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Respectful debate

As our politicians hurl abuse at each other across the chamber each day, they laugh and sneer and interject but it means nothing to them. It’s all about looking for a witty line, a grab they might put on the news. It’s all about the politics as Scott Morrison explained when asked why the debt and deficit disaster had disappeared.

Then off they go happily together to share a drink or seven, or perhaps to enjoy an expensive cigar, giggling about their latest quip.

At the same time, these supposed leaders of our country assure us that the Australian people are capable of having a mature and sensible debate about social issues and it is an insult to suggest otherwise.

They insist that we will all be perfectly respectful when they show utterly no respect towards each other. They don’t seem to realise that their political game-playing sets the tone for the wider debate. The Murdoch gutter press and the belligerent shock jocks grab the ball and run with the hatred and demonisation and there are a lot of people out there who get very fired up as a result.

The government’s opposition to legislating marriage equality, purely to pander to the rabid religious right, led to Qantas boss Alan Joyce being assaulted by a man who said he wouldn’t be bullied by corporate leaders expressing their opinion.

So much for a respectful debate. Religious zealots and rabid homophobes are not going to allow that to happen.

Likewise, the government’s Islamophobia and obsession with watering down Section 18C of the racial discrimination act, whipped up further by the media, led to four young women being attacked in Sydney yesterday purely because they were wearing a hijab.

Every day we hear the government attacking people on welfare. Despite the facts showing there are many times more unemployed people than jobs, those on unemployment benefits are categorised as bludgers, cheats, and addicts.

Instead of using scientific testing of sewerage to decide where they should offer help by way of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres and counselling, they will use the information to start drug testing welfare recipients because the more people they can put on the cashless welfare card, the more money Stargroup will make.

As many have pointed out, they are far more likely to find drugs in the rich suburbs – $38 a day doesn’t leave anything over for cocaine.

On one hand, the government talks of the need to Close the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage, whilst on the other, they hail Bill Leak as a champion for his tasteless, unfunny, stereotyping of Aboriginal people. They insist on locking up black people for paltry offences so they can look tough on crime. There’s always money for more jails and more police, but not for more teachers, nurses, social workers and refuges.

They ask for respect whilst actively fomenting stereotyping, hatred and division.

Clean up your own act. Make Question Time an example of the way you would like to see the community discussion held. Try listening and giving honest answers. Stop looking for scapegoats to blame and start working together to provide help to those who need it.

And most of all, stop giving Rupert Murdoch the monopoly rights on informing the public. It’s time his poison was gone.


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  1. Florence nee Fedup

    Testing sewer has dangers for thisd govt. Might be leafy suburbs North Shore that registerd higher.

    Some of tyhe arrests this week within football world suggests therter arr many drug users that hold down high paying jobs. Not all un employed no-hopers.

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    I wonder what the PM amd others within the government really feel, if they watch rerun of question time.

  3. Kaye Lee

    “If you love your country, have an interest in politics or policy, and care deeply about our nation’s future, there is nothing more certain to arouse your fury and invite your contempt than listening to an entire House of Representatives Question Time.

    Normally this is doubly the case if the party you favour is in opposition; Governments tend to wield the advantages they have in Question Time with the subtlety that Trotsky‟s assasin wielded his ice pick. There is a reason it is called Question Time and not Answer Time.”

    – Malcolm Turnbull, 5th September 2012

    It is worth reading the whole speech he gave just to underline how different his words are to his actions.

  4. helvityni

    People are unemployed because there are no jobs for them, Mal’s jobs and growth has not arrived…

    Why are we allowing alcohol ads at our televised sporting events, and even gambling ads will be OK after 8.30pm, I believe the teenagers are still up after that time slot….

    Yassmin A-M did not say much at all on ANZAC Day, yet there were calls for her sacking, yet some our politicians can say anything they like, never mind how hurtful…

    Alan Jones can rant about putting our PM into a hessian bag, and into the sea, but Alan Joyce can’t speak for the SS marriage..

    Talk about different strokes………

  5. Jagger

    LNP Rules
    1. Lie, lie never stop lying.
    2. Always blame somebody else.
    3. Always give the population someone to hate- asylum seekers, Muslims, welfare recipients, etc.
    4. Refer always to rules 1-2-3,

  6. Diane Larsen

    Great read if only this could be a front page on main stream papers so the many that are not as engaged as those who enjoy independent reporting and opinion could for once read something not distorted by Murdoch’s vitriol

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    I wonder if anyone has worked out the rationale for the latest budget? That includes PM and his government.

  8. Freetasman

    Yes Florence the rationale is quite simple, “purchasing” votes from the ignorant part of the electorate and preparing the ground for the next election.
    Unfortunately there is a small percentage of voters that can see that this budget it is a con.
    In another country you will see thousands of students and education institution staff demonstrating in the capital cities, here is ” all good” and the government know about it.

  9. stephentardrew

    Entirely agree Kaye.

  10. silkworm

    “… the more people they can put on the cashless welfare card, the more money Stargroup will make.”

    And the more money Stargroup will secretly pour into the Liberal Party coffers.

    Bribery explains a lot of what the L/NP does.

  11. Michael Taylor

    silkie, to bribery you can add corruption and lying.

  12. FightClubber

    Also don’t forget the $300,000,000 deposited into the Stargroup bank account each fortnight to be distributed to the unemployed. Unless Newstart recipients spend their entire payment on day one (extremely unlikely) who is getting the interest accured daily?

  13. Sandra

    Your writing is spot on they can make a person who has worked 40. Years +feel like they are lazy very stressed and depressed they absolutely don’t care.

  14. Freetasman

    Who are the main shareholders in the Stargroup?
    If it is a listed company, how are performing the shares before and after the budget speech ?
    Would be interesting to know…………..

  15. Frank Smith

    Question Time is a disgrace. Our Parliament needs an independent Speaker to control it and the children in the room. A retired Judge or someone from the Judiciary who understands and enforces the rules for Parliamentary debating. Someone who will insist that Ministers answer the questions they are asked. Someone who will absolutely call time-out at the first hint of waffling. Someone who will ban the time-wasting and irrelevant Dorothy-Dix’s. Someone who will restore civility, common-sense, impartiality and respect to our Parliament. If this requires a Constitutional change, then put it to the people – it will pass as the electorate are fed-up with the childish manner in which our Parliament is presently conducted.

    Yes, the Murdoch Press has contributed a great deal to the downward spiral our Nation finds itself in. Shame on you Rupert! Whilst at a coffee shop this morning, I had the misfortune to pick up Queensland’s major so-called newspaper, The Courier Mail. The nonsense and bias in that paper is way beyond comprehension – it even surpasses The Daily Telecrap. How can any rational Queenslander read that pile of rubbish? What has happened to journalism when we are fed the sort of tripe published by The Courier Mail?

  16. Kaye Lee

    These are the top 20 shareholders

    Stargroup recently posted its 13th record quarter of revenue surpassing $2.5 million for the March quarter.

    This represented a 133% increase in 2017 Q3 total revenue compared to 2016 Q3 total revenue.

    It also cements a 296% improvement in 2017 year to date total revenue compared to 2016 year to date total revenue.

    The Indue acquisition is forecast to further drive revenues moving forward.

    Stargroup (ASX:STL) has successfully executed the Indue transaction, and now the company can move to integrate and capitalise on the vertical integration of the assets.

    “The vertical integration will see one of our key operating costs reduce by a further 15%.”

  17. Ella Miller

    Florence nee Fedup,
    “rational for the latest budget?”
    Malcolm T. has just stated it in a speech to an LNP gathering.


    Now looking at the budget the interpretation of these three words could be;

    The budget provides OPPORTUNITY for the LNP’s vested interests to take full advantage of the LNP’s interpretation of FAIRNESS.
    This view of FAIRNESS provides SECURITY to the vested interests in the knowledge that they have the full support of the LNP to;

    rip out our resources

    destroy our environment

    and send all profits overseas

    The rest of us can all sing for our supper. ( I wanted to use other words but thought better of it)

  18. diannaart

    Excellent work, Kaye Lee – good to read what I am unable to convey.

    About Stargroup – Indue Limited (Formerly ICash Payment Systems, Formerly Reef Mining) – just the name gives me the willies; no doubt a take on star chamber, a self-selected group making profit off the welfare system. Nothing new about that I guess, many so-called libertarian ‘self-made’ entrepreneurial types have made off with a great deal of the welfare dollar. Donald Trump’s father springs to mind (yes, I know this is bad), Fred, saved his real estate empire after WW2 by winning the contract for low income housing. No doubt there are plenty of examples closer to home.

    On theme of private for profit making $ from our taxes, some background on Stargroup (Indue) List of the Stargroup players with whom they interact – major financial organisations
    Indue is actively engaged with industry through a range of influential management committees and highly relevant working groups. Our ongoing participation ensures we have a ‘seat at the table’ of decision-making forums and play an active role in shaping the future of the payments system in this country.
    ndue’s payment cards provide our government clients with a simple-to-use, easy-to-issue solution. Our products help clients manage and reduce payment costs by increasing control over spending behaviour (for example, by applying daily spend limits); mitigating exposure to misreporting; and providing useful tracking/auditing features. In many cases, manual purchasing and procurement processes can be modernised and streamlined to provide operational efficiencies; eliminate costly disbursement models; reduce cash handling; implement electronic controls (for example, restricting access to specific ATMs or point-of-sale devices domestically or internationally); and improve overall transparency and security, particularly exposure to fraud.

    Interesting to note, CEO Derek Weatherley takes part in ST Vinnies annual CEO Sleepout, below is link to his effort last year

    Derek raised a total of $1,241 out of a target of $5,000 at 2016’s sleepout.

    The Sleepout was the only human welfare type link I could find for this group – OK I haven’t spent all day on it; maybe they all adopt kittens, puppies and unemployed workers on a regular basis.

  19. Matters Not

    Stargroup ASX STL is trading at $0.026 (cents a share) down 3.7% from yesterday’s high. There were only 5 trades yesterday which is a laughable number. A total value of $ 8 251 changed hands.

    Since the Budget there has been no real movement.

    On 8/3/2017 it reached $0.044 (cents a share.) It has a 52 week high at $0.046 (cents). It has a 52 week low of $0.025 (cents a share). It’s just off its yearly low.It has a market cap of $20 million. (It’s a minnow).

    It’s ‘return’ looks like this.

    1yr 3yr 5yr 10yr

    -30.5% -22.2% -27.9% -27.5%

    It has no P/E ratio. Be thankful you didn’t buy these shares.

    BTW Don’t confuse it with Star Group.

  20. Matters Not

    Star Group *ASX : SGR has ‘big’ shareholders.

    Date Shareholder Previous % New % Shares Traded
    19-05-16 Perpetual Limited and subsidiaries 5.14% 7.00% 15,296,255
    22-07-16 Bennelong Funds Management Group Pty Ltd 6.09% 7.11% 8,417,293
    19-10-16 Perpetual Limited and subsidiaries 5.96% 7.10% 9,425,934
    20-10-16 The Goldman Sachs Group Inc –% 5.61% n/a
    21-10-16 Perpetual Limited and subsidiaries 7.10% 8.40% 10,750,869
    31-10-16 AMP Limited and its related bodies corporate –% 5.11% n/a
    03-11-16 Perpetual Limited and subsidiaries 8.40% 9.53% 9,346,694
    14-11-16 FIL Limited and the entities –% 5.01% n/a
    20-12-16 Perpetual Limited and subsidiaries 9.53% 10.56% 8,462,496
    21-12-16 The Goldman Sachs Group Inc –% 6.46% n/a
    09-01-17 The Goldman Sachs Group Inc –% 5.00% n/a
    13-01-17 AMP Limited and its related bodies corporate –% 5.05% n/a
    17-02-17 Perpetual Limited and subsidiaries 10.56% 11.61% 8,685,477

    A different kettle of fish.

    Yesterday 993,237 shares traded with a value 0f $5,299,047 in 1,401 trades.

  21. Terry2

    Yesterday’s Question Time was like pulling teeth, Bill Shorten, asked for an update of the full cost to the budget of the company tax cuts and received several different figures, before the treasurer, Scott Morrison sheepishly, provided the revised figure of $65.4bn, an unexplained increase from the previous figure of $48.7bn .

    Shorten has to be congratulated for being persistent as the PM was all about waffling and avoiding the question until, for the third time, the question was put and Scomo jumped up and said $65.4 billion and immediately sat down again.

  22. Freetasman

    Thanks you all for the info.
    Now we have to look in any of the above shareholders are members of the Liberal party of donate funds to it.

  23. Matters Not

    Freetasman re your comment:

    any of the above shareholders are members of the Liberal party of (or?) donate funds to it

    Don’t know about Liberal Party membership and donations but I am confident that any excess cash didn’t come from Stargroup ASX STL.

    Seems to me that the major shareholders are ‘running for the hills’. And with very good reason.

    What say you?

  24. wakeupandsmellthehumans

    Agree entirely. The debate in Question time is not only an embarrassment to the nation, it sets the wrong tone for debate throughout the wider community. The Prime Minister himself holds the greatest responsibility in this matter and his performances are pathetic. He attacks every opposition questioner personally with his snide sarcasm and arrogance, and he never answers the question. The role of speaker has become a sham. How has it got to this?

  25. Kaye Lee


    Malcolm Turnbull said in the George Winterton Lecture….

    “How often do we hear Australian politicians discuss these challenges in a genuinely open, honest, spin-free and non-adversarial way? Where the intention is to clearly explain the problem, accept responsibility for past misteps if appropriate (rather than apportion as much blame as possible to the other side), allow a non-ideological discussion of possible remedies, and see if there is any common ground for bipartisan work?

    Seldom, and even more rarely if a camera is rolling.”

    Perhaps if we stopped televising QT then they would have less reason to behave like nasty schoolchildren. I truly am disgusted by this charade and it has certainly led to fiercely polarised views in the community.

    As Terry Fitzgerald said….

    “THERE are about 800 politicians in Australia’s parliaments.
    According to their assessments of each other, that quite small group includes role models for lying, cheating, deceiving, “rorting”, bullying, rumour-mongering, back-stabbing, slander, “leaking”, “dog-whistling”, nepotism and corruption.

    A recent editorial valiantly suggested that “toxic debates test ideas, policy and character”, but a more orthodox view is that ethics, tolerance and civility are intrinsic elements of democratic society and that the politicians’ mutual contempt and aggressive, “end justifies the means” amorality erodes respect for authority and public institutions and compromises social cohesion.”

  26. Kyran

    By way of anecdote, I was talking to a lass the other day who recounted how her grandson, in Grade 5 was unable to take part in a school excursion, due to ill health. The school trip was to Canberra, from Melbourne, with the purpose of viewing ‘Parliament’ in action.

    She took him to the Victorian ‘Parliament’ when he was suitably recovered, so he could view a ‘Parliament’ in action. The two of them viewed the Victorian ‘Question Time’. The behaviour of our elected representatives was such that a Grade 5’er was appalled. I can only estimate his age, probably somewhere between 11 and 12 years old. They left, in disgust, within half an hour.

    Coincidentally, there was a protest in Spring Street that day. I gather it was a taxi-driver protest, from her suggested time frame. They stayed with the protesters for over an hour and a half, finding their discourse, in protest, to be far more civilised and respectful than the elected representatives.

    “Clean up your own act. Make Question Time an example of the way you would like to see the community discussion held.”

    Is that the point, Ms Lee? We seem to have this constant expectation that our ‘leaders’ will actually behave as leaders, one day in the very far distant future. In the meantime, it’s up to the rest of us to cope.
    And explain to our youth how our ‘leaders’ behavior is acceptable.
    And explain to our youth that, if they behave that way, it is completely and utterly unacceptable.
    Ironically, on the drive home from that encounter, there was an ACT registered vehicle. The caption?
    Canberra the heart of the nation.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  27. jim

    “And most of all, stop giving Rupert Murdoch the monopoly rights on informing the public. It’s time his poison was gone.” Just so the LNP would never win a election ever again that would be far too fair and “unliberal”.

  28. Terry2


    In my view there are two problems with the Question Time in our Parliaments and both are easily fixed :

    1. Dorothy Dixers are a plague on our parliament and, of course, they come from a hapless government backbencher who has been given the ‘question’ by a Ministerial staffer so that said Minister can waffle on about what an excellent job he/she is doing. You cannot ban government backbenchers from asking questions but if you made it day-about with the opposition fielding questions on one day and the government members the next, this would mean that at least on one day you would have a sensible basis for questions.

    2. the second problem is with the Speaker and whilst the present incumbent is OK and certainly miles ahead of his predecessor there is still a problem with an insistence on relevance ; classic case last week when Labor asked what the updated cost to the budget was projected to be if the corporate tax cuts went through as planned by the government – three times the answer was obfuscated, avoided or just waffled. Shorten did the Speakers job for him and insisted on an answer and when it came it was sheepishly provided by Morrison who mumbled $65.4 Billion and then promptly sat down. We found out what they didn’t want us to know ; the cost over ten years will be $17 Billion more than the original estimate of $48.2 Billion.
    The Speaker should have held the PM or Treasurer to a factual answer first time around but he didn’t and inevitably this reflects on the partisan nature of that appointment – Queensland have had the independent Peter Wellington for some years and this has worked quite well : our democracy demands that we have an impartial Speaker.

  29. helvityni

    Excellent posts, Kyran and Terry2….

  30. Kyran

    Couldn’t agree more, Terry2.
    However, the problems with QT are largely procedural, IMO. As you say, that would be easily fixed under the current system merely by having the Speaker enforce the existing rules. Peter Slipper, for all of his eccentricities, managed it quite well.
    The reality is that we have a government that ignores its own rules and, in the event they are challenged, will belittle, demean and vilify their detractors. All the while ignoring the rules.
    Can you imagine the howl of laughter if the employment minister forgot to disclose the purchase of a property worth more than $1mill within days of saying that those seeking employment should disclose the very most intimate details of their lives?
    Her recourse to advice is far more significant than theirs. Yet she gets much more leniency, when judged.
    Imagine if we all had to live by the same rules? Imagine if failing to disclose the purchase of a $1mill property was the equivalent of a ‘newstart’ recipient failing to disclose receipt of a benefit, however small?
    The rules are the rules. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s when the rules apply differently to different people, I have a problem. Ms McManus nailed it.
    Thank you Terry2 (and helvityni). Take care

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