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Tag Archives: Auspol

“I Shout, But Not At The Bar” – The Diary Of ScoMo…

Tuesday

I visited a MacDonalds where I got to tell them that theirs wasn’t as good as the one I visited in the USA because that one was fully automated and that saved money.

I was asked about my trip to the United States and if I invited my bestie to the dinner only to have him turned away. I told them that I don’t comment on gossip. It was such a good line that I’m thinking of repeating it in Question Time. 

Someone pretending to be a reporter (I know that he wasn’t a real one because he asked an impertinent question), wanted to know how all the automation would be dealt with and didn’t that ruin our plan for growth leading to jobs. I told him that he was part of the Canberra bubble and that people outside Canberra just want a fair go and the chance to have a go and if they get a go then they’d find that the best form of welfare was a job and why didn’t he get one instead of acting as a stooge for GetUp!

Finished the day by doing a photo of me drinking a beer to prove that I’m normal. 

Wednesday

Today I had a very important job. I went to the Queensland to announce my government’s concern for all those suffering because of Labor’s drought and I followed this up by announcing our intention to have a drought policy which will involve future-proofing this country against Labor.

When one of the journalists asked exactly when the policy would be announced, I reminded him that we had a long-standing policy of not commenting about on-water matters. He replied that because this was a drought, shouldn’t that be “no-water matter”…Many of his fellow journalists laughed. We have their names and I’ll contact Peter to arrange for Border Security to go through their underwear drawers to search for hidden items. 

Finished the day by doing a photo of me giving two thumbs up to prove that I’m ordinary. 

Thursday

Invited the Australian cricket team to come to my office. Unfortunately only two of them showed. I suggested that we take a photo where they throw the ball to me and I catch it. After the ridiculous first attempt where one of them threw it straight at me and I ducked causing extensive damage, we decided that we could just have a shot where I cupped my hands and we photoshopped the ball in later. 

Finished the day by doing a photo of me drinking a beer with the two players to prove that I’m normal and ordinary. 

Friday

Jen was photographed doing that symbol again. I’ve tried to tell that it’s just a little something we only do at church, but she tried to tell me that the church is everywhere. Poor thing. She doesn’t seem to understand that even though God has made PM, he hasn’t given me control of the godless heathens in the Senate. For some reason -probably to test me – he’s given that to Dutts, who says that he has no reason to arrest them for treason because he’s not PM yet. I put my arm around him and told him that we were on the same side but he just gave me that stare which makes me wonder if he’s angry, confused or actually trying to think. 

Finished the day by doing a photo of me drinking a beer with someone in a pub to prove that I’m very ordinary. 

Saturday 

Went down to the local football club to make an announcement about our plan to have a policy to get young people playing sport. Somebody asked me if I’d like to run water for the young boys. I politely declined because I didn’t have the right shoes. Another person suggested I could run barefoot like I did in Fiji. We all had a good laugh. I took a selfie with him while we shared a beer. I have handed the photo on to ASIO. 

Finished the day by doing a photo of me sharing the selfie on Twitter to prove that I’m normal. 

Sunday

Went to church. As my religion is a private thing, I’m not going to share it here, and I told the waiting media as much. I said that they were welcome to photograph me, but under no circumstances would I reveal that I was praying for rain so that the farmers could gain relief from the drought and that Donald Trump would continue to make such good decisions because prayer is a private matter between a man and God. 

Finished the day by doing a photo of me praying to prove that my religion is a deep and private thing.

Monday

Labor ask why I didn’t return to Parliament last week like everyone else. I grew angry and shouted at them that I’ve been busy cleaning up their mess and paying back their debt and stopping their drownings at sea and I called them a dill like I did a few weeks ago, I’ve been busy running the country, I told them, and one of them interjected, “Into the ground.” We haven’t identified him yet, but Peter assured me that it’s only a matter of time. 

Finished the day by doing a photo of me drinking a beer while giving a thumbs up to the photographer to prove that I’m very, very ordinary. 

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Can the Federal LNP deliver its Flatter Taxation Scales in a Slowing Economy?

By Denis Bright  

Just four months out from the federal election, current indicators do suggest that the federal LNP is fumbling the future of the investment sector of the Australian economy to achieve its short-medium term budget projections and to appease the erratic policies of the Trump Administration.

The IMF data on economic growth trends in Australia confirms the state of flux relating to federal budget projections and delivery of planned tax cuts for higher income earners. These trends will not be unscrambled until the release of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) by early December 2019.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is still optimistic about future delivery of a fiscal balance for 2019-2020 without depressing economic growth projections or causing unemployment levels to rise further.

A key variable in this balancing act is the strength of the public sector spending at both state and federal levels as well as positive trend-lines for commodity and service exports. This favourable mix is marred by data for private sector capital investment over the last two quarters. Release of the September Quarter data on 28 November 2019 will be eagerly awaited. A continuation of the negative trends will be bad news for budget strategies for 2020-21, rather than in the current financial year.

Australia Private Capital Expenditure

To meet its budget targets, the federal LNP is now reigning in the growth in public sector. Probono Australia has revealed the benefits of under-spending on National Disability Insurance (NDIS) to the federal LNP’s efforts to maintain current budget surplus projections for 2019-20 (Luke Michael, ‘NDIS underspend helps return budget to the brink of surplus‘, 20 September 2019):

The federal government spent $4.6 billion less on the National Disability Insurance Scheme than expected because of delays getting people into the program, new budget figures reveal.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Thursday announced the final budget outcome for 2018-19, showing a deficit of $690 million – $13.8 billion less than what the 2018 budget predicted.

This improved financial position ­– which leaves the budget on the brink of surplus for the first time since 2007-08 – was built on the back of underspending in areas including the NDIS.

The government says this underspend is a result of a slower than expected transition of people into the NDIS, but critics argue the money should be spent fixing various problems plaguing the scheme.

Frydenberg said the NDIS was a “demand driven system”, meaning that a slower uptake of the scheme resulted in less money being spent.

“This is in part because of the delays in some of the states coming on board, and also because it’s taken a bit more time for the service provider market to develop sufficiently to meet the available demand,” Frydenberg said.

 

Caution with the delivery of future Newstart increases and the delivery of NDIS will assist in the extension of taxation relief that is skewed to middle- and upper-income households as promised in the 2019-2020 federal budget.

Support for market-oriented strategies of the federal LNP came from the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on his Australian visit with one important policy recommendation (The Australian, Geoff Chambers, ‘Tax cuts key to driving revival, says Wilbur Ross‘, 10 October 2019):

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has suggested Australia could increase its global competitiveness and attract direct foreign investment if it replicated Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts.

Speaking to The Australian on Wednesday, Mr Ross — one of Mr Trump’s closest advisers — said the US company tax cuts combined with regulatory reform had worked “very, very well”.

Wilbur Ross should have added a note of caution to his Aussie Allies Down Under as shown by the latest data from his own Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in his own US Department of Commerce as released on 24 July 2019:

Direct Investment by Country and Industry, 2018

The U.S. direct investment abroad position, or cumulative level of investment, decreased $62.3 billion to $5.95 trillion at the end of 2018 from $6.01 trillion at the end of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The decrease was due to the repatriation of accumulated prior earnings by U.S. multinationals from their foreign affiliates, largely in response to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The decrease reflected a $75.8 billion decrease in the position in Latin America and Other Western Hemisphere locations, primarily in Bermuda. By industry, holding company affiliates owned by U.S. manufacturers accounted for most of the decrease.

The foreign direct investment in the United States position increased $319.1 billion to $4.34 trillion at the end of 2018 from $4.03 trillion at the end of 2017. The increase mainly reflected a $226.1 billion increase in the position from Europe, primarily the Netherlands and Ireland. By industry, affiliates in manufacturing, retail trade, and real estate accounted for the largest increases.

US Investment plays a relatively minor role in the Asia Pacific Region compared with commercial interactions with Britain and Europe as well as countries in the American Hemisphere from Canada to Central and South America:

Making America Great Strategies have resulted in a decline in US Capital Flows across the Asia Pacific Region between 2017 and 2018. Australia is an exception to the regional trends and provides the US with highly favourable surpluses for trade in commodities and services as well as capital flows.

Days after this visit to Australia by Wilbur Ross, President Trump announced new compromises in his trade and investment war with China that undercut our own export gains in the Asia Pacific Region in favour of new export incentives from the US farm lobby.

The honeymoon after the last election may still be in session.  As the rhetorical euphoria continues, it is time for Aussies to do a fact check of our unfavourable commercial relations with the USA. The   Trump Administration has left Australians high and dry in a slowing global economy as the Trade and Investment War is replaced by a new Lovefest with China to the cheers from the US farm and resource sector lobbies which are our real competitors on the world market.

It’s surely time for our federal LNP leaders to show a spark of independence in defending Australia’s commercial sovereignty within the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement as President Trump focuses on his re-election strategies for November 2020.

Denis Bright (pictured) is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to citizens’ journalism from a critical, structuralist perspective. Comments from Insiders with a specialist knowledge of the topics covered are particularly welcome.

 

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NDIS red-tape leaves vulnerable Victorians in abusive homes

Media release from the Office of the Public Advocate

Vulnerable Victorians living in disability accommodation remain in abusive situations for months due to NDIS bureaucracy.

This was a key finding the Community Visitors Annual Report, tabled in State Parliament today.

Nearly half of all serious incidents in disability group homes reported by the visitors each year relate to violence between co-residents, with 133 notifications being made this year to the Disability Services Commissioner (DSC). [p. 19]

Public Advocate and chair of the Community Visitor boards, Colleen Pearce, said that despite the number of recent inquiries into violence against people with disability, co-resident violence had received “little practical attention.”

The visitors report [p. 22] that one female resident suffered traumatic abuse from another but had been unable to move to another group home for at least five months, despite the support of her legal advocate and the DSC.

NDIS participants require their plans to be reviewed to move from one group home to another, even if the funding is the same. As well, an occupational therapist’s assessment is needed, however, NDIA pre-approval is needed first which involves a lengthy wait then a ten-week wait before the assessment and, only then, can a plan review be scheduled, which generally takes months.

In this case, the assessment was rescheduled several times from February because the NDIS delegate or the resident’s lawyer were unavailable.

Dr Pearce said that resident-on-resident violence and abuse in group homes was not uncommon.

“There are multiple instances where residents have expressed to Community Visitors how fearful they are in their own homes, and how they often choose to stay in their own rooms rather than interact in shared living spaces.”

Other issues identified include inappropriate environment for residents, lack of continuity of staffing and use of restrictive interventions.

This year, 266 volunteer Community Visitors made 2952 visits to 1148 units across the state, identifying 3806 new issues.

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The Antichrist is a potato

By Grumpy Geezer  

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

(Antigonish, William Hughes Mearns, 1899).

He’s still there Scotty, standing right behind you; those vacant, hooded eyes in that cadaverous countenance are studying your shoulder blades. You’ll feel his fetid breath quicken and sense his arousal as he imagines plunging the shiv. The Prince Of Darkness, in the form of a potato, is getting tetchy.

* * * * *

Herr Kipfler, the dismal Dutton, will not be denied his ultimate prize – the triumph of the dark forces of uniformed goons and hoodlums of his Gestapotato as the absolute political authority with himself as Ubermensch. Not satisfied with effectively being Skidmark Morrison’s number 2 he desperately wants to take his place on the throne*.

(*Sorry, but the poo jokes are too tempting – Skiddy’s early release of a chocolate hostage in Engadine Maccers is just so emblematic of his political style – “I’ll just drop this here and move along”).

And, who knew… his contrived daggy dad routine had literal origins.

Spud-Dutton, the dark lord, is plotting and scheming; testing the mettle of Skiddy the great pretender by publicly opining on subjects that are still, as yet, outside of the broad-reaching netherworld that he’d built for himself when Trembles Turnbull as PM meekly surrendered his balls to the dark side.

Spud on China

Spud is not the ripest legume from the Lib’s veggie patch; he’s a man who thinks the Terracotta Army are soccer supporters from the small Balkans country of Terra Cotia, so when calling out the Chinese in Skiddy’s absence there was no thought given beyond poking the dragon for effect –

  • geeing up the winged monkeys of the lunar right by flashing his tough guy credentials to garner commitment to his evolving coup, and
  • daring Skiddy to call him out – anything less demonstrates that Morrison is weak and vulnerable.

The crusty-trousered clown from The Shire may have been the winner from the Liberal’s last season of Survivor but his aberrant dedication to trickle-down theocracy, the painting of his farts as rainbows and his arrogant avoidance of accountability will make for a bad look as the next election draws closer and the dupes start to reach for the smirk removal cream.

Surely though the feculence that is Dutton is beyond the pale, even for the Nasties? Howard was abhorrent, Abbott was ludicrous, Morrison is appalling and yet all three were embraced by the lead paint lickers who now dominate their party. Consider a random sample of the trough snorkellers who will be called upon to back the uber tuber – those grifters and gleaners who’re swamping the drain:

Count Yorga impersonator Kevin Andrews – who, upon emerging from his crypt and opening an umbrella has people thinking he’s turning into a bat.

Grecian 2000 poisoning had Kev fancying himself as PM material at one time but his inability to form an image in a mirror or cast a shadow spooks the punters.

Kev could boost Spud’s appeal to the hordes of undead – those wrinkled masses of “where’s my franking credits” fogies who would sell their grandchildren’s future for a discount coupon at the bingo.

Eric Fabio Abetz has given up on his dreams of invading Poland, stripped to the waist on a panzer turret with blonde Aryan locks streaming in the wind as he rushes towards Warsaw. These days Fabio is holed up in Hobart managing his real estate portfolio, peeling oranges in his pocket to avoid sharing and licking his Tony Abbott bicycle seat collection.

The promise of a promotion to Reichsinspekteur of Tasmania could see Fabio endorsing Spud’s pending night of the long knives.

James Paterson. Monty Burns’ love child, little Jimmy yearns for the day when he can grow a toothbrush moustache on his upper lip rather than having to train his emergent pubes into a fuzzy replica.

James would make an excellent apprentice for Spud, striding along the razor wire in black uniform poking the Newstart queues with his riding crop while fondling his sidearm.

This smarmy arse-dandruff is the future of the Nasties? FMD!

Michaelia Cash, with alsatian at her side, snarling and foaming at the mouth (her, not the dog) hauling unionists from their beds, boiling bunnies and foreclosing on orphanages is a nightmare in a trouser suit.

I’ve seen more attractive heads hanging out of a poacher’s pocket. This dunking stool passenger is ugly inside and out and hence an ideal candidate for Spud’s front bench.

Image from YouTube

Anne Ruston. Equipped with a face like a kelpie’s chew toy, a fully functional FMD chromosome and delusions of adequacy, Ruston is yet another bible-toting myopic moron from the Nasty Party book-burners’ club.

This scatologist’s specimen is one more six-fingered bandit who, on $200,000 p.a. + grift, thinks that $40 per day of Newstart is a disincentive to finding work. Ruston would be right at home in a filth-filled, fly-blown garbage skip i.e. any possible Dutton government.

* * * * *

These are but a very few random examples of those who could back Dutton, Beelzebub in sub-human form, to deliver another spill.

Morrison’s new threshold for a leadership change requires two-thirds of the party-room vote to trigger a spill motion, which is a difficult hurdle for Spud to overcome particularly given his Wile E. Coyote-level logistical skills.

However, despite Skiddy Morrison’s pretence that the Nasties are a “united team” they remain a  tumult of hatreds, unfulfilled vendettas, venality and ugly ambition.

Skiddy’s daggy dad contrivance is devolving into a bogan-in-Bali national embarrassment, Labor is finally starting to show some mongrel by targeting his weak spots (some may say wet spots) and Morrison’s notionless floundering on any and all issues is becoming too obvious to ignore.

The real intrigue however is what Dutton’s pet spooks may have to use on Morrison and how Dutton may play those cards.

Red Gladys, Chinese Communist Party enthusiast, Liberal member for Chisholm and ASIO person of interest

Prolific fund raiser and poster child of the Chinese Communist Party, Gladys Liu is skilled in the art of hiding in plain sight. With the Lib’s habit of looking the other way when large donations are involved she could’ve rolled up to her preselection in a Chinese tank, the pulped entrails of Tianamen protesters congealed in its tracks, a burning Tibetan flag flapping and a cock & balls drawn on her forehead in day-glo lipstick and the Lib’s would’ve just made sure the cash was banked before validating her parking.

The Libs left it to Gladys to investigate herself on allegations she’s a Chinese government agent of influence and to no-one’s surprise she’s returned a verdict of not guilty.

But Spud’s spook pals will have the full skinny on Glad – some leverage for her vote for a spill perhaps?

Brian Houston, Jesus-R-Us CEO, entrepeneur, financial planner and Skidmark’s BFF

After airing the TV pilot of ScoMo Does Jesus At Horizon Church and Audi Showroom our proselytizing Prime Minister seems to have cooled on that particular maketing initiative, getting surly and evasive when his best bud Brian from Hillsong is mentioned in context of Scotty and Brian’s excellent adventure to Trumpworld.

Dutton knows that Morrison’s bizarre brand of Jesusing and his default to prayer as a viable option for addressing climate change is a troubling dimension to his character. I’m willing to bet that as environmental crises and public discontent builds that Dutton will ramp up the demonising of protesters and dissident oganisations as a dog-whistle to the Nasty’s hardcore climate troglodytes – man of action vs Morrison’s prayerful phaffing.

Burned Spy

This is pure gold. QAnon is a right-wing conspiracy fantasy – QAnon’s central premise is that Donald Trump is secretly working to take down a global ring of elite, cannibalistic, satanic paedophiles.

QAnon is listed on the FBI Domestic Terrorism Watch List and has been associated with 8chan, where many members discussed and celebrated the mass shootings in Texas and in Christchurch.

“One of the bigger QAnon followers in Australia tweets under the handle @BurnedSpy34. He has over 21,000 Twitter followers and tweets QAnon-related thoughts and memes, plus original posts about consciousness. Like many QAnon followers, his political theories are bizarre, sometimes veering into sheer fantasy.”(Newsweek).

@BurnedSpy34 is close family friend of Morrison’s and his wife works on the PM’s staff.

You can bet your left bollock that Spud has mined all the info he can on this guy and will have this prepared as a potential coup de gras for his godly nemesis Scotty.

* * * * *

Dutton won’t want to stand idle as we get closer to another election and his prospect of multiple terms in opposition. He’ll be getting antsy and Morrison will be getting nervous. If you think Morrison is an appallingly incompetent and dodgy PM you’d be right – but should the satanic potato succeed we’ll be truly on a highway to hell.

 

This article was originally published on The Grumpy Geezer.

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Religious protection – or protection FROM religious bigotry?

I have just emailed this to my Federal member who is a practising Catholic:

“I was born in the UK and my maternal grandfather was a Minister in the Church of Christ – very like the Baptist Church.

For a variety of reasons, we ended up attending a low church C of E, and my secondary education was in a C of E Grammar School, where the school’s charter required us to study the scriptures, while in senior years we studied Comparative Religion.

I am now an agnostic but my moral values are based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I think that it is morally wrong for the Christian churches to insist that the Bible is ‘the truth’ when it is actually based on mankind’s flawed knowledge, and much more of ‘the truth’ has been – and is being – revealed by scientific research.

Just think about the sun going round the earth! Or the creation of the world in 7 days! And – yes – there are many who believe that is true!

In my view, differences between and within various religions are responsible for a great deal of unnecessary friction – Catholic vs Protestant, Shi’a vs Sunni on top of Muslim vs Christian etc.

I think religion should remain a private matter and, where modern science has proved the bible’s ‘truth’ to be false, this must be officially accepted.

Members of the LGBTIQ community continue to be vilified by so-called Christians – AND Muslims – while – through no fault of their own – their ‘difference’ from the dichotomous norm was established before they were born.

The ignorance and bigotry of many who claim to believe in a god, yet who totally fail to live according to the teachings enshrined in their holy works, does major damage to a cohesive society.

I think the idea of providing additional protection to those who wish to follow a religion is, IMHO, a grave error.

Australia is a secular country but the right to follow a religion is guaranteed by the Constitution.

The proposed Bill is, I believe, both unnecessary and more likely to cause harm than good.

Certainly the LGBTIQ – faced with the fact that the ‘beliefs’ of the religious ignore the truth of the determination of sexual orientation – are right to fear that more zealots like Israel Folau and those of his cult, will damage their lives.

Maybe there is one or more gods – we will never know in this life. Those who believe in an afterlife will duly find out whether their belief is well-founded.

But in this life, “Do as you would be done by” and following the advice given in the parable of the Good Samaritan (note particularly Jesus Christ’s condemnation of the priest and the Levi for their failure to help the stranger, with its less than subtle rebuke for NOT practising what they preach) provide excellent guidance for lives which do not hurt others.

I do not think the proposed legislation is necessary and it is more likely to cause harm than protect anyone.

I do not deny you the right to follow your beliefs but express concern that faith can enshrine error and ignorance.”

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When there’s a clash of faith, which ‘religious freedom’ takes priority?

Under the Morrison Government’s proposed Religious Freedom bills, what happens when there’s a clash of religious belief? Of all the religions and faiths subscribed to in this vast nation, which freedom will take priority when head to head at the service desk of a hotel, the pharmacist’s counter, or proselytizing on social media? Whose beliefs will take precedent above all others in the fight of the rights? How will the correct order of religious freedom be determined? Will there be a duel at dawn? A water walking competition? A zealous race to see whose dead prophet will rise the fastest?

What if the faith holders both attempt to pull rank when refusing the other service? Will they quote chapter after verse after testament until the glorious reigning mighty religious bigwigmen intervene to give the supposedly correct doctrine?

Will secular courts be required to determine the true interpretation of the holy books and scribes and scrolls, when even religious scholars can’t agree, or will they defer to the religious overlords, thus enshrining religious tenets into the common law?

What if a nasty pasty says something vile and unconscionable to a random stranger on the street and asserts their legal right to do so because ‘religious belief’? Will they have to prove they’re religious, or will their word simply do? Is there a waiting period before a person can make a defense of ‘religious freedom’ to a claim of discrimination against them? Or can they claim to have found their faith and converted to religion a mere three minutes before flinging an unprovoked slur at a person for simply being?

Is there an assumption of religiosity whenever someone speaks the words of a bigot? Will the onus of proof fall on the defendant to a claim of discrimination that they, in fact, have ‘faith’ and their faith, by its very nature, requires them to treat others as lesser people because of who they are?

What if the atheists chime in & heckle from the sidelines, asserting their protected right to call the warring factions religiloons and faithofarts? Will there be a three-way claim of discrimination and counter-discrimination and third party claimants and respondents and additional parties from each particular school of religious thought, all claiming to be the religiously righteous superior and thus the absolute protected by the law?

Will the entire farce collapse into a cringe-worthy public slag fest, transcribed carefully by the court, of “you are”, “your mum is”, and “that’s what she said” between the religious and believers and atheists and anyone who is otherwise not one of the protected species under any respective religious code?

How will Morrison manage the fallout from the proposed bill on social inclusion and community cohesion and assimilation and mental health and general feelings of happiness, fulfillment and the enjoyment of people to participate fully in public life, while also exercising their personal freedoms to bodily autonomy and accessing appropriate medical care?

Will Morrison demand tolerance and respect and fairness, while women, people of colour, racial minorities, people with a disability and LGBTIQA+ Australians are actively being denied services and publicly shamed, slandered and humiliated?

What further laws will Morrison rush through parliament when atheists, joined by any empathetic, loving and open-hearted religious folk, protest on the streets to denounce the positive rights of the religious to discriminate against them, their friends and families? Will he call in the military? Will he pray? Will he command the nation join him in prayer while the military confiscates padlocks, gaffa tape and glue?

What if? What if? What if?

What if Morrison and his merry band of religious zealots actually recognised and respected human rights, and instead of a knee-jerk reaction to appease the haters who think it’s their god-given right to impose their fundamentalist, extremist beliefs on the rest of the population, he proposed a bill to protect everyone from harm?

Ha!

Morrison and his government are more concerned about the hurt feelings of a bunch of rotten losers than the real, demonstrated harm even the debate on ‘religious freedom’ is causing in the community.

But bets on who will be the first to cry foul when it’s religion up against religion, up against yet another religion, and maybe another religion (because who knew, even the religious types can’t agree on if there is one almighty supernatural creator or many) and then add in the atheists who will surely exercise their newly reinforced right to fiercely criticize religion and religious belief …

 

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A manifesto for how to tell lies

The Government’s accidental emailing of their confidential talking points is nothing more than a manifesto of how to tell lies, to lie by omission, mislead and generally confuse people.

They have nothing to do with providing the public with information about the Government’s progress in resolving issues, or initiatives in progress, or even the introduction of new ideas.

Lying in government, except for reasons of national security, is wrong at any time, however when they do it with deliberate intention of omission it is even more so. Scott Morrison’s Government, however, seem to do it with impunity.

The document contained an extensive range of talking points over a wide area of policy that including spin about drought assistance, climate change, rising carbon emissions, the banking inquiry, and other matters of embarrassment to the government.

On radio and morning television programs newsreaders and hosts treated the matter as being funny and a bit of a joke.

It isn’t.

The Attorney-General Christian Porter denied it was an embarrassment:

“I didn’t know that they were (distributed),” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“These things happen from time to time.”

He may as well have answered:

“Our government likes it, when we are answering questions to all be lying in unison, all telling the same lie in other words. What’s the point of us all telling different lies? Now that would be embarrassing.”

Here are some examples of the talking points, courtesy of The Guardian:

If you are asked about the ACCC inquiry announced by the Treasurer …

The government has directed the ACCC to undertake an inquiry into the pricing of residential mortgage products, particularly after the banks failed to pass on the RBA’s recent interest rate cuts in full.

The Inquiry will focus on the period from 1 January 2019. Since this date, there have been three cuts (June, July and October) by the RBA to the official cash rate.

Together these cuts have reduced the cash rate by 75 basis points, and the big four banks have passed on an average 57 basis points in owner-occupied home loan rates.

The major banks have decided to put their profits before their customers, and that’s not a good outcome for their customers or the economy.

As the Reserve Bank governor pointed out recently “lower interest rates put more money into the hands of the household sector and, at some point, this extra money gets spent and this helps the overall economy.

The inquiry will ensure the pricing practices of the banks are better understood and made more transparent by; understanding how banks make pricing decisions for residential mortgages – which is particularly important in the current context of banks not passing on the RBA rate cuts in full. Assessing how prices differ for new and existing customers. Investigating barriers to switching.

The inquiry will consider pricing across the entire residential mortgage market by major banks, smaller banks, and non-bank lenders. But the big four banks will be a key focus of this inquiry, given they hold around 75% of residential mortgage debt.

The government is committed to increasing competition in banking and promoting good consumer outcomes in the mortgage market to ensure that consumers can get a better deal.

The consumer data right provides consumers with greater access to their personal information giving them power to securely transfer their banking data to other providers to get a better deal. This is one of a number of policies the government is implementing to increase competition.

If asked how this differs to the royal commission and previous ACCC inquiries …

The financial services royal commission specifically focused on misconduct rather than the way that banks are pricing their mortgages.

The ACCC’s previous residential mortgage price inquiry specifically focused on whether the major bank levy affected the prices charged for residential mortgages.

The government has also decided to acknowledge the IMF climate report, which said Australia would fail to meet its Paris target:

We’re taking meaningful action to reduce global emissions with our $3.5bn climate solutions package that will deliver the 328 million tonnes of abatement needed to meet our 2030 Paris target.

Our national target is achievable, balanced and responsible, and is part of coordinated global action to deliver a healthy environment for future generations while keeping our economy strong.

In the electricity sector, we are reducing emissions while maintaining reliable and secure supply:

The latest official projections show the national electricity market (NEM) is on track to be 26% below 2005 levels by 2022, eight years early.

On the back of $25bn of committed investment in clean energy, Australia leads the world with more than double the per capita investment of countries like France, Germany and the UK.

If asked – IMF climate change report saying we will not meet our 2030 target …

We’ll meet our target without introducing a carbon tax.

When Labor were in government and introduced a carbon tax, energy prices went up and industry threatened to take jobs offshore.

The IMF report does not take into account our $3.5bn package which maps out to the last tonne how we will deliver the 328mt of abatement needed to reduce emissions to 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The report also states that under a $75 carbon tax, retail electricity prices would increase by 70-90% in Australia.

That is not something we are going to do to Australian households and small businesses.

The Guardian adds that:

“When asked about that on Friday, Josh Frydenberg seemed to miss the question and answered along the lines of “Who said that? Labor?” which is a standard response these days.”

“The government is also pretty into what the party who is not in government is doing. Joel Fitzgibbon has given them some extra steam… “

Labor division on energy policy …

Joel Fitzgibbon has backflipped on his recent calls for a carbon tax and again presented yet another position on energy policy – this one driven by self-interest to save his own seat, following huge swings against him at the recent election.

Meanwhile Bill Shorten and Penny Wong have recently said they are “proud” of Labor’s reckless 45% target and made the case to keep it.

This follows calls by the assistant climate change spokesman Pat Conroy to scrap their 45% emissions reduction target but Labor change spokesman Mark Butler won’t commit to anything.

Whether it’s “Chairman Swanny” calling for Labor to keep their $387bn tax and spend agenda or Fitzgibbon looking back to the future then doing a backflip, Labor haven’t learned the lessons from the election and want to rehash policies Australia has comprehensively rejected.

We’re taking meaningful action to reduce global emissions with our $3.5bn climate solutions package that will deliver the 328 million tonnes of abatement needed to meet our 2030 Paris target.

Under our government Australia leads the world with more than double the per capita investment of countries like the UK, France and Germany.

The Guardian also adds:

“But the best thing about this one is that the government actually admits that emissions have increased (at least through its notes). For the records, emissions have increased every year since 2014, when the carbon price was scrapped.”

If asked about recent increases in emissions …

Emissions fell 0.4% over the first quarter of 2019.

Emissions for the year to March 2019 are up 0.6 % or 3.1 Mt. This small increase is due to an 18.8% increase in LNG exports. LNG production related emissions increased 4.7 Mt.

Absent the increase in LNG exports, total emissions would have declined. Australia’s LNG exports for the year to March 2019 are estimated to be worth $47.8bn.

While this industry’s success has increased Australia’s emissions, it has potentially reduced global emissions by up to 28% of Australia’s annual emissions by displacing coal generation in importing countries.

We are nearly half way towards our 2030 Paris target – emissions are down 11.7% on 2005 levels and the emissions intensity of the economy and per capita are at their lowest levels in nearly three decades.

We are also on track to overachieve on our 2020 target by 367 million tonnes.

And these are just some examples from 17 pages of nonsense. A government that finds it necessary to have to mislead the public so openly isn’t worth a pinch of salt, let alone a pot of Fosters.

Just before I finish I posted this yesterday on Facebook:

The Prime Minister’s cancellation of next month’s COAG meeting is yet another example of his government’s inability to govern. Early reports at 6pm on a Sunday night suggest a case of spilt milk over recycling policy and that other than “they had nothing else to talk about.” What a load of hogwash.

My thought for the day

We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the government the media and self-interest groups.

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Ita Buttrose, Tim Wilson, Peter Dutton And The Water Boy

So, according to the chairperson of the ABC, Ita Buttrose political correctness is killing the Australian larrikin. I guess she’s probably missing old Kerry Packer who was a true larrikin and used to say hilarious things to people as, “Can you fuckers change the media ownership rules so that I can buy Fairfax and sack all those journalists who called me Goanna?” Hilarious. It was almost as funny as Ita when she announced that she was “embracing radical celibacy” in the 80s. Mind you, you had to hear her say it to fully appreciate the humour. Political correctness prevents me from pointing out that it was her lisp that made it so funny, because we can’t make fun of people any more. No longer can we mock the way someone speaks or hide people’s wheelchairs just for fun… Although you can if you’re part of the NDIS and it’s to help with a Budget surplus.

But back to Ita’s recent pronouncement, I think that this is great to hear. For too long, those sticks-in-the-mud at the ABC have censored people. Why? I’m sure you all remember how they apologised after The Chaser photoshopped Chris Kenny to look like he was having sex with a dog. Ok, it was after Kenny had taken legal action but, as he explained, he was doing it to protect free speech. Free speech means that one should be allowed to say what one likes as long as it doesn’t offend certain Australian values like ANZAC day, Australia Day or old, white men in the media.

And young Timmy Wilson did his bit for free speech by going and joining the Hong Kong protest. Some were unkind enough to suggest that this was a wee bit hypocritical, considering he tweeted that the police should use water-cannons on the Occupy Melbourne protest. However, as Timmy explained on Sky his was just a joke and besides Occupy Melbourne were permanently stationed there but the Hong Kong protestors move around. Just further evidence of Australians inability to take a joke… Of course, being a bit of a larrikin, I think the punchline would have been the Hong Kong police using water-cannons on Wilson, but I guess I shouldn’t say that. Ah, political correctness again…

Anyway, I couldn’t help but feel that there was a little bit of inconsistency being shown here. I don’t just mean because Dutton is suggesting that we should be arresting our own protestors, while Wilson is disrupting traffic in another country. I’m talking about our position on China.

Just a few weeks ago, Scott Morrison was telling us that Labor were being racist because they were suggesting that Gladys Liu was a member of a group that pushed Chinese Communist party interests overseas just because she was listed as a member, but when Peter Dutton comes out and says that there are people pushing CCP interests overseas, it’s suddenly no big deal and it’s simply “that there are differences between Australia and the People’s Republic of China, of course, there are”. Morrison went on to warn “against any sort of over-analysis or overreaction to those comments, because I think they just simply reflect the fact we’re two different countries.”

Of course, Scott Morrison can’t really be blamed when he’s just the titular head of the party and it’s Dutton making all the decisions. Morrison is there in much the same capacity as a head of state. He goes to official functions, cuts ribbons, makes speeches, visits Maccas, welcomes people, hands out awards and lets people take selfies with him. All the actual decisions are made by the man with the power to have him arrested under our anti-terrorism laws.

So while he can’t run the country Scott can do such valuable things as run the water for PM’s XIII Rugby team in Fiji, and tell them that they can spread the message about violence against women far better than politicians can. This makes me wonder, given that private industry can supposedly do things much better than politicians, exactly what politicians can actually manage?

Apart from running water to their heroes, of course…

(Before the lawyers get involved, that last statement in no way refers to either Angus or Barnaby!)

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Dutton The Dud strikes again

Peter Dutton has used his preferred diplomatic channel, 2GB, to mightily piss off our biggest trading partner by saying that the policies of the Communist Party of China are “inconsistent with those of Australia.”

Further wading into the mire, he proclaimed that “Australia is not going to allow university students to be unduly influenced by China, the theft of intellectual property or the hacking of government or non-government organisations.”

The reaction from the Chinese was predictable, calling his comments “irrational”, “shocking” and “baseless”.

“We strongly condemn his malicious slur on the Communist Party of China, which constitutes an outright provocation to the Chinese people,” it said in a statement.  “Such ridiculous rhetoric severely harms the mutual trust between China and Australia and betrays the common interests of the two peoples.”

The only surprising thing here is that anyone is surprised by Dutton’s comments.  He seems to be on a mission to offend as many people as he can.

In 2008, he chose not to be present in the chamber during the apology to the Stolen Generations because it would do nothing for “kids who are being raped and tortured in communities in the 21st century.”

On 11 September 2015, Dutton was overheard on an open microphone, before a community meeting on Syrian refugees, joking about rising sea levels in the Pacific Islands. He said, “time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door”.

The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands at the time, Tony deBrum, responded by writing the “insensitivity knows no bounds in the big polluting island down [south]” and the “Next time waves are battering my home [and] my kids are scared, I’ll ask Peter Dutton to come over, and he is still probably laughing,”

Before the 2016 election, Dutton said of refugees “many … won’t be numerate or literate in their own language let alone English”, and “These people would be taking Australian jobs”.

Then In November 2016, Dutton said it was a mistake by the Malcolm Fraser administration to have admitted Lebanese Muslim immigrants because second and third-generation descendants were terrorists.

In March 2018 Dutton made calls to treat white South African farmers as refugees, stating that “they need help from a civilised country”.  The Australian High Commissioner was subsequently summoned by the South African foreign ministry, which expressed its offence at Dutton’s statements, and demanded a “full retraction”

Dutton was roundly ridiculed when he said that people in Melbourne were too scared to go out to dinner because of “African gang violence”.

One could be forgiven for dismissing Dutton as an oafish lout who has no empathy, no respect, no communication skills, and no fucking idea how to win co-operation – but the reality is probably much more sinister,

Peter Dutton is a political animal who seems to think that being racist will appeal to us.

Considering his vote went up in the last election despite his appalling performance, he may be right.

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The Bill that Australia despised

Who had the better election campaign?

It is said that hindsight is a wonderful thing.

An extended period of time after an event gives one a better reflection of its context, rather than the usual instantaneous rushed response.

So, it is in that vein that I look back on the last Australian election campaign, Saturday 18 May 2019.

Analysing the election campaigns a few months on gives one a greater understanding of the campaigns of both parties.

But let’s start with the Coalition. What did they take to the election other than some ill-considered tax cuts? (By ill-considered I mean that I struggle with the concept of tax cuts while there is a Royal Commission in place about the treatment of our aged and $1.5 billion is being taken from the NDIS). Well, they took very little, actually. A born to rule party, generally speaking, doesn’t think it needs to.

Although the Coalition, maybe because it was convinced it would lose, decided the effort really wasn’t worth it.

However, this belies the fact that Scott Morrison campaigned like a drunk looking for a drink. He lied in fact and by omission.

He invented scare campaigns in the best Liberal Party tradition. A retiree tax, The Bill Australia Can’t Afford, franking credits, and a tax on everything all worked a treat. So much so that you would be hard pressed to pick the best.

He upped his pomposity to the point of pure fakery that was a precursor to his conversion to Trumpism, playing his Christ-thin Christianity for all it was worth.

All it amounted to was some more money for domestic violence, a reduction in pensioner chemist scripts before becoming free, a lift in the five-year freeze on Medicare, 307 million for schools, 100 billion for infrastructure over 10 years, a cap on refugee numbers, a cap on immigration, a promise to maintain border security and catch internet trolls.

There was also a promise to reduce our power bills by 25% and of course, the tax cuts.

That was it in all its Liberal glory, shallow with no narrative about our future or where the Prime Minister saw us in an increasing complex world. There were no ideas, no mention of the struggles of our First Nations People or the poorest in our community.

Negativity seemed to be the order of the day, highlighted by a champagne launch held in the shadows of darkness in case the light might reveal how few bothered to turn up.

Hardly the foundation for a winning an election campaign but Morrison, to his credit, furiously pounded Bill Shorten for his inability to explain Labor policy.

He made what – was in my view – good policy look mediocre. His sheer will must have won over many voters.

Aided and abetted by the Murdoch press and the shock jocks; the wealth of Palmer and the inappropriate intervention of Dr. Bob, the Prime Minister created, not a miracle, but an illusion.

Life is about perception, not what is, but what we perceive it to be.

If you tell the people often enough that you are the best to manage the economy … they will believe you.

Hence the campaign slogan“Building our economy, securing your future”.

Speaking of slogans and advertising in general, one has to say that for the first time I can remember the Coalition got it right with the use of television and social media.

They targeted voters judicially with ads aimed at specific groups and individual personalities at the micro level.

If per chance you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned the Deputy Prime Minister and his party it is simply because I cannot remember his name nor what he said he would do for our good country folk.

That Morrison could have won after 6 years of the poorest governance the country has known, together with a policy campaign that berated Labor and overlooked its own hopelessness speaks volumes for his abilities of persuasion.

And what of Labor?

Labor entered the campaign full of running. After all, it hadn’t lost a poll since the Moses parted the Red Sea.

The government had elected yet another leader and had proven to be an accident-prone chaotic mess of people who had no idea how to govern. It had a leader who hadn’t shown an empathetic tear in all the portfolios he had been a minister in. Was he ‘tuff,’ was he a motor mouth. Yes he was.

Labor had everything going for it. It had revealed policy after policy in a calm orderly manner and provided the Australian voter with a stark ideological difference to consider.

Its policies were fair and just, seeking to take a more equitable share of the country’s riches from those that have and create a more just society.

Gone would be the days when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

Labor’s policies were full of fresh economic ideas that would see an end to trickle-down economics that in conservative eyes at least is the answer to all things economics.

More money would be spent on schools and hospitals and all those things that created a better social cohesion. Nothing wrong with that. The average punter would endorse those moves rather enthusiastically

It undoubtedly had the better power and climate policies, the best proposals on health and infrastructure, and the better and fairer policies on education. The sheer range of policy was enormous, and displayed the vast work the party must have put into them.

But here is the crux of the matter. They fell for the oldest trap in the political Bible. They found themselves in a mire of detail.

Every policy required a truckload of explanation. Did you ever have it explained to you just why the country wouldn’t be able to afford the subsidies for franking credits and negative gearing a few years from now? No, because it would take a month of Sundays to do it. Therefore attempts to do so ended up being bogged down in the inevitable too hard basket.

And you can add to that last but not least the main reason Labor’s campaign fell flat on its face.

In my view Labor had the best campaign, the best policies, and the best group to manage the economy and was and is the best party philosophically conditioned and able to take Australia into the future.

However – and it is sad to say this – they had the wrong man as leader. One can hear populism vibrating in the hearts of those who use it and you can tell sincerity when confronted with it. Morrison reeks of populism and Shorten the latter.

My view nevertheless wasn’t that of the majority of Australians. More than enough hated him for reasons beyond my understanding to make the difference between winning and losing.

In a couple of weeks a small group of Laborites will report on why Labor lost to such a group of pathetic individuals unfit to govern our great nation. They will come up with a multitude of reasons, but Shorten probably wont be on the top.

My thought for the day

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

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The Tancredi Dilemma

Tancredi is a character in the Lampedusa novel (The Leopard) about the unification of Italy and the ending of aristocratic governance in Southern Italy … and it was this character who uttered that most famous of lines; “For things to remain the same, everything must change.” Of course, he was referring to the aristocratic rulers inserting covert agents like himself into democratic government so as to keep a hold on any revolutionary changes that would lessen the power (as much as possible) of the ruling class … of which he was one.

The end of the nineteenth century saw the diminishing of aristocratic power in favour of the rising middle-class political base … just like now, in the twenty-first century, we are seeing that now old/aged middle-class of high industry/banking losing ground to a rising aspirant/younger middle-class of brash technocrats and entrepreneurs, not necessarily savvy in the complex ‘rules’ of patriarchal network, military engagements and old-money finance, but more keen on flash finance, fast turnover and short, swift credit transfers based more on the theory of gambler’s luck than a book-keepers reliable ledger account.

Chance of a quick ‘killing’ being the modus operandi of the next generation of players!

And this is where The Tancredi Dilemma becomes interesting … for in the first instance above, the middle-classes that replaced the aristocrats were solid merchants, with investments in solid goods … products from the far east, trading ships and barges up and down the major rivers of the world … the spices and silks .. the ivory and slaves, manchester and machinery formed the base of their massive accumulated wealth … they were well-placed to challenge the decadent aristocratic class for the top job of sovereign governance … all it took was a wave of the royal sword of knighthood to ‘legitimise’ a swathe of the more wealthy or devious of the crew and they were cemented into the ‘network’.

Now, as this network gets old and decrepit in a generational sense, we see a new set of eyes peering through the glass darkly, hungry for a grab at that sovereign governance … but these new eyes are not as political savvy as the old hands … not as patient to wait for the royal dab with the Wilkinson Sword of knighthood … these new kids on the block are brash, aggressive bastards who are breaking the panelled doors down with mace and sledge-hammer … vulgar is not strong enough a word to describe them … barbarian is closer to the truth … the Visigoths at the gates of Rome …

How is this new breed of ‘Bankers on Credit’, ‘Merchants of internet selling’ going to manage the social structures needed to keep a society stable and conducive to good, predictable, long-term governance? In short … they cannot! … Their failing at even the most simple social programs that we see falling to pieces around us as we go about our work, child-care, health, transport and play demonstrates a cabal of wannaby ‘leaders’ who couldn’t lead a blind man down a wide, empty boulevard without tripping on every slight obstacle in their path … they themselves being blind and ignorant beyond comprehension.

Since the end of the generations that saw Keating pass the baton to Howard, who in his own mean-spirited way did a ‘Tiberius’ and prepared a ‘Satyr’ for the people of Australia with his paving the way for a far right infection into the LNP that even he couldn’t see the damage he was inflicting, there has been an endless stream of younger blunt, weaponised LNP members fumbling around The House and the authorities, corrupting without thought on the consequences, every authority, every bureaucracy and oversight office so that now we have no confidence ..  and rightly so! In any judgement brought down on any investigation of possible departmental fraud or high political office corruption … the individualistic operations of many members of the parliament to feather their own nests or those of their backers has totally corrupted the system … so that even our voting system, once the yardstick of safe, secure and fair elections copied around the world, is now tainted with an air of doubt … if not absolute distrust and scorn!

Even those of us on the Left of politics have had to watch unbelieving as we see our representatives go to water in the face of right-wing wedging and bluff … their fear of a MSM attack on their persons driving them to shelter and hide … Their now plump and shiny selves, from the largesse of many years in office losing that “lean and hungry look” so necessary in a political animal needed to shift the corpulent carcass of LNP dead-weights so welded to their seats.

The Tancredi Dilemma is needed again to have the middle-class burn some of its own … be that middle-class of the left or the right, they have to waste some of the dead-wood and decrepit stooges laying like rotting logs across the path … The new middle-class of IT techies and self-employed tradies have to wade into the fray and with metaphorical laser and hammer carve and smash away those who would never want change … and it has to be done soon and with extreme prejudice before we all burn in our beds from a destroyed environment!

For things to remain the same … ie; the ‘ruling bodies’ to hold position of power in the parliament with orthodox structures securing their authority … everything must now change … just as Rome had to fall so that Europe could rise, the dinosaurs in our politics must ‘die’.

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The Jobless Did Not Ask For This!

Who is responsible for jobs? Should we punish the jobless? Is welfare a right or a privilege? These are the questions the Government is too gutless to ask. By accepting the Government’s answers to these issues without question, it may be shaping a future we haven’t asked for. The Jobless didn’t ask for this!

The term “welfare” is often touted as synonymous with the word “problem”. The question we are not asked is, “Is welfare a problem?”

The Government is asking us to argue vehemently over answers to a question they are too gutless to ask. We should ask the Government questions.

Welfare Reform is a complex issue. However, the wider narrative has a huge impact on how we address reform in this space.

Welfare ‘Reform’

The Welfare Reform Bill currently before the house, is focused on using punishment as a blunt force to solve the ‘welfare problem.’ The Government is quite brazen in no longer hiding punishment as a measure.

One system of punishment is a demerit point system. Another is drug testing. Therefore, the Government has predetermined, that the jobless ‘do the wrong thing’.

The Liberal National Coalition have successfully chipped away at society, along with the opposition in some respects. That is, to create a sub-human welfare class who society appears comfortable to punish.

Punishment sits well with a large section of society. This is due to continuous stigma aimed at the jobless. In the words of Erving Goffman, we have actively inflicted upon the jobless a ‘spoiled identity.’

The Labor opposition opposes these measures. However, since the late 1980’s the Labor party has joined with the Liberals with the same mantra.. That is, the onus is on the jobless to find a job, rather than the responsibility of Government to sustain an economy offering jobs for all.

In short, the narrative over the last 30 years is that jobseekers need a paternalistic guiding hand to motivate them. Therefore, the Government shuns the notion of the jobseeker’s own intrinsic motivation.

Who is Responsible For Jobs?

The answer given to us over the last 30 years is that the jobless are a problem. The Government(s) place the burden on the jobseeker to find jobs, although these jobs may not exist. Where jobs do not exist, the Turnbull Government believes the jobless should create their own job. For ideological reasons, the Government shuns Government intervention and job creation.

The Government(s) have given us answers without asking any questions. They assume that we, in society, simply agree that the jobless are a problem.  The Government assumes that we agree that the Government is blameless. They assume we are completely happy with the amount and types of jobs available.

The questions the Government(s) are too gutless to ask is:

“Is the Government doing enough to ensure there are enough jobs for the people?”

“Is the Government skilled enough to implement the right solutions to increase available jobs?”

“If the Government does not believe it is their role to create jobs, is self-determination to create our own job by starting our own business, a practical solution for all?”

“Do we aim for a society where large pockets of ghost towns exist, along with a number of over-populated vibrant cities for workers to transition to, or do we aim for a society where the Government places the same commitment to develop all regions equally?”

Should We Punish the Jobless?

The answer given to us over the last 30 years is the we should punish the jobless. The punitive approach intensified during the Howard era, particularly financial penalties. The level of punishment today is very paternalistic and draconian. 

The problem posed is that the jobless lack motivation. The assumption is that inaction by the Government is acceptable. However, the Government does not ask us if we agree.

Over the Abbott-Turnbull period, the level of punishment aimed at the jobless is unacceptable. From the jobless starve for six months policy, to the demerit system, to restrictions on volunteer work for over 55’s, cashless welfare and drug testing are aimed to develop a society, I do not recognise as an Australian society. This causes me a deep level of concern.

The questions the Government(s) are too gutless to ask is:

“Is it fair to punish the jobless, if the Government fails to provide enough jobs?”

“Should the Government punish the jobless, if they do not have the skills or capital to start their own business, if they cannot find a job?”

“Is it fair to punish the jobless if the Government has not provided an adequate jobsearch system to support the jobless to match them to available jobs?”

“Although studies show that extrinsic motivation factors such as punishment, affect psychological well-being, hinder job search and not assist it, is it acceptable to punish the jobless?

Is Welfare a Right or a Privilege?

The punitive approach of successive Governments aim to reduce spending in the welfare space. It is evident that the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s aim is to reclassify those on welfare into a sliding scale. This scale appears to bracket those on welfare from ‘acceptable citizens’ to ‘bludgers’ to ‘drug addled sub-humans.’

The Government had one other criteria “genuine jobseekers”, prior to this bill. However, all jobseekers now fall into the realm of bludgers. Every measure in the current bill, is underpinned by a suspicion the jobless individual may be prone to deviant behaviour.

The punitive measures in the current reforms are very much focused on financial penalty. They seek to exclude or restrict access to unemployment benefits. This is done by classifying welfare recipients into normal behaviour (reward) and deviant behaviour (exclusion).

In short, to save money on the welfare bill (which we all pay for, including the jobless), the Government has provided us with the answer of normals and deviants.

They haven’t asked us the question. However, it is clear their answer is ‘normals and deviants’.

The Government knows that Australians will always apply the ‘fair-go’ to normals, but not deviants. In short, it is a simple equation.

Jobless+30 years of stigma = Deviants
Normals-Deviants = Less welfare spending

This question I have left until last because it is crucial to how we see our future as a society.  Most importantly, I ask readers to please ponder upon this question. This is because the Government tells us everyday who we are. We need to stand up and tell them who we want to be.Therefore, it is crucial to argue if welfare is a right or a privilege. This is intrinsic to who we are as a society.

The question the Government(s) are too gutless to ask is:

Menzies Welfare

As you can see from the excerpt above, unemployment and sickness benefits were introduced in Australia as a right, not a privilege.  Three generations later, the Abbott-Turnbull Government speaks of welfare as a privilege and not a right. They have changed the definition whilst we were not looking. Additionally, they again, provided us with an answer without asking us a very important question.

“Should Welfare continue to be available as a right to all people in society, from the recently redundant to the most disenfranchised in society, or do we aim for a society, where the poorest class are further divided by the Government into entitled humans and excluded sub-humans?”

Real Reform

Real welfare reform will begin with asking confronting questions and shifting away from arguing over the answers the Government provides without them posing an actual question.

If the Government took on the burden instead of the jobless, our conversations around the dinner table, would be very different. Importantly, these tiny conversations are powerful enough to shape public policy.

It is evident from some of the emotive speakers within the Labor opposition and crossbenchers, speaking to this bill, that the punishment regime has gone way too far. However, after 30 years of placing the burden on the jobless and praising punishment as a motivator, why is anyone speaking to this welfare bill, angry or shocked?

Real Welfare Reform can only happen when a leader dares to stand apart from the pack. This leader will remove the burden from the jobless. They will lead us by being brave enough to take ownership and responsibility for job creation. Most importantly they will not stand idly by and allow the jobless in our society to suffer from stigma in silence. They will unite us and not divide us.

They will look back over the last 30 years, look back to us and with true emotion say “Under a Government I lead, the jobless will never be punished again.”

I Just Want A Sally McManus T-Shirt!

I don’t know about you, but I have not felt like this in a long time! Sally McManus is a real life hero. Sally is a bringer of hope.

It Cuts Deep

Equality and fairness cut very deep for me. I was one of six children and my father was on the disability pension. I was raised in housing commission in a regional town, in Queensland. One thing my Father used to say to me is, “On the pension, you can’t improve. This is it. There is no more money than what they give you.’ I understood life was different for us.

From the moment I could read, I took a keen interest in politics. I would sit at the table and trawl through the Australian and Courier Mail, turning the pages (which were almost as big as the table). Amongst the political stories, I searched for hope.

I would stare intently at photos of Malcolm Fraser and Joh Bjelke Petersen. Through the eyes of a child, they did not even have kind faces. They looked important but uncaring.

Day after day, there were never any stories about hope for kids like me, or for mums and dads like mine. Did they not see us? Did they not know we were here?

A New World of Fairness

One day, I was sitting cross legged in the middle of the lounge room floor (like you do as an eleven-year-old). A man appeared on the television and he was talking about fairness.

The feeling I had inside was overwhelming. I felt very, very emotional. Finally, in the world of huge newspapers and two television channels, here was one of those important men on the television, but I liked him. He was so much different.

I do not remember his exact words, (I am sure there will be a speech somewhere), but this man said that he would fight to make sure everyone was equal. He would make things fair.

I knew he understood us, without even knowing us. He saw us.

I turned around to Dad and said, “Who is that man?”

“That man is Bob Hawke. He was head of the ACTU. He’s a very smart man and by God Ish, he knows what he is doing. Bob Hawke is going to be our Prime Minister one day.” 

In the world of six o’clock news and huge newspapers, I finally existed.

I drew his words in.

Finally, I had hope.

I felt hope.

Starved of Hope

As I have travelled through life since Bob Hawke, I have not felt that same moment of overwhelming hope. Of being seen.

My first real understanding of the opposite of Bob Hawke was John Howard and Work Choices. My first real protest was fighting against Individual Contracts imposed on University workers.

The Howard Era for me was an era of oppression. Of really pushing the working class to the floor. Of making sure if something went wrong, it was too bad. Suck it up losers! A world thrust upon us where we could not speak up and find justice if wronged. We just had to ‘cop whatever employers decided to give us.’ Even the sack. 

It didn’t matter if you were loyal, or really good at your job and worked hard, the threat of the sack loomed dark over everyone’s heads and you could tell others felt it every day too. They were dark times.

I will never ever forget Work Choices. Ever.

Still Starving

The night Kevin Rudd won office, I was deliriously happy. To cut a long story short, I was still sitting on the footpath at six in the morning.

Although Rudd knocked down the bad guy. I never had that same feeling of hope. No emotions stirred within me. I was not looking up to a man fighting for fairness. The same with Gillard.

Tony Abbott destroyed my soul. Enough said. I don’t need to explain.

Malcolm Turnbull has the personality and empathy of a cardboard box. One thing you pick up on when you grow up poor is fake people. His fakeness – his insincerity demoralises me on a daily basis, because every single day, I think of today’s kids that are kids like I was. He never will understand the world these kids live in.

I was starved of hope again. The desire to feel hope again was strong.

Sally

Fast forward to 2017. The biggest news was Sally McManus was the first female secretary of the ACTU. I had waited all day for her interview on ABC 7.30 Report.

Leigh Sales, a journalist known for interrupting Labor politicians was the interviewer. I felt trepidation. What games would be played? Was the aim to tear down another woman? Did Sales have trick questions up her sleeve? Would Sales cut Sally off to leave misinterpretations hanging in the air?

I watched intently as Sally answered the questions. A calm, clear, steely resolve. An explicit air of knowing her stuff. Of intelligence, higher thought and compassion. A voice of fairness.

Traits I search for in women to admire were before me in abundance. I was stoked!

The emotions that welled inside me, took me back to my childhood sitting on the floor. Here I was sitting, in the lounge room again, watching ABC again and hearing words about the ACTU and fairness again. But this time, it was a woman. How good is this, Right?

Then the words boomed out of the screen….

“It is okay for workers to break unjust laws.”

I drew her words in.

Finally, I had hope.

I felt hope.

I Just Want a Sally McManus T-Shirt

Ever since this day, I have watched intently and Sally McManus is everywhere. Fighting the good fight. Travelling all over Australia. Standing with workers. Speaking words of hope. Fighting for workers. Standing in Solidarity with the unemployed. Fighting for all of us. Knocking down walls. Smashing the insidious thought that has permeated our culture since Howard, that “Workers will get what they are given.” 

Telling us to stand together to not back down. A consistent strong unwavering message of hope and fairness, every, single day. Every, single day.

My desire to feel hope is finally fed.

An iteration of Howard and Work Choices will never ever rise again under Sally’s watch.

And that makes me feel bloody good. For me and for kids today who were like kids like me. I feel good for the workers. For the jobless. For everyone doing it tough.

I no longer search for hope. No longer do I desire to be fed. I wake up every day and eat hope for breakfast.

Sally sees us. We exist. She is present.

Sally McManus IS a real life hero.

I echo my Father telling me about Bob Hawke, the man from the ACTU but now about Sally McManus, the woman from the ACTU:

“Sally McManus will be our Prime Minister one day.”

I just want a Sally McManus T-Shirt!

House Music: The Rise of Ministerial Advisers

The rise of Ministerial Advisers is examined by Dr Yee-Fui Ng. Peta Credlin, Kevin Rudd and Children Overboard are interesting inclusions. This week I also introduce a new element in House Music – Senate Occasional Lectures. Senate Occasional Lectures are part of the Seminars and Lectures Series in Parliament House.

Dr Ng is a lecturer at RMIT. Her research interests are in the areas of political integrity and law. She has worked as a Policy Adviser to Prime Minister and Cabinet and as a Senior Legal Adviser in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. Dr Ng is the author of Ministerial Advisers in Australia – The Modern Legal Context. For this book, Dr Ng interviews 22 former and current Ministers and Members of Parliament, including four former Premiers, two former Treasurers, five former Senior Ministers, one leader of the Greens and two former speakers. Dr Ng uses theming to explain the findings in this lecture. I have paraphrased Dr Ng’s lecture below. The video link is provided.

House Music is a weekly blog where I discuss various Bills, Committees, Petitions and try to raise awareness of the valuable resources on the APH website

A New Political Class – Introduction

The 1970s saw the development of the modern Senate committee system. Therefore, this also saw the introduction of Senate Standing Committees and Estimate Committees. Importantly, the significance of this change is Senate Committees could hold the Government to account. This era marked the shift from Ministers relying solely on Departments for advice to the introduction of a new political class – the Ministerial Adviser. This new political class stands between the Minister and the Public Service.

The Role of the Ministerial Advisers

“It’s very hard to feel sorry for politicians” (Dr Ng)

In this opening statement, Dr Ng explains the complexity of a Minister’s role. Modern day politicians have many different responsibilities including, policy, the media and political issues. Advisers meet with stakeholders and interest groups as well as constituents. In addition, they must work with their Prime Minister, Members of Parliament and their political party. 

Furthermore, new Ministers face a complex system of bureaucracy inherited from the previous Government. Although the public service is impartial; Ministers may not trust a public service which has just served the outgoing Government. As a result, Ministers may seek partisan support from advisers who they can trust. This has led to the rise of the Ministerial Adviser. The Minister directly appoints their Ministerial Advisers.

Ministerial Advisers

The beginnings of Ministerial Advisers were in the form of the Kitchen Cabinet in the 1970s. A group of the Minister’s trusted colleagues ‘sat around the kitchen table’ and passed on advice to the Minister as well as developed political strategy. This has since formalised into the role of the Ministerial Adviser. 

This was a distinct shift from the Minister seeking advice from the impartial public service to a partisan adviser.

Ministerial Staff have increased by 173 percent over the last 40 years. in 1972 there were 155 Ministerial Staff. In 2015 there were 423 Ministerial Staff. 

Ministerial Advisers – Influential and Powerful

Ministerial Advisers are influential and powerful and work across a range of functions. Some Ministerial Advisers such as Chief of staff to the Prime Minister and very Senior Ministers were more powerful than many ministers and members of parliament. 

Often the Ministerial Advisers you find in the Prime Minister’s and Premier’s offices are more powerful than some Ministers. The Head of the Media Unit the Chief of Staff and maybe one or two advisers in Prime Ministers and Premier’s office, are more powerful, have more influence on the decision makers in most cases, than certainly Junior Ministers and more than most Ministers. (John Thwaite – Former Deputy Premier)

Intimacy

In addition, Intimacy develops between the Minister and their Ministerial Advisers. This is due to long working hours and high political pressures. 

There is an intimacy in the Ministerial office. People work ridiculous hours, you are living in each other’s other’s pockets, it is a relatively small area. You are under intense pressure. (Lindsay Tanner, Former Minister)

Dr Ng says that this environment is conducive to this type of intimacy. This intimacy gives more access, trust and bond than someone who is coming in to see you every two days.

Minister’s may see their Advisers more than they see their partner. (Steve Bracks former Premier)

Dr Ng describes this as a relationship forged in fire. 

Peta Credlin

Peta Credlin Ministerial Advisers

To demonstrate the power of Ministerial Advisers, Dr Ng offers Peta Credlin as a key example.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff Peta Credlin is a well-known example of a formidable former ministerial adviser. Credlin was once rated as Australia’s most powerful woman. There were frequent media reports about Credlin giving directions to and berating Ministers and Members of Parliament. Credlin also sat in on cabinet meetings and vetted Ministerial staff selection and media appearances.

She’s tough. She is the player, she makes demands, she gives directions, she balls people out. (Liberal Insider)

Credlin undoubtedly had more power and influence than most Ministers. Dr Ng concludes that “The Star of Ministerial Advisers has well and truly risen.”

Reduction of Power in the Public Service

Dr Ng explains the important inclusion of Ministerial Advisers is the link to the reduction in influence by public servants.

For example, Kevin Rudd would ignore his department for months at a time. Ministerial advisers were Rudd’s primary source of advice.

Dr Ng also demonstrates an observable shift. A Departmental Secretary physically moved to give the front row seat at an important function to the (Premier’s) Chief of Staff.

A key point of difference is that Public Servants operate under a strict administrative and compliance structure for accountability. Ministerial Advisers operate in a largely unregulated framework.

The public service reforms of 1980s were intended to bolster the position of ministers compared to public servants, as well as to increase the responsiveness of the public service. (Former Prime Minister – Paul Keating.)

and

Intent of the Ministerial staff system was to counter the impact of the imperial public service that was not elected and an excessive influence of Government and was not under the control of the elected Government. (Former Minister Dr David Kemp)

The implementation of the Ministerial staff system was to reduce the influence of the public sector. Dr Ng explained increased efficiency was another reason.

Children Overboard – Efficiency over Accountability

Children Overboard

However, Dr Ng argues that the rise of Ministerial Advisers is the triumph of efficiency over accountability. The appearance of Ministerial Advisers before Parliamentary Committees is used to demonstrate this. 

In some instances, Ministerial Advisers have been banned from appearing before Parliamentary committees. This happened in the Children Overboard Incident.

In 2001, Prime Minister John Howard claimed that asylum seeker passengers threw their own children overboard. 

Within several days the public servants found out the children overboard story was false. They advised the Ministerial Advisor to the Defence Minister this story was false. However, Ministers continued to keep making statements that Asylum Seekers threw their own children overboard, as part of an election strategy. The press secretary for the Defence Minister asked the public servant to email photos to him. The photos were from Navy Sailors who had rescued terrified asylum seekers and their children when their boat sank. 

The public servants made it clear that these photos were not of the Children Overboard incident but as part of a rescue operation. The Minister released photographs of “children thrown overboard”. Although, the Ministerial Adviser was notified this was not the case.

(Photos of the Children Overboard incident were used in the 2001 election campaign.)

Escaping Scrutiny

A Senate Committee enquiry was formed to investigate the Children Overboard incident. The Government refused to allow Ministerial Advisers to appear before the Committee. The Senate Committee was highly critical of this and argued this move shunned accountability.

This means they do not need to provide an explanation for accountability. Ministers can effectively escape scrutiny for their actions and deny responsibility.

Dr Ng explains that this creates an accountability gap and Government seeking to ensure executive accountability is undermined. Dr Ng argues this is a failure at a systemic level and Ministers can avoid their own responsibility to Parliament.

Constitutional Conventions

Dr Ng explains the complex nature of constitutional conventions and the different powers between Standing and Select Senate Committees. She explains that the belief system of politicians plays into whether Ministerial Advisers should appear before committees. Dr Ng points to a conjuncture between law and politics.

Within the interviews, former Ministers Kim Carr and Peter Costello objected to Ministerial Advisers appearing before Parliamentary Committees on the basis it allows Ministers to evade their own responsibilities to Parliament.

It would look very weak if you sent your Ministerial Advisers in for you (Peter Costello – Former Minister).

Anna Burke, the former Speaker of the House, argued that Ministerial Advisers should appear before parliamentary committees for a variety of reasons. Burke argued that Ministerial Advisers should have appeared in the Children Overboard inquiry.

Belief or Law?

Dr Ng explains the disparity of belief about conventions and the decision in the Children Overboard inquiry about Ministerial Advisers not appearing before Senate Committee.

For example, a former Liberal Senior Minister said that conventions are only practised until they are broken.

Conventions can be in the eye of the beholder and do not survive a brutal assault driven by political reasons. On an issue of this kind, people tend to do whatever suits their short term political interests. (Former Liberal Senior Minister)

Dr Ng argues that various parties will adopt contradictory positions with regard to conventions.

Either the Minister needs to accept responsibility for what their staff do. You cannot say they are responsible to me, but I don’t care what they do. I am not going to tell you what they do because it is nobody’s business. (Dr Ng)

Dr Ng argues there is no legitimate reason to exclude Ministerial Advisers from appearing before Parliamentary Committees.

Ministerial Advisers are an important part of the system and in that sense, I think that they are accountable the same way as Ministers are accountable to the public interest. The public interest is protected by Parliament and when Parliament enquire into something, they should get all the evidence that they need. It has never been an issue in Western Australia. (Geoff Gallop – Former Western Australian Premier)

Dr Ng explains that it is only the Commonwealth and the State of Victoria that makes the case that Ministerial Advisers are prevented from appearing before parliamentary Committees, through a constitutional convention.

Conclusion

Dr Ng concludes:

There are failings at an institutional level in the Australian system of public administration. This has been exacerbated by the rise of Ministerial Advisers in the Australian system of Government, the manipulated behaviour of politicians and the unreflective adoption of the public management efficiency approach.

We are caught between law and convention, continuity and change. (Dr Ng)

Dr Ng’s full lecture can be viewed here:

Source: Senate Occasional Lecture – Dr Yee-Fui Ng – 21/07/2017 12:07:00 – Parliament of Australia

Originally published on The Red Window

 

Post-Coal Theming and Preventative Unemployment

The Anti-Adani protest has generated divisive anti-worker rhetoric. Preventative unemployment should be a key focus towards a post-coal world. This article discusses the importance of themes in the narrative towards a post-coal world and explores the approach to preventative unemployment policy.

Say No To Adani Is Just the Beginning

The anti-Adani movement is growing. It has progressed from a place of prominence on social media to a place of prominence in main stream media.

I have spent countless hours trying to engage with the Anti-Adani movement. I have persisted for a long period to bring the topic of jobs to the centre of the discussion. Placing the worker at the centre of the framework is crucial, as we move towards a post-coal world.

This is crucial because the Anti-Adani movement’s aim to shut down the Adani mine is just the beginning. It is not the end. A move towards alternative energy and away from coal is evident. Protests against existing mines are just a matter of time. The industrial landscape will change forever.

However, any discussion regarding jobs is dismissed and not taken seriously.

Screaming to Shut Down Jobs

Every Adani protester is protesting to shut down jobs and is part of a wider movement which will build and push to shut down even more heavy industry.

The wider narrative in the Anti-Adani movement, when the point of jobs is raised, makes this issue much bigger than Adani by default.

The Theming of Rebuttals

I have engaged almost every day in the Adani debate online, across various platforms for at least a year. In my experience, the rebuttals towards any argument put forward regarding jobs fall into a number of themes. The post-coal world is the framework for these themes, not just Adani per se.

Divisive 

This rebuttal insists that only Great Barrier Reef workers hold any importance and these workers are more important than Coal Workers.

Dehumanising

This rebuttal dehumanises coal workers as a lower status of human. Job creation for this group is not considered. There is the assumption that these workers work in a dead industry and it is up to them to get out. Some insist it is up to the current coal mine owners to transition employees out now. Protestors see coal as an ugly and dirty industry. Therefore, stigmatisation of coal workers occurs.

Externalising Blame to the Coal Worker

This rebuttal is related to the above and shifts the blame of climate change to the actual worker. ie Coal workers are ruining the planet.

The Assumption of Automatic Transition

Coal workers will all automatically transition to a renewables job and this is the best fit for ex-coal workers is the assumption.

The Assumption of Geographical Transition

The assumption is that renewable energy companies will hire the ex-coal workforce. The other assumption is the same location will house the new industry. See above.

The Dismissal of Impact

This rebuttal rejects that coal mining has any significant contribution to the Australian economy and renewables will generate much more revenue and jobs than coal. Also, local economies will remain unchanged. This rebuttal also assumes that small business or the allocation of public services funding and infrastructure funding will not change.

Sacrificial Lamb

This rebuttal insists that we must sacrifice all coal jobs for the greater good; because if we don’t then there will be no world and no jobs.

Personally Directed Themes

When I raised jobs as an issue, the following themes occurred.

Personal investment – The major theme is ‘pro-coal‘. It is my observation that participants in this movement are unable to differentiate between pro-jobs and pro-coal.

Another theme is “Queensland Bias” as it is my home state.

Guilt – The other major theme is guilt. This is usually a counter-argument after jobs are raised. For example, accusations relating to; not caring about the Great Barrier Reef, GBR workers, First Nations people and land rights and not caring about Farmers.

From my perspective, it is important to include the personally directed themes, as these themes are quite prevalent. In addition, I would argue that these types of retaliations are an active part of a phenomenon which dismisses the worker by delegitimising the concern of the pro-jobs advocate.

Political Difficulty

This poses problems for any politician who tries argue the point for jobs. Not just at this moment regarding Adani, but as this movement progresses towards the insistence of more closures of heavy industry. On Qanda, the panel and audience ultimately dismissed Senator Canavan when he raised the issue of high unemployment for local areas near the mine.

Political Theming

The theme around this post coal transition within politics is largely devoid of any conversation around the transition of jobs and skills. The political themes are:

Climate Change Targets – This theme is central to reducing carbon emissions.

Alternative Energy – This theme is central to exploring the use of alternative energy, rather than the importance of transition of jobs within this shift.

Renewables the Best Fit – Renewables as the best fit for coal workers is assumed. Attracting other industry is not discussed. The redistribution of the public sector is also not discussed.

The Importance of Themes for Transition

I have highlighted these themes, as I see them, as I believe they play a central part ensuring the recognition of the worker occurs. 

Through the attempt to understand the current phenomenon using theming, we can then identify the actors within the phenomenon and what impact the phenomenon has as it develops. We can use this insight to shape society.

The worker will remain in the background unless we reflect upon these themes. Therefore, the worker will be an accidental casualty of the movement towards a post coal world.

In addition, these themes contribute to the way we insist that political parties approach a transition. For example, the emphasis placed on skills transition and profession transition.

Most importantly, whether political parties implement curative or preventative unemployment strategies to address unemployment.

Preventative and Curative Unemployment Policy

Policy development towards unemployment takes two forms, preventative and curative. Essentially, preventative policy enables measures to prevent unemployment. Curative policy development is reactionary and punitive and seeks to address the consequences of unemployment.

On the Road to Somewhere

It is essential that political parties develop a solid transition plan based on skills and jobs. However, there is not enough detail in the current Labor and Greens transition plans. A focus on energy rather than jobs is evident. I have been unable to source a transition plan by the Liberal National Coalition Government.

The Greens’ transition plan discusses the rehabilitation of mines as the main alternative job for ex-coal workers.

Labor’s transition plan takes a more holistic approach. However, I would argue that some points such as redeployment and relocation do not focus on community.

A detailed transition plan consisting of where the new industry will be developed, a jobs and skills forecast, including projected employment types, such as ongoing and casual should be developed. In addition, an examination of the reconfiguration of new industry and public services should occur.

The road to where we are heading, how we will get there and what happens when we get there is now urgent.

Preventative Unemployment Strategies

The Shorten Labor Government does discuss preventative unemployment strategies as part of their transition plan. However, this is more implicit, rather than explicit. We urgently need a strong voice pushing a detailed jobs narrative.

Increase in Demand Side Employment 

As the transition away from coal jobs occurs, an increase in the demand for labour is essential. A forecast of job losses in coal areas should enable political parties to develop a blue print for planning.

Business incentives to encourage businesses to relocate and set up in local areas could be advantageous. In addition, job creation through Government intervention would be beneficial.

National Skills and Career Development Strategy

Often skills development is discussed from a curative point of view of ‘getting the unemployed skilled for work’. However, within a preventative strategy, the addition of career development is an essential addition. The development of new skills to supply labour is essential as the transition away from coal assumes an increase in unemployment. This shift is structural and understood. Therefore, the worker can complete career development programs during their employment with a coal based employer.

A focus on preventative unemployment would see a national strategy employed where employers are subsidised to release existing labour for new skills development training.

Funding of Universities to develop appropriate courses and recruit staff ahead of time is also vital.

Reconfiguration of the Labor Market

A micro approach to local economies should examine the requirements to reconfigure the labour market within Australia. Within a preventative strategy as alternatives or additions to renewable jobs and how this should be configured should be examined. For example, in conjunction with renewable jobs, local government areas may be identified as specific hubs. Such as telecommunications hubs, community sector hubs, aged care hubs.

A reconfiguration, redistribution and a reassessment of public sector need and staffing establishments required to adequately service the population should also be considered. Regional unemployment figures, rather than national unemployment figures, should be a measure of success.

A Strong Supply Side Voice in a Pluralistic Framework

The changes required towards a post coal world, including an increase in labour demand, a change of career and wages for many workers and a loss of increment/experience level is perceived.

The suppression of voice of the supply side of labour is a dangerous pressure from Liberal National Governments. They may argue that secure employment and strong labour regulations may reduce the desire for employers to employ more entrants into the new industry. They may argue that new industry in a new market is volatile and wages should be kept as low as possible and work as flexible as possible to enable growth.

However, a preventative framework should be a pluralistic framework. Therefore, the Government, employers and unions should work together to set the standards and improve worker security in new industries and in transitioning local economies.

From Punitive to Preventative Unemployment

Punitive measures underpin curative unemployment strategies. These have become increasingly harsh and prevalent since the 1990’s. Curative policies focus on the unemployed rather than the labour market. Therefore the motivations of the unemployed are questioned (and punished) rather than a recognition that there is not enough demand for labour in the market.

This transitional shift to a post coal world could also transition the job search framework. In a preventative system creating labour demand to match the under-utilised supply would be the focus. A preventative unemployment strategy would see a Government motivated to intervene to create jobs, invest in skills and career development.

In a curative system, the underlying assumption is punitive. The jobless are blamed for their own unemployment. This is usually a lack of motivation and intrinsic propensity to learn or work. ‘Curing’ the causes of lack of motivation or desire to work are the strategies employed. Currently, these are financial penalties and working as free labour for welfare benefits.

In a preventative system creating labour demand to match the under-utilised supply would be the focus. A preventative unemployment strategy would see a Government motivated to intervene to create jobs. Also, invest in skills and career development of new and transitioning workers and incentivize business.

The Worker Front and Centre

A consideration of the themes identified in the narrative in the shift towards a post coal society is critical to transition towards a narrative which places the worker front and centre in the climate change framework.

We need a detailed transition plan urgently. The implementation of preventative unemployment strategies will ensure a smooth transition to a post-coal world.

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