any major displacement of workers in any industry. Coal is currently that industry.

Alternative Two – Leading Supplier of Renewables Using Our Resources

The other scenario Anthony Albanese outlined in his policy speech, is to become the leading supplier of renewables to the world. He advocates this by using our coal and other mineral resources. In addition, the benefits of our industrial makeup and skilled workforce.

By supplying other countries with renewables and associated infrastructure, including developing countries through direct assistance trade programs, we would enter the market as a leading, manufacturer, supplier, innovator and maintainer of renewables products. Albanese also talks up Lithium mining as significant.

As in scenario one, this too would place pressure on other countries to go renewable and as opposed to the preferred scenario pushed by activists, would expedite the take-up rate globally by countries. This then places pressure on coal supply, by reducing the demand.

Some coal is still required for coal made products (metallurgical) and also some thermal, but thermal (energy would decrease, as it is naturally expected to globally via the market). Albanese states that just coal supply for wind turbines alone is significant.

For example, it takes more than 200 tonnes of metallurgical coal to produce one wind turbine. According to forecasts of global growth in wind power capacity to 2030, Australia could be exporting 15.5 million tonnes of coking coal to build these turbines. This is the equivalent of three years output from the Moranbah North coking coal mine in Queensland. (Jobs and Future of Work – Anthony Albanese)

This approach also will assist developing nations to gain access to electricity. Many people in ASEAN nations have no access to cooking or heating. This impacts on poverty and disease. To deny this is a sickening privilege.

Transformational – NOT Transactional

This approach opposite to the cease coal approach is transformational. Therefore, it is not a transactional approach. This approach is in a preventative unemployment framework, not a curative unemployment framework. This is a Democratic Socialist approach. Labor is a Democratic Socialist Party.

This approach will see us use our resources to develop the world in renewables. Consequently, reducing the demand for thermal coal supply and create a new export industry. In turn, this will naturally create more job competition and if targeted to set up in regions, will diversify local economies.

Self-Agency and Human Elements of Change

By developing regions in this way, we give communities agency in change. We give workers self-agency of career change, we recognise and take great care in recognising the human elements of change. We are proactive and not reactive. It’s the opposite of the Abbott & Thatcher approach advocated by Greens.

The market will decide coal use globally. It is how we decide to respond and engage in that, that will renew us or kill us as a nation that enjoys a relatively good quality of life.

The Abbott Way or the Albo Way – Your Choice

Politically the Greens party have targeted Labor, rather than the Liberals for the last four years by attacking coal regions and workers. This has developed into a huge division between city & regions. People fearing for their own livelihoods voted against the left in droves. A move the LNP in QLD brag about and how much they love the Greens.

The first option (ceasing coal and coal exports) and activism around it, has seen huge division, the working-class left, lumped in with the job cancelling enviro left, mainly through the media lens of propaganda and social media climate activism of intentionally suffocating Labor’s election platform online.

Those attacking Albanese and others (including me) for being “right-wing” as we talk about coal jobs, are supporting an Abbott & Thatcher approach, detailed in option 1. I’m glad I take a vocal stance to oppose that view.

This current preferred approach is, transactional. Also, it is reactive in a Curative unemployment framework. Also, this approach ignores the human element of change. Therefore, this denies affected workers and communities agency as participants in change. This is driven by absolutism fueled by the Greens and Climate Activists, including self-identified intelligentsia on Twitter and also some Journalists. This is NOT democratic socialism. Importantly, it is not inclusive.

Support Labor’s Vision for Jobs and the Future

All I ask is you think about and consider the alternative from Albanese’s Jobs and the Future of Work Policy Direction Speech as detailed in Option 2.

This approach to change is Transformational. It is proactive in a Preventative unemployment framework. In addition, it recognises the human elements of change. Importantly, it includes and enables agency for workers and affected communities.

This alternative approach by Labor needs people to support Labor. It does not help progress to feed the divisiveness and keep participating in anti-jobs and anti-coal rhetoric, stigmatising workers and regions and keep fueling the division enabled by the current absolutism of Greens demands and political gameplay of attacking Labor and not the Liberals. As demonstrated at the last election, this just enables the Liberals. Enabling a Liberal Government through blind absolutism is no solution at all.

Support Labor’s Vision

The Greens have taken the strategic approach to attack Labor for the last four years; concentrating on attacking Queensland and Queenslanders, fueling city and regional division. They have led the way in convincing that the Thatcher/Abbott approach of ceasing coal and ceasing coal exports is the ONLY option.

Labor’s option 2, of using our resources and skills to enable global change will be a hard sell to climate activists, as it includes the use of our coal. This is up to the Labor Leadership. The Labor Leadership needs to actively counter Greens, LNP and PHON. They need to lead a proactive and respectful discussion about why we should use our coal resources to assist the entire world transform to renewable energy.

Attack, Attack, Attack

Labor needs to attack the Liberals for having no policy of change. Crucially, this will only see the market blindside us, if nothing is done. There will be mass joblessness and poverty, regardless.

Most of all, Labor needs to start placing massive pressure on the Liberals, for the Government to start investing massively in regional areas to create manufacturing hubs for renewable projects and a massive investment in Research and Development, including course development, research and other projects at University, TAFE and in business.

Supporting Labor with Option 2, is the ONLY way to achieve progress in this area. It is the only option that is inclusive of all stakeholders. It is the only option that is worker-centric.

Supporting Labor’s approach will mean a change for many very loud climate activists on social media. The people who are “stars of the climate action debate on Twitter” will need to do away with the ego thumping, self-adulation, adulation via their fangirling base, sickening and aggressive pile-on and over-reactionary rhetoric and blind hatred of Coal communities and Labor above all else, as they bow to invisible Twitter applause.

If you are passionate about Climate change. Support Labor. The Planet depends on it.

 

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Monster Morrison: A Nation in Collective Depression

This Halloween, the only monster we need to worry about is Scott Morrison. Monster Morrison with his hands symbolically around the necks of the poor, the vulnerable, the jobless and the worker; slowly choking away every last drop of personal agency. Morrison is a monster with a hunger to leave us in an apocalyptic world of collective depression, begging for mercy.

Personal Agency – an Unequal Power

Personal agency is something many people have never thought they would lose. Until now. That is, the individual power used to influence and act upon in our daily lives. This power and agency in a civilised society is expected to be common place and a power shared accessed by us all.

It is the power to access housing. The power to afford a variety of basic nutritious foods, access to suitable clothing for all climates. It is the power and autonomy to make personal decisions about purchases, who you engage with, where you would like to go and the freedom to decide and access an avenue to your chosen life’s path, without constraints imposed upon you by another.

Personal agency is an unequal power. Many individuals within minority groups and in many instances as a collective do not have equal access to personal agency. Racism, Able-ism, Sexism, Homophobia and Transphobia are all enabled in society, by those who believe these derisions are justified and create an enabling environment for them to thrive and create an unjust society for many.

Scott Morrison is legislating his way to enable an environment of an unfair and unjust society for many.

Monster Morrison Suffocating Personal Agency

Throughout various Parliaments, Australian Governments have attempted to legislate away this unequal power of personal agency. Previous Governments have, with the good intention attempted to stamp out an enabling society for inequality, discrimination and harassment at least on a macro level. However, inequality, discrimination and harassment exist as a daily occurrence at the micro level; in overt and covert forms and it goes unpunished.

The intent of previous Governments who legislated against inequality, was essentially to allow people to just breathe. To allow people to just to be who they are and to be accepted as a whole person as afforded to others who belong to the mainstream groups in society.

In stark contrast to Governments who have attempted to tackle inequality, Scott Morrison is leading a Government to use its power to suffocate the personal agency of the poor, the vulnerable, the jobless and the working class. He is doing this by legislating to enable inequality, discrimination, and harassment at the macro level. In turn, this creates an enabling environment for these derisions to occur.

The Smothering

The suffocating of personal agency has become so wide reaching it is almost a smothering of collective agency.

Robodebt: With no rhyme or reason or evidence produced for the claims of debts owed; Monster Morrison is smashing personal agency to smithereens so that people feel completely trapped and helpless and it is driving vulnerable people to suicide.

Cuts to aged care: Monster Morrison is not only destroying the personal agency of those who are still able to enact it; but aged and vulnerable people are suffering this loss of autonomy without dignity or compassion and are suffering cruelty every, single day.

Cashless Welfare – By taking away one of the very basics of personal agency – the choice to consume and where to consume, Monster Morrison is targeting the jobless (and possibly soon pensioners) and forcing them to carry a visual symbol to push them out of the ‘Normals’ and into the ‘Stigmatized’ group by default (to use Goffman’s social stigma).

Newstart: By refusing to raise Newstart above the poverty line, Monster Morrison is suffocating personal agency and autonomy, by forcing already vulnerable people, to literally starve. To not have the personal means to access a variety of basic, nutritious food. He is taking away their autonomy by forcing them to live in precarious and unsafe situations as these are the only types of accommodation they can access. He is not affording the jobless on Newstart the dignity to be able to afford personal hygiene items and in doing so is suffocating their personal power and self efficacy. His personal judgement that the jobless are passively welfare dependent, is a cause of unnecessary depression, anxiety, suicide and other associated harm.

Mutual Obligation: Through Monster Morrison’s ingrained belief that the jobless do not want to work; he passes a judgment that they require supervision by way of compulsory attendance in exchange for a safety net. Morrison destroys the personal agency of the jobless through breaching when his inadequate Newstart payment prevents a jobless person access to transport to attend a compliance interview. He destroys their autonomy, so they cannot be unwell, have a cold, or other illness, to take a day off, or they lose their payment.

Registered Organisations Ensuring Integrity Bill: The Unions are the major kill for Monster Morrison in this Halloween themed take on his destruction. If he can terminate the hero of this plot – the Unions, he can asphyxiate the personal agency, autonomy, dignity, personal value, personal power, locus of control and personal safety of every single worker in the country.

Monster Morrison’s Weapon of Choice – Paternalism

Like all things scary on Halloween, be they hockey masks, clowns in sewer drains, flesh eating dolls, or people dressing up as John Howard – Monster Morrison uses Paternalism like a sharp knife to stab and slash at the safety net that holds the most vulnerable in society.

A Government governing for all of society ensures there is a safety net. A safety net catches a person falling and that person is usually able to bounce back up and land on their feet. They can then walk off freely into a life they have the autonomy to build. This is not the safety net of the Morrison Government. The safety net built by Monster Morrison is woven together by paternalism.

In his book, New Paternalism, Supervisory approaches to poverty, Lawrence Mead describes Paternalism as: “The close supervision of the poor.” For this to emerge as an idea, a judgement that poor people do not have the capacity to be responsible with their own personal agency, personal power and autonomy, must have been made first. Morrison makes that judgement in spades.

Judgement is the basis of paternalism. The powerful inflicting paternalism onto others have a set of values or beliefs they believe are the preferred basic foundations of society. A judgement is formed about those who do not align with that set of values or belief. The powerful then set up measures of intervention and supervision for those people in society whom they deem do not measure up to their expectations. The separation of ‘Normals’ and ‘Stigmatised’ is now engaged.

Monster Morrison tries to justify his gigantic knife of Paternalism by wrapping it up in the Harm Principal. He argues that the poor must be supervised and controlled to prevent harm to themselves and others. However, Monster Morrison is the one inflicting all the harm.

A Nation in Collective Depression

Monster Morrison’s paternalistic and punitive interventions to control those who do not meet his values and belief standards, are now wide reaching.

There are so many jobless across all ages and genders, so many people in precarious and insecure work, so many young people unable to get a start in life by way of training or apprenticeships, so many workers underemployed, so many workers facing an increase in dangerous work conditions, so many vulnerable in poor quality care, so many disabled and frail persons, forced onto job search instead of pensions, so many homeless people, so many with letters of demands for money with no proof of debt raised and so many people income managed and unable to enable their basic right of personal power of purchase choice.

Monster Morrison’s destruction of personal agency is now impacting on so many individuals. This is now resulting in a marked increase of personal recounts of the negative effects such as anxiety and depression and heart wrenching personal recounts of parents or spouses losing children or loved ones to paternalism induced suicide.

Whether directly a victim of Morrison’s paternalism, or indirectly through emotional contagion supporting and listening to the voices of the vulnerable, we have entered an era of collective depression.

How do we Slay a Monster like Morrison?

Demand a serious safety net

Demand and insist on the narrative that people want to work

Demand financial penalties cease within Social Security

Demand work for the Dole and PATH cease immediately

Demand Private Job Active Agencies are abolished. Outcome Based Funding is abolished and replaced with block funding

Demand Newstart is lifted above the poverty line

Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation.

Demand people with a disability, the sick and those with terminal illness are afforded the dignity of a pension

Demand the eradication of harsher punitive measures for areas with high Indigenous populations

Demand that Cashless Welfare Card ceases immediately and is voluntary only

Demand the funding of preventative programs

Demand RoboDebt is dismantled immediately

Demand Aged Care is fully funded and in abundance in the Public system

Demand the rights and autonomy of Unions in all workplaces

Finally, put the Liberals, Nationals and One Nation LAST. Always.

 

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An Open Letter to “The Left”

I am writing this letter to anyone who considers themselves as part of the left movement. Excuse my lack of salutation. I was going to address everyone with Dear Comrades; however, that only poses my first problem. I don’t know if comrades is even a fitting greeting anymore. I don’t even know where I fit in anymore.

I am almost 50 years old and since I was a young girl of about 12 years of age, through the words of the great Bob Hawke, I have felt a belonging and an affiliation with the labour movement. Through the greatness of Hawke and many other great Labor leaders, be they Prime Ministers, Party Leaders, Union Leaders, MPs or Senators, I have felt seen and understood by the labour movement. My whole life, regardless of paid membership, I have always identified as a member of Labor. Therefore, I have always considered myself as a member of “The Left”.

Until recent times, the majority of people on the left of politics, shared an affiliation and predominantly that affiliation was the heart felt desire to protect and progress the workers in this great country. Yes, there are variations of ‘the left’ however, the dominant strand of leftism in Australia has always been grounded in Marxist thought. That is, that a worker’s labour has value and progress was centered around the advancement of workers and anyone who could not work for whatever reason. Progressive ideas were and are still centered around egalitarianism and fairness. Progress has always been made for the worker-centric left through democratic socialism and pragmatism.

The reason I am writing this letter is that I see comments all the time that the Labor party has abandoned them. However, I hold a growing fear that people are abandoning the worker centric left. There appears to be an increasing demand that Labor also abandons the worker centric left and focus on major issues from a radical perspective, with no consideration for workers.

A few years ago, I started penning articles regarding the anti-worker approach of the Stop Adani movement. As someone who is very grounded in Marxist thought that labour has value and workers should have agency in the means of their work; I very wrongly assumed that these articles would be well received. I thought that there were more people who were like-minded and they too would raise their voices and insist workers be the focus of this looming urgent change. Sadly, not so.

The opposite of my intent occurred. Instead of being seen as someone standing up for workers in regional Australia, I have been frankly, targeted, abused, ridiculed, you name it for years now, by those on ‘the left.’ The spaces where this has occurred has been on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and also up close and personal. I am not talking about a one off instance, it has been constant for years.

Even today, someone who I don’t engage with that often, randomly tagged me in something about Adani and why there will be no jobs at all in coal. Because you know, I’m obviously the first person some people think of on Twitter when they feel relief that they have found something that really shoves the point back to me that coal workers no longer matter in the whole scheme of things, probably three months after the original discussion.

The sad thing is, this vindication they feel is not being vindicated for a left wing ideal at all. It is something that John Howard would be proud of. To increase profit with no human labour input costs at all. People are literally welcoming and rejoicing in automation that puts workers out of work, because it suits their key political issue of climate change.

At first, these attacks were highly distressing and very, very confusing. Because all my life I found where workers issues were raised, there was camaraderie, support and an engagement of how to ‘win that battle.’ I am writing this letter because in my view, that has died. It no longer exists. If workers are an inconvenience in addressing a challenge, the advocates are fine with workers being the negative consequence of action they demand. I have for about a year now, really tried to clarify that what I interpret is what is meant by really pushing people to clarify on Twitter.

Responses go from anything to the environmental leftists praising Margaret Thatcher for shutting down the mines and insisting that that didn’t cause any problems. Or that coal workers will just have to move to where jobs are. Or the most common, the stance that coal workers need to ‘have the guts’ to give up their jobs for the greater good.

Other comments centre around the ‘greed’ of coal workers for not giving up their jobs, or the laziness of coal workers for not pulling themselves up and thinking ahead and retraining themselves. And then of course the indignant ‘there are no jobs in this dying industry anyway and everything will be automated.’

And for others, the fact that Abbott shut down Car Manufacturing and ‘it didn’t affect anything and we all survived’ is a point made that coal can shut down and ‘coal workers will find other jobs, just like Holden workers did.’

By far the most damaging impact by the left on the left, is their top down authoritarian approach of demanding change. That is, targeting a particular region in Australia and then without any consultation or understanding of what that area is about, demanding that they close down their industry and give up their jobs. This movement is literally denying affected people the agency to be participants of change. Instead they take the approach that ‘they know what is best for them.’ I don’t know about others, but this is new to me. I’ve never known or understood the wider left movement in years gone by to deny affected people the agency to be participants in change. It goes against the grain of democratic socialism. And that is a huge fear and a driver for me writing this letter.

Not only are so many of these beliefs simply so ill informed, it is a very dangerous ideological territory that people are venturing into and embracing.

Every single example above is not a worker-centric left wing narrative. It is the language of John Howard and Tony Abbott. These ideas resonate with the ideology of the Australian Liberal party, that workers are a disposable commodity. It also centres on the Liberals key ideology of Individualism or ‘anti-socialism.’ The key ideology since Menzies, that it is the Individual’s responsibility for himself and the rejection of socialist intervention to assist those who can’t fend for themselves.

The examples above are also anti-community and are far from egalitarian. This movement is not advocating for everyone to do their fair share and abolish a range of practices and industries that may impact on climate change. They are placing the entire burden on regional Australians. When this burden was rejected the environmental left were shocked! Instead of understanding why this burden was rejected, they vilified regional QLDers as bogan, as a disgrace and a demand for a ‘Qexit’. Simply because these people still wanted food on their table, as no tangible, solution they can see, exists.

When there are thousands and thousands of people online everyday and thousands marching in the streets demanding to shut down jobs, this opens up the political opportunism of the right to take over this space. The right wing parties, took over this space and campaigned that they would protect jobs and workers. There is nowhere to go for Labor when that type of opportunity is allowed to occur and is in a context as such that it is believed. At the last election, that is what the left allowed to happen. Including the people with the decision making powers within the Labor party itself.

The key working class issues of the Change the Rules movement, around precarious employment, labour hire, dodgy contracting, unfair wages, penalty rates, protections for workers locked out or mine companies shutting down and opening and hiring more ‘compliant’ staff, and worker safety etc., etc., etc., were suffocated with Stop Adani and the convoy in QLD. These issues simply were not heard and were not given the respect and interest they would have been given in years gone by because they were simply drowned out – by ‘the left’.

In fact, within the Change the Rules movement with the Greens heavily involved, I felt awkward and out of place, listening to people in that movement sprout their hatred for the Labor party. I also felt it strange with not having the inclusiveness of unions and Labor at the booths. This is because it was seen as a ‘separate’ movement to the Labor party – that is separate to the only party who was able to legislate any of these demands being fought for. I’m not sure if this was nationwide, or just in my area of Capricornia, where our Labor candidate was a coal miner and the CFMEU were insisting upon protection of jobs and this made the Greens uncomfortable.

In addition to the above, further divisiveness and moving away from worker centric left, is the demands of radical action, over pragmatism. Also the demands and the ‘wedging’ of Labor on issues, by very vocal champions of the environmental left, that are impossible to act upon in opposition. Issues that require power, pragmatism and democratic leadership, giving affected people actual agency as participants in change.

The purist demands of radical action over pragmatism, are on the increase and fly in the face of how the left has overcome struggle for over a century. Labor has always led the way with great national reforms and have always either achieved progress through incremental change, or through the democratic leadership style of inclusiveness and listening to all voices.

However, in the modern day, affected individuals (i.e. coal workers and people in regional communities) are being increasingly voiced as a problem, rather than hearing or even wanting to hear their voices, because many on ‘the left’ don’t want to confront the ugly truths of what some of their demands mean to real people. These advocates, in abundance are applying great pressure to Labor to do the same.

When Labor finally after the election, came out and said they will stand by coal workers (remembering workers are a traditional ingrained reason for being Labor) this stance has been largely ridiculed online as ‘Right Wing!’ and ‘abandoning the base!”

When people like me who raise concerns about the affect on workers in the midst of great challenges and change are repeatedly attacked by a great number of people, there is a serious issue with the survival of ‘the left’.

When the Labor party stands by workers and this is shunned as being right wing, there is an even greater serious issue with survival of ‘the left’.

I’m not sure who ‘the left’ think the base is now, but the idea that you attack one worker you attack us all, is obviously also dead.

When standing up for workers is seen as ‘shifting to the right and bowing to the right’ I don’t just fear for the death of the left movement, I grieve the loss of our history, our common sense and most of all our compassion.

To me, these are the greatest challenges for the survival of the left of politics in Australia.

The rise of the environmental left is a key concern and a challenge for the left movement as a whole. Climate change is a major challenge for every single country and every individual on this planet. However, it is not the only issue.

People still live out their everyday lives on a daily basis. A challenge as great as climate change is a complex issue and approaches to address climate change, must respect the here and now of individuals and communities. To achieve progress and balance, a worker centric approach to climate change, must be taken. A fair and equal view of everyone sharing the burden, not just a few regional communities, also must be taken.

The current demands of the environmental left, are suffocating the issues of the working class left and every single vulnerable person in society. When workers perceive the choice of no job, or precarious employment, the chants of the union movement against precarious employment are insignificant and ‘the left’ is seen as the enemy.

This is the enabling environment we are currently building for the political opportunism on the right of politics and that means an enabling environment is built for them to win elections and hold power.

In a democracy, people will voice their opinions and we have great platforms now to do so. People will also be very passionate about their key issues. However, in a democracy it is also up to people to voice concerns and challenge others where approaches to change – climate or otherwise – place the worker second, vilify workers, or see workers as an inconvenient consequence and any negative impacts should just be accepted.

The Labor party also has a huge challenge in this democracy. They need to find a way to put forward very strong worker centric arguments and enable workable solutions to change that are acceptable to all. They need to find a way to rise above the purist demands and convince thousands of radical and unhappy voices that incremental change and democratic leadership, and the protection of all workers and is what has built this country in the face of some monumental challenges in the past. They need to find the right words and the right approach that Labor, will continue to do so in the future.

The Labor party are currently reviewing their policies and approach from the last election. I feel very strongly, that we no longer just need to counter the right wing of politics, but there are equal challenges on the left of politics to address. Labor needs to come up with innovative ways to ensure people feel included in decisions about change. The town halls were great, but there is an overwhelming amount of technology that bring people together and these are not being utilized. A new approach using modern technology could be used to make landmark changes to democratic action and progressive policy ideas. I urge Labor to think hard about this.

The result of the the divisiveness of ‘the left’ and pushing the workers secondary, we are living everyday. A paternalistic, degrading regime, with a hatred of unions and workers and a mass dehumanisation of the jobless. The fight against that is why Labor exists and we have three more years to watch this contempt on society by the Liberals from the sidelines.

The left of politics created the enabling environment for this to happen. It is time people looked at themselves and how they engage in politics and seriously ask themselves if their approach is actually helpful or harmful.

So thanks for reading. This is why, at almost 50 years old and a political awakening instigated by Hawke, I no longer know where I fit and I no longer feel a camaraderie with ‘the left.’ I am hoping that people will give me some hope after reading this, rather than reinforce my fears.

Trish.

p.s. Please do not respond with any but, but, buts about a just transition. Thousands of people day in day out targeting regional communities, angry contorted faces all over the internet demanding to shut down industry, gluing themselves to the footpath or chaining themselves to railway tracks, devising ways to ‘birddog’ Labor, creating a campaign that QLD Labor is corrupt, and taking a convoy to a small country town to protest their very existence, announcing a policy in an election to shut down all coal, causing a huge amount of fear in regional communities – is not a just transition. The intent has certainly not been displayed in the behaviour and when people vote, that is what counts.

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Bring Back The Labor Herald

Until 2016, Australian Labor had an online blog site The Labor Herald. There is a case to bring back the Labor Herald. This is due to the recent events of the past election, negative messaging about Labor and various debates developing from negative messaging on Facebook and Twitter.

The Election

Various debates have ensued about why Labor did not win the federal election. There are many good points to listen to and many not so good points to reject. Many people have put a lot of time and effort into formal responses. Some I have read online and some Labor friends have sent me their thoughts and submissions direct.

So much feedback shows there are many people passionate about Labor and despite the rhetoric of the right wing media and many Greens supporters sticking it to Labor on Twitter; at our core, we are a bunch of very passionate people who care deeply about workers rights, equality and fairness.

The other huge point I want to make and counter is the election isn’t a personal blow for us. The feedback I have read or listened to reflects a passion for other people and how losing the election will impact on other people. As a whole, we don’t worry about how the election impacts on us as individuals, but the workers, the poor and the disadvantaged. In a nutshell, that is who Labor is. We are greater than the sum of all our parts.

Negative Messaging

However, at the crux of all of these debates is “Labor’s intent” or “What Labor stood for” or “What Labor does or doesn’t believe in”. In short, a whole range of misinformation ensued from the right-wing parties. However, many on “the left” drove this.  That is the Greens and their supporters, left-leaning swinging voters and “Left-Leaning Independent voters” (or so they think IND are left!). This is not a new problem. There are many news articles, social media posts, tweets, blogs, “independent’ news, all misrepresenting Labor and really pushing negative rhetoric about Labor.

Over the years this has culminated like an insidious contagion. For many non-politically aligned people, this resonates as Labor cannot be trusted. This suits the Liberals to a T. In Queensland when people believe they can’t trust Labor and don’t really vote LNP, they vote PHON. All this does is harm a progressive Industrial Relations agenda and that is all politics boils down to.

The problem is Labor did nothing to stop it. They are still doing nothing to stop it. I don’t know about you, but I find this incredibly frustrating. Especially when there is an abundance of tools to do so in modern society.

The Problem

There are a lot of people on social media and blogs who are forever countering claims by the Media, right-wing politicians and in particular, sadly, increasingly so, by the other “left” party the Greens. These claims often misrepresent Labor. Decisions by Labor are often taken out of context. This has become increasingly worse since the election.

Labor should have a clear and concise messaging strategy.  Do not just attack the LNP. Take note of the narratives going on, on social media as well, and counter what is being said. They need to pay equal attention to negative messaging about Labor from Liberals, Nats, LNP, PHON, Greens and Independents. They need to observe general conversations and respond to these in a concise way that is easily shared.

There are some really great MP’s like Murray Watt and Martin Pakula and Peter Khalil who do engage with people on Twitter. Doing so clarifies issues and they do this very well. However, there needs to be more than this. Twitter and Facebook are not set and forget advertising platforms.

A Working Class Voice

The Australian Labor Party is the party of the working class. The Labor party was borne of the working class. History cannot be changed. Unions have direct representation in the Labor party and put forward ideas and debate directly to the Labor policy platform. Unions support candidates.

Regardless of income, regardless of sector, regardless of collar colour, we are ALL working class if we have an employer, including the new contractors who contract to an employer, where they should be employees instead. We are ALL working class and at the mercy of employers when the Liberals implement laws to unfairly dismiss us, to casualise us, contract our labour or to replace us with foreign labour. We are ALL working class when we have to deal with an unfair, poverty-based, punitive Social Security system.

Mainstream Media

However, there is no working-class friendly voice in the mainstream media. Almost all newspapers are owned by the Murdoch Press in Queensland. Newspapers, Talkback radio, Television shows do not tell any stories from a working-class perspective. They highlight the right-wing perspective. Where a worker perspective is written, it always ends with the last word from the LNP. At best, we get a panel member and then three right-wing panel members for “balance”. The Guardian could be described as ‘left friendly’ but as a whole, it is friendly to the environmental left, not the working-class left, nor Labor.

There are some very good Independent News sites, such as the Monthly and Saturday Paper, however, these are subscriber based and many do not see these articles.

The stories of these people are missing like a huge black hole in mainstream media.

Social Media

Social media is rife with misinformation about Labor. The right-wing cluster uses Facebook as the medium to spread misinformation and fear-mongering about Labor. The Greens and their supporters and some Independents use Twitter and blogs (including “Independent News sites”) to spread and try to really reinforce the message that “Labor has lost their way.” There are right-wing bloggers or “Independent journalists” with significant followings also spread this message.

The right-wing says that Labor is beholden to the Unions as if that is a negative thing.

The Greens say that Labor rejects the unions, are distancing themselves from the unions and that the Greens are the original Unionists.

Independents say not to trust major parties, knowing they will support the Liberals in power anyway.

There is a growing stigma on social media about partisan politics. There are very vocal Independent supporters, ‘left-leaning I don’t support any party’ supporters and many greens supporters with significant followings online. They really hammer that it is shameful to politically align yourself with Labor. Those on “the left’ who say it is shameful to support the party of the workers, see Marx rolling in his grave.

Regardless, the Greens, Independents, Liberals, Nationals, LNP and PHON are all singing the same chorus to really try to reinforce to voters that “Labor cannot be trusted and Labor does not care about YOU!” That is the central narrative from all of them.

Political Agendas

Absolutely everything about politics boils down to Worker vs Capital. The “Capitalist Class” (Liberals) want to achieve an agenda where the “Working Class” (Labor) is used as the cheapest disposable commodity that money can buy (or engage it for free), or if many can’t buy it, they will make a law to make it so.

The current Liberal agenda for Social Security of poverty payments and RoboDebt, is an agenda where desperate people will start fighting to work for very low wages, in any conditions and unions will be positioned as a group who are stopping them from getting food on the table.

Everything else is white noise. Everything else is a distraction.

One Nation V Labor

The agenda of PHON – a close ally of the Liberals, is to make as much noise about social issues in a negative way as much as they can. They intentionally are perpetrators of racist debate and other negative messaging around social issues, to take the focus off what the Liberals are doing and intend to do with Industrial Relations and Work Rights.

PHON also creates outrage by saying that Labor doesn’t stand up for ‘battlers’ when Labor’s entire agenda is to do so. Whereby Hanson supports the Liberals and does everything to harm the working class and the poor. Pauline has the advantage of the concentrated attention of followers who do not seek out to read views from other parties. Pauline Hanson has been able to achieve this as she has successfully ingrained the distrust of “the left.” More on that at the end of the article.

Labor needs to address negative social issues sharply and shift the focus back to a Labor agenda. Labor needs to be forceful in explaining how voting for Pauline Hanson works against the workers and the poor. Not by attacking her, but by highlighting what she supports by supporting the Liberals and not Labor.

PHON’s Agenda

PHON seeks to not take Liberal or LNP seats as they have deals to support each other. They have an agenda to deplete Labor seats to weaken the stance against the right. Usually, this is by attracting voters who PHON does not assist by siding with the Liberals and Labor definitely would.

Labor needs to challenge media creating “them or us outrage” and directly respond to journalists Labor’s response to this and direct the issue back to Labor’s agenda. Labor should call out the reason for the outrage. Liberals benefit from this outrage. This takes the focus off the Liberals. In particular, their Industrial Relations, Social Security and Economic management. Labor should still give voice and support to the group being attacked.

To do this, Labor needs to go on as many right-wing talkback shows as possible.

Greens v Labor

The Greens’ agenda is more complex. The Greens see themselves as having the absolute right to hold the place of Labor in Parliament, without having to do any of the hard work, or achieve progress by way of concession and often painful decisions as Labor has over 100 years.

Labor has had to over many years, often give away some of their agenda. This is to achieve progress little by little via compromise. I guarantee the poorest amongst us understand this because that is a way of life. A small gain is better than nothing at all. However, those who have never lived this, not so much.

This has been the way of the unions too. Work rights didn’t come wrapped up in a pink bow and handed to workers. Union workers have died, gone to jail and have been injured to make even the smallest gain in Industrial relations over time. All because of laws created by the Liberal Party.

The Australian Greens

The Greens want what Labor has achieved through hard work handed to them in that little box tied with a pink bow. They think they can just untie the pink bow and they can claim all the hard work Labor has fought for and claim that they did it. They sell that they can achieve everything without concession or compromise. Greens insist everything is easy and Labor just hates us.

The Greens primarily attack Labor because they want to secure Labor seats. Some Greens believe that one day they will deplete Labor enough to be the major opposition and some Greens have voiced how they want to secure the balance of power. The Greens are not fussed if the right holds power, as long as they have ‘balance of power.’ The Greens agenda is to, like PHON, suffocate Labor’s agenda, but not with creating outrage about Racism, but by creating outrage through climate change.

Labor has very effective policies on both of these issues. Labor needs to sharply counter the outrage and in a direct and personal way possible, by speaking directly to people using the media available today.

Other Campaigns and the Federal Election

In the Federal election, we saw the political practice of creating outrage from both sides of the political spectrum. For me, it is a huge lesson to be learnt. It did not matter what Labor said in regional Queensland. “Stop Adani” suffocated everything. Adam Bandt announcing the Greens would force Shorten to close all mines in ten years, three weeks before election day, was frankly, idiotic and all that was heard.

This created mass fear because mining in QLD affects almost everything north of Gympie. Absolutely everything. Jobs, supply businesses, small businesses, population and what services we will get, including schools and hospitals, what funding we will get, house prices, etc., etc., etc., It is not a simple problem with a simple solution.

All LNP, PHON and Palmer had to do was take that fear and build messages around it. They tied Labor to the Greens about job losses and added some more negative scary lies about taxes. They would have been rolling on the floor laughing in their campaign meetings. What gold on a silver platter that was!

Immediate Demand and Culture of Fear

The PHON and Greens, in particular, have embraced the current culture of ‘immediate demand.’ People want everything now. Both parties insist that everything is easy to get now. Even if you don’t have the numbers in parliament. They have also embraced the culture of fear campaigning.

PHON strongly campaigns that we will all have our rights taken away from us by Labor and this affects our lives and it is urgent to get rid of Labor.

The Greens campaign that we will literally die because of Labor’s inaction on climate change and this affects our very existence and it is urgent to get rid of Labor.

Whilst the worker hating Liberals are lapping up all the power. Both of these parties and their messages against the workers’ party enable that to happen. Both of these parties’ campaign tactics result in preventing a progressive and fair industrial relations agenda. They prevent progressive and fair Social Security and a progressive and fair system of equality for all. Regardless of their ‘academic’ or ‘conceptual’ arguments about what they stand for. That is the result.

All voters are not engaged in politics. The constant negative messaging about Labor does and has had an impact at the ballot box. Labor needs to counter this on a daily basis.

Bring Back The Labor Herald

In the times of modern media, it is essential to bring back the Labor Herald, as just one medium to communicate the Labor message.

Labor needs to dedicate itself to posting frank discussion pieces on the Labor Herald. This is to counter negative Labor messaging in the mainstream media or social media. Regardless if this is from either the right-wing cluster or by the Greens. This does not have to be time-intensive. With the number of Labor MPs, state and federal as well as Senators, the workload could be easily shared around.

These pieces should not be clinical political speak pieces, but story-driven emotive pieces that speak to the people. They should explain very clearly the complexities in parliament and why Labor makes certain decisions.

Many people are simply not aware of the complexities of power in parliament. Due to the negative narrative, particularly by the Greens, people are truly believing Labor could have prevented X when there is absolutely no way to do so.

These pieces should directly address why certain amendments were made and what was the alternative option. If the alternative option was to leave a raw bill for two racists, a Christian conservative, two Liberal friendly ‘centrists’ and a Nationalist to negotiate on, then say so and explain what Labor’s concerns were.

In short, speak to us. Otherwise, Labor through silence enables negative messaging to flourish.

Other Social Media Tools

Every day there is negativity about Labor online. If Labor wants to win office, it is essential that every social media tool and traditional media tool possible is used.

By resurrecting the Labor Herald, Labor supporters can easily share articles on social media, including other blogs. This would counter the negative messaging from the right-wing cluster and the Greens.

Labor could expose tricks and deception. Particularly as used by the Greens, by highlighting the rules of parliament. At times, the Greens try to say Labor doesn’t support X. However, they have literally pulled a stunt to wedge Labor. An example is creating a motion in the wrong bill.

Facebook & Twitter

People who are distrusting of Labor and are looking to PHON and the Greens will not care to take in the views or ‘Like” a Labor Facebook Page or join a Labor Facebook Group.

Labor needs to copy the right-wing cluster and make a range of issue-based Facebook pages and Groups. Labor should address these issues from a Labor perspective. Direct communication by Labor could occur with this group. PHON attracts a high concentration of this group. They do not seek out other party Facebook groups or pages.

The over 40’s group predominantly use Facebook. Many of these people play games on Facebook. I am one of them. I had an onslaught of LNP and Palmer ads during Facebook games and online game apps. This is all messaging.

Labor politicians need to directly engage with people online on Facebook and Twitter. Many times, these are regular people who simply have questions they want answered. The mainstream media depicting everyone as an online troll is simply not true. Treat this no different to face to face engagement.

Message of the Day

Labor could produce a message of the day via a short video. It would take a few minutes to do a live feed video from a car, an office or home. Labor should take note of the daily concerns and negative messaging on Twitter and Facebook. They should use short videos every day to counter these negative messages and reinforce the Labor message.

Traditional Media

In regional Towns, traditional newspapers are still a respected source of news. Labor needs to send regular articles to newspapers. Also, letters to the Editor on at least a weekly basis. Labor should counter negative messaging and reinforce the Labor message. Once again, using frank language and not political speak. Take note as to why Hanson is so successful.

We Can Do This

I think we can all agree that there are a number of factors that contributed to the Labor loss. However, I am a person who sees narrative and the impact narrative has on society and politics. This article and proposed solutions are driven by that.

The Liberals will put the country in such a bad state by the end of this term. We should see people return to Labor in droves. However, that is not what I want to see.

I want people to return to Labor in droves because they fully support Labor. That is Labor, a positive, progressive party, who places the worker and disadvantaged at its core.

I want people to return to Labor in droves because negative messaging by the right-wing and Greens has not flourished. I want people constantly talking about the Labor agenda and why we need it.

We can do this! Let’s resurrect the Labor Herald.

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Hey Hey Ho Ho! Bothism has Got to Go!

An emboldened Morrison Government means that Labor under an Albanese Leadership will respond very differently to what we are used to. How we respond to Labor under Albo’s leadership is something we should discuss. For one, Bothism has got to go!

It’s About the Long Game

In an interview with the Guardian this week, Labor leader, Anthony Albanese gave us an insight into how Labor will respond in the current political environment. Our response to that is crucial. What he put forward and the space we are in at the moment, impacts on how this will play out for Labor. Our response to Labor, as they navigate the worker hating evangelist gobshite with no visible agenda, is crucial.

Firstly, despite plenty of doubts, particularly on Twitter, Albanese firmly plants his feet as a progressive with a progressive history.

“I’m a progressive. I’ve been active for a very long period of time, and I’m determined to get a positive outcome in 2022 … because I passionately believe that only Labor governments make a positive difference to people’s lives in a long-term way and in a transformative way. (Anthony Albanese)

Albanese said it’s about the long game. About kicking with the wind in the last quarter. For soccer fans like me, it’s about slowing the game in the first half. Then deploying tactical in the second half when the other side is tired. The point is by the second half the other team will be chasing the ball and our team will be scoring goals.

Capitulate! 

Another area fairly hyped up on Twitter, is aided by apparent “left friendly newspapers” such as the Guardian. The Guardian proudly publish their inside jokes in their articles such as calling Labor’s decision making in opposition to a Government with right-wing power in both houses as, “bitch and fold”. This is about Labor’s decision making around various bills. In addition, this isn’t helped by the ongoing and tiresome campaign from the Greens. The Greens deceitfully depict Labor as voting against something, when that something is a stunt. They know 100% Labor will not break Senate procedure.

Albanese’s response to this is:

“There will be a whole range of things that we do from time to time that people will wonder why we are doing them. We can’t focus on the day or the week, we have to focus on the term, and at the end of the day if you are not in government then you can’t change things in a progressive way.” (Anthony Albanese)

One reason why there has been so much anger on ‘the left of political punters on social media; is for years now, the agenda of ‘Bothism’ has been allowed to manifest. Labor has a responsibility to slay this beast. We also (as leftists) have a responsibility to not feed it.

The Bothism Agenda

One reason we are in this mess is a lot of people who sit on the left want a Labor Government, but they think they deserve better than the Labor party. This is a Party they have judged from the opposition. Or despite now two changes of leadership will judge on the basis of a hung parliament six years ago. A Party that doesn’t have the power to be judged on their implemented platform. A party who has not had the luxury of having power in both houses as democracy has wished upon us for the conservative agenda to be implemented right now.

The hung parliament of Gillard and the internal conflict of Rudd/Gillard Rudd, was a real antecedent for the Bothism agenda to grow. Seeing this opportunity, since Rudd/Gillard the agenda to fracture the left has become quite prominent. This is a right-wing agenda to encourage people to “not vote majors” knowing most minor & Independents preference the Liberals.

We have seen in action, particularly in Queensland, where I felt my Senate ticket might catch fire! It overflowed with right-wing evil filling the page. Besides Labor and the Greens, there were absolutely no other progressive choices. The other parties or individuals ranged from conservative to the absolute fruitcake variety ego maniac right-wing nationalist who wants a good old fashioned gun totin’ shoot up in towns.

The Right-Wing Agenda Enabled by The Left

The problem is there are many on the left of politics who believe the Bothism agenda is a positive thing to ‘strengthen the left’ by holding the major left party to account. When in fact, it is a right-wing agenda to split the left and it is working out quite fine for the conservatives who hate us.

Ask yourself why it is also the preferred approach of Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer, if it ‘strengthens the left.’

Therefore, there are major players on “the left” of politics who have embraced the Bothism agenda. In the space of social media….really, who can blame some people? On Twitter and Blogs, it is a very easy way to gather thousands of followers and gain prominence in the #Auspol space.

In the anti-Liberal sections of Facebook groups and pages, the Bothism agenda attacking Labor has become so entrenched, particularly by Greens, non-party aligned Socialists, Climate Change activists, Sustainability activists and various Welfare and general Left Politics groups, that many Labor people are retreating away from these groups and forming closed Labor groups.

Unfortunately, sharing Labor memes and stories with Labor members or staunch Labor voters on Facebook is not helpful. It is up to Labor to come up with significant change around Social Media strategy to actually, sadly, counter ‘the left’ political punters on Social media.

The Social Media Bothism Narrative

These individuals and groups have enabled the “Bothism agenda” by feeding it. When it all boils down to it, politics is always, always about Capital vs Labour (and you sure as hell will feel this the next 3 years). Trying to find absolutely everything wrong with Labor and at times, hoping Labor is as bad as you want them to be (because you have other vested political interests), hurts a hell of a lot of vulnerable people who ‘the left’ is supposed to be there for in the long run.

There are prominent Twitter accounts who “Support Labor winning” but day in day out they promote Labor is no different to the Liberals. Ideologically and a study of our history, shows this view is ingrained in ignorance. It is an ignorance that has infected the collective trust in politics. Which once again, only helps the paternalistic Liberals.

Then we have Jan Fran, First Dog and Juice Media who enable this ignorance, particularly with new and young voters. Their formula to spread their Bothism message is always, “Liberals are shit but hey gotta say Labor is pretty shit too.” Well Bothism is also pretty shit. A Morrison Government is even more shit. How is the Morrison Government turning out for you so far?

Blogs or Flogs?

Then we have the Independent Media. The “media” we expect to give us the stories that Murdoch doesn’t. However, a lot of bloggers (not pointing to anyone in particular, because there are a lot of you) repeatedly publish articles completely misrepresenting Labor’s position and just harp on how crap Labor is. Again, who can blame them? The reader attraction is there. How easy is it to just scan some comments on Twitter, pick up on some reacts and do a big Hanson type rant about how shit Labor is? Written with no support for arguments, truth or substance. The pat on the backs come and its rinse and repeat.

The number of bloggers who have ingrained in people’s minds that Labor is anti-Welfare, anti-climate Change and pro-Capitalist are not only helping the Liberals but write from a place of pure ignorance, are outright lying and play into the bothism agenda of distrust and apathy. The problem with this is unless a person knows where they fit ideologically, they end up putting their faith in a right-wing Independent, Katter, Hanson or Palmer to name a few. They aren’t conservative, but they get the message via these articles, Facebook blogs etc (which are 2000 word rants) etc., that Labor doesn’t stand up for them either. Stop being part of the problem.

In saying that, Labor also needs to keep abreast of blogs and Independent ‘news’ sites and call them out as blogs or flogs. They should respond with shareable information if the content of these blogs is incorrect. Some articles reach thousands and thousands of people.

If I have upset any bloggers who constantly write from a bothism perspective and never have anything positive to say about Labor, bite me. I don’t care. Someone needs to say it.

The Stigma of a Laborist Slant

I had a heated exchange on Twitter the other day with another writer and I was accused on not being critical enough of the Labor Party. This person expressed contempt towards me, told me basically my writing was shit and wouldn’t know where to start picking it apart and also, that I am not an “Independent Blogger.”

Independent blogger to me, is I do not have anyone else control what I write about. I conduct independent research. I write from my own perspective. A blog is an opinion platform. I am an opinion writer and I am also an experienced researcher when I do not want to write opinion.

Also, I am not controlled by a writing agenda. I don’t ‘plan’ my writing, I am compelled to write. It isn’t something I can explain well. I just get to the stage where I have to put thoughts on paper. It is why you are reading quite a long post right now!

I do not and never will masquerade as a journalist, as some writers do.

Journalism is a Higher Education qualification. Whether you are a great journalist or not is irrelevant. It is a skill, a craft and it is a lot harder than me just sitting here behind my keyboard. I would not be so disrespectful to people who have earned a qualification to call myself a ‘journalist.’

Ignorant Bothism

As my site clearly states, I write with a Laborist slant. It is not a secret. The fact that a fellow writer and promoter from a major Independent Site castigated me for not attacking Labor enough, is surely part of the F’ing problem! Shunning and ridiculing pro-Labor opinion writers because you think pushing ignorant bothism is some high value, especially when Labor is in opposition, helps no one. You don’t see Bolt attacking Credlin for being too pro-Liberal.

Hell, even I read Andrew Bolt and watch Credlin, because it is important to understand the conservative argument. Sorry, but sitting on the fence flogging both majors is a cop-out, enables bothism, ignorance and apathy and it helps no one.

Sites such as The Saturday Paper and The Monthly are actual journalistic sites. These are not blog sites. (PS Paddy Manning is the BEST!)

Breaking Bothism

To break Bothism, start questioning Independent blog articles. Many independent articles are written from the position that Labor is inherently bad. They are writers like me, sitting at home behind a keyboard with no journalistic qualifications. They have political leanings to minor left or Independents.

Question if it’s the whole story. Ask in comments for a link to Hansard. A good blogger will comply. This includes the ‘new style of blog’ that is a 2000 word rant from an anti-Labor leftist in Facebook groups.

You will find by reading Hansard, it’s almost always never the full story. Do this with memes and tweets you see as well. Stop just accepting Labor are bastards. Not once have I researched an issue and found that to be the case. It’s normally due to political power in Parliament. At times, the necessity to follow a particular parliamentary procedure. An example of mendacious claims about Labor can be found here.

Hell, if you see something you are not sure of, pick up a phone and phone a Labor MP or Senator. If you see anything you find doubtful, even contact me if you like and I will get the information for you.

You can see by the above, that there are those on the left who feed the Bothism agenda and that reaches an audience Murdoch does not use and that only benefits the Liberals.

I’m not saying don’t be critical of Labor. But at least try to find facts. Also, speak up in comments if you think it’s political opportunism and not the full story. Real criticism and real solutions add to progress. Faux anger based on political opportunism or harvesting likes divides us and regresses us.

Bothism a Negative Emotional Contagion

The Bothism agenda is an insidious negative emotional contagion. We need to bear in mind that not everyone is politically engaged. One example is The Greens in the last QLD state election campaigned that the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was corrupt resulted in people not voting “for that corrupt bitch” and voted Hanson. This campaign was fully endorsed by the Greens. They ran this knowing Pauline Hanson is an actual real threat in Queensland. We need more people who do not want Pauline Hanson or the LNP in power to stand up to the Greens. We need to insist they explain why they would run such a campaign when Pauline Hanson is actually a threat and the LNP are just slightly less worse.

Federally, we have seen a three-year campaign by the Greens and other climate activist groups (who mind you, the QLD LNP and the Hanson candidates here absolutely LOVE YOU so much it makes me ill), who have predominantly attacked Labor over the Adani issue. Stop Adani was a campaign created by a Green for the last QLD state election to win three seats in inner-city Brisbane. These seats included Labor’s, Jackie Trad. (Who is a complete Goddess BTW!). One candidate said to me how they were so impressed how well it took off. So we had to cop three years of it. We had our towns invaded upsetting people. This was to see a Morrison Government returned, who they never held to account in the first place.

We End Up with the Liberals

Many think I detest the Greens because I am some type of psycho rusted-on Labor bitch. (There is nothing wrong with that for others out there 🙂 !) I detest the Greens because their constant attacks on Labor help the Liberals. Then we end up with the Liberals which sees vulnerable people pushed down further and further. The Greens don’t get that one day can be a very long time for disadvantaged people, let alone three bloody years of a Liberal Government making life harder for them.

The Anti-Labor Message Gets Through

Labor’s position on Adani was always that they could only work within the law. This is all the Greens would be able to do if they held office. Now after this has caused a tremendous amount of mass fear in QLD and parts of NSW over mass job losses and they played out a campaign for change that goes against every single change management theory in the book; Adani may still fall over. The Greens could have supported Labor knowing that when Labor was in office, that Labor would act on Climate Change. But hey, what is another three years of destructive conservative Government, and screwing over every Labor candidate north or Gympie, if it just might mean you win Melbourne Ports off Labor?

As we can see from the above, the anti-Labor messages got through, but people don’t always put all pieces of the puzzle together in their busy lives. A headline or a meme is absorbed as people scroll and they don’t take a blind bit of notice who posted it. But the message sticks. It sticks all the way to the ballot box. Labor has to do something about this urgently.

Don’t Allow Bothism to Divide Us

The reason I wrote this article is after reading Albo’s words in the Guardian the Bothism bandwagon will be clapping with glee & go full turbo. Expect the Greens to ramp up the “Labor voted with the Liberals” and other assorted mendacious attacks on the only party that can replace the Liberals.

I wanted to speak up because when it all boils down to it, it is always about Capital vs Labour. Bothism is the ignorance that only helps capital.

The Bothism bandwagon breeds ignorance & apathy. It promotes distrust in good Labor politicians who, since the dawn of time have delivered every single national reform we take for granted. The Liberals formed with the purpose to stand against the workers’ parties. That’s important.

So let’s not just sit back and watch the Bothism agenda divide the left anymore. It’s been going on far too long. Sure a lot of people enjoy big followers from bagging both majors, but after May 18 that needs a huge rethink. It’s time for more serious, in-depth discussions.

We will get rid of Morrison by not having a meltdown every time Labor supports something with amendments. In the current set up they literally have little power. Ignore the Greens who hand all power to right-wing nutters on XBench. More on that here:

It’s Time to Pick a Side Warts & All

What we are faced with right now is critical. The days of entertaining the idea that some minor party will form Government is over. The Morrison Government will be more destructive than Howard. It’s time to actually pick a side, warts and all. Because it’s always, always about Capital vs labour.

It’s good to see Labor speak out against the Greens political opportunism via Murray Watt.

 
 

and Albo absolutely gives the Liberals a hiding in his speech about drought funding. It’s up to all of us, including Labor to find ways to share these videos or the points made.

 

 

Solidarity and Patience

The reason we need to pick a side of either major warts and all is the grumbling by those involved in the Bothism agenda has helped re-elect the Liberals. In Queensland increased the Hanson vote. The campaigns by the Greens targeting Labor, have helped re-elect the Liberals.

Labor should not have to fight “the Left”.

This has resulted in an emboldened agenda by the Liberals to come down hard on workers’ rights, workers’ pay and conditions and destroying safety nets such as aged pension and Medicare. Bothism destroys the positive emotional contagion needed to build a true Left movement.

A true Left movement in real solidarity is needed because sometimes a small opportunity, an education, a traineeship, a secure job, a living wage, a union defending your rights, access to a doctor, and the security of not going hungry or without heating or housing, changes lives. The Liberals make life extremely hard for the vulnerable and those who feel they can’t speak up, or have agency taken away by the Liberals to do so. Protecting the vulnerable is a key leftist value. Campaigning against the Labor party, the only party that can replace the Liberals; is not a leftist value. It absolutely works against the left.

Pushing Labor in Government is a completely different story. (I don’t mean lie about, I mean push) They have no constraints then.

True Progressive Reform

To change lives and to protect the vulnerable we need to get behind a leader who understands the worker and the vulnerable. And even you blokes working for the mines who voted Hanson & LNP that means you. The biggest threat to Blue-collar wages & safety are the Liberals.

Anthony Albanese will deliver a true progressive platform. Albo understands because he is a housing commission kid like me. One thing I know about Housing Commission kids is no matter how successful we become, that housing commission kid pipes up and reminds us who we are every day.

That housing commission kid, a kid who has benefited in life from Gough and Hawke reforms, and values these reforms, has stood for years in public office to protect everything the Liberals seek to destroy. He has used that lived experience to speak up for others. He understands us because he connects with a life most of us live or have lived.

That is why we should fight every single day for Anthony Albanese to be our next Prime Minister.

Solidarity & Patience my friends.

Cover pic courtesy of Young Labor

The Independent site mentioned in my article is NOT AIMN 

This article originally published on The Red Window Blog

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Choose! Or the Left May Die!

The Left has eaten itself for the past few weeks. The anger on Social Media regarding the decision making of Labor will have dire consequences. One consequence is the Liberals in Government for six, nine or twelve more years, or Armageddon; whichever comes sooner. For the Left to stop eating themselves alive; the Left have to make a choice about what type of opposition they support and Labor has to listen.

This Is It for the Next Three Years

For the next three years, the construction of the lower house is that The Coalition holds power and the Opposition Labor Party does not have the numbers to prevent any Bill passing in the lower house.

For Bills to pass in the Senate the Liberals can pass Bills by securing the support of three of the six right-wing individuals from the Crossbench.

In the Senate, the Liberals hold power, with Labor and Greens parties on the left and a six-person crossbench. the Six person Cross Bench are all Right Wing parties or Individuals. With one posing as a Centre party. The Cross Bench all hold right-wing ideologies. These ideologies span from Christian Conservatism, Nationalism and Centrism.

Political Risks for The Left

The risk for the Left, with the Right wing Cross Bench holding the balance of power, is they hold the power to trade anything they want in exchange for their support to the Government. The Right Wing Cross Bench ONLY hold no power if Labor or the Greens side with the Government.

Have a think about this. Go Wild! Have a good hard think about what trade-offs the Cross-Bench will make. Especially with Christian Conservatism and Nationalism, It could be anything from cuts to social security, defence spending, racist legislation, abhorrent Asylum Seeker (yes even worse) legislation, criminalisation of abortion – anything.

The Left has two choices.

We must decide right now; which type of opposition we prefer, by framing the long term consequences in the context of the left’s power and position in parliament. This is a very serious issue. Power exists in the construct of the environment and that environment’s rules enables who holds power and when. To get through the next three years, we really need to think hard about this.

But first of all, we need to settle some myths.

Labor Opposition Myths

Labor is the Opposition. They do not have the Power to implement their policies, strategies or ideas. The only party who can do that is the party of Government.

Labor does not have the numbers in either house to block any Bills or Legislation.

If Labor and the Greens join together, they do not have the numbers in either house to Block any Government Bills or Legislation. (So when the Greens tell you this. They are lying).

ALL Bills are written by the Government. ALL Bills debated and considered are written by the Government, unless the Government allows a Private Members Bill.

No Bills put before Parliament will be written by Labor, unless Labor secures passage to do so from the Government or via the Senate.

The content of the Bills by the Government are the Bills that need to be debated, and they are not based on the ideological position of the Labor Party; even if they pass with amendments. The amendments are from the ideological position of the Labor party only.

The Lower house holds no power for the Left. To hold power bills must be passed and progressed to the Upper House for Debate. This is the only house where a small amount of power, may be held under the right conditions and strategy for the left.

When the Greens make an amendment or put forward a motion and Labor does not support it; history almost always shows that this is not because Labor is against the “idea” per se; but because of a variety of reasons, including raising the motion in the wrong Bill, or using the wrong procedure in the Senate etc., This is an often used tactic by the Greens (power construct again here folks!) to position themselves as the Left Power. However, if you boil it down, they really are just treating us like idiots, because they know only the nerdy political freaks read the daily Senate Journals.

Choose or the Left Dies

At the rate of how fast the left is eating itself over the last few weeks, those on the Left who seek to divide us will see the left divisive and dead. I have watched a lot of friendships disintegrate on social media the last few weeks. We have a choice presented by the two major left parties below:

Greens most used option: Concede ALL power to the right-wing Cross Bench nutters by blindly protesting. Shame Labor for not conceding all power to the right-wing crossbench and misrepresent this to the voting public as “Labor voted against xyz” and flailing about fawning over words like ‘capitulation’. This option is to satisfy ego and create a false construct of power. It is not an option used that can protect the people in the current construction of this parliament. Conceding Power to the right is the exact opposite of solidarity.

This is the short term thinkers option. This is normally intrinsically motivated to satisfy ego and power.

Labor’s most used Option: Work with the Government to try to implement amendments. This secures support for a Bill, with sufficient amendments to provide protections to society, that is better than the raw Bill put up by the Liberals. This is based on the understanding that if amendments are not secured by the Labor party, without holding the balance of power, the amendments will be insisted upon by the Right Wing Cross bench of Christian Conservatives, Nationalists and Centrists. This choice prevents the right wing nutter trade-off.

This is the long term thinkers option. This is normally extrinsically motivated as considerations are about preventing the worst possible outcome for the people.

Scenario-Based Risk Management

The above choices can be explained via scenario-based strategic planning. Within this type of strategic planning, the focus is Best Outcome Scenario, Expected Outcome Scenario and Worst Outcome Scenario.

The Worst Outcome Scenario in the makeup of this Parliament is the Right Wing Cross Bench holding the power to negotiate and trade off with the Government for support. To prevent the worst outcome a contingency plan needs to be put in place.

In the case of this parliament, the contingency of the Greens Choice by conceding power and blindly protesting fails; as it allows the worst case scenario outcome. All it does, it makes people “Feel” like someone has stood up for them, but in reality, they have done the opposite by handing power to most extreme and radical of those in power who seek to harm them.

In the case of this parliament, the contingency of the Labor Choice by negotiating amendments is the only choice to gain any power. This is either via Government agreement or convincing the Cross-Bench to support the amendments.

Accepting the Ugly

With the makeup of this parliament, where the right wing hold power, as the Left, we must accept the ugly choices in this scenario. We must question ourselves upon every single debate of every single Bill:

Q1) Did Labor do all they can to secure amendments to provide protections in that Bill?

Q2) If Labor blindly protests, or votes down a Bill, do we accept the consequences of conceding the power to the Cross-Bench to negotiate all wishes, desires and trade-offs to secure their support for the passage of that Bill? Do we concede power as the Greens do always to Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Roberts, Jacqui Lambie, Corey Bernardi, Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff to decide on our behalf?

The Left Holds No Legitimate Power

For every single scenario in Parliament for the next three years, the above choices are our choices for what type of opposition we want for every single Bill and every single debate. This is because the Left holds no legitimate power in this parliament. The Government also holds no legitimate power on their own due to the makeup of the current Senate. However, based on the ideological leanings of the Cross-Bench the legitimate power is more likely for the Right-wing Government than the Left.

The only way for the Left to gain legitimate power is to via amendments and negotiations with the Government and Cross-Bench to support this power. They have no power via protest or stamping their feet and saying NO! alone.

Short Term vs Long Term

Currently, the left is eating itself because of the strong desire to see the opposition just say NO! to the Government on everything. As argued above, the constraints of power in parliament, this is not as straight forward as it seems. As in Paddy Manning’s article in The Monthly; he speaks to the fact how the Greens will use this to their advantage. My argument in this article is that whilst I agree, with most of Paddy’s arguments, it is also up to us to decide if we want to ignore the parameters and constraints of opposition in the current parliament, and insist on protest and concede all power to the right-wing crossbench. Or we take the complexities into consideration.

We MUST decide if we want to allow the constructs of power in this parliament to divide us, or if we want to get behind Labor by thinking about the questions above. Dividing us, as the Greens always, always seek to do, only gives more power to the Right. (As we have seen as a result of their anti-Labor campaign in the last election via Stop Adani – it suffocated every other single important issue like work rights and healthcare and divided us all).

We MUST decide if we want Labor to be a protest party and adopt the Greens Choice of political strategy and concede power to the Right wing Cross Bench or do we want them to stand up for us and fight via amendments. There is no in-between. Blindly protesting does not enable negotiation power for amendment agreement making. Voting down bills in the lower house does not create the avenue for negotiation in good faith in the upper house. Sadly, decorum is stiff and boring and procedural, but it is still a thing.

Why Labor Needs to Combat Greens as Well as the Government

I know which choice is in the long term interest of all of us, and it is not misrepresenting using the only avenue to gain power via amendments as capitulation.

As socialists (well I am) we should be looking at the worst possible outcome for the most vulnerable. Protecting the most vulnerable in the makeup of this parliament does not include playing games and conceding all power to the Cross-Bench nutters via the Greens Choice.

It is trying to gain the only skerrick of power available to protect us by trying to amend bad legislation and eradicate the power of the right-wing Cross bench nuttery.

The improvement that Labor could make is to start hammering and keep hammering the power constructs of the current parliament. Stop using political words and speak to the people straight. We can take it.

Labor needs to sit the Greens on their backsides, by pushing them to explain their reasoning via the choices available right now and remind voters that the Greens hold no power and by blindly protesting they give ALL power to people like Pauline Hanson.

Labor needs to really push the Greens and be very vocal about WHY the Greens are too lazy to do any of the hard work in convincing the Cross-Bench to oppose the Liberal Bill or support Labor’s amendments. They need to insist that the Greens explain themselves to voters on this.

If Labor supports a Bill without securing amendments, they need to really explain loud and clear to the public, what the alternative risks the crossbench posed by allowing the crossbench to negotiate the Bill without Labor’s support and why Labor could not accept that risk. Once again, we can take it.

Getting a bit angry sometimes would also bloody well help. People out here are starving for real emotion. They need to feel protected and stood up for, and Labor needs to do that WELL with the cards and choices dealt by the voting public.

I choose Labor.

PS: I hope now I have (hopefully) demonstrated the choices and construction of this parliament in terms of power, how the three-year campaign by the Greens against Labor via Stop Adani, was never in our long term interest, but always, always in the short term interest of the Greens. And now we are suffering for it.

 

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Change the Rules – Casual and Insecure Work

Luke Hilakari, Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council, tweeted on Budget Night, “I want the right to bargain for a fair pay rise. I’m not asking for a tax cut or a handout from Government. I want rights, not bribes.” As we move into the campaign period of the election, it is important to stay focused on why so many people are doing it tough and why a Government election bribe won’t fix it. This article looks at one aspect of why – casual and insecure work.

A War on Words – Casual Employment

In Australia, we accept the term ‘casual work’ as synonymous with work that is not full-time permanent or part-time permanent. That means, that the worker has no control over hours they work, they get no entitlements such as sick leave, carers/family leave, holiday pay or public holiday pay.

One of the key identifiers for people who use the term casual work is that it means to them that the worker does not have job security. An employer can dismiss workers at any time. They may work at a per job rate, that then an hourly rate. They do not have the security of a permanent job. Their job is either irregular or the worker is not there for the long term.

Most Australians don’t use the following terms to differentiate from casual employment; precarious, gig worker, seasonal worker, fixed term contract or labour hire worker.

Do the semantics matter? To stats lovers, yes. To the regular person on the street? No.

However, the Government has already started the War on Words. They are being very pedantic about what the term “casual means’ to try to make themselves look good.

Liberals Harking Back – Nothing Unusual About That!

The Liberal Party are harking back to the times of leg warmers, fingerless gloves and big hair to hold on to their definition of casual. Their definition only speaks to casual as a subset of insecure work. It does not include zero-hours contracts, labour hire, outsourcing. The Liberals are merely bracketing this group who receive loading on their hourly pay and do not receive sick leave or holiday pay.

The Liberal party will insist that ‘Casual has remained steady” over the last 20 years. However, that is open to debate. It is up to each and every one of us to question the semantics of the Liberal Party every day – but especially heading into an election.

The Fact Check article linked below explains there is no formal definition or complete data sets of insecure work and it is open to interpretation.

The Liberals use the term interchangeably with ‘insecure work’ where the ACTU says that casual work is a subset of insecure work and is work “that which provides workers with little social and economic security, and little control over their working lives”.

Unlike the Liberals, the ACTU live in the modern day era of Uber and Labour Hire along with all of us. Casual work in today’s terms has risen to approximately 40%. Importantly, more than half the workforce will soon be in insecure work if we do not vote the Liberal’s out.

One in four workers in Australia is in casual employment.

Here is @FriendlyJordies take on why it is hard to find a good job in  Australia.

 

Casual Work in Australia

The Parliamentary report into the Characteristics and use of casual employees in Australia provides analysis on the state of casual work in Australia.

One interesting statistic to note is the change of casual work share by gender. This is particularly important to note because of the semantics used by the Liberal party.

The Liberal party likes to paint casual work as something that women need to balance their home-work life and to help hubby pay the bills. Maybe even to afford to buy herself a nice soft dressing gown to wear as she merrily participates as one of the housewives of Australia doing the ironing.

And like everything they hark back to, it is true. Well that is, if you are still walking around singing “I’m too Sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts” and it is 1992!

Casualisation of Work by Gender

However, what is quite unsexy is the rise of insecure work for men from 1992 to 2016. If the story of the Liberals is believed to be true and women are the secondary wage earner and men the primary wage earners, then the following also must be true. The erosion of our Industrial Relations system in Australia is an insidious contagion that now attacks the Primary worker regardless of gender.

Is this the attack on Men’s Rights some of the ragged dinosaurs in the Liberals and associated nutjobbery are always carrying on about? If so, the Liberals are the ones carrying the pitchforks.

This leaves both parties of a relationship in a vulnerable position and also, regardless of gender, if you are single. When you have to budget to pay bills, to plan ahead for anything in life, to apply for a car loan, house loan, white goods, save to fix the car and even to save for birthday and Christmas.

WorkChoices – Never Ever Forget

My mantra has been for years – WorkChoices – Never, Ever Forget! I mean, how could we forget when we now have WorkChoices by stealth. We got rid of Howard and we have allowed Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison to implement by stealth what Rudd killed.

The core of WorkChoices was to tip the balance of power back to the employer. One of the biggest aims was to turn hard working Australian people into disposable commodities at the lowest possible price.

The next biggest aim was to destroy the union movement by forcing everyone to sign up to Individual Agreements. They even tried threatening University workers with pulling University funding if workers chose the collective agreement over an AWA. In the same way, they attacked Universities, they also attacked Health workers.

WorkChoices by Stealth

What we have now is WorkChoices by Stealth. Above all, casualisation and insecure work is a systemic issue. The Liberals have brought this about intentionally. This is no accident. The current Liberal Government, enabling casual and insecure employment means employers hold all the power. Employers can dispose of workers at any time and they can be used as a disposable commodity at the lowest cost.

The forced implementation of AWA’s and tying AWA’s to Government funding was my first real protest. I was worried I would lose my job but I damn well ticked “Collective Agreement.” I was absolutely elated when Rudd won for this reason.

I will never ever forget the worry every single day. Would we have no protection from dismissal? Perhaps we would lose permanency and we would be casual workers tomorrow. Would our jobs be reclassified to lower paid work? John Howard made sure we could do nothing about it because he created new rules. He created rules that should be broken.

This is not a new tactic. The same tactic was used in the great shearer’s strike of 1891 and it will be used by Liberals if they are in power until the end of time.

Then if Nordenfelt and Gatling won’t bring you to your knees, 
We’ll find a law,” the squatters said, “that’s made for times like these.” (The Ballad of 1891)

 

Howard’s Anti-Worker Dream is the New Normal

The thing is, it was such a scary time for me because I know the feeling of secure employment. It is something I expected. Something I relied on. That was until the spectre of Howard loomed large and terrified our days and made us all sleep uneasy.

There are thousands and thousands of workers who have never, ever known the feeling of secure full-time work. Howard’s anti-worker dream is now a young worker’s ‘normal’ under Scott Morrison. That is why the Change the Rules campaign is vital to our social cohesion and standard of living in Australia.

Never knowing the feeling of a secure full-time job is absolutely unacceptable in Australia. Absolutely unacceptable.

I am really angry that we are still fighting the same battle more than a decade later
for us and for our children because of Howard’s anti-worker ‘children’ – Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

Change The Rules – Stop Forced Casual Work

The Change The Rules Campaign details two important rule changes to give casualised workers a better future.

Stopping Workers Being Forced into Casual Work

Employers will no longer be able to call someone a casual if the job is not genuinely casual. Too many employers have been converting permanent jobs into casual jobs. Labor has committed to stopping this.

Give on-going casuals the choice of becoming permanent

If someone has worked regularly for over 12 months and would like to convert to permanent work with the rights that go along with it, they would have the right to do so. It would be their choice.

Change the Rules for Secure Work

Too many of us are in casual or fixed term work. Australia has one of the highest rates of insecure work in the world. But the Morrison Government doesn’t even believe that insecure work is a problem. Other political parties have instead signed up to change the rules. They have committed to stopping jobs being casualised and giving casual workers better rights, as well as stopping employers bypassing local workers to use and abuse visa workers. (changetherules.org.au)

Change The Rules Campaign

Join the biggest movement for workers in Australia right now. Join the Change The Rules Campaign. Don’t forget to join your union. If you want to fight the Liberals, do the one thing they hate and one thing they can’t break – stand in solidarity.

I will leave you with my favourite Change the Rules Tweet today. This tweet has an important heartfelt message and it goes to the heart of this article.

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Green-Groups Bird-Dogging Labor is a Dog Act

This is one of the most important elections in our history. Bird-Dogging the alternative, progressive Government as a political strategy is a dog act. It risks punishing us with another term of conservative rule. Pushing a single issue agenda with the aim to suffocate the message of the Australian Labor Party is dangerous, classist, selfish idiocy. This is not good for the less privileged.

Bird-Dogging

Bird-Dogging is the political activist form of heckling. The intent of Bird-Dogging is to absolutely suffocate the message of the politician or party holding the event. Bird-Dogging is covert and coordinated. The idea is to get as many people as possible, sympathetic to your cause. The aim is to hijack a politician or a candidate speaking to the media or hijack a party event.

The idea is to covertly plant as many activists as possible in attendance at an event and push to ask as many questions as possible or make as many statements as possible about the activist issue. Activists achieve success if the politician spends a lot of time answering activists’ questions. This means the Bird-Dogging activists have suffocated the candidate’s message. They have drawn all the attention to the Bird-Dogger’s message.

It has come to light that Labor is the target. Greens aligned groups, such as the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Stop Adani will participate in Bird-Dogging. They are not targeting the Liberals or One Nation. Their aim is to attack Labor using Bird-Dogging.

There is even a detailed Bird-Dogging Labor guide. This outlines the questions, responses and behaviour for Greens-aligned activists to attack Labor. (More on the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 guidelines later).

Bird-Dogging up Close is Pretty Horrid

I witnessed Bird-Dogging in person from the Greens last year, before I knew what Bird-Dogging was. This was at a Labor held Banking Inquiry Information session event, held by Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh.

The behaviour of the Greens in attendance that night was verbally aggressive, demanding the floor and interrupting questions and answers. For example, they would scream out that the Labor Party has destroyed Industrial Relations. Flailing about yelling how the Greens were “The Original Unionists”. (I know right *rolls eyes).

The Greens’ demanded attention to ask questions. When answering, they wasted time making very long-winded statements about the Adani mine, other Greens driven issues, or taking credit for things Labor had done over the last 100 years. It was seriously bizarre.

Many people that night did not get to ask a question on a serious issue, because of the Greens Bird-Dogging strategy. Many in attendance were most likely very concerned about being ripped off by Banks – or had been ripped off by banks. Andrew Leigh did stay after the event and spoke to people one to one, but the benefit of the entire room hearing the question and the answer was lost. Some, may not have had the self-efficacy to go up to a politician and ask a question or may have thought they were a bother. That is not good for our democracy.

The night ended up with a couple of men having to intervene when one of the Greens men was arguing inches away from a woman union delegate’s face screaming about how terrible Labor is. It was very upsetting and I started shaking, even watching it.

Bird-Dogging Labor 2019

Last week, I came across the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 Guidelines posted on Twitter. The person who posted the guide appears to be involved in various activist groups. However, they obviously think that this particular tactic targeting Labor is dangerous and stupid, considering we have had five years of conservative rule and the country is going down the toilet.

Activists received the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 guidelines at a Stop Adani meeting in Brisbane. The Australian Youth Climate Coalition developed the guide. These guidelines detail questions and responses and behaviour towards Labor Politicians and candidates, working hard to try to win seats off the LNP in Queensland.

We can predict what some of Labor’s responses will be to bird-dogging and want to be prepared with factual & sassy answers ready to go! The way this is written is to have a few responses to predictable answers so we can keep MPs or candidates on point & answering our questions when we go bird-dogging! (Bird-Dogging Labor Guidelines AYCC).

A Slap in the Face by a Privileged Hand

The AYCC and Stop Adani intend to do everything they can to suffocate Labor’s key messages for this crucial election campaign. The ONLY other result if Labor does not win, is another term of the Liberal-National Coalition Government. These groups campaign for the Greens.

This campaign strategy is a slap in the face to the workers and the disadvantaged who deserve to have the courtesy of hearing about crucial progressive policy which will affect them. Not just affect them, but there are some policies Labor will be discussing, that will literally change people’s lives. This is a slap in the face to the working class, by a very privileged hand.

However, the AYCC states in their guidelines, that Labor (as detailed by Tony Burke) has a valid point in why Labor can’t stop Adani.

“Why is this our ask?
Labor actually has a valid point when they say they can’t commit to stopping Adani for legal reasons. This is because if Labor gets into government and then stops Adani by revoking their approval to build the mine (having committed to stopping it prior to the election), Adani could
then sue the Labor Govt claiming that a genuine review did not happen and therefore it was wrongfully revoked. Therefore, while we are still pushing them to Stop Adani, the specific ask (for bird dogging, MP meetings and conversations) is for them to commit to reviewing Adani’s approval and act.” (Bird Dogging Labor Guidelines – AYCC)

Bird Dogging Guidelines

The AYCC state in their document that:

“This document is created in reference to the principal objects of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition as stated in the constitution (p.3).”

The Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 – Messages and Response Guide details:

“We can predict what some of Labor’s responses will be to bird-dogging and want to be prepared with factual & sassy answers ready to go! The way this is written is to have a few responses to predictable answers so we can keep MPs or candidates on point & answering our questions when we go bird-dogging!”

The guidelines detail answers as well as suggested behaviour. Some examples are below:

Sassy

“Our position is clear” + “we’re committed to Adani not receiving any public money”

(sassy) Which position is that?

So in the above example, not only do the guidelines state what to say, but the behaviour to deliver it. Which is to be Sassy – which is defined as “Rude with no Respect”. This shows that they are not interested in a serious answer, but their own ‘show’.

Leave Brittany The Liberals Alone!

“Why aren’t you going after the Government?”

If you want to be the next Government, you need to be serious about climate action which means stopping Adani. When will you commit to a review of Adani’s approval?

In the example above, Stop Adani, Greens members (and possibly candidates or politicians) and the AYCC who will all be active “Bird-Doggers” already agree that Labor is being truthful that there are legal implications of why they cannot stop Adani. However, their excuse for not attacking the Liberal Party, or One Nation, is that the Labor Party wants to be the next Government. Well, heads up purists wreckers! The Liberal Party and One Nation also want to be the next Government too!

According to this failed logic of these dangerous ideological purists, it is best to attack and suffocate the message of the Progressive Labor Party, than to hold the Liberal, National and One Nation Parties to account. It is also best to do their very best to derail the Labor Party’s campaign, so Labor does not get heard and do not win the election when Labor is the Party most likely to work with and not against Greens Groups.

Vomit on them

“We’re not in the business of ripping up contracts”

Vomit on them***

In the example above, the AYCC is instructing Bird-Doggers to what? Vomit on the Labor politician or candidate? Disgraceful behaviour aside, once again, the contradiction is that the AYCC has already accepted and detailed in the guidelines. They agree that Labor has a valid point regarding legal implications with regards to Stopping Adani. Bird-Doggers agree that Labor is reasonable here. However, vomiting on the candidate is the solution?

Is Richard DiNatale going to accept campaign assistance from Stop Adani and the AYCC, when this type of abhorrent behaviour is a suggested behaviour towards candidates or politicians in the Labor Party? Maybe he could file it in his “To Do List” right under, “Do something about sexism and misogyny in the Greens”

Yell This at Bill Shorten!

When Bill Shorten tries to run away- yell this at him

(if they require shaming for inaction) Is your personal political ambition is more important than a safe climate future for young Australians?

When Bill Shorten tries to run away- yell this at him

(if they get angry/unreasonable with you) All I’m asking for is for you to review Adani’s environmental approval.

I find this suggestion quite bizarre. Its almost as if these Greens groups only read the Greens Newsletter. It is as if they swallow whole every low-base Bandt Rant about how awful Bill Shorten is. They appear to have absolutely no idea about the politician that they are planning to attack.

I think readers will agree with me that Shorten does not run away from questions. He has hosted 75 town halls across Australia. Bill Shorten fields many questions from the general public. He always asks the media if they have any other questions. The only time we see Bill Shorten running is long distance running, because well….. it’s basically his sport!

They also appear very confused about who is who. Bill Shorten does not display anger or unreasonable behaviour. That is Richard DiNatale when confronted about the sexist behaviour towards women by men in the Greens and asked what will he do about it. Sorry, my bad. That’s not right, the behaviour from Richard is more passive and indifferent on that issue. But the Liberals and Nationals and PHON, the parties who are exempt from Bird-Dogging…well they have lots of angry and unreasonable people.

An Assault on the Working Class

This election is one of the most important elections in our history. There are absolutely critical Industrial Relations reforms that need a Labor Government so they become an actual reality. Only a Labor Government can change the rules and give workers back, fairness, safety, protection and dignity.

These Greens groups will respond and say how innocent, cute and sassy, Bird-Dogging is and it isn’t aggressive at all. However, I have witnessed Bird-Dogging first hand. The rest of the country has witnessed Greens groups crashing Labor events en-masse. They are far from protesting respectfully.

Attacking the Proles while the Bourgeoisie are literally pushing people to suicide through Robo-Debt and literally pushing workers to their deaths with the ABCC, is a privileged, classist attack on the working class.

As Daniel Andrews (SMH 2012) said:

According to the Greens, everyone must compromise except them. They would rather protect their ideals than search for the common ground that might just protect the most vulnerable. Even with the purest of motives, a refusal to bend while launching endless criticism at those who are prepared to work for real outcomes is arrogant and self-indulgent.

An Insidious, Cancerous Parasite in Our Social Fabric

With all the debate this week about who is more dangerous, PHON or the Greens, the question should be for whom? I think we can all agree that a party that pushes a racist and divisive agenda such as One Nation is an insidious, cancerous parasite in our social fabric.

However, if the purism of the Greens and their associated activist groups, are successful in their aims to suffocate the message of Labor on every issue and the only issue people hear about is about a mine that has not been able to start for six years and signed off by the LNP Newman Government; then there is a very good chance the consequence will be that Labor will not win Government. Another consequence could be an increased presence of Liberals, Nationals, PHON and other right-wing Independents in the chamber.

I think we can all agree that the behaviour of Greens purists, which may result in the return of the worst Government and worst Prime Minister in our history, plus a few extra nutters like PHON winning seats, through “Greens-aligned Groups’ successful activism against Labor” is also an insidious, cancerous parasite in our social fabric.

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