Another nail in Australia’s coffin – Facebook bans sharing news in Australia and Google backs big business – guess who wins? PS: But… we can still write, post and share our own.
Does that sound like a tweet or what! Another nail in the coffin for Australian democracy, freedom of information, voice and ears. Flying blind – The silence will be deafening on FB.
Game, set and match? This is not freedom of choice. This is political censorship by default and design. The Australian media news landscape embroiled, further compromised, falling off the edge of the continental shelf and the Australian public alienated from its own local news and rest of the world, like have we all just been sent to Coventry?
This was the LNP Think Tank’s intention and a golden opportunity to fulfil their primary goal – Can you and I, can we not see this!
This guy (Josh) and his buddy (Scomo), and the whole frigging LNP camp of degenerates really need to fuck off to the casino big time. We have them now to blame for ‘all of us’ becoming news blind in Australia on Facebook and Social Media. Going against their declared political principles of free trade, freedom of information, news and free speech for a bigger prize. This is a huge setback for Australians.
This is exactly what Frydenberg and Morrison want, to silence and deafen FB or more to the point Australians who use FB to share their news, thoughts, views and opinions. By doing so they get to control the flow of news, media and opinion. The public broadcasters, ABC and SBS were never going to be free to enter these deals and you would be grossly naive if you thought smaller independent news outlets would ever gain traction on this legislation with the corporate giants – That’s not how Monopoly is played. Google have taken a different path but can you see them entering into the plethora of smaller agreements and will our government under this legislation or policy direction give a damn!
Image from dailymail.co.uk
So Frydenberg and Morrison get to spread their shit here on FB and everywhere else for free, what hypocrites. The News giants like Murdoch and News Corps get to rake in the money and spread the pain for their shit everywhere – and laughing. There will be no informed democracy and elections in this game. The Liberals are doing this, not for equity, fairness or justice, but given all the run offs and stacked consequences, as planned; giving them massive control over news, media information available, not available, accessibility on public and social platforms. Will this be good for the economy even?
The chosen ones, yes.
I don’t condone FB’s decision, but Morrison and Frydenberg knew very well this was the likely path, and why indeed should FB as a business pay for users, other people’s decisions on what they share – What kind of fucked up business model is that? What next? Will the Liberals have ‘us’ pay for shared advertising too? Actually, we already are, out of the public purse.
Would you charge me if I offered you a lift to the supermarket to get your groceries? The government (the Liberals) are raving bonkers.
Australia totally screwed on this one, folks! This is political censorship, where only the sharks profit at the expense of freedom of choice, information and information sharing, one of the founding principles of the internet, and ironically democracy, fair dinkum. Yes, the Liberals, Nationals, News Corps, big business elites et al are pushing our noses in it and our heads in the sand – make no mistake. I can’t breathe!
End game – Erosion of political and electoral public intelligence and information, control of the airwaves, right wing power grab and supremacy, come next election. Not even Trump could manage this (Foxy News versus Washington Post), but here by any other means, with a swoop of the pen, Morrison, Frydenberg and the Liberals (image source: ‘elbows kissing’ courtesy of the Australian, how ironic) are banking on that ignorance turning in their favour, like it did for 74 million Americans! Another nail in the coffin for Australian democracy, freedom of information, voice and ears.
Eyes to the right where we can expect the procreation of more lies, hypocrisy, false (manufactured) news and proliferation of extreme right wing and fundamentalist opinion, especially from Murdoch, News Corps, Government, corporate mining elites and big business; and sadly, Facebook and Google are deserting the public camp for consumerism in their own separate ways. Did I mention tongues and fiery pulpit of the very holy Morrison-Frydenberg spirit – Holy cow!
They say no man is an island, Australia is and has just become even more isolated from the rest of the world, thanks to the LNP and our government – Regulation be damned (on this one).
But maybe we are all just about to become more creative – We can write, post and share our own news and opinion pieces with complementary piccies. Isn’t that what these social platforms and truly independent media are for?
This is democracy. Let’s get to it!
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The timing of cuts to government welfare subsidy programs such as JobSeeker and JobKeeper still lacks an appropriate nature at the start of 2021 as the Australian economy still lags in times of a recession, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) said in its New Year’s message.
Addressing the nation’s workforce, and speaking specifically to the plight of the unemployed, under-employed and those labouring in insecure jobs, Scott Connolly, the ACTU’s assistant secretary, said that while unemployment rates remain high, the Morrison government going ahead with its cuts to subsidy packages takes much-needed money out of the hands of those who can best boost the nation’s flagging economy.
Initially lauded for introducing subsidies to help the suddenly-unemployed when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March, the government under Prime Minister Scott Morrison and federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg has proceeded to slash JobSeeker recipients’ coronavirus subsidy from its original $550 per fortnight to complement the old NewStart base rate of $559.00 per fortnight, to $250 per fortnight as of 25 September to $150 per fortnight effective their first full fortnightly reporting interval in 2021.
Connolly cites that living on an average of $51.20 per day after the most recent cut leaves JobSeeker recipients struggling even further to spend money on life’s necessities of rent, bills, and groceries, let alone anything beyond them.
“After a year spent battling bushfires and surviving a pandemic, the last thing Australians should have to worry about now is how they will pay their bills or put food on the table,” Connolly said on Friday.
The JobKeeper subsidy is also meeting the government’s machete chops, to the tune of $100 per fortnight, taking it to $1000 per fortnight for workers that had performed part- or full-time positions, or $650 per fortnight for those working under 20 hours per week.
And Connolly stresses that the cuts add up, especially for those who had been used to the struggles of their normal everyday lives.
“For many Australians, the JobKeeper coronavirus supplement meant that for the first time, they were able to eat three meals a day, or purchase much-needed medications,” Connolly said.
“To take that away from them now as this difficult year draws to a close is both callous and heartbreaking,” he added.
As reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) last month in its November figures, the national unemployment rate continues to hover at 6.8 per cent – which represents an improvement of 0.2 per cent from October as workers who were put aside by their employers at the start of the pandemic returned to their duties represented a portion of those responsible for the improved numbers.
However, as the union movement and the Australian workforce continue to struggle with the impact of the current state of unemployed and under-employed as well as those embroiled in a spate of insecure jobs, Connolly also cites the recent resurgence of positive COVID-19 cases in New South Wales and Victoria as another factor as to why Morrison and Frydenberg would have been justified to delay the current round of cuts.
In fact, Connolly and the ACTU claim that the failure to even consider this action revealed a lack of proper initiative on the part of the government.
“With COVID-19 resurging in NSW and the national economic crisis far from over, cutting economic support to millions of struggling Australians is also an extremely irresponsible act,” Connolly said.
Bill Shorten, the former leader of the Labor party now serving Anthony Albanese’s shadow government as its minister for government services, concurs that the timing is poor to go ahead with the scheduled cuts.
“We are not out of the woods yet with this pandemic and the economic effects. They are reverberating around the economy, especially in regional towns and suburbs where there are a lot of casual workers who have bourne the biggest brunt.
“For the less well off, we shouldn’t be cutting their circumstances at this point in time,” Shorten added.
Youth unemployment remains another factor which the unions and government figures alike are grappling with, as the recent round of cuts will likely hit workers aged 16-to-24 years of age even worse.
According to the ABS in its November statistics on employment, youth unemployment currently sits at 15.6 per cent – and noting a 12-month increase of 4.1 per cent over the year before – and while that figure calculates to more than double of the national general rate of unemployment, fears abound of what impact that may have on the economy.
Especially when disabling demographics of people who are otherwise motivated to spend money to inspire a struggling economy.
“Cutting the rates of JobKeeper and JobSeeker is only going to worsen the impact of the coronavirus crisis on young workers and our community. We need jobs, not cuts,” Young Workers Centre manager Arian McVeigh said back in September, when the first cuts to JobSeeker and JobKeeper were on the eve of occurring.
Arian McVeigh, manager of the Young Workers Centre, who warned about the impact of JobSeeker and JobKeeper cuts back in September (Photo from abc.net.au)
Moreover, when the initial JobSeeker and JobKeeper cuts took effect, it was forecast to stifle the Australian economy by $31.2 billion according to a joint report from economics analysis firm Deloitte and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) – and while real figures to confirm the degree of impact have yet to be released, agreements range widely outside of government figures which confirm that consumers lack the confidence to spend money.
Advocates for the “Raise The Rate For Good” hashtag trending across social media would claim that a move to raising the old NewStart rate permanently – which has not occurred since 1994 – would help restore that confidence.
And while the ACTU has pushed for that payment to resemble the original JobSeeker amount, Labor ministers such as Shorten and Linda Burney, the ALP’s shadow minister for families and social services, have vowed to attack the issue when Parliament sits for the first time in 2021 next month before the current rate of JobSeeker and JobKeeper subsidies are set to expire at the end of March.
“Around two million Australians will be impacted by the government’s scheduled cut to the coronavirus supplement next March,” Burney said last month when announcing a similar bill to the upper house.
“Returning unemployment support to the old base rate places millions of Australians at risk of hardship and jeopardises local jobs,” added Burney.
Unemployment numbers were reported to have improved on Thursday while federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg claimed that Australia’s economy was rebounding – but the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) sent out a message of its own: increase wages and help the insecure workforce, and the nation can be guided out of recession.
As the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) was reporting two divergent numbers relating to the nation’s employment figures – unemployment had improved by 0.2 per cent to 6.8 per cent for the month of November, but also noted that underemployment figures had improved by 1.0 per cent to 9.4 per cent – Michele O’Neil, the ACTU’s president, insisted that wage growth was the best way to ensure a faster and stronger economic recovery.
And as O’Neil’s comments come in the wake of Thursday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) presentation update by Frydenberg and Simon Birmingham, the government’s minister for finance, she pointed out that the government’s update lends very little hope for those who had sacrificed close to a year of their working lives in 2020.
“The government had an opportunity to show that they do really care about the future of so many unemployed and underemployed Australians, but failed to deliver that today,” said O’Neil.
“We must not forget that 2.2 million Australians will be facing the end of the year with no job or not enough hours, and the government’s mid-year economic statement does not deal with this fundamental issue,” she added.
The ACTU also advised that the nation’s under-employment figures come with a caveat: while it is encouraging that people are returning to work, the government, as well as the ABS, defines anyone who works as little as an hour per week as being employed.
It also said that any current signs of recovery out of a once-in-a-generation recession possess a shaky foundation – of that recovery being quite fragile, warning that the jobless rate could possibly return to COVID-level rates without the proper vision and leadership to create jobs and increase wages.
“They had an opportunity today to redirect unspent JobKeeper to reverse the cut in payments coming at Christmas and to fund programs that would deliver decent secure jobs that help rebuild our economy, but have shirked that responsibility,” said O’Neil.
“Further, there is no plan to lift wages which have now seen eight years of low growth including the lowest on record – and we know that unless workers have confidence to spend the economy will suffer. Instead, the Morrison government has introduced industrial relations legislation which will cut workers take-home pay,” O’Neil added.
Meanwhile, both Frydenberg and Birmingham used the occasion of the MYEFO to thump the collective chest of the Morrison government, claiming that economic recovery is underway.
“The updated numbers are encouraging and better than what was expected at budget just ten weeks ago,” the Treasurer added.
“This Budget update tells a story of resilience, of recovery and of Australians getting back to work. Stronger business and consumer confidence means more Australians are in jobs [and] there are fewer demands on government programs and stronger than expected revenue,” said Birmingham, who has forecast that the budget deficit is expected to be $24 billion less than previously anticipated.
“These forecasts, along with the other economic forecasts, stand Australia in incredibly good stead, relative to many other comparable nations. In summary, Australia’s economic and fiscal strength enabled us to enter the COVID-19 crisis with resilience,” added Birmingham.
O’Neil also put the government’s figures – which also included a line from Frydenberg saying it could take up to four years to return the unemployment rate to pre-pandemic levels – in a perspective, that revenue numbers over deficits wouldn’t be possible without tax-related incentives to businesses.
And she feels that a long-term plan for growing the economy, raising wages for all workers, and jobs-based growth has been lost in the government’s feel-good messages.
“The government has chosen the ‘low road’ recovery, with un-tied tax cuts to big business, and failed to deliver a nation-building approach to job growth,” O’Neil said.
Previously, the ACTU had called for the Morrison government to adopt and implement its National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP), a jobs-based economic recovery blueprint geared towards getting Australia out of recession, on several occasions since unveiling it in July.
Areas such as creating more secure jobs, extending childcare and early learning free of charge, investing in job-training facilities and programs, such as the TAFE system, investing in the nation’s university system, and placing a focus on jobs and investment in the manufacturing sector, were among the items on that blueprint.
But as wage growth has stagnated under successive LNP governments since 2013, the view of O’Neil and the ACTU which holds that area as the most critical means of pushing economic recovery is shared by Brendan O’Connor, Labor’s shadow minister for employment and industry.
Shadow employment minister Brendan O’Connor, spruiking direct action to combat a jobs crisis (Photo from TWU Vic/Tas)
“If the economy was as strong as the Treasurer claims, there wouldn’t still be a million Australians stuck in the jobless queues, 1.4 million workers underemployed and more left out and left behind in this recovery,” O’Connor said earlier in the week.
“While too many Australians and communities are hurting, the Liberals and Nationals are reverting to form and using the pandemic as an excuse to cut workers’ pay, cut super and strip protections from borrowers,” added O’Connor, who earlier in the month announced on behalf of the ALP what it calls a Pandemic Recovery Jobs and Industry Taskforce.
As the ALP’s initiative could be viewed as a complement to the ACTU’s NERP blueprint, O’Connor says it runs counter to what the Morrison government has been alleged to be doing in the heart of a jobs and economic crisis – leaving people to go at it in a survival-of-the-fittest regimen.
“The Taskforce will travel around the country – particularly to outer-metropolitan, regional and rural areas – to hear from employees, employers, unions, industry bodies, academics and experts about what is needed to best respond to the Morrison recession,” O’Connor said.
When I saw a brief headline saying that Josh Frydenberg was calling for a roadmap from Dan Andrews, I thought, Josh obviously has trouble using that tricky GPS because anything that came after the 1980s is a problem for him. Then I read the article and I realised that he was actually wanting to know the plan for bringing Melbourne out of Stage-4 lockdown.
Mr Andrews rather pathetically suggested that it would all depend on future events which is not something that the Liberals ever do. They always have a plan even if it isn’t exactly clear what it is. And they can tell us about the future. I mean, who could forget Scott Morrison’s: “We’ve brought the Budget back into surplus next year!” They even have the coffee mugs to prove that it happened. Unfortunately, there was no Budget delivered in the May so the predicted surplus didn’t happen but that – like everything else – wasn’t their fault.
Dan Andrews has been upsetting quite a lot of people recently… although it’s mainly Liberals who are frustrated that some people are failing to blame him for not being in total control when he should be, because it’s only when he assumes control that they can call him “Dictator Dan” which is their best nickname for a Labor leader since “Electricity Bill”. Someone I know has accused Dan Andrews of a) trying to spread a vicious lie that COVID-19 is more deadly than your average cold, and b) completely incompetent because he let the various spread killing thousands… I’ve read somewhere that the mark of an intelligent person is the capacity to hold two ideas simultaneously so I’ve decided that said person is in the Einstein category.
However, 2020 has produced a number of people who seem similarly blessed. For example, just a few weeks ago, Sam Newman was suggesting that he might run for Lord Mayor of Melbourne on a platform of stopping the lawlessness and anarchy that this city has been witnessing. However, just recently he was calling for 250,000 people to ignore the lockdown and congregate in the city to protest the silly restrictions placed on Melburnians. It has since been discovered that Sam has donated his brain to science sometime in 2019 because he personally hadn’t found a use for it and very much doubted that he’d be using it at any time in the future.
Still, Sam was an ex-sportsman who recently lost his long time job as a resident idiot on “The Footy Show”, so it’s only reasonable that he should consider taking on the only other job where being an idiot is an advantage: politics.
And, while on the subject, isn’t it good that Tony Abbott is going on welfare in Britain. I mean he always said that the best form of welfare is a job and it looks like they’re going to give him one that suits his talents down to the ground. He’s going to be negotiating agreements and he has a lot of good form on that. Remember how successfully he negotiated with Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeschott, or his success at getting legislation through the Senate, or even convincing his back-bench to keep him as leader. Yes, it seems it’s one of those schemes to give a person a job just to keep them busy because there’s no way they’d get it on merit.
It’s been a confusing week all round, but the one thing that’s really got me confused is the suggestion that the MSM wants to be paid for Google or Facebook “using” their stories. I’m going to ignore Facebook for a second because it’s a bit more complicated but the basic point remains.
Google started as a search engine which was just that. It made no money. It just gave you a way of finding things you wanted.
Google became a capitalist and started doing things so that it could make money by getting people to pay it to advantage them in searches.
Historically, media companies didn’t use the internet, but like everything if you’re not on the internet you don’t exist. (If anyone argues with that, I will make the obvious point that they are on the internet!)
Some media companies put up their news content for free; others have a paywall.
Because news is available on the internet, advertising revenues are down for traditional news outlets.
The media now want Google to pay them because Google is sending people to media companies’ websites without giving them any money for sending people to the media companies’ websites.
Now there are a lot of implications and there are a number of things that need to be ironed out, like how do we keep investigative journalists going if there’s no money in it, however, when you boil it all down, it’s media companies’ business model that’s collapsed. The idea of making Google pay for sending people to the website is so contrary to the original concept of a search engine that you can only see it if you look it in principle. Consider these and explain the difference:
Imagine that I run a chain of cinemas and business is down. I decide that film critics should pay me for reviewing any film in my chain.
My clothing brand has its name on the T-shirts it sells. Business is down so I decide that people exhibiting my brands logo on the shirts should have to pay a fee every time they wear it.
A judge on “Masterchef” recommended people eat at my restaurant. I want payment if he ever mentions it by name again.
In all these cases, you can see that the “get stuffed” element is likely to be very strong. Where does it leave me if nobody mentions me again?
Similarly, if Google simply changes its algorithm so that no Australian media company pops up when people do a search, what’s Rupert’s next step?
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“Going to be a great summer of cricket, and for our firefighters and fire-impacted communities, I’m sure our boys will give them something to cheer about,” Morrison tweets Wednesday, at the Gabba, prompting former Wentworth MP and AMA President, Kerryn Phelps, to reply that it must be the empathy consultant’s day off.
Reading between the lines, the PM is overwhelmed by nostalgia for a simpler, quieter, Boys’ Own Australia where “flannelled fools at the wicket and muddied oafs at the goals” commanded a man’s full attention and respect.
Australia’s Dear Leader is looking forward to kicking back at the end of a big year of getting in touch with his inner totalitarian; denouncing Labor at every turn in a perpetual campaign of hyper-partisan hysteria, union-bashing, evading scrutiny if not accountability and reforming his Party Room. Discussion and debate are all but eliminated.
Now MPs meet to view a PM’s PowerPoint of his latest talking points and vacuous slogans in silence. No smartarse remarks. Apart from his own. Morrison continues to put his foot in his mouth whenever he goes off script.
Something for the burnt-out to cheer about? It’s a shocker. Any self-respecting empathy consultant would run sobbing from the room, in search of another job. A gig with the Duke of York’s media team holds more appeal.
Opportunity beckons. Bond University and RMIT are cutting ties with Pitch@Palace, the disgraced Duke’s business mentoring charity, which once held a business pitching contest every October at Government House in Perth. The UK’s The Daily Telegraph reports that Andrew is no longer leading Pitch which will continue sans royal support.
Ironically, Bond could not recall $50 million stashed overseas when he appeared in Sydney’s Federal Court in 1994. Later, he served three and half years in prison, for stealing $1200 million from Bell Resources’ shareholders. It is the biggest fraud in Australia’s history, maintains Paul Barry. But Bond University still bears his name.
Shocking memory problems also now plague Prince Andrew, former host of Pitch@Palace, who claims he has no recollection of having ever met Virginia Roberts, a seventeen year old, whom convicted paedophile and financial hustler, the late Jeffrey Epstein, is alleged to have procured for his royal highness. His account is hotly contested.
Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, tells the BBC’s Emily Maitlis the Duke had sex with her three times. The interview will screen 2 December. Giuffre claims Epstein trafficked her to powerful people and then used her as blackmail.
In New York court documents, prosecutors allege Epstein “enticed and recruited, and caused to be enticed and recruited, minor girls to visit” his homes “to engage in sex acts with him, after which he would give the victims hundreds of dollars in cash”. They say that “to maintain and increase his supply of victims, Epstein also paid certain of his victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused by him.”
The Duke insists, in an interview with The BBC’s Emily Maitlis, he was at home after a family party, a right royal pizza with the lot at Pizza Express in Woking? He can remember the day, date and year. It’s a lot to swallow. Never met Ms Roberts, no. Sex? No. He’d know “… if you’re a man it is a positive act to have sex with somebody.”
Naturally, The Duchess of York, a title she may keep as long she does not remarry, Sarah Ferguson, rushes to Instagram to defend her ex-husband. Andrew’s “a giant of a principled man” but after his gigantic train-wreck BBC interview, he may need a little professional help. As could our cricketers – with a very different type of pitch.
With “our boys”, Morrison instantly dismisses women’s cricket as anything uplifting. Australia is number one in the world in women’s cricket but you’d never know it from his utterly thoughtless and insensitive comment.
Does he not know, moreover, that our boys’ ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town, last year, has brought the men’s game into grave disrepute? Cricket Australia (CA) itself is in trouble.
Last year, an independent review found that players live in a “gilded bubble — disconnected, for much of each year, from families, friends and the grounding influence of community”.
CA’s review findings are resonant with meaning for all walks of corporate life and contemporary politics.
Cricketers, today’s gladiators, see themselves as being part of a “machine that is fine-tuned for the sole purpose of winning”, reviewers tut-tut, deploring CA’s win-at-all-costs culture. Imagine. “The reputation of the game of cricket as played by men has been tainted.” Moreover, CA has an “arrogant, controlling and commercialised” culture which reacts to adversity by bullying or ostracising. In brief, it acts like any other corporate enterprise.
Above all, however, CA lacks accountability to its stakeholders, the public. Its independent report is redacted despite all promise of transparency from CA chairman, David Peever. Nor will it publish minutes of its meetings.
It’s not just cricket. CA’s reviewers could be talking about the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Coalition government or its backers, the banks, especially Westpac, which is also in the news, this week, over twenty-three million breaches of money-laundering laws. Happily, after an emergency meeting, CEO, Brian Hartzer, gets to keep his job.
As do the board of directors and the “senior executive team”. The show must go on. And on. The best the PM can manage is to tell 3AW’s Neil Mitchell and ABC Radio’s AM that it’s not up to the government.
“It’s not for the government to say who should be in those jobs or not, but they should be taking this very seriously, reflecting on it very deeply, and taking the appropriate decisions for the protection of people’s interests in Australia. These are some very disturbing, very disturbing transactions involving despicable behaviour.”
Work experience boy, Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg is asked on ABC Insiders what would he do. Do? “Hard Discussions,” is all he can manage. No-one now seriously believes he has the will or the authority to take a bank to task.
Yet it’s a serious breach and it exposes major flaws in the system. Banks are exploiting loopholes. Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws have been broken by Westpac, alleges AUSTRAC – on 23 million occasions. This includes failing to adequately monitor the accounts of a convicted child sex offender who was regularly sending money to the Philippines. Morrison says it shows the system is working.
Westpac more generally failed to “carry out appropriate due diligence on customers sending money to the Philippines and South East Asia for known child exploitation risks,” the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre – Australia’s financial intelligence unit and its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator, AUSTRAC alleges.
Westpac is unlikely to be alone, writes regulatory expert Nathan Lynch. The story behind the story is industrial scale tax avoidance, the concealing of enormous cross-border payments. Yet it’s not up to the government?
Morrison’s hands-free policy with a bank is in complete contrast to his government’s Ensuring Integrity (EI) bill which seeks even greater state regulation of unions and a further curtailing of workers’ rights to organise.
If passed into law, the provisions of the EI Bill would directly interfere with the rights to freedom of association and independent functioning of trade unions guaranteed by, among other international instruments, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, writes Anthony Forsyth, Law Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Law at RMIT University.
Granted, all this could take your mind off the odd bushfire – including the monster in NSW which, at its peak, had a front stretching 6000 kilometres- or from Sydney to Perth. And back. But Morrison is making a grotesquely tone-deaf proposal with “… our boys will give them something to cheer about.” Does he lack all compassion?
Can Morrison, or any member of his government or PMO seriously believe, that those suffering bushfire’s devastation, the six hundred and twenty-three traumatised by losing their homes; all their earthly goods, or livelihoods, or the six households grieving the loss of a family member will be diverted by a game of cricket?
Because nothing fixes broken people in anguish, & blackened communities & animals in pain like random blokes doing something meaningless on an oval somewhere. “Fire trucks anyone?” “Nah, just some cricket thanks” tweets independent researcher and writer, Ronni Salt.
At least the Pentecostalist PM hasn’t repeated his promise to burn for Australians every single day. Yet.
Our “Prime Minister for standards” as Australia’s Prime Buck-Passer proclaimed himself last January, may be a sandwich short of a picnic when it comes to personality, policy or people-skills but you have to hand it to him, he certainly has the gift of the gaffe. Plus a tin ear. Tone deaf. It will prove his undoing.
Cook’s circumnavigation of Australia? You heard it first from The Gaffer. All Asians look the same? Morrison’s cheery “Ni Hao” to a Korean woman in Strathfield, the little Korea of Sydney’s inner-west. Understandable. He’s got China on his mind, after his mid-year monster diplomatic gaffe when he declared it “a developed country”.
Some gaffes suggest a malignant narcissism. In 2014, something more than a compassion bypass was evident in Morrison’s hostile response to allegations that underage asylum seekers on Nauru had been forced to have sex in front of a guard, and that women were being told to strip in exchange for showers of longer than two minutes.
Morrison announces an inquiry into the allegations but adds that the review will also look into whether the allegations had been concocted. In the meantime, he will remove ten Save The Children staff from Nauru?
“Making false claims, and worse allegedly coaching self-harm and using children in protests is unacceptable.”
They are “employed to do a job, not to be political activists”, Morrison makes his own false claims in a written statement, repeated verbatim at his press conference. Political activists? It’s a damaging and false slur.
Later the Immigration Department, he heads is forced to admit that there is no cause for the staff members to stood down. “No reason to cause doubt to be cast.” The review results in full compensation being paid.
No censure or penalty is imposed on Immigration Minister Morrison, who goes on to become Treasurer.
As Treasurer, Morrison is questioned by Barrie Cassidy on ABC Insiders. Typically, Morrison denies all responsibility for his error of judgement, his fabrication of a damaging slur. He is as intractable as a mule. Morrie the mule.
“I drew no conclusions on the material that had been presented to me at the time.”
“No, I didn’t, Barrie.” He tells Cassidy to go back and check the transcript. Cassidy: “I have.” Shrugging aside all ministerial responsibility, denying any personal accountability, Morrison resorts to the Nuremberg defence:
“I did the job that I had to do in that situation, just as I am doing the job now as treasurer …”
Under pressure, this week, Morrison retreats into climate science denialism, a tactic which John Hewson hazards in The Sydney Morning Herald is “doubling down”, a phrase which originates in blackjack. If you are confident of winning after being dealt only two cards, you can double your bet but may take only one extra card.
High risk can yield high reward in blackjack. Figuratively, the phrase means to “to engage in risky behaviour, especially when one is already in a dangerous situation.”
Doubling down is now applied to any fit of intransigence. Hacks abuse it trying to explain the equally bizarre behaviour of Morrison’s mentor Trump who is now totally consumed by his own impeachment. Gone is all pretence of a Presidential role. He emerges from his obsessive monitoring of coverage only to whinge to his aides.
Or he doubles down; repeats his allegation that it was “Ukraine not Russia”, a political interference conspiracy theory which nobody is buying. Even Republicans have trouble with it. In desperation, in a phone call to Fox, Trump admits he demanded a quid pro quo from Ukraine, tantamount to a public confession that as US President he resorted to extorting another nation to support his own political witch-hunt of Joe Biden’s son.
Doubling down can be admirably bold or woefully foolhardy. Morrison’s resort to a palpable lie about Australia’s contributions to greenhouse gases shows a contempt for his audience’s intelligence that will be his undoing.
“To suggest that with just 1.3 per cent of global emissions that Australia doing something differently — more or less — would have changed the fire outcome this season, I don’t think that stands up to any credible scientific evidence at all,” he tells ABC radio the following day.
It’s a nonsense response you might expect from a Craig Kelly, not a Prime Minister, deeply flawed in its logic and at odds with the evidence. Imagine if all the “little polluters” continued burning coal – worse, expanding their coal mining as Australia proposes. Or just be honest with the facts, Morrison.
As AIM writer, Kaye Lee, explains, “in 2016, we were the fifteenth biggest emitter in the world. If we don’t have to worry about our measly contribution, then neither do 180 other countries including the UK, Turkey, Italy, Poland and France, all of whom have smaller emissions than us, and I am not talking per capita.”
As for the evidence, RMIT’s fact check, for example, estimates that Australia’s domestic emissions plus the emissions embedded in its exports added to 1,712 million tonnes in 2016. This represents roughly 3.6 per cent of total global emissions for that year, the latest reliable figures for global emissions.
It’s inspiring stuff. Or contagious. Government by bullying, extortion, deception and denial. Only an Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government could send 6600 menacing debt letters to wrong addresses. When no-one responds, it uses income averaging to raise dodgy debts. Some are referred on to debt collectors.
Professor Terry Carney’s research finds when Centrelink asks for payment of alleged debts or evidence to disprove them, “most vulnerable alleged debtors will simply throw up their hands, assume Centrelink knows that there really is a debt, and seek to pay it off as quickly as possible”.
This week, the centrepiece of its three ring circus surplus-mania, the Robodebt extortion of over a million Australians – of money we mostly didn’t owe – is put on hold pending a class action from Gordon Legal, championed by Labor which is officially launched Wednesday, while Morrison is making his cricket pitch.
“There are a lot of our fellow Australians – single mums, pensioners, people who’ve been unemployed, people on Austudy, students – who’ve been forced to pay up under a regime which, in my opinion, is not validly based in law,” argues shadow Government Services Minister, Bill Shorten, who confirms that a separate class action will continue to argue that the government is “unjustly enriching itself at the expense of social security recipients”.
Government services ought to include “shakedown, outwrestling and exaction. Seven hundred thousand cases may now be opened to review should this single class action succeed.
Also still proceeding, is Deanna Amato’s imminent federal court case, which is due to be heard on 2 December, reports Victoria Legal Aid. The test case will continue to seek a declaration that the debt raised against Ms Amato is unlawful, despite the government’s announcement that it’s giving up granny-bashing and standover tactics in an unparalleled pause in its war on the poor.
It will, it promises solemnly, no longer rely solely on income-averaging to determine debts. No sense that it abused its duty of care in proceeding with an inherently flawed, cruel and unjust scheme which reverses the onus of proof on to the pensioner to disprove the alleged debt. No sense that it will compensate those whom it terrorised.
Some see the abandonment of Robodebt as likely to put paid to any surplus. The truth is that its net benefit never amounted to much any way. Crikey reports this week, debt-collectors have done very well out of Robodebt.
Over $2 billion worth of so-called debt has been outsourced. Yet it’s cost government $534 million – almost as much as the $658 million that has been collected. The model is deeply flawed as Paul Bongiorno observes
“This model of outsourcing government services, which so often sees taxpayer funds being funnelled to some of the government’s biggest friends and supporters, is increasingly problematic. It is operating in the National Disability Insurance Scheme and in the aged-care sector – where, as the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has shown, millions of dollars of public money is going to the private providers’ profits.”
But this time, Morrison The Congestion-buster, can’t blame his office, which is whittled down to a skeletal staff of fifty mandarins -(where one in five is a former coal industry shill) – as he did, last month, when all thirteen pages of the day’s talking points were emailed to the press gallery.
A conversation scripted to reassure us about a prince’s judgement has the opposite effect. A chance to connect the royal family with the modern world reveals that it is marooned, remote and criminally out of touch.
Similarly, Morrisons tin-eared tweet about cricket reveals a PM who is in another world, a malignant narcissist who is pathologically incapable of feeling for others, a would-be tribal leader who has no moral compass; whose energies are invested solely in maintaining power at any cost and increasingly in the politics of division.
As the economy tanks and households find it harder to make ends meet, after six years in power, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has only more coercion to offer the average Australian. And cricket.
Above all, the Robodebt debacle shows a government which has no scruple in waging war on the poor. It has, moreover, connived at diverting funds from schools and hospitals to boost the profits of private providers.
As Christmas, a festival of giving approaches, a cruel and tricky government prepares to further punish workers with a law that is certain to reduce their power to negotiate a living wage.
Yet there is hope for some. The million – plus pensioners who have been caught up in Robodebt may take heart in the fact that the government has been forced to abandon the scheme, at least for now.
Just don’t expect any real reform from the banks under a Morrison government.
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In an interview on ABC radio last Thursday, Josh Frydenberg was eventually forced to admit that emissions rose again last year as they have every year since the repeal of the carbon price.
He then went on his usual obfuscation rant of cherry picking data and making dubious claims.
“If you look at the last quarter [emissions] went down, if you look at the trend it is improving”.
Actually, whilst the seasonally adjusted emissions decreased 0.6% in the June quarter 2017, trend emissions increased 0.3% when compared to the March quarter 2017.
Annual emissions increased 0.7%. If you include Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), emissions rose 1.3% over the year.
Mr Frydenberg then stated that emissions on a per capita and GDP basis were at “their lowest in 28 years”.
Whilst these may be useful comparative measurements, they make absolutely no sense in the grand scheme of things because the atmosphere doesn’t really care how many of us there are. It is our absolute emissions that make the difference, not any per capita or GDP comparisons.
“What you need to focus on here is what is happening in different aspects of the economy as a result of policies we are putting in place,” he said. “What we are seeing is real improvements in various aspects of the economy.”
Mr Frydenberg pointed to the national energy productivity plan (NEEP) which aims to boost energy efficiency in the built environment by 40 per cent by 2030.
Frydenberg also referred to the emissions reduction fund, focused on agriculture and the land sector, which he claimed has abated up to 190 million tonnes of carbon dioxide at an average cost of $12 a tonne.
Except it hasn’t yet and probably won’t.
Some of the contracts last to 2025, the money is all but spent, and no new funds have been allocated. The government’s own goal is a “projected abatement estimate for the Emissions Reduction Fund to 2020 of 92 Mt CO2-e”.
A well-researched, well-sourced paper released in December shows how dubious the process for verifying and certifying emissions reductions under the ERF is, how it has led to “rent-seeking” from existing projects, and how the accounting is being fudged.
“Government claims regarding abatement of greenhouse gas emissions so far achieved under the scheme should be discounted. We are counting as new benefit steps that have either never occurred, or that happened in the past.”
According to the government’s latest quarterly update, in 2016-17, Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions were “0.8% below emissions in 2000 and 9.1% below emissions in 2005”.
We committed to a 5% reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 yet the projections are for no decrease at all. We then dodgily changed the base year and committed to a 26-28% decrease on 2005 levels by 2030 but the projections instead show a 4.5% decrease (or a 3.4% increase on 2000 levels).
The projections report states that “The 2030 target will require between 868 and 934 Mt CO2-e in cumulative emissions reductions between 2021 and 2030 to meet the 26 per cent and 28 per cent targets respectively.”
Not to worry.
Reminiscent of Nero, this government will continue to fiddle the figures while the planet burns, pretending they are doing something other than commissioning and ignoring reports.
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.