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Category Archives: Your Say

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.

 

Why Barnett lost

By Tracie Aylmer

As the election finishes up and Upper House votes with preference deals are finalised, I would like to give another perspective on how Labor won so significantly. There were a number of issues. Two of those issues involved the selling of Western Power and Fremantle Port. A third issue was the destruction of the Beeliar Wetlands.

Recently, I had been involved with the protests against the Roe 8, 9 and 10 highway. It was an incredibly dumb idea, particularly when there was another option that is going to be much cheaper and more worthwhile.

As someone with a Masters degree, I saw highly educated people, grandmothers, mothers, teenagers, Councillors in local government, grandfathers, fathers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers and many other members of the community not just protest, but also be arrested at that site. Many people were happy to put their hands up. During rallies, people were divided into groups – one group unable to be arrested and the other group deliberately going out of their way to be arrested as the cause was too great. I was one of the people arrested. All I did was touch a fence.

When Barnett started bulldozing, a concerted effort was made to kick him out at the election. Groups of people got together to find ways in order to show exactly how bad an idea the destruction was. Signs went up, then Barnett’s followers took those signs down and put their own signs up. It led to a type of sign war, where signs were changed, then amended, then changed back again. People were fined or arrested for tooting their horns while driving past ‘No Roe 8’ signs, although in the end there were too many people tooting their horns and the police couldn’t arrest or fine everyone.

In four key electorates, a leaflet was letterbox dropped. Those electorates were Bicton, Southern River, Jandakot and Cottesloe. They were anti-Barnett leaflets designed to educate voters on just how much debt WA is now in due to Colin Barnett’s policies. It appears that those leaflets had made a difference. Key areas had a reduction in liberal votes.

Then there was that photo. A few Rethink the Link protesters wrote on their arms, then made sure to have a photo taken with Barnett. It was hard work getting that photo taken, as others had heckled Barnett shortly beforehand. The protesters had talked their way into it, and then the photo went viral. Barnett had no idea, and had a nice chat with one of the protesters. He hadn’t even realised that this particular protester had been arrested a few weeks prior, at the construction site.

Last week, another photo with Barnett had gone viral, this time with a person donning the prop for Barnaby the Carnaby Black Cockatoo. Barnett had continually stated that this threatened species had offsets for which they could fly to. It was a ridiculous statement. Since I live near the area, these cockatoos have been flying around trying to find out where they can settle. They are now displaced and even more threatened.

Then there was the video footage of a Pauline Hanson lookalike in a wedding gown, demanding to know what was going on with the preference deal and why he didn’t like her.

In addition were the Senate inquiries, of which there have been several throughout the last few years, as well as question upon question upon question. The secrecy had gotten to the whole community. We knew there was no business plan. We knew it was a case of throwing money away to the contractors that were Barnett’s mates. We saw through the poor excuses, and didn’t accept one single excuse that came out of Barnett’s mouth.

Then there was the land grab that tried to steal Native Title land off the Noongar People for the whole south west area of WA. This was completely unethical. Barnett had given funding to the organisation, in order to make sure that the deal happened. The Noongar People have wanted to unite ever since. They deserve much more respect than what they have been given. Barnett wanted to steal everything way from them, and give them a pittance in return. This included the area in the Beeliar Wetlands, which had been a birthing place for tens of thousands of years. The secret areas in the Wetlands were bulldozed without a second thought a few weeks ago. Many of us united with the Noongar People to shed streams of tears. Barnett does not like women.

All of the above showed not just creativity, but also how much we in WA did not want Barnett nor the Liberal Party. It was a concerted effort amongst the whole of the community. It wasn’t just one person. We had all united to overthrow Barnett and his lack of vision.

That is why Barnett lost so severely. We had all simply had enough. We joined together, and this is the result.

If McGowan shows any reconsideration for what the community wants and needs, we will show him exactly how we feel. We are strong in our community. We cannot be divided any longer. We know how to fight, and we will win whatever battle comes in place, of course using non-violent direct action.

McGowan has been placed on notice – include all of us or he will be shown the door. It’s that simple.

 

When the rules don’t matter

By Kyran O’Dwyer

We are now three and a half years into the worst attempt at government the IPA has ever launched. At any level, it has become easy to be distracted by the incessant noise, whilst losing track of the major issues.

We now have a band of miscreants who are so enamoured of their own voices, they no longer tolerate any criticism of their utterances. We now have a band of miscreants whose incompetence borders on the criminal. We now have a band of miscreants whose wilful ignorance of the reality of those they claim to represent borders on the negligent. We now have a band of miscreants whose sense of self entitlement borders on the corrupt.

In the absence of any scrutiny, oversight or governance, they cannot be accused of incompetence, criminality, wilful ignorance, negligence or corruption. They have made the rules.

And the rules don’t matter. Well, not to them.

In the off chance that anyone wishes to challenge them, or their utterances or edicts, rest assured the challenger will be subjected to the most forensic and personal scrutiny by their enforcers.

Not the police, or Border Farce, or the AFP. They don’t have enough power, yet, to be able to regulate the behaviour of those they claim to protect.

The media. The ultimate enforcer. Name and shame. Make the conversation about the critic, not the criticism. Make the issue about the personality, not the substance. No need for gathering evidence, laying charges and costly trials. Slur, innuendo and inference will do just fine.

Noise, noise, noise. Avoid the substance, at all costs.

From the Merriam Webster dictionary:

The Multiple Meanings of anarchy
“Anarchy exemplifies how words may have similar yet distinctive meanings. The earliest recorded use of the word, from the early 16th century, meant simply “absence of government,” albeit with the implication of civil disorder. A similar but ameliorated meaning began to be employed in the 19th century in reference to a Utopian society that had no government. The establishment of these two senses of anarchy did not stop the word from being applied outside the realm of government with the broadened meaning “a state of confusion or disorder.” The existence of definitions that are in semantic conflict does not imply that one (or more) of them is wrong; it simply shows that multi-sense words like anarchy mean different things in different contexts. Another example of a sense-shifting word relating to government is aristocracy. When first used in English, this word carried the sole meaning “government by the best individuals.” It may still be used in such a fashion, but more commonly, it is encountered in the extended sense “the aggregate of those believed to be superior.”

The IPA government extols the virtues of the ‘absence of government’ theorem, with the threat of ‘civil disorder’. The ‘market’ should be the ultimate arbiter. Any dissent is of no consequence. If the media is not subject to any oversight, other than ‘self governance’, they can be unleashed anytime and anywhere. The prospect of any resultant ‘civil disorder’ is either minimized or negated.

The rules don’t matter. We should only have enough rules to hold the loopholes together.

The number of times – just in the past few months – that we have seen the disparity in the application of rules beggars belief. A politician should be excused for transgressions against their rules, on the basis ‘It was merely an oversight’. Whilst any ‘welfare’ claimant can, and, apparently, should be accused of a transgression against their rules and be demanded to produce evidence to the contrary.

Our ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, subject only to the oversight of two industry appointed self-regulated bodies, will provide advice to the government on tax law, and provide advice to their clients on how to avoid the laws they have proposed.

Our ‘Big Four’ banks, currently subject to no more oversight than APRA, will provide advice to the government as to why other financial institutions should not get the benefit of ‘the guarantee’, going back to the GFC.

Our environment is in trouble too. Therefore, we need to defund science and deprive scientists of any voice. Silence the scientists and fund the abusers of the environment.

Our children are in trouble too. Do we educate them through Gonski, or simply say we can’t afford it? Or do we avail our children of services to enable their parents to do both of their jobs? Parent and provider.

Once upon a time, we had NDIS, NBN, Medicare, minimum working wage, minimum working conditions.

We now have domestic violence (DV) as a major problem. Economically. That is the only language our government understands. We have a current Minister for Women that has actually retreated from the last Minister for Women’s strong position on hating DV, whilst defunding all of the services that would support the victims of those very crimes.

We no longer tolerate the notion of equality. Whether it be colour, gender, religion, sexuality. No matter, it doesn’t matter.

One of the most egregious of recent transgressions is the signing of OPCAT, only in the sense that it is the ultimate ‘fire sale’ of our soul.

“Attorney-General George Brandis said the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) would be ratified by the end of this year.”

By the end of this year, we will ratify a treaty that aims to address issues such as ‘Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’.

Let’s be perfectly clear about this.

In 1948-1949, “Doc” Evatt was one of the authors of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ through the UN. FFS, it’s 2017. The best we’ve got is Brandy, ratifying an agreement, subject to exclusions, of a concept that was not only agreed to nearly sixty years ago, but was co-authored by an emissary of the Australian government.

“The aim is not to shame, it is not to engage in an act of moral vanity, it is to cooperate in a mutual endeavour to bring about a tangible improvement to the treatment of people in detention.

The ratification of the treaty would not affect the Manus Island offshore processing centre because Papua New Guinea has not ratified the same treaty.

The Government of Nauru ratified the treaty in 2013.”

My contention is that the rules only apply to some. And only apply under certain circumstances. And, worst of all, if you can afford ‘good’ advice, they won’t apply to you.

Our IPA government is on a hiding to hell. Who cares?

Until such time as governance and government are restored, we remain in their image.
Anarchic.

Unions can no longer call a general strike, without observing the rules. There is a place for civil disobedience, however. It was demonstrated last week.

Most Australians are perfectly aware of the issues that they face on a daily basis.

March in March? Feck, yes (In Australian, “f*ck, yeah”). If enough of us turn out, we might make a difference. A Utopian society does not require rules. Any Utopian society would be based on respect and dignity, for one and all. These anarchists rely on a ‘state of confusion or disorder’ to justify their absence of rules.

I’m no fan of aristocracy. But democracy should not deprive us of “government by the best individuals”.

(I tried fitting this into a sign to march with. My bad).

 

An open letter to the LNP regarding the Cashless Welfare Card

By Tina Clausen

After having worked as a professional Social Worker for twenty years, including in agency management and interdisciplinary team leader positions, then having to leave the workforce due to illness, how dare you assume that I am suddenly incapable of managing my own income and decide that I should be treated like a child and a criminal.

You are taking away my basic Human Rights of dignity, self-determination and social freedom. You are also illegally disadvantaging me by letting Indue retain interest earned on money in my account as well as forcing me to access goods and services that are more expensive than I get them for now. Money is tight and I’m managing my budget accordingly, you and private for profit company Indue will blow my budget out the window.

Logistically and practically the card is not working and is a nightmare for the general public, whom you are employed to serve in their best interest. This is in no ones best interest except Indue and its shareholders. The $4000 or more the scheme costs to manage per person could be better spent on increasing beneficiary payments, at least that way the money would be funneled back into local communities and thereby stimulating the economy.

The card was initially brought in to support people that had difficulties managing their income appropriately due to addiction issues. That is where it can be targeted, at an individual level for people identified within existing frameworks as being at risk eg via police, child safety services etc.

It is not appropriate to bring the card in wholesale across entire communities and eventually across the nation. We all have the right to live without excessive government interference in our day to day lives. This card only benefits Indue and the big chain stores especially. It is big brother in full action.

Another issue is that whereas Newstart recipients can leave the scheme when they find employment, people with chronic illnesses or disabilities will be stuck on it for life. They already have a hard time and now you want to punish them further?

I would not be able to continue my cheap insurance with Budget Direct, I would have to go to more expensive insurance providers. People can’t shop at cheap fresh food markets or garage sales but can go to Woolworths or the very expensive David Jones. 20% cash does not come close to meeting costs where you are unable to use the card, can’t even pay off a credit card debt or a mortgage with a re-draw facility if some people have those loans as you are not allowed to transfer money to those.

Unscrupulous individuals as well as shop owners are already taking advantage of people on the card and ripping off the most vulnerable in our society. They do this by taking a percentage of desperate peoples money in return for a cash exchange and shops in areas with little competition massively increase their prices. We are talking 200-400% price hikes.

The sad thing is the card doesn’t even address the initial issue the card was brought in for – those few who might actually need such assistance have found ways around it out of sheer desperation or embark on crime sprees to make up their shortfall.

We are a free country and as politicians there to serve the people you have no right to impose such a punitive and draconian scheme on unwilling Citizens. We NEVER voted or said “yes” to such a scheme.

Faithfully,

Tina Clausen.

March in March protests against pay cuts, welfare cuts and the Cashless Welfare Card will be held around Australia on the 25th of March.

To support the most vulnerable in our society, please get involved. Visit the March Australia Facebook page for list of marches in a town or city near you.

 

John Howard “hardened the hearts of many Australians”

By Tony Dewberry

How is it newsworthy that a retired politician was heckled in the street? Is ours a society where deference is demanded by the rulers from the ruled?

John Howard represents, for me, everything that is hateful, cruel and stupid about Australia. He hardened the hearts of many Australians against the legitimate rights of asylum seekers.

He ordered Australian troops on to the Norwegian vessel the Tampa to kidnap and imprison those fleeing persecution. He sent troops into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Howard committed us to wars in the Middle East that have turned into endless bloodbaths. He tried to break our union movement.

This shows that with power you can command many things, but power cannot command respect, which must always be given freely.

Should I outlive Howard I will be part of the opposition to giving him a state funeral and, I promise, no matter how old I am I will be part of the protest should such a state funeral go ahead.

He was such a key player in so many of the changes that make me grieve for the country I grew up in.

 

How to deal with being raped: two incompatible points of view

On ABC Qanda last night, Icelandic writer Thordis Elva spoke about how she had, over a seventeen year period, communicated with and finally forgiven Australian Tom Stranger, who raped her when she was sixteen and he was eighteen.

Stranger raped Elva as she lay literally paralytic from the effects of alcohol, in her own bed. He’d taken her home from a party, where friends were so concerned they’d wanted to call for medical assistance. Stranger undertook to protect and watch over her until she recovered. The rape took place over two hours, and so damaged Elva she was unable to walk properly for some time.

The two have since given a TED talk on their many email encounters, which were initiated by Elva and culminated in a physical meeting in Cape Town. Stranger remarks on the suitability of this country for their purpose, given the truth and reconciliation project of the Mandela government that sought to address crimes against humanity during decades of apartheid in South Africa, employing a process that involved admissions of guilt, and subsequent forgiveness by victims.

Stranger and Elva have written a book about their long experience of seeking a resolution to their victim/perpetrator relationship. They finally reached a point where Stranger was able to take responsibility for his actions, and name himself as a rapist. This ownership of his behaviour has allowed Elva to find relief from her feelings of hatred, rage and desire for revenge.

While I don’t find it at all difficult to imagine the relief and liberation I’d feel if a perpetrator admitted his crimes against me, I do find it difficult to imagine wanting a relationship with him that would see us co-authoring a book, and travelling the world together, sharing a stage.

As Elva notes, and I agree, forgiveness is something victims do for ourselves, not for the perpetrator. However, what I couldn’t extrapolate from the TED talk or Qanda, or interviews I’ve read, is how she moved emotionally and intellectually from regarding Stranger as an assailant, to interacting with him as a colleague.

Or perhaps not so much how, as why? Releasing myself from dark feelings and desires so as to get on with my life is both sensible and healthy. But keeping the rapist in my life?

I can forgive the perpetrator for my own sake, but that doesn’t mean I ever want to see him again.

Also on the panel last night was Josephine Cashman, Indigenous lawyer and business woman. Ms Cashman’s take on rape is situated at the opposite end of the continuum, and she was rather dismissive of Elva’s story. Ms Cashman stated unequivocally that sexual assault should be dealt with by the legal system, women must go to the police, the perpetrator must be charged, tried, convicted and incarcerated.

Which in theory sounds quite logical, however, as this must-read article by Jane Gilmour points out, that apparently logical process is rarely the outcome of sexual assault allegations. The legal system can be brutal to victims of sexual assault, and conviction rates are notoriously low.

I admit to feeling not a little creeped out by Mr Stranger when I watched the TED talk. I was unable to get past my knowledge of him as a man who had cruelly  and opportunistically raped an entirely helpless woman, over a two-hour period. I didn’t really care what he had to say about his later realisation, self-evident to me, that at the time he’d been more concerned about his wants than Ms Elva’s needs and safety.

In the spirit of truth and reconciliation I tried quite hard to find a point of contact with Stranger. All I felt was dizzy and sick. Yes, I can imagine the miserable, criminal psychopathy of a man who rapes a very ill and barely conscious woman he’s promised to care for. Yes, I can pity it. I just don’t want it or him anywhere near my life.

It seems to me on reflection, that both Ms Cashman and Ms Elva are unrealistic. For very many victims of sexual violence and other violence against women, engaging with the perpetrator is the very last thing we want to do. Taking the legal option is often described as being raped all over again, and it is disingenuous of Ms Cashman to pose that option as a logical process that results in justice. It isn’t, and more often than not, there’s no justice to be had.

It is possible to achieve a state of comparative peace or forgiveness without any involvement with the perpetrator, and preferably with help and support from others.

A woman is forever changed by the experience of sexual assault, and it’s impossible to recover the self who existed before the attack. This is just one of the many losses caused by rape: the loss of who I was before.

I don’t think there’s such a thing as “closure” or “resolution.” There is only finding a way to live your life as fully as you can, in spite of what has happened to you. There’s no formula for this. There’s no prescription.

It’s the victim’s task, and how unfair it seems, to find her way through the hell of rape. It can take a lifetime. And nobody can or should tell a woman how she must do it. If you don’t do it Ms Cashman or Ms Elva’s way, you haven’t failed. You’ve succeeded in searching for and finding your own way to take back your life. And you might have to do it more than once.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

Alt-Right Hypocrisy and Degeneracy Exposed

By Christian Marx

Yesterday’s poster boy for the far right Libertarian movement, Milo Yiannopoulos spectacularly fell from grace. This was unsurprising, as defending paedophilia and trying to normalise sex with a priest when Milo was 14 years old, is not only tasteless, it crosses the boundaries of moral mores.

However, what is surprising and truly shocking beyond belief is the lengths that the apostles of Milo went to defend the indefensible. On multiple Facebook pages, these deplorables were openly supporting Milo and his comments!

When this author and many others challenged them on public pages, we were met with a barrage of insults and the standard right wing rhetoric about being a Muslim apologist and supporting a religion that has a “paedophile” as a deity.

This was tragically ironic as they were, themselves, openly supporting paedophile enabling language! As an atheist I care not a jot about mythical gods, but I am extremely worried when the Nazi/Libertarian right try to muddy the waters by throwing in Islam to protect actual paedophile enabling, from a real person.

This didn`t seem to enter their small frontal cortex though, as their arguments and lame defences of Milo seemed to hinge on either, A) The fact that Milo is a militant attack dog against those on the left, therefore he can do no wrong, and B) Their fear of Islam is so great they will attack anyone who does not share their irrational fear of Muslims.

Imagine for a minute that a left wing public figure had openly said what Yiannopoulos has said. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Murdoch rags would have been screaming from the rooftops! If one is against paedophilia and other enabling nonsense, then ultimately it does not matter which side of the political fence one sits on. Decent thinking people will automatically condemn paedophile enabling language!

The Murdoch media and their degenerate cousins at Breitbart remain extremely quiet on this latest event. I guess it does not fall into their “left is evil” narrative. Fortunately some conservatives were disgusted and ironically, it was the right side of politics that exposed this grubby incident and ultimately led to Milo`s downfall.

What the extremists fail to see, is that enabling paedophilia and bragging about performing fellatio on a priest as a 13 year old, is not going to enamour too many people to Milo`s cause. Pushing the envelope is not necessarily a bad thing, but ultimately this time the line of decency and humanity was crossed.

It seems that both conservatives and progressives agree that sometimes “free” speech can be extremely vulgar and damaging. Libertarians on the far right and many Neo-Fascists seem to give Cart Blanche to the most disgusting speech if it protects their viewpoint or is from another with an ideology of a similar nature. They can`t go running around trying to pretend that they are against paedophilia, while at the same time endorsing Milo`s type of language.

Milo has since apologized and attempted to say some of his words were wrong and he didn`t mean what he said…but if they were not his own thoughts, then why say them? Pretending that it was all some transgressively dark humour is not an adequate excuse. This type of language should always be challenged, whether it is from the left or the right. Moral decency should transcend political leanings and this sort of language should never be defended.

Yiannopoulos will suffer some heavy fallout. He has lost his publishing deal and has had his speaking gig cancelled at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. He has also now “resigned” from his post as editor at Breitbart news.

However it is not just Milo that will suffer some severe damage, it is also his craven disciples who will be exposed for the cretins that they are. Perhaps on this issue, both conservatives and progressives have found common ground, and this latest incident is the final dagger in the heart of the Alt right/Libertarian movement. One can hope, but only time will tell.

Things are a little scary right now

By Bob Rafto

The US Defense Department’s $680 billion budget pays for over 3.1 million employees, both military and civilian. Another 3 million people are employed by the defense industry both directly, making things like weapons, and indirectly, such as working in local businesses supported by a contractor’s location in a town, according to various sources. It’s these big money and job figures that make lawmakers fight for defense contracts in their districts and defense contractors lobby for their contracts.

Then you have similar activities in Russia, China, UK and other nations.

Now if we cut this down to the bare bone, millions of people are employed to make weapons that have a sole purpose of killing millions of other people. We might have advanced technologically but primarily we are still savages in as much that when we can’t resolve our differences we resort to killing to get an outcome.

Corporate entities rely on growth, so that means more and more arms are manufactured every year and more wars have to be manufactured and hundreds of thousands of people have to die just to keep the arms industry in business and to deliver windfall profits year in year out.

The US have been up to their necks in regime change and have been involved in 100 armed conflict since the American revolution (Wiki). Has any any other country in history been involved in so many armed conflicts?

Now the arms industry is mainstream, they now have fairs, just like the auto industry where generals and dictators flock to and to be wined and dined over idle chatter of how many people can be exterminated from a $600,000 bomb and that’s the cost of the bombs we are supposedly dropping on the Syrians.

A little more research revealed an ad for a book ‘The Merchants of Death’ here’s the ad:

“Here is the archetype of all post–World War I revisionism of a particular variety: the hunt for the people who made the big bucks off the killing machine. The Merchants of Death was, in many ways, the manifesto of a generation of people who swore there would not be and could not be another such war.

But here is the kicker: it was co-authored by the founder of Human Events, the conservative weekly. So this is no left-wing screed against profiteering. It is a careful and subtle, but still passionate, attack on those who would use government to profit themselves at the expense of other people’s lives and property.

Here is a sample of the ideological orientation: “The arms industry did not create the war system. On the contrary, the war system created the arms industry … All constitutions in the world vest the war-making power in the government or in the representatives of the people. The root of the trouble, therefore, goes far deeper than the arms industry. It lies in the prevailing temper of peoples toward nationalism, militarism, and war, in the civilization which forms this temper and prevents any drastic and radical change. Only when this underlying basis of the war system is altered, will war and its concomitant, the arms industry, pass out of existence.

This book is a wonderful example of what Rothbard called the “Old Right” in its best form. The book not only makes the case against the war machine; it provides a scintillating history of war profiteering, one authoritative enough for citation and academic study. One can see how this book had such a powerful effect.

Why re-release this book now? The war profiteers are making money as never before. They are benefiting from conflict as never before. Everything in this book has not only come to pass but as been made worse by a million times. So this treatise is more necessary than ever.

This is the real heritage of the American Right.”

Should be a good read and reinforces what I wrote above.

The US military spend budget is more than the 7 highest spending countries (and that includes Russia and China) combined and now Trump is going to increase the budget by a few more hundred billions to probably a trillion dollars all up. The arms industry will live on forever thriving on death as long as there are neo-cons in this world.

The Donald

My take on Trump is from cursory observation on Social Media and some online rags.

The Donald is scary as is the future he is leading us to and Abbott was the same but a minnow compared to Trump.

The Donald is thinking and acting in big business mode and he won’t hesitate to destroy anyone who gets in his way. He has stacked his team with billionaires so it will be a business-run government looking after business interests.

He will have no hesitation in starting wars, he is not increasing the military budget without reason.

He is devoid of any compassion and empathy, it’s all about Donald and no one else.

The Donald is being consumed by a headiness of being the most powerful man on earth and here is the similarity with Abbott, who was also consumed by the power headiness. Abbott terrorised the Muslim community with 800 cops, helicopters and militarised swat teams, Donald bars Muslims from entering the US.

The Donald is 70 and obese and he won’t cope with the stress of office, and that can’t be good for his health.

The Donald will keep on alarming the horses – just like Abbott – but he won’t be around forever, but long enough to leave a great swathe of scar tissue on the planet.

 

More Letters from a Labor Activist: Dec 2016 – Jan 2017

By Dr Tristan Ewins

What follows are another series of letters I have written to the ‘Herald-Sun’ and ‘The Age’ during the December 2016 to January 2017 period. None were published. But I hope it sparks some thought and some debate amongst readers here.

Topics include ‘Cultural Marxism’, Labor Policy, Pensions, Green Energy and who pays?,  Islam and Education, Female Genital Mutilation, What to do about Poverty?, and ‘Bolt and Panahi need to Work Out Which Side they are On on Civil Liberties’.

Hysteria on ‘Cultural Marxism’

“P.Jones (Letters, 29/12/16) again raises the spectre of ‘cultural Marxism’ ; evoking the remnants of Cold War era fear of those movements bearing the name of Karl Marx. But ‘Critical Theory’ and the ‘Frankfurt School’ (the proper names of the traditions referred to as ‘cultural Marxism’) are radical intellectual traditions which have very little to do with the Totalitarianism and Stalinism which once prevailed in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.  Critical theorists promoted personal freedom, dignity and fulfilment; and they rejected attempts by Stalin and his successors to crush the independence of radical thought. Some critical theorists have also promoted the peaceful transition to a democratic socialist order through mutual engagement based on the powers of human reason. They also subjected past Marxism to criticism on the basis that radicals needed to be open-minded about confronting past errors. Considered in context, ‘cultural Marxism’ does not deserve ‘the bogey status’ imposed on it by Conservative intellectuals and others who either do not really understand its content; or otherwise want to distort perceptions in order to create fear and prevent change.”

Labor needs a Stronger Agenda; and not only Defensiveness on Company Tax

Responding to ‘The Age Letters 7/1/17’: While Labor’s opposition to Company Tax cuts is welcome, Australia needs a more robust reform agenda: improving our social wage and welfare state, and providing for vital infrastructure. Hence a National Aged Care Insurance Scheme to roll back regressive user pays; and improve quality of life for our most vulnerable. Superannuation tax concessions for the wealthy and the upper middle class could be cut, bringing in tens of billions. In addition to Capital Gains Tax and Negative Gearing reforms, Australia could also look to phased withdrawal of Dividend Imputation. Reversion to a 75% credit alone could save over $5 billion/year. Because of their progressive potential, reform of income and other progressive taxes (eg: Medicare-style Levies) should not be ‘taboo’. Presumed ‘pull factors’ regarding Corporate Taxation can neglect the impact of education and infrastructure in attracting investment. Infrastructure privatisation increases cost-structures. And there are economic and moral dilemmas associated with ‘corporate welfare’. Citizens and taxpayers effectively subsidize corporations benefitting from services and infrastructure ; because of a more regressive tax mix (flatter, and/or focusing on consumption) and also indirectly through austerity. Poverty and inequality also affect consumption power, damaging the broader economy.

The Problems with Tightening Pension Eligibility

Frank Stubbs (Herald-Sun Letters, 7/1/17) argues “the pension is not a right”; that it should only go to the most needy. But there are problems with this argument. In the 1980s Labor introduced superannuation while means-testing pensions. This enabled a focus on ‘targeted welfare’; where we could have both a regime of low taxation – and necessary supports for the genuinely vulnerable. Superannuation made all this possible. But before this the Aged Pension was considered a right. Primarily because people had paid their taxes their entire working lives – and had earned that security. But “rights” must also be a matter of human decency; such that we must not allow the vulnerable to struggle in poverty – even if they cannot work. The problem with superannuation is that it might increasingly see the marginalisation of the Aged Pension, and those dependent upon it. The consumption power of low income Australians is also affected, harming the economy. In the future conservatives may demand further tightening of pension eligibility; and that would marginalise pensioners, giving rise to further self-interested cries from business, the middle classes, the wealthy –  for pension cuts. There’s a potential future social cost to cutting pension eligibility.

An Important Question on Green Energy: Who Pays?

In response to Matt Johnston (13/1): It is necessary to take action on renewable energy to respond to global warming. But an additional concern is “who pays?” Currently, renewable energy is more expensive. And while many households are taking up ‘micro-renewable energy’, a great many others are ‘locked out’ because they simply cannot afford the investment. But as middle class families opt for micro-renewable energy, this damages the ‘economies of scale’ of the legacy centralised energy industry. The cost of ‘poles and wires’ and other infrastructure is divided amongst a smaller consumer base.  So consumers on low incomes are forced to pay more. This is worsened by privatisation: which means providers will pursue profits and avoid cross subsidies for the financially disadvantaged. “Micro-renewables’ are probably the way of the future: but in the meantime governments need to take stronger action to ensure financially disadvantaged customers don’t bear the cost. Subsidies of various kinds need to negate the entire effect on affordability for low income customers during this transitional period (until technology improves and prices fall). The timeframe depends on the priorities of government and the progress of research and development.

Responding to Kevin Donnelly on Islam and Education

Kevin Donnelly (Herald Sun, 2/1/17) criticises Islam as ‘inherently violent’ while defending ‘the Western tradition’ against its apparent detractors on ‘the Left’. Some things need to be stated in response to this.  Firstly, it is partly a matter of convenience. The ‘West’ supported the Mujahedeen (Islamic fundamentalists) against the Soviets during the Cold War, despite what this meant for women in Afghanistan. Further, Islam is diverse – and potentially open to reform – perhaps like Christianity and Judaism have been (partly because of the historic intersection of Christianity with liberalism). In some places ‘a (liberal) Islamic reformation’ may actually be a good thing (further reform of the Roman Catholic Church would also be good). But in the meantime we should not promote notions of ‘cultural superiority’ to justify interventions which are really geo-political in nature. Also when we defend ‘the Western tradition’ and ‘the Enlightenment’ we should be clear what that means. It means supporting free and critical enquiry. The consequence of this also must be that education is not only for ‘fundamentals’ of numeracy and literacy. There is a crucial place for the Humanities and Social Sciences – in combination with a progressive civics agenda – which promotes political literacy and active citizenship. Authoritarian responses to protest and civil disobedience are counter to the freedoms we celebrate which originated with the Enlightenment – and the liberal and democratic revolutions that followed.

Responding to FGM: How Prevalent is it in Australia?

Rita Panahi (16/1) makes some points about the most reactionary practices in Islam, mentioning child brides, ‘honour killings’, and female genital mutilation. Despite allusions to a so-called ‘regressive Left’ any Leftist worth their salt could not help but oppose those practices. Of course we must support women and girls who oppose and fight against these practices. But there are other complications. Firstly it is unclear how widespread  FGM is in Australia. In 2010 the ABC reported that 700 cases were presented to the Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital. But in 2011 the total Australian Islamic population (all creeds considered) was nearing half a million. So its important to keep perspective: to support the rights of women and girls ; but also to be aware of possible ulterior motives. Strong cultural differences can be exploited to justify geo-political and strategic objectives. We need to keep cultural difference and strategic/geo-political issues separate so as to avoid confusion and remain clear about the real motivations and interests behind our foreign policy.

References:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-02-06/female-circumcision-happening-in-australia/2594496

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Australia

What Must we actually Do in Response to Poverty?

In the Herald-Sun letters section recently there has been some good discussion of poverty. But the problem is on such a scale that it will never be overcome through charity ; and we need action – not only talk. Only government can provide the resources for a definitive solution. That calls for a stronger, fairer welfare system for disadvantaged groups, the elderly and the unemployed; a fairer, progressive tax mix; and labour market re-regulation at the lower end. It also calls for a stronger social wage; including more funding for public health and education; as well as for public housing and emergency accommodation, and energy and water subsidies. It might also include better-subsidised public transport and internet access (these are now essentials – for instance it is virtually impossible to search effectively for work now without them). It could include an active industry policy which offers ‘flexible’ work favourable to employees’ needs ; preventing those such as retrenched auto workers being relegated permanently to unemployment. And it could involve greater flexibility for pensioners to take on casual or part-time work without foregoing their pensions ; hence avoiding poverty traps.

Bolt and Panahi Need to work out where they Stand on Civil Rights

Andrew Bolt claims “Leftists hate our freedoms” while Rita Panahi gives thanks for liberal freedoms she enjoys in Australia compared with theocratic Iran. But at the same time Rita Panahi has dismissed civil libertarians as ‘do-gooders’. And for all his talk, Andrew Bolt has never had anything to say against anti-protest laws introduced by past Liberal governments in New South Wales and Victoria. That includes ‘move on’ laws that criminalised freedom of assembly; and laws in NSW which could see protestors jailed for several years for civil disobedience. As well as Federal laws criminalising ‘whistle-blowers’ who reveal details on the treatment of refugees. Journalists like Panahi and Bolt need to decide what side they are on when it comes to liberal and democratic rights. It is true that parts of the Left qualify freedom of speech where they believe that speech could be socially harmful. Other Leftists are nonetheless concerned at possible precedents which could help result in a far more general retreat of liberties. And the ‘pressure cooker’ effect of suppressed (and sometimes manufactured) grievances which can explode with the rise of populist, far-right-wing movements. Reality is more complex than you would think reading Panahi and Bolt.

This article was originally published on ALP Socialist Left Forum.

 

Day to Day Politics: Stand up to the groper.

 

The first glimpse of the diplomatic style of Donald Trump reveals the well known ugliness of the President of the United States. Not that his offensive personality is unknown. However, this time he has chosen a friend of long standing to spray his vitriolic abuse at.

I imagine the full text of what was said will never be known however, according to Turnbull, Trump agreed to the deal arranged with the Obama administration. This is hard to follow given Trumps stance on immigration.

Naturally Turnbull wanted a deal given his dilemma at domestic level. He will be in crisis mode if he doesn’t cut the it.
There can be no excuse for Trump to treat a friend as he has and every Australian should feel affronted. Equally though every Australian should feel let down by the fact that Turnbull allowed him to do so.

America has never enjoyed a good international reputation and needs every friend she can get. Trump should behave accordingly. They have always been the only country in the world to believe in their own bullshit. Stand up to the groper Malcolm.

 

Day to Day Politics: And another thought … his elitist arrogance is bewildering.

In our political history I don’t think I have ever witnessed an act of political arrogance to match that delivered by the Prime Minister at the National Press Club. At a time of societal dissatisfaction with the political process. The way in which governance is delivered. A time in which political donations have come under public scrutiny. A time when 82% of the population mistrust our politicians.

In the full knowledge of this our Prime Minister chose to use a loophole in the law to delay by another year, the disclosure of the amount he personally gave to his election campaign. And he did so with his customary gotcha charm. Grinning from ear to ear.

The effrontery of that decision shows that he has no idea why the mistrust exists. How could you honestly trust him to change the rules on MPs entitlements or indeed, donations.

All he really needs to do if he is to cling to any hope of credibility is to open his mouth and let the figure flow from his elitist tongue.

 

It’s not your fault you are filled with hate

Got up this morning with one thing in mind, and that’s getting our young boy Noah ready for his first day at high school.In the process of going through this memorable day, I was reminiscing on the day when older son Max was going through the same thing. I was overwhelmed with pride and honour in the quality of kids that my wife and I have been blessed with.

Eventually, we managed to get into the car and make our way to school. Whilst on the way there, I was telling him about bullying. Basically warning him about being a bully and being bullied. He said to me, “Dad, I will never be a bully. You’ve raised me better than that. And if someone tries to bully me, I will go straight to the teachers or my big brother”. With a little chuckle, I said “the teachers will do just fine”. That made me feel extremely proud of him. On the radio, the ABC reporter was talking about Donald Trump and Noah said “he’s a big bully”. I responded with “that sums him up spot on boy”.

Anyway, as I drop him off, he gives me a fist pump followed by a Shaka hand wave. I took that as ‘Go now before you embarrass me’. LOL.

On my way to work, and thinking about my wife and my boys, I was entrenched with a euphoric feeling of love, pride and happiness. A sense of belonging, if that makes sense. To retain this feeling, I turned on the music that my eldest son had been playing in the car. It was Lebanese Dabkeh music (traditional Lebanese music which people perform the cultural dance too in the Middle-East). Admittedly I had the volume up but not high enough to disturb anyone.

I get to set of lights only to be blasted with these words (please excuse the language);
“Oi… Oi… Oi you f*ckwit.” I turned to him and put the volume down and said “sorry mate”… He said “don’t f*cken call me mate you Mossy. Turn that f*cken Quran shit off. This is Australia and you’re not welcomed here you piece of f*cken Arab Muslim shit. Pauline Hanson will f*cken get rid of all of you soon – camel jockeys”.

I was silent and stunned. Couldn’t answer him. It was as though my tongue was knotted up in a twist that couldn’t be undone. All the sense of joy and happiness had vanished within seconds. I burst into tears as I momentarily lost the sentimental value of today and the day Max started high school. Couldn’t move and couldn’t drive. Just shocked at the level of hostility thrown at me.

I managed to drive off and pulled over at the next service station to gather myself. I reflected on the situation and said, “this is how effing stupid these people are”. I was playing a song and not the Quran. It’s like the opposite ends of a spectrum. I remembered what my late father told me only to find solace in it.

He said; “Stay true to yourself. Remain the impeccable human that you are. Love everyone unconditionally. Never allow hate into your heart. Always remember your heritage and culture. Keep your faith strong. Keep your friends close but keep yourself closer to those who hate you so you can change them. Keep your heart and arms wide open. There’s plenty of room for everyone.”

So before I took off, I wrote a text message to both my boys and sent them the same lessons my father taught me.

I am certain that they will keep his legacy moving forward.

I turned off the music and put the Quran on. And I played it loudly too. Played it with pride as this experience increased my faith even more.

To the person that showed his true colours, if you ever come across this post, know that I will gladly and happily meet with you to talk to you. Share myself with you. Show you who I am. Share my stories with you, especially on my upbringing both in Lebanon and Australia. Show you a glimpse of the hardship that I’ve endured back home and how this great country has changed things for me. Demonstrate to you that I am more patriotic than you will ever be. I am certain that I will be able to change you to become a gentleman. One that prefers love over hate. One that will believe in and live a life of coexistence with others. Give me the chance and I will fulfil.

I forgive you for tarnishing my blessed experience pertaining to my kids. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.

 

Taxing consumerism (it’s better than taxing the poor)

By R D Wood

Although we can hope for a more democratic economy through redistribution, we must also acknowledge our own personal role in being responsible citizens. As others have called for, we need taxes on multinational corporations; taxes on currency exchange markets; and taxes on those who inherit a golden goose sized nest egg. It is also about taxing what is negative, which might be carbon pollution or cigarettes or sugary drinks, and levelling these taxes against corporations with gross profits regardless of whether or not they pass that cost on to the consumer. In that way, the government, which means the people, can derive an income and encourage the betterment of society for all of us. This is what the focus of economic policy could be. It must lead towards non-violence in a broad definition and a good life as one of positive behavioural affirmation.

That we need to work smarter in order to live fulfilling lives means we need leadership that says it is OK to take a day off; it is OK not to lust after the latest consumer goods; it is OK to have a hobby. It is OK to realise that we are here for the long run. That this needs to go hand in hand with a service economy means we can combat climate change through economic means other than a simple tax on carbon. In other words, the greatest action we can take for saving the planet is providing economic conditions that support human labour, which is an inexhaustible resource. This is opposed to the commodity fetishism based on rare materials. Why should a massage be taxed at the same rate as a packet of chips when the former does not need plastic to exist? Like any other economic activity, they both are options for how we spend our time, but one costs less of the physical earth than the other. We need to think quite seriously about natural capital accounting and what is good for each of us as members of a connected community.

In that way, we need to raise a tax on ‘unsustainable goods’, which is to say goods that are not sustainable, which might mean local or Australian products depending on jurisdiction. Why should Chinese paper made from old growth forests be cheaper than recycled product owned by Australian businesses? In other words, our taxation system needs to be somewhat protectionist precisely because we need to protect our natural assets, which are in our national interests. For many, protectionism is a dirty word but in the messy application of theories one realises that trade is always reliant on lobbied interests. Free trade is only for beautiful idiots. To deny this because of some ahistorical abstract idea is as naïve as it is dangerous.

This is where craft and local economies need our support, from milk to art and beyond. Taxes could be raised in three levels. From the lowest to the highest they are:

  • services
  • local goods
  • imported goods

This is because taxes deter behaviour and we need to realise that our behaviours have to change so we are better off and can chart our own course as a society working together. It is a good thing to have a service economy precisely because it minimises the overconsumption of goods, which is to say, it enables a more sustainable practice for spending one’s time meaningfully.

With a reformed and enlarged taxation system we need to save for the rainy days and shift the way in which people spend their time. Politicians need to inspire people when the sea gets rough and direct the boat at the same time. That means taxing bad behaviour by all of us, and, when it comes to new industries, providing leadership and redistribution to those most in need.

We need, then, to redirect economic activity into good commerce. This is not an out-dated twentieth century argument advocating irresponsible tax and spending in a simple welfare state. It is about how to re-route the activity of one’s life. This can be done through economic re-engagement. It is also to simply observe that people are willing to pay taxes when they are given a project they believe in. We must believe in Australia again as part of a climate-changing world. We must say that Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands have got it right when it comes to taxation, which is at the upper end of the global scale. One might also be tempted to suggest that high taxation encourages social cohesion and not only because one must have the idea of belonging. It does this because it also gives the water-cooler people something to complain about. Sometimes a force to negate is not always a bad thing. The task for Australia though is making our economic basis more sustainable so we can all manage what is a rapidly changing ecosystem.

 

Dear Chris Kenny. When you lose your reproductive rights, then you can call us petulant.

There are people who should know better who seem to be unclear about the nature of democracy.

I’m thinking of The Australian’s star turn Chris Kenny, who today tweeted that the US women’s march was “undemocratic” and an act of “mass petulance.”

(I’m sorry I can’t re-post his tweet. Kenny and I entered into an exchange of views and he blocked me. Gutted.)

Kenny appears to claiming that in a democracy an elected leader is owed unquestioning allegiance from those who did not vote for him or her. He also seems to be arguing that protest is undemocratic. Both these assumptions demonstrate an appalling ignorance as to the nature and purpose of democracy, whose definition Kenny and his ilk are apparently attempting to renegotiate.

In pre -Trump times I would have largely ignored Kenny, except in relation to canines, however, in the new world order alternate facts, post truths and just plain old lies have to be challenged, otherwise we’ll all end up being ruled by giant babies excreting giant piles of reeking faecal matter.

I’m not a woman who is inclined to identify with other women just because we all have vaginas. Neither am I likely to exult that I am proud to be a woman, because I can’t see any merit in an accident of birth. However, President Trump’s attitude to women and the Republican Party’s determination to strip women of hard-won reproductive rights stirs in me a profound identification with my sex, and the difficulties that are peculiar to us because of our sex, and I’ll wear a pussy hat in a march any time as an indicator of where my loyalties lie.

Kenny’s dismissal of the global protests of millions of women as “mass petulance” encapsulates the reasons we march. Kenny does not have to fear enduring a backyard abortion because Roe v Wade is overturned. Kenny does not have to fear the lack of resources to see him through a pregnancy because his health care has been terminated. Kenny does not have to tolerate being paid significantly less than his female counterpart for doing the same job.

Kenny cannot deal with being the subject of  television satirists, so quite how he would cope with the myriad daily insults and abuses heaped on women just because we have vaginas, I can’t begin to imagine.

Kenny apparently believes he is justified in “standing up for [his] rights” when he feels abused, but women are not. It’s undemocratic when we do it. It’s a human right when he does it.

Sorry Chris. You won’t be remembered as the journalist called the dog f**ker who stood up for his rights. We’ll just remember you as the dog f**ker, with a big serve of petulance on the side.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

Colin Barnett on a road to nowhere

By Tracie Aylmer

On Thursday 12 January 2017 I went to a protest in order to protect the Beeliar Wetlands. There were around 1000 of us, all acting peacefully and inclusively. We all welcomed each other, no matter what background we came from.

There were nurses, doctors, lawyers, lecturers, elderly, children, mothers, fathers, truck drivers, Indigenous protectors and advocates from far and wide. We had no gripe against the police that aggressively attacked us. We did not fight back against them, other than to pull down a temporary fence. I very much doubt the fence would have felt anything.

The media has us as rabid, raving lunatics. If the media only understood all of the reasons why we were there in our own time for free, then perhaps this farce of a ‘development’ would not go ahead. In fact, most of the community are against the Roe 8 project, but many would not know it if they only saw what the media showed them.

Colin Barnett keeps saying that trucks would get off the road if a road was built. How? This is not even logically possible. In fact, more trucks would go on the road as the road would be available. Once the toll was on the road, then obviously the trucks would use back streets, similar to what happened when the M4 in Sydney was built.  I remember being in traffic for one and a half hours going to work and one and a half hours come back home from work, just to miss the tollways. My work was around 45 minutes away without peak hour traffic to slow me down. This is what Colin Barnett is advocating for – all streets outside of the tollways being clogged up during peak hour traffic. Since Perth already has a traffic problem, creating more traffic problems obviously does not make any sense whatsoever.

He says there is no other option, than destroying the only Wetlands that Western Australia has. He has targeted the Wetlands first, in order to demolish the wildlife. He has gone over and above his own policies, thereby negating all policies within all departments, in order to try to destroy the community.

This road was supposed to stop quite a distance away from Fremantle Port, which he has decided must be privatised. It doesn’t even get to the Port, and Colin Barnett has no idea even now how it is to reach the Port. The $1.8 billion price ticket doesn’t even include how this road is meant to get to the Port. Obviously, there is going to be an incredible budget blowout, similarly to the Sydney M4 and the Brisbane Clem 7. This budget blowout has not been allocated for by any authority whatsoever. It will happen, and it will put WA in even further debt than Barnett’s complete recent mismanagement of our mining boom.

Not only is this a road to nowhere, it is a road without vision. The only real winners are Barnett’s development mates, and possibly Barnett himself. There are rumours that he has a philosophy of ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’. While I cannot comment further on this, it appears obvious that he is profiting somehow from WA’s dilemmas.

There is also another option. Not only will it be more efficient, but it will provide for thousands more jobs and give us more desperately needed trade. Since Fremantle Port is already nearing capacity, having another port will give WA the kickstart it needs to create a different type of boom. It will put more trucks on the road in a different area, thereby ensuring the trucking industry remains alive and well. It will save our Wetlands. It will give vision to a state that desperately needs it.

The community near the Outer Harbour have advised that they are desperate for Kwinana to open up. There is high unemployment in the area, and the tens of thousands of jobs in that area are much more needed than the over capacity Fremantle Port. Both communities want the Outer Harbour to exist. Much of the framework has already been completed for the Outer Harbour. All sides of politics knows it’s only a matter of time before it does exist.

Why is Colin Barnett wasting so much money on something that highly likely won’t occur anyway? His fanaticism simply does not make any sense whatsoever.

If he thinks behaving in this manner is going to give him a name that will last in his final months as Premier, he is sadly mistaken. We will make absolute sure that what has already been lost of the Wetlands can be reinstated, and that the whole project will not in its majority occur. We are very determined to keep our Wetlands. We will also be determined to make sure that his name is relegated to a footnote in our history books as one of the worst Premiers that WA has ever had.

There is an election in less than two months. As Colin Barnett is illogical, he is also unfit to remain as our Premier. Let’s kick him out. He deserves nothing less for this fiasco.

TracieTracie Aylmer – Tracie is an advocate who enjoys writing about social justice issues. From working in most facets of office work as a professional temporary for several years, to completing a postgraduate law degree and then to researching and writing about social justice, she has been a Jill of many trades. She is the most well known for writing a submission as well as the Immigration Department manuals and guidelines to the International Criminal Court, calling for the arrest of several politicians due to their crimes against humanity, as well as getting some pretty great results from the ICC.