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Category Archives: Your Say

The day after, and the days ahead

A few matters to say the day after the 2022 Federal Election.

Firstly, from the aspect of my Federal seat of Ryan whilst the AEC has not declared it (I have to say the AEC must have continued counting during the night, as the results are different to the ABC’s data at 12.30am) it appears the Greens’ candidate Ms Watson-Brown will be declared the new member for Ryan, so my wholehearted congratulations are extended to her and the Greens. However, whilst it was not to be his night I wish to say how proud I am of my friend Peter Cossar – Labor for Ryan. Peter has worked hard in Ryan for many years, and if you wish to know where the battle to end the Climate Wars began, it started with Peter bravely knocking doors about 5 years in Ryan, speaking to virtues of climate policy. Well done, Peter; you honourably discharged your duty as a Labor candidate, and I still believe you will one day serve in our Parliament. I should also thank all of the branch members who assisted Peter.

Secondly, I am so heartened by the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart will be implemented in full, including the referendum for a First Nations voice to Parliament. That referendum will be held in the next few months, and, just like 1967 when a referendum was passed to allow First Nations to vote, I implore every Australian to vote yes for a First Nations voice to Parliament. It’s not a third chamber; the First Nations voice to Parliament provides a necessary legislative step to recognise the standing and wisdom of the oldest culture on Earth – over 60,000 years of knowledge being generously extended to all our national interests.

I am heartened by the Climate Wars ending in this country. It should never have started back in 2009-10. Powering Australia is the necessary policy to immediately undertake rewiring of the energy grid, restoring manufacturing so that we become a renewable energy superpower, which with our reserves of mineral resources we will be such an international power, and finally achieving net zero by 2050.

This is a dawn of a new, wonderful and inclusive age for Australia, where people don’t get left, but aspiration is rewarded. There are economic issues Labor must immediately get working on, not just in examining how and where so much of our national debt went to, but also addressing inflation, wages, cost of housing and the cost of living. The economics portfolio of treasury will be a powerhouse of economic intellect, with Dr Chalmers as Treasurer and Dr Leigh as Assistant Treasurer.

Important socio-economic reforms for women will be implemented, including important safety legislation and social housing. The NDIS will be fixed, along with aged care and Medicare. Our ABC will also be fixed, not just restoring its funding, but also ensuring it maintains its function as an independent national broadcaster. In that respect, I look forward to a judicial inquiry which will not only examine the concentration of media ownership in Australia, but also the quality of the news being delivered.

A national integrity commission, or Federal ICAC, will be established this year. The integrity commission will have retrospective investigative powers, and it shall be free from any parliamentary influence. Over the last 9 years we have slipped to 18th position on the international transparency and corruption index. The national integrity commission will restore our place in the world regarding this important international index.

Finally, I just wanted to address a remark made by Simon Birmingham on the ABC at about midnight which was not only an ungracious remark to be made in the context of what has occurred regarding the Liberal Party’s (not the National Party) night, it was also extremely misleading about our democratic voting system. Birmingham made a comment about Labor’s primary vote which was disinformation in relation to our voting system as a preferential system, not a first past the post system. Yes, the percentage of primary votes fell for both major parties, but when you take out the National Party component of the primary vote the Liberal Party’s primary vote is very low. Remember the Coalition is actually on most occasions a minority government of Liberal and Nation Party members which cannot form government without each other. On the TPP the AEC recorded this morning Labor being ahead of the Coalition by 400,000 votes on the TPP. Labor has won Government not just on seats won, but also on the TPP.

So now we look forward to a bright future for this country which will bring us together, not divide us. The LGBTQIA community can look forward to a future free from discrimination. So many vital socio- economic reforms need to be implemented to address the economic and social problems in this country which need to be fixed. Australia can always still be a great country, but at the same time striving to do better, and that started last night when a person born into poverty and brought up in a housing commission flat can by talent and hard work rise to the very top to become our Prime Minister- it is a story which not only restores confidence in our system of government, it also is a wonderful reason to make us appreciate and love being Australians.

Have a nice day.

 

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Fly against the wind with me when you vote today

What comes around once every three years and leaves us washed up in a sewer for the next three, ever since the beginning of the Howard years? The stench of old and new age Liberals gorging on their federal supper and measuring the economy by how well rich people are doing. Blame it on Labor you say, precisely!

Here we are, end of the third week of May, much ado about nothing and I bet many of us are numb, frustrated, angry and tired from all the trash our Federal Government has thrown at us in the last two months and more. The mainstream media have gone feral, not just recently, but have been playing us for fools for far too long. The Liberals think they can buy us out at election time with trickle down economics, pork-barrelling, pocket money and crumbs from the parliamentary corporate table; leave us for brain dead the next three years, and that is more a measure of their management of the nation, their intellect, the economy and epitome of their imagination. What imagination you say, precisely! Do they really think we have never heard of Modern Monetary Theory and lost our enthusiasm for humanity and the world around us.

Laura Tingle wasn’t the only witness to the abject failure of the Australian press – They let us all down, led by that pack of juvenile hounds Murdoch (News Corp), Sky and other commercial channels Seven, Nine and Ten. But make no mistake even the ABC has its planted moles with their political, social and commercial prejudices, gotchya games, trivia, bullying, rudeness, disrespect, selfish and irresponsible behaviour; all those important questions the mainstream and commercial media missed, that would have led to a more informed debate, intelligent, fair, safe and progressive democracy.

And didn’t Scomo and his band of highwaymen enjoy the ride, surfing the chaos he helped create with that smirk, avoiding our public broadcasters. Another missed opportunity!

Right up to the last day, Morrison and the Liberals botched it just like they botch everything they touch, with their bog-eyed phone-it-in last minute emergency legislation, which they weren’t going to bother with – and a hundred thousand Australians were about to be left stranded on election day, they forgot about our Constitution. What Constitution you say, precisely! Good luck with those phone calls.

The fundamental democratic right of all Australians to vote? What next a robovote debt and fine to those excluded by the State from voting to add to the insult, ‘look I can take you off the list if you give us a call beforehand and then you get out of voting’. There for the Grace of Morrison trudged we, well too many of our neighbours.

There was a hole in your pocket dear Scomo,

a hole in the bucket dear Scomo, who cares?

I wonder if the slogan master and the Liberals will storm the High Court if they don’t get their own way or lose office, or perhaps Dutton will call in the army if he loses his seat?

Life under the Liberals has become a tragic farce for this country – a bucket of lies and holes for those who want it all, no matter the cost. From the economy’s point of view, there was no bottom to that bucket – Yup One Trillion the Liberals have amassed in public debt the last 9 years, three times the national debt accumulation since WWII from 1945 to 2013, when Labor last held office. Morrison and Josh have the gall to lecture us about their superior management of the economy, their financial prowess – over and over again we are reminded of the size of their egos and penises.

And then Clive Palmer quite literally rolls in again three years later to buy his way into government and advertising space with his own cashful of porkies, and I was recently reminded of that Fawlty Towers sketch on greed – Oh what a degustation parody all played out in nauseating sublime truth and vomiting, ‘One more preference Mr Palmer, it’s wafer thin’ – Social media meme, not that the mainstream media have noticed, too busy trying to catch Albanese out on another Gotchya trivial pursuit question – public mockery and humiliation. What little mindless cooked up facts, statistics and fantasies was that you say, precisely! Then Adam sorted them all out at the National Press Club, ‘Google it mate’.

I got three phone calls at home this week. The first, an auto message from Johnny Howard, bless him, the man who should be behind bars. I put the phone down after a few colourful expletives. The second was on behalf of Marise Payne, and we all know this was because it was just too hard for Scomo to show his face here in the Blue Mountains after those 2019/20 bushfires. We didn’t see or hear from him then and we wouldn’t shake hands with him now. The third was a call from someone who claimed he wasn’t a Liberal on behalf of Sarah Richards, the Liberal candidate for Macquarie, a Liberal who wasn’t a Liberal you say, nah I couldn’t quite work it out either. Well, he got more than a few expletives and he politely thanked me for the conversation. ‘What conversation?’ I said, and then he rabbited on about the wonderful diversity of opinion in Australia and how we can debate and exchange views peacefully and politely (not that I see much of that in Parliament), and what he loved about Australia.

All the time meanwhile I am thinking is this some kind of euphemistic rodent excusal for all the corruption, lies and abuse, exploitation and rejection of climate change, refugees, aged care workers, nurses, older people, pensioners, women, aboriginal communities, the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the jobless and under employed, chronic wage stagnation, robodebt, Indue cashless welfare scam, the rorts, pork-barrelling, the French, the Chinese, Afghans, Iraq, Solomon Islands and that pesky ‘Australian Pacific back yard’. Here am I thinking and once every three years, we get the pleasure of a phone call or three from an anonymous Liberal who isn’t a Liberal who enjoys having an unsolicited conversation about how wonderful the Liberals are, how safe we are in Liberal hands, and at the first sign of disgust and disbelief from me, he murmurs ‘I don’t think this is going to be successful’ – ‘For whom’ I cried, ‘for you or me?’ What the hell, the arrogance, precisely! ‘We’ll have none of that up here in the Mountains’ I says, ‘you might get away with it in Sydney’, followed by a few more John Howard expletives and another serve for absent Scomo. Conversation, diversity of opinion, I mean wow, where do these Liberals get off with their home intrusions! Well, that was the day before yesterday, and I never mentioned all the trees cut down for brochures in my post box, almost every bloody one of them from the same desperate fund thumping party.

Garbage bin collection comes round only once every 3 years, so decreed since Federation. That is all we get for our taxes, rates and levies, and now it’s time to put out the trash.

Little plug here for the Australian Greens, Labor and a handful or more of thoughtful Independents who don’t turn towards the lying Liberals or Nationals for undercover deals. There I’ve said it. Let Murdoch and the turncoat mainstream and commercial media who banish us to their ignorant corporate TV and social media virtual off world big brother sunrise fiefdoms – eat your hearts out, let them bleed.

I don’t know about you but I have four daughters and five grandchildren, and I want them along with all the other children and younger generations of this country, to have a decent and fair world to live in a few years from now. One not ravished by climate change, Russian aggression and political oppression, where we speak kindly of our neighbours and help those in need, not demonise them as the Liberals do for sake of the economy, or abandon them as the Nationals, the Clive Palmers, Gina Rineharts, Andrew Forrests and Australian corporate oligarchs do, occasionally selectively sharing their philanthropic or charitable mercenary deeds and ill-gotten tax free wares and trinkets. We are but a shadow of those we rightly fear, beneath fear itself. I’m looking for a progressive kinder egalitarian socially intelligent neighbourly Australia, is that too French or socialist for you? Time to shake off these rusty chains.

So let’s show them Australia who’s really in charge. Bugger the polls, today we have our say.

 

Photo from iStock

 

FLY AGAINST THE WIND WITH ME

If you can spare 13 minutes of your day

for sake of the next 3 years and well beyond;

If you are undecided, choked numb by smoke and mirrors

or with a moment’s hesitation have your say;

If you are not quite sure the whims and moods

of this land, who would take your money, shake your

hand, pretend to care, lie again, cheat and lose their way;

If you are angry, still standing after bushfire, flood

and virus, doubt or wonder who should lead the

country beyond this crucial merry-go-round of May;

And if you want only the best for your country, your children,

not the worst we’ve had to witness in bogan disarray;

Listen up, yours can be a future worthy for the taking,

let’s fly against the wind together and yes, remember –

Then my friend, you are ready to cast that vital vote today.

 

[AB, 21 May 2022 Australian Federal Election]

 

PS: And if you play the videos there’s more, you’ll not be disappointed!

Smoke and Mirrors by friendlyjordies

 

Liberals Corruption List by friendlyjordies

 

The state of journalism in Australia – Brainless questions posed to their readers in the last few days by Murdoch’s lapdog press –

Courier Mail: Who do you think would become Liberal leader if the Coalition loses – Peter Dutton or Josh Frydenberg? Neither if they lose their seats and who the fuck cares?

The Mercury: Do you think those infected with Covid should be able to vote? WTF!

Daily Telegraph: Tomorrow is the big day. Do you know who you are voting for? Too bad if you don’t and a nightmare for the rest of us.

Daily Telegraph: Should parents apologise for bringing babies on flight? Does flying with a crying baby require compensation? Do journos and editors get a hard-on from asking these questions, get a seat in business class! Too bad if the wealthy business woman sitting next to you has that baby.

Daily Telegraph: Do you think wages will improve under Labor? There’s a lot Labor can do to make it happen, does it matter what their readers think?

Daily Telegraph: Should NSW legalise euthanasia? Great idea if Rupert lived in Sydney.

The Australian: Who would make a better PM, Morrison or Albanese? Depends if you are going to ignore or count the lies and corruption of the last 3 years even apart from Morrison’s abject failures, incompetence, arrogance, bullying and bragging. Ignore truth, fact, science and integrity at democracy’s peril – Maaaaaate!

 

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Why I’m voting for Labor

Undoubtedly for some of you out there in this endless universe of social media you may well have still not made up your minds who you are going to vote for on 21 May 2022, or you perhaps you have an idea, but you are still considering your decision. I don’t blame you as it has been a long election and with all the various policy announcements, advertisements and regrettably even some members of the mainstream media shouting their opinions at you. All these factors may create some confusion.

Obviously by the title you can see I am writing this article to explain to you the reasons why you should vote Labor, so that on Sunday 22 May 2022 we know we shall be looking forward to a brighter future under an Albanese Labor Government. I shall also explain to you why we have vote out this corrupt Morrison Government. So please for the sake of our future, and the future of the generations of your family to come, take a few short moments to consider this article.

Vote for Labor

A vote for Labor will ensure:

1. Scott Morrison is NO LONGER our Prime Minister. There is a reason why Morrison hasn’t until this week visited many electorates, and that is because the Liberal Party did not want him to because he is so disliked by most Australians. In 2019 Morrison snuck off to Hawaii whilst Australia was going up in flames. That was the measure of care he had, an absolute zero level of care whilst almost 50 people died and so many people also lost their houses. “I don’t hold a hose mate” was his weak excuse. When he eventually returned to Australia, he tried to make disappointed firefighters and people who were disappointed with him to shake his hand.

Meanwhile we were discovering there was systemic rorting within his government, wasting billions of dollars of our money. Morrison then failed us at the start of the pandemic regarding The Ruby Princess docking in Sydney, the delay with Covid vaccines after telling us a lie we were at the front of the queue and then of course failing with aged care, both before and during this pandemic.

Morrison has also demonstrated on many occasions he has no understanding of women, indeed many women in Australia have a multitude of reasons why they dislike Morrison. He lies repeatedly (including to our allies France and the USA), bulldozes, doesn’t take responsibility and has not one single plan for the future, other than ensuring he remains Prime Minister.

Even his preselection for the seat of Cook in 2007 carries with it the foul smell of accusations of resorting to racism, and other odious acts. That is quite a list, and there are more reasons, but be sure of this, if he does get re-elected his behaviour will only get worse regarding discrimination, protecting his own interests and misusing our money. I have previously written about Morrison’s lies and character flaws in this two part article published by The Australian Independent Media Network.

 

Scott Morrison’s Lies, Character and Incompetence

Scott Morrison’s Lies, Character and Incompetence (part 2)

 

2. Your costs of living will become affordable. Labor’s five-point Economic Plan is calibrated to reduce the costs of living; drive productivity growth and expand the capacity of the economy to alleviate supply side pressures; get wages growing so that Australians aren’t held back or left behind; and invest public money in a way that delivers genuine economic value for Australians. Labor supports a 5.1% raise to the minimum wage.

Empirical economic research proves this will be good for our economy. You have for almost 9 years now suffered under a series of Liberal governments from wage suppression as the cost of living has increased, because the Australian Bureau of Statistics (‘ABS’) excludes many items from its CPI calculation, such as fruit, vegetables and fuel. (For more information about Labor’s economic plan, click here).

3. You have access to an affordable home as a first homebuyer. The Liberals last minute brain explosion will only make housing more out of reach for you as a first home buyer; economists don’t support the idea and agree it will make housing even more unaffordable. An Albanese Labor Government will help more people buy a home sooner by cutting the cost of buying a home by up to 40 per cent. It will restore the Great Australian Dream, and it is a sensible plan which won’t cause housing to become even more unaffordable (click here if you wish to know more).

4. Women’s Interests will be better protected. Australian women want, indeed deserve equality. A Labor Government will address the gender gap at work with a national drive to close the gender pay gap; provide the national leadership and investment needed to end family, domestic and sexual violence; take real action to stop sexual harassment at work by implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report; Labor will also deliver more safe and affordable housing, helping women and children fleeing violence, and, Labor will work with states and territories to strengthen and harmonise laws relating to sexual assault and consent.

Under the Morrison Government, women are being left behind. We’ve plummeted down the global gender gap rankings since 2013 to our worst ever result of 50th place worldwide. (For more information about Labor’s policies for women please click on these links: Equality for Women, and Women’s Safety).

5. Establish a National Ant-Corruption Commission. An Albanese Labor Government will legislate a powerful, transparent and independent National Anti-Corruption Commission (‘NAC’) by the end of 2022. Labor’s NAC will have a broad jurisdiction to investigate Commonwealth ministers, public servants, statutory office holders, government agencies, parliamentarians, and personal staff of politicians. Labor’s NAC will carry out its functions independently of government and it will have the power to investigate allegations of serious and systemic corruption that occurred before or after its establishment. Morrison failed to deliver his 2019 Election promise of establishing a Federal ICAC. (Click this link for further information about the NAC).

6. Powering Australia. Creating jobs, cutting power bills and reducing emissions by boosting renewable energy are at the centre of Labor’s Powering Australia plan. A Labor Government will close the yawning gap between our current Federal Government and our business community, agricultural sector and state governments when it comes to investing in the renewables that will power our future. Powering Australia will create 604,000 jobs, with 5 out of 6 new jobs to be created in the regions and it will spur $76 billion of investment.

Alongside the economic benefits, our plan will reduce Australia’s emissions by 43% by 2030 – which will become Australia’s target under the Paris Agreement, keeping us on track for net zero by 2050.

Under Powering Australia, Labor will start restoring manufacturing in this country; it makes no economic sense that we send the primary materials overseas to be manufactured at the secondary level of economic function, to only then buy those same primary materials back as finished goods in the tertiary level of the economy. The Morrison Government won’t reach net zero, indeed there is fighting in their ranks about doing anything at all. (For more information about Powering Australia, click this link).

7. Aged Care. Older Australians helped build this country. They worked hard, paid their taxes and raised their families. An Albanese Government will ensure every aged care facility will be required to have a registered, qualified nurse on site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Labor will raise the standard of aged care across the board – by ensuring there are more carers, who have more time to care.

Labor will back a real pay rise for aged care workers. Labor will ensure that there is better food for residents of aged care homes. Labor will make residential care providers report – in public and in detail – what they are spending money on. Aged care is in crisis under the Morrison Government, but Labor will fix aged care in this country. (For more information about Labor’s aged policy, click this link).

8. First Nations. Starting with its commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, an Albanese Labor Government will renew our national commitment to Reconciliation and work in genuine partnership with First Nations people for better outcomes.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart was generous offer of a genuine partnership, and a real chance for us to create a reconciled Australia. It calls for Voice, Treaty and Truth. Labor is the only party to support it in full. Labor will progress a referendum to constitutionally enshrine a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution as a matter of priority. Labor will also establish a Makarrata Commission to work with the Voice to Parliament on a national process for Treaty and Truth-telling. (Fore more information about Labor’s First Nations policy, click this link).

Labor has an extensive portfolio of policies to fund education, restore funding to the ABC, saving Medicare by restoring funding, fix the NDIS, fixing the NBN, a superior approach to National Security, as well as environmental protection and watering proofing Australia (to name a few). For more information about the Labor’s policies, please click this link).

Morrison Must Go

The last 9 years of Liberal governments have only caused most Australians heartache and pain. In Morrison as Prime Minister we have the most divisive Prime Minister in our history who has overseen the most incompetent corrupt government since our Federation. I have previously written an article published by The AIMN about how much pain we have endured over the past 3 years:

 

Morrison’s ‘miracle’ only delivered us pain; now, put your hand up to say he must go

 

If you vote for the Coalition tomorrow (whether that be for the Liberal or National Parties), you will continue to suffer:

1. Three more years of Morrison, Joyce and Dutton. I have already addressed herein just some of the many character flaws and incompetence of Morrison. However, with Morrison we have to also endure the embarrassment of Joyce as Deputy Prime Minister, as well as Peter Dutton who can only be described as a mean hearted person. Morrison and Dutton have destroyed our relationship with our allies, like breaking the submarine contract with France, causing us to incur $5.5Billion in damages- that is right we must pay with our money. Joyce does not have any sensible plans for regional Australia, and he can’t even control Canavan. Morrison, Dutton and Joyce are literally the ‘Three Stooges’ of Australian politics.

2. No Federal ICAC. I have for the main part addressed this issue above regarding Labor’s NAC. Morrison broke his 2019 Election promise. He even had the temerity to try and smear the New South Wales ICAC, only to have Dominic Perrotett publicly disagree with him. This has been the worst government since federation regarding misuse of our funds, rorts, integrity and transparency. Australia now has its worst ever international Corruptions Perceptions Index score, ranking Australia in 18th place. It is an international embarrassment for us, and only Labor’s NAC will fix this problem.

3. Poor treatment of Women. You would have had to be marooned on Pluto, and even then without a working radio, if you did not hear about the Morrison Government’s treatment of women. For legal reasons I won’t refer to one example, but there has been right from the outset of this Federal Election the issue about the treatment of Rachelle Miller. Ms Miller had been involved in an affair with Tudge, in which she claims she was also subjected to physical violence.

According to Morrison, Tudge had stepped down from the ministry, but at the start of this campaign Ms Miller bravely brought to the nation’s attention Tudge was still a member of cabinet. Tudge went missing for most of this election, and as Labor’s Jason Clare commented, even Scoobie Doo couldn’t find Tudge. When Tudge did come out of hiding, both he and Morrison confirmed he would be returning to a ministerial portfolio, even though we have paid Ms Miller $500,000.00 in damages regarding her claim against the Morrison Government. Ms Miller wanted to tell the country her story, but Morrison would not put in place the measures to let her do so.

The poor treatment of women by the Morrison Government is not limited to Ms Miller, we know that Julia Banks, Concetta Fieravanti-Wells, Jacquie Lambie and Pauline Hanson have complained about either being bullied by Morrison, or commented upon his terrible character flaws, not to mention the former CEO of Australia Post. The Morrison Government has not even put in a place a plan to protect the interests of women like Labor has.

As reported on 10 News at 6.00pm on 18 May 2022, 10 News conducted a social media poll on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram targeted only at women asking the question, “who do you believe will better protect women’s interests, Labor or Liberal?” The results of the polls were 71%, 90% and 95% in favour of Labor. I don’t believe the Coalition have quite turned their minds to how much women dislike Morrison, Joyce and Dutton.

4. A poor economy. Notwithstanding the way Morrison and Frydenberg like to talk themselves up as economic managers, they have delivered the only recession this century. The Morrison Government has failed to address inflation in this country, an issue which they should have been aware of at the start of the pandemic. The costs of living are becoming unbearable for many Australians. Wages have not kept up with inflation, and in its submission to the Fair Work Commission (‘FWC’) about the minimum wage a whole chapter is devoted to the misconceived advantages of keeping wages low. Indeed, Morrison is so mean about wages he even argued against the extra 38 cents raise to the minimum wage which the unions are arguing for above the 62 cents argued for by business in the FWC.

There is a plethora of empirical economic research from around the world which proves raising wages is good for an economy. When the Coalition came to power in 2013, Labor handed over the number 1 economy in the world, including that we had not slipped into recession during the GFC and only $186Billion in national debt. It was rude, misleading and laughable for Morrison to make claims about Labor managing money when Morrison doubled the national debt before the pandemic, then he pushed the national debt up to about $1Trillion including paying $20Billion in JobKeeper payments to undeserving companies who the money can’t be recovered from, causing $5.5Billion in debt because of breaking the submarine contract with France, using $1Billion of our money for the government’s own advertising and then finally all of the Rorts.

Since coming to power the Coalition have erased 55,000 manufacturing jobs. The difference between the two budgets is Labor are providing cheaper child care, investing in cleaner energy which will create 604,000 new jobs, including about 80% of those jobs being in the regions, and finally investing in necessary training and education. These investments will result in economic growth. We have no tangible benefits arising from Morrison and Frydenberg causing our national debt to reach $1Trillion, we only have the largest ever trail of waste.

5. Climate Change The simple answer to this question is the Morrison Government doesn’t have a credible climate change policy. Their 2030 target of a 26% to 28% reduction in emissions does not meet international standards and the Morrison Government will not meet net zero emissions by 2050.

The Coalition is even in internal dispute about reaching net zero, with people like Canavan coming out and saying they will not support it. At the 2019 Federal Election Morrison lied to the nation about electric cars, when he claimed they would ruin the weekend. Australians have endured 9 years of climate inaction from the Coalition Government, and the Morrison Government is still wishing to resort to fossil fuels to power our nation, rather than renewable energy in which we hold the necessary mineral resources to build renewable energy products, including electric cars. The only way we will reach net zero by 2050 is by voting out the Morrison Government.

6. Scandals and Rorts. I have addressed a fair component of this reason to vote out the Morrison Government under Labor’s NCA plan, as well as Morrison breaking his promise about implementing a Federal ICAC. After 9 years of Coalition governments, in which we have witnessed 3 different Prime Ministers at the helm, Morrison has simply turned his back on integrity in government, he does not care. Look at the alleged way he even came to be the candidate for the seat of Cook in 2007; Ms Fieravanti-Wells was right that night when she said Morrison does not have a moral compass. With that lack of care comes poor standards of conduct within the Morrison Government, and this in turn has diminished people’s faith in government. This abuse of the First and Second Estates of our democracy has to end on 21 May 2022 by voting out of office the Morrison Government.

7. National Security and Foreign Affairs. I don’t know how many times we have seen a government since our federation conduct the complete opposite of what they screech about regarding national security. Morrison and Dutton like to comment about the threat of China, but when he was treasurer Morrison allowed the 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin to go ahead with a Chinese company which is linked to the Chinese Communist Government. The debacle of the Solomon Islands was 9 years in the making of poor treatment of our Pacific friends, which has resulted in the Solomon Islands forming closer ties with China.

Even when the mention of the Solomon Islands looking to China for relations was first broken in the media here, the Morrison Government did not do anything about the issue until it was too late. The United States believes the Morrison Government dropped the ball regarding the Solomon Islands, and they are right. Then we have the AUKUS debacle, which not only includes nuclear submarines we won’t have delivered until 2040, but also the misleading representation the Morrison Government made to the Biden Administration that there was bipartisan support, when the Morrison Government had not briefed the opposition about AUKUS. Throw in offending France again, including Morrison leaking to the press an email from a foreign leader which was sent under the cover of privacy, and you have the worst government on record since federation regarding national security and foreign affairs.

The list is endless regarding how appalling the Morrison Government has been, indeed how bad 9 years of Coalition governments have been from Abbott through to Morrison. Voting for a further 3 years of the Morrison Government will only lead to more misery, more waste, more scandals, more rorts, more incompetence and less equality. The Morrison Government has to end on 21 May 2022 Australia.

Tomorrow when you go to vote, my fellow Australians, join me and #Vote1Labor for a brighter future.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

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

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Team Australia – an analysis

2022 has been a tough year. Let us take a look at Scott Morrison’s Team Australia – a major player in 2022 – where they are at, what they have produced recently, and take a look at what we can expect if they are returned at the looming Federal Election.

I want to take a look at the players first, and leave the evaluation of the coach to last. Obviously he has a huge impact on the players, and as a playing coach, there are questions about his ability to coach, and also his ability to play. Has he been trying to do too much?

Barnaby Joyce – re-elevated to vice-captain last year. A real ‘smokey’ from the bush. Appears to lack much in the way of natural ability, but is a great advocate for team spirit. Many struggle to understand why he is even in the team.

He struggles with self-discipline, and has been rumoured to be battling internal demons. Incoherent on most occasions, but he does bring a certain rawness to post-match press conferences. Yet to prove himself as a player of any quality whatsoever. Will probably stay, and play in the back pocket. A leader of sorts – of a small group of players who are known as a rebellious rump for the team. Needs to work on his fitness.

Josh Frydenberg – a flashy forward type, he started the season strongly, very confident, much hype about him being a ‘leader in waiting’. Has a tendency to ‘mouth off’ early, and often, in games and to rue his words later. Has had a couple of real shockers during this season, especially when he came up against credible opposition.

Dan Andrews seems to spook him, causing some unnecessary own-goals. Recently Monique Ryan has also shown Josh to be suspect under pressure. Josh follows the game plan to the letter; which can cause a lack of creativity. Could lose his place in the squad if no improvement.

Peter Dutton – the enforcer of the team. A towering, cadaverous type. Learnt most of his moves in the Queensland Police Force, so no stranger to questionable tactics. Is known to absolutely detest communists, and others who disagree with his simple game-plan. Does not share the ball at all.

Rumoured to still harbour leadership aspirations, after an unsuccessful tilt back in 2018. Also known as a very keen sledger. Has stated that if offered a leadership role, he would be prepared to soften his stance on team membership, and his open hostility to opponents. Still able to unsettle the opposition. Dutton will continue to project menace.

Greg Hunt – small, rover type, light and quick on his feet. Quick to pile in on opponents, if someone else starts it. Involved in an unseemly mass attack on Dan Andrews, when he was down, earlier in the pandemic.

Known to go where he is sent, no real commitment to a particular position. Swapped his style of play in climate arena, when told to. Apparently an expert in mitigation, prior to being elevated to the Firsts. Retiring, promise unfulfilled. Real questions about his commitment to the game-plan.

Angus Taylor – a likely looking type, but given to unforced errors. Known to be extremely selfish around goals, and to play for his position, rather than the team. Came in as an early round pick, with a decorated early career, but he has consistently misfired in the big league.

Some think that he had it too easy, too early, and that he will improve when he acclimatises to the level of the competition. He seems to lack basic judgement, however. Does not read the ball well, and the fans have given up on him. Certainly sells his own version of the state of play.

Alan Tudge – an unassuming half-back flanker type, he has shown a real desire for the contest, but an unsettling level of aggression towards opponents. This can spill over to members of the crowd, and his outbursts of uncontrolled aggression have him in the umpires’ sights. He causes damage wherever he goes, and the coach must be careful where he plays him. Known to have serious off-field issues, but has a supporter in the coach. His position in the team appears to be safe. Would need to improve however.

Scott Morrison – Captain-Coach, centre half-forward. Looks more like a rugby player, but certainly an adaptable type. Many consider him to be an all-rounder, someone in the mould of a Ted Whitten, or a Ron Barassi. Unlike those legends of the game, however, he seems to have risen to leadership with not much to show us in the way of skills, strategy, or tactical nous. He has, however, been a tremendous survivor.

Traded out by several other teams previously, he landed with Team Australia, just as it began to disintegrate. He was a member of the leadership group under Captains Abbott and Turnbull, and was lucky to be ‘last man standing’ when the dust settled. He led the team into 2019, and won the flag, against all expectations.

Morrison is religious, and attributes his last win to a miracle. Most rational judges reckon it was lucky, and that the other team failed to show up on Grand Final day. Whatever the reason, Morrison’s team won, and he has been hailed as a genius ever since.

Anyway, he plays all over the ground, showing no particular level of skill, but a determination to dominate every aspect of every game. He is intensely tribal, and you know that he brings full commitment to winning.

He is known for his powers of evasion, and his slipperiness in a tackle. He seems to be able to change tactics at a moment’s notice, and to change the game plan to suit the mood of the day. He has been accused of debasing the game, and lowering standards. He refuses to name women in his best team, which dilutes the standard of player available.

At the moment he is unchallenged, however, because the team remains ‘in the mix’. He seems to be able to hang on, even when he personally puts in a shocker. He and his team have been accused of flouting the rules openly, but he has managed to evade being brought to account.

In today’s winner-take-all environment, he is leading a team of poorly performed players, almost single handedly, to what looks like another grand final. The press is very much in support of his leadership, and the commentary on all other teams is appallingly shallow.

One prominent ‘critic’ recently opined that “his wife is lovely”, which many in the press gallery found confusing, and wondered what the game had come to.

The coach has promised much recently, but his assurances and refusal to answer questions has many supporters looking for change. He is prone to using messianic language when discussing his, and the team’s approach, and seems unable to countenance defeat. Some see this as an inability to face facts.

The coach will presumably see an end to his career if the grand final does not go his way. Many expect the team will have to go into a re-build, as the personnel look tired, jaded, and in great need of credible leadership.

 

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Australia – Third World Country

By Andrew Klein

Like many Australians of my age I grew up with the idea of what it meant to live in what was referred to as a ‘third world country’. Images of oppressive regimes unaccountable to the majority of the public, failing communities, the creation of elites at the expense of the majority. Economic planning that favoured offshore powers busy milking the country and its people of both assets and dignity. A plethora of seemingly mindless regulation and controls in the face of a manufactured enemy whose nebulous existence in far off place allegedly threatening what were seen as the core values of the ‘state’. Huge amounts of monies spent on military equipment preparing for a war that would be fought and possibly encouraged by a super ally whose interests were consistent with ‘elites’ and not in line with the very basic needs of the people.

The ‘kafkaesque‘ superstructure of public servants providing very basic support marketed as the very best. Medical care denied to many when it should be preventing ill health, dental care seen as a luxury; a view that denies the fact that oral health not only ensures general good health but makes it possible for individuals to be work ready. Essentially a questionable quality of life for many in spite of the public trappings of wealth. The offensive and costly memorializing of past wars to lend credibility to political non warriors seeking advancement by sniffing around the p.r. pages of the armed services whilst the real veterans of conflict go begging, their families struggle and the returned ‘soldiers’ die in numbers far greater than the conflict. Utility bills that are difficult to understand and the monies spent moving into the hands of off shore interests whilst people go very cold and often unwashed. A growing gulf between ‘elites’ and a public stressed daily with the need to comply with rules and regulations that turn many into criminals carrying debts, again collected by private entities that have bought these rights of what could be called ‘robber barons’ whilst those in power swan around and work average hours following the directives of unaccountable party machines and even more powerful lobby groups.

I recently spent some time in parts offshore in countries we here often describe as third world. I suppose much depends on how you define a third world country. I have travelled far and wide in my life, I have witnessed the changes to Australia since before 9/11. I see our local ghettos daily, I see the many in crisis with real needs and I have met with members of the ‘elite’ and have heard their disconnected views on human rights and quality of life .

I stepped off the plane this week, finding myself in an oppressive third world country. It was dirty and I felt shame seeing the suffering continue and I was gob smacked when I received the water bill. Whilst I was away and my house was empty I accumulated over $200 worth of charges which included shifting my ‘shit’ at $38 and services charges of almost $130. I also saw my regulars struggling, received numerous phone calls for assistance and watched another family fall apart. On the bright side a highly respected veterans advocate friend of mine saved a veteran’s life.

I was back in a third third world country – that country was Australia, my Australia!

 

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Your super under attack

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has described the Liberal party’s policy to allow people to access superannuation to obtain housing deposits as “another frontal assault by the Liberal Party on the Superannuation system”. I agree with Mr Keating.

In a statement today, 15 May 2022, Mr Keating, who was the architect of the superannuation scheme, says the policy is an attack on the role of government in public life. Further, Mr Keating said:

“The Liberals hate the Superannuation system – they object to working Australians having wealth in retirement independent of the government.

The Libs believe ordinary bods should be happy with the Age Pension. Let them know their place.

The Superannuation taxation concessions exist solely to produce a retirement income for people. Its key is preservation. Accumulated funds preserved to age 60 so working people secure the power and benefit of compounding.

Preserved, Superannuation savings, double roughly every eight years. Over a 40-year working life, at 12% contributions, savings should accumulate to approximately $2million in today’s dollars.

Too good for them, says the Liberal Party. We’ll let them pilfer it away in the supposed good cause of housing deposits. Next it will be aged care or longevity or paying out HECS debt – anything to puncture the pool of money they do fervently hate.
If the public needs yet another idea to put this intellectually corrupt government to death, this is an important offence – and with the government, its unprincipled Prime Minister.”

I concur again with Mr Keating. The Morrison Government have failed in their economic management overall, including housing, as they have allowed prices to surge and there is now a lack of supply of affordable housing, which has resulted in the cost of housing reaching a level that now places owning a first home out of reach for many young families. Indeed, it’s highly unlikely many first home buyers would have enough super to make a deposit on a home, but in any event accessing superannuation is killing two elements of the economy with the one stone.

The proposed housing solution policy being put forward by Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party is the only sensible solution to the housing crisis, a policy which I attach the link to below for your consideration.

 

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An important message for the Australian Hindu community

Dear Hindu Council of Australia (@HinduCouncilAu) and Australian Hindu Media (@austhindu), Australian Federal Elections are always keenly contested, but yesterday the behaviour of Morrison crossed the line from keenly contesting to just an outright lie to the Australian Indian community, a lie which was made about a former Australian Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd:

 

 

Notwithstanding Mr Rudd calling Morrison’s lie out, Morrison has not demonstrated any remorse or guilt for not only making a slur against Mr Rudd’s name, but also failing to apologise to the Australian Indian community which was very misleading and untrue about Mr Rudd.

You can’t trust Morrison.

My stepfather, Mr Joshi, comes from Dharmsala, he’s of Brahmin caste and he doesn’t trust or like Morrison. He was educated in India and Australia, obtaining degrees at the University of Queensland, including economics. Most importantly, when I was 8 he came into my life and treated me like his own son.

My stepfather’s @HinduCouncilAu and @austhindu father was Dr Trilok Joshi, a very fine surgeon. One of my stepfather’s extended family was a general in the Indian army. His name escapes me. My stepfather would want you to know the Liberal Party are destroying Australia.

Finally, @HinduCouncilAu and @austhindu my stepfather is 85; he has been very ill but I’ m happy to announce that he is recovering. He would want all the Indian community living in Australia to know that only the Labor Party has a true plan which will be beneficial for all of Australia, including Australians of Indian origin.

 

 

 

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Political and Media Contests: Which Side (Eye) are YOU on?

By Melissa Marsden

A photo says a thousand words, and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s decision to appear alongside Alan Jones has brought about an onslaught of questions about where Albanese’s priorities ought to be.

The fiery discussion ensued following Albanese’s Twitter post of a photo alongside outspoken and controversial radio commentator Alan Jones.

Child abuse survivor and advocate Grace Tame set social media on fire for a comment aimed at Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

Tame had only to caption the image “Side eye SIDE EYE” for a wave of comments to appear criticising Albanese for the photo.

 

 

One Twitter user posited

“I find it hard to understand why Albo would post this picture on Twitter. Surely he knows that his supporters on here are not exactly big fans of Alan?”

Another argued

“You don’t include male abusers and abuse enablers in any plan that involves the betterment of women.”

These comments were to be expected, given the toxic language Jones has utilised over the years. However, some commenters were more forgiving of Albo, arguing that the appearance was necessary.

The broad-church argument has often been invoked by both political sides in order to convince the public that neither the left or the right takes priority.

One user argued that

“To achieve your plans for the betterment of women, sometimes you have to use all the media outlets you can just to persuade that particular audience to vote for you! Forget the face, it’s listeners you need for their vote. Albo is on your side but he needs to work audiences”.

The both side-ism argument when entering into debate, whether it be through journalism, politics or activism is all too often relied on in instances when seeking power.

Yet, when power is achieved, a side is taken and a strong stance on an issue is often cemented.

Here we have a prime example of a progressive Labor leader attempting to remedy the mistakes of the last election by leaning towards so-called moderate campaign strategies.

Bill Shorten’s failed 2019 election bid saw a bold, progressive and fair policy platform rejected by voters.

Media and political commentary will have you believe that this rejection was in response to the policies themselves. Therefore, Labor’s shift in discourse and attempt to appease more moderate and conservative voices is surely an effective way to ensure election victory.

However, the issue is far more in the delivery of the message than the policy themselves.

Labor could have won the last election with a better strategy, not weaker targets and policies that are currently promoted.

But they faced a wave of media bias and attack dog politics consumed by voters.

So maybe Albanese’s cosying up to Jones can be seen as a method for Labor to get media onside, to promote their agenda in an increasingly monetarised political sphere.

Let’s suppose that line of argument has significant merit. It would need to rely on a number of factors.

Firstly, that conservative media will bend to support the left if their ideological beliefs are supported.

Secondly, that voters who consume conservative media have the potential to be swing voters and vote Labor at the ballot box.

In an ideal world, where the media represent the Liberalism ideal of a ‘marketplace of ideas’, this would be an excellent line of campaigning to pursue.

However, media-public relationship does not actually work like this.

Swing voters are unlikely to consume media from primarily right or left-wing mediums.

Indeed, these voters are often more inclined to gain their election knowledge from the more nuanced bias of commercial news and media outlets.

Albanese’s decision to appear with Jones therefore does not demonstrate Labor’s seemingly new stance of supporting the ‘marketplace of ideas.’

Indeed, the very argument is far more aligned with that of the Liberal party and their fellow free-speech warriors.

Labor supports fair, honest media, however as many interested in political communication and media bias are aware, this has not generally equated to having photo ops with media who back the opposing side.

As journalists (or budding journalists like myself), we must strive to be unbiased and fair in our reporting or commentary on news and current events.

However, to suggest that there is no ideology behind our words fails to take into account the simple fact that everything is political.

Jones and even the ABC have demonstrated this, having campaigned for and against government policies.

For Albanese to appear alongside a media personality who has promoted ideals in complete opposition to what he says are his core ideals could be an attempt to persuade undecided voters.

Melissa Gillian Marsden is a passionate advocate for social justice and a self-confessed political junkie.

It was almost destined that from the moment I was born I would forever have a lot to say. The Granddaughter of a proud Yorkshire woman and fellow Leo zodiac, I would always retain the ability to “talk under water with a mouth full of marbles”. Likewise it was unsurprising that from an early age I was instilled with a fierce sense of loyalty, protectiveness of loved ones and a love of arguing my point (even if it ended in tears).

After being diagnosed with a life long, life threatening medical condition six weeks after my birth and suffering a traumatic brain injury at the age of six years old leaving me with low vision and short term memory loss, I suppose I knew from the beginning that fairness and equality are notoriously contested and complex issues. I was also taught that not everyone views people with disabilities as ordinary people- capable of great success and failure, strength and weakness that can be (although admittedly not always) completely irrespective of that disability.

Now as a 25yr old university student with degrees in politics, international relations, history and currently journalism I have come to the conclusion that perhaps my love of understanding why the world is the way it is and the tools I have developed whilst at university can be used to shine a light on issues of injustice whilst allowing me to have a good rant at the debates raging in public and political discourse.

* * *

Melissa runs her own blog, Framing the Narrative, and can be followed on Twitter @MelMarsden96.

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What is The Handmaid’s Tale?

From one of our American friends…

By Tales & Typos

I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood when it was first published in 1985. I thought it was brilliant then, and now it’s resurrection as a television series is even more eerie – eerily realistic.

When I began watching the Hulu television series, I was riveted from the very beginning. It had my attention from the very first scene. After watching a few episodes, I got uncomfortable with what I was watching, not because it was bad, but because it was so realistic and frightening.

In The Handmaid’s Tale, Gilead is the name of the totalitarian society that used to be part of the United States. It treats women as property of the state while dealing with climate change and environmental disasters, all causing the birth rate to drop. Desperately trying to repopulate their world, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude. The main character is determined to survive the horrifying world she lives in and makes many discoveries along the way.

The Handmaids are prisoners of the State. They are denied the right to liberty and freedom. In “training” to adjust to their new lives, the Handmaids are threatened with violence and physically abused if they don’t submit to the ways of Gilead.

Women in Gilead are forbidden from reading and writing – the punishment for a first offense is having one’s hand cut off which enables the authorities to more easily maintain control over them. The Bible is banned. All citizens must follow Gilead’s own official version of Christianity. The ban of abortion in Gilead is a retroactive, meaning all who have performed abortions prior to the rise of Gilead are put to death or even sent to the Colonies.

What does Gilead remind you of? It reminds me of the state of Texas. Strict laws and rules unfavourable for women and minorities. Here are some similarities: Men controlling women, banning of abortion, banning of books, banning of voting rights, banning of freedom and liberty.

Although this is a fictional society, it has eerie similarities to our own society. It may be more extreme than our society, but the similarities are absolutely apparent.

So what do we do? We keep fighting for our freedom, rights, and democracy. Good vs Evil. Positive vs Negative. I’d like to think good supersedes evil. Voting is our superpower. We have to vote out evil because it is poisoning our country to death.

Link to the original article.

You can reach me on Twitter @kathrynresister.

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“With Scott Morrison it’s always too little, too late”

The words spoken by Senator Gallagher during an interview this morning were what I was saying back in March of this year.

A federal government with only a teaspoon of economic understanding would have, or indeed should have, seen the dangers of what the supply side-effects of the lack of secondary materials would have on inflation, and our economy.

What the federal government has done too late in the piece, and very ineffectually is to fuel the demand side of the economic equation in circumstances whereby wages had been stagnant. Demand is increasing and the lack of the secondary level manufacturing in Australia is virtually non-existent as successive Coalition governments have said bon voyage to the secondary level manufacturing occurring here in Australia, instead 55,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost, and the skill set which accompanies those people.

We are now too reliant on China and India for producing our goods. That is why a Labor Government led by Anthony Albanese will assist Australian businesses to resume manufacturing here, including increasing TAFE placements so that we again may resume our place in the world as a manufacturing country. That leads to reasons why Senator Gallagher made these sensible and factually correct remarks this morning about Mr Morrison’s role this inflationary juggernaut:

“Well, that is the prime minister’s responsibility. The cost of living crisis, frankly, is something that the prime minister should have a plan to deal with and should have had a plan to deal with not just in the last month, but over the last few years. And that is the critical point and a point of criticism that we’ve been making about him.”

The moment the world shut down in 2020 Mr Morrison should have started the ball rolling by addressing the supply side problems which were inevitably going to arise once countries started emerging from lockdown. It is very bad economic planning by the Morrison Government not to either undertake or foreshadow this inflationary event.

 

 

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Further News Corp Bias in Favour of Scott Morrison

Earlier in the week I published an article about what I perceived to be blatant media bias in favour of the Liberal Party and Scott Morrison during this 2022 Federal Election campaign.

It has been brought to my attention by one of my fellow branch members (named Don) that The Courier Mail (CM) appears to only be publishing letters to the editor which are favouring Morrison and the Liberal Party, and normal progressive contributors like him are not having their letters published, even though he has been a regular published contributor to the CM for many years before the 2022 Federal Election was called. As you may recall from my above mentioned article, the CM is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia (NCA).

Don is a retired Honorary Associate Professor. As a scientist, he has studied and worked at Sydney University, the University of Queensland and Cambridge University. His writing is always very astute and courteous. Set out below is a letter Don has tried twice to have published by the CM this week, to bring some balance to what are otherwise very biased articles, only for his letter not to be published:

“PM Scott Morrison’s confected outrage at Labor’s campaign against cashless debit cards for pensioners, contrasts with the LNP’s baseless yet successful scare campaign on “Labor’s” death taxes in the 2019 election (and still continuing) despite no basis in facts as noted by columnist Mathew Killoran (C-M, Apr 20). Indeed, they were based on comments by Anthony Albanese more than 30 years ago, since retracted and not repeated. By contrast, the Morrison government is running a continuing programme to expand the use of cashless debit cards, currently trialling them for welfare recipients in remote indigenous communities such as Cape York, and JobSeeker payments in regional communities such as Bundaberg/Hervey Bay. The Department of Social Services website notes these trials will continue to December 2022, and offers the invitation: “People receiving the Age Pension may volunteer to participate.” As recently as February 2020 Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said “we’re seeking to put all income management on to the universal platform, which is the cashless debit card”. The Morrison government now says it has ruled out extending cashless debit cards to pensioners in the next term of parliament, but clearly it intends to keep extending them to other welfare recipients, and some (or all?) pensioners will be fair game in future parliaments if we continue to re-elect this government. Beware the thin edge of this wedge.”

There are no passages of Don’s letter which could be construed as inflammatory or abusive. Indeed, Don is very reserved with both his use of language and the subject matter of his letter.

As I’ve recently explained (on my Facebook page), the Morrison Government amended the legislation at the start of 2020 which expanded the use of the Indue Card to apply to pensioners. Notwithstanding his stage managed objections, Morrison has not said he will repeal the 2020 amendments, nor has he accepted Anthony Albanese‘s invitation to scrap the Indue Card.

What concerns me is the NCA bias, which I’m informed by my fellow progressive friends on social media is just as blatant and misleading in the other capital cities in which NCA publishes newspapers (I believe only The West Australian is not owned by NCA, but the reporting in that paper has also been blatantly biased in favour of the Liberal Party), is undermining a foundation stone of our democracy, namely the Fourth Estate. As I also reported to you in my above mentioned article, Labor and the Greens have sought in December 2021 for a Judicial Inquiry to be conducted into media ownership and the quality of the news being reported in this country.

If a person of immense education and work qualifications is now being shut out as a contributor to the letters to the editor of the CM, then we are living in a compromised system of politics and major media business interests.

This is not the Australia I was born into in 1969.

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Barrow Boys and Spiffs

By Andrew Klein

Barrow Boys and Spiffs: The Australian federal government – parties that damaged the nation – a reflection on the last three years of political escapades in Australia.

I remember listening to the Banking Royal Commission. One of the chaps who was nailed in the first few minutes, confirmed my own view.

In banking, there was a deleterious change in culture that occurred about 30 years ago. In essence, profit before ethics.

I have watched this Australian tragedy unfold since the days of Howard. I mention banking only as an aside, bankers were once regarded as reliable judges of character and pillars of the community.

I remember that 40 odd years ago (I was very young) my banker gave me a reference and it mattered. These days? Spiffs in fancy suits trying to sell questionable products.

Anyway, the fear-mongering that Howard and others engaged in enabled every opportunist meandering through life. The sort of niche pond dweller who at other times , would have ended life as a runner for a bookie in a pub or less.

When I was very young there were these bizarre little shops in Swanston Street Melbourne (a couple of hundred meters away from Flinders Street) and they were operated by men who would sell the most useless rubbish at faux auctions, and people bid and bought.

I grew up and in the 1970s when I put on my first uniform (I was terribly naïve and wanted to serve my country and better the community).

By the time I hit 30 I had seen some terrible things but I was hopeful. I believed that good people could make a difference, that with enough information the general public would make informed decisions. I had travelled and had become familiar with the Middle East, Europe and Asia and by the time that I was 40 I had grown up. Sorry for the digression, the context I suppose.

I am now hitting 70 and I don’t recall a golden age; I recall hope for the future.

Now, after years of watching the antics of Canberra politicians, my own Victorian and those globally, I find that the last 30 years have contributed nothing. In fact, we have gone backwards.

The antics of the Liberal National Party (LNP) are not the cause of the decline, the LNP is a symptom. The spiffs have taken over selling fear and hatred.

I see things today that frightened me when I was a teenager and then only because I had become aware of them. I lived through a time when we worked hard at including others by offering equitable approaches like education and opportunity.

I vividly recall Howard and Abbott lying and deceiving the public on so many things and people lapped it up. These creatures tickled the underbelly of fear and reignited tribalism.

I am stunned that under performers like Joyce, Morrison et al would even get a run in politics. They are the mediocre operators, the spiffs selling trinkets in those long forgotten shops in Swanston Street.

In those days the less discerning consumers would buy these baubles only to find them break and the police would close the barrow boys down and move them on.

Of course they would reappear, suckers are born every minute and at times they would reinvent themselves and open car yards and the media would have a field day exposing the shysters.

Sadly, there is no one empowered to move the spiffs and barrow boys out of Canberra.

More often than not they are not committing a crime, they are opportunists skirting the edge of the amoral and the party commends them, the voters buy the cheap offensive trinkets looking for that golden opportunity to prove that they too have mastered the art of the deal.

Me, I am considering options. I no longer feel at home in the country of my birth, I have seen my country lose so much. Not to a foreign threat or foe but to the mediocrity and its acolytes. Those who measure a man worth only in coin.

I still travel and I am very familiar with Asia and though this might seem bizarre, there are cities there (small and away from the tourist haunts) that remind me of my youth. Covid has changed much of that but I live in hope that I will travel before I peg it.

The buildings are reminiscent of Australia in the 70s and 80s. The people are friendly and I find that entire families eat together rather than farming the kids out to McDonald’s. I know that these places too have their problems, often very serious problems and maybe that is why the people still value each other and the families that they are part of.

I look at that and consider if I have time to make a difference in my life, to end my days feeling that it has been worthwhile.

Right now I see the Tim Wilson carry on, the greed and the pervasive bullshit that I can sense and almost smell that exudes from the likes of Morrison, Dutton and Josh.

The damage these things have wrought and the damage they have done.

Then I see the faces of those who surround me admire the Trumpisms, the valueless and utterly demeaning.

I see the future of Australia, the little kid who tells his mum that a career as a ‘barista’ sounds cool and what’s worse, I see her agree because she too is lost.

I visit the cemeteries and see my friends, their names and the crests on the plaques. I remember how they died.

I have buried their sons and have tried to keep faith with their children. I see their children struggle daily with the cost of living, the lack of affordable housing and utilities.

I see men and women profit and receive accolades and know they ventured nothing.

These creatures get to feel the morning sun whilst my ‘brothers’ smoulder in the dirt.

Australia, you could have been a great place to get old in and die in but you gave birth to things like Fraser Anning and worse.

Australia, you went to sleep and you let hope die!

 

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Payment for Services Rendered

By Andrew Klein

I have often asked myself how easily some dismiss the genuine suffering of others, not only because we hear the words “The Others” which in some instant magical way reduces the duty of care or merely the act of being a decent human being to an act that can be balanced by adding figures and financial worth of those concerned.

I find myself thinking about a way of life, a society that measures the value of another by their ability of being seen as an individual; capable of spending monies that in the long term buy no more than short term consumer items.

One can walk through the shopping isles dedicated to the youngest among consumers, or those that will be shaped into ‘Consumer Hood‘ not because being a consumer has any particular merit but parents and those that render love and care to the very young are compelled to make a public offering that provides proof to those that may question the level of non-consumer items that have been provided.

There is almost a pernicious and cunning approach that finds those that provide unquestioning love and affection as carers and parents being forced into spending money or acquiring debt to publicly prove that. Goods that need not be branded with ‘child’ friendly logo find themselves carefully replaced by similar items but marketed with brands that for marketing reasons display all manner of figures or linked with the latest fashions or products.

Of course items such as Band-Aids or shampoo remain the same yet they now find their way into the shopping trolley or bag. How does one value the true worth of a parents or care givers love for a child or one that needs such timeless and priceless affection? Of course it is not possible to put a price on such things at any point in time and by making this an issue, we create no more than future consumers that very often have failed to appreciate the real value of those things that matter and build up a powerful drive to own and possess that which appears to be public proof of those things that are perceived as having some inherent value where in reality their true worth is limited to the ability to render financial returns to those that understand the various marketing and shopping models.

I may not be a great observer of these events but I have seen enough to understand the frustrated look on the face of a parent or carer. The howling of a child convinced that a water bottle with the latest movie motive being regarded as an essential for survival.

Maybe I am getting old and grumpy; this is very possible indeed but I have also observed those that have to manage their financial budget to cope with a world that often cares very little for the turmoil that is created in the well filled alleys that parents must pass through to get to a checkout, where once again they are faced with products designed to tempt younger minds that as yet do not understand the challenge that parents may be facing trying to balance their budgets living from pay day to the next.

The percentages are there for the asking, the marketing of goods being an art form.

Those that attempt to bring up children that have a future in a harsh and ever more expensive world must face many a sleepless night; raising a child in a world like ours is not always easy and many of the problems faced are not limited to any particular part of the world as we share a very Global World.

I know that governments love to bandy around statistics with the abandon of young lovers frolicking in the grass, the ink on one report barely dry before another is prepared. In hindsight, I question much of that which has been created and is encouraged. I see young families managing and often struggling; I am often amazed by the level of care and love that is displayed by those that are facing the hardest of times. None of this has anything of a ‘B’ Grade TV show about it but seems more like an ‘A’ Grade disaster pending.

With all that is done and worse, that which is left undone for many reasons I sit here and wonder if a day will come when governments take people seriously and parents and or carers will find an understanding ear when it comes to the cost of raising children and caring for those that need more than platitudes .

It would be of interest to see a government form with the words; “Payment for Services Rendered” laid out in a user friendly manner.

 

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Citizen Murdoch and Albanese

By Frank Carrigan

First came the puff piece in ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly’ and then the softball profile on ‘Sixty Minutes.’ One could sense Citizen Murdoch and his editors would be observing that Albanese was beginning to look a winner, and Morrison more clueless by the day.

Time to begin to let the sunset on the full-blooded support Murdoch has given Morrison since he stepped into Turnbull’s shoes. Time to make sure the policies of the potential new Prince fell into line with those acceptable within the corridors of power at News Corp.

Globally, Murdoch is a declining force. Major parts of the empire have been sold off. But in Australia, he is still the kingpin. He was never going to sit on the sidelines and let his few competitors make the running on smoothing the path to Albanese’s anointing. Of all his Australian assets none wields more influence than The Daily Telegraph. It reaches right into suburban heartlands, and shapes minds and votes that the major parties must gain. These parties bow down before The Daily Telegraph both at a state and federal level. Stories in The Daily Telegraph can appear in Murdoch’s other tabloids throughout Australia, and be picked up by TV stations.

It was thus no accident that when News Corp moved, the vehicle chosen was The Daily Telegraph. The interview with Albanese was a pastiche of the punchlines the Labor leader has been trotting out at business forums and other venues across the country. Every line in the article framed Albanese as a safe pair of hands.

These days Albanese is firmly in the ambit of the liberal centrist position that is music to the ears of business leaders and the mainstream media. It was the standpoint of Murdoch when he launched The Australian. Today Murdoch is an arch-conservative but as he showed with Blair in Britain, he can live comfortably with the mild reformism of Labour governments. And he can hedge his bet for if Labor wins, the Australian with its battery of right-wing opinion writers will day in and day out make sure that any deviation by an Albanese government will be heavily chastised. The Australian was a key player in the coup that deposed Whitlam in 1975, and although it annually clocks up heavy financial losses it is kept afloat for it remains an essential part of Murdoch’s clout in Canberra.

Young Lachlan, glued to his father’s side, has recently been in town giving a vacuous reactionary speech to a right-wing think tank. He will have rallied the troops in an outpost of the family empire to make sure the Canberra baton will only go to someone who is a safe pair of hands.

Albanese, in the interview in The Daily Telegraph, declared he wants to lead a party of mainstream Australia. He repeated a number of times he wanted to be a friend of business. He stressed his belief that business and unions were in accord and the overarching aim of the economy was to lift profits and wages whilst boosting productivity. Elsewhere Albanese has invoked the spirit of the Hawke-Keating epoch that began in 1983. Albanese opines their consensus and cooperative program not only delivered Medicare and universal superannuation but at the same time boosted wages and profits. Albanese views the Hawke-Keating years through a rosy hue. He is eager to duplicate their program. Viewed from a more realistic angle the Hawke-Keating pluralist model contains a salutary lesson for Albanese. It was a policy experiment that at its inception contained the seeds of its demise.

It is easy for any aspiring Prime Minister to build castles in the air about the capacity of civil society to create harmonious relationships between various stakeholders, but in order to work a pluralist model requires a distribution of power that strikes a fair equilibrium. Hawke and Keating created an asymmetrical economic policy and in time paid the electoral price. Albanese needs to tune his political antennae if he wants to avoid the pitfalls of the Hawke-Keating era.

There was no straw that broke the camel’s back and led directly to the demise of the Hawke-Keating program. There was a combination of factors that ruptured the fragile alliance between the constituent elements of labour and business that the Hawke-Keating pact attempted to unify.

The core of the Hawke-Keating economic and industrial relations policy was an arrangement termed the Accord. Everything Albanese says echoes the themes struck in the Accord. In essence, under the Hawke-Keating Accord, the theory was government would operate with both business and the unions and this tripartite deal would implement social and economic policy. On the social front, Medicare and universal superannuation evolved from this partnership. It was the social welfare reforms of this type that produced a string of Labor victories at the polls. But they were flawed reforms, and the concession they demanded in reduced wage claims chipped away at the parliamentary primary vote of Labor. Medicare lacked a truly egalitarian edge. Its scheduled medical fee rebate system provided only a portion of the charge imposed for specialist services, and lack of dental cover has blighted its record. Workers had to dig into shrinking real wages to offset the sums they had to pay for medical services.

With universal superannuation since leaving politics an older and wiser Keating has spent years railing against business not stumping up enough of a levy to provide a comfortable retirement for the workers who laboured to build modern Australia. He has piercingly pointed out that in recent years none of the increases in productivity went to wages. It has instead gone to the profit share of national income. These productivity-based profits, notes Keating, need to be channelled to the universal superannuation scheme in order for retired workers to be less reliant on the parsimonious state pension in old age.

Even in the early years of the Accord when the economy and employment were humming, real wages were cut as the mantra was to boost not wages but the profit share. As average earnings limped along personal debt tripled. This was a clear sign the punters who were the backbone of the tide that lifted the boat of Labor electoral support were wallowing. Real wages continued to fall across the period Labor were in power and the profit share soared. As the wages share of national income fell whilst productivity escalated Labor began to walk along the path of electoral perdition. In a nutshell, workers were not being compensated for boosting their labour output. A deep recession in 1990-91 ebbed away support for Labor. But in the 1993 election Hewson grabbed defeat out of the jaws of victory with the terror he struck over the introduction of his planned GST and Keating nicked the election.

Keating survived, but the lessons were not learnt. He was incorrigible. At a business lunch shortly after the 1993 election, he spoke about his record of boosting the profit share and lifting productivity whilst slashing unit labour costs, and coupled that with prefiguring the end of industrial awards and a shift to enterprise bargaining. A ninety-year-old collective wage bargaining system that Labor had always promoted as an article of faith ensuring wage justice was being hollowed out by a Labor government. Through all this, the business elite boomed and millionaires proliferated and there was no evidence of profits being used to fuel the investment needed if manufacturing were to be revamped, and a clever country take off. Commodity exports remained the backbone of the economy.

In 1996 the voters threw up their hands and Labor had its lowest primary vote since the Great Depression. Workers had despaired after years of low wage growth, increased work tempo, and empty promises of a pluralist heaven that was always over the horizon. The Accord faded into history only to be resuscitated more than twenty years later by Albanese’s pitch. Business that had never been an official party to the Hawke-Keating Accord banked its profits and through the Business Council of Australia drove the Howard government forward as it introduced statutory individual contracts and peeled back dismissal laws and the award system in an even more comprehensive fashion than Keating envisaged.

On China, Albanese promised The Daily Telegraph his government would be as hardline as the coalition, and develop an even stronger bond with the US. He has noted in recent months he regularly chats with Paul Keating. Their conversations would be interesting. Albanese’s hawkish approach on China would not resonate with Keating. The ex-Prime Minister is one of Australia’s finest public intellectuals, and has developed his ideas at a quantum level since he lost office. Keating understands that the US is an overstretched power that treats Australia as a client state as it strives in a hapless fashion to contain the rise of a rival destined to eclipse its role in the Asia-Pacific region. The US thinks it will click its heels and Australia will be part of a war over Taiwan that (as Keating has noted) it cannot win.

Albanese in The Daily Telegraph speaks in glowing terms about Curtin’s WW2 turn to the US as being the foundation of a perpetual Australian alliance with the US. This is a coat-tail theory of history that courts disaster. Curtin was a realist and adapted his politics to events of the day as he realized the UK was finished as a global imperial power, and incapable of defending Australia. Albanese needs to stop listening to the bloated pro-US intelligence community in Canberra, and their press acolytes, and put national independence first – and play off the competing parties seeking hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region to Australia’s benefit. The Solomon Islands, one of the smallest nations in Australia’s Pacific orbit, has learnt that trick and how it has upset those in Canberra in lockstep with the US. Albanese needs to turn a deaf ear to their quisling viewpoint.

The past is, as the expression goes, another country. They do things differently there. Albanese needs to find new campaign lines. Harking back to some golden political age where labour and business shared productivity gains whilst wages and profits rose in unison perpetuates a myth. The pursuit of economic democracy cannot be boiled down to nostalgic lines drawn from memory lane. It is naïve to believe that business will be a selfless co-partner in something that resembles Accord Mark Two. Unions are far weaker today than during the Hawke-Keating era and capital has even less reason to do anything more than pay lip-service to anything smacking of a pluralist relationship with its workforce. Currently, the profit share is high and wages have been flat-lining for years. Albanese will have zero chance just as Hawke and Keating did of watching rising productivity being shared between capital and labour. One way of raising wages is through a labour shortage: but that part of free-market doctrine, as the present is showing, seems as busted as most other maxims of neoclassical economics. In a profit system maximizing profits is the only game in town, and the theatre of politics on the hustings in a passing parade.

Frank Carrigan was an academic specialising in politics and history.

 

 

 

This article was originally published on Pearls and Irritations.

 

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And so it begins. Election 2022: a personal perspective.

Diary entry 27: Wednesday, 13 April 9 2022

1 For this entry into my Election Diary, I shall linger over what might be described as a personal perspective of where our politics sits in 2022.

I have never known a Government and its leader to be so engrossed in corruption and rorting yet said to have a fair chance of winning the next election. I have never known a leader so filled with lies yet said to be a good campaigner. They said the same of Abbott. Perhaps it is the lies that make it so.

But never mind, I have repeatedly said all this and more about Scott Morrison and his party. I fear that as I approach 82, my desire to see Labor given a go will not eventuate, and I probably only have one or two elections left in me. I might even miss my long-held desire for us to become a republic.

After a decade of governance that could best be described as just plain abysmal, I believe that the Australian people might yet elect these corruptors of democracy: A slim chance that haunts me daily. Those who are so distasteful that I feel the bile rising as I write.

John Howard used to say that our people usually get it right. Could the pollsters be wrong yet again?

I’m going to leave it there for this diary entry. To the many loyal readers of my work, which totals ten years in November and thousands of entries, I thank you for your patience, loyalty, and long-suffering.

I know from your comments that you have suffered from this government, as much as I have been infuriated by their hopelessness. You have criticised me where you have thought it warranted, but you have stuck with me for many years.

I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible as to elect for a third term a government that has performed so miserably in the first two and has amongst its members some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women but they did.

This might be my final fight against these destroyers of our way of life. I fight off the need to give them a final spray as I write. The desire is overwhelming, but I have said it all before, so best I leave it for future diary entries as the campaigns get into full swing.

My current view is that Morrison only has a slim chance of victory, though it is much harder for him this time. The government is in much worse shape than they were at the time of the last election.

2 The wrong answer to a simple question or perverted lies. You choose.

My thought for the day

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

 

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