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Message massacring

For democracy to function with anything approaching efficiency, the people who choose our representatives need to know the truth about the challenges facing us, have some understanding of the pros and cons of varying approaches towards dealing with issues, and should be given the choice between candidates who are capable of understanding, prioritising, and acting on solutions.

The sad fact is that, whilst we go through the motions of having elections, most voters are poorly informed, media and lobby groups distort the truth, political parties will do whatever it takes to gain power, and preselections and positions are bestowed on fellow travellers for their factional loyalty rather than their competence.

The latest quarterly update on greenhouse gas emissions was released on Friday. In amongst a lot of spin about per capita emissions and declines from the 2007 peak, there were two important sentences in this report:

Emissions for the year to March 2019 are up 0.6 per cent on the previous year.

Australia’s emissions for the year to March 2019 were 0.5 per cent above emissions in 2000.

If our emissions are above those in 2000 and have continued the trend of rising every year since abolishing the carbon price, we CANNOT meet our 2020 emissions reduction target.

Sure, we can bullshit about carryover credits and something about cantering, but the government’s own report demonstrates once again what crap that is.

We see the same message massacring from the ABS who, they assure us with no coercion from the government, decided to put a positive spin on inequality with a feel-good media release titled “Inequality stable since 2013–14”.

That too is, of course, crap.

Wealth inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient, “is at its peak now (0.621) since it was first comprehensively measured in 2003-04 (0.573)”, a phrase that was deleted from the draft copy after a direction to “focus on income over wealth”.

Another media release was engagingly titled “Average household wealth tops $1 million”. That’s the great thing about averages – a few billionaires make it sound like we are all going along just tickety-poo. Until you get to the part that says “the lowest 20% controlled less than 1 per cent of all household wealth, with average wealth currently at $35,200”, while “the wealthiest 20% of households still held over 60% of all household wealth, now averaging $3.2 million per household”.

And all policy settings are designed to keep that trend going. We can apparently afford tax cuts and a range of tax concessions for wealthy investors but we cannot afford to increase Newstart payments or provide affordable housing.

Wherever you look, we are being manipulated by messaging. The idea that, unless we persecute a hard-working Sri Lankan couple and their two baby daughters, our navy, air force and border force will be unable to repel an invasion by fishing boats, is beyond ridiculous.

The apathy brought about by the safety and comfort we have enjoyed in this country has led to an acceptance by the majority of the population of these massacred messages. The truth has been obscured by spin. No longer do we hear genuine debate about opposing ideas informed by factual evidence – we hear propaganda designed to maintain the power and privilege of the few.

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19 comments

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  1. Terence Mills

    I had a post election chat with a friend of mine the other day. I don’t know how she normally votes but I was aware that, as a pensioner, she had been worried and confused about the franking credits issue even though it didn’t and never would affect her savings.

    She tells me that she is pleased that Labor didn’t win the election as she was really more concerned about the inheritance or death taxes issue as she believed that this was Labor policy and would apply to all assets that she may bequeath to her family including her home.

    As a scare campaign, the death tax issue was far more effective than the so called Mediscare of the previous election.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Dumb as a post Pauline got sucked into the death taxes lie and ran with it.

    “Pauline Hanson speaks to Tasmanian’s about Labor’s Death Tax Plans
    LABOR WANT TO REINTRODUCE DEATH TAXES

    Death taxes were abolished back in the 70’s, but if Bill Shorten and Labor win government, they have plans to tax your net wealth 40% when you die and deprive your kids of their inheritance.

    What do you think?”

    Watch this video she posted.

    https://www.facebook.com/PaulineHansonAu/videos/352580012043571/

    As for Mediscare, the government had a task force working on privatising the payment system. I don’t understand how anyone thought Medicare would be “sold” – it isn’t a profit-making business. The Coalition wanted to pay someone else to make the payments to doctors and/or to us.

  3. Tom

    Ya i saw this today about australian doctors corporation pushing climate change as a “health issue”…shows the integrity of the health system can even be manipulated bye climate bullying…such bs
    ..no integrity left…sad sad state…

    great article thanks

  4. RomeoCharlie29

    The problems the community faces go deeper than just the lies and scare campaigns of political parties, the Lib/Nats have stacked so many of the review bodies, the AAT etc., with failed or former LNP hacks, they have watered down, defunded or abolished regulatory bodies put in place to protect the consuming populace which allows say, shonky builders to get away with fiascos around building standards or cladding which purchasers now have to rectify. Cretinous viewers seduced by crap tv shows where they are deluged by product placements are so dumbed down they can no longer tell when they are being bullshitted by Hanson or Palmer or the morally bankrupt ministers who lie and manipulate stories to cover their inhumane treatment of asylum seekers aided of course by compliant media. A public education system isdefunded and over bureaucratised to the point where teachers are overwhelmed by reporting demands so their actual teaching is restricted and it’s all part of a government strategy to ensure a poorer educated populace unable to apply critical thinking to the crap they are being fed. Wages deliberately being held down, welfare recipients demonised and squeezed ensures a working populace under such constant financial pressure that they don’t have the time, or the inclination, to question what evils are being done in their name — not just the wickedness being done to the Bioela family, but our sycophantic support for the American madman’s Stupidities in the Mid-East or Morrison’s ignorant posturing to the East Timorese while persecuting those who called out the totally illegal bugging of the E.Timorese Government. It all makes me wonder what Australians have done to deserve this government?

  5. Keitha Granville

    We already have a death tax, it’s called capital gains. On any inheritance CGT is payable, what is that if not a death tax ?

    No pensioner with a franking credit due was ever going to lose it, the lies and spin were just unbelievable. I have argued till I am blue in the face with people who swore they were going to lose $3.50. They couldn’t see or believe that it was all for the Dick SMith types, gaining millions for absolutely no reason at all.

    We are doomed. We are hopeless. Until there is a law about truth in election campaigns, we are doomed.
    The planet is dying, the poor are dying, islanders will drown, economies will collapse and anarchy will take over.

    Is there any point to life ?

  6. Kaye Lee

    There are many great people doing amazing things to help others, to expand our knowledge, to fight against the destruction of our planet. Even being kind to people makes the world a better place.

    The fact that we know about these things also means that the other side, whilst having the upper hand, haven’t yet been able to silence us completely.

  7. Robin Alexander

    Just totally disillusioned withthe government last 7yrs? Total aim is tokeepworkers on lowest wages and all on government benifits that is in luding Aged &Veterens pensions never been considered as welfare until this lot attained government!for decades set up as just entitlement for workers hard,physical work of de ades and Vets for service to. country! EvenBob Menzies stated it is never to be condsidered welfare but a JUST right to elderly? Here we now have evil gov trying to make this as bad as possi le for all elderly!

  8. Andrew Smith

    Everything is fine according to media and politicians; house prices up (based on dodgy data), borders secure (against imaginary insurgents and/or unarmed refugees in leaky boats), climate change does not exist, attacks on Christianity are unwarranted while Australian people are safe (from anything ever changing) and any need to take responsibility, or display empathy for others.

  9. Lantanaman

    I wish it were possible to have government by artificial intelligence, remove humans altogether because we, all of us, self included, to a greater or lesser extent are flawed by greed. Some of us will/would never be satisfied no matter how wealthy or powerful they become. Wealth/power are addictive, often they complement each other, have one and the other is not far away all too frequently. Apologies to those who might consider my statement to be a convenient simplification and generalisation. I am sure there are many good folk who do not abuse their good fortune but have genuine altruistic motives. It is just that the present incumbents occupying the treasure benches, front stalls at least, only because they bleat more than the ones in the back stalls, make me despair. Has the Australian populace really been so bad that we deserve this lot? I suppose our fault has been to allow this tide of mediocrity to gather degree by relentless degree, Boiled frog syndrome, which by the way is a flawed theory, frogs are smart.

    Back to my opening statement, government by artificial intelligence, if only it was possible, of course the trick would be to make sure that no human had a skerrick of involvement in running the AI. So the “system” would need to have as its raison d’etre, for the benefit of the populace” and not the benefit of the “system” which I contend is what we have now. “That’s been tried” I hear being shouted at me, Socialism, “it fails too”, agreed because humans were involved, the problem is always going to be humans. Not so in the animal kingdom, bees, ants, termites examples where Socialism succeeds. These creatures have no personal ambition, they exist solely for the benefit of the community and the community, save for catastrophic event, is highly successful. It is fanciful on my part to ramble on about government by AI and Socialism in the animal world when neither are likely to happen, the wealthy/powerful elements, just like the NRA in the US will defend their privileged positions with greater vigor than they would defend their country.

    Mediocrity in vision, in performance, in morality add dishonesty and you have the ingredients of this inept bunch of self serving sycophants. The only job they do well is serving themselves.

    If I thought it would help I would have a drink.

  10. Aortic

    Lantanaman, well spoken mon ami. As someone once said democracy is where 51 percent of the people take away the rights of the other 49 percent. Trouble is if you even mention anything that smacks of that awful dare I say it socialism, ( read equality) the rabid right and those who know fuck all about fuck all get all steamed up. Until we have an opposition that enunciates reasoned policies clearly, instead of making the same mistake of blaming the other side, nothing will change. Mark Dreyfus for mine. By the way I had a strong drinkie or two last night and at least I slept for a while and was blissfully unaware of the perilous state our wonderful country is in through the sheer ineptness of those who supposedly are in charge.

  11. New England Cocky

    heheheheh … I remember Timor Leste during the 1999 Indonesian withdrawal when some Liarbral politician threatened to send in the Australian Army, and Indonesian General Wiranto laughed ….. loudly.

    The Indonesian assault force had been three divisions with the relieving occupation force three weeks later a further fresh three divisions. At that time the Australian Army had difficulty raising one division ….. even when sick parade was counted.

    Nothing has changed. Conservative politicians with no practical military experience continue to commit Australian military personnel to the imperialist desires of other countries at great cost to Australian taxpayers. menzies set a bad example that little Johnnie ‘Flakjacket’ Howard and Toxic RAbbott were happy to ape.

  12. Lantanaman

    We kid ourselves that, “we punch above our weight”.
    Like we really showed Timor Leste didn’t we, hey?
    Our esteemed leaders tell us what good World citizens we are, with Christian beliefs/morals, Holier than thou attitude, the reason this country is the best country in the world is because Christianity is the best religion in the world, doncha know? What could possibly go wrong when Christianity prevails, now I ask you?
    What’s that, pedophilia, that was just an aberration, nothing to see here, move along please.
    Hey Peter how is White Australia Policy mk2 coming along? We need to keep those fake religions from contaminating our genuine ones.

  13. Jack Cade

    I was a 10-pound Pom, from the slums of Liverpool, where ‘inheritance’ meant religious bigotry rather than wealth. My parents died leaving nothing to their four children, and I even paid for their funerals.
    I, like most of my generation, have accumulated some assets, and any of those assets that still exist when I snuff it will go to my offspring in equal portions. But as to what happens to those assets before they land in my kids’ pockets I neither know nor care. In fact, I am very likely to be the first member of my family – in history – to be likely to leave enough even to bury me or incinerate me.

  14. wam

    Spot on kaye
    Apathy because we are rich
    Apathy because the below average believe scummo’s boys when they bleat that labor spends what lnp saves. Of course rupert, fox, sunrise/today parrot their message and the ABC definitely not labor and in recent times hardly even fair.

    (how will albo go with today’s surplus headings and trying to show the relevance of a rise in SP of coal, oil and gas prices)

    For democracy to work it needs a diversity of input
    The simplest way of increasing the choice of candidates is to do away with by-elections and use the original votes.
    Labor and lnp will field two candidates.
    Which will give independents and extreme parties, like phon and greens a better chance)
    Does efficiency demand ‘truth’?
    Sadly what one believes to be true is the truth.
    There is no need for justification for ‘truth’ no need for evidence’ just believe what you read, hear or remember. A la your pensioner, dance of the cuckoo. I would think that there would be something extra behind her statement. Fear of the greens, unions and the economic management are the trinity for my rabbottian perennials especially tradies mid-40s and police retired and their children under 40. My pensioners(only two left) whom I drive to the election pre-poll are both anti-labor and essentially still vote for menzies.
    ps
    Anyone think hongkong had any democracy under the poms from 1841 till 1997?
    Wonder how a headline on the ABC saying Lam would resign if she could) fit with the word democracy?
    pps
    Is keneally justified in bring religious belief into politics?
    Any fallout from the tamils being declared as ‘not refugees?

  15. Lantanaman

    September 3, 2019 at 6:06 pm
    I was a 10-pound Pom, from the slums of Liverpool, where ‘inheritance’ meant religious bigotry rather than wealth. My parents died leaving nothing to their four children, and I even paid for their funerals.
    I, like most of my generation, have accumulated some assets, and any of those assets that still exist when I snuff it will go to my offspring in equal portions. But as to what happens to those assets before they land in my kids’ pockets I neither know nor care. In fact, I am very likely to be the first member of my family – in history – to be likely to leave enough even to bury me or incinerate me.

    Hello Jack, 10 pound Pom,

    I think you and I are not too distant in age, how long is it since the emigration program from Old Blighty was in full swing. We here in Oz had I think a far different culture to the old country even though many here could proudly proclaim English ancestry in some measure and white settlement had such a brief history, was it because the bulk of new settlers here were predominantly from the lower/middle strata so we were more a mono class, not the aristocracy.

    So for many years we proudly proclaimed ourselves to be the most egalitarian country on the planet, a nation of battlers, toiling to survive dare to thrive. We not only knew our next door neighbour but we became friends with them. Of course there were enclaves where this did not happen where people constructed high walls to shut out the less desirable. In a sort of reverse snobbery such people were themselves considered undesirable, as “being a bit up themselves”.

    I think coming here must have seemed to Britain`s underclass, a breath of fresh air. I remember watching English TV shows that seemed to rejoice in the class structure, “To The Manner Born” was just one. The comedy sketch, of John Cleese and the two Ronnies parodying the Upper, Middle and Lower class, it was funny and sad at the same time, that the accident of who ones parents are can be such an important determinant in their future.

    Times have changed, I think we are now among the least egalitarian nations of the world, not through class in the way England recognises class, here the entree is the mighty dollar. Wealth equals power equals influence equals entitlement. One needs to look no further than the ill considered actions/antics of our political representatives. How entitled must they feel that even with the scrutiny they must know they are under, they still behave very, very badly. So many examples to choose from but who can forget the worst House of Reps Speaker ever and at one time considered Prime Minister material, Bronwen Bishop.

    So we have as our head, slogan Scomo, who in another incarnation gave us, “Where the Bloody Hell Are You? More recently, “Ïf You Have a Go You`ll get a Go”. Are we really supposed to have respect for this level of mentality? Is ours to be a slogan led recovery, Heaven preserve us. Wait a minute I gave up on religion a long time ago. Something preserve us. Save us from this cretin and his band of underachievers.

    I seem to have digressed, sorry Jack, got a bit derailed there, glad you gathered something for your senior years, me too not a lot, hope my 3 kids wind up with some depending on how much Scomo wants me to donate to the mega wealthy. In the meantime aim to stay above the grass or out of the furnace which ever is your preference. Think I need a drink or three, signing off not out.

  16. Jon Chesterson

    Thumbs up and screwed by extreme wealth and deviance of the few…

  17. totaram

    Actually, the last coalition government introduced a change to the Super legislation, that ensures that those who inherit your super will pay tax (unless they are your spouse or dependent on you). So the “death tax” already exists and it was them that did it! But who even knows or cares? Much easier to run with the lies about Labor’s death tax.

    Seriously, I wonder how we will ever get rid of coalition governments in the foreseeable future, with the overwhelming influence of propaganda which is wielded by the MSM and even the ABC, now wholly owned by the oligarchs. The percentage of people who take any interest in politics is a minuscule 15% or so and they include a larger portion of coalition voters and other fruit loops. Read the latest survey in the Guardian.

  18. Andreas Bimba

    So true – all of this article Kaye. The mass media is a serious problem, so is the huge financial resources available for advertising by the corporate oligarchy. The duopoly political system also sucks. The average Australian has also become more selfish, mean spirited and is easily deceived in my view which unfortunately reinforces itself the worse everything gets.

    When Scomo or any Liberal or National senior politician speaks to the media it is usually just a series of lies and spin that only the ignorant, indoctrinated or stupid could believe – but they win elections!

    I maintain that the Greens policy platform is fantastic and addresses most of our problems, challenges and opportunities but we are generally despised for reasons that are not clear and probably wrong in most cases.

    If Bernie Sanders can win the US presidency in late 2020 and his administration can get his ambitious agenda through Congress then that may put a fox in the hen house here as well.

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