Turnbull's reinvention of the 457 visa scheme does…

By John Haly “We are bringing the 457 visa class to an end”,…

Day to Day Politics: Dutton has alternative facts?

Monday 24 April 2017 As I said yesterday the Australian’s NewsPoll will be published today.…

Turnbull dogwhistles bigots while Trump bluffs and blusters.

  Mr Turnbull identified Australian values as freedom, equality of men and women,…

The report card

Former minister and Liberal Party director Andrew Robb recently completed an investigation…

Who's running this show?

When asked about the conditions of the written agreement between the Liberals…

The Biggest Problem With Labor's Negative Gearing Policy

Looking at the register of pecuniary interests, one can't help but notice…

Day to Day Politics: Destroying what we stand…

Sunday 23 April 2017 It’s a lazy Sunday. There’s not much on. Rain…

Can you hear the scream?

By Christian Marx The smell of death is in the air Rotting bodies everywhere Killed…


Category Archives: Your Say

Can you hear the scream?

By Christian Marx

The smell of death is in the air
Rotting bodies everywhere
Killed by Uncle Sam
That great murderous sham

Killed by greed
Bombs rained down upon
Sovereign nations in need
The corporate filth salivate
Stealing food from babies
While they bask in hate

10,000 years has taught man naught
Ego and avarice reign supreme
These monsters should be shot for sport
Can you hear the screams?
A twisted soul crying in agony
This world a sadists fantasy

Governments feed the rich
and starve the poor
Kill children with phosphorus
For the Zion lore
Like a hungry whore
The bankers scream for more

Can you hear the scream?
Mother Earth is in mortal pain
Like a sick demon the 1% reign
They suck your blood
Shoot bombs into the sky
And fill our heads with lies


Bullying is fine, apparently, but safe schools aren’t

By Tracie Aylmer

Bullying is one hell of an art form. For me, being bullied was a way of life. Every day I was the kid most picked on. I was called names, ridiculed for what I wore, ridiculed for my facial features, ridiculed for the fact that I was very short and skinny, pushed around by the two boys that I was forced to sit in between during 5th and 6th classes, tripped over, had food thrown at me and punched numerous times. These are the incidences that I actually remember from that time. I would need help remembering all the other incidences.

I remember after my appendectomy in 5th grade the teacher moved me to a safer spot in the classroom. The boys complained bitterly that I received special treatment, even though I was recovering from an operation for which my appendix nearly burst and then nearly died from an infection.

I remember many of the teachers in primary school and junior high school also got in the act. I wasn’t given any kind of safety at school, apart from the several weeks of reprieve from my 5th grade teacher. It was a very hard battle simply to survive the day.

Years later, I got back in touch with several from school that I now claim as Facebook friends. One of them told me several years ago that I was the kid most likely to commit suicide. That’s how bad it was.

I got no reprieve from it, either, until long after the damage was done. There were a couple of casual teachers that tried to take me under their wing. They were women. They did their best, and helped lessen the total isolation that I had felt. However, they didn’t stay long and left at the end of semester. Permanent teachers – including the teacher representing the year – thought it was a joke when I kept asking for protection from bullying.

It is so utterly isolating to be bullied as badly as this. It can cause lifelong damage, too.

I can’t imagine how much worse it would feel for those that are questioning their sexual orientation. For me, I’m straight and always have been, yet was a target anyway. Those not knowing whether they fit into the body they were born into must go through an even greater nightmare. The isolation would be much worse, I am guessing, than anything even I had to put up with.

The Safe Schools program is so incredibly crucial. While it helps those that do not fit into the body they are born into, there would be a reverberating effect for those that are bullied simply because they are a target. Respect would ensure that bullying would reduce for all students, simply by taking care of a minority.

The Safe Schools program is needed and funding should continue. It is the one thing that helps students, rather than hinders them. School is hard enough with learning without having to deal with bullying due to figuring out one’s sexuality. The isolationism of bullying means that added protections are definitely needed. I can’t say enough how much I believe in it.

A few weeks ago I decided on a whim to complete a survey by the Marriage Alliance, to tell them how much marriage equality means to me. I also told them in the survey that they were wrong about judging others, and they should give it all a rest. That put me on their mailing list. Since then, I have been receiving emails from them. The last few, I emailed back saying that many people had completed the survey trying to tell them that they were wrong and the vast majority of people wanted marriage equality. Since they only quoted Miranda Devine (I don’t believe they read anything that I replied with).

Today I received another email from Sophie York from the Marriage Alliance. She is the one that Miranda Devine loves to quote. They appear to be the best of friends.

This is what the email says:

Dear Tracie,

Even with this week’s victories in New South Wales and Tasmania over Safe Schools, we cannot be any less vigilant. (If you missed the news, read more below!)

Children are still being encouraged to consider their gender as fluid, and are even convinced that being transgender is the newest trend, presenting themselves to gender clinics to appear fashionable. These are dangerous ideas – evidence that we still have serious work to do. But as we saw in NSW and Tasmania, victory is certainly possible!

Thank you for your dedication to protecting our children and the institution of marriage.

Kindest regards,

Sophie York 
Marriage Alliance Spokesperson

I can’t say enough how offensive this email is to me. I have no wish to unsubscribe, as I want it known to all that the Marriage Alliance is full of crackpots like Sophie York who wants to put those being bullied at risk. If only there were laws against this, rather than the protection this hypocritical ‘government’ gives her. It appears they are protected even from child abuse laws.

The Marriage Alliance puts all children at risk. They must be stopped.


War and dominance

By Stephen Tardrew

The real kicker in the long run is Shorten and Turnbull supporting the insane Von Trump family who are intent on running the US middle class and poor into the ground while saving themselves by joining the inner circle of US war mongers driven by an out of control Military Industrial Complex. He is not simply “Clinton Light” … he is now Clinton’s clone.

Morality? What is that while left and right are fawning to the gods of neoliberalism and neoconservatism driven by insane religious magical and mythical fantasy? The masters of redistribution and inequality are not winning – they have won as progressives fall into a morass of despair driven by the most biased government and private media this country has ever seen.

The fact that the gas attack in Syria mirrors the WMD Iraq fiasco demonstrates the media has learned nothing, in fact, they have been paid to unlearn how to get at the facts. The Middle East is in ruins simply to satiate the Zionist apartheid right-wing fanaticism in Israel.

Make no mistake about it, Australia is complicit in the most brutal cause of global military hegemony that is geared to one thing and one thing alone – war and full spectrum dominance. Do we really want to be dominated by this insanity? Over one thousand US bases world wide. Give me a break then they call it a defence budget. How more offensive can you get?

Malcolm Fraser warned us to disengage from the US. What we are seeing is a reflection of irrational unscientific insanity driven by a bunch of scientifically illiterate narcissists and war mongers as ordinary citizens live in a media bubble of lies and disinformation. Now they have turned real news into fake news as Murdoch and IPA infiltrate the ABC.

I have seen nothing as disturbing as the current trend since the Vietnam War and rather than learn we have gone further down the rabbit hole.

John Lord and Kaye Lee, I admire your continual effort to make sense of these circumstances and lead us out of this morass with common sense and objective critique, however the dogs of inequity, immorality, environmental degradation and war are still well and truly upon us.

Don’t get me wrong. I always have hope, however when things are rotten to the core the fight becomes more pressing and urgent. Thank you both for you excellent contributions.


Are we, or did I not?

By Mark Needham

Recent unfortunate deaths have been among us, as death always is.

I personally am at a time in my life where the death of a parrot/echidna/pheasant/frog, or, as is commonly the case, a poor bloody kangaroo will just about bring me to tears. Animals, unlike humans, are the best part of the life on this planet. Losing a pet cat or dog is one of the hard transitions of life that is brought upon us.

To lead a common thread, as I have often remarked to friends, that it is amazing how, when someone dies, young or old, how terrible it was, and that “Such a Lovely Person” their Godly Behaviour was Sainthood personified.

Me, myself, I have often, nay, always wondered, that the little turd got what they deserved. This always, from a position of absolutely “Not Knowing”, but irrelevant to my thinking or reason. Yep, we have all done it, I reckon, but like my thoughts, regarding the above, chances are that I am WRONG. As I often are.

In particular the venom that was forthcoming from the idealogical opposites, to the recent passing of Bill Leak, a cartoonist and John Clarke a satirist. The descriptions I use, to give these two blokes a job, are open to discussion, and not the intent of my comment here.

I will not make any links to a “differing” blog, as it is most apparent to me, “That, WE do not go there”.

Having observed the reaction to these two top bloke’s passing was an absolute eye opener. From either side of the political spectrum, the wishes from the “Other Team” was as usual on party lines, … ( Shite, I wish I were a wordsmith) and normal. Like a five-year old boy, saying “I don’t like girls” and a five-year old girl saying ” I do not like boys”. It was “script written” expected and delivered, by both boys and girls. You know what I mean. Atypical, vitriolic and disturbing (well, to me).

I call your attention to a past article on The AIMN: ‘Speaking freely of the dead‘. I also recommend your perusal to our comments at the time.

Thing is, having made the comment regarding the “terminology used for the dead, the liturgy” decrying its oft discriminate use, we now find that one of our own has passed away. Suddenly the “liturgy” tends to bite our own arse. This is a point in my own life where I have often found myself. Makes one ask the question of our own fallibility. I mean, I know I am good, but how good, and how often … or not.

We all know when we cock up, but to not appreciate the excellent work from these two blokes, the humour, in your face, bite me, up yours, cop this, slap me down, pull me up and, I would dare say that both fellas would like to say also, “f*ck you”.

They were funny. Often said stuff which was … you know what it was … you know what I mean …

John and Bill were picking away at our foibles, our own castles, our inadequacies, predesposed ideas, our own “Gods”, trying to wake us all up, to what was in fact, bullshit, but was actually reality.

Bullshit was the humour, we laughed at that, but the reality was the funniest or bullshitiest bit of it all, and I should have hoped that we could see, that at the end of the day, it was all we were left with.


John Clarke, Bill Leak, you have left us some wonderful memories of your own acerbic wit, charm and humour.

Thank you.

I am an electrician, not a writer nor academic, give us a bloody go, hey!
I also know, that I can be a proper pain in the arse – sorry about that – but the main problem is that my brain is about 30 letters behind what I am typing. Saying what I mean, and then typing what I’m saying, it is pure chance, that anything comes out even half understandable.


Barnaby Joyce livid about form failure

By Sean

Barnaby Joyce today was outraged to have received a letter from Queensland asking for financial aid after being stuck with a cyclone. Taking the podium at a news conference – looking physically shaken – he started in an even tone.

“There are forms, there are forms … New South Wales sent their form … You can’t just send me a two page bloody letter. For goodness sake, I fill out my forms, I tell you fill them out, all the way out. I am sure the people at home fill out their forms. We all have these stupid forms to fill out so by crikey fill out your stupid bloody form.”

Barnaby began to grow in excitement as he continued while waving a two page letter in one hand and a 500 page form in the other, papers flying everywhere as he struggled to maintain control of the ream of paperwork.

“I mean what next, right. Can I have an amen? Hallelujah. What would Jesus do? I’ll tell you what he would not do, he would not write a two page letter asking for all the government’s money over the forward estimate! That is not what He would do! … I expect He would fill out the form, like any normal individual would do….”

Losing control Barnaby flung the remaining form papers skywards, his fist clenched and face growing a bright plum shade of red.

“Cm-on, get real … I know you had a cyclone, but what? Are well going to start writing wee letters to the banks asking them for all the money? Let’s get real right now okay, it’s a form, it’s important … Besides who even writes letters anymore? I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you, this is bloody Labor at work, that is what this is. Labor at work. Bloody left-wing writing bloody letter … Idiots.”

With that Barnaby stormed off the stage muttering, “Just fill out the form, just fill it out, we want to help you, we do”.


Open letter to Senator Derryn Hinch

Australian Budget Owls is a group of concerned citizen economists who believe debate in Australia should be informed by Modern Monetary Theory. Australian Budget Owls write open letters challenging what we see as false and misleading statements, based on a zombie economic orthodoxy, described variously as “fake knowledge” and “junk economics” by leading academic economists. We ask the proponents to put up or shut up, provide clear and valid reasoning, which we would say doesn’t exist, to support their position or, change.

Dear Senator Hinch,

We write to address your comments in the media regarding home ownership for younger Australians.

Australian Budget Owls is a group of concerned citizen economists, informed by Modern Monetary Theory.

In our model of the economy we believe that money is created by banks endogenously. While this is somewhat controversial, we note that the Bank of England released a working paper in 2015 essentially confirming our views. The banking system can create as much money as it can sell, at the interest rate set by the government through the reserve bank.

The consequence of this is obvious. The supply of money, available for speculation on house prices, and hence the resulting bubble and corresponding levels of private debt, are constrained by:

  • the interest-rate set by the reserve bank,
  • prudential rules set by APRA,
  • any other laws constraining the lending by banks that may be decided by Parliament and,
  • taxation of the proceeds of housing speculation currently given discounted treatment.

The aforementioned all fall within the purview of the parliament and government, and therefore are the responsibility of you and your colleagues.

Conclusion – Parliamentarians have a social responsibility.

Your comments that younger Australians should not expect to own their own home are, from the perspective of social equity, unacceptable to us.

We would like to suggest that you, and your colleagues in parliament, consider the work of economist Prof Steve Keen on private-sector debt. Specifically, adopting a long-term policy targeting a private sector debt to GDP ratio in a similar manner to the way we now target inflation. In addition, you may wish to consider professor Keen’s Modern Debt Jubilee proposal to defuse the systemic risk associated with current high levels of private debt.

Best regards,

Damien Smith
Australian Budget Owls

A super way into property ownership?

By Peter Hunt

Using superannuation savings to provide the deposit as a means of entering the housing market appeared to have been put back into its box but seems to have escaped again, with the likes of Scott Morrison spruiking the idea. As someone who recently joined the ranks of the self-funded retirees, believe me, for peace of mind you need two things in retirement; a secure, well maintained roof over your head and a reliable modest income (assuming you have or can adopt modest life style). One without the other is useless and relying on making a bumper profit from ‘downsizing’ on retirement is a high risk strategy.

Using Super to overcome the barriers to property ownership can work though, providing you use someone else’s, e.g. your parent’s super. Think about it, by the time young people are ready to enter the housing market many parents will have been paying into super for over 30 years and should have a reasonable balance. At this stage wisdom has it that you should ring-fence at least part of your savings by placing them into less risky investments, and what better than a mortgage for someone you know and love (presumably). Whilst the Banksters pay depositors at best about 3% they offer mortgages at 5.5% and generally much more. Why not cut the Banksters out of the loop and lend direct? 5.5% matches or beats the return on most super funds ‘conservative’ funds.

As a partner will most likely be involved and no one can be sure that the partnership will last the term of the loan a legal charge should be created to ensure the safety of your funds just in case the relationship goes bad but apart from that it’s win win.

In the UK in 2016, it was estimated that “The Bank of Mum & Dad” was helping to finance 25% of mortgages to tune of £5bn making it a top 10 mortgage provider (Press Association, Tuesday 3 May 2016 07.45 BST). Unfortunately, given current Australian house prices few parents will be in a position to lend the full amount required and the Banksters will insist on having the primary charge on the property, but at least the rate and total interest paid to these criminals can be reduced by lowering the amount borrowed from them. If the LNP really wanted to do something to help Gen Y into property perhaps they could address this, e.g. creating special rules giving super funded loans equal status to the banks loans. Beware, in the UK the Banksters worried at losing out are offering special deposit accounts where, if parents deposit a certain amount at minimal interest, they, the banks, will provide a full cost mortgage to their children. Why would you?

Of course the sensible solution would be to address one of the main causes of soaring house prices by tackling the issues of negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts but as the ALP has proposed this sensible approach, the LNP have to rubbish it just as they did with the NBN, replacing the ALP’s high speed fibre to the home with an antiquated, high cost, low speed mongrel solution that is currently being ripped out and replaced with full fibre in countries like Germany and the UK. Or carbon pricing, the best option to tackle CO2 emissions according to just about every expert in the field. The LNP have taken Australia from world leaders to laggards and are an embarrassment with their ‘clean coal’ fantasy, passing lumps of coal around the floor of parliament. Carbon capture and sequestration can work, it has been perfected by nature over the last 300 million years, it’s called coal and massive amounts of carbon can be sequestrated safely, indefinitely, by leaving it in the ground so that our children and theirs can enjoy a good life on a healthy planet in their family group funded homes.

(This article is the opinion of the author only and does not constitute financial advice).


Accidental Overeating is SO Easy

Today I learnt a valuable lesson about overeating. It is definitely a lesson I should NOT have had to learn (as in, I should already know better), but I’m very glad I did.

Edited to add clarification. I dislike counting calories, but I dislike pain a whole lot more. Given my ability to burn calories has been impacted by medical conditions, I, like many other people facing similar challenges, have to police my input given my reduced output. This is not an option unless I want to live on painkillers.

I had been at St. Vincent’s Hospital this morning for part of a pain management assessment. On the way home I stopped at the gym to do some indoor rowing and hit the treadmill, given walking outdoors in Melbourne’s current weather is a little on the risky side.

After burning off calories, I decided I’d buy myself lunch. I walked past Nando’s but decided to try something new. Two doors down was Spudbar with the tag line “a healthy addiction“.

Spudbar provides heaps of vitamins and minerals in our spuds and also through our range of fresh toppings. Top stuff for those wanting to be healthy and look great.

Source: spudbar.com.au

I was a very good girl and checked out the calories per serve (or so I thought). You see, Nando’s actually do provide nutrition per serve. My mind was working along that line so I didn’t correctly interpret the information I was reading – after all, all I wanted was some lunch! It was while entering the nutritional data into My Fitness Pal that the light dawned.

The nutritional information provided was PER 100 GRAMS, not per serve. The serve size was 663 grams. WHOA! All of a sudden my 365 calories per serve had morphed into a whopping 2,420 calories – more than DOUBLE my target total net daily calorie intake (see note 1). That’s 10,125 Kilojoules for those who prefer the Kj scale! Well over the average adult recommendation of 8,700 Kilojoules (depending on individual gender, age, weight, activity levels etc).

The only sensible thing to do was to stop eating! Which I did. Walked to the counter and asked them to put the remainder into a takeaway container for later.

Had I been paying attention to the size of the serving (or to the column headings), I would have done a quick calculation at a minimum of four calories per gram (see note 2) and realised it must have been more than 365 calories (600 * 4 = 2,400) per serve. But when you are busy and have other things on your mind there is a chance your mind doesn’t really absorb everything being presented to it. Also, humans tend to function on the basis of experience. My experience had been receiving nutrition information per serve in such a situation.

When I got home I weighed the container. 426 grams, meaning I ate over 200 grams, ingesting at least 730 calories. For lunch!

My intention is not to question the healthiness or otherwise of the Spudbar offerings. I will say Spudbar food is DELICIOUS so if you can cope with the calories, enjoy their menu! My intention is to highlight how easy overeating is in our western society. We then wonder why our scales don’t like us the next morning. Had I not been entering my meal information into My Fitness Pal I would not have realised I was overeating and would have merrily chewed my way through 2,420 calories thinking it was a mere 365 calories. I was planning on having enough spare calories banked to allow myself some ice cream today. THAT won’t be happening! If I were a male AFL footballer in my twenties 2,420 calories for lunch may not be a problem. As a 61 year-old woman with some physical restrictions for whom maintaining a healthy weight is essentially mandatory for joint protection and pain management: 2,420 calories for lunch is nothing short of a disaster!

Yes, indeed, caveat emptor. It is not the food vendor’s responsibility to ensure I manage my calories in and out. That is my responsibility. My lesson today was to BE MORE CAREFUL.

I feel very foolish, naturally, but I hope by sharing my stupidity I may alert others to the accidental overeating trap. Or is it just my failing?

Note 1: Personally I aim for 1,200 net calories a day, which means if I burn more, I can eat more. Yesterday I earnt 336 extra from swimming, so ate 1,510 calories. 1,200 + 336 = 1,536.

Note 2:  4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates, 9 calories per gram for fat, 7 calories per gram for alcohol.


How does Putin keep Trump?

By VegasJessie

This is what (I think) was really behind Trump’s decision to bomb Syria.

1) Putin wants a functional president in the White House. He does not want anyone to investigate what he’s already done to get him there. He definitely does not want trump impeached because for him that would be a waste. So, the real question is: how does Putin keep trump available as a really effective mole?

2) For trump to get anything done he’ll first need a popularity ratings boost. Then he’ll need some really subtle ego-stroking. Trump also needs to divert any and all attention from ANYTHING that could even possibly result in proof of a Putin-trump collusion. Putin at first left it to trump. The buffoon enlists “Devin Nunes” who promptly bungles it. Putin gets nervous and knows that he has to take over.

3) Putin is a known supporter of Assad. More like a puppeteer than an athletic supporter. So let’s use him.

4) Putin sits down Assad and explains: Your position is safe as long as I’m happy. Most important that you keep me happy. You’ve used nerve gas and chemical weapons before and the US did nothing. Even if they did something, my people are right there and effectively will shield my armaments and radar/intercepts (that I lent you). So you lose a few planes and hangars. I can replace the planes, and hangars belong in the closet anyway. I don’t know why you leave them around and so accessible. Furthermore, your barrel bombs are so much cheaper and more effective that you really don’t need the planes anyway. Remember your prime objective is to keep me happy or you’re toast.

5) So, here’s the plan. Execute a small scale escalation. Start about a week before trump meets with President Xi. Begin with some chlorine gas (not mustard, the resulting pictures would be bad publicity, not good). Then a small scale sarin or VX attack out in the desert somewhere. Make sure it’s remote and best to involve some large scale rebel facilities that can be used for disinformation purposes. Make sure there are women and children and especially babies! You hear me: BABIES. Do it from a remote disposable base. And you must time it go off just before (1-2 days) trump-Xi are meeting. Then sit back and relax, and make no public statements other than to blame the rebels and condemn any US reactions.

Putin smiles. He can feel the old KGB vibes beginning to vibrate again.

6) Putin on secure line with trump: OK it’s all set up. Get your statement ready, make it short and read it. Nothing spontaneous. A few tears maybe, it would be like icing the vodka, but no sobs. Your people should be able to handle that. Suggest Bannon or his buddy Stephen Miller, but keep Kushner out of it, there’s too much heat from his meeting with my money launderer. Anyway, we want to use him later. Remember to curse me out! I’ll understand. But not too personal, OK! No Twitter-shit on this one, make it official with an entire room of reporters, TV would be best. I’ll do the same to you so that no-one, not even the Halo Bitch, will think you and I are buddies.

7) Continuing on the line: Timing is everything. I know you only deal with location-location-location but on this one follow my instructions. Remember to check the time zones. Things like this go best after everyone goes home from work, and has had dinner. Too bad we missed the first pitch on opening day but we can’t win them all. Remember to give my military guys some timely warning. An hour should be enough and do it officially and get it published so everyone thinks you’re playing fair and not trying to provoke a war. My guys will already have been briefed on what’s going to happen, just not when. Make sure your guys don’t hit the runway (make up some excuse for that, like crater bombs would need pilots and we don’t want any US personnel killed or worse, captured). My planes need the runways and I don’t have enough rubles to rebuild them right now. And damn it you better remember the time differences. It would be a nice touch if you had to interrupt an important meeting with Xi, so feel free to keep him waiting. I’ll add one sweetener. My Swedish guys have lined up an SUV civilian run-down. You could rework your Swedish terrorist attack tweet into real prescience, wouldn’t that make you look godlike?

Putin orgasms!

8) Just think what all of the above accomplishes:

a) Trump gets a rating boost, that’s all he wants anyway.
b) Trump gets to be seen as anti-Putin: strong on principles, decisive, (i.e. everything that he is not).
c) The Gorsuch appointment gets done and all the hoop-la about changing the rules becomes irrelevant.
d) Everyone will think trump is no friend of Putin – demonstrated both by words and action. So why all the election fuss? Stop the investigations, they’re not needed anymore.
e) Nunes’ and Kushner’s transgressions get sidelined.
f) Bannon vs Kushner is all but forgotten.
g) Who cares about a wall when we’re at war.
h) Raytheon stock soars, taking the aerospace group with it.
i) Even a catastrophic Jobs Report won’t be noticed.
j) And healthcare! How can we talk about our healthcare (the best in the world) when poor defenseless babies are gasping for breath and dying?
k) Even the middle class jerks who voted for trump won’t mind foregoing a little tax cut so that we can protect those, sob, sob, poor suffering babies.
l) And to top it off, Putin gets a more functional mole.

How marriages based on mistrust hold back all women

I was intrigued yesterday to observe on Twitter a good deal of chatter from conservative religious types on the topic of husbands who refuse to eat alone with any woman other than their wife.

The not eating with anyone but your wife rule is based on the assumption that heterosexual marriage is the only possible partnership, being as the religious conservative crowd doesn’t believe LGBTQI people are fully human so don’t see the need for inclusion.

I tracked this odd behaviour down to a series of articles on US Vice President Mike Pence, who will not allow himself to be alone with women other than his wife, Karen, and who will not attend any functions at which alcohol is served unless Karen is by his side.The Pences are evangelical Christians.

Pence calls his wife “Mother.” He yells down the table at formal dinners: “Mother! Mother! Who cooked this meal?”

The Vice President of the US has sex with a woman he calls Mother.

They’re spoiled for choice in the US, aren’t they? A pussy grabber or a man with unresolved Oedipal conflicts who can only be prevented from grabbing pussy by having his mother wife beside him the entire time. Ladies, I give you the current leader of the Western world, and the one who’ll take his place in the event of unfortunate circumstances.

The most serious consequence of these bizarre restrictions is that women are immediately disadvantaged in terms of job opportunities, because there are men apparently unable to control their sexual impulses. Or there are wives with so little trust in husbands, they cannot cope with their man meeting alone with any woman who is not them.

It’s astounding that women can be refused job and career opportunities in order to safeguard somebody else’s deluded notion of heterosexual partnership. It’s astounding that woman are still seen first as opportunities for sex, over and above all other qualities, talents and capabilities.

It’s astounding that there are women who choose to spend their lives with men they think so little of they must infantilise them, and never let them out on their own, and men who enforce the same restrictions on their wives. I believe this is a form of domestic violence, an excess of jealousy and suspicion that has become normalised in some circles, to the degree that both parties submit to it and call it “respect.”

Most of us wouldn’t have friendships with people we can’t trust, yet it’s fine to be married to someone you don’t trust?

Very low bar some people set for marriage.

It isn’t only in job and career opportunities that heterosexual insecurities work to restrict the lives of women. Friendships, intellectual engagements, the pleasure of shared interests can also be difficult, if not impossible, when someone is in an insecure relationship that is threatened by a partner’s perfectly legitimate connections with another party.

Does marriage have to mean the end of every possibility of significant connection with anybody other than your spouse? Because if it does, it’s a dead-end that stunts humanity.

Many a single woman has a story of how she’s been treated with suspicion by friends, even good friends, who suddenly become uncomfortable with her when their husbands are around. I’ve heard of female friendships being ruined in such situations, and women left wondering what on earth they’d done to offend.

Unfortunately, some insecure wives tend to blame their inability to trust their husbands, or their husband’s actual untrustworthiness, on their female friends, rather than addressing the frightening challenges mistrust throws up in the marriage, and to them as individuals. The same goes for insecure husbands.

I mean, look. We’re still at the stage of blame the woman. No matter which way you look at it, it’s always let the men off the hook because they’re too infantile to take responsibility for themselves, and blame the woman. On the face of it, the Pence rule is bizarre and extreme, however, to settle for that explanation is to deny its far-reaching and damaging implications. Marriages built on mistrust are detrimental to women, whether it’s the US Vice President’s or those in your own social circle. And they couldn’t be a worse partnership model for the young.

We really have not come such a long way. Baby.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.


What if your boss is a bully?

Bullying occurs in all walks of life and it is caused by a number of reasons, but usually by people with a tendency to have psychopath and sadistic traits. This can start at childhood, and unless checked continue on to adulthood until the bully is quite old. The bully delights in telling people of his or her exploits and will stay for hours telling an audience how they got their way. Look for them at the top of the organisation; they like to control.

The structure of an organisation or business can play a part in keeping this despicable menace alive. Progression of the bully up the slippery slope can result in levels of “old boys clubs” and they usually reward themselves very well. Of course when the bully achieves this they have to work twice as hard to cover up what they have been doing. The levels of the organisation or business plays a role if it is common practice to move top management to the next level until they come to the top tier then the bullying continues, but has a greater level of control. At each level the bully makes sure they have apprentices on every level.

The bully likes face-to-face engagement with his or her victim; they engage weaker individuals they can control to help with their bullying. This behaviour always ends in the members who do not want this in their lives or cannot handle it for whatever reason to resign from the organisation. Very few people will take the bully and try to beat them; it is a long and painful process. The best way to record the progress of the bully is to create a paper trail. Never be alone, always have witnesses, and with today’s technology look for the CCTV (while this does not record sound, it records the aggressive movements of the bully).

The bully encourages his or her apprentices to misbehave at the ground level of the organisation, and the mayhem and ugly behaviour has to be seen to be believed; yelling, swearing, throwing chairs, papers, threatening personal violence and stealing property of the victim or organisation. The apprentice refuses to abide by the constitution or code of conduct or rules of the organisation until legal measures are put in place. This is usually condoned by the bully who will have secret meetings to suggest what other measures can be used to disrupt the organisation.

A good case in point is the recent stories making the headlines in the national papers and over the media is the RSL NSW. The structure is right, the progression through the ranks is in place, but the tribunals are conducted internally by “mates” and the bullying can be put in place at all levels of the organisation.

The only way to help control the bullying is to make sure the governance is strictly enforced, the bully has not been able to make an apprentice out of the enforcer, the bully does not have too many positions of power, make a paper trail, no oral exchanges on phones, always let it go to message, so you have a voice message or they cannot resist sending a text. CCTV is your friend, always ask the venue to download the incident, report your case to the police and get a number for your report.

Why do I go to the trouble to write this, you ask. I like Truth, Fairness and Justice. I speak for the people who cannot defend themselves. You need a tough skin, get used to being targeted by the bully, all in all the more people that the bully hurts the angrier I get. Some need to speak out.



Vale Ken Wolff

We are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Ken Wolff. For readers of The AIMN Ken will be remembered for his many wonderful articles we were privileged to publish. Long-term bloggers will also remember Ken for his years with The Political Sword, where his articles were originally published. Ken’s family, the blogging community, and Aboriginal Australia – to whom he devoted decades of tireless service – have been enriched by knowing him.

The Political Sword team has penned this tribute to Ken. It is fitting that we share his memory on The AIMN.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our close colleague and dear friend, Ken Wolff. His last published article at The Political Sword was What to watch for in 2017: his sudden death was not what we anticipated.

Ken joined the team at The Political Sword in September 2013 at a time when its future was uncertain. Keeping a political blog site vibrant over a long period takes a lot of effort. Those who contribute to it come and go. It was just when we wondered how the site could be sustained that Ken joined us.

At that time Jan Mahyuddin (@j4gypsy) was deeply involved in the reorganization of the site, and in establishing a protocol for editing. Ken contributed much sound advice about how The Political Sword could be managed by a team. Then it was but a small team, comprising Ken, Bacchus, who codes pieces for the site, 2353NM, who writes pieces regularly, Jan Mahyuddin who at that time assisted with editing, Casablanca, who took up Lyn’s role of posting links in a segment titled ‘Casablanca’s Cache’, Web Monkey, who keeps the site running behind the scene, and updates it regularly, and Ad Astra, who created the site in 2008. Ken quickly became an enthusiastic writer of penetrating articles that contributed so much to the vibrancy and appeal of The Political Sword.

Here is a selection of Ken’s outstanding pieces, from the last six months:

The barbie bigot looks back on the year
The buck stops where?
The rise of political staffers: how people disappeared from policy advice
Statistics are people too
All hail the mighty banks
An economy without people
Modern economics has lost sight of people
A once and future Senate
The election in numbers
The election in numbers 2: minor parties and independents
The democratization of opinion
The Liberals are dreaming
The Liberal lie continues
Turnbull’s Medicare backflip – or is it?
Time for a new economic model
What economic plan?

This selection of just a sample of Ken’s writings illustrates his versatility, the depth of his knowledge, the variety of his offerings, his expertise in economics, his persuasiveness, and his skill with the pen.Ken was incisive in his policy analysis and evaluation of the current issues in our polity. This was an innate ability and intelligence further developed and honed during many years as a senior federal public servant. Here is an excerpt from his bio:

Ken is a retired federal public servant who worked for 30 years in Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, mainly in policy areas. That background gives him an understanding of socio-economic issues. An Honours degree in social anthropology also influences his thinking on our society. His politics was moulded in the western suburbs of Sydney where he grew up and where Jack Lang was a local hero.

In addition to his writing role, Ken undertook the responsibility of Production Manager, following the initial re-organisation of the site by Jan Mahyuddin. He was responsible for scheduling pieces for publication on The Political Sword and our companion site TPS Extra. The schedule was documented on TPS Sandpit a separate WordPress site, established by Jan.

His editing of others’ writing was inspired, never putting the author down but providing gentle encouragement and providing that little bit of magic that has made The Political Sword a social commentary site that other blog sites regularly re-publish.

When Ken’s health made it difficult for him to write, he continued as Production Manger, even though undergoing a tough regime of chemotherapy.

We shall be forever indebted to Ken for all he has given to The Political Sword over a long period. He was dedicated to the site and to its mission of holding accountable our politicians and political commentators. So often they let us down through poor decisions and faulty communication. Ken was always ready to call them to account, and to point the way towards better decision-making and more honest communication.

Ken will be irreplaceable. His unique style, his honesty, and his dedication will remain with us as happy memories of a remarkable gentleman who gave so much, even as illness affected his capacity to contribute as he would have wished. He was consistently cheerful, collaborative and helpful; his articles were always very lucid, thought provoking, and constructive.

The team here at The Political Sword extend deepest sympathy to Ken’s wife Gillian, and his family, his extended family, and his friends.

Vale, dear Ken. We shall miss you. You are a precious friend and colleague who gave so much so cheerfully despite your long illness. We shall always remember you for the wonderful person you are.

The TPS Team

Ken’s service will be held in the Chapel at Norwood Park Crematorium, Sandford Street, Mitchell, ACT on Monday 27 March 2017 at 12:00 noon.

Back to the drawing board, Malcolm

By Peter Hunt

Malcolm Turnbull’s example of how the Snowy Mountain Pumped Hydro scheme expansion would make money for the government/s doesn’t stack up. He explained on the news how you can pay $40 per MWH to pump water uphill at night then by releasing it when demand is high, generate electricity, and sell it for $50 MWH thus making a $10 profit.

His example makes a fundamental school-boy error of not taking into account the 20% of energy lost in the process, unless he’s somehow discovered the secret of perpetual motion. If you pay $40 to pump water uphill then recover 80% of the embedded energy when it is subsequently released for sale at $50 MWH, you can at best break even at the operational level ($50 * 80% = $40) and would be making a big loss, taking into account capital costs.

Whilst he obviously plucked figures out of the air for his example you would think that a former bankster and supposed business genius would have a better grasp of the facts and basic arithmetic. It really does suggest policy ‘on the fly’ … with very little thought!


Thank you, Ms. McManus, and congratulations

Dear friends of The AIMN,

On 15 March 2017 the battered Australian Broadcasting Commission went on air with a 7.30 Report interview to Ms. Sally McManus by the reporter Leigh Sales.

That part of the transcript was headed: “New ACTU secretary Sally McManus says she doesn’t see a problem with workers breaking laws when the laws are unjust.”

The exact words passing between Ms. Sales and Ms. McManus were:

“LEIGH SALES: Yet nonetheless, we live in a country where there are laws that are established by a parliament that all citizens are expected to abide by. So, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with those laws, you said that you believe in the rule of law?

SALLY MCMANUS: Yeah, I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair, when the law is right. But when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.”

I never met Ms. McManus and I only exchanged with her an email on 15.02.2016 when I was researching a certain topic to which she had amply and quite diligently contributed. Unfortunately, Ms. McManus replied  – promptly I should add – “my website is down and I’m currently trying to get it up.” End of the contact.

When I first saw and heard Ms. McManus on the 7.30 Report I felt in complete agreement with her. I still am. So, I wrote that much at the old address the day after; there was no reply. I wrote again on 17.03.2017 at her new place of employment – but I expect no reply.

Ms. McManus and I have something in common. We both come from backgrounds which were ravaged by occupiers, albeit at very different times. My remote place of origin was almost completely destroyed by the Roman invaders (@1,000 b.c.e.). Everything standing was destroyed and what could be stolen is now kept in the largest Etruscan Museum, in the Vatican State. We are dealing with receivers of stolen goods, an event quite familiar to the original inhabitants of the place the British claimed in 1770 and occupied in 1788.

I noted in a short biography that Ms. McManus attended Carlingford High School and studied for a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at Macquarie University. One guess: Carlingford was most likely named after Carlingford in Ireland. It is not sectarian – quite the contrary, but another guess is that Ms. McManus is of Irish origin. And, if that is so, she has memory of the occupation of her country of origin by more recent barbarians. Her name is also encountered in Scotland, still occupied by the same barbarians. Both McManus and MacManus derive from the Gaelic Mac Mághnais, which in turn is derived from the popular Norse name Magnus, meaning ‘great’. Incidentally, one of the leaders of the Norwegian resistance against the German invaders (1940-1945) was a McManus. The Norse introduced the name in Ireland but it took on its own separate identity and is now predominantly Irish.

And now to the point of this note: if Australia were a seriously multicultural society it would pay due homage to the substance of that – that is to say, truly to being multicultural – by appreciating the contribution that Hellenism made to it with the arrival of so many people from Greece. Many, many moons ago I used to frequent a Greek club, and I recall quite vividly one of my Greek friends reacting in an ecstatic way at my mentioning Antigone. He thought I knew about her, and that I was familiar with Sophocles – hence we were not only friends, but special friends.

Of course, I knew about Sophocles’ works because of five years of ancient Greek prior and as a condition of admission to university. That ancient I am! Briefly: Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, followed her father when he was banished from his city. When her brothers Eteocles and Polynices killed each other in the war of the Seven against Thebes. Creon, king of Thebes, forbade the burial of the rebel Polynices. Antigone disobeyed his command and performed the funeral service. The moral point of the tragedy is that one must disobey unjust laws.

The mandate is imperative; it leaves no room for the quick but sick humour of the Honourable Christopher Pyne, MP brand, who called Ms. McManus’ statement “anarcho-Marxist claptrap”, or for the delirium of the Honourable (?) Peter Dutton, MP, who called Ms. McManus “lunatic”.

When it comes to the Prime Minister, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull one is in the presence of a cut above the rest, not as high as he would have it, but definitively so: Sydney Grammar School, Sydney University B.A., LL.B., Rhodes Scholar at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he attained a Bachelor of Civil Law.

What the Prime Minister said, and I am sure will repeat with greater, orotund, pompously-mannered vigor, reminded me of an interview to Ms. McManus, during the course of which she was asked: “Do you have a favourite quote? (and replied) I rather like Harry Frankfurt observation in ‘On Bullshit’ that: “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”

And, before some impolite ignoramus erupts in outrage and gets all worked-up, I should add: as I write I am looking at ‘On bullshit’ by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey 2005). Harry G. Frankfurt (vintage 1929) is a renowned moral philosopher, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University.

Thank you, Ms. McManus, and once again congratulations.

And thanks to the friends of The AIMN for reading this.

Warmest regards,



The human impact of the Cashless Welfare Scheme

Tina Clausen responds to the Government’s announcement that they will continue the roll out of the Income Management Scheme for all Centrelink beneficiaries, (not just restricted to Newstart recipients as believed by many people). 

Participants report they feel penalised and discriminated against by being forced to participate in the scheme and that there is a stigma and a sense of shame associated with having to use the Cashless Welfare Card. They feel humiliated and looked down upon by people in their community when forced to hand over the card to pay for goods – thus proclaiming to the whole world that ‘I am a Centrelink beneficiary and can’t be trusted to manage my own finances’. There is the embarrassment and shame when told ‘no’ when it happens that a business has chosen not to apply to become an ‘approved merchant’ for the Income Management scheme, leaving you to put your goods back and slink out of the shop under the glaring eyes of fellow shoppers.

Why should all people who happen to receive Centrelink payments be treated like second-rate citizens because a small number do the wrong thing? There are hordes of workers who could be nastily described as ‘dead-beat’ parents or have drug, alcohol and gambling issues too. Maybe our Government believes the whole of the Australian population should eventually be deprived of the right to manage their own money? Easiest to start with the most vulnerable and dependent first. Our Government is taking away our basic Human Rights of dignity, self-determination and social freedom.

I would like to highlight that people on the Disability Support Pension or Carers Payment/Allowance, through no fault of their own, can end up on this punitive and restrictive scheme for life unlike e.g students or people seeking employment who at least have a chance of getting off this soul-destroying Income Management scheme sooner or later. Preventing full economic participation in society by people with disabilities on an ongoing and deliberate basis is a breach of both Human Rights and international law.

The scheme is illegally disadvantaging people by letting for-profit company Indue, who were handed the contract for the scheme, retain interest earned on money in peoples’ accounts as well as forcing people to access goods and services that are more expensive than what people themselves can organise to get them for now. Indue stand to earn between $4,000 and $6,000 pa for each person they trap into the scheme. That would equate to a minimum of a $153 fortnightly payment increase for a person on Newstart. Money that could be spent on families, supporting local business and stimulating the economy. Instead the money goes into the pockets of private company Indue and its shareholders.

There are bad apples everywhere; some beneficiaries who maybe shouldn’t be receiving welfare payments and some workers who rip off their employers. The problem is that ALL workers don’t get demonised because some do the wrong thing, yet our Government seem hell-bent on punishing every single person on any kind of pension or benefit – from people on family payments to those on disability support, from young people studying to single parents, from widows pensioners to the unemployed. The list goes on.

This Government seems set on pitting one segment of society against the other and continuing the myths of the ‘great welfare rort’ and ‘huge numbers of welfare deviants and bludgers’. This is most likely their way of getting the general public to swallow what is a draconian and abusive scheme that goes against all common sense, morality and basic Human Rights.