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Tag Archives: News Limited

Why we need more corporate tax cuts

 

ATO data shows that 36 per cent of large companies paid no tax in the 2014-15 financial year. 679 companies including McDonalds Asia Pacific, Chevron Australia, Vodafone Hutchison and News Corp made $462 billion in revenue in Australia last year without contributing a single cent to the nation’s health, education, defense or welfare.

Of the large companies who did pay tax, the effective tax rate on profits was 25 per cent – 5 per cent below the statutory rate of 30 per cent.

Of the 200 largest corporate taxpayers in Australia, companies in the health care, energy and financial sectors paid the lowest effective tax rates of 19 to 24 per cent on a combined income of over $330 billion.

Investors in Australia assume taxpayers will bail out Australia’s big four banks in the event of any of them becoming insolvent. As a result, investors lending to such large banks are prepared to accept lower returns for risk, which lowers how much banks pay for funding. The Reserve Bank of Australia estimates that Australia’s major banks receive an implicit subsidy worth between $1.9 billion and $3.7 billion due to this assumption.

An international report on G20 subsidies found that the Turnbull government is continuing to subsidise fossil fuel production to the tune of $5.6 billion a year. Nearly $6 billion a year is paid to Australian corporations though the Fuel Tax Credit scheme. In 2014 it was estimated that State Governments alone had paid $17.6 billion in subsidies to mining companies over the previous 6 years.

Oxfam Australia estimates that the Australian economy is losing up to $6 billion a year in tax revenue due to Australian-based multinationals shifting money to international tax havens.

The federal government remains committed to doing bugger all about this problem, but they are pushing ahead with their plans to cut corporate tax rates. This means that while we’ll still be up to $6 billion a year down on revenue, corporate tax avoidance will be a lot less of a problem in Australia, because the less tax you’re meant to pay, the less tax you can avoid paying.

So the government would like to wish big business a happy and prosperous 2017. For the rest of us, they’ve had to made make some cut backs.

 

Day to Day Politics: Where did Murdoch’s readers go and what about the election?

Saturday 13 February.

Author’s Note.

This week’s announcement that News Corp’s revenue has declined for the fourth successive quarter has sent a shiver down the spine of the newspaper industry. It is now in its inevitable death throes. Further cuts will now have to be made in his Australian publications and when the traditional hard core readers have passed on what will be left.

This is a repost of an earlier.

Recently I found myself without access to the internet. It only lasted a day and a bit, thankfully, but it did bring home to me just how reliant I am on it. The pause however, did give me reason to think about how very differently I consume information now as opposed to say 10 or so years ago. It also gave me reason to think about what influence old media, and in particular Murdoch newspapers, might have on the next election.

I have been a prolific reader all my life and not to fill my brain with a daily dose of anything newsworthy might lead to withdrawal symptoms. Habitually at 6am I would be awake waiting for the familiar thud of the Melbourne Age dropping onto the driveway. Together with a hot cup of green tea my day was put in perspective.

With the advent of the internet it all changed. Both the reader and the media proprietor now find themselves in a vastly different arena.

Where as in my case I relied on The Age to provide the entirety of information about my many and varied interests I now find I have unlimited access to anything and everything I want to know. It is simply astonishing just how much the webb has changed the world.

Now I wake at six (a lifelong habit) turn on the ipad, check the weather, my email, post some thoughts on Facebook and then peruse the newspapers, but not before seeing whose writing what on THE AIMN. In fact my newspaper reading is now limited and specific. I hone in on what I want to read and move on. I don’t subscribe to pay sites because there is ample quality information available on free sites and blogs. For example I look with contemptible curiosity at the headlines on The Australian site just to see the outrageous unmasked bias. I can peruse any newspaper in the world.

The interesting thing about the decline in sales and influence of Australian newspapers has been how they have responded. On the one hand Fairfax decided to cut costs, lower its journalistic standards, change its size and be a little more tabloidish. On the other hand Murdoch, who had made his fortune on smut decided to prostitute his publications by becoming even more offensive and provocative. It hasn’t worked. They both now opine rather than report.

So in terms of political influence Labor has little to fear from the nefarious front pages and slanted editorials of his tabloids. The recent Labor victories in both Queensland and Victoria have highlighted News Limited’s growing irrelevance to the electoral process.

Last year, the total daily circulation of all Australian daily newspapers was a little over 2.1 million, fully one million lower than it was at the turn of the century. When you take into account the growth in population post Second World War the decline is even more specular. In 1947 two copies of daily newspapers were sold for every five people. In 2014 the figure was 1-14. So now, Murdoch with a 60% share of the Australian circulation can only attract 4% of the population to buy his rags.

And the point of course is that the readership is rapidly ageing and disproportionately Coalition. They are voters who are locked into their political preferences. If you analyse any poll you will find that 60% of the Coalitions support comes from those over 65 and 60% of Labor’s from the under 40s.  Hence it’s unlikely that Murdoch is influencing the younger voters. The group that gives Labor the best chance of winning the next election. And with so much support coming from a rapidly ageing cohort the right must be concerned as to where their future voters will come from.

Recent surveys by Essential Research also suggest that even those who read the Murdoch tabloids have little trust in them. Of the major newspapers The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald constantly score 70% trust with The Australian on 60%. But the three Murdoch metropolitan tabloids are only trusted by a little over half of their readers. The Herald Sun 53%. The Courier Mail 54% The Daily Telegraph at times fell to 41%. This of course means that those who buy this tabloid filth must do so for entertainment or sports. Certainly not for reliable reporting on politics. Habit may be another factor of course.

So, if all the research is correct, Murdoch only reaches less than 10% of the voting population which is about half the reach they had when they so blatantly supported Howard in 2001.

There are a couple of things to remember when discussing Murdoch’s political influence. The first is the flow on effect. The Australian is the shock jocks first point of call every morning and whatever bias is on for the day is quickly absorbed by the presenters of untruth.

Whilst the shock jocks have substantial audiences the fact is that the average listener can be likened to the average Murdoch reader. Elderly and set in their ways.

The Australian loses around $30 million every year and it is difficult to imagine it continuing production after the mogul dies. It is also difficult to expect that it doesn’t exert some influence on television which still attracts a sizable audience of uncommitted voters. Again it must be said that television audiences are now older. The young have deserted it for the internet, games or streaming media.

The second factor in all this is that whilst there has been a dramatic decline in the sales of newspapers and readership there has been a corresponding rise in the readership of their websites. Tabloid newspapers however have not been able to successfully merge their image into the digital market. It may be a graphics thing where internet news demands some form of visual and quantifiable sophistication.

Research also shows that Australian newspaper web sites have high traffic rates but whereas we might assume the average readership of the print edition The Daily Telegraph might have a 15 minute duration. Visits to its website are a lot shorter. As little as thirty seconds or so. So, it’s fair to assume these visits wouldn’t have much political impact at all.

There is no doubt that Labor can expect the full treatment from Murdoch at the next election. Anything from filth to fantasy. Everything will be magnified out of proportion, images crudely photoshoped to show leaders in the worst possible way together with lie after lie after lie. There is no doubt they will be as crass as is possible. But the big question is. Given all the evidence, what sway will they have?

There was a time when you would do nothing to offend the mogul but instead ingratiate oneself. Perhaps it’s time to call a spade a spade and tell the Australian people just how un Australian this American citizen is. Tell them he should not be imposing his Republican Tea Party ideology on us and that it’s about time he started to pay some tax in Australia. In other words call the mongrel for what he is. A pathetic self-serving power hungry bastard who believes you can control people with words calculated to gain favour with conservative governments.

The decay of traditional news media and the rise of digital media has meant that the young have not been touched by the Murdoch cancer. Instead they are forging opinion based on information sourced of themselves. And in doing so have dramatically reduced Murdoch’s sphere of influence.

He may preach from the high alter of propaganda but only reach the already converted but he is certainly not winning over any new adherents.

Some findings from the Essential survey.

How much trust do you have in the following media commentators and journalists?

Lauri Oakes 71% Sarah Ferguson 51% Tony Jones 51% Mark Riley 51% Michelle Gratton 49% Neil Mitchell 49% Chris Uhlmann 46% Andrew Bolt 38% Alan Jones 29%

The most trusted newspapers were.

SMH (70% a lot/some trust) and The Age (66%). The least trusted were The Telegraph (46% a lot/some trust), the HeraldSun (48%) and the Courier Mail (48%).

Overall, trust in media has fallen a little since this question was asked last year – however rankings remain much the same.

The most trusted media were ABC TV news and current affairs (63% a lot/some trust), SBS TV news and current affairs (61%) and ABC radio news and current affairs (58%).

The least trusted were internet blogs (20%) and commercial radio talkback programs (34%).

How much trust do you have in the following institutions and organisations?

AFP were top with 68% the ABC had 58% at the bottom on 16% and religious organisations 25%

Don’t ask me how the AFP got there.

My thought for the Day

‘Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity’.

Two things I have trouble with involving the Abbott Government … all right, three!

Negativity-21OK, I know it’s obvious, but I want to know why Justice Heydon can say that there was absolutely no reason for him to disqualify himself for accepting an invitation to be the guest speaker because – as he points out in his sixty seven page justification – it doesn’t demonstrate that he agrees with the politics of the organisation where he’s going to speak.

So there’s no problem with him accepting the invitation. Got it! Except now the question is why he felt that he had to change his mind about speaking there. It might be perceived as bias. But now his ruling on apprehended bias is that a “rational” person wouldn’t see it as bias.

I guess, from that, one could infer from that as Heydon decided to change his mind about speaking then he isn’t a “rational” person.

We also learn that Justice Heydon is famous for not reading emails.

Which seems a clear link to the Liberals who have a reluctance to read anything (as Kaye Lee pointed out in “Less Shovels And More Reading” a few days ago).

While not reading emails or anything going to their office has been a popular pastime for Liberals since Peter Reith and the children overboard fiasco, I suspect that it may become popular for unionists in the coming days.

“Sorry, Justice Heydon, but I’m well-known among my colleagues for not reading emails, opening letters, checking bank statements or anything else you wish to question me about. I wasn’t aware of any of this and I don’t see how any rational person would expect me to keep track of what I’ve been doing when – as a union leader – everyone knows that I’m a bludger who never does anything but wage war on those poor multinationals who are providing jobs for Australians as part of their charity program.”

But I’m more concerned about the Fairfax “jihad”.

Yep, that’s right. Minister for Not Reading Press Releases, Mr Peter Mutton told everyone that Fairfax were waging a “jihad” against the Abbott Government. Which if you look up almost any definition of the word, is a wee bit confusing. For a start, surely they need to be Muslims to wage a “jihad”. Although Waheed Aly does occasionally write a column for them, so perhaps he’s converted Amanda Vanstone and Peter Reith to the cause. And Paul Sheehan. None of those columnists ever show the Abbott Government in a positive light.

Yes, yes, I know. Allowing such people to give you their thoughts does make the Abbott Government look bad. Anyway, the Petester wasn’t finished, obviously concerned that he didn’t have anyone at “hello”. Or “jihad” for that matter.

PETER DUTTON: I think it would be helpful if some of the commentators in the area, in this space of politics, started reporting on the incidents, as opposed to being players themselves.

I think there’s a huge move by Fairfax at the moment to try and bring the Government down, that’s fair enough. But they aren’t, they aren’t….

They aren’t supposed to be political players, they’re supposed to be objective reporters of the news and I think many of them have morphed into frustrated politicians themselves.

Yes, they should get back to simple reporting of incidents the way the Murdoch Press does. Then we can see simple reporting of incidents like the fabulous: “We Need Tony” or “Kick This Mob Out”!

Although I seem to remember that we were told that News Limited were a private organisation and that they were allowed to be biased. Fairfax, on the other hand (sorry Andrew Hastie but that wasn’t directed at you!), should stick to reporting the facts because, well, they’re being “helped by the ABC” according to Pete the Insignificant.

But I find it strange that he thinks that “commentators” should stick to reporting “incidents”. I thought the whole idea of commentators was to commentate, but I’ve always been a bit funny about words and their meanings. You know, I’m one of those that thought that when Abbott said that there was no difference between him and Rudd on Education, I thought that meant that he was saying that he’d implement the same policy, not that they both had a university degree. Or that no cuts meant that he wasn’t going to reduce the funds to pensioners, not that he wasn’t going to take a knife to them.

Still to be fair, all our Minister for Operational Matters actually said was that “it’d be helpful” if they stuck to reporting incidents. Objectively. You know, factual reporting. Using last Friday’s events maybe he’d be happy with something like this appearing in Fairfax.

“Operation Fortitude was called off when a clumsy worded press release caused people to compare the Abbott Government with Hitler and Stalin and to make comparisons between the Border Force’s black uniform with the Nazi SS. The press release wasn’t read by the Minister’s Office because they don’t have anything to do with the day to day operational matters, so they didn’t think that it was worth reading something sent to them. The Prime Minister assured us that he knew nothing.”

Yeah, that should make him happy.

That, and a decision by the media to stop reporting that there’s disharmony in the Liberal Party, because it’s not really news. People leaking. As Dutton himself told us, people could have a pretty good idea who was doing the leaking, and they’re doing it for their own ambitions and they should be sacked. But there’s no disharmony, and any attempt to report disharmony is just due to the Labor/Green/ABC/Fairfax/socialist/Jewish/alien/Islam/foreign/World Trade Centre conspiracy to bring down the natural rulers by refusing to mention that all they think about is Jobs and Growth And Security, and if you think about something often enough, then it happens. We all know that, we’ve all seen “Field of Dreams” and we know that if we build it they will come.

Mm, perhaps I should apply for a job as Tony Abbott’s speechwriter.

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

w21 It’s difficult to criticise Labor’s proposal to impose the so called Buffet Tax on the rich when the Australian Taxation Office had found that in 2011-12 75 Australians earning more than $1 million a year had paid no tax at all. In fact combined annual incomes of those millionaires was $195 million, but through elaborate accounting tricks, the super-rich 75 had been required to stump up just $82 in total.

2 Research shows that Federal Coalition member’s annual expenses are on average $90,000 per head more than Labor MPs. Even allowing for the higher costs of incumbency it is an astonishing figure. No one doubts the validity of claiming expenses but this really has to be sorted out. Joe makes thirteen trips to his farm and Bronwyn attends Mirabella’s wedding all on the pretext that they were on government business. “The age of privilege is over” said Joe. “Crap” said Tony.

3 One of the regrets of my life is that in all probability Australia will not become a Republic in my lifetime. But Shorten is right to aim for 2025. And if you could make it sooner I would be immensely happy.

4 Bill Shorten is planning equal representation of the sexes in Parliament. Did he consult with the Minister for Women?

Sunday 26 August.

An observation:

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

w51 Last week at the Premier’s retreat the PM appealed for a calm measured debate on the GST without any scaremongering. Sounds reasonable except he continued his scare campaigns on Asylum Seekers and Climate Change.

An example of this is Dutton’s announcement that if Labor won the next election hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers would invade our shores. We deserve better than these fools.

2 Australia remains the only developed country yet to announce what plan it will take to the global climate summit in Paris. So let’s not have any of these ridiculous scare campaigns. It should be pointed out that Labor has not actually announced a Climate policy and that despite criticising Labor for not modelling its policy-in-progress, the Coalition can’t point to any modelling of its own Direct Action policy because it has never done any – not when it was in opposition, nor when it was in government. During the last election, if I recall correctly, Abbott said he just wanted to have a crack

3 The cost advantage of non-polluting energy is rapidly increasing. Wind is already the cheapest, and solar PV [photovoltaic panels] will be cheaper than gas in around two years, in 2017. Wind will continue to decrease in cost but solar will become the dominant source in the longer term.

4 Speaking of leadership the latest Morgan survey reveals that Abbott is supported as Liberal Leader by only 13% and Shorten as ALP Leader by only 12%. The Libs prefer Turnbull by a whopping margin and Labor prefer Deputy ALP Leader Tanya Plibersek.

5 It just won’t go away. It has now been revealed that TAXPAYERS footed a more than $21,000 bill for Warren Truss to give a speech explaining the virtues of tightening the government belt and reducing expenditure after the controversial 2014 Federal Budget.

It’s our money, folks.

6 All things considered it’s been a good conference for the leader.

w6Monday 26 July

A poem on the theme of domestic violence.

Maria, I called

I awoke with a throaty dankness Of alcohol overindulged Detestable stupidity And unmitigated sorrow

The why of it deserted me Memories vague but real I had committed a sin Of unforgiving evil

Then my conscience Spoke with morose meaning I had hit her a coward’s punch Destroying her exquisite smile

Maria I called to the silence But it prevailed God I said as if to mock my Self hatred

I pissed and staggered Through my regrets To the kitchen The stench of myself hit me

Where was she and The noise that children make Regret insinuated itself On the absence of love

She had written with miseries ink Just three words “The last time” on pristine white I cursed the grog but

Pathetically I sought the Next bottle of my degeneracy And took it to bed Contemplating the me I used to be

John Lord

1 Last week the PM was full of praise for a debate, without scaremongering, on the issue of the GST. It seems however that scaremongering is ok on climate change and it has begun already. An ETS is a tax he insists with the same enthusiasm he had for a leg of lamb or wiping towns off the map before the last election.

We all might ask though just what it is they are using to fund their nonsensical Direct Action plan. Answer: YOUR TAXES.

Then yesterday afternoon Malcolm Turnbull cut through Abbott’s slogans and semantics dominating the climate policy debate – pointing out that all policies to push low-emission electricity generation come at a cost to households, including the ones the government supports, and that the cost of renewables is falling. He went on to correctly talk about the costs of whatever scheme is adopted. The Coalition has never revealed its costings beyond its present scheme.

I repeat: “We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”.

Remember the “historic and ambitious” climate agreement between the US and China, when Tony Abbott was left out in the ‘coald’?

Asked where the deal left Australia’s climate change policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross Garnaut said: “Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”

2 I do wish someone amongst all those Labor supporters who so detest Bill Shorten and his Asylum Turn Back policy would show me their alternate so that I might gauge the difference. The question always arises. What would you do?

3 Morgan Poll: L-NP support has slumped 3% to 46% cf. ALP 54% (up 3%) on a two-party preferred basis as the travel expense ‘misconduct’ surrounding Parliamentary Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s incorrect use of taxpayer entitlements continued to impact negatively on the Government.

Tuesday 28 July

1 Bronwyn Bishop’s office claims she has to keep secret her meetings in Albury on the weekend she claimed travel expenses to attend Sophie Mirabella’s wedding. Sniff test, lie detector test, pub test. Take your pick.

2 Goodness, all the talk yesterday about more women in the Coalition ranks. Don’t they realise they have a minister for women and he also happens to be the Prime Minister. Why isn’t he taking some action?

3 This week’s Essential Poll and Survey sees Labor back on 53% and the Coalition on 47%. What can be read into it? Well this far out from the next election so many things can happen that you cannot view it as an indication of how people will vote. It’s only an insight into how people are thinking at the moment. It is a measure of this Governments unpopularity though that they have never headed the Opposition since the election.

This is what they thought of Bronwyn Bishop and the expenses saga.

25% think she should stand down while her expenses are being investigated, 19% think she should resign as Speaker and 24% think she should resign from Parliament.

34% of Liberal/National voters think she should remain as Speaker – 25% think she should resign as Speaker or from Parliament. A majority of Labor voters (59%) and Greens voters (55%) think she should resign as Speaker or from Parliament.

On Electricity costs

51% think their electricity bill over the last 12 months has increased, 33% think it has stayed about the same and 9% think it has decreased.

There were not substantial differences by voting intention or demographics – although Labor voters (58%) were a little more likely to think it had increased.

On the impact of the Carbon Tax.

More than 60% of voters think the former Labor government’s carbon price had no effect, or only a small effect, on electricity bills. Just as Abbott tries to rerun a cost of living scare campaign against Labor’s pledge to re-introduce an emissions trading scheme.

On Tax Reform

There was strong majority support for forcing multinational companies to pay a minimum tax rate on Australian earnings (79%), increasing income tax rate for high earners (63%) and removing superannuation tax concessions for high earners (59%).

There was strong majority opposition to increasing the GST (65%).

Wednesday 29 July

Posted my piece Where Did all his Readers Go?

1 Alan Jones opining about the character of Aussie rules player Adam Goodes. You have to put it in perspective of course. Goods is a champion player, champion human being who does a lot to further indigenous culture and represent his race. He is an ‘’Australian of the Year’’ and a fine one. On the other hand Alan Jones is a detestable human who delights in demining people. And he accepts paid millions to do so. How someone of such little character can judge someone with so much stretches my intellect somewhat.

2  Senior ministers, it seems, are ‘ropeable’ over the Bronwyn Bishop’s scandal saying it is damaging the Government.

Some charity should suggest an admission charge to the public gallery for the next Question Time to raise funds. Pressure is mounting on Bishop to resign but she won’t. Abbott is unlikely to force her instead relishing an all in brawl with the Opposition. In the meantime we can all sit and ponder just how it is we are being governed.

It would not surprise if today she says the dog ate her expenses homework-twice.

Who tweeted this?

After 2 interesting tram trips last night now on the 109 on Collins St to Sth Cross to get the train to Geelong to visit . . .

An observation:

“The simplest way to turn the profession of politics on its head would be to demand they tell the truth”

3 There is something cringe worthy about politicians delaying the inevitable. Abbott is doing everything possible to delay a vote on gay marriage. It’s not like it’s something new that requires more debate. The public has let the public know their feelings and they should act accordingly. All he is doing is making his Government more disliked than it already is.

Thursday 30 July

Bronwyn Bishop’s gratuitous empty apology to the Australian people on the Alan Jones (where else) program was too little too late. It does nothing for the public’s perception that politicians are openly rorting the system. She has further demeaned the position of speaker if indeed that is possible. Her bias as speaker is acknowledged by both sides of the political spectrum, as does all sections of the media. Her behaviour has reflected on all members of parliament and the Prime Ministers failure to dismiss her is yet another example of his lack of qualities as a leader.

Her credibility is now so tainted that she could not possible command the respect of the Parliament and its members.

The Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne, may well seek to protect her, particularly in question time, but an already tarnished, childish excuse for a demonstration of democracy will be further diminished.

There was a time when our Parliament exhibited some collective dignity and personal integrity. Abbott seems to have so trashed the conventions and principles of our Parliament that it no longer conforms to the traditions of the Westminster system.

A midday thought:

Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths”.

 Friday 31 July

1 Has Mike Baird become our de facto PM. Firstly he makes the running on a debate for an increase on the GST. Something you would expect an incumbent PM to do. And yesterday he took on a plea for people to stop booing footballer Adam Goodes. In the meantime the leader of the nation remains silent on the issue.

Midday thoughts

1 Two issues dominated the week. Firstly the Adam Goodes’ saga occupied all genres of the media and many morally unqualified commentators opined their ignorance. It will be the subject of my next piece for THE AIMN.

2 Bronwyn Bishop continued to dominate the headlines and this morning Gerard Henderson was on News24 defending her. The point is this. Her performance as Speaker on any level of judgement has been abysmal. The expenses issue is simple the catalyst in calling for her resignation.

My view hasn’t changed. Bishop should resign and write her memoirs. I’m sure somebody MIGHT be interested.

Even today the PM said this:

“She is obviously deeply remorseful, anyone who saw her on television yesterday would know that she is a very, very chastened person indeed”.

 Can someone tell me the medical term for delayed reaction?

And this is the week that was.

Malcolm Turnbull had the last word without saying a thing.

w10

 

The Murdochracy

Image courtesy of society6.com

Image courtesy of society6.com

Nicole Clark looks at that propaganda machine – the Murdoch media (‘affectionately’ known of late as the Murdochracy) – and how it is determined to discredit climate science.

We are fighting a war on Climate Change in Australia, we are fighting a war against the strong scientific inference of climate change. It is a sad fact, that the absolute significance to changes in the earth’s climatic cycles are not acknowledged to the broader society.

Transnational media has been allowed to access false information on false pretences to formally and informally describe scientific consensus that is neither true nor conclusive. We are living in an age where it is these pretences that lead to the revulsions in public discourse. They perpetuate evidence to the people that anthropogenic climate change does not exist. We can attribute the gradual process of capitalist change to be an overt perversion of scientific reverence. Intelligent and scientifically minded individuals resist in vain, for the conservative social stance is both triumphant and celebrated, but why?

We can look to these clues with changes in social discourse, by examining the News Limited media. By examining News Limited we can incorporate a corporate capitalist phenomena, where an innate power for financial profit has lead to a democratic override, and the winner takes all. We are living in a time where neither a strong evidential basis nor bi-partisan approach will evoke change significant to stop the transgression of the multi-faceted 70% power distributed, Murdoch media. The shocking reverence of the situation is this: what you read, what you see and what you hear is all a representation of interpretivist opinion backed up by sceptics and conglomerate news bodies who seek to mandate public discourse – without true mass media approaches. These approaches are misrepresentations of facts and figures and bias which divulge the ever condensing incorrect views of climate change. These revered and conversely public trusted tabloids are the ones that are perverting the social justice. The very same justice that leads to the dilution and unstructured social opinion that not only persuades but integrates societal ‘know how’.

For those who are aware, this is what we know: it is not just the configuration of society that controls these aspects, and the dissertation of opinion underlying strong scientific background- as well as the complete and utter reverence that science can and should uphold. It is also something else; it is the greater understanding of complex concepts that are not transcribed in a proper ‘user friendly’ way or if transcribed at all. It is the external factor, the foundations of knowledge and the complexity of interpreting this knowledge to the people. I suspect the underlying consideration that we must address is the ‘denial’ and current ignorance that surrounds corporate body structures such as News Limited and the current Liberal Government and one Tony Abbott and their stakeholders. We can only deduce from these observations, a conformist acquisition, one, where media owned adversaries seek to ignore the evidence of climate change science for, their own initiatives for the favouring of their own financial gain.

For this idea to uphold, we must take into consideration the influence that transnational media can and does have on the wider public opinion. We must transgress this idea further, and consider the elements of . . . dare I say it . . . propaganda. Yes, propaganda! Consider this: it is not without thought that we go so far as to say, political factions of propaganda are truly evident in mass media.

Propaganda, whilst alluding the attitudes of political opinion also eludes the values and emotional upheaval of individual opinion; take for instance Adolf Hitler’s approach. As far as we know, we can see these attitudes transgress to the audience through the author’s personal epitomes and consumerist views. That is, through short worded slogans and repeated headlines that seek to optimize emotional and social relevance- often termed invoking the climate of fear, for example ‘Climate change not caused by humans” and “With Climate scientists like this no wonder we doubt”. A tactic that invokes contextual wording to interpret things that tug at fear and make people go ‘wow’, ‘The media doesn’t agree with experts why?’ But, does this transgress (mass media approach) to influence and persuade individual opinion? Does this really pervert public discourse?

YES and here’s why. We have only to examine the structure of hierarchy in Australian society, to exude confidence that indeed capitalist opinion has strongly and forthright berated the notion of climate change science. How, you ask? By decreeing the factual publication that follows it, in exchange for the more effervescent emotionally charged ‘writing on the wall’ and these short worded slogans are the misperceptions that invoke the general climate of fear. The wall has become no longer responsible for initiating freethinking thought or providing factual and progressive knowledge for adequate exploration of external stimuli, that is, exploration that provokes progressions in critical thinking before one accepts new knowledge. In place we have this wall, a safe cove r- a mask if you will, one that seeks to perversely calm and elude individuals away from real danger, pushing an agenda that ignores the kind of investigative thought that brought about the uprise of modern society, modern economy and scientific progression.

Indeed News Limited has exceeded these prospects, and further constructed a consumerist approach that not only constrains the individual, but also eludes them to the incorrect information that will eventually decimate social, emotional, environmental and political/democratic structure. News Limited will elude their audience to a point of no return in which case, we will see more than a group of troubled individuals with no free thought -but a group of troubled individuals that will vote according to these allusions that have propagated in their mass media world. The result you ask? Well, it’s a group of right winged zombies who neither understand nor amend their thought as to why they voted in such a contentious (conservative) way.

For all to see, News Limited got their wish, for the first time, democracy has failed and for the first time, transnational media came, crushed, killed and decimated an audience of free thinkers. News Limited poisoned their right to execute free thought or one that would favour their way of life. For the first time ever we see ‘tradies’, ‘parents’, ’single mothers ‘, ‘pensioners’ and ‘low-income earners’, vote against subsequent benefits that aim to target the particular struggle their respective bracket represents. What has Murdoch Media done? They have allowed Tony Abbot and his pack of liberal dogs to come forth for the kill and bring about the inevitable crumble of social justice. The Murdochcracy has created a new breed in society, once and for all-this new breed has gone against their own rights, their own free will and their best interests at heart- for favour of liberal conservative factions that aim to destroy the very things they are voting against . . . sound familiar? So, the political factions that were once opposition (for good reason), are thrust into power and News Limited epitomise these views with each passing day, so now, for the first time ever – a corporate capitalist structure has finally decomposed the walls of democracy and laid foundations of misadventure to the democratic right of the people.

That is right – you heard that right! News Limited has succeeded in diluting the values of free thought, transgressing ignorance and interpretivist views that assist with the consumerist/conservative approach to financial gain. One that is not in the best interest of social discourse, the best interests of the people and… not in the best interest of scientific reverence. So . . . the bottom line – all of this is not in the best interest for exposing the truth of Australia’s Changing Climate and the struggles that are yet to come. Is it propaganda? Has the Marino Wool from our jackets been pulled over our eyes? Australia’s climate is changing, so why has News Limited and it’s Murdochcracy been allowed to decide our fate?

*Author’s note-when I say ‘climate change’ I am referring to ‘anthropogenic (human induced) climate change; therefore, the sceptics view is: denial of ‘human induced climate change’.

 

Introducing the new “ABC free” AUSTRALIA … now with extra ignorance, selfishness and cruelty

(Or why we need the ABC)

abc

Since the coalition’s Murdoch lead victory in last September’s federal election there has been a palpable shift in our national narrative. The images of a sun burnt country forged by convict sweat and hard working immigrants is fading fast, and in its wake a new story is being fashion.

It is a tale of well intentioned, hard working corporations, (who really just want to keep us all employed), being squeezed by draconian regulations and pushed offshore by rampant, out of control wages. It’s the chronicle of a government being driven into the red, not by cutting taxes for the wealthy and turning a blind eye to the corporate “offshoring” of profits (read “legal” tax evasion), but by those lazy unemployed/disabled bludgers on welfare, and their “anti business” environmentalist buddies. It’s the saga of nation overrun by so called “illegals” intent on subverting our immigration laws for the sole purpose of suckling endlessly on OUR government teat, (Ironically most of whom are coming here LEGALLY as refugees).

These new LNP/Murdoch sanctioned mantras are repeated so often, and with such earnest conviction it seems people are finding it pretty damn hard not to buy into it. There are even those in the Labor party who seem quite happy to have joined the chorus.

I hear it everywhere I go, everyday Aussies out there parroting the coalition’s vitriolic hatred for anything even vaguely related to the unions, the unemployed, the environment, asylum seekers, disability pensioners, ABC lefties, foreign aid, etc.

So why all the negative jawboning?

Well, if you read the papers Australia has, up until our recent electoral liberation, been a nation under siege by left wing “special interests”! Because of this evil leftist scourge we have been forced to endure such indignities as the 2nd highest standard of living in the world (after Norway), the planets largest houses, one of the worlds best/most affordable health care systems, quality education, disposable incomes such that we can afford to be the be the worlds leading per capita emitters of of CO2, and the dubious privilege of ranking 69th in our per capita refugee intake (49th in overall terms).

australia__s_contribution_to_the_asylum_seekers_by_wordswithmeaning-d56owrr

When you lay it out like that it’s easy to see why we have all been so unhappy, we have been really suffering! Clearly something had to be done.

But seriously, something has happened to us. If you listen to the rhetoric, it would seem we are no longer a nation that strives for the fair go, but rather one that values our own perceived self interest above all other concerns.

I scratch my head and wonder, how did this happen? When did Australia become a place that embraces the social and political agendas of the most ignorant, selfish and cruel among us?

It wasn’t that long ago that Australian public opinion was DEEPLY CONCERNED with the environmental legacy we are leaving for our children. As recently as last year people seemed happy to talk about the scandal that is corporate tax evasion. There was even a time, in living memory, when refugees that came here by boat were welcomed with a broad smile and a hand up.

So what happened? How did the social and moral imperative get banished from our national narrative? Did it happen by accident, or by design? And if by design, then by who’s hand?

And then there’s the bigger questions. Exactly who’s interests are served by these apparent changes in our attitudes? And is anyone standing against the tide?

The sculpting of public opinion has a long history and there are many tools, such as fear and scapegoating, that have been used to great effect through out the ages. “Group think”, for example is an extraordinarily powerful weapon, (after all who wants to run outside the herd, everyone knows how dangerous that is). The truth however has never been a necessary component when seeking to sway the prevailing sentiments of the masses.

William James, the father of modern Psychology notably once quipped “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will not believe it”. This rather glib observation was most infamously put into practice by the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, (a man on whom the power of the press was most certainly not lost), who used the simple “lie, repeat, lie, repeat, lie, repeat” principle to whip up the greatest genocidal frenzy in history.

More recently Goebbel’s philosophical musing “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play” has been turned on it’s head by the irrepressible Rupert Murdoch, our prodigal puppeteer d’jour, who, like some gruesomely wizened “whack a mole” has popped up here again to lead his relentless political cheer squad for which ever side will acquiesce to do his bidding. It would appear that, in spite of his meddling hand being beaten down in UK and much of the USA now being hip to the fact that “FOX NEWS” is an oxymoron, if you hand the old boy a monopoly he’ll show you he’s still got it.

murdoch-puppet_1940215i

One rather startling revelation that came out of the UK’s recent Levinson enquiry into press standards , was was that Murdoch had actively lobbied former UK prime minister John Major to change the Torries policy on the EU, lest he engage in willfully biased coverage in order to “hand the election” to Blair’s New Labor (a party/man seemingly more willing to do his bidding). Major refused to allow Murdoch to dictate policy and was duly slammed by the Murdoch press, who came out swinging hard for Blair.

So in spite of the Torries having had a clear lead in the polls up until Major’s “disagreement” with Murdoch, the Torries, (much like Gillard), found the power of a vindictive, inflammatory press mobilised against them simply too great to overcome. Blair was elected and the rest, as they say, is history.

While the Brits were duly outraged, you would think something so blatantly corrupt as seeking to dictate government policy in return for favourable press would raise a dubious brow from someone back here in Aus; but much like the “March in March” (a mysteriously unnoticed gathering of over 100,000 Australia wide) somehow it failed to be deemed newsworthy enough to make any significant impression on the Australian mainstream media.

So… If a media baron is dictating government policy in return for press support, but no one ever hears about it, is the political process actually being subverted? Probably, (but then who has time to worry about such things when we are all so busy hating and punishing refugees).

no to refugeesNauru Detention Centre

Or… If a crowd gathers in the city and no one is there to report it, did it really gather? Maybe it did in the hearts and minds of those who were there, but for anyone else, or in the archives of history?… Well maybe not.

march in march

We have been told a lot of things recently, (much of it negative), about everything from the unions to environmentalists, from asylum seekers to the NBN. And while it’s easy to put a question mark over anything a politician might say in an effort to popularise their chosen policy agenda; I can not help but wonder if a press core that is practically a monopoly, (and known to actively pursue it’s owners personal agendas), is actually telling us the whole truth, or even any small part of it?

Like many others I can’t quite shake the feeling that we’re being fed a grab bag of skilfully crafted misinformation, half truths and innuendo designed to direct our hostility toward the poor and disenfranchised, or anyone out there pushing for a fairer, more sustainable policy agenda.

According to the official story, Australians are apparently (on average) far richer than we were 10 years ago… but for some rather opaque reason we just don’t feel it.
I can’t help but wonder why that is?

Is it because we feel more entitled than we used to? (If we don’t have a car, a mobile phone, a laptop, an ipad, a kindle, a 50″ TV, Foxtel, Quickflix, a yearly overseas holiday, and at least 3 restaurant meals a week we think we are suffering an intolerable injustice?).

Is it that we are constantly being assaulted by the relentless negativity of a 24 hour news cycle, telling us that our unfettered access to “more stuff” is being threatened by the poor and disenfranchised?

Or maybe it’s that the wealth is only going to the top end of town, and no one else is reaping the benefit?

It’s perfectly understandable that when we are feeling squeezed we like to have someone to blame, but it is worth asking ourselves, is our anger being misplaced?

Here we are, literally seething with contempt for refugees, single mothers, greenies, protesters, students, socialists, the disabled, lefties, intellectuals and the all those former bank and manufacturing workers that have now joined the ranks of the unemployed. Meanwhile the gap between the haves and have nots is at an all time high. Our trusty government is busy reducing taxes for the top end of town, Corporate profits are breaking records left and right, (but strangely corporate tax receipts are not, Google, for example, had revenue of over $1 billion in Australia in 2012, and yet paid only $74k tax). CEO’s wages and share options continue to defy gravity, and our banks, whilst being incredulously profitable, are shipping jobs off shore faster than you can say “transaction fee”, and so it goes…

*(brings to mind a joke I heard recently: A banker, a Daily Telegraph reader and a refugee are out to lunch. The waiter puts down a plate with twelve biscuits on it; the banker takes eleven, nudges the Telegraph reader and says “hey watch it mate, that refugee wants your biscuit”)

Everyone knows trickle down economics is bunk, and yet we keep buying into the myth, lauding the lords and kicking the powerless. The cognitive dissonance simply staggering!

So my question is this…Who’s interests does this new hateful narrative really serve? Murdoch and his buddies in the 1%, or those of us in the mortgage belt?

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not wholly blaming Murdoch. We all lobby for our own interests, and why should he be any different. What I am saying however is that a virtual monopoly concentration of Australia’s media in any ones hands is dangerous. We need visible, diverse mainstream media to give a balanced range of views.

We also need some measure of mainstream media presence that is not driven by profit, or dictated to by advertising revenue and share holder values. We need a media that is prepared to objectively challenge the veracity of the story as told to us by Murdoch, (and given the governments proposed changes to section 18c of the racial vilification act this is now more important than ever).

In short, we need our ABC.

[twitter-follow screen_name=’LetitiaMcQuade’ show_count=’yes’]

And Another Thought

Image from learntoprepare.com

Image from learntoprepare.com

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT
Every day on my Facebook page I post (usually in the form of a quotation) a “THOUGHT FOR TODAY” and more often than not I follow up with “AND ANOTHER THOUGHT” which is usually political. Here is an edited selection since the election. The reader should allow for a time context when reading them.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT
“Has Australia ever elected a Prime Minister so ignorant of technology, and science, so oblivious of the needs of women and so out of touch with a modern pluralist society?”

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT
Yesterday I was having a discussion with a Facebook friend. He was obviously concerned about local businesses in his area. And rightly so where as I was speaking in a much broader context. The difficulty in any exchange is having people put aside what effects them personally in order to see a larger world view.

Let me put it this way. “When asked for a generalised opinion, retailer Harvey Norman can only ever give it as he views it through the prism of his cash registers”.

”Even if you can’t turn all boats back, you’ve got to be able to bluff that you can”.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

About Julie Bishop:

“We had to fight even for the right of dying cancer victims to get a speedy trial. I recall sitting in the WA Supreme Court in an interlocutory hearing for the test cases involving Wittenoom miners Mr Peter Heys and Mr Tim Barrow. CSR was represented by Ms Julie Bishop (then Julie Gillon). (She) was rhetorically asking the court why workers should be entitled to jump court queues just because they were dying”. (Australian Doctor Magazine, 2007).

Why would you then be surprised at a petty vindictive decision to sack Steve Bracks?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Usually when we replace something with something else it’s because the latter is an improvement. However, we know from such imminent institutions such as the Grattan Institute and many other experts that meeting the 5% target of cutting greenhouse using direct action methods is highly improbably. So Tony Abbott really does need to come clean (pardon the pun) and tell the public the truth of his intentions. Does he intend faking some action and then dropping it altogether? Highly probable I think.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Under the Government’s new NBN plan some suburbs and country towns will have a digital divide. Half of Ballarat, for example, has fibre to the home. How will the other half react when they find they will have to pay $5000 for the same service? And this will happen all over the country.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

I wonder if the Government has decided which countries will miss out on a share of the $4.5 billion cut to foreign aid. How will they react and how many fewer children will be vaccinated as a result?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

I wonder when Mr Abbott meets with the Indonesian’s whether in fact the “Turn back the boats” policy will actually be raised. And how will we go about buying their 750,000 boats? I assume we will use eBay, or maybe Scott Morrison will stand on the shore will a megaphone and a fistful of rupiah?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Now that Mr Abbott is sworn in can he please tell us if he really intends to abolish the low-income superannuation contribution of 3.6 million of the country’s lowest paid workers? And do it retrospectively. Please note that 2.1 million of these people are WOMEN.

Remember that it is Mr Abbott is representing women in the cabinet.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

I’m a bit perplexed as to how Tony Abbott will reduce public service numbers by 12,000 without actually sacking anyone? Won’t public servants just stay in their jobs once the hireling freeze sets in? And what if a key infectious disease specialist leaves the Department of Health – will that person really not be replaced?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

We know that one of the leading causes of Indigenous disadvantage stems from incarceration, which is why both parties are committed to adding it into the Closing the Gap targets. But given that he has committed to cutting funding to Aboriginal legal aid, how will Abbott ensure that this doesn’t lead to more Indigenous people ending up in jail?

Mr Abbott is committed to cutting legal aid for Aboriginals yet one of the leading causes of Indigenous disadvantage is incarceration.

So, I ask again, how will he ensure that more indigenous people don’t end up in jail?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Given the Prime Minister’s reluctance to answer questions on the deaths of a large number of people seeking asylum, it would be tempting for people on the left to be rightly disgusted. After all, for three years he has been treating this most serious problem in a deplorable and inhumane manner for political advantage. And of course he has said that only he could stop the boats and we would notice a difference from day one. Now the political boot is on the other foot and he isn’t handling it very well.

But none of that will change the simple fact that this is an extremely complex problem and politics should be taken out of it. It is time for common sense to prevail with a bi-partisan approach.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

It is rather odd that we have elected a new government but it is unable, or doesn’t want to tell us when the new Parliament will sit. I hope that fewer sitting days to conduct the nation’s business is not also part of Mr Abbott’s plan to govern on a need-to-know basis. Or perhaps it is just that they haven’t any legislation to present.

“It is one thing to in opposition insult ones neighbors and another to apologise for doing so in government”.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Mr Abbott has decided to continue with the current system under which parliamentarians claim expenses. This means that the rorting will continue and the already abysmal view the public has of its politicians will be further eroded.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Isn’t it interesting that Italy declared a national day of morning when hundreds of asylum seekers lost their lives seeking a better future?

The Italians demonstrated an enormous capacity for compassion and sorrow to those affected by this terrible tragedy.

Meanwhile in Australia former immigration minister was opining that “a sad story from an asylum seeker does not entitle them to seek sympathy or refuge in Australia”.

How sad it is that we are not the compassionate country that I was once so proud of?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

A first small step has been taken. The Labor Party has become the first political party in Australia’s history to give its members a say in the election of its leader. Further reforms have been promised and not to proceed with them would be political folly.

The outcome of this election may not have been to everyone’s liking, however, I would urge members of the Party to have patience. This first small step is but one of many that will have to be taken on the long road to party reform. One step at a time, hey.

“Substantial and worthwhile change comes with short term controversy but the pain is worth it for long term prosperity”.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

If all this secrecy and invisibility of Abbott and his ministers continues for three years it is highly likely that the electorate won’t remember their names. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

How many trees have been lost in the NSW bush fires? How many more will be lost in future more frequent fires? How long will it take to regenerate? How many trees does the PM intend planting? How long will they take to grow? Is “Direct Action” up in smoke?

With apologies to those who have lost property. I happen to think anytime is a good time to talk about disaster prevention.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

What sort of practicing Christian Government Minister would insist that his department employees call people seeking asylum, ‘illegals’ in the full knowledge that he is deliberately demonising them in the public mind?

John 10: 10: I have come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

The inflation rate on Wednesday is tipped to come in at 1.8 per cent. An unbelievably low figure. The PM said the carbon tax would have an “almost unimaginable” effect on prices. “Almost undetectable” might have been a better description. So how does he explain the destruction of a price on carbon that is actually reducing emissions?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Reading the following article will only confirm the fact that when matters of truth are being discussed Tony Abbott cannot be taken seriously. This feeble attempt at defending Don Randall is unfitting of the office of Prime Minister.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/very-important-discussions-tony-abbott-defends-don-randalls-cairns-trip-20131023-2w0aw.html#ixzz2iVtPlptl

I can only put it down to the fact that he wants to enhance his already abysmal reputation.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

The hypocrisy of the Abbott Government knows no bounds. Not so long back we had the Coalition rejecting Labor’s Malaysian Solution on the grounds of their human rights record. Remember the tears during the debate? Now Scott (the Christian) Morrison embraces them with open arms. So much for human rights.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Let me get this straight. The Prime Minister is having a “Private Function” to entertain his most avid supporters in the right wing media. He is (as much as I disapprove of the invitation list) perfectly entitled to do so. That is so long as the PM foots the bill. Could someone please confirm that he is?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

For years now neo-conservatives around the world have been saying that the term “Climate Change” is but a ploy to replace socialism with environmentalism.

With this statement in Tasmania yesterday I believe that the Prime Minister confirmed what I have suspected all along. He does not believe in the science. He thinks its crap. The cat is out of the bag.

“Let’s be under no illusions the carbon tax was socialism masquerading as environmentalism”.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Invoking inquires that are so obviously political sets a dangerous precedent. We have had eight inquiries thus far into Pink Batts that have revealed nothing that is already known. When finally the judges reveal the result of the Ashbygate appeal can we also have one into it?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

“How extraordinary it is that Australia’s largest circulation newspaper publisher chooses not to report the findings of 97% of the world’s climate scientists”. Guess who?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

I wonder if anyone can help me. I am suffering from an acute case of withdrawal symptoms. I have had over three years of Tony Abbott in my face and now he is nowhere to be seen. What medication should I take . . . I have it really bad?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Government Ministers typically attend the final days of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change annual meetings. But neither Hunt nor minister Julie Bishop will be in Warsaw. This is entirely consistent with Abbott’s attitude to global warming. He reckons it’s a socialist plot. Australia deserves better. But what would you expect from the boys club?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

“Long term government secrecy it doomed to evaporate into long term lying”.

“Christopher Pyne on the Bolt Report this morning said that the Government was more intent on doing, rather than talking. Seems like he has exempted himself”.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

I have been posting my daily quotes and thoughts for a couple of years now. My intent has always been the singular purpose of provoking conversation and the exchange of ideas. If people disagree I either reject, accept, consider or reappraise my stance. So my sincere thanks to all who contribute to my enlightenment. And especially those who read me at the AIMN blog.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

It has become patently clear that the LNP has become infiltrated with Tea Party ideology. Menzies would turn in his grave.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

If the first day of parliament was an example of the adults being in charge then I am fortunate to have assisted my grandchildren with their homework last night. Much more maturity there.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Does Australia have a First Lady and if we do how does she fulfill her role? Are we entitled to expect (if only by convention), that she should support the Prime Minister?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

What a remarkable comparison these two conservative leaders make. One an Englishman, David Cameron, who believes in human rights and is prepared to stand up for them. Who believes in the science of climate change and is prepared to act. And believes in marriage equality and has acted.

The other, an Australian, Tony Abbott (born in England), who seems to condone torture under certain circumstances. Who seems to think its okay to prevent people from escaping persecution. A man who is a climate denier and doesn’t believe people are sexually equal.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

For an Australian Prime Minister to say Australia is spying on a close neighbour to “help our friends and our allies, not to harm them.” Is one of the most gratuitous things I have heard?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Why is it that conservatives (even those who support certain issues) use the old excuse about “this not being the time.” Take this from Kelly Dwyer for example:

“I believe that we’re a mature democracy and that we can and should have an Australian head of state. However, I’m not sure that this is a number one priority issue right now.”

“There are a lot of issues on the to do list and I’m not sure this is up there in the top 10.”

They use the same excuse against marriage equality and other issues. Always begs the question. When is the right time?

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

Not content with ditching the annual payment to help pensioners pay for unexpected bills, the Federal Government now plans to dice the pay rise allocated to improve the wages of child care workers.

“A $300 million funding boost aimed at improving the wages of 30,000 childcare workers looks increasingly likely to be axed as the federal government continues to sit on the Labor-approved initiative”.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

The poll results in today’s Fairfax press confirm my view that the people wanted to change government without giving much thought to the consequences. Also that Tony Abbott will never be a popular leader. His character (or lack of it) does not translate into likability.

Letter to the editor of THE AIMN

letter

Image by blogging4jobs.com

I received a letter from a Facebook acquaintance. His name is Morrie and he lives in the exclusive Melbourne suburb of Malvern. He doesn’t have a very high opinion of me or this blog. He dared me to publish his letter. I consulted with Michael Taylor who said that in the interest of balanced commentary we should.

Letter to the editor of THE AIMN

Now that parliament is back in full swing, I must say how gratifying it is to have a majority of adult men leading the government in Canberra. Yes the adults are back in charge. People may call it a boys club but it will take men with balls to fix all the mistakes the feminists in the last government made.

And a speaker in Bronwyn Bishop who can recite the standing orders standing on her head in the midst of dangling petticoats. Now she is a women with balls and is displaying an unbiased approach to the job that has been lacking with Labor speakers.

Yes gratifying indeed. I was becoming increasingly concerned that all this talk of climate change was starting to be believed and that scientists actually knew what they were talking about. Fair dinkum if they want the truth why don’t people read more of Andrew, listen to Alan and there’s Rupert’s newspapers for unbiased reporting. Goodness knows there are enough on our side to convince anyone. There’s no shortage of material. And their opinions are beyond reproach of course. Just ask any of them.

On top of that there is all this nonsensical talk of generating electricity from renewable resources. I mean really, what on earth is happening to our society. People need to turn their lights on more often. If Tony says Direct Action will work then people should take him at his word. As John Howard says. His instinct is worth more than any amount of science. So I trust Tony on this one.

And all this talk of excessively wealthy mining magnets paying their fair share of tax. They pay more than enough as it is. That’s how the poor survive. Maggie said that’s how it would happen. By the drip down effect from the rich. If it hasn’t happened yet then they will just have to wait. Indefinitely if that’s what the economy needs. Don’t they understand that the rich need more money? They have larger bills to pay.

Of course all the gossip going around that companies might have to treat workers fairly and pay them a living wage. I think everyone has lost all sense of appreciation that the wealthy supply the jobs and people should be thankful they do.

What about all this talk of equality of opportunity in education? The trouble is that people simply don’t understand their place in society anymore. They want more money spent on it. Well I pay enough tax as it is. What needs to happen is for people, instead of bludging, is to just get a job and work as hard as the rest of us. Then they could afford to send their kids to a good school instead of wanting everything for nothing.

Shit I worked so bloody hard this week overseeing my investments and I’m stuffed. Took me most of Wednesday morning which was convenient because I just had enough time for a round at Royal Melbourne before picking up the boys from the polo club.

God only knows why everyone wants a world class broadband system. Not everyone was born world class so I don’t know what they’re on about.

We are just so fortunate to have a leader of the calibre, vision and character of Tony Abbott. I mean compare him with David Cameron who believes in human rights and tells everyone who is prepared to listen to stand up for them. I mean how misguided is that. And he believes in the science of climate change and reckons we should act. Bloody idiot. Doesn’t he know it’s just a green plot to replace communism. My brother’s best friend’s wife’s uncle, who works at Liberal Party head office tells me they have a team of ten trying to locate the headquarters and the leader of the plot. Rupert’s footing the bill.

And Cameron believes in marriage equality and has given the poofters what they wanted. Well it won’t happen here. Tony wears his faith on his sleeve. You can see his devoutness to Jesus and his preaching in his daily devotion to all Australians. We should all be thankful that he follows the example that Jesus set.

And I agree with Tony. Torture is all right under certain circumstances. And wasn’t the gifting of the two boats a great idea. I reckon Morrison (another follower of The Lord) would have thought of that. Anything to prevent people fleeing persecution.

In addition to all the above we have people saying Tony should apologise over a bit of telephone tapping. Well the boss thought it was ok to do it in England so why shouldn’t we. Tony has the art of diplomacy. That’s why we call him ‘’tough Tony’’. Just like we called Howard ‘’honest John’’ when he gave all those bottom of the harbour tax breaks to those of us who deserved them.

And good on him for standing up for George Pell. I mean the church doesn’t have an endless pit of money. I don’t know why people can’t just get over things. All this talk of compensation over a little abuse has gone far enough. The church has suffered enough from all the over the top publicity. George has been complaining for years but no one listens.

The one thing that really gripes me (well there a number actually) is all this talk about secrecy. There’s no point telling people bad news. They will become disillusioned. You only do that in opposition. Sure you can tell them about all the bad things Labor has done. The debt etc, etc ,etc, etc. That’s only fair. People just have to be patient for the good stuff. I’m sure it will happen even if I can’t put it in a time frame. And there’s always the next term. Or the one after. I’m sure he has great vision for the future of Australia and he will reveal it sometime in the future. As conservatives we believe in change, so long as it is not often.

Anyway, you probably won’t publish my letter. And it’s a pity because someone has to say these things. But I don’t think the writers and readers of this blog have the intelligence to fully grasp the wisdom of my words anyway. But then I was educated at Melbourne Grammar. You get what you’re able to pay for.

Morrie Moneyworthy. Malvern.

Murdoch – Being Conned With Bullshit

Last week in Australia Media mogul Rupert Murdoch addressed the Lowy Institute at the Sydney Town Hall. The function was attended by a who’s who of those with money, power, media influence, and conservative politics. While watching the news report my mind wandered to the word credibility and what it means.

We all tend to judge others through the prism of our own moral understanding of right or wrong. This prism of course is in turn influenced by the law, collective community standards and other factors.

For example, given the way the Catholic Church has treated children it is an institution devoid of credibility. Yet it still talks on issues of morality as though it has some credible right to do so.

The same applies to the phone hacking scandal. For me Rupert Murdoch has no credibility whatsoever. Yet in spite of his obvious involvement in the destruction of people’s lives and their right to privacy is it right to use his publications to corrupt the truth? The wealthy still turn up to celebrate his importance to capitalism and privilege as though it is an accompanying entitlement of wealth. Or perhaps they see it as a duty.

It’s as if decency and morality no longer inform our judgment when we shape our views about wealth and its place in society. Or the privileged are oblivious to community standards and because of the power they have, ignore them. Maybe they think they have a dispensation? But are they above the common good?

In his speech Murdoch emphasised the advancement of technology and spoke about the need for Australia to embrace innovation:

“And with the pace of innovation increasing dramatically, Australia is well positioned to excel”.

He also had this to say about choice:

“I have always been a firm believer in providing the public with choice and access to quality content – it was the driving force behind the launch of Sky, Fox News and, particularly, The Australian“.

“Now, each and every one of us can have our news and information when and where we want it. For me, it’s right here in my pocket, on my iPhone, where I can get my Australian, my Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and my personalised stock quotes, any time I want”.

Now let’s look at these statements and relate them to the word credibility.

Meaning the quality of being believable, trustworthy or whether or not someone is being truthful. It also applies to one’s reputation depending on your ability to be believed.

He is correct to talk about technology and innovation as being fundamental to the future prosperity of Australia. The advance of science in my lifetime has been incredible. Perhaps more than any other period in history and there is no reason to suspect it won’t advance at a staggering rate into the future.

Science explains both the potential for good and bad. 97% of the world’s Climate Scientists have explained the ramification of rising temperatures. Other science and technology has shown us how to harvest renewable resources.

Murdoch’s credibility is laughable when he contradicts himself. On the one hand he says our future is in innovation and technology but at the same time he demands that his publications oppose climate science and the innovation of renewable resources which would enable Australia to be at the forefront of a new global economy.

When he says he has always been a ‘’firm believer in providing the public with choice’’ does he mean Andrew Bolt’s version of climate science or a slightly better articulated version of the same thing in The Australian? Some choice. When people in some major capitals have no choice but to read his publications and he owns 70% of the print media I fail to see the choice he is talking about. When Fox News is universally condemned for its biased and bilious commentary, I fail to see choice. The only choice I see is between gutter journalism and sewage journalism.

Murdoch’s media is where the truth goes to die. So the only choice is untruth. When he approves the hacking of phones and the nefarious implications involved, where is his credibility. Why does he have the right to speak such bullshit or more importantly why do people listen.

A study titled ‘Sceptical Climate’ carried out by Wendy Bacon, Professional Fellow at the ACIJ for the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism found that Murdoch owned newspapers overwhelmingly supported an anti-science view.

What the report concludes is that Murdoch owned media is deliberately telling lies to the Australian people. Where is the credibility and the choice? What hope is there for truth against this avalanche of Murdoch propaganda?

The report showed that during the research period Australia’s biggest selling newspaper, the Melbourne Herald Sun was the most biased. 81 per cent of all the coverage, including 97 per cent of all the opinion stories, were sceptical of human-caused climate change. Of course the most cynical of all journalists is none other than syndicated climate denier Andrew Bolt. Bolt wrote a total of 38 comment pieces and more than 13,000 words “nearly half of all words in articles that included material about climate science in the Herald Sun.”

Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. The Herald Sun does it with impunity.

The report says of Bolt:

“Given his influence, a consideration of how Australian media covers climate science needs to include an analysis of the strategies used by Bolt to persuade his readers they should reject the findings of the vast majority of climate scientists. These strategies include personal abuse, cherry picking specific findings to refute the entire body of findings of climate scientists, portrayal of advocates of climate action as ideologically motivated with totalitarian tendencies and criticism of journalists who report on climate science. He presents himself as someone who is fighting a battle to reveal ‘truth’ and ‘secrets’ which ‘warmists’ want hidden to protect their vested interests. Once the ‘facts’ are established a triumphal, mocking tone is adopted”.

Of all the newspapers monitored, The Australian produced the most coverage of climate change science but almost half of it was sceptical of the scientific consensus. The study noted:

“While scientists overwhelmingly agree on anthropogenic climate change, The Australian represents climate science as matter of opinion or debate rather than as a field for inquiry and investigation like all scientific fields”.

You can read his damming indictment of Rupert Murdoch by clicking this link. At the end pause and think. Ask yourself if we don’t deserve better. Where is choice? Where does credibility show its head?

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/30/one-third-of-australias-media-coverage-rejects-climate-science-study-finds

In a quarterly essay ‘’Bad News’’ Robert Mann tackled the same subject. He analysed climate change articles printed by The Australian between January 2004 and April 2011 and found that 700 articles were “unfavourable” to action on climate change.

That is, they either disagreed with the consensus of climate science, didn’t support Australia’s ratification of the Kyoto protocol or didn’t support previous governments’ steps towards a carbon trading scheme.

Balanced against these 700 articles, there were 180 stories and columns “favourable” to action on climate change.

Now if a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then we should dismiss the article as having no cogency.

In Australia it seems that our lives have become controlled by the noise of the mass media. The sad thing is that we listen. It seems that those who control the dissemination of news, mainly Murdoch, have more power than government and they are intent on exercising it.

And in the history of this nation never have the rich, the powerful, the privileged and big business been so openly brazen.

Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, a pro conservative Murdoch media feeds them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains bucket loads of untruths.

It is encouraging though that a newspaper like the Los Angeles Times has made the bold decision to no longer publish letters from climate change denialists saying it would not print ‘letters that have an untrue basis’:

“Scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change … The debate right now isn’t whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us. Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy”.

With some prompting from its readership the Sydney Morning Herald has decided to follow suit. And it set itself on a campaign to get other papers to do the same.

My message to those who allow themselves to be corrupted by the drivel of the Murdoch media is this.

Sometimes it is good to stop, think for yourself, evaluate and formulate one’s own opinion and allow fact, truth and science and reason to guide you.

There was a time when Australians didn’t like being conned.

“Don’t listen to him, he’s a con artist” my folks would say.

Now it seems they are everywhere and gullible people listen. A former Prime Minister cons kids with the launch of a denialist children’s book.

The Prime Minister cons the people by saying he believes in the science of climate change but his actions don’t back his words. He even invites fellow con artists to dinner at our expense.

But the greatest con of all is when Rupert Murdoch says:

“I have always been a firm believer in providing the public with choice and access to quality content – it was the driving force behind the launch of Sky, Fox News and, particularly, The Australian”.

No bullshit, mate. No choice. No truth, No credibility. No quality content. Pull the other leg.

What If Bolt Had Been Given The Job…

Photo by meme generator

Photo by meme generator

Andrew Bolt’s Application to Host Media Watch

TO Mark Scott, ABC managing director:

…Don’t assume I’m not available. Hear that ripping sound? That was my contract for my Network 10 show.

Mark, I want you to know I stand ready to serve when your current host, Jonathan Holmes, stands down by the end of the month, as I read…

From Andrew Bolt’s Blog, 2nd May, 2013

Sources tell me that Andrew Bolt wasn’t actually considered for the job of Media Watch host as there were a few technicalites with his application. The first was that he never actually submitted it – he only shared it via his blog. There’s a longstanding tradition in applying for jobs in this country that one doesn’t do it in via a national newspaper. (The exception to this being when one wishes to take over as leader of a political party. Then one may declare that one is available, that one has no intention of challenging for the leadership or simply tell a journalist that – off the record – there’ll be a challenge within weeks.)

So what if Bolt had actually applied and been successful? I suspect we’d have got something like the following:

Hello I’m Andrew Bolt, welcome to Media Watch. 

After October’s ridiculous attempt by climate alarmists to politicise the NSW fires and to link them to their scare campaign, we now get this from the ABC’s news bulletin:

“HEATWAVE LINKED TO CLIMATE CHANGE”

The bulletin then went on to quote some Professor without pointing out that this person had a vested interest in the topic. He has been studying climate science for the past twenty three years. Hardly what I’d call a disinterested party. Of course, the usual suspects jumped on this story. From a newspaper which I won’t name because of the ABC’s ridiculous no brand names because it contravenes advertising policy, which, by the way, previous hosts of this show used to flout quite regularly, but my freedom of speech was supressed when I  just mentioned in last weeks’s show what a great drink coke was and thanked Mercedes for the great deal they gave me on the car:

“MORE HOT WEATHER TO COME”

This hysterical article then went on to predict another five days of temperatures above thirty degrees, ignoring the evidence that last night cooled to a mere twenty two degrees. Then having softened us up, the opinion page had this letter:

“When is this direct action policy of Abbott’s going to start? This hot weather should get us all thinking”

Since when did weather have anything to do with the climate? This completely overlooks that fact that we’ve had weather going back to the time that Captain Cook first discovered this uninhabited land. And as for the letter writer’s obvious left wing bias in demanding thinking, well, it should be no surprise that the writer of this letter had, in fact, completed his secondary education. These sort of academics are good at twisting arguments, but most of my readers are down to earth folk who intuitively know that I’m right. 

Of course, the ABC has been trying to suggest the world is warming for decades. Such as  this from 1972:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNCM51-mFXI

Admittedly, that was the American ABC, but the point remains. Of course, we’re used to the Bolshevik view coming from the ABC, but now the so called “free press” has joined in. The latest IPCC evidence shows that these ‘warmists’ are just plain wrong.  I call for all journalists at non-Murdoch owned papers to be sacked and the ABC to be privatised immediately. 

Now, unto a rather troubling matter. Again, there have been complaints about Alan Jones getting some minor detail wrong and calls for him to be removed from the air. These sort of politically correct attempts at censorship must be stopped. So what if he’s a few degrees or a couple of hundred percentage points out – this makes no difference to his actual argument that certain people need to take a good hard look at themselves and would benefit from a sound caning. As an ex-private school boarding master, Alan knows all about the benefits of that. Freedom of speech is one of our most important principles. 

Until next time, I’ve been Andrew Bolt and you people listen to the ABC so you must be wrong.

Good Night.

Will Murdoch close the Ashbygate?

Ashbygate far from closed (image from nofibs.com.au)

Image from nofibs.com.au

THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE. Let me refresh your memory. In December 2012 Mr Justice Rares found that an attempt was made by James Ashby and others with the express purpose of bringing down the Speaker of the House of Representatives and in turn the government. Yes, you read correctly. He said that there was a conspiracy to use the legal process to remove a government. Do I need to repeat that or does the reader grasp the seriousness of the judge’s findings? I hate to sound alarmist but when people are found guilty of crimes of this nature it normally would incite some sort of alarm in the community, the media and dare I say it, the police.

After all, Politicians may play conspiracy games on their own turf, but they should never attempt to encroach on the judicial system.

I WAS OUTRAGED WHEN THIS STORY BROKE AND TIME HAS NOT DIMINISHED MY ANGER.

I have been following politics in Australia for more than fifty years and I have accepted the cut and thrust of it. Even the theatre of it. I have experienced the ups and downs of players on both sides of the political divide. I have read much on the subject and confess to being a political tragic. And I have probably seen more political scandal than most, including the Whitlam times when an unelected head of state dismissed an elected prime minister.

But nothing has approached the stench surrounding the Ashby/Slipper affair. IF RARES IS CORRECT, WE HAVE ELECTED A GOVERNMENT WITH SOME OF ITS MEMBERS GUILTY OF CORRUPTION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER?

BUT WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE? Why is the media not falling over itself demanding answers? They can do it over a few hundred dollars of falsely claimed expenses. Or accusations going back twenty-three years. So why not a scandal about bringing down a government?

Why indeed.

There are two conspiracies here.

Firstly the court found that there was a conspiracy by one political party to use dirty tricks and engineered plots to destroy its opposition. It used unsubstantiated allegations with an alacrity that has been little tempered by the exercise of judgment, or the gathering of hard facts. In other words they lied through their teeth hatching controversy after controversy without any evidence.

The second conspiracy is by the media. The Murdoch press (with control of most of the capital city newspapers) for the most part pumped it for all it was worth then decided to ignore it when it didn’t suit its purpose.

When the findings were not to their liking (after weeks of fueling the flames of sexual titillation with page after page of malicious innuendo) Rares judgment was shunted to the back pages. The Daily Telegraph in its usual provocatively nefarious fashion led the pack and when the judgement was delivered, gave it a few sentences on page thirteen.

Murdoch made it blatantly clear during the election that he wanted an Abbott led conservative government in power. How far will he go to protect them on this matter?

Fairfax also chose to treat the matter lightly by simply saying that “there are questions to be answered”.

Along the way some attempts have been made to keep the matter on the boil. For example David Marr wrote a fine piece on the matter in July for The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/12/ashbygate-peter-slipper-james-ashby

But in the main it has been left to the Fifth Estate to carry the banner for justice. The AIMN has canvassed the affair but Independent Australia has been the most resourced and active hunter for justice, raising funds and coming up with some SENSATIONAL ALLEGATIONS that, if proven would send a shiver down the spine of this government.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/

Now we have a Web page entirely devoted to AshbyGate. The most comprehensive source for information.

http://www.ashbygate.com/

But wait, I hear you say. There is an appeal.

Exactly. I am also outraged that a decision on the appeal has not been reached. It is ludicrous that it is taking this amount of time. The courts may well argue that it has to wait its turn. Perhaps they need to be reminded that this is a matter of national interest and it needs to be dealt with.

This is what I wrote about the appeal back in May. Repeat May.

At the time I sought to reference from other sources and I lent heavily on Australians for Honest Politics.

Five possible outcomes are listed at the conclusion.

http://australiansforhonestpolitics.wordpress.com/

The hearing Day one.

Michael Lee SC is representing Ashby and argues that Justice Rares made three errors in his judgement. Resulting in Ashby not being able to present his case in full.

Firstly that the finding of an abuse of process by Rares J was flawed as the seriousness of those finding required an onus that was a ‘heavy one’. Rares J needed to be ‘cautious’ in his consideration of this issue and, according to Mr. Lee, Justice Rares wasn’t.

Mr. Lee further argued that Justice Rares adopted an ‘impressionistic view’ about Mr Ashby’s involvement in a conspiracy to harm Mr Slipper with inferences being drawn that compromised the fact-finding process.

The third error in the Rares decision, according to Mr. Lee, involved the conduct of Mr. Ashby’s solicitor, Mr. Harmer. This was dealt with comparatively briefly as counsel, David Pritchard SC., is separately representing Mr. Harmer, now a party to the appeal.

Lee SC raised other matters about Justice Rarest rejection of unchallenged evidence. Remember Mr. Slipper represented himself and elected not to cross-examine Michael Harmer.

Apparently, when people represent themselves the law can become a little bit muddled and in this case, matters of procedure might have some bearing on the outcome of the appeal.

Another complication in these proceedings is that Mr. Ashby’s lawyer Michael Harmer who was harshly condemned by Rares is also seeking leave to appeal.

Yet another point addressed by the three member panel was the “Genuine Steps Rule” This is a procedure introduced in 2011 that requires parties to try and sort out their disputes before taking court action. In this case, the Justice’s questioned why a relatively minor matter like sexual harassment claims could not have been settled another way. Like why didn’t he in the first instance complain to his employer.

The atmosphere in the court at times is reported to have been electric. Joan Evatt from Australians for Honest Politics reports that (quote)

At one stage, Mr. Pritchard was asked the $64,000 question: the matter of payment to Mr. Harmer. It was the question by Justice Siopis that caused head-turning consternation at the bar table and was never really answered. Siopis J wanted to know if there would be an apparent difference if Mr. Harmer was ‘an investor in the proceedings?’ The spluttering silence of both legal counsels was his reply, and the question wasn’t pursued.

Day Two

Peter Slippers turn.

Represented by Ian Neil QC.

First up Neil hones in on the genuine steps issue and as to why Ashby had not pursued all the avenues open to him. He then argues that Justice Rares decision was the correct one. The panel subjects him too much questioning but he stands firm and addresses nine subject headings from the written submissions of Ashby and Harmer.

After that some, important matters arise that well may have a major bearing on the outcome. These are best understood by again quoting Joan Evatt at length.

At no stage did Mr. Neil show any impatience with or discomfiture by this morning’s proceedings. It is worth noting that he did not wilt under the pressure either, but continued to argue the merits of his case.

Neil started his oral submission considering the questions of procedural fairness as raised in the Ashby submission. In his decision Rares J is satisfied Slipper established that Mr. Ashby had combined with one or more of the persons named as part of the conspiracy that would result in his finding ‘an abuse of the process’.

Justice Gilmour asked whether it only related to Mr. Harmer. Mr. Neil’s answer took the court down a grammatical path. A definitive “No Your Honor” was his response. The relevant paragraph in Rares’s decision ‘has to relate conjunctively/disjunctively with each, some or all of the persons named… It’s inelegant English but it’s not bad syntax and its meaning is clear.’ His Honour didn’t continue asking questions about sentence structure.

The grammar lesson set the tone of the rest of the morning’s hearings.

Rares J found in his decision that Mr. Harmer wasn’t part of the conspiracy to abuse the process of justice – that he was an innocent party in bringing the court into disrepute. However, Rares was very critical of the ‘professional conduct’ of Mr. Harmer, commencing with his drafting of the originating application.

Justice Siopis asked whether it was legitimate to question the decision’s criticisms and their severity of Mr. Harmer on professional grounds. Mr. Neil replied that Mr. Harmer was ultimately responsible for both the 2003 allegations and the Cabcharge allegations being included in Mr. Ashby’s originating application. Both of these allegations were abandoned in Mr. Ashby’s 15th May 2012 statement of claim.

Of course, by then these allegations had become front-page news, as they formed part of the originating application.

Peter Slipper and his wife Inge leave the Federal Court in Sydney.

Suddenly we were off track again and trying to ascertain Mr. Harmer’s purpose in the inclusion of both the 2003 allegations and the Cabcharge allegations in the originating application.

Neil was steely in arguing that there was just no legitimate forensic purpose to the inclusion of 2003 allegations. It is just ‘salacious detail’ with no illegality or wrongdoing on Mr. Slipper’s part, and ‘which can’t give rise to any legal consequences or any cause of action.’

Bounce. Bounce. Suddenly the court’s in the middle of discussing Mr. Ashby’s predominant purpose which Rares found, after looking through a truckload of text messages and emails, to be the intention of bringing Mr. Slipper into disrepute.

Mr. Slipper was representing himself when these issues were raised before Justice Rares. Mr. Harmer went into the witness box, and Mr. Ashby could have been called by Mr. Slipper, but wasn’t. Both men were not cross-examined by Slipper as to their intent. All their Honours have raised, through thorough questioning, the lack of cross-examination by Slipper of both Ashby and Harmer, which would indicate it could be a problem.

The difficulty of hearing concurrently both an application for leave to appeal and the substantive appeal itself, was made abundantly clear when Mr. Neil suddenly raised arguments against Mr. Harmer being given leave to appeal the Rares decision.

The morning came alive, and stayed on topic when Mr. Neil raised the question of Mr. Harmer’s ability to appeal as a non-party. He argued that Mr. Harmer didn’t have a ‘sufficient interest’ in the matter to appeal.

Neil argued that despite the fact the Rares J raises questions with regard to the professional conduct of Mr. Harmer, such findings in themselves have no legal effect. The right to appeal can only happen if and when orders were made against Mr. Harmer. They haven’t.

Neil went on to state ‘there is no authority anywhere’ that supports a non-party being given leave to appeal if he doesn’t have ‘sufficient interest’ nor does Mr. Harmer meet any of the tests outlined in the Federal Court Rules, 2011.

The implication of Mr. Neil’s point was clear. If their Honors grant Mr. Harmer leave to appeal, they will be creating a precedent that could well open the floodgates to aggrieved third parties who may be mentioned adversely in findings.

For the first time in the morning’s session, their Honours became very quiet as the implication of Neil’s point sank in.

The remainder of Mr. Neil’s arguments in support of the Rares decision seemed almost inconsequential by comparison. It dealt with the General Steps Statement and the matter of Ashby’s perceived urgency.

The right of reply by both Mr. Lee and Mr. Pritchard were thankfully brief. Mr. Pritchard endeavoured to counter Neil’s arguments against granting Mr. Harmer leave to appeal. He raised the issue of natural justice, which had already been dealt with by Neil in his original written submissions.

Mr. Neil earned his money today.

The matter is now for the consideration of the Full Court. These are the options they have before them.

1. Neither leave to appeal is successful and the Rares decision stands;
2. Harmer’s leave to appeal is unsuccessful but Ashby ‘s leave to appeal is successful but Ashby loses the appeal and the Rares decision stands;
3. Harmer’s leave to appeal is unsuccessful but Ashby wins both his leave to appeal and the appeal itself. The result is that the trial of Ashby v Slipper is then heard in full;
4. Harmer and Ashby win their leave to appeal, but lose the appeal proper and the Rares decision stands;
5. Harmer and Ashby win both their leave to appeal and the appeal proper. The result is that the trial of Ashby v Slipper is then heard in full. Slipper will be open for legal costs from Harmer as well as Ashby.

Why a judgment on the Leave to appeal and the appeal has not been handed down is a mystery.

Whatever the outcome the shit is yet to hit the fan. But the big question is will Murdoch close the AshbyGate?

I AM STILL OUTRAGED. ARE YOU?

Bolt Protecting Abbott, My Response

bolt2

A fortnight ago my wife and I visited my son and his family in Melbourne. One day I was sent out to buy fish and chips. Invariably at take aways there is an assortment of reading material. There before me was a copy of the Herald Sun dated Tuesday 24 September. Australia’s biggest selling daily. I skipped through it and was taken with the absurdity of it. This was not a newspaper but a titillating piece of twaddle with the appearance of cheap girly magazine masquerading as a newspaper.

I persevered until I came across a piece written by Terry McCrann about the NBN and concluded that compared with the many articles I had read on the subject by various bloggers it was at best light weight.

The experience reminded me of when in a writing class I attended we would discuss journalism Andrew Bolt and the Herald Sun or the Daily Telegraph would always be at the centre of our discussion. The course facilitator, herself a former journalist would observe that the articles were written for the intelligence of thirteen year olds with the attention span of six year olds. And rarely more than 300 words. As a journalist she had little respect for Andrew Bolt whom she said didn’t know how to construct a challenging sentence let alone use thought provoking words.

As it turns out last Thursday I was perusing the headlines of the Murdoch on line news and came across an article by Andrew Bolt titled “Don’t expect Tony Abbott to get a fair go” with the sub-heading:

IT’S NOT a month since the election, but there’s already an epidemic of Abbott Derangement Syndrome.

I chuckled at the obvious protectionist implication of the headline and clicked on the link expecting it to be behind a Pay Wall. Instead I got the full text. I read it three times and I thought to myself: “This man reputably gets paid a million dollars a year to write this drivel while I and others like me write for nothing (it’s an injustice) and it’s better than this crap”.

ADS indeed I thought to myself, more like PBP, Protected by Propaganda. So I thought I would make a brief comment on each point.

Following is the full text of his piece. My comments are in bold type.

The symptoms: an unshakable belief Tony Abbott is evil or a buffoon, even if your lying eyes tell you different.

I have concluded that I might suffer from a mild form of ADS. I don’t hate him but I do think he is a lying buffoon. I don’t have a capacity for hate and your line about ‘’lying eyes’’ has me completely puzzled. Is that one for the 13 year olds?

Oh, and he’s an expenses-rorting crook.

Well all the evidence would imply that this is the case so I’m not sure why you are suggesting otherwise.

The most bizarre example of ADS occurred on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website only today.

Under the headline “Vladimir Putin gives late Tony Abbott cold shoulder at APEC”, the Herald suggested “a new iron curtain dropped between Russia and Australia” when the Prime Minister turned up late to the opening of the APEC meeting in Bali.

Yes that’s perhaps in poor taste but at the same time I am wondering if it ranks anywhere near the front pages of the Telegraph during the recent election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seated next to Abbott, had been “frosty”.

Yet directly under the headline was a video showing Putin and Abbott bantering and laughing.

I suppose if you were to only read the Murdoch press you might be left with the impression that this is so. Fortunately I read very little of it. This piece is a good example of why I don’t.

It is now a sacred myth in Labor that no Prime Minister ever suffered more abuse and media misrepresentation than St Julia Gillard.

I would suggest that most fair minded Australians would say she was given a pretty hard time Andrew. The fact that you don’t says more about you than her. The need to use ‘’St’’ is disingenuous, gives your bias away and is only being titillating and inflammatory.

“Gillard has faced serial abuse as a woman on a scale I believe is unprecedented in modern politics,” complained John McTernan, her communications director . . .

Many people agree with that. Perhaps you mix in different circles or see the world through the eyes of European opera or through privileged class institutions. There are no left wing shock jocks or journalists with your acerbic tongue. Didn’t one of the shock jocks suggest that Julia Gillard be placed in a hessian bag and taken out to sea? It might be an idea to ask women their opinion.

Abbott hadn’t even been sworn in before a new Facebook site – “Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History” – savaged him as “a misogynist, sexist, homophobic pr—, a bully, a racist, a liar  . . . “. It has 170,000 “likes”.

Of course you would be aware of the many hate pages during the Rudd/Gillard reigns. Perhaps you chose to overlook them. In any case 170,000 is a lot of people. A decent journalist might ask: “Why is it so”? Based on his own words it’s a fair summation of his character.

Other Facebook sites were worse. “Tony Abbott should be assassinated” was created from an office at the Geelong Trades Hall.

And the name of the graphic artist who produces all those filthy Murdoch front pages is? Or better still the editors who condone them. It’s important as a journalist to always be balanced.

ADS hit the mainstream media, too. The Age even promoted “ethically produced” T shirts from columnist Clementine Ford with the slogan “F— Abbott”.

Whilst I don’t agree with it, it is a commonly used word of expression these days. Perhaps you are out of touch Andrew. A fellow named Pickering comes to mind. He is also on your side.

The ABC’s Q & A website left up a tweet about performing a sexual act on Abbott and The Drum vilified him as a religious bigot who denied evolution and wanted to “score points against the ‘feminazis’ and ‘poofs’ “.

He is by his own confession wary of poofs (not a term I would use) and there are ample comments he has made about women to suggest a form of sexism. Didn’t see the Q&A comment so I cannot comment. I have a list of his lies and misdemeanours if required. And there is one gay fellow who liked to frequent public toilets in London who seems to have his ear.

Meanwhile, Catherine Deveny, a Guardian writer, boasted on Twitter how her teenage son hated Abbott, and published a photograph of his profanity-strewn poster.

Didn’t see it, so no comment. However, I do hope you realise Andrew that Abbott may have as many haters on the left as Gillard had on the right. Perhaps as a journalist you should be a little more impartial.

ADS also seems to have distorted media coverage of Abbott’s first weeks in office, producing a disconnect between what Abbott does and what journalists say he’s done – as with that “cold shoulder” furphy.

For instance, when Abbott won a deal from Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to fight people smugglers, journalists suggested the Prime Minister had in fact caved in.

The Herald even wondered if Abbott was “paving the way to ditch his controversial boats turn-back policy”, even though Abbott repeated “we reserve the right to turn boats around” and had just returned two boat loads of “asylum seekers” to Indonesia.

The statement that ‘’we never had a tow back the boats policy’’ amounted to a lie of monumental proportion when placed besides a mountain of evidence that they did. ABC fact check perhaps. And of course the two boats you refer to were rescues, not tow backs.Andrew when you tell a lie you take away the other persons right to the truth.

And he has spent a lot of time apologising for all the insults he hurled at the leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia when opposition leader. Acts of contrition I think he called them.

And now there’s this beat up over Abbott’s expenses, much also informed by ADS – a conviction that when Abbott does something, it must be wrong.

Am I to read into that that he is beyond criticism of have you not chosen your words very well? Or is it just sloppy writing?

The Prime Minister is attacked for claiming $1700 in travel expenses seven years ago to attend the weddings of Liberals Sophie Mirabella and Peter Slipper – expenses he’s now repaid.

Abbott has decided to continue with the current system under which parliamentarians claim expenses. This means that the rorting will continue and the already abysmal view the public has of its politicians will be further eroded. And why did he repay the money if he thinks the system is ok? $1700 and the rest.

Abbott argues that as then Leader of Government Business, he felt obliged to go to his colleague’s weddings. I’d have to be paid to socialise with Slipper, too.

I think they were best mates at the time. And there are probably many who might say the same about you. Me included. And the second sentence seems to be out of context with the first. You are suggesting you would go if you were paid. That figures.

Is Abbott wrong? Well, Labor’s Kevin Rudd and Simon Crean claimed expenses to attend the 80th birthday party of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, which is even less defensible.

Yes you are correct. They shouldn’t be claiming expenses for such events. I don’t know why you need to emphasise Bob Hawke’s birthday with such sarcasm but then then no one does hatred like the right.

If there’s a sin, it lies not in Abbott but the rules.

Yes that’s correct but when you know the rules are wrong why rort them. Especially if you are the party leader. In a previous comment you described it as a beat up. Now you are saying it’s a rules problem. Which is it?

Abbott is also attacked for claiming expenses for going on his annual Pollie Pedal and competing in the Port Macquarie Ironman.

He has abused the system over a long period claiming expenses while flying around the country promoting his own book and participating in events that were nothing more than public relations exercises aimed at self-image.

Again, Labor’s Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan used the Prime Ministerial jet to attend to Grand Finals. Why is it fine to claim expenses for watching community sport but not for joining in?

In your own words. If there’s a sin, it lies not in Abbott but the rules. Or is it a beat up? The conflicting way in which you write makes it impossible to comprehend any logical thought processes.

These expenses are actually an old story and until ADS kicked in it was generally accepted Abbott was mixing sport with politics – projecting the Ironman image, engaging with community groups, raising money for charities and visiting places (like Port Macquarie) in marginal electorates.

Oh dear Andrew, it’s been on social media for yonks. Mixing the two was the conflict of interest that people were talking about.

“It’s campaigning genius,” admitted the Guardian’s Lenore Taylor four months ago when discussing Abbott’s Pollie Pedal bike rides for charity.

You’re misusing her words. She was suggesting that in campaigning terms it was genius, not rorting the system in the process.

Abbott sure thought so: “If an election was held tomorrow in Port Macquarie, I think I’d win,” he gasped at the end of one Ironman, which he uses to promote the McGrath Foundation and usually combines with a function at the town’s hospital.

Many people give of themselves for charitable reasons but they don’t self-promote at the same time.

But with all this concocted rage over a few thousand dollars of expenses, Abbott’s achievements so far go largely unreported. Funny, that.

I suppose when you are very wealthy you don’t suffer confected rage. It’s only the taxpayers who wonder where their money goes. And it’s hard to find anything on the topic in the Murdoch press. Lying by omission perhaps.

Truth is, Abbott seems to be making a difference already to boat arrivals.

Perhaps it’s because of the Labor policies that were put in place during the election and the LNP adopted. Really Andrew you are writing like you have to meet a deadline. This surely cannot be serious journalism.

He also came out of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping vowing to fast-track the stalled free-trade negotiations.

Well he did say he would do a deal on a ‘’whatever we can get basis’’

He’s saved money by dumping the Climate Commission and is reforming the National Broadband Network disaster. The latest Morgan poll shows business confidence at a three-year high.

The latest Morgan Poll shows Labor leading the Government on a TPP. You should check it out to put things in the right perspective.

As a journalist, repeat journalist who thinks he knows more about the climate than the scientists themselves it is not worth commenting. But for what is worth I offer this thought. ‘In terms of the environment. I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today’

On the NBN. “The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow”.

Amazingly, Abbott even got a laugh this week out of grim Putin, although you wouldn’t read about it.

ADS, you know.

I have to say I got a laugh out of this particular piece of journalistic nonsense. Any real journalist wouldn’t put his name to it.

Tony Abbott is being protected by Andrew Bolt’s Propaganda. That’s all it is.

But what else would you expect from the newspaper where the truth goes to die.

In summary, if a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency. Finding the truth and reporting it is more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.

Well I enjoyed that. I might do it again. Does he really get paid a million bucks?
Common Michael you promised.

Transforming Tony Abbott

Image from smh.com.au

Image from smh.com.au

Something truly remarkable is happening in Australian politics. The Australian Prime Minister who was as opposition leader a person devoid of character, is now attempting a personality conversion to rival nothing hitherto seen in an Australian leader. During his tenure as opposition leader he used colourful aggressive language. He was bullish in his attitude to others, particularly to the female Prime Minister of the day. His negativity was legendary. He was a repetitive liar by evidence and by his own admission. He held in contempt procedures of the House of Representatives and the conventions it upheld.

Prior to becoming Opposition Leader his reputation was of someone with a gutter mentality determined to obtain power at any cost. One month into his term of office we are expected to believe that he has transformed into a mild mannered, cultured man of some distinction. Walking the global stage as a gentleman with noble intent.

We are expected to put to one side the old Tony Abbott and embrace the new one with unbridled fondness. Well I am all for self-improvement. I like to think I have practiced it all my life. But in this instance I will not be conned with this nonsense.

As I see it, he has spent the first month rather stupidly apologising for his behaviour as Opposition Leader. His much publicised trip to Indonesia was shrouded in vagaries about asylum policy. It amounted to an apology for all the internal chest beating and political bravado aimed at the Australian public for the purpose of gaining power, but at the same time offending our neighbours. The statement that ‘’we never had a tow back the boats policy’’ amounted to a lie of monumental proportion when placed besides a mountain of evidence that they did.

On top of that he has this week apologised for offending Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. All because of his robust campaigning before the election. He said he was offering ‘’an act of contrition’’.

In an interview in 2011, Mr Abbott said: ”Imagine taking boat people from Australia to Malaysia where they will be exposed almost inevitably to the prospect of caning.’’ The reader will recall that at the time the Gillard Government was trying to broker a deal with Malaysia. Abbott would have none of it. There were many speeches in the House of Representatives. Joe Hockey’s was memorable.

”I will never, ever support a people swap where you can send a 13-year-old child unaccompanied to a country without supervision, never. It will be over my dead body.”

It was a time when Abbott could have been part of a solution. Instead he chose to be part of the problem and has played politics with the lives of people ever since.

Now we have him flipping around Asia grovelling to all and sundry with these undiplomatic declarations. Repairing relationships damaged by his own deeds. Apologising to leaders he openly offended while opposition leader but in doing so, saying that the purpose was purely for reasons of domestic political consumption and advantage and that those seeking asylum were the last thing on his mind. ‘’I think they understand’’ he said of the leaders.

And of course at APEC he kept his host Indonesian President Yudhoyono and the rest of the leaders waiting 20 minutes while being late to the first meeting. On top of that he is snubbed by Russian President Putin after missing his birthday celebration, and by all reports had a very icy official meeting later.

Some might say that he is being refreshingly honest. I would say his apologies are the confessions of a veritable liar. I wonder if he has the capacity to be as straightforward about his lying to the Australian people.

It seems it is one thing to in opposition insult ones neighbours and another to apologise for doing so in government.

So we are left (as if we didn’t know) with the impression that the Prime Minister is fully aware of how he lied for three years but really doesn’t care. Just accept me as I am now. I am a transformed man.

I know we play our politics aggressively but am I truly to believe that he now wants us to accept that it was all just playing a game. That it really is okay to blatantly lie and inflame situations (the budget is in crisis) on the basis that, we just play our politics hard and that in some way legitimises it.

And he continued to make a fool of himself by declaring that Japan is Australia’s “closest friend in Asia”, elevating the former World War II aggressor past both China and Indonesia. Whatever happened to diplomacy?

Then he declares that he will pursue free trade talks with China telling Chinese President Xi Jinping he will deal on a ”whatever we can get” basis. What on earth would the diplomats traveling with him think?

So after a month in office what are we to make of Abbot’s makeover? He promised ”no surprises, no excuses” and that he would take politics of the front pages of the dailies.

Instead we have this scandal over expenses with the Prime Minister at the forefront of the accusations. He pays back some cash and considers the matter closed.

And on top of that dismissively suggests that the press should simply drop the subject. The fact is he has a history of abusing the system.

When he was a back bencher he was always complaining to the speaker about the size of his pay cheque. He has abused the system over a long period claiming expenses while flying around the country promoting his own book and participating in events that were nothing more than public relations exercises aimed at self-image.

All this at the same time prosecuting Peter Slipper for similar offences. Added to that is the fact that he will not disclose who it was who asked the AFP to investigate Slipper. The question still remains. Why is he fronting court while Abbott and others are getting of scott free?

And of course we shouldn’t forget Abbott’s unrestrained pursuit of Craig Thompson and his credit card which appears to have had about as many grey areas as a politician’s expense account.

In this current debate I am surprised that no one has raised the question as to why the office related expenses for Abbott’s Office for the period 1 January to 30 June were $916.000 compared with $294.000 for Gillard over the same period.

Why is it that all of a sudden the fourth estate is highlighting this abuse of process when blogs like the AIMN has been discussing it and similar issues for months? Even years.

One possible answer is that (and it is noticeable if you follow the political discourse) when Abbott made his ‘’politics off the front page statement’ ’the subject of expenses abruptly raised its head.

Why we might ask. It is simple if you think about it. New Tony thought he could now make himself immune from criticism. New Tony would make things right with the world. New Tony had the protection and approval of Murdoch and Fairfax. The honeymoon period would be an eternity.

He miscalculated one thing.

In part he owes them for their support. He may not have become Prime Minister without them. Off the front pages indeed, I can hear them saying.

In the concoction, the recipe that is called leadership there are many ingredients. None more important than integrity, positiveness and the ability to trust and delegate. But it is truth that glues it altogether to create character.

He should be judged by his own standards and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Authors note Friday 11 October:

Mr Abbott has decided to continue with the current system under which parliamentarians claim expenses. This means that the rorting will continue and the already abysmal view the public has of its politicians will be further eroded.

The subject seems to have disappeared from the pages of the Murdoch Press.

Did the boss ring?

I Hate You. So Shut Your Face.

hate

A recent article in The Australian newspaper asserted that Tony Abbott planned to roll back Labor’s laws that limit free speech. It said that if elected, he would work with his attorney-general, George Brandis, to champion, instead of restricting, the right of free speech in Australia. This would involve amending the Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits remarks that offend others on grounds of race or ethnicity. This was the provision used to prosecute newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt.

Mr Abbott was reported as saying:

“Any suggestion you can have free speech as long as it doesn’t hurt people’s feelings is ridiculous. If we are going to be a robust democracy, if we are going to be a strong civil society, if we are going to maintain that great spirit of inquiry, which is the spark that has made our civilisation so strong, then we’ve got to allow people to say things that are unsayable in polite company’’

So does decency matter?

On the surface, these words may be acceptable to those of a conservative bent, but to people such as myself who like to scratch the surface, they are but a disguise. A permission or dispensation to insult, or assault another’s emotions or even worse.

It is positively unlawful to assault someone physically but perfectly fine to assault them emotionally.

The words of Mr Abbott reminded me of the now famous decision by the US Supreme Court in the Westboro Baptist Church vs. Albert Snyder. Mr Snyder’s son was a marine who died in Iraq. The Church pickets the funerals of servicemen, brandishing the most outrageous signs imaginable and shouting the putrid wrath of God at the families with all the vengeance they can muster.

The court effectively said that it was their duty to protect free speech even if it offended the grieving parents of American heroes. Even if it drove people to the brink of suicide or further. That people should have the right to freedom of expression no matter how evil their intent.

That it didn’t matter how loathing or despising your language was, or what harm your actions caused. You had under the first amendment every right to act in that manner. It’s called free speech.

Now it cannot be overstated just how vile this church is. I call it ‘’The Church of Hate’’ and is very active in many areas of American society. They say the most abominable loathsome things imaginable but the court says its fine and it is there to uphold the church’s right to do so.

There is something wrong with a society that condones hate speech and it is what Tony Abbott and his ilk are wanting for Australia.

Mr Snyder’s response was thus:

“My first thought was, eight justices don’t have the common sense God gave a goat.” He added, “We found out today we can no longer bury our dead in this country with dignity.”

Only those who have been abused by it truly understand what free speech is.

I could rightly, I think, argue that it is impossible to understand the harm unrestrained free speech does to people until we have personally suffered from the abuse of it. I could also argue that we do not appreciate the value of free speech whilst we allow it to be exploited the way it is. I would even suggest that free speech is completely misunderstood.

If as a society our collective intention is the attainment of a better humanity. Then surely hand in glove with that must be our social intercourse. Using this precious gift of free speech to vilify others is not consistent with egalitarian pursuits and a fairer and sophisticated social order.

You can read the court finding in this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/02/westboro-baptist-church-w_n_830209.html

What it comes down to is what the Australian public wants. Free speech is one of the many gifts that democracy gives us and should be sacrosanct. However, at the same time, the right to use it should carry a heavy individual and collective responsibility. We need to enshrine a greater appreciation of it on our citizens together with an indebtedness of the individual’s entitlement to use it.

I mean by that, that along with the right to use it also comes a requirement on people to display decorum, moderation, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view. Free speech does not mean it should be free from ethics. Like truth for example. Sadly, this seems to have been forgotten both here and in the United States.

Of course, the pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty, the likes of Bolt, Jones, Hadley etc are the most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongers seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded.

And conservatives support their own particular concept of free speech because it caters for division untruth and above all keeps the proletariat in its place.

The original intent of free speech was to give a voice to the oppressed and to keep governments honest. In the United States, the first amendment is now used as a justification to incite racism, validate hatred and promote both religious and political bigotry.

In the Australian Constitution free speech is only implied. It is time we decided what exactly that means and in doing so, decide how it might shape the sort of society we want to be.

One where free speech is a force for needless destruction or one where it is used for the betterment of society.

Sure it can be vigorous and robust but let’s keep it respectful.

Meanwhile, in other news

Cooking 2

I can’t help but notice how lazy many of the political journalists in the mainstream media have been during this election campaign. It is evident (to most outside their profession) that they exhibit no desire to ask questions, seek answers or do a bit of simple research. And as far as sources go, they have sunk to new levels of laziness. That we are seeing ABC journalists interviewing News Limited journalists and masking that as news is one case in point. Lately, however, they’ve been racing to less credible but easily accessible sources: Twitter users. Every couple of days we are now seeing stories built from what a person has said on Twitter. I’m not talking tweets from frenzied Twitter users like Kevin Rudd or Malcolm Turnbull, or for that matter Mark Scott, but tweets from everyday ordinary folk like you and I.

And oh how they spin them. All of a sudden one person’s tweet, and a few replies – and only those that are negative towards the government – is a scoop about the mood of every living and breathing Australian. It then becomes the major Labor bashing story of the day.

Well two can play that game.

I have grabbed a few random tweets, and in News Limited style present these as the biggest news items of the day.

Here is the first:

Tony Abbott to feel wrath of housewives

Twitter has gone into meltdown following claims that most housewives won’t be voting for Tony Abbott because of his inability to whip up a good Bearnaise sauce. With the election only a matter of days away, this is a huge blow for Mr Abbott as he tries to win a few last minute votes.

Liberal Ministers have been quick to defend Mr Abbott since Twitterer Blacksheep tweeted this damning claim:

“He’s the first person to put his hand up to cook the barbie at party functions and he does a damn good job” boasts an unnamed source, adding “he hasn’t lost a sausage yet”. His daughters also lept to his defence, proudly announcing that “Dad has always been able to pour his own milk on his Wheeties”.

However, this tweet indicates what has been suspected for a long time by many, that Tony Abbott has serious problems connecting with women’s issues.

One of our correspondents has recently been contacted by a source close to the Liberal Party with allegations that Tony Abbott has been witnessed swearing at a can of peas. He was observed, and I quote; “lost it” when battling unsuccessfully with the can opener before hurling the half opened can at the kitchen wall.

Clearly a person who cannot open a can of peas is incapable of being Prime Minister of this country.

Tony Abbott is reported to have blamed this misadventure on the carbon tax but was unavailable for comment. However, to a packed media, Peta Credlin – sporting an apron –  issued the following statement: It was Labor’s fault.

And on it goes.

Here’s a second article:

Prominent Cardinal slams Tony Abbott’s Christian values

Catholics from all corners of Australia, including those of the highest authority in the land have been seen burning photos of Tony Abbott following suggestions by Twitterer Lyndel Darling that his misplaced Christian values should come under heavy scrutiny. In response to a tweet from Clinton McRobert, Lyndel tweeted:

The backlash is sure to be a blow for Mr Abbott in the closing days of an election campaign in which he hoped to shore up the conservative Christian vote. A prominent Cardinal, who refused to be named, supported Ms Darling’s suggestion that “Jesus would turn over his table”.

Senior Ministers have dismissed the allegations, with one suggesting this has all been a misunderstanding: “Just because Tony likes to see struggling families throw all their money into poker machines, supports wages of $2 a day for those employed by the mining magnates and is happy for boat people to be sent back to their country of origin and face possible death, it doesn’t mean to say that he has abandoned his Christian values. For Christ’s sake, people, he goes to Church on Sundays”.

Despite their loyal support, some party faithful admit that this will cause a massive swing against the Liberals at the election.

A spokesperson for the Government suggests that Mr Abbott “Needs a double dose of confession”.

In a rare gesture of solidarity, Muslim clerics have united with Christians in condemning Mr Abbott’s ungodly behaviour, reminding our correspondent that he has a history of displaying disrespect for their religion too.

Tony Abbott is reported to have claimed that this has been a misunderstanding which he blamed on the carbon tax, but was unavailable for comment.

And on it goes.

Here’s a third article:

Thousands ready to take baseball bat to Tony Abbott

Australia’s best kept secret is out! Nobody likes Tony Abbott anymore. Twitter DavidW2035 summed up the mood of the electorate when he tweeted that Tony Abbott should be shaking in his boots because people from all walks of life were lining up to punish him for his sins.

Whilst DavidW2035 nominates a date sometime in 2050 as the moment of Mr Abbott’s reckoning, sources within the Government suggest that the date could actually be much earlier. Twitter has exploded with similar suggestions.

This is a massive blow to Mr Abbott’s electoral chances as he was hoping to shore up the redneck vote before Saturday’s election and an electoral wipeout is expected.

Mr Abbott has gone into hiding and it is believed that this was the reason behind his decision not to appear on QandA this week alongside the Prime Minister. When pointed out that this tweet appeared three days after Qand A was aired, this was vehemently disputed by several prominent Liberals. A spokesperson who claimed insider connections with the Liberal Party has said that Mr Abbott would be happy to appear on the show in 2051 if mentally and physically capable.

It is worrying to the party faithful that DavidW2035‘s tweet has hit a raw nerve with so many. One senior Minister bemoaned that: “We knew Tony would be screwing the country up good and proper and send it rocketing back to the 1950s but we never expected people would actually hold him responsible for it. For Christs sake, even women who should be at home ironing are marching in the streets. It’s like a witch hunt out there”.

Meanwhile, sporting good’s stores contacted by The AIMN confirm that they have sold out of baseball bats.

It is understood Tony Abbott complained that the reason he is so unpopular is because he couldn’t stop the carbon tax.

And on it goes.

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