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Tag Archives: Q&A

With rapidly evaporating respect Mr Turnbull, that’s crap

Good poker players learn how to read signs from their opponents about when they are bluffing.  For Malcolm Turnbull, one signal is when he says “as you know”.

And out it came on Monday night on Q&A when Aldo Donato asked about the NBN debacle.

NBN costs have almost doubled, and the NBN has paused the rollout of its hybrid coaxial fibre technology because the number of complaints are astronomical and the technology does not work. At what point do we acknowledge that the cost savings do not justify the incredibly poor service, and accept the need to revert to a fibre-to-the-house solution that an innovation nation deserves?

Turnbull began his answer with the dismissive smackdown “Almost…almost everything you said there is, uh, incorrect”, a response met by justifiable laughter and groaning from the audience.

“The fact of the matter is that if we were to do an NBN on fibre to the premises across the nation, as you know, it would take six to eight years longer and cost up to $30 billion more. That is a fact, Aldo. I’m sorry, that really is a fact.”

And how do we know this?  Because Malcolm told us so.

When Opposition spokesman Stephen Conroy stated that “the cost of the Mr Turnbull’s second-rate copper NBN has nearly doubled to up to $56 billion,” his office was promptly raided by the AFP on the grounds that he was quoting from commercial-in-confidence internal NBN documents.  Obviously, what he was saying was true.

The Coalition had promised that, by the end of 2016, all Australians would have minimum speeds of 25 Mbps.  According to NBN themselves, at the end of 2017, the service is now “available to more than half of Australian homes and businesses nationwide.”

Malcolm said “it will be three-quarters built by the 30th of June next year, according to the company’s plans, and they say they’re on track to that, and they are committed to getting it completed by 2020.”

Cost blowouts and delays are undeniable, unless you are the PM who foist this dog’s breakfast upon us.

Malcolm went on to say “The pause in the HFC rollout is in order to ensure that premises that are on hybrid fibre coax – these are people with, effectively, mostly, Foxtel, pay TV cables – uh, will…they continue to get their broadband service from Telstra, and they won’t be switched over to the NBN until some technical issues have been resolved. The pause in the rollout is about six months.”

It is interesting to note that the good burghers of Point Piper have had their HFC connection to the NBN up and running for some time.

As NBN proudly publishes data about the increasing number of people who have taken up the service, they neglect to mention that you don’t have a choice in the matter.  Once an area becomes “NBN ready”, a cease sales order is imposed.  Any new connections must be to the NBN and existing connections must change over by a certain date whether you want to or not.

Living in a marginal seat, we became early guinea pigs for FttN and my life has been hell ever since.  I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent on the phone trying to sort out the mess that has been thrust upon us but it would be in the hundreds.

My business was without EFTPOS, fax and security for two months due to a porting mistake by our Telco which Telstra and NBN made impossible to fix.

My home suffered continuous dropouts which not only affects the internet, it takes out our landline with it leaving us with no phone service at all as we live in a mobile blackspot.

Eventually they conceded that we have an “unstable connection” that could only be fixed by lowering the available speed.

I stupidly had been paying for 100 Mbps when Telstra have finally admitted that the maximum download I can receive is 40 Mbps, not that we ever achieve that.  Interestingly, they informed me that, if you can get speeds that are half of what you are paying for, they consider that a “good” connection.

When the questioner on the Q&A show raised his hand to respond to Malcolm’s waffle, there followed a disgusting exchange where Turnbull the barrister sought to intimidate and belittle the man’s concerns with constant interruptions.

Eventually Mr Donato was able to get out what he was trying to say.  “We’re rolling out a faster NBN, but it’s a far inferior NBN.”

Again, he was smacked down.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: “No, well, you’re wrong. With great respect, Aldo, you’re quite wrong. It is rolling out faster, and that means that more people are getting high-speed broadband more quickly. Believe me, the technology that you have to connect you to the internet is much less important…is irrelevant compared to the service level. What you want to do is…you need to have is the right service level to meet your needs. And what we are doing is ensuring that more people get connected more quickly, and at prices they can afford.

And, you know, do you remember the debate we used to have a few years back when they said everyone is going to need 1,000 megabits per second speed? Do you remember that? You would be a complete…you would just be a total loser, they said, if you don’t have 1,000 megabits per second speed. The vast majority of customers on NBN pay for products of 25 megabits per second or less.”

In actual fact, no-one suggested that we all need speeds of 1,000 Mbps right now, just that fibre connections are capable of being upgraded to higher speeds as they become necessary.  Let’s not forget that Malcolm scoffed at the idea of needing 100 Mbps.

And one of the reasons that most people have signed up to 25 Mbps is because the system is not capable of delivering higher.

Malcolm assured us all that “the approach that we’re taking is consistent with the approach that is happening right around the world.”

With rapidly evaporating respect Mr Turnbull, that’s crap.  The rest of the world is moving to fibre whilst you have made us a communications backwater, ranking 50th in the world behind places like Thailand, Estonia, Bulgaria and Kenya.

Yes Paul, Religious Instruction is Child Abuse

Those who watched Q&A on Monday night might have been taken aback by US Biologist and Ecologist Dr Paul Ehrlich’s claim that religious instruction is child abuse.

Host Tony Jones had asked Dr Ehrlich whether he sang the US national anthem when he was at school. “We did, but we didn’t have child abuse required in those days. We didn’t have any religious instruction in the schools,” Dr Ehrlich said. 

He went on to say, “That’s what Richard Dawkins and lots of other people have said; that you teach people details about non-existent supernatural monsters and then behave in reaction to what you think they are telling you. That’s child abuse. You don’t raise your kids that way,” Dr Ehrlich said.

If there is one thing I feel I am qualified to comment on, it is Catholic religious instruction in the 1950s and 60s. Make no mistake, it was child abuse and I am one of those “lots of other people” Ehrlich was referring to and I have been saying it for years.

Imagine if you will, an eight year old in grade three at a Marist Brothers’ College in Melbourne in 1953. Every day we had one 40 minute period set aside for Religion, i.e. Catholic instruction.

Fundamental to that period was to learn the Catechism, a simplistic question and answer booklet that gave the brothers the authority to brainwash, bully, threaten and physically punish us for not learning.

mayThe particular version we were taught was approved by the Irish hierarchy in 1951, and was specially intended for teaching primary-school children, who were required to memorize each prescribed answer by rote.

You can view it here.

That teaching, delivered as it was with all the certainty and ferocity of a tyrant stayed with me for decades before I was finally able to shake it off.

At a recent catch up with some old school friends, I found that I wasn’t alone. While some were able to dismiss it as superstitious rubbish from the moment they left school, others like me weren’t so lucky.

But we all agreed it was psychological abuse, deliberate and unyielding. So, when I listened to Paul Ehlrich describe it for what it was, I said, ‘Bravo’.

One of the Catholic Church’s principle teachings is that of free will. We choose either to resist temptation or succumb to it. More rubbish.

It took some time to realise that all our actions are determined by a long chain of prior causes in our lives; for example, bad genes, an unhappy childhood, good or bad experiences, good or bad education.

Am I exercising free will writing this article? No, I am responding, perhaps reacting to a comment heard on Q&A. This article is written conditional to that. If it is conditional, it cannot be free.

Religious instruction is meant to instruct us into believing something and to react accordingly, bypassing free will. When that instruction is based on a false foundation, unsupported by science, it is psychological abuse.

For any govnorwayernment to sanction such instruction in the classrooms of our most vulnerable, is unconscionable. Unfortunately, Ehrlich then stated that we should respect people who want to do that and in saying so, he let the monster back in the classroom.

Why should we respect people who want to fill our childrens’ heads with such rubbish as the Catholic catechism? Why should we allow our children to be taught human values dressed up as divine instruction?

Are there not enough nut cases out there who, on the basis of false information have reacted in ways that have caused untold damage and heartbreak to otherwise normal, gentle law abiding citizens?

When will we learn?


The Culture War that Dwarfs Abbott & Co.

Whilst MPs were banned from attending Q&A, gay marriage was called “decadent” and the price of divorce drastically increased, a far more significant story was buried beneath the news heap. Whilst Australia’s conservatives enacted their culture wars in increasingly petty ways, a far more significant global culture war was illuminated.

On July 3rd, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution affirming that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.” The resolution was backed by 29 states, including Russia, China and many Islamic countries. America, Britain, France, Germany and 10 other states voted against, on the grounds that it put too much emphasis on traditional family structures.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with traditional families, however in the sensitive world of diplomatic rhetoric, this was less an embrace of families than a slap in the face to supporters of same-sex marriage and other non-traditional family types. South Africa unsuccessfully tried to insert language that took account of same-sex marriage, and the efforts of Western delegates to acknowledge that family structures can sometimes be oppressive also failed.

This latest clash can be seen as evident of a global culture war, one a lot more serious than a stoush between News Corp and the ABC. Defence of the traditional family and opposition to gay rights have been part of Russia’s foreign policy since 2012, whereas Hillary Clinton has shifted US policy to advocate for sexual freedom since 2011. The Economist, one of the few media outlets to cover the resolution, stated that the resolution reflected “a broadening diplomatic showdown between a Western liberal bloc and an anti-liberal coalition.”

The showdown raises concerns for progressives, many of whom have advocated for pacifist foreign policy and have avoided ideological clashes with other communities, particularly Muslims. For mine, the idea of multiculturalism and pluralism must not preclude the West from taking a strong stance on sexual freedom, and speaking out on issues of civil liberty does not amount to a “clash of civilizations” whereby the commonality between the West and other cultures is lost in an all-out cultural war. As Clinton has demonstrated on issues of religious freedom, diplomatic compromise can be reached, but for this to occur the US must relish the current liberal consensus headed by the Obama administration and advocate for progressive values on the world stage.

For social conservatives however, the news is pretty grim. In terms of actual progress, the liberal side clearly has the momentum, with the legalisation of same-sex marriage in many countries being heralded as a monumental victory by progressives internationally.

The worldview of conservatives, which centres on the traditional family unit, is collapsing. With each passing victory for gay marriage advocates across the world, their religious values lose their prevalence. Once advocates of freedom of the individual, liberalism has galloped ahead of them whilst they stand shaking their fists at the sky. Furthermore, they contradict themselves when the logic of freedom which they employ to justify the economic status quo somehow doesn’t apply to inconvenient social issues.

Fear creates strange bedfellows, and as The Economist noted, the anti-liberal side “has allies within the Western world as well as outside it,” as evident by the positive reception of the resolution by conservative think-tanks. So in other words, Western conservatives are now siding with Putin, the Chinese and many Islamic countries on social policy, which would have dismayed many conservative heroes from yesteryear.

Australia is not immune from this global tussle, with The Australian reporting that Julie Bishop refused to co-sponsor the resolution because it did not recognize same-sex couples and because “human rights belong to individuals, not groups.” This hints at a far broader disjunct between the West and the Russia/China alliance, with the West promoting a focus on individual rights whilst the East tries to make sure human rights don’t get in the way of traditional values and state sovereignty. And with many in her Cabinet more likely to support the latter than the former, particularly with regard to gay marriage, Bishop has daringly edged closer to Malcolm Turnbull – perhaps a true liberal amongst conservatives.

Considering the gravity of this global culture war, our local struggle between the Coalition/News Corp and the so-called “lefty lynch mob” is dwarfed in importance. However this is no reason to dismiss our local arm-wrestle. The same dynamic of the culture war operates at a domestic level as it does globally, with those who advocate fairness and inclusivity being regarded with fear and suspicion by those desperately clinging to the past. The Russian MP who recently expressed the fear that the US may try to impose same-sex marriage globally by force has a similar mindset to Cori Bernardi when he fears that it may snow-ball into bestiality – equally impossible, arising from an ingrained mistrust of social progress.

That is not to say there are clear goodies and baddies in such scenarios, as both sides are frequently vindictive and hateful. Such is the nature of culture war, a battle fought over identity which is so personal it is bound to get ugly. There is nothing constructive about culture war, with each side snidely jeering at the other and patting themselves on the back.

However, it will pay progressives to consider that Abbott and his ilk are not simply a home-grown nuisance, but part of a vast global community which encompasses all races and creeds. When the issues are so gravely important as the legal recognition of human diversity and love, the left has to fiercely advocate for social progress. But we must refrain from mimicking the cultural jibes of “lefty lynch mob” and engage in a meaningful debate with those we oppose, no matter how frustrating. For whilst progressives may have one many recent battles, we have not yet won the war.

You can follow more of Ben Clark’s posts at The Cynical Times

A letter to Steve Ciobo

In an open letter to Steve Ciobo (Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs) AIMN reader Colin Price voices his disgust at our government’s orchestrated lies and exaggerations.

To Steve Ciobo,

I know that it is my duty to keep you informed of my will on anything that comes before Parliament, or that should come before Parliament.

IT IS MY WILL that instead of the government of the day taking a manipulative and sensationalised approach to terrorism in this country, aimed at bringing fear to the general Australian population in opportunistic attempts to distract and manipulate – that you and the Parliament take a measured and responsible approach without constant hysteria and lies.

It should be noted that Australia has not had a good record under the Liberal Government in regard to terrorism issues. A prime example of this fact is the case of Dr Muhamed Haneef, his victimisation by the Howard Government, and the resulting compensation paid to him for his very damaged reputation.

Then there is the self confessed “embarrassment” by John Howard following Australia’s involvement (and unquestioning acceptance of the intelligence used) to justify the Iraq war – weapons of mass destruction (that never actually existed).

Intelligence that was inaccurate and quite possibly deliberate deception by the U.S. and Australian Governments. In my view; an act of government sanctioned terrorism.

In regard to the comments by Mr Zaky Mallah on Monday 22nd June 2015 and the reply by Minister Steve Ciobo on the ABC’s ‘Q&A’ panel program – it was a moronic and ignorant display by the minister, who took Mr Mallah’s comments completely out of context.

As clearly shown since on the ABCs Lateline on Wednesday, 24th June – not only was Mr Mallah acquitted of terrorism charges, he has openly spoken out against ISIS.

Mr Mallah has appeared on television numerous times including on Channel TEN’s ‘The Project’ in 2014:

“I am on this program this evening to distance myself from the actions of these individuals, these idiots, these wankers, who are giving Islam and the Muslim world, and Islamic community in Australia a bad name. And for those who are considering to join ISIS I hope ASIO is on to you, I hope your passport is refused, and I hope you are arrested and locked up”.

On SBS’s Insights program in 2012, as a guest along side senior NSW Policemen, Mr Mallah said:

[Interviewer]: “Do you see yourself as a jihadist?

No – I see myself as a freedom fighter if I was to go before the front line, because the Free Syrian Army are fighting for one thing Jenny – They are fighting for freedom”.

Do I feel threatened by reformed individuals such as Mr Zaky Mallah – NO!

Am I concerned about the constant lies, smoke screen, bullying and victimisation against people such as Mr Zaky Mallah, Ms Gillian Triggs, and in the case of Mr Reza Berati, murder? Absolutely.

Am I horrified that the Coalition Government is willing to blatantly orchestrate and lie about ‘Budget Emergencies’, create division by totally exaggerating the real threat to average Australians from the “Islamist death cult” in order to take away freedoms and monitor the private lives of all Australian citizens. Yes I am.

Am I frustrated by the Coalition Government’s stifling of proper and open debate on such critical issues such as Same Sex marriage, and Climate Change?  Yes, and I am infuriated every day.

Do I feel that the current government has the best intention of this country and its people at heart?  Definitely not, and I consider this government (and particularly Tony Abbott) short sighted, evil, dishonest and completely out of touch.

Is the government even remotely operating within its mandate? Well, considering Tony Abbott was lying on the very eve of the Federal election, and hasn’t stopped since … there simply is not even a vague resemblance of a mandate between the Australian people and this abortion and complete joke of a government.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Price


Image from twitter.com

Image from twitter.com








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