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Tag Archives: Twitter

Who provides the news: Journalists or Twitter?

I’ve noticed recently that a number of articles in the mainstream media revolve around what people are saying on Twitter.

I settle into any particular article before the journalist announces that “Twitter went into meltdown”, or “it created a Twitter storm”.

Two articles over the weekend (about the only two I read) proved my point.

The first was from the Fremantle versus Hawthorn game on Friday night: a game I cared little about but the headline sounded interesting: Hawthorn vs Fremantle, talking points from AFL preliminary final.

“Worth a look” I thought.

The second paragraph of the article ends with ‘Social media agreed’ before giving us screen shots of a number of tweets from nobody in particular.

A paragraph later – which was about a lout in the crowd – was concluded with ‘The spectator was widely condemned on social media’.

A string of more tweets.

Further down the article we are treated to tweets about the umpiring before this announcement: ‘Even Shane Warne didn’t like what he was seeing’.

Was he interviewed? No. There was a screenshot of his tweet.

Truly pathetic journalism.

The second article was more up my ally: Is it aliens? NASA sends space fans into frenzy with news of a “major announcement”.

As with the football article it turned out to be little more than collection of tweets from a bunch of nobodies. How’s this one, for example:

Wow! Can’t believe that our mainstream media even bothered with that.
I’ve only picked two articles from the weekend but it’s a trend I’m seeing more and more in the media – even in political articles. Has anybody else noticed?

When You Have Advisers Like Newman Why Would You Need Scientists?

Image from thehoopla.com.au

Image from thehoopla.com.au

In The Australian newspaper December 31 (otherwise known as the official newsletter of the LNP) there appeared an article by the Prime Minister’s business adviser Maurice Newman. Creditable broadsheets would not have given it a column inch but that’s Murdoch for you. What follows is lying at its most blatant.

In one of those rare moments I have momentarily found myself lost for words so I have decided to rely on the commentary of others with the final word left to Malcolm Turnbull.

THE unprecedented cost of energy driven by the renewable energy target and the carbon tax had destroyed the nation’s competitiveness, Tony Abbott’s chief business adviser has declared.
Maurice Newman also says climate change policies driven by “scientific delusion” have been a major factor in the collapse of Australia’s manufacturing sector. “The Australian dollar and industrial relations policies are blamed,” Mr Newman said. “But, for some manufacturers, the strong dollar has been a benefit, while high relative wages have long been a feature of the Australian industrial landscape.”
In an interview, Mr Newman said protection of climate change policies and the renewable energy industry by various state governments smacked of a “cover-up”.
He said an upcoming review of the renewable energy target must include examination of claims made in federal parliament that millions of dollars were being paid to renewable energy projects that allegedly did not meet planning guidelines. Mr Newman’s comments follow those of Dow Chemicals chairman and chief executive Andrew Liveris, who said Australia was losing its natural advantage of abundant and cheap energy.
“As far as new investments go, our primary energy sources of natural gas and electricity are now or will soon become negatives to any comparative calculation,” Mr Liveris said.
“Average prices of electricity have doubled in most states in recent years and the unprecedented contraction in consumption threatens a ‘death spiral’ in which falling consumption pushes up prices even further, causing further falls in consumption,” he said.
Mr Newman said Australia had become “hostage to climate-change madness”. “And for all the propaganda about ‘green employment’, Australia seems to be living the European experience, where, for every ‘green’ job created, two to three jobs are lost in the real economy,” he said.
“The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling. Global temperatures have gone nowhere for 17 years. Now, credible German scientists claim that ‘the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the little ice age of 1870’.”
Mr Newman said the climate change establishment, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, remained “intent on exploiting the masses and extracting more money”.
“When necessary, the IPCC resorts to dishonesty and deceit,” he said.
In Australia, Mr Newman said, Victorian Democratic Labour Party senator John Madigan had told parliament how politicians and bureaucrats were paying tens of millions of dollars annually to wind turbine operators that had not received final planning approval.
“It could be hundreds of millions of dollars and we have a government that is keen to rein in the budget deficit,” he said. “If you can save a million dollars that should never have been spent, we should be doing it.”
Senator Madigan said the issuing of renewable energy certificates to one of the non-compliant wind farms, at Waubra in Victoria, reflected “a culture of noncompliance arising from systematic regulatory failure that impacts every wind farm in Victoria”.
He said the issue involved “the pain and suffering of little people living in rural Australia, environmental damage, fraud on a grand scale, deception, lies and concealment”.
The clean energy regulator has defended the decision to allow the Waubra wind farm to receive renewable energy certificates.
Mr Newman’s comments came as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission revealed that in the 18 months since the carbon tax commenced, it had received 3132 complaints and inquiries in relation to carbon price matters.

Richard Dennis of the Australia Institute had this to say:

Another day, another Big Lie. Today the PM’s chief business adviser says that the carbon price is what has harmed manufacturing and … wait for it that the record high exchange rate has been a benefit! Like all Big Lies this one is so audacious it’s hard to undo in a FB post but, let’s start with a) energy accounts for than 5 per cent of expenses for most manufacturers b) the energy intensive industries got 94.5 per cent of their pollution permits for free c) the biggest source of energy price increases was ‘poles and wires’ not the carbon price d) for exporters, an exchange rate appreciation of over 40 percent thanks to the mining boom was a bit bigger deal than a small carbon price for which they got compensated…but, as Goebels said, if you are going to tell a lie tell a big one!

The Labor shadow minister responded with this press statement:

THE HON SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER
MEMBER FOR BLAIR

MEDIA RELEASE

TONY ABBOTT’S ADVISOR EMBARRASSING AUSTRALIA

Tony Abbott’s chief business advisor Maurice Newman has embarrassed Australia by calling the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ‘deceitful and dishonest’ in an opinion piece published in today’s The Australian.

“These extraordinary comments from one of Tony Abbott’s closest advisors prove the Coalition is not serious about taking action on climate change and does not accept the overwhelming evidence of a changing climate,” Acting Shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Shayne Neumann said.

“The Prime Minister must ask Mr Newman to withdraw his comments which damage Australia’s relationships with its trading partners, all of whom accept that climate change is real and are taking steps to reduce carbon pollution.”

“Australia is now a laughing stock for being the first country to unravel effective climate change policy, going backwards while the rest of the world is taking steps forward,” Mr Neumann said.

Maurice Newman also said the ‘scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling’ and that 97 per cent of the world’s scientists who have revealed evidence of a warming climate and its effects were ‘wrong’.

“I’m not sure what qualifies Mr Newman to make such outrageous claims. He is not a scientist.

“The worst part about Mr Newman’s ignorant comments is that he’s only voicing what we know Tony Abbott thinks about climate change.

“The Prime Minister is not serious about taking action on climate change, which is why he and Greg Hunt have not made any attempt to develop effective climate change policy.”

Labor knows climate change is real and knows the time to take action is now. It seems Tony Abbott, Greg Hunt and Mr Newman are the only ones who don’t know that.

What Malcolm Turnbull thinks.

Abbott’s climate change policy is bullshit

While a shadow minister, Tony Abbott, was never afraid of speaking bluntly in a manner that was at odds with Coalition policy.
So as I am a humble backbencher I am sure he won’t complain if I tell a few home truths about the farce that the Coalition’s policy, of lack of policy, on climate change has descended into.

First, lets get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal fired power stations with cleaner gas fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money.
To get farmers to change the way they manage their land, or plant trees and vegetation all costs money.
Somebody has to pay.

So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, “bullshit.” Moreover he knows it.

The whole argument for an emissions trading scheme as opposed to cutting emissions via a carbon tax or simply by regulation is that it is cheaper – in other words electricity prices will rise by less to achieve the same level of emission reductions.
The term you will see used for this is “least cost abatement”.

It is not possible to criticise the new Coalition policy on climate change because it does not exist. Mr Abbott apparently knows what he is against, but not what he is for.

Second, as we are being blunt, the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, its cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world.

Now politics is about conviction and a commitment to carry out those convictions. The Liberal Party is currently led by people whose conviction on climate change is that it is “crap” and you don’t need to do anything about it. Any policy that is announced will simply be a con, an environmental figleaf to cover a determination to do nothing. After all, as Nick Minchin observed, in his view the majority of the Party Room do not believe in human caused global warming at all. I disagree with that assessment, but many people in the community will be excused for thinking the leadership ballot proved him right.
Remember Nick Minchin’s defense of the Howard Government’s ETS was that the Government was panicked by the polls and therefore didn’t really mean it.

Tony himself has in just four or five months publicly advocated the blocking of the ETS, the passing of the ETS, the amending of the ETS and if the amendments were satisfactory passing it, and now the blocking of it.

His only redeeming virtue in this remarkable lack of conviction is that every time he announced a new position to me he would preface it with “Mate, mate, I know I am a bit of a weather vane on this, but…..”

Third, there is a major issue of integrity at stake here and Liberals should reflect very deeply on it. We have an Opposition whose current leadership dismisses the Howard Government’s ETS policy as being just a political ploy. We have an Opposition Leader who has in the space of a few months held every possible position on the issue, each one contradicting the position he expressed earlier. And finally we have an Opposition which negotiated amendments to the Rudd Government’s ETS, then reached agreement on those amendments and then, a week later, reneged on the agreement.

Many Liberals are rightly dismayed that on this vital issue of climate change we are not simply without a policy, without any prospect of having a credible policy but we are now without integrity. We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable evidence that we cannot be trusted.

Not that anyone would doubt it, but I will be voting for the ETS legislation when it returns in February and if my colleagues have any sense they will do so as well.

This first appeared in former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull’s blog.

Independent media: the sleeping giant and the MSM’s response

Paul Sheehan’s recent attacks on the hugely popular Facebook site Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History are not isolated incidents of the mainstream media (MSM) publicly airing disdain towards the social media.

Ferocious, and to some, persuasive attacks by the MSM have become rabid from the moment the independent media (the Fifth Estate) and voices in social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter) became even the slightest of threats to their diminishing integrity. And why wouldn’t their integrity be diminishing when the direction we’ve seen in the MSM leans towards, especially in the last few years, are stories that are trivial, narrow, shallow and sensationalist? And often untrue. My recent article, The facts versus Andrew Bolt offered an example of the of the fabricated sensationalism so evident in today’s media.

It was a couple of years ago that I first noticed the MSM unleash an attack on the independent blog sites. A couple that I read from the Murdoch media exhibited a sort of ‘xenophobic’ hatred. Christian Kerr, a political journalist with The Australian, savaged the blogosphere with more zeal than I’ve ever heard him attack incompetent politicians, writing that:

It’s also worth noting that the`blogosphere’ supposedly outraged is the small incestuous clique of self-identified lefties, with readerships composed mostly of themselves, who were more than happy to out other bloggers a few years ago with whom they disagreed.

That last bit, for the uninitiated, is a reference to the modern dull and doctrinaire Crikey and its very own Adrian Mole, barrister-blogger Walter Jeremy Sear, and his role assisting The Sunday Age dissect the corpse of the spectacularly snarky site The Spin Start Here that offended sensibilities for years until it reached its logical conclusion and ripped itself apart. Sear was happy to help with an outing then.

The whole thing smacks of naivety and self-righteousness.

And naivety and self-righteousness seems to define the vast majority of the Australian blogosphere. That and whining conspiracy theories.

Quite remarkably, Christian’s little dummy spit was shadowed by the editorial of another from the Murdoch empire, the Townsville Bulletin, which announced to North Queenslanders that bloggers are cowards:

When reporter James Massola “outed” an anonymous blogger in The Australian newspaper last week, he received death threats and a torrent of personal abuse.

How dare someone in the mainstream media name one of these increasingly puerile bloggers, self-appointed guardians of righteousness and all that is wrong about society and, in particular, newspapers.

Grogs Gamut was named as a Canberra public servant and the reaction from his mates was as predictable as it was boring.

Those who hide under the veil of anonymity, taking cheap shots to satisfy their trendy social agenda, don’t like it when they are thrust into the real world.

The great thing about newspapers is that, love us or hate us, we’re the voice of the people. We represent the community, their views, their aspirations and their hopes. We champion North Queensland’s wins and we commiserate during our losses.

Oh how high and mighty they are, being the acclaimed “voice of the people”. And true to from, jumping in on the act the aforementioned Andrew Bolt screamed that the outed blogger, Greg Jericho, be sacked from his usual job. Indeed, let’s punish this new media.

There is no doubt that all forms of dialogue in the social and independent media have profoundly influenced the nature of modern communication and obviously this doesn’t sit well with the traditional media. The above references are indicative of their opinion that the new media produces public discussion that falls well below their standards. I, however, disagree. News stories these days are nothing more than opinion pieces to which nobody is held to account.

New media is now holding them to account and this sits very uneasily with them.

In a few short years the new media, blogging in particular, has become a global phenomenon and it has reshaped our view of journalism. It is in the political sphere, that the impact of blogging is being nurtured.

In an essay titled The Influence of Political Blog Sites on Democratic Participation, ShariVari wrote that:

A computer-mediated environment may make it easier for citizens to express their feelings about political candidates and allow them to speak more candidly than if they were in a face-to-face situation. The diversity of the internet gives citizens access to a wide variety of opinions and information that they may not have access to otherwise, and this may play a role in changing or shaping an individual’s political views. After disregarding any blog sites that have a corporate financial objective or are engaging in political agenda-setting, political blog site users can begin to discuss their personal view points with peers.

I find this essay to be rather heartening. As a blogger and a social media user who has lost all faith in the MSM it was good to know that we can indeed have an impact, albeit small at this stage.

ShariVari concludes that:

All of the research shows that increased opportunities for participation can only encourage democracy . . . This research means that citizens are increasingly turning to and trusting the Internet for accurate information, using it as a platform for participatory democracy, and becoming more knowledgeable about political information in the process. A Spiral of Silence is less likely to exist where citizens have only each others’ opinions to evaluate in terms of their own civic participation and lack status cues such as gender, race, and socio-economic status. Blog sites definitely are increasing the ways in which citizens can participate in their democracy.

The above article, although American and a couple of years old, aptly describes how independent media is now evolving in Australia.

Independent media are better suited to provide the diversity which is often ignored by traditional journalists. Both independent and social media advances the opportunity to expose doctored or omitted facts from mainstream media and point out the bias by particular reporters who do not provide such opportunity for his/her readership to give voice to alternate opinions.

Independent media also encourages contributors and readers to think objectively and ask the probing questions that might often be avoided by the MSM, particularly if they are working to a different (or hidden) agenda. Further, social media gives people the opportunity to analyse and disseminate the news and opinions thrown at them from the established media and as a consequence social media is awash with a more objective and factual analysis. Where, for example, would you find corrections to false or misleading statements from the current government exposed? Not the MSM. Not the MSM as they operate under a different agenda.

But if the MSM was objective, impartial and committed to providing a quality service then there may not be the thousands of social media groups the MSM are now taking a disliking to.

Had we a balanced and analytical media, there would be blogs and social media groups, certainly, but at the extremes of the political spectrum although their popularity would have been limited to those that simply agreed with them. Now we have people turning to the new media because they know they cannot expect the truth out of the old media. If the MSM did their job better they wouldn’t need to be so capriciously attacking social media because, quite simply, they wouldn’t be competition.

Sheehan’s recent attack, as mentioned earlier, is not an isolated incident. David Donovan of Independent Australia has also been targeted. David innocently tweeted:

Forgive if I recall incorrectly, but didn’t Abbott promise to spend his first week as PM in an Indigenous community?

It was a fair question. If it wasn’t bad enough that this pre-election commitment was washed aside by the MSM, then the insulting attack on David by Samantha Maiden, the national political editor of News Corporation’s Sydney Sunday masthead, the Sunday Telegraph was. The attack was personal. I encourage you to read David’s account of it.

What on earth is wrong with the MSM? Not only is the credibility of their professionalism crumbling but they attack the independent media for introducing the credibility that they themselves lack. Independent media are asking the questions that should be asked. Independent media are exposing the falsehoods that should be exposed. And in doing so, incur the wrath from the MSM who people, traditionally, have looked to for balanced news and opinion.

Margo Kingston – a former journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald and now a leading figure in social media – summed it up rather succinctly in an interview with The AIMN:

It’s scary that the media are not doing their job. Many journalist friends have expressed the same concerns; they don’t feel as though they are traditional journalists anymore, they are simply writing what the powerful want them to write . . . And there are journalists in the traditional media who secretly admit that the new, independent media is the way of the future.

Some, however, are obviously frightened of it. They can persist with their attacks, but like their news stories they are shallow as rossleigh proved when he spoke to the creator of the Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History Facebook group; the one that Paul Sheehan fabricated stories about. It was a glaring example of story being made up to attack the independent media. It’s not a good move. The Fifth Estate is a sleeping giant. It’s starting to wake up and my advice to the old media is not to provoke it. It is going to consume you. We are no longer passive observers. Margo adds:

We need to build a bridge between the new media and journalists who see the corruption within the mainstream media. We need to collaborate and work together. We can do this by luring traditional journalists into the new media and free them of their shackles. If we do this, one day we in the new media will look back and be grateful for the decisions we make today.

That would be ideal, however, even if ‘traditional’ journalists prefer to ignore the freshness that the new media can offer, there has already been an emergence of ‘new’ journalists in the Fifth Estate to fill the void.

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“Tony Abbott Worst PM in History” lacks Irony: Paul Sheehan lacks grip on reality!

tony abbott

Image from 2gb.com

Paul Sheehan devoted two columns to a Facebook group called, “Tony Abbott Worst PM in Australian History.”

Now, I’ve always thought that there are certain opinion writers who set out to make themselves controversial in much the same way that shock jocks work. There’s no point in saying something reasonable; controversy and angry argument sells. If the topic is about doctors prescribing too many drugs because of kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies, we don’t want people who’ll rationally discuss both sides, we want someone who believes in alternative medicine against a representative from a multinational drug company. So I had mixed feelings about giving Paul Sheehan any attention at all.

But there was one thing that gnawed away at me. It’s a concept that I think is worth fighting for. The idea that everyone has a right to participate in the democratic process. Paul Sheehan wrote: “But, otherwise, this site is fake on every level. It is the work a single social activist troll, which means unemployed, who shall remain nameless at this point.”

I am reminded of the late Lionel Murphy, who, when presiding over court case where it was stated that the defendant was a “well-known agitator”, made the wonderful statement: “Mr Neal, is entitled to be an agitator.” The idea that the site was “a fake” because it was the work of someone unemployed, or because they were an activist is part of an argument that I’m sure we’ll hear a lot of over the next three years. We’ll be told no-one is really opposed, it’s just the greenies or the unions or the usual suspects or professional demonstrators. (“Where does one apply to be a professional demonstrator? – I’d like to get paid!)

So, I set about to get the other side of the story. Who was this unemployed male who acting alone, but who had enough money to pay for likes? Mm. Straight away something doesn’t make sense. So I decided to get more information.

In order to keep their identity from the right-wing nutters, I asked I suggested that I call the creator of the page, “Trevor”. She was ok with this but thought a more feminine name would suit her. So I suggested that I call her, “Carrie”.

So, would you like to comment on Paul Sheehan’s article?

Despite what Sheehan has concluded, I am, in fact NOT a male. I am in fact, a single white female in my early 40’s. I don’t fit into any of the stereotypes scribbler Sheehan has described. I work full time and have done so for 30 years (I started work at 13). I am a member of a union and have been for most of my life.

Well, Paul Sheehan isn’t a journalist so I guess he didn’t have time to check his facts. Wait, is he a journalist? Ah, doesn’t matter, I’ve got a deadline.

When did you set up the Facebook page?

I actually set up the page back in March 2013 and had hoped I wouldn’t have to use it. I activated it on the night of the federal election. Within 12 hours the page received 150,000 likes (not one of them paid for).

What do you want to achieve?

At first, I just wanted the page to be a piss-take on “Julia Gillard – Worst PM” and really only expected a few hundred likes, mostly from my friends. Now that it has exploded, I want to be able to offer a “safe haven” (as best I can) for people to be able to post their anger and frustration about Abbott and his government without the standard hate-filled vitriolic responses one usually receives on “pro” Abbott pages.

I noticed a post where you said that any racist comments would be removed and the people making them banned from the site. Are there any other rules about who can comment and what they can say?

There are no rules as such and to be honest, for a page with our numbers, it is very hard to police. I do not allow racism as I absolutely abhor it. I make no apology for singling that out but we do also monitor sexist comments and hate-filled speech. I have also asked our moderators to delete any comments they see that contain any references to assassinating Abbott. I have 9 moderators and they are all real-life friends with the exception of 3 who are Facebook friends of friends.

I suppose that you read the Paul Sheehan article. Any comments?

Sheehan’s opinion is not one I have ever valued. He is unashamedly Liberal biased. I don’t have any time for Murdoch’s minions and long for the day when journalists with integrity return to the fore. Sheehan may think the content of the page is fake but therein lays the true irony. Much of what we post comes from the media outlets he works for.

I’m not sure how people having the ability to post what they like on a Facebook page is a display of closed-mindedness. On the contrary. Isn’t it our democratic right to form our own opinions and share our thoughts and ideas? Our members have had enough of the en masse brainwashing that has occurred for the best part of the last 5 or 6 years via our one-sided mainstream media. They are looking for an alternative voice which is why pages like ours are so popular. It is why people are turning to AIMN, Independent Australia and The Guardian for unbiased reporting. Or at least, the other side of the debate. Balance.

And as for his charge that you a buying “likes”?

I’m sorry to disappoint Sheehan but not one of our likes is fake. Yes, we have some members who use fake profiles but they are usually Liberal trolls too ashamed to post under their real names with their real pictures. We flick them pretty quick. I know it would be convenient to Sheehan for our page to be bolstered by fake likes but the reality is, we didn’t need to buy our members. Unlike of course Tony Abbott with his unusual overnight number explosions on Twitter and Facebook. Yes, it is most inconvenient that Abbott is just not well liked. Not well liked at all.

It seems to me that many of the accusations from Paul Sheehan were easily verifiable. He, for example, suggests that the group’s number of Facebook likes is “bogus”. He gives no reason for such a conclusion, and it seems he’s either misinformed or just being provocative in the hope of gaining attention. Rather sad really, when someone with a column in a widely read newspaper feels that the most important subject that they can discuss is their inability to believe that there are 166,000 people who are opposed to Abbott. Personally, I believe – and I think my beliefs are just as good as yours, Paul – that the figure 166,000 is rather low. I could cite evidence, but that’s not what an opinion piece is about, is it, Mr Sheehan?

Thank you

Thank you

A few years ago I heard a comment on radio that independent political media sites – and in particular blog sites – increase in popularity under a conservative government. The reason behind that is fairly obvious: most independent sites favour a progressive government whereas the mainstream media (MSM), especially in Australia, openly support a conservative government. And who is in government determines who is going to be the most vocally active.

Over the last six years we have seen our MSM (especially the Murdoch media) find something to condemn the Labor and Minority Governments about and witnessed a disgraceful amount of mud throwing. The daily news turned into a daily complaint. But they’re happy now: a conservative government is at the helm and look how quiet the MSM have gone in their political attacks. Soft. Shallow.

So now it’s our turn.

The radio comment that independent sites increase in popularity was very prophetic. Independent Australia mentioned the other day that they experienced their best day yet and September was the busiest month ever for another independent site, Café Whispers.

And so it was with The Australian Independent Media Network. During September over 501,000 people visited the site. Yes, a half a million people read our articles.

We can not let that achievement pass without saying thank you, to you – our readers. It gives our writers great heart and encouragement to know their efforts are rewarded by your readership. You inspire us. You help keep us motivated.

And it is via other social media platforms where our readership generates from. It is obvious that people are turning to Facebook, Twitter and the independent blogs in a political environment they find unsatisfactory. These media offer people the opportunity to have a voice.

But remaining active can be hard work. For all of us this is a labour of love. We do what we do here because we believe in it. We believe it is important to provide an alternative to the MSM ‘opinions’. We will always give you an independent alternative to Murdoch, Gina, Kerry, and the government-owned ABC. However our contributors don’t do this for money. We are not fortunate enough at this stage to be generating enough of an income to cover running costs let alone provide some compensation to our writers.

Due to the continued ongoing success of The AIMN, we have found our running costs are increasing to match our increased popularity. Everyone here does so on a volunteer basis – contributors, writers, editors, researchers etc however there are still running costs involved with running a successful site.

Even if we don’t earn a red cent we will still keep doing what we’re doing, however, the efforts of many on this site are worthy of some reward and as such we’ve introduced a Donate to Site facility. Readers are not expected to contribute as we are grateful and honoured just by your readership. To those who have already contributed I say thank you.

But to everybody, I say a big thank you for all of your dedicated support.

 

Meanwhile, in other news

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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Some things are hard to argue with!

As you can see, there’s not much difference between selling Amway and buying what the Liberals are offering. Amway believes in Freedom and Family, but the Liberals have replaced this with Opportunity. They both like Hope and Reward. Interesting that Integrity, Honesty and Compassion aren’t there anywhere. I thought that was bad enough.

But then I noticed these on the Internet, and in the interests of balance I thought I’d share them.

Fox

OK, some of you may think that statement shows a limited grasp on reality, but try and explain the following to me.

Arguments

Now you know why Alan Jones has an audience!

 

Feel free to speak about whatever I want you to

Part A

In an address to the IPA titled “Freedom Wars”, Tony Abbott declared that it is his intention to repeal s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, claiming that this section of the Act impacts upon Freedom of Speech. This ideal of freedom of speech is that which we should all aspire to, however, as a friend once stated: You mean the freedom to be an asshole. We will explore this later.

The text of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) can be found via Austlii.

Section C18 of the Act, that being which Tony Abbott so vehemently opposes concerns offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin. That’s correct, it’s offensive behaviour, with the specifics being:

For an act to be unlawful it must fulfill the following criteria:

  • that the action causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or that it is done in a public place.
  • that the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people.
  • that the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.

So let us consider that which is not considered unlawful under s18C of the Act.

It is not a group of friends in a public bar talking amongst themselves, even if the subject matter would offend and humilitate a person standing directly next to them. For example, racist jokes.

It is not public discussions for the purpose of information, education or analysis.

There is also the matter of intention plus “the reasonable person test” that is, would a reasonable person given an identical set of circumstances feel humiliated or intimidated. With regard to intent; for example a remark said in public about a person’s religion might offend that person, however if there was lack of intent on the first person’s part to cause offence, then it is not racial vilification.

Therefore, what we are dealing with is people who want the right to make statements in the public forum, and with the intention of causing offence and humiliation. Enter Andrew Bolt.

Is it nothing more than a sheer coincidence that Abbott announced his intention of changing the racial vilification section of the Racial Discrimination Act just prior to Bolt writing this one. How dare they try to censor this flyer.

Andrew Bolt:

Sadly, the ACT Government seems only too keen on the idea:

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said laws prohibiting religious vilification should be considered by a review of the act that is being conducted by the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council.

How dare these people presume to strip others of the right to speak? How dare they?

And . . . again, where Bolt once again attempts to defend freedom:

I make no comment on their opinion but on the principle.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott rightly calls the laws under which two of my articles on this matter were declared unlawful an offence against free speech, and says he will strip them back. But the Left is furious, and introduces absurd excuses for their excesses:

As reported in news.com, Mr Abbott’s speech came after he wrote in The Australian that section 18C of the act was a “threat” to freedom of speech.

“Expression or advocacy should never be unlawful merely because it is offensive,” he wrote.

All well and good, but this is where it gets strange . . .

Part B

The parties that are advocating relaxation to the freedom of speech laws, nay, hysterically demanding it, are the ones who are in reality practicing the most rabid suppression of it. They want the freedom to be an asshole whilst limiting free speech on those who hold opposing views (to them). You’ll be able to racially vilify or abuse anyone whatsoever, but you will be silenced if any form of dissent, no matter how trivial, is directed towards them.

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi provides us with a number of examples where he takes freedom of speech to mean exactly ‘freedom to be an asshole’. From his Facebook page:

His post “300 more illegal arrivals in the past three days. Labor’s border failures are costing us over $10 billion” attracted a large number of comments, mostly in support of what he said. Here are some of the responses:

I wonder how these lefties will feel when one of there family gets raped like the girl at Sydney uni by a so called legal asylum seeker. Then we have aids tripling in NT ,not to mention known terrorists being released into the community. I class left wing progressive socialists as much a threat to Australia as Islam.

Just what we need more Sudanese and samarlians they’ve settled well hear,NOT! There would have to be a very high likely hood they are connected to terrorist group alshabab,they would be the only ones with the money to get here.

Just think of all the radical muslim’s that are coming as well!

And his post “Here are some facts surrounding the convicted Egyptian jihadist living in the Adelaide Hills…and still this Government won’t admit their failure to protect our borders and our nation. For more of today’s bulletin go to CoryBernardi.com” also attracted comments of support.

Just think of all the radical muslim’s that are coming as well!

We will never know how many other terrorists, murderers or people of disrepute have come into our country because of this Gov, and it’s loss of control of our boarders. We will never know who could be walking amongst us, or what threats could be awaiting our country. This Gov, has put our country in a very vulnerable situation because it has not done it’s job of protecting our boarders !!!!!!!!!!

We should start denying entry to muslims. Make it happen Cory! Fight the good Christian fight!

One terrorist detected….thousands go undetected. Big salaries being paid for incompetence. Stop muslim migration in Australia whether it be legal or illegal. Don’t let history repeat itself.

As much as I disagree with Bernardi’s opinion, or those who support it, I have no problem with their right to express it (however some of it borders on an incitement to racial hatred and should not have been published). Now here’s where it gets funny; where the freedom to be an asshole takes precedent over freedom of speech. I left a simple comment on his page:

Could you please point out why they are illegal arrivals?

That comment was removed and I was subsequently blocked from commenting on his page again. Yes, they love freedom of speech, don’t they? They can vilify anybody who is non-white or non-Christian but but you can’t question their ‘right’ to do so.

There are a number of other examples across social media that confirm the hypocrisy of these right-wing fundamentalists. Let’s also look at Andrew Laming (a politician fond of composing racist tweets), courtesy of Michael White:

Federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming went on a trolling warpath earlier this month in regards to his perception that the National Broadband Network (NBN) was being rolled out in the Brisbane area on a politico-geographic agenda.

“The cold, hard reality in Brisbane is that households in Labor seats are eight times more likely to get the NBN than those in Coalition seats.”

“Worse, the odds are around 50 per cent better if your Labor MP is a minister. This is a save-the-political-furniture strategy. They are not targeting marginal seats here. They are just trying to survive.”

Of course, there are many reasons why his position was completely wrong, as I highlighted in my article last week on how the Coalition – (deliberately or otherwise) – manage to get their facts on the NBN completely wrong.

Constantly.

At the time of his rant – (spread throughout the media over several days) – myself, @CameronWatt and @Gwyntaglaw engaged in a terse dialogue on Twitter with Laming, pointing out clear, well documented facts in regards to the NBN and its rollout schedule, that were contrary to Laming’s own beliefs on the matter.

He ably demonstrated his inability to grasp even the basic concepts of how the NBN works, how it connects together, and how technical matters – (in most cases) – dictate which parts of the network are rolled out first.

He clearly didn’t like being shown up as being wrong about it.

In fact, he hated it.

How much did he hate it? Well, he blocked me on Twitter, a fact I discovered when putting together the aforementioned article last week.

They really do get precious about freedom of speech when it’s not engaged under their rules. They raise their preciousness to the point of being ridiculous. Here is one that definitely ranks as ridiculous:

Andrew Nikolic, a Liberal Party candidate in Tasmania has threatened to contact the employers of Facebook users who “liked” a satirical article posted about him online.

Mr Nikolic informed the New Examiner last week that if the offending article was not taken down he would write to the employers of all the individuals who had “liked” the story.

“I hope the employers and influencers of your satirical group will be amused by the formal letters of complaint I will now send them on this issue,” wrote Mr Nikolic in a Facebook comment that has since been deleted.

Joe Hockey is another who denies free speech to those who have any semblence of opinions that differ from his own.

Yesterday I discovered that Joe Hockey had called me a troll and blocked me on twitter. My dastardly crime that had caused Joe Hockey to call me a Labor Troll was the reposting of one of his own tweets.

I will say that again, my trollish crime was re-posting one of Joe Hockey’s own tweets.

Oh dear Joe Hockey, Oh deary dear. Is this what our politicians have come to? Reduced to name calling and public hissy fits because a member of the public questions their own words.

It was your own words I was responding to Joe, not Labors words, not a PR piece or a smear campaign designed to discredit you, but your own words, Joe Hockey.

Now go back and read Part A again. Do you see two parallel worlds?

If time permits, also do a Google search and you’ll find dozens of instances where Coalition politicians have blocked people for exercising their freedom of speech; for reasons none other than having a different opinion. It really is a case of freedom to be an asshole. You can vilify, say, Aborigines or Muslims in their brave new world, but you can’t ask them to justify it.

Their reaction to the few examples I’ve revealed in Part B certainly do make their intentions in Part A nothing but Freedom of speech LNP style: Feel free to speak about whatever I want you to.

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How come readers of the Fifth Estate can see what our journalists can’t?

Apart from momentarily shouting that it will make Australia a better place, ie, acting as Tony Abbott’s mouthpiece, the mainstream media hasn’t said boo about Abbott’s Industrial Relations policy, unveiled a few days ago. I’ve been waiting. No doubt they are aware that in truth it will hurt the pocket and the work/life balance of most working Australians and they think it’s best to keep that a secret to themselves. Either that, or they see nothing negative about the policy.

If you want to know if the policy is being dissected and discussed then you can’t rely on the old media (the mainstream media – MSM). You need to turn to the new media – the Fifth Estate. I did such a thing today and it was refreshing to see the opinions of people who really matter: workers, not journalists. Following is a sample of what I found:

From Tom R at Café Whispers:

I get the distinct impression that the voices such as our media and the Australian Industry Group etc claiming that the libs IR policy is ‘timid’ are not being completely frank with the electorate.

The Daily Derp has a column highlighting Productivity and the effect the previous workchoices incarnation had on on it:

http://thedailyderp.net/2013/05/10/abbott-and-abetz-announce-workers-paradise/

But the gist of what is going on is highlighted in this statement from that column:

This article was copied form The Daily Derp on 9 May, 2013 at 22:04. You can read the original article here: http://thedailyderp.net/2013/05/10/abbott-and-abetz-announce-workers-paradise/

These new IR laws the LNP plan to introduce are Workchoices by stealth, designed to do nothing except smash the unions, and put all the power in an employer/employee relationship fully in the hands of employers, just as Workchoices did.

It is only by ‘stealth’ if our media refuse to analyse and then report their findings in the media at large. I have not seen that happen to date. It is all ‘timid’, which it isn’t, it is just sneakier.

The unions and Labor need to be vocal about this, not rabidly so, but very loud. Point out that, even though he says ‘no disadvantage’, that means ‘no disadvantage’ under the liberals interpretation of the term, ie, ‘no disadvantage’ for the employer.

I am pretty sure the media will not highlight this. It is time for Labor to shout it out for all to hear. Workchoices is back, no matter how much our totally failed fourth estate try to tell us otherwise.

From Min at Café Whispers:

. . . clearly the words “timid” and “industrial lite” are being used to enhance the somewhat false impression that New WorkChoices is non-threatening . . . to help us remain “relaxed and comfortable”.

The one which makes me smile (somewhat wryly) is the claim that Tony Abbott was never all that keen on WorkChoices. This is due solely to his often reported comment that WorkChoices went too far. This was never about policy but Abbott speculating on why the Liberals lost the election. He wasn’t suggesting that WorkChoices was wrong, just that they shouldn’t have gone so far because it cost them the election. With a good majority a likely outcome, Abbott will not have any such qualms in the future.

From Tom R again.

While reading the coalitions document, this is the relevant section that worries me the most:

A Coalition Government will ensure that enterprise agreements cannot restrict the use of IFAs. Because a Coalition Government will retain Labor’s own ‘Better Off Overall Test’ it will mean that any IFA will always lead to a worker being better off. A Coalition Government will not reintroduce AWAs.

http://www.liberal.org.au/sites/default/files/13-05-09%20The%20Coalitions%20Policy%20to%20Improve%20the%20Fair%20Work%20Laws.pdf

Now, correct me if I am wrong here, but an enterprise agreement is designed specifically to restrict an IFA, in that trades can only be done where the IFA will not result in the agreement being worst off.
http://www.workplaceinfo.com.au/resources/employment-topics-a-z/better-off-overall-test-boot

For them to claim that enterprise agreements will not restrict an IFA, means that the worst off test cannot be applied. It is internally inconsistent. Both cannot happen. Reading it in the worst light, it can only mean that they will apply a ‘Better Off Overall Test’ without being restricted by an existing enterprise agreement. Basically, they have bypassed the enterprise agreement section of the ‘Better Off Overall Test’, while at the same time claiming they will retain Labor’s own ‘Better Off Overall Test’.

I also recall a previous rendition of the Libs IR policy that claimed an AWA will always lead to a worker being better off.

A Coalition Government will not reintroduce AWAs.

No, they are just calling them IFA’s, but they are designed to do the same thing.

From Min:

. . . the reason that Howard originally brought this in was to delay OH&S inspections by union representatives. Many is the case, mostly onsite at isolated locations where following an industrial accident that the bosses sought to exclude any data being gathered pertaining to the accident site. The delay in accessing the site written into legislation suited the bosses perfectly.

From Jane:

As for SerfChoices, it has always been unpopular with employees and i can’t see any advantage for employers, particularly small employers, in having to negotiate and set individual rates of pay & conditions for every employee.

Inefficient and frankly bloody stupid. Much easier and less time consuming for both boss and employee to work within the existing framework and for employees who have never been taught how to negotiate their rates of pay or conditions.

Tom R, of course it’s SerfChoices by stealth and there are no doubt still plenty of people in the workforce who suffered under the imposition of that attempt to reduce the workers to servitude.

And some evidence that Serfchoices is counter productive wrt productivity:

http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/09/07/searching-for-truth-on-productivity-among-the-ir-spin/

And some evidence that SerfChoices is just that – a plan to return to the good old days of personal fiefdoms and serfdom for the workers:

http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/1496

From Nasking on The Political Sword:

One only has to think back on Abbott’s gleeful address to the Tea-Part like anti-carbon rally . . .

His kowtowing to Murdoch, owner of Fox News, at the IPA dinner . . .

Hockey’s brandishing of American Republican Party propaganda lingo like ‘entitlements’ . . .

Their addiction to loud mouthed shock jocks who sound more Rush Limbaugh and less sane and rational by the day . . .

To know that their softly softly approach on industrial relations, health care, education and do on are a ruse . . . complete BS.

Yes, Abbott and team also get into UK Cameron’s ‘big society’ . . . but let’s face it . . . even American Republicans love the idea of replacing essential service jobs paid for by Govt with volunteers . . . working for tax exempt charities.

The corporatised MSM . . . the neo-Liberal spruikers and apologists will generally fail to tell you that Abbott and Hockey are born again foxes in sheep clothing . . .

I won’t.

Again from Nasking:

. . . And only want to get out the chainsaw to rip into the unions splattering blood all over the workplace.

Be a wee bit more convincing if they weren’t the old guard Liberals . . . the Blitzkrieg troops who got so excited and showed so much hubris about IR reform when they last had both the Senate and House of Reps.

I bet that Workchoices’ body is being reanimated now in Joe Hockey’s basement . . . Andrew Robb furiously working on the new costume and makeup after the facelift approved by Dr Rodent and Mr Smuggles themselves.

“Not long now my creation . . my love . . . not long now . . . you shall walk amongst them again soon” squeals Dr Rodent . . . fingers twitching, stroking the jutting eyebrows in rapturous glee.

The bride of Workchoices farts.

No longer eyes wide shut.

There we have a very small sample from a few contributors. But what astounds me, is that on just a couple of ‘new media’ sites and from just a handful of commenters chosen randomly, how come they have more to say than our political journalists, who appear to be in hiding? How come they can sniff the truth out of this policy but our political journalists can’t?

Further, one only has to go to Twitter to see the number of exchanges that citizen journalists are having with the media journalists, and raising the same points. More and more people are questioning their lack of honesty in the way this policy is being reported, which they unanimously laugh off as just another lefty conspiracy theory. It sums up why they don’t report the truth: they are simply oblivious to it.

How come readers of the Fifth Estate can see what they can’t?

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