I noticed a marked shift in sentiment this 4th of July. I admit to being a reader of tea leaves and a man who pays attention to stellar alignments. As a self-confessed hard-nosed rationalist I don’t know why I seek out these signs in the zeitgeist. But the resignation of Matthias Cormann and the ALP’s victory in the Eden-Monaro by-election, summarised in this ABC News clip, convinced me a cosmic flux is underway.
Despite a painfully obvious and ongoing kowtow by the ABC to the LNP, this news does not bode well for Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Rupert Murdoch was convinced ScoMo had it in the bag, but somehow Scotty from Marketing got it wrong. As we all know the Dirty Digger does not like his plans to go astray. More on the Murdoch/LNP cabal later.
The man who bungled the numbers for Peter Dutton’s tilt at Malcolm Turnbull, Matthias Cormann, knows only too well that the Queensland hard man is gunning for the top job. The LNP’s failure to win Eden-Monaro especially with the Prime Minister’s personal popularity ratings at an all-time high, (if you can believe Newspoll) gives Dutton a rationale for a spill in the not-too-distant future
Here is why.
In 1992 US Democrat spin-meister James Carviile came up with the phrase “the economy, stupid.”
Since his appointment as Finance Minister Matthias Cormann managed Australia’s economy, for better or worse, thanks to his knack of being able to do deals with some of the most stupid senators ever to impart their skid marks onto the chairs of the Australian Senate.
With the Cormannator’s departure, the LNP loses the only politician in its ranks capable of successfully sooling Paul Keating’s “unrepresentative swill”. And this is a serious problem for a Government financed in part by the Murdoch Shilling. Cormann, who does not blink, is the only senior Government Minister with the smarts to strong arm a Bill through the Senate. This Bill — yet to materialise — would fulfil Murdoch’s goal of selling-off the ABC.
With Cormann’s departure and the status quo in place in the Lower House, the demise of the ABC will not happen in the foreseeable future.
Instead Australia is about 10 weeks away from an economic precipice.
As of September 1 Job Seeker and Job Keeper are at risk of being withdrawn from the Australian economy. With the Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria looking in every practical sense like a page from Albert Camus’s novel The Plague, the LNP has no credible replacement for Cormann to either run the nation’s finances or negotiate tricky legislation through the Senate.
Not that Cormann was particularly good at his job as Michael Pascoe points out in this scorching indictment in The New Daily.
But with Cormann’s departure from Australian politics, no amount of spin by News Corp can save the LNP from losing the next election which will be held in the depths of a severe recession, if not a depression.
News Corp’s spin of an essentially status quo by-election made the former ALP Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, gasp. As for the ABC, despite the rude sneers of Patricia – Follow my Twitter Feed – Karvelas during an interview with the ALP Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, and the talk-over-the-top-of Labor-spokespeople, and ex Sky News presenter David Speers, its saving precept remains embedded in its Charter.
No government of any political persuasion can outwit this cornerstone of our nation’s identity,
When I worked as a producer for the ABC I learnt a fundamental lesson, namely the ABC is divided into four divisions. Each competes with one another for its share of the Budget. The divisions are:- News, Current Affairs, Sport and Regional. There are numerous name variations, but despite different sub-sectors of the ABC bureaucracy, the divisions are how the ABC conforms to its Charter. So whether it’s a collapse in the price of wool or bush fire coverage or sports reporting in rural Australia, the ABC will continue to make it uncomfortable for politicians, no matter how many of its staff are made redundant.
Staunch support for the ABC in rural Federal seats such as Eden-Monaro, and National Party stalwarts of the ABC like John Barilaro reinforce the feeling in my bones that the ABC will survive.
Gawd help us if Rupert Murdoch gets his way.
Henry Johnston is a Sydney-based author. His latest book, The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.
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Were politics reset in keeping with the times, the parties would concede that it is not a contest between social democracy and a capitalist free-for-all, or “the light on the hill” and “the forgotten people”, or even conservatives and progressives, but one in which the ghosts of organisations that once had some claim to represent these passions compete to prove themselves the superior financial managers. Don Watson
Attack of the Labor Zombies:“Review of Labor’s 2019 Election Campaign”, the ritual killing of Bill Shorten by hungry ghosts, premiers nationally, this week, six months after Bill’s political death, a fate which the commentariat is still finalising for him despite his promising to “hang around” for another twenty years.
Karen Middleton scoffs at Shorten’s pledge. “He’ll be in his seventies”, she sighs, on ABC Insiders Sunday. Bill will be 72. Four years younger than Joe Biden. Elizabeth Warren’s 70. Billy Hughes served for 51 years; died at 90 before he could get around to thinking about retiring. But it’s not about age.
It’s … the chutzpah. “He’s got to win all those elections.” Shorten won almost a five per cent (4.99%) swing to Labor in his Victorian seat of Maribyrnong, last election. Next, he’s at fault for making his twenty-year pledge before the review comes out to help others decide his future for him.
How very dare he get in first?
MSM is consumed by the review; the review of the review and any excuse at all to kick Bill Shorten.
Kill Bill has become a national sport since Tony Abbott contrived to make “Bill Shorten” a pejorative term, a project taken up shamelessly by Malcolm Turnbull and with glee by bully Morrison.
Interviews with Morrison normalise his bullying, as Dr Jennifer Wilson argues, in analysis of the PM’s manic scattergun barrage of bullshit to cover his running away from the question guerrilla tactics.
Julia Banks quit parliament after only a term because of the level of bullying during the leadership spill.
What’s even more alarming is the subtext that Morrison, miraculously, got everything right. Scapegoats help with that. It’s a by-product of reducing party politics to the popularity of the leader, part of our brave new age of populist personality politics where policy and reasoned argument count less than spin and image. And Morrison’s fevered hyper-partisanship makes Tony Abbott look like a peace-maker.
Albo offers to accompany Morrison to NSW bushfire areas, he tells Fran Kelly, Sunday. His offer is brushed aside. Something about not getting in the way of “the rescue effort”. Later media images show Morrison, alone, comforting victims, as he did with his drought series of visits, grandstanding on grief.
But Labor doesn’t seem to have got the memo that there’s a war on. Blending psychic surgery with forensic post-mortem, Labor eviscerates itself for a ritual cleansing. Bares its soul. And then some. The Review … is an unparalleled, almost naive act of faith. No wonder it gets everyone’s attention.
But why? Is this orgy of over-sharing prompted by some rush of utopian socialism which only true believers can call into being? Or is it folly? It’s unique, says ABC’s Laura Tingle, her take on “brave”.
“That’s very brave of you, minister. An extremely courageous decision,” as Mr Appleby would say.
Yet Labor’s purpose, beside officially defining what went wrong, is to draw a line under its defeat.
Fat chance. Just because closure is a tabloid TV victim’s top buzz-word doesn’t make it achievable. Somehow, there’s something for everybody because, you know, Labor lost. By Sunday’s ABC Insiders, a narrow loss morphs into a rout. Labor can’t even pass its own post-mortem exam, Fran Kelly implies.
It’s not easy. Former Keating speech-writer, Don Watson, notes that Labor’s changing constituency increasingly includes service-sector employees, lower-level managers and healthcare workers, as the middle class itself is changing. Labor’s review even detects an influx of woke, affluent, graduates in Southern states, whom, it contends can afford the luxury of idealism. It’s a dangerous hypothesis.
“Since university graduates, on average, earn higher incomes and have more secure jobs than those without tertiary qualifications, they are more readily able to think about issues such as climate change, refugees, marriage equality and the rights of the LGBTQI+ community.”
But a few rich grads didn’t win Labor any seats, Emerson and Wetherill are quick to note. And if your idealism or concern for justice and the survival of the planet is in proportion to your wealth, heaven help the rest of us. Paul Keating reckons Labor lost because it failed to understand the “new middle-class”.
New? Watson sees a class with no ideology nor even consciousness of itself as a class. Being new it has “no roots beyond its self-interest”. He hopes Morrison hasn’t already press-ganged it into Quiet Australians, another bogus, Silent Majority.
But who needs analysis? Nuance is banished from our national conversation. Labor’s review simply has to make Bill the villain. You can’t trust Bill Shorten. It’s the old Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison melodrama.
News Corp prefers a shifty, shorthand, “dud leader, dud policies, dud strategy”, summation which bears no resemblance to the subtler findings published by Dr Craig Emerson and Jay Weatherill who chair Labor’s inquiry. But given Murdoch’s stranglehold over our media, it will soon become gospel truth.
Paul Kelly, The Australian’s editor at large, wilfully misrepresents the report. Eagerly, he invents a turf war. Two Labor constituencies are at war with each other. Father Kelly fears for Labor – a fear which Fran Kelly and others put to Albo. How can Labor possibly bridge the gap between blue-collar and gown?
“The Labor Party now resembles two rival constituencies fighting each other — their origins embedded in the party’s past and its future — a conflict that extinguished Labor’s hopes at the May election and a chasm that nobody knows how to bridge,” Kelly fantasises. But it’s never had any trouble in the past.
Rupert’s troupers can’t labour Labor’s factionalism enough. It diverts from Coalition disunity. All is not well, for example, in Cockies’ Corner. Nationals Deputy Leader and Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie, “couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery” one MP tells ABC’s, Lucy Barbour.
McKenzie is under pressure to perform; step up to the plate or step aside. Pauline Hanson’s taken all the credit for saving the dairy farmers and the PM seems to own drought the relief compassion show.
Barnaby Joyce is still agitating for promotion despite spending $675,000 for only three weeks in the field and not providing any reports as special drought envoy. But as media keep the focus on Shorten’s failure and the myth of Labor’s imminent descent into civil war, the Morrison miracle spin gets a further tweak.
(By the magic of implication, the current struggle between Nats and Libs – witness the spat over who owns the theatre of drought relief, or the Liberals capture by climate change denialists – means the Coalition with its three Prime Ministers in six years, rivals The Mormon Tabernacle Choir for harmony.)
Not the Puritan Choir, that’s another, evangelical, faction led by Mr Probity, Stuart Robert, architect of the Turnbull assassination plot. But all is forgiven. He’s repaid $37,975, only $8000 shy of what he had previously claimed as ‘residential internet expenses’. Streaming Christian TV from home is not cheap.
Be fair. Stu’s wife, Peoples’ Pastor Chantelle, can’t run her Pentecostal online evangelism without a decent broadband connection. Robert also says he’s returned a brace of gold Rolex watches, he and his wife – and other Coalition MPs received in 2013 from Chinese instant noodle billionaire Li Ruipeng.
Robert, Abbott and Macfarlane thought the $250,000 worth of watches were fakes, they say. As you do, whenever any oligarch tenders a token of his esteem in expectation of a return favour. Or perhaps not.
Or perhaps you do – if you’re an Australian MP seeking favour. Robert resigned from Turnbull’s ministry when he breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct on a business trip to China for Nimrod resources in which he somehow gave his Chinese hosts the false impression he was in China in an official capacity.
In 2017, Robert’s eighty-year-old father, Alan, discovers that he is a director of one of his son’s companies and that his son has used his Dad’s address on one of his businesses. Without telling him. The private company in question is doing rather well in winning government contracts, until then.
You won’t catch Robert or Morrison holding any public review. It’s against their religion. Look at the trouble Morrison’s mentor Brian Houston is having just complying with NSW police investigation. He’s refusing to answer questions about his father’s child abuse. The tactic seems to be working perfectly.
Frugal with the truth, lest Satan strike you whilst your guard is down, God’s hot-eyed warriors know when to keep stumm. Just as they know that God put coal underground for our blessing and just as they are happy to burn for mining while awaiting the rapture, believing they will be saved by their faith.
Yet Robert’s god-botherers and coal warriors are not symptoms of deep division in the Coalition. Nor are Tim Wilson, Dave Sharma, Jason Falinski, Katie Allen, Angie Bell and Trent Zimmerman who sign on to parliamentary friends of climate action, “a safe place away from partisan politics”, which has Greens, Labor and cross-bench supporters, only to snub their very first meeting 14 October.
But not all MSM scribes are bluffed. Do what Father Morrison does: walk both sides of the chasm at the same time. Granted, “Shut up and eat your peas, dad is talking” is Morrison’s leadership style, as The Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy astutely discerns, but don’t let a paternal despot pull the wool.
“… look at Morrison, who manages to walk every side of every street simultaneously and talk out of both sides of his mouth and suffer no apparent penalty.”
Murphy’s amused by Morrison’s hypocrisy in his illiberal lecture to the mining mafia last Friday week in which he threatens yet another new clampdown, (number 84 and counting) on the civil liberties of illiberal protesters who are exercising their right to boycott businesses who collude with coal-miners to extinguish the planet. She believes he just says this sort of stuff for effect and hopes nobody notices.
Also hypocritical is Morrison’s message that he’ll do everything for coal. Only a few days earlier, he makes a billion-dollar grant to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). Abbott tried to close down the CEFC along with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), a move Turnbull reversed.
Morrison’s CEFC grant will help fund new transmission infrastructure to help clean energy access more of the national grid. Next, he agrees to help underwrite the main NSW-Queensland interconnector.
Murphy rightly asks why Morrison is able to shape-shift every day of the week but Labor is excoriated for selling out when it tries to straddle two constituencies. Worse, it must get a real leader, like ScoMo, the actor playing the daggy suburban Pentecostal dad with the Stepford wife, a man we can all identify with.
Shorten’s unpopularity has more to do with his crucifixion by News Corp and its lackeys including, sadly our ABC, than any political reality. Labor’s review concedes, however, that damage has been done.
Labor’s review sums up Labor’s loss as a combination “of a weak strategy that could not adapt to the change in Liberal leadership, a cluttered policy agenda that looked risky and an unpopular leader” – a verdict, writes ANU’s Frank Bongiorno “which belies the sophistication of the report as whole”.
But everyone in the gallery – from Michelle Grattan to Mark Latham – gets to twist the knife. It’s a massive pile-on; way more popular, than Melbourne’s Spring Carnival. Bagging Labor’s failings easily upstages the Melbourne Cup, the race that barely slows the nation, our increasingly anaemic, ritual national blood-sport. Besides schadenfreude is surely part of our tall poppy syndrome.
But like the curious incident of the dog in the night time, nowhere is there mention of News Corp.
“The Murdoch media didn’t merely favour the government over the opposition. It campaigned vigorously for the return of the Coalition. And it is a vast empire, with a monopoly through much of regional Queensland, for instance. It is hard not to see in the review’s silence on this matter a clearing of the way for a future kissing of the ring of the familiar kind.” Frank Bongiorno writes.
Everyone wants to wag the finger; tell Labor where it went wrong and by implication how Morrison’s miracle campaign was so inspired – when in reality it was almost totally negative; long on disinformation and attacking Shorten’s character – including the Daily Telegraph’s attack on his mother’s integrity.
A review of the Coalition campaign? Nasty, brutish and short on policy beyond the promise of tax cuts. The $1080 tax cut may have bought a few votes but it is proving a total failure as a fiscal stimulus.
The retail sector is in its third year of per capita recession. While Frydenberg and Morrison seek to explain it away by online sales, as Alan Austin notes, the ABS figures include online sales.
“Retail sales for the September quarter came to $82.6 billion, up just 2.48% on the same quarter a year ago. With inflation at 1.7% and population rising 1.6%, that is a decline in real terms relative to population. So the sector is now in its third year of per capita recession.”
Luckily Labor Zombies … is a sell-out performance, upstaging the government’s own show, “Geronticide! Hell ain’t a patch on the ways you will suffer in God’s Waiting Room; dying of abuse and neglect in our private aged care homes”, brilliantly scripted by commissioners Lynelle Briggs, AM, and Richard Tracey, AO, in their three-volume Interim Report into Aged Care …, “…a shocking tale of neglect”.
Everything’s apples with aged care with just a few rotten fruit spoiling everything. Besides, Morrison says there’ll be more funds by Christmas. He can’t say how little. No-one would expect his government to have been briefed so soon, given that it’s only Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison’s sixth year in government. Expect Santa Hunt and Morrison to stuff the announcement in a stocking late on Christmas Eve.
In the meantime, despite the commissioners’ finding that commodifying aged care is the core of the problem, the Coalition is proceeding with its plan to privatise the staff who do the assessments.
Amazing new efficiencies will follow; such as we’ve seen in the NDIS, where $1.6 billion is being saved by shunting disabled Australians on New Start instead. Private enterprise is a miracle of profit-driven efficiency. And care. No funds will be wasted on gratuitous compassion or humanity. Or spent in haste.
“We are six years into the rollout and we have heard of people waiting two years for a wheelchair, so it needs concerted attention,” says Kirsten Dean from disability advocate group Every Australian Counts.
Expect the reforms to raise the bar; reducing the number of our elderly folk who qualify for homecare “packages”, which are already very limited in scope and difficult to access even at their most basic level.
Above all, Labor Zombies … is a great diversion from the long list of latest revelations of wrong-doing by Morrison’s mob, especially the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) censure of the pork-barrel party coalition for its shonky award of funding under its $200 million regional jobs and investment packages.
Conceding it might have a bit to hide, a furtive, federal government chooses to release its ANAO report on Tuesday afternoon when it hopes all eyes and ears will be turned to the track at Flemington.
The ANAO is scathing about the Morrison government’s disregard for advice provided by bureaucrats. It is also unhappy with ways the Coalition chooses to ignore guidelines regarding merit and eligibility.
Untrained ministers took over the process, making decisions on their own, unaided by expert advice. No. Of course, they did not bother to take minutes. 64 of 232 applications were scrapped. A total of $75.9m in funding is declined. Yet $77.4m in requested grant funding is approved to 68 applicants, not on the departmental list. Over half the funding is pork forked out of the barrel.
While program guidelines require applicants to declare any perceived or existing conflicts of interest, or declare that they had no conflicts – “no action was taken to give effect to this element of the program guidelines”.
Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results, is one definition of insanity. Yet, when the Coalition rolls out the pork barrel, this week, in yet another round of drought relief; a billion-dollar “suite of measures” to its backblock pals, as it grandiose handout, once again, to entice farmers to do more of the same, is there method in its madness? Or is it merely Groundhog Day again?
The groundhog factor cannot be ignored. Mugged by an Anthropocene reality; Morrison’s mob have no idea what to do. No policies; no plans. No future. They can only fall back on past practice. And buying votes. Along with nostalgia, the pork barrel is part of every Coalition MP’s mental furniture; it’s in its DNA.
And craving more of the same old, same old means it’s only natural to look backwards; unerringly repeat the same mistakes of the past. Five years ago, then PM Tony Abbott, and his Minister for Agriculture and Water rorts, Barnaby Boondoggle Joyce, announced – a suite of measures offering financial, social and mental health support. Bingo!
But there is method or shrewd craftiness. Evading accountability for starters. Is there any area of public funding less scrutinised than drought relief? wonders Bernard Keane.
Australia would still have a car industry and 50,000 secure jobs for only a third of the amount that the Coalition is prepared to pony up for loans to farmers and small-businesses in drought-affected towns.
But imagine the outcry from News Corp and its claque if workers, or manufacturers, could borrow up to two million interest-free for two years; with no need to pay back the principal until the sixth year.
“Rural communities can’t function without these small businesses – that’s why we’re stepping in to provide this extra support,” Morrison says. But in its Abbott incarnation, the coalition government was perfectly happy to deny SPC Ardmona $25 million just five years ago?
Many workers and their families in other sectors would be glad of the support. Manufacturing, for example, lost 100,000 jobs, or a third of the entire agriculture workforce, in the year to August.
But extra support has limits. State schools won’t be eligible for $10m in new education funding announced in Thursday’s drought package, an “elitist and unfair” if not downright cruel decision.
Australian Education Union president, Correna Haythorpe, argues it’s “another slush fund for private schools” on top of the $1.2bn Choice and Affordability fund for Catholic and Independent schools, which Lenore Taylor reports also included money for drought-affected areas.
In its encore, Drought Relief 2.0 “Suite of measures” this week, Morrison’s travelling roadshow hopes, above all, that the hullabaloo will distract punters from its own Drought Response, Preparedness and Resilience a report which it commissioned from top brass Stephen Day, DSC, AM, the very model of a modern Major General and former Drought Co-ordinator-general.
Somehow it must keep us from the Light of Day.
Drought is not a natural disaster, it’s an enduring feature of the Australian landscape, reports Day. Yet instead of launching into the droughts and flooding plains of Dorothea McKellar’s My Country – and a staple of The Nationals’ MP interview press-kit, Day breaks with climate-denialist tradition.
“While droughts are normal for Australia, drought conditions are likely to become more frequent, severe and longer in some regions due to climate change.”
It’s plain as day that we’re responsible for the drought, with our love of coal-fired power stations, coal mines and our mania for land clearing. It’s a far less romantic notion than playing the hapless victim – Abbott’s “Shit Happens” philosophy, a helpless victim of natural disaster.
But accountability is apostasy, heresy even in the broad church of the Coalition Party Room and especially to the reality denial cabal in the driver’s seat, to say nothing of the God-made-coal-so-we-should-profit-from-his-divine-providence, Pentecostal push that has a hot-line to the current tenant in Kirribilli House.
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To me, the great thing that Scott Morrison had going for him as Treasurer was his capacity to be boring. Let’s be real, one only has to use the words “fiscal”, “nominal expenditure”, “Gross Domestic Product” and “Consumer Price Index” in the same paragraph and not only does it seem like one knows what one is doing, but most sane people are too bored to pay much attention. Certainly I don’t want the person doing my tax to sound too interesting; it makes me worried that they’re up to something.
I expected this boredom bonus to carry over once he became PM, giving Scottie a little bit of a honeymoon period, where we were comparatively content that – unlike erratic Abbott or flashy Turnbulll – we had a boringly safe pair of hands on the tiller, sailing us through the calm waters till there’s a change of government. Unfortunately, for the Liberal Party, it seems as though he’s chosen to spend his honeymoon at the Ettamogah Pub, that fictious chaotic hotel which was turned into a reality by some enterprising businessmen. Similarly, Scott seems to want to turn us into the ficticious fifties Australia where we were all fair dinkum and there was a fair go for all… so long as you were an Anglo-saxon male.
I could overlook his use of the phrases “fair dinkum power” and “a fair go for those who have a go” if I thought they’d just slipped out in the way that your offensive uncle’s views slip out at Christmas after a few drinks. Unfortunately, they both seem to be a carefully crafted slogan and part of a marketing campaign. As such, it makes his “where the bloody hell are you campaign” for tourism seem like the epitome of good taste and intelligent marketing. While “jobs and growth” was bad enough, at least they were three words I’d heard in normal conversation this century. Stone the bloody crows, I’m waiting for him to casually drop “sheilas” into an interview about women in the Liberal Party or to tell us that the unemployment figures are just “bonza”. Yes, I’m fair dinkum about that!
“Fair dinkum power” is rather like their plan for jobs and growth. If we get fair dinkum power, it’ll be both reliable and cheaper. What’s the plan for achieving this? How do we get it? Just like jobs and growth, it’ll happen when our plan is put into place so it won’t be happening straight away, but it will happen. Similarly, I can cure your cold. Just pay me ten bucks and if your cold doesn’t clear up in the next four weeks, I”ll give you your money back. Yes, “fair dinkum power” is something that won’t occur until after the election, and it’ll only happen if you re=elect the Liberals. If you don’t, well there won’t be any fair dinkum power…. at least not for them.
The worst part of Scott Morrison is that he’s starting to get to the point where Tony Abbott is looking good. I know, I know, it’s a big call. But some of Tony’s worst captain’s calls were harmless things like knighting a duke. Yes, we all felt that Tony was like a kid playing with matches; Scott seems to be lighting them and trying to land them in the can of petrol.
Perhaps the best comparison for Scott would be Billy McMahon, a man once described as “a despicable bastard” and a “contemptible little squirt” but that was by other Liberals, Menzies and Sir Paul Hasluck. McMahon may be best remembered for his surprsingly accurate assessment of the situation when he told voters that after looking at the facts, they should vote Labor. He quickly corrected himself, but he may have been better to have stuck with his original statement.
Whatever, I suspect that the best move for the Coalition would be to go to the polls now and limit the damage. Over the next few months, I see one or more of the following things happening.
The people of Wentworth grow to appreciate having an Independent who actually stands for something. They also realise that the Liberals won’t be in power after the next election and they might get more bribes from Labor if Phelps is the member, because there’s no incentive for a Labor government to do anything to help a sitting Liberal, but helping an Independent look good is one more seat the Liberals have to spend campaign funds winning back
The National Party could change leaders. Even if they don’t go the full Barnaby, they may feel that they need a change because the current one has been there almost a year and they want to look like a major party.
Scott Morrison will float an idea because a radio shock jock seems to think it’s a good thing. He will later get into more trouble by insisting that it’s just an idea and nothing is definite and it’s a great idea because Alan likes it and it’s just an idea and it’s worth discussing but don’t tell me there’s anything wrong with it because we don’t want to talk about it. (See the moving of the Israeli Embassy for a prototype. Even Turnbull who was sent to discuss it with Indonesia, wasn’t meant to discuss it!)
Someone may actually notice the irony in outgoing minister, Simon Birmingham’s press release expressing his pride at being the longest serving Education Minister since Brendan Nelson. He was there for slightly less than three years, which is longer than your average PM, but not quite long enough to make it from one election to the next.
There may be questions about whether the neo-nazis are being expelled from the National Party because they were too left wing for some in the NSW branch.
Tony Abbott will say something that reminds people of why we got rid of him.
Scott Morrison will say something that makes us wonder whether getting rid of Tony was really such a great idea.
Now, I’m not saying all these things will happen in the next six months. However, I suspect that if the Liberals haven’t acknowledged the trouncing they had in Wentworth, then there’s little hope for them. Yes, it’s true they can turn it around. They have in the past. But that required them to actually have a look in the mirror and say, “What are we doing wrong and how could we fix it?” While many of you may not have liked what they did, the point is that it worked electorally for them in a number of elections. For this one, they seem like a football side who are behind at three-quarter time deciding that they’ve won from this position before so there’s really no need do anything differently – they don’t even acknowledge that they may need to try harder.
Still, I can understand why they wouldn’t want to take a look in the mirror. I mean, would you if you were going to see a reflection like that?
One of the things that I’ve learned over the years, is that being honest is usually you’re best option. Of course, like most people, I find myself in situations where I’ve… ah, shall we say, bent the truth. This leads me to another bit of sound advice. If you’re lying, you’re better off saying nothing after it’s clear that you’re lying. Or else, do a full mea culpa and admit that either a) you were mistaken, or b) you lied.
In politics, this is usually looked upon as a refreshing change. Unless, of course, you do it on a weekly basis, in which case it’s not a change at all.
So when it comes to the Liberal Party, I acknowledge that we have a different set of values and while I personally understand that there’s some need for a defence force, I believe that the $200 billion we’re spending on planes and submarines over the next ten years might be more productively spent elsewhere. But, like I said, different set of values. There’s a discussion to be had, when two people have differing priorities and sometimes a compromise can be reached.
On the other hand, lying is a completely different matter. It’s one thing to say that: We told you that privatisation would make energy prices cheaper, that was before we realised that private companies would put profit before everything – but now we’ve realised that, we’ve put a few safeguards in and any day now you’ll get all the benefits of privatisation. Besides you’ve got energy stocks in your super so you’re ridiculously high energy prices are actually helping you save for retirement.
That still fits under the definition of a difference of opinion. However, when the Liberals start to tell us that the Banking Royal Commission which they opposed has nothing to do with the new penalties that Scott just happened to announce at the same time that everyone is going: “Shock, horror. Banks exploiting their customers. Who would have thought such a thing!”
It’s very hard to believe the Liberals when they tell us: We argued that there was no need for a commission, but we set one up anyway, and now that it’s finding all these examples of wrongdoing, it’s showing that it wasn’t necessary until we decided it was necessary, and, in spite of all that it’s discovering, it’s not having any effect on us, because all the new oversight and any new penalties are just things that we were going to do anyway.
Or to try and put the government’s position as simply as possible;
There was no need for a Royal Commission because while there were some examples of dishonest or corrupt practices, there was plenty of checks and balances to ensure that these were these practices would be detected and dealt with.
There was suddenly a need for a Royal Commission after some Nationals threatened to break ranks. It became even more pressing and one was announced shortly after the banks suggested that it would be ok by them if we had one.
The Royal Commission starts to discover that the culture in some parts of the banks is even worse than its critics suggested, which doesn’t lead to any action from the Liberals because – according to Scott Morrison – all the new penalties were planned and not in response to anything happening at the Commission. Like the announcement of the Commission itself, the timing was just coincidence.
For the Liberals the Royal Commission will be their equivalent of Schrodinger’s Cat – the thought experiment in Quantum Physics, where a cat in a sealed box can be thought of as both alive and dead. The Royal Commission wasn’t necessary when Labor and The Greens called for one, but became necessary once the Liberals decided that it was, meaning that the Commission is now both necessary and unnecessary. It remains necessary because the Liberals set it up, but it remains simultaneously unnecessary not only because Labor suggested it, but also because nothing it discovers will lead to any admission from the government that their actions have been influenced by it.
Like I said, liars need some consistency, or their story falls apart. On a real level, it would have been refreshing to have heard the Turnbull Terriers tell us that Labor and/or The Greens had raised a convincing enough argument for them to change their minds. But no, instead we have ministers once again trying to justify the unjustifiable.
Ah well, at least now I’ll find it easier to explain quantum physics without having animal rights people ask me why the poor cat was sealed in the box.
The Schrodinger Royal Commission! Mm, it has a certain ring to it…
Sorry, but I’m off to New Zealand in a couple of days and this may be my last post for a couple of weeks. The trouble is that I’m having difficulty working out which of the interesting potential targets to write about. I’ve started to compile a list.
Peter Dutton calls asylum seekers, “Armani refugees” and tells us all that they’re not fleeing war but are, in fact, economic refugees. How then have they been judged to be worthy of asylum? Surely this is a failure of his government to identify them and send them back.
The “No” Campaign expresses outrage that people are being sent one text message urging them to vote “Yes”, labelling it an invasion of privacy. Cory Bernardi announces his intention to robocall a million homes with a two-minute recording of him speaking, which he then follows with a survey of voting intentions. I suspect that he’ll achieve a 100% “No” vote with his survey, as nobody else would listen to him for three minutes. Actually I suspect that he’d get close to 100% if the question was are you my wife or a paid supporter?
Tony Abbott has a column in the paper telling us that Australians don’t like being told what to do and think and the fact that the “Yes” campaign is trying to influence us could backfire. Leaving aside the obvious point that the “No” campaign is also telling us what to think, this could be a valid point. Abbott follows it up, however, by telling the NRL that they shouldn’t have Macklemore at the Grand Final. Apparently, only ex-PMs are allowed to tell us what to do… And only if they aren’t members of the Labor Party.
Malcolm Turnbull goes on “The Project” and gloats that Waleed Aly was wrong about suggesting that Australians couldn’t conduct a civil debate on marriage equality. When Waleed says hang on and points out that there’s been violence and bullying and some really nasty comments, Turnbull bristles and tells him that this has only been from a minority and most people have been ok. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that anybody was suggesting that the majority of people would conduct themselves badly; it was always about the minority.
Tony Abbott, a free enterprise champion, suggests bringing in the army to take over gas supplies.
Malcolm Roberts argues that a) he believed that he was never a British citizen and b) that he attempted to renounce any claim by sending of an email headed “Am I Still A British Citizen?” This is akin to arguing that I’m not guilty of bigamy because I never believed that I was married and sending off an email with the words, “Has the divorce come through yet?”
Andrew Bolt. Almost anything he says about the Liberal Party/Churches/big companies when compared to anything he says about the Left/Bill Shorten/The Greens/companies that aren’t doing what he thinks that they should.
Turnbull tells us we have a gas problem. Then he tells us it’s Labor’s fault because they should have done something about it four years ago even though, nobody in his government has done anything about it in the past four years. Then he tells us that it’s worse than he thought. Then he tells us he’s solved it becasue the gas supplies have agreed to sell to Australian companies for only a little bit more than what they’re selling to overseas companies.
Since time immemorial, the worker has fended off constant attacks. PATH is another chapter in the Liberal’s playbook where they accurse the Proles to hell.
A Worker’s Labour is Valuable
The Liberal Party of Australia formed to oppose the workers’ parties. How Liberals and Labor view the worker are worlds apart. PATH is a clear example of this.
The basis of the Liberal ideology is to enable growth in the free market. They believe the cost of labour should be as low as possible. Turnbull’s Liberals believe a worker’s labour should be a cheap commodity. The incessant need to eradicate workers’ unions and weaken industrial labour laws are a testament to this.
One could strongly argue that the aspiration of full employment is not on the Liberal’s agenda. High numbers of unemployed people result in a much larger labour pool. This, in turn, drives wages down. Or in the case of PATH – the creation of an opportunity where labour is utilised for free.
As Sussan Ley said on Qanda: Governments don’t create jobs
The neo-liberal ideology aim is to purchase a worker’s labour as cheaply as possible. Ideologues like Turnbull and Cash, view a law passed to create a pool of free labour, such as PATH, as an exciting achievement.
The Australian Labor Party was borne from the struggle of the worker. They believe that a worker’s labour is valuable. In simple terms, they believe that the ‘supply’ side of labour has the right to participate in setting the value of the labour. Hence their close connections with the unions. In simple terms, Labour Unions are there to protect the working class from the disintegration of rights and fair pay as imposed by the ruling class.
From this perspective, laws that negate this right, disempower workers and remove individual agency.
This is a punishment inflicted upon the working class.
The Rise of the PATH
The Turnbull Government introduced the PATH Program in the 2016 budget. This bill passed the Senate on 10 May 2017; with the assistance of Cory Bernardi, Derryn Hinch, Nick Xenophon Team, Jackie Lambie, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Family First all supporting the Government.
Only David Leyonhelm opposed the Bill, along with Labor and Greens.
The PATH to Nothingness
The PATH program offers young job seekers an internship by contract with an employer. This contract legally reduces the value of a young jobseeker’s labour. The taxpayer pays the intern at a rate of $4.00 per hour.
This is $14.29 an hour less than the minimum wage.This is $6.04 less than a 16 year old junior and $16.08 an hour less than a 21-year-old level 1 employee rate set down for many industries detailed on the Fair Work Australia payment guides.
The PATH scheme enables an employer to decrease the value of the intern’s labour by a minimum of 80% based on the scantest of entry-level wages in the country.
Business is at the Centre of the Framework
Internships are often painted as ‘work experience.’ However, work experience places the worker at the centre of the framework. Work experience is usually a short-term experience in a workplace. This enabled the worker to determine if they should invest in developing skills to seek future work in that industry.
PATH places business at the centre of the framework. An internship is:
The internship is designed around the needsof the host organisation and the intern’s skills, experience and interests. (Item 4, Sample Path Internship Agreement)
The employer must sign off to agree that they have a vacancy available now or in the near future. They have already identified that they need staff to meet operational requirements.
The employer is already in a willing position to outlay money on recruitment and selection of new staff. They are already in a position to employ a jobseeker in a casual, temporary or permanent capacity.
This is not an incentive to increase staffing. PATH is an incentive to reduce recruitment & labour costs for staff that the organisation has already identified are required.
Additional Cost Savings to Business
Businesses can make considerable savings in induction, training and performance management costs during the probation period, in addition to recruitment and selection savings.
The PATH program enables an employer to try a number of potential employees for free. This also frees them from all the associated costs during the probationary period.
Businesses are able to increase profits through the tax payer funding the PATH program. This is not the same as work experience or on the job learning, such as an apprenticeship or traineeship. This is a free labour program dressed up ‘helping the jobless who seek to work.’
Lower Labor Costs Equal Increased Profits
The PATH program strips workers of their own agency. The worker has forced upon them, a lower dollar value in exchange for their labour. Employers have an opportunity to reduce costs and increase profit.
Labour, raw materials and other overheads are the inputs in the production of goods or services. The through-put is the phase that mixes all inputs, including labour, together.
The output, being the end product or service is purchased or consumed by the consumer at the point of sale. The employer factors into consideration the costs of all labour and materials at the input and throughput stages. The final product or service is sold for a percentage amount above the cost to produce that product or service. This is the profit.
The cheaper labour is, the greater the profit for the employer. The Government is creating a legal way for employers to reduce the cost of one factor of production.
The PATH program simply offers employers a way to reduce the cost of developing their product or service, enabling them to make a greater profit.
No Employment Guarantee
The PATH program offers no guarantee of future secure employment. It does not offer a qualification that may be determined by the worker to be a sufficient value to trade for the monetary value of their labour.
What are the impacts on the emotional health of a young worker, if they are not retained? What are the supports in place?
Experience as a payment does not automatically equal the same value of labour. Labour is given in exchange for money, conditions and other benefits. There is no formal equivalent offered to the value of the loss of wages, such as a degree that has a beneficial use to enable the worker to sell their labour to another organisation.
There is no solid case that this experience will be valued by the young worker so much that it will negate any negative affect the young jobseeker will experience if they are not retained.
My main area of interest is emotions in the workplace. I would encourage other bloggers to approach the PATH program from the aspect of the emotional well-being of the intern. I strongly believe we need as many people as possible investigating this issue.
We are working people. Work. Struggle. Even laugh about it sometimes. None of us are winners. We’re survivors (Cameron Wolfe – Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak.)
These six lines boom, boom, boomed like a heart beating in the middle of page 25.
Marus Zusak has captured the essence of so many Australians. This is who we are.
The struggle of the working class in this country is a dire story. Sure, we have a history of hard fought victories. But as long as free marketeers live and breathe on the parliament floor, this struggle is endless.
Past struggle lives like a dormant beast within every single worker.
The scars that punctured the body and mind, the endless nights staring at jail cell walls and the lives lost, of those before us, embodies the beast which stirs within the heart of every worker.
The Beast of Past Struggle
When Liberals and Conservatives think they can take away agency of the jobless. When they insist upon total control of their spending with a plastic card. The beast of past struggle stirs.
When they deny us and our children the opportunity of a skilled education, to learn a trade or a profession. The beast of past struggle stirs.
When they make a rule that says the weekends are only important to people who can afford to not work on the weekend. the beast of past struggle stirs.
And when they think they have the right to tell young people who are desperate for work that their labour has no value. The beast of past struggle stirs.
When the beast of past struggle stirs in many of us, the beast of past struggle ROARS!
In a civilised society, labour is purchased for its determined worth, not stolen through the rule of badly designed laws.
The fear of ‘the others’ permeates everything lately. Social media, politicians, commentators and the mainstream media are enabling a culture of stigma and ‘othering’. Fear of people we don’t understand shuffles beneath the surface of individual thought. These fears have a parasitic grip on beliefs, ideas and thought. It channels thought, word and deed through the prism of fear. This fear is a man-made construct, developed by conservatives to destroy the working class. It can be framed as the pre-agenda of the real agenda. The real agenda for the conservatives is as always – to destroy the working class. The pre-agenda is to establish a base, through fear of others, to help them get there.
Racism, Fear and Work Choices
This pre-agenda was first tried in the 1990’s with the aim to support the real agenda. That was to see more people embrace Howard’s Work Choices. In the 1990’s the stigma and fear of Indigenous people and Asian people was developed with a particular aim. That is fear would grip people. They would turn to those speaking out loudest against Indigenous people and Asian people. This would then, see people turn to the Government’s ‘paternalist-guiding hand’ agenda. In other words, stand with the Government to destroy the unions and destroy the working class. Even better if you were working class yourself and you left the union.
It was not going according to plan. To save some face, Howard had to terminate his association with the person he mentored, developed and gave a platform to, to be the voice of the pre-agenda. The agenda of racism. A person so ‘brave’ her voice shook when she spoke. A person dressed as an everyday Australian suburban woman. The mother at school, the tuckshop lady, the shop owner, the corner store worker. The person we don’t really know but feel comfortable ‘having a chat to.’ This person was Pauline Hanson. Pauline Hanson was to be the very voice to create a culture of fear, stigma and racism. This fear was to be so great that people’s attention would divert away from the atrocity of Work Choices. So blinded by fear of others, they would support it.
Work Choices Enabled
As history has shown us, this backfired. It was the wrong time and the wrong targets of racism for longevity. It did work in part. A conservative Government was in for four terms and the biggest defining piece of anti-worker legislation was enabled.
However, the uptake was not strong enough for people to be blinded to the plight of the worker and the destructive anti-worker policies put forward by the Howard Government.The Rights at Work movement was the light of the working class fighting against the darkness of Work Choices. Good trumped Evil and in 2007 the working class won. We are seeing no such movement today. No such swell of deep angst organising to take up the cause. The ‘fear of other’s’ is blinding people to the real agenda. There appears to be no lessons learnt from the Work Choices era.
The Agenda of Fear Enables Attacks on the Working Class
Prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, racism, hatred and xenophobia suck the life from rational decision-making like an insidious contagious disease. Once it has obtained its grip, this fear underpins and drives people to agree and believe in political ideology and political direction and policies, they would normally not have agreed with or believed in. The fear that we must stay safe from ‘the others’ now underpins agreement. Agreement to attack the worker and demonise and denigrating the poor. Those who choose to do so defend this stance vehemently. They see this as the just thing to do. It does not matter what the consequences are.
The Howard Government, along with the Abbott-Turnbull-(?) Government underpins their policy decisions with the idea that the working class do not know what is good for the country. That is, to allow the free market to flourish, by allowing the owners of the capital to tell the owners of the labour what they will be paid, how they will work and the conditions they will work in. Not to stand in they way of big business.
This is a Disturbing Reality
The fear of others is so great that some of the people who fought against this in the 1990’s are not remotely interested in what is happening to the working class, the jobless and the poor. They are too busy battling the ghosts the agenda of fear has conjured. The conservatives appear to have chosen the right time and the right targets of racism and stigma.
Muslims, in the minds of the fearful, are far more frightening than Indigenous people or Asians. In the 90’s these targets of victimisation were “stealing our social security money, stealing our jobs and stealing our land.” Today, in a nutshell, the belief among the fearful is that Muslims will take over the world and force us to become ISIS.”
Therefore, they must seek solace in ‘the brave’ – find their ‘protector.’ When Pauline Hanson’s voice shakes today it sounds much more brave to fearful ears, as the fear is much more magnified today with Muslims as the target. Hanson is indeed much more appealing as a consoling leader, as she speaks the loudest and the media makes her the centre of attention, which reinforces her words as ‘normal and justified.’ This is a disturbing reality towards the success of the conservative agenda of destroying the working class.
Too Busy Battling Ghosts
Today in 2017, the fear of others is so great that some of the people who fought against Work Choices in the 1990’s are not remotely interested in what is happening to the working class, the jobless and the poor. They are too busy battling the ghosts the agenda of fear has conjured. The fear of things that may never, ever happen and are not happening underpins their decisions to support anti-worker, anti-welfare and anti-community policies. They will even argue that these things are not happening, although the nightly news will tell the stories of what has been passed in parliament and although they can watch both houses live. It is a case of blanket denial, because ‘Pauline stands up for us Aussies against those Muzzie Bastards – Have you even read the Koran?‘
They will scream, yell, insult and rant at those who are awake to the fact that these policies are being passed and are deeply concerned about their implications, and call them liars or ‘too sensitive’. They are practised at standing firm with everyone who agrees with them and calling it ‘the right’ and those who they shun and don’t agree with them ‘the left.’
For Hanson voters, Attacking Workers Is Pro-Worker
Hanson advocates appear to have a twisted belief that Hanson, a conservative, Christian, nationalist, ex-member of the Liberal party, who shows immense support for the Liberal Party and who wants to abolish all penalty rates, abolish holiday leave loading and voted for the ABCC, somehow is ‘for the worker.’ This would indeed make Hanson ‘left’ on the political spectrum.
Yes, the pro-working class voter of yesteryear, now see being angry at the passing of legislation that will increase worker deaths, where a worker has no right to silence, that removes mandatory employment of apprentices, that sees income ripped from low paid workers and harsh and unjust punitive measures on the jobless, as weak and ‘not concerned enough about ‘the others’ (who will destroy our freedoms). Workers rights have become secondary to many people who are actually good working class people, simply blinded by unfounded fear. That is a disturbing reality.
Right Time. Right Targets
This time, the conservatives appear to have chosen the right time and the right targets of racism and stigma. This is also a disturbing reality.
With so much talk about Australian values lately; attacking the worker and denigrating the poor were conservative agendas that people would fight tooth and nail against. It was against our values. They would rise up and join the struggle to ward off this narrative from becoming the norm.
The narrative of the pre-agenda is, however, strong and it has born an entirely new class of voters. Voters who are now welcoming these baseless attacks on the working class and the poor as ‘the new acceptable norm’. Some choose to ignore the implications, such as anti-worker policy passing both houses. Others see it as a ‘sacrifice’ for the greater good, of staying safe and not letting ‘the others’ destroy us, take over our country, our jobs and our freedoms.
Some of these people are true conservatives. Some are the non-union working class, some are union working class and some are jobless and/or are living below the poverty line. The majority of people within the ‘right wing agenda-Hansonite groupings’ supporting this ‘pre-agenda’ are the very people conservative politics attacks.
The Mini Resistance
The desire to keep fear and prejudice strong within individuals has now formed into a collective, via contagion and has formed into a mini-resistance. It is suffocating the empathy and understanding of the plight of the worker, the jobless and the poor. There are those who were in the trenches with the working class in the 1990s, who are now fighting against the worker, shoulder to shoulder, embracing the enemy of the working class.
There are those who fight by shouting their prejudices and wearing them on their sleeve; angrily scream at anyone who dares to ‘not see the real truth.’ Their truth.
Then there are those who consciously or unconsciously deny their prejudices. They don’t want to say these things out loud. They just want to think them. Pauline Hanson, other conservative politicians, conservative commentators and the media will say these things for them. (She speaks for me). This gives them a new confidence to speak these prejudices out loud for the first time. To speak them gives a sense of reinforcement and belonging. For some, the feeling is almost euphoric. A relief beyond comprehension. They feel they are finally part of a collective. A resistance and that they ‘belong.’
This sense of belonging brings a sense of security and protection. A belief that if the ‘protectors’ – the one’s who are loudest attacking ‘the others’ will keep us safe from harm. However, it is through this false sense of reality, that real harm is being ignored, disbelieved. For some who have made the complete transformation to anti-working class – they embrace it.
The Racist Agenda. A Man Made Construct to Destroy the Working Class
What other anti-worker, anti-welfare policies will dedicated ‘Hansonites’ ignore, accept, condone and defend, all in the name of staying true and remaining loyal to the resistance that fights against minorities and speaks loudly to denigrate ‘the others?’
The racist agenda is a man-made construct developed as a pre-agenda to assist the conservative Government to destroy the working class. In 1996, “Howard’s Battlers” of the working class enabled the biggest onslaught on the working class we have ever seen. In 2017, “Pauline’s Battlers” are on the rise.
People must stop allowing the unrealistic fear of others to underpin and guide their beliefs, opinions, and decisions and take notice of the attacks on the working class. They must make a conscious choice. Support the workers and the jobless. Otherwise, support the Christian-Conservative Nationalist anti-worker agenda of Hanson and the rest of the right-wing parties. Supporting Hanson, the Liberals, The Bernardis, the Xenophons and Hinch, gives zero support to the working class.
Otherwise, this time, the conservatives may win and sustain real longevity. The attacks on the working class may completely destroy everything unionists and the working class have fought for, were jailed for and died for.
In 2010, Tony Abbott, supported by the media in epic proportions, touted Gillard’s infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” as THE lie that cost Abbott the Prime Ministership. Moving forward to 2017, an even bigger lie has been revealed. This just may be THE lie which allowed Turnbull to hang on by the skin of his teeth to power. This lie is the Turnbull Government remained silent on the compulsory acquisition of farming land in Central Queensland for supplying land to the Singaporean Army for defence training.
Lust for Power and Political Lies
When the lust for political power is such that it sees citizens denied their rights, or it denies voters to make an informed vote, it is up to all of us to stand up against that.
In all instances, Michelle Landry framed the Shoalwater Bay investment in terms of an upgrade, implicitly insinuating that the upgrade was to existing facilities. Landry omitted the cold hard facts that this also included, or had even the potential to include compulsory acquisition of nearby farming land, owned by local farmers for generations (see maps in link above).
In addition, Bill Byrne, QLD Labor Minister for Agriculture has also accused Defence Minister Marise Payne of misleading the Senate.
QLD Labor Minister Byrne said that:
“There is no doubt in my mind that vital information was withheld to gain electoral advantage, and I am raising the possibility that Minister Payne… misled the senate estimates hearing,”
How Long Have They Known?
On 18th March, 2016, Defence Minister Payne issued a press release which detailed the enhanced development of training operations between Singapore and Australia.
Therefore, in March 2016, the Defence Minister, Minister for Trade and Investment, Special Envoy for Trade and the Foreign Minister knew that an increase of Singaporean Troops was earmarked or military training facilities. The question is:
Did not one of these Ministers have any awareness that this increase would indeed require an expansion to the military training areas?
Was this promise made without even developing an understanding of how it might impact on people living in the region or the impact on our economy?
Has the Member for Capricornia, shown absolutely no interest in asking her own Party about any perceived negative impacts on the constituency she is supposed to represent?
Do You Even Budget?
The Federal Budget papers do not detail any expenses for upgrading the Military Operations in Shoalwater Bay.
However, in capital expenses, the Government does commit to $29.9 billion over 10 years from 2016‑17 to 2025‑26 to support initiatives in the Defence White paper which includes:
A number of ADF training areas in northern Australia will receive upgrades by 2020, including Shoalwater Bay (Queensland)
Once again, Shoalwater Bay and Townsville are only discussed as upgrades and not as an expansion.
In October, Senator Payne took a question from Senator McDonald regarding the memorandum of understanding with Singapore. Senator Payne detailed that the Singaporean Army will invest “around $2.25 billion in upgrades to Australian training areas while up to 14,000 Singaporean troops will join our own for training for up to 18 weeks per year in Australia.”
However, in Senator Payne’s response in the Senate, she details that this inclusion in the Defence White Paper includes increasing international defence engagement. The CSP will particularly enhance training area access and joint development of facilities.
Shoalwater Bay Expansion
The expansion was announced in the Senator on 8th November. Senator Payne advised the house that she would make sure that ADF would conduct extensive engagement and consultation. This has not occurred and Farmers were advised via a letter of the compulsory acquisition of Land, a shock to many. The Coalition Government decided upon compulsory acquisition of land without consulting Farmers.
The strategic partnership is detailed as developed in May, the White Paper states upgrades as an aim. However, in May, 2016, the Government did not detail any expenses for an expansion, just an ‘upgrade.’ The Government knew the increase in Singaporean Personnel and the aims of the strategic plan, at least in May. Why did they not question the logistics of this increase? QLD Minister Bill Byrne goes into much more depth here.
Lies or Incompetence?
The Government either hid the information regarding the compulsory acquisition of farming land from voters prior to the election, or they were incompetent in their planning with the Singaporean Army in the land area that was required to achieve the aims of the strategic plan.
If the Government was evasive and did not disclose in May that this land was a necessity to acquire by force of compulsory acquisition, then the Government is also incompetent by excluding the loss of revenue from Beef Producers in the region in the Agriculture revenue within the Budget. This will rip approximately 100,000 head of cattle from our local producers and severely impact on the two meat works in Rockhampton. Rockhampton is the Beef Capital of Australia. This Defence threat to farmer’s land will hand this title to Casino in NSW.
The Defence Land Grab Lie
To put the omission of the compulsory acquisition of farming land into perspective of the infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” is that the Coalition rests on just 76 seats. Just enough to form Government. The Carbon Tax Lie was touted by the Coalition and by the media as the lie that denied Abbott the Prime Ministership.
In Queensland the Coalition won 21 seats. There are quite a number of seats in QLD that the coalition holds onto with very slim margins. Michelle Landry’s seat of Capricornia scraped through with only 1111 votes, with the majority of Liberal votes coming from the rural areas via postal votes. The nearby seat of Flynn, saw the local Labor candidate, Zac Beers, almost decimated O’Dowd’s comfortable seat, leaving O’Dowd with a swing against him of -8.96. Capricornia was one of the deciding seats in the election. Flynn now sits on a margin of 2.08, 1,814 votes.
These are just some examples of regional seats in Queensland, where the Liberal National Coalition and indeed the local LNP MPs fighting to keep their seats would know full well that attacks on our farming community and a farmers land grab would have banished at least Landry and O’Dowd into oblivion.
In Regional Queensland regardless of whether we live in town, or out on a property, or what our traditional political beliefs are, everyone is united in standing up for the farmers. No doubt, many Australians feel the way regional Queenslanders do and would have voted accordingly.
Announcements Before the Election
As detailed above in March, the Defence Minister met with Singapore to discuss mutual aims for Defence, including access and development of training facilities. From May, the Coalition were spruiking their deal with the Singaporean Army, which would bring 14,000 Singaporeans to the region for training. The ADF website details that:
“Identifying a remote parcel of land for Singapore Armed Forces training was considered during development of the agreement, but was dismissed due to the limited benefit for the Australian Defence Force.”
Therefore, in May, the Coalition knew full well that an expansion was required. In no instance, did Michelle Landry or Marise Payne identify the expansion and what land was to be (initially) used. They simply implicitly stated that they were ‘upgrading existing facilities’ to house the increase of Singaporeans.
The revelation that the Liberal National Government had no contingency plan if this ‘parcel of land’ detailed above fell over and that would mean forced acquisition of farming land, speaks to the either a cover up and deceit to voters or blatant incompetence.
How the LNP Duped Voters – Psychological Projection
Psychological projection is a tried and true campaign style of the LNP, particularly in Queensland. Psychological projection is when someone takes their undesirable feelings or beliefs and projects them onto others, with take the focus of them and project it onto others.
For example, if the Liberals stated the opposition would ‘harm families’ but knew it was their party and not the opposition, that had a plan to abolish funding that would harm families. This is psychological projection. This technique is also used by Republicans in America.
Setting up for the Campaign
On the 4th May, the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry posed a question to the Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce. This question was put forward to demonstrate how much the LNP invest in helping farmers. This is such a contradiction in terms to the real truth that an expansion would heavily impact on Beef production and supply for the Capricornia region. Landry had already established a platform that LNP supports farmers and Labor does not prior to the election. That smells very much like a precursor for the campaign strategy below.
At the Norman Road booth in Capricornia, where I handed out HTV cards, Landry’s fly-in campaigners from down south (because her local volunteers do not appear to be in abundance) were screaming:
“Labor Hates Farmers!!!”
They were also telling voters not to vote for the Katter Party or Glenn Lazurus as “they are funded by the dirty filthy unions.” The absolute hatred for the worker by the LNP in Capricornia also runs deep.
If this was the campaign style at one booth, then it would stand to reason that this was the campaign strategy at many booths.
The truth in this, is that whilst Landry’s mob were screaming “Labor Hates Farmers!!” it was indeed Landry’s mob who were getting set to do the dirty on farmers in the Capricornia region.
Labor Supports Farmers
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Minister Bill Byrne, QLD MPs Jim Pearce and Brittany Lauga and Federal Senator Murray Watt, have organised forums and rallies to give these Farmers a voice. Brittany Lauga also organised counselling services for local farmers as, readers would appreciate the impact on their emotional health with this decision is heartbreaking and as Lauga said, quite urgent.
Please see the video below from the Rally, including a brilliant speech from local Farmer, Pip Rea.
Never Underestimate the Vote in QLD
We have already seen what happens in QLD when the Government defies the wishes of the electorate. In 2012, QLD Labor were banished to seven seats, for selling QLD Rail. In 2015, the LNP were thrown out of office after one term, with Labor taking 37 seats from the opposition for a total of 44 seats. Our assets are not for sale. Not now. Now ever.
Similar anger would have been felt from Queenslanders, on July 2, if they knew about the compulsory acquisition of farming land. This would have most certainly resulted in a very different parliament than we have today.
Write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Defence Minister Marise Payne and your local member and insist upon no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land for Defence Training to accommodate the Singaporean Army
Listen and Share Ray Hadley’s scathing interview with Barnaby Joyce linked below:
Would the promise of a Federal ICAC give one of the majors the keys to the electoral mint? Tim Jones urges Turnbull or Shorten to take the microphone.
ICAC – The Keys to the Electoral Mint
In what is evolving into a series of ongoing scandals of rorting and corruption, federal MPs’ expenses are increasingly under the microscope – as they should be. However, scrutiny of use of taxpayer money should be constant. It should not just be a reaction to a particular scandal. Calls have been made to establish a federal version of the state anti-corruption body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
There is a serious political opportunity here. We are in an age where, according to one recent poll, 80% of Australians think politicians are corrupt. The federal leader who introduces the bill to establish a federal ICAC has the keys to the electoral mint. As the one (seemingly) honest politician, they could win elections for their party in a landslide for years to come. If the other party rejects the proposal, so much the better. You take that fact, and you break them with it. They support corruption, or they have something to hide and so on. The campaign literature writes itself.
Is Shorten Wasting an Opportunity?
The fact that the LNP appears to reject the idea outright gives Labor leader Bill Shorten this very opportunity. However, his support for the idea has been weak, much like his leadership.
This is a consequence of Kevin Rudd’s no knifing clause in the Labor constitution. This was designed to create stable leadership by making it impossible to knife the leader. However, this job security has bred complacency in Mr. Shorten and a marked lack of leadership.
Even accounting for the fact that he was on holiday during the Sussan Ley scandal (and why would you not come back early at the presentation of a half-volley on leg stump?), his silence on this scandal has been deafening. The reason behind this silence is not clear. A don’t ask, don’t tell policy among politicians? A fear at what would be found if his own or his colleagues’ expenses reports were scrutinised, or something else? Whatever the reason, Mr. Shorten’s silence on this issue is deafening.
The ICAC Board
Who would sit on such a board? Naturally, sitting politicians would be banned – foxes guarding the hen-house and all that. Sitting politicians should have no say in who will be on the board, for the same reason.
I wonder if anyone else has noticed that certain former politicians, including Dr. John Hewson, Dr. Craig Emerson and perhaps also Kristina Keneally, offer sober analysis and often criticise their own side of politics. These people are examples of being able to take the politician out of the party and the party out of the politician. Are they infallible? No, and no-one is saying that. But they are outside the current hyper-partisan political battlefield and so are more likely to offer something approaching impartiality.
Other possible appointees would include political science academics, CPAs and other financial experts. For the I in ICAC to mean anything, there would be no government oversight of the board a la former NSW Premier (he has since resigned). Mike Baird, caused trouble for an an ICAC investigator after they uncovered inconvenient truths about him.
There should be no communication between government and board, aside from subpoenas for records and testimony. Any sitting MP or Senator found with falsified records, or who lies to the board, will be terminated and prosecuted. Funds recovered and an immediate by-election called with no appeal. The parliamentarian should, of course, surrender any post-service pensions or entitlements upon conviction.
The time has come for corruption to end. The age of transparency must dawn. All parliamentary expenses, both during and post-service, are paid for with tax dollars. The people have a right to know how those monies are spent.
Sorry, that was meant to be “growth” in the title but for some reason “growth” just stopped, and I think we all know the reason why it’s so hard to have any sort of gr…
Oh dear, it just won’t appear.
Anyway, I think we know the reason. It’s because of you.
Well, you all complained. You all ridiculed them about “Jobs And Growth”, so it’s your fault that the last quarter didn’t have any growth. It ran away because it didn’t like have to appear after “jobs” all the time. It couldn’t put up with the humiliation any more.
After all, it can’t be Scott Morrison’s fault that we don’t have “jobs and growth”. Couldn’t be. Ok, ok, maybe it’s not totally your fault. Actually when I think about it, like everything else, it’s Labor’s fault for blocking those company tax cuts. Now, I know Tony said that they were going to be a “no excuses” government, but this isn’t an excuse, it’s a reason. Besides, Tony’s not the Prime Minister any more…
Well, not at the time of writing, anyway, but if that changes before I hit publish then the rumours about him not launching a challenge until Malcolm’s approval rating goes so low that installing Ivan Milat as leader would give the Liberals a boost were wrong.
So, after giving the matter consideration, I think that we can safely say that the lack of growth can be put down to Labor’s decision to block the company tax cuts because reducing the government revenue from profitable companies would encourage all those unprofitable companies who pay little or no tax and the economy would get a boost somehow. I mean, remember the boost cutting the mining tax gave to the miners! Look at how cutting the carbon tax has the economy growing in a way not seen since the GFC!
And speaking of the carbon tax, thank goodness the Minister for Saving And Wrecking The Environment, Mr Frydenberg was able to clear up the confusion about an emissions scheme. Apparently when he said:”We know that there’s been a large number of bodies that have recommended an emissions intensity scheme, which is effectively a baseline and credit scheme, we’ll look at that,” he meant that they’ll view it, shake their heads, before announcing that they can’t consider it because not only is it the most cheap and effective way of reducing emissions but they can’t consider it because it was never on the table, unlike so many of the things that were on the table earlier in the year like the GST or the states having their own income tax. By “look at it”, many of those institutions peddling fake news like the ABC and Fairfax tried to imply that “look at” means the same thing as “consider”, in much the same way that they tried to imply that when Abbott said that he and Labor were identical on Gonski that it meant that they would both implement it, when Abbott merely meant that they had the same election policy. Really! Next they’ll be trying to ask us to believe that the jobs from the “jobs and gr…” slogan were meant to be jobs for people already living in Australia, which is the sort of xenophonic, racist nonsense that Labor and their union mates try to push…
Of course, if One Nation say exactly the same thing we should listen to them because they received nearly five percent of the vote in some states and you can’t ignore with people scoring that many votes in a democracy. In fact, you’re even allowed to disagree with them… but only after acknowledging that they have a point and maybe it is time that we replaced the High Court with the judges from “Masterchef”.
Anyway, it’s good to know that young Josh has come out and explained that on Monday he was misquoting himself when he talked about an energy intensity scheme and as our fearless leader, Malcolm Turnbull pointed out, there was nothing about an emissions intensity scheme in the review and that Josh Frydenberg was clearly being confused with someone who speaks on behalf of the Liberal Party when only Cory Bernardi is authorised to announce policy without checking with anybody on planet Earth.
With so much of the same old, same old meeps about the Lib-Lab monopoly/duopoly and the clatter of mismatched voices who want something new, but can’t articulate what that is; the question is “have you actually taken the time to notice what Bill Shorten is about?”
Is it possible that for some, the inner voices of cynicism and pessimism developed by participating in the mob culture of screaming against a two party system, automatically disregard even the most progressive and positive reforms from Shorten’s Labor, just because they are a major party?
Is it possible that some are so fixated on the decisions of leaders of the past they did not agree with? Is it possible that due to this, they are not yet ready to notice Labor in 2016 and view them with a clean slate? Turnbull has been afforded this opportunity, but I do not notice this being extended to Shorten.
Is it possible that this is just a rant by someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause? Possibly. That is for the reader to decide.
However, all I can talk about is what I have noticed from my own perspective. So I will outline a few things that really strike me about Bill Shorten and his leadership and the direction he has been taking Labor thus far.
I will do this as counters to two distinct areas of the narrative I have noticed in the context of myth breaking, of “Both Parties are exactly the same” as I see it – “Underpinning Values” and “They are selfish and out of touch and just don’t listen.”
Myth: Both the Major Parties are exactly the Same
I personally always find this statement extremely confusing. I will begin with the underpinning values of both parties, as I see them.
Liberals – The Liberal’s values are underpinned by individualism. In terms of public social policy, they believe that everyone is born equal and it is up to the individual’s inherent propensity to ‘make it in life. They believe, this in turn this develops the country as a strong and prosperous country. Liberals believe in small Government intervention as they see Government intervention makes individuals lazy and reliant on Government and this weakens society.
Government intervention is usually paternalistic with punitive measurements seen as a guiding hand, that is required to motivate those without an internal propensity for self-development.
They believe in low taxes and favour a user pays system instead of major investment in Government funded services. The Liberals are semi anti socialism of the public sector and favour privatisation and outsourcing of the public sector where they can achieve it.
They believe in the free market and the balance of power in favour of the employer is the best result for the economy. Liberals have a disregard for the value of a person’s labour and believe low wages and low cost to employers create more jobs and are drivers for the economy.
Liberals do not promote Government intervention in high unemployment as a large surplus labour force drives wages down, as opposed to a tight competitive labour force.
The Liberals believe in maintaining the status quo through conservative and nationalist values.
Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott, continue to champion their commitment to these values. Abbott being more vocal and committed to these values than Turnbull, who is committed to these values, but remains largely silent on the intent or values which underpin his policies.
Malcolm Turnbull’s reason for going to a double dissolution election, was a policy which has star chamber type elements and strips away the civil rights of the worker, including apprentices. He saw this as so important, so vital to the progress of the nation.
Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s abhorrent budget cut regime progressed and championed by Turnbull, with all the pomp and ceremony of an entitled King.
Labor – Labor’s values are underpinned by a form of collectivism and solidarity. Their valued are based on democratic socialism, egalitarianism and laborism. Labor recognises that not everyone is born equal and that it is the Government’s duty to intervene and provide assistance to those who need a hand up to achieve equality. They believe in a Welfare State to provide protection and social and economic benefits to the nation’s citizens.
Government intervention is incentive based and with a propensity towards proactive rather than reactive measures. (Such as investment in preventative health measures and needs based education funding).
Labor believe in the socialism of the public sector as opposed to the privatisation of the public sector to provide the best services to the community. They believe the right assistance can develop individuals into strong, productive citizens, able to engage in the community, and break down the hindrances that were preventing them from doing so. Labor’s values consider external factors to the individual’s inherent drive and personality, and do not seek to place blame on the individual, but seek to address these hindrances and strive to provide an egalitarian society.
Labor’s overarching philosophy is Laborism, which values the labour of the working class. Laborists believe in the protection of safe work, rights and wages. They also believe this drives productivity and keeps the economy strong. They strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to work and a fair days work for a fair days pay. They believe in the Fair Go for workers.
Laborism is consistent with Government intervention in job creation projects to bring equal opportunity to everyone through the ability to access secure work, self development and career progression. They strive for low unemployment as this also creates a better standard of living though higher productivity and higher wages.
Labor believes in collective progressive policy which seeks to challenge the norms of the status quo. They are the leaders of every major positive reform contemporary Australia has ever had, such as: Medicare, Superannuation, Collective Bargaining, Fair Work Tribunal, Gonski, NDIS and NBN
Under Bill Shorten’s leadership, his message is clear that he has returned to the true Labor values ingrained in Laborism which distinguishes Labor as a defiant opposition to the conservative alternative.
His very vocally championing egalitarian values and laborism as progressive solutions. His rejection of the increase to a GST as it would hurt the most vulnerable, his damning rejection of changes to Medicare and tenacious protection of our universal health system, his rejection of the removal of penalty rates and his submission to the Fair Work Commission to protect same. His endless counter attacks on the Government to protect pensioners and families from harmful cuts and to stop the Liberals making the unemployed starve for six months!
His policy for protecting workers from underpayment, from exploitation and ensuring clarity of the term “Internship” to separate this from an essential learning or training activity from one of exploitation of the working class. In addition to policy for mandatory quotas of apprentices in Federally funded projects and investment in upskilling and training in new technologies. There many more examples of this differentiation between Shorten’s Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals, and they can be found here.
Both parties are selfish and out of touch – they just don’t listen to the people
Liberals – The Liberals view of “the people” traditionally focuses big business as centric to their policy development. A key focus of economic policy management is built around the rhetoric of welfare bashing of ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘taxed and taxed nots’ so cuts will be met with little resistance from the public, through the stigmatisation of this group.
As described in the section above, the attacks on families, welfare recipients and workers are a testament to how out of touch the Liberals are with the every day Australian and their families.
Turnbull’s “look at moi” empty verbose rhetoric, where he talks at people and not to them. An example of this is, his common phrase of, “We simply must remember….” in my view is a clear indication of class separation where the ‘people (a forgetful and unintelligent lot) need a gentle paternalistic guiding hand from those who need to remind us of our place.”
Labor – The Labor movement invests in grass roots activism. Under Bill Shorten engaging with the public has been a central focus. Community Cabinets in QLD were introduced by the Labor Government and Shorten’s personal style is community forums, where he openly takes questions from the floor and answers questions in an open public forum.
Shorten has done about 150 public forums in the last 18 months and numerous live Facebook feeds direct to anyone on Facebook who cares to subscribe to his live posts.
As for if Shorten is in touch with the people. I will leave you with his budget reply address for you to decide.
My personal view on Shorten
I have had the personal opportunity to attend one of Bill Shorten’s community forums.
In my own experience, he fielded a huge variety of random questions and answered them in detail. He was relaxed and open and quite focused on the night being about the people and their questions and not about us listening to a speech about him or Labor.
I had the opportunity to ask a question. He approached me after the event and asked me to write to him in more detail with my concerns and expressed genuine interest in speaking to me further. I saw him openly engaging with others with genuine interest as well after the event.
He did not have to do that. He did not have to seek me or others out. He had enough people around him to purposely avoid me, if he wanted to. It speaks to his genuineness as a leader. I wish everyone could meet Bill Shorten because until you meet him up close and speak with him, you don’t realise that much of the negative media portrayal and other people’s negative perceptions are so very wrong.
I have not been truly excited about the vision of a Labor leader in a long time, but I truly connect with Shorten’s vision and leadership. In my opinion Shorten is the real deal. His ability to remember names, faces and detail of questions at community forums is phenomenal. You kind of need to see this in action. He is a highly intelligent man with great compassion and a great passion for people and their concerns, which is truly visible at a community forum.
I truly believe he will win the next election outright and will go down as one of our greatest Prime Ministers in our history. I have 100% faith in him and the direction he is taking Labor.
It is such a shame that for many engaged in ‘left politics social media commentary’ disregard the shift in direction under Shorten’s leadership. It is disappointing that those on the ‘left’ who oppose Shorten’s Labor discuss him as if he has evolved from some 1980’s mindset where neo-Liberalism was forging it’s place across the world and judge him on the decisions made by former leaders, which really should be critiqued in the context of that time. It is also frustrating that the progressive policies and Laborist solutions he is putting forward, fall on already made up closed minds and deaf ears.
Whether you think this post is just a rant from a someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause, or a genuine attempt to implore people aligned with the left to view Shorten and his modern Labor party with a fresh open mind and really critique his current direction which is ingrained in the values of laborism and truly engaging with the the people. As well as a plea to not to continue to compare and contrast with the decisions and leadership of Hawke, Keating, Rudd or Gillard, which many say they have issues with, then that is up to the reader to decide.
Labor’s policies will not suit everyone, nor are they perfect with no room for improvement. However, it is very, very evident that Bill Shorten making a dedicated effort to meet as many people across as many communities as possible and he is really listening and is open to positive and progressive ideas for change and he has already led substantial policy development as a testament to this shift to the left and laborism.
For those who genuinely and fiercely arguing to topple both of the major parties from power and who are insisting Shorten does not have ‘Leftist’ values – have you really truly taken the time to noticed what Bill Shorten is about?
Yesterday I watched Bill Shorten’s address on the McKell Institute’s Report ‘Choosing Opportunity’ where he spoke passionately about equality and a fair go. However, to achieve real opportunity, the first thing we must acknowledge is that stigma and discrimination are not conducive to equal opportunity.
Income Management, Cashless Welfare and Basics Card all have the same aim. The aim is a paternalistic approach of a ‘guiding hand’ to set those unfortunate enough not to have a job on the path to ‘wholeness.’
The aim of income management is to enforce a patronising approach which places the burden of shame and stigma on the unemployed, because the Government cannot be bothered to engage in job creation; because oh! that’s right, “the market will sort it all out.” Bullocks!
The aim of income management is to inconvenience, stigmatise, and label the unemployed as ‘others’ who are not part of the ‘normals’ in society.
The aim of income management is to conduct surveillance of the unemployed (Dee, 2013).
The aim is to extend a measure that was originally aimed at reducing alcohol abuse and child abuse in remote communities and now has extended to so many. The current and previous Governments have placed control measures on those who do not need controlling. That is not the “Fair Go” Australians long to return to.
With the NT having more than four times the number of all the other income management sites combined, it really begs the question if this measure is indeed racist and the extension of this measure is to appear ‘not racist!’
The McKell Institute explains three types of welfare models in their report:
“The study identified three main forms of welfare state: the ‘liberal welfare regime,’ which emphasised market efficiencies and demonstrated limited government interventions; the ‘corporatist regime’ which is committed to preserving the traditional family, and invest in social insurance programs that encourage motherhood and provide benefits that encourage mothers to return to work; and finally the ‘social democrat’ model which pursues equality.“
If the underpinning construct of Bill Shorten’s speech and the McKell Institute’s report is equality; then income management simply must be high on the list to be abolished.
With donations reform and perks for politicians in a huge big glaring spotlight; Australians should be rising up and screaming about situations such as the excerpt below, instead of getting reeled into the agenda set by the media. I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of people absolutely fixated on the Dastyari saga and counter-attacking with dodginess from the Liberals. Meanwhile, in the land of cashless welfare, people can eat plastic or starve!
It is time for change. It is time to stand up now. It is time to stand up for the jobless, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and the disabled, who have their income managed by the Government. These are the people who matter. These people. The innocent, the vulnerable, the labelled and stigmatised.
Enough is enough. If you truly believe in a Fair Go. If you truly believe the Fair Go underpins everything we believe as Australians, please write a letter to the following insisting on the abolition of mandatory income management for welfare recipients in Australia.
The tight polls indicate that a number of Australians are afraid of what a change of Government will bring. However, the thought of remaining with the Liberal Government makes me very afraid.
I still recall that day in early high school so vividly. I was yelled at, embarrassed to the point of tears and pulled out of class. I was ordered to sit on the verandah, because my parents could not afford the proper text book and the teacher decided I was not ‘ready to learn’. That experience, really drove home that the battlers could sit alone and cry red-faced in shame and be on the outside looking in, or they could use their voices to speak up.
I knew that public education in the early 1980s was considered free for all students and that I was entitled to an education. (My Mother had told me time and time again “you don’t need money to be clean, honest, intelligent, kind, well mannered, etc., etc.,)
That day, I furiously marched to the Principal’s office at lunchtime and I made a formal complaint. I stood up straight, looked him in the eye and asked him loud and clear, if I was allowed to be excluded from class because I could not afford the text book.
For a reason I cannot remember now, (possibly being thirteen and misunderstanding the political framework!) I threatened to report the school to the Governor General and guaranteed that he could stand me in front of class and ask me questions. I argued that it would be revealed that I knew more than most of the students who had text books. I was angry and offended that the school had drawn a line between my intelligence, my willingness to learn and the amount of money my parents had to buy a stupid text book!
After some scornful lecture reminding me that it was somehow a thirteen year old’s responsibility to ensure I had the right books for school and I was ‘ready to learn’, I was given a ‘loan’ of a second hand book. I had to promise I would protect this book with my dear life until the end of the year and I was curtly reminded that ‘forgetting to return the book would be considered stealing from the school.’ That was also a stark reminder of how a low socio-economic background was an immediate negative judgement of one’s morals.
Two things were important that day: A rule existed to prevent unfairness and I had the courage to speak up.
Rules and Societal Norms shape who we are
Legal rules and also societal norms shape who we are. They shape our nation. The democratic system of parliament is the system which enables the rules by which we live. If the school had a rule implemented that stated I could be excluded because I did not have the correct book, I could have sat on the verandah for the rest of the year. Not learning and not participating. Some kids would not have complained, as I did.
An important point is that not everyone has the same levels of self-efficacy to use a complaints system, or to even question if they are a victim of unfairness. The rules should be there to protect people so they do not need to have an inherent self-confidence to right any wrongs.
This is the reason I take politics and voting so seriously. The Liberals, time and time again implement ‘rules’ or laws, that not only make life hard for the disadvantaged, but also make it hard to complain and achieve fairness. We see this in Education, in Health, in Welfare and in unemployment programs to name a few.
This is the future under the Liberal Government I see and what we have seen for the past three years and in previous Liberal Governments state and federal. A system of rules, that makes life harder for battlers. A system of rules that makes it harder for battlers to have a voice. A system of rules that is the antecedent to unfairness and a divided society.
The Liberals seek to make that verandah I sat on, even wider between the thirteen year old me and inclusion in that classroom.
The Liberals seek to make rules, that would have the Principal tell the thirteen year old me, ‘that it was my fault, I can do better, get richer parents, shut up, sit down and do as you are told, or we may arrest you.’
The tight polls indicate that a number of Australians are afraid of what a change of Government will bring. However, the thought of remaining with the Liberal Government makes me very afraid:
I don’t want to live in a world where a Liberal Government works hard for a greater divide between the rich and the poor.
Where the practices and policies of the Liberals ensure the working class have no rights and can be replaced by foreign workers in the dead of night.
Where the practices and policies of the Liberals make the disadvantaged choose between seeing a doctor or buying food.
Where the ideology of the Liberals does not see marriage equality as a right for all citizens.
Where the Liberals favouritism of austerity is implemented in times of severe, global economic uncertainty.
Where a narrative which harms and stigmatises people is encouraged and supported and sometimes led by members of the Liberal party.
Where Liberal/Conservative/austerity-laden budgets are designed to give the wealthy money and see the poor grasping for the trickling down of the scraps.
Where the spending decisions of a Liberal Government produces a health system so underfunded that death of Australians is realistic consequence.
I don’t want to live in a country where a Liberal Government makes rules to make life harder for the battler or makes it harder to protest against unfairness.
Another term of The Liberals. That is what makes me very afraid.
If you are NOT voting 1 Labor, what are you afraid of?
Does ensuring Medicare is in the safe hands of the Labor party – the party that invented Medicare and the party that has fought against cuts to Medicare by the Liberals for years and years, make you afraid?
Does ensuring that all children have the funding they need for more individual attention to excel in school, make you afraid?
Does a party who fights for the rights of the worker, make you afraid?
Does ensuring that our health system is properly funded, so Doctors and Nurses can do their jobs properly, make you afraid?
Does ensuring transparency, KPIs for processing, independent overseer, child guardian, refugee tribunal and funding UNHCR camps to eradicate the need for boat journeys, make you afraid?
Does ensuring that the party that got us through the GFC unscathed, managing the economy in a transitional environment or global instability, make you afraid?
Does a history of delivering major reforms that have progressed this nation forward such as: NDIS, Enterprise Bargaining, Medicare, Superannuation and Gonski, make you afraid?
Does the underpinning ideology of a fair go, make you afraid?
Does ensuring that we have a fibre-laden, first rate technology National Broadband System, make you afraid?
Does every citizen having the equal right to marry, make you afraid?
Does the idea a party can have 100 positive policies, presented and costed before an election, make you afraid?
Vote Labor to put people first on July 2. Don’t be afraid.
A Shorten Labor Government promises to pass Marriage Equality within the first 100 days if they win the election. An Abbott-Turnbull Government favours a plebiscite. Both of these cases were argued at the first Facebook leaders debate last night.
Leadership Debate 17 June, 2016 – Marriage Equality Plebiscite
Malcolm Turnbull: I support same-sex marriage, if we are returned to Government, there will be a plebiscite, then all Australians will get a say on the issue. I’ll be voting yes. Lucy will be voting yes. We will be urging people to vote yes. I am very confident it will be carried.
Bill Shorten: Now the argument says, Oh Plebiscite, it’s very democratic. But the truth of the matter is that this is a debate where I don’t believe that people’s relationships and love for each other need to be submitted to a public opinion poll. I think we have seen two terrible events in the last week that shows hate and extremism exists in modern societies. And I don’t want to give the haters a chance to come out from underneath the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people.
Malcolm Turnbull: With great respect to you. I believe Australians are better than that. I believe we can have a discussion about marriage equality. It can be civil. It can be respectful and we will make a decision as a nation and then, as a nation we will respect the outcome.
The debate on marriage equality so far, has been anything but civil or respectful. Therefore, one can conclude Turnbull is one or more of the following:
Responding with empty platitudes
Playing semantics with the words ‘can be’ and ‘will be’
Intentionally arrogant and insulting towards the people who have already expressed they have been harmed by this debate
Ignorant and out of touch with the commentary already occurring within this debate
Supportive of the hateful and harmful commentary from the Anti-Marriage Equality lobby and considers this commentary, a civil and respectful debate.
Let’s take a look just a small taste of how the marriage equality debate has developed thus far. It has been far from civil.
*Warning: This post contains comments and pictures that may be upsetting and hurtful to LGBTI people, their families and allies.
A Taste of the Respectful and Civil debate thus far:
The pamphlets, obtained by Fairfax Media, have been prepared and funded by Chris Miles, a former Liberal MP and member of the Foreign Investment Review Board.
“Not only is the information on this flyer wrong, it will put the lives of young gay people and the children of same-sex couples at risk by reinforcing the message that they and their families are broken.” (Croome, AME)
The Rainbow Noose
Australian Marriage Alliance advertisement opposing marriage equality
“I’m signing this because I’m a child of two absolutely loving lesbian parents and I’m really offended that this advertisement blatantly slandering same-sex parents’ ability to be parents simply based on their homosexuality,” he wrote. “My mums are amazing and I honestly need nothing more than them and their love in my life.”
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,
“This booklet denigrates and demeans same-sex relationships and will do immense harm to gay students and students being raised by same-sex couples.”
“The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.”
Mr Croome said he has received several complaints from teachers in Catholic schools who were horrified to learn at staff room meetings that the booklet will be distributed.
Comparing Marriage Equality to Animal Sexual Activity
A federal Nationals MP has drawn a comparison between same-sex relationships and two rams having sex in a paddock, provoking condemnation for the ‘offensive’ and ‘inappropriate’ statements, with the Greens calling on him to apologise and retract them.
Educating Children and Parents about the dangers of Marriage Equality
In a plea sent to the school, obtained by the Mercury, one parent said: “Although the teachings of the Catholic religion is one of husband and wife I find it inappropriate that the Catholic Diocesan of Wollongong would find it appropriate to be “informed” about this topic by a (group) with a clear agenda leading up to a federal election.’’
“There are many families within our school community that would be extremely offended by this type of ignorant propaganda as they are not a ‘family’ as is defined,’’ the email said.
On Monday he made a comment on Twitter: “Though Orlando is abhorrent, it doesn’t change the real & present dangers of the gay marriage agenda to Aus children.”
People have condemned the insensitive tweet and even called the hopeful politician “scum”.
“Absolutely disgusting. Completely offensive,” one commented.
As I live in a Regional Town, I am dedicating a section just to debate within regional communities.
There are extra complexities to consider in regional communities for LGBTI people. There is no Mardi-Gras. There is no wide-spread community support. Young LGBTI people often move away from the area quickly and there is a high rate of suicide. A harmful and hurtful debate only places further stress on young LGBTI people in regional communities.
“I am sure this has something to do with it. People do not feel welcome here. You get shunned. So people leave and go to places where it is acceptable.”
BuzzFeed News asked Christensen (QLD LNP MP) what he thought about LGBTI teenagers in the area feeling as though a program like Safe Schools is needed.
He (Christensen) likened it to children wanting to eat ice cream.
“Kids love everything. Kids would love free ice cream at school,” the MP said. “Is that good for them? Y’know. Of course they are going to defend something they are being told is good.
“But is it good? Is it social engineering? I think it is clearly social engineering.”
Using the plebiscite as campaign fodder.
The Capricornia Young LNP accuse the Labor candidate of vandalising the LNP member’s office. (The Labor candidate responded in the original thread that she was there to support the rally and was writing “Love is Love” on a heart-shaped post it note. The other person in the photo is the gorgeous Ben Norris from Big Brother, who spoke at the rally.
I attended this Equal Love Rally. We held a peaceful rally. Marched a distance to the LNP Member’s office and those who desired could place a post it note on her door with a message in support of marriage equality.
SMS to the Editor – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
This is such a small sample from the commentary within the debate against marriage equality thus far and it does not do justice to the plethora of uncivil and disrespectful commentary from the Anti-Marriage equality lobby found within this debate.
This quote from Shirleene Robinson, spokeswoman for Australian Marriage Equality calls for people to understand that language and narrative can cause deep hurt to people.
“Words can inflict terrible harm sometimes and we would ask that people of all opinions remember that,” she said. “The use of intemperate language can cause deep hurt among LGBTI people and their families.”
Deciphering the Leaders Debate Comments.
A plebiscite – Abbott-Turnbull Government
I refer back to Turnbull’s comments within the leadership debate:
“….then all Australians will get a say on the issue” “….we will make a decision as a nation”
Normally Turnbull palavers on with great verbosity and his words can be deciphered and reduced to something quite simple. On this occasion he used a few words, but it translates to much more: That is:
“When considering marriage, Australia currently recognises two groups of people: heterosexual people and LGBTI people. Australian law currently only respects the right to marry belongs to heterosexual people and excludes LGBTI people and discriminates based on gender.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government thinks the appropriate way to redress this gender based discrimination is for Australian citizens to decide if LGBTI people are the same as them, or a lesser class of citizen. LGBTI people belong to a minority group.
The Government will ask LGBTI people (the minority group the current law discriminates against) to vote on this.
However we will ask the majority – their friends, their allies, people who are apathetic and indifferent, but we also think it is important to ask people who do not consider LGBTI people ‘the same’ or ‘normal’ and should not have the same rights and also those who harbour a deep-seated hatred and contempt for LGBTI people.
These people will make up of the majority group who will decide whether to uphold discrimination towards the minority group.
To ensure people are informed before they vote, as part of this, we will force LGBTI people and their families, loved ones and allies, to listen to the hateful rhetoric from people who argue that we should uphold this discrimination and LGBTI people should remain as a lesser class of citizen, which could cause deep hurt and harm to this group.
To ensure enough information is out there to decide whether LGBTI people are a lesser class of citizen or not, this will cost approximately 160 million dollars of taxpayer money.
It should also be noted that if a majority votes to continue discrimination towards the minority group, then discrimination based on gender should be fully respected and upheld. “
The Legislative Approach – Shorten Government
The legislative approach states that: Discrimination exists within our marriage law and separates citizens and discriminates based on gender. We will move a bill to redress that discrimination and ensure every citizen is equal under the eyes of the law.
Author’s note: On the eve of the last election I was forced to confront the reality that the party I supported couldn’t win. This is what I wrote:
I am still no further advanced in answering the question “who will win the election?” I think my mind is still in cause and effect mode. Thoughts of consequence invade me. So I ask the reader to indulge me for a little longer.
I have always thought that at the centre of any political philosophy should be the common good. In saying this my thoughts often drift toward a better way of doing politics and the term commongoodism is central to my internal debate. It sounds idealistic, this common good and it may not in itself be suited to all political persuasions but it is worthy of examination. Conservatives for example may never be able to overcome their dislike of equality. It is probably more acceptable to the left than the right. But politics after all is about ideas and compromise. I ask myself if the isms of left and right have gone past their used by dates? Many questions arise. Do they suffer from the tiredness of longevity? Is there a possibility that a new politic could emerge from the ashes of this election. Can a society deeply entrenched in political negativity and malaise, rise with a renewed interest in the common good, and still retain the essential ingredients of a vigorous democracy where a wide ranging common good test could be applied to all policy. Even have a caveat placed on it.
Have left and right so fused into each other that they no longer form a demarcation of ideas? Could the ideologies of the two somehow come together to form this commongoodism? Who would decide the common good? How could one define it? Could capitalism embrace the common good or would it need a work over? Could conservatism which empathises individual responsibility and opportunity embrace it? What would common good values be? Some might even say there is no such thing. That’s all a bit like political scrambled eggs I know but they are the sort of philosophical questions I ask myself on my daily walks. You see that although I still value my leftish views I do really believe that modern political thought and practice needs to move beyond self-interest and the attainment of power for its own sake. And not just nationally but internationally. But particularly in Australia where politics no longer meets the needs or aspirations of the people and is held in such low esteem that politicians are barely relevant.
I have long felt that the political establishment has taken ownership of a system that should serve the people but instead serves itself. It is self-indulgent, shows no respect for the people it serves and lacks transparency. These thoughts I know challenge established political thinking. They may even be controversial, but politics, as we currently practice it has no future as I see it.
There I have finished my dummy spit, my dose of idealistic medicine.
10 AM Friday.
Now I will answer the question.
Who will win tomorrows election?
Well it won’t be Labor and here are three reasons why.
Firstly, despite the growing influence of the Fifth Estate the mainstream media still packs an enormous punch. In advertising the success of one’s spend is measured by the resulting sales. The media can measure its influence in the polls. Labor has been the victim of the most concerted gutter attack ever thrust upon an Australian political party. And from all sections of the media, although one in particular, News Corp, has gone well beyond the realm of impartiality. Labor has been drowned in an avalanche of lies, repugnant bile, half-truths and omissions. The media has lost its objectivity and news reporting in general has become so biased that it no longer pretends to disguise it. The MSM has forsaken truth, justice and respectability in its pursuit to protect privilege. They print and tell lies with such reprehensible consistency that a gullible and politically undiscerning Australian public has never really challenged. As a famous business man once said, “I spend a lot of money on advertising and I know for certain that half of it works”.
The Fifth Estate (including me) has attempted to counter these nefarious attacks but in my view it is three years away from reaching its full potential. Having said that I plead some degree of ignorance, and I must say, I am absolutely astounded at how many people participate in social media and the voice it gives them. However in three years’ time its ability to influence the younger generation will have risen exponentially. Added to that will be a declining older generation.
Secondly, Tony Abbott has been a man who has adopted an American Republican style shock and awe approach in his pursuit of power. Main stream media has hailed him the most effective opposition leader in Australian political history. This is solely based on his parties standing in the polls and says nothing about the manner in which he lies and distorts to bring about this standing. Perhaps they should rethink the criteria they use. On a daily basis and in the parliament he has sought to abuse, disrupt proceedings and tell untruths that normal men would not. His gutter style negativity has set a new benchmark for the behaviour of future opposition leaders. Luckily though, he may be the only one of his characterless ilk, and future opposition leaders may be more affable. However, the consistency of his negativity has had an effect on an electorate in a state of comatose.
Since the election date was announced he has portrayed himself as a different person. An indifferent public has been fooled by this chameleon disguise. He is simply a politician who climbs from the gutter to spread his pessimism everywhere. David Marr uses these words to sum up the character of this would be Prime Minister:
“An aggressive populist with a sharp tongue; a political animal with lots of charm; a born protégé with ambitions to lead; a big brain but no intellectual; a bluff guy who proved a more than competent minister; a politician with little idea of what he might do if he ever got to the top; and a man profoundly wary of change … He’s a worker. No doubt about that. But the point of it all is power. Without power it’s been a waste of time”.
On the other hand, John Hewson described him as lazy and indolent.
Thirdly, this where the truth hurts. My Party can at times be its own worst enemy. For the six years it has been in power it has governed well. Despite the enormous difficulty of minority governance. This is indisputable when you look closely at its economic record, the legalisation passed in the Parliament and the reforms from within a minority framework.
Its problems though have not originated from everyday governance. In this sense it has been no better or worse than any other. Rather its problems stem from personality conflict and the pursuit of power.
Politics by its very nature is confrontational and uneasy with those who pursue power for powers sake, or those who think they have some sort of ownership on righteousness.
Labor had two formidable intellects in Rudd and Gillard. In fact, combined they would total the entire opposition front bench. This clash of personalities supplemented by an inability to sell its policies has for six years damaged Labor immeasurably.
And this is the main reason why Labor will lose. Not because they haven’t governed well. But because life is about perceptions, not what is, but what it appears to be. We have painted a picture of dysfunction. Rightly or wrongly that is the perception.
In conclusion, if you are a praying person I suggest you get on your knees and ask that Abbott not be elected tomorrow night.
And in the aftermath, if we stand still in the midst of these challenging and changing times we will stagnate. We simply must move on and confront those oblivious to the common good with all the resources at our disposal.
My thought for the day.
‘I think acceptance and embracement of change is one key aspect of what we try to define as wisdom’.