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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?

Tony Abbott’s media monitoring: we have a message for him

The recent headline in The Sydney Morning Herald  – Abbott government spends up big on media monitoring – went on to tell its readers that:

Federal government departments are spending eye-watering sums to know what the public is thinking and what the media is saying about them . . .

Social media – in particular Facebook – was saturated with the story and subsequent howls of derision over such a costly and questionable exercise.

I disagree.

I want this government to spend as much time and money as it takes to monitor ‘what the public is thinking and what the media is saying about them’. They seriously need to know. They need to take a good look at what’s happening on social media – a long, hard look – where there are refreshingly honest opinions about how utterly incompetent, heartless and disgraceful they are (whereas no such critique exists in the mainstream media). They need to to look, listen, and learn. Thousands of social media users will tell them that this government is considered the closest thing to fascism seen in the free world, while personal attacks on Tony Abbott continue; notably suggestions that the man is a sociopath. While there certainly is no proof, it is understandable that such opinions exist given the behaviour of this government and its leader.

But if they do want to know what people outside the fluffy Murdoch media think, they can always start with this site.

Hundreds of articles have been published on The AIMN echoing what the public think of the worst government in Australia’s history – the Abbott government – and I’d l really appreciate that one or some of their minions take a look at us. Actually, I would implore them to. This site represents the political and social views of a large number of disgruntled Australians. Given the recent opinion polls and the noticeable stench of this woeful government, it would be safe to say we now represent the views of most Australians: ordinary people appalled by this mess, ordinary people appalled at seeing their country – to put it bluntly – go to crap.

However, to save them from rummaging through The AIMN (and similar sites), Facebook and Twitter I have compiled a summary of what I have found of them. I will address it to Tony Abbott personally.

Dear Tony Abbott,

Do you really want to know what the public is thinking of you and your government? After being heavily involved in social media since your election win I’ve come up with the following (based on thousands of comments I have read). This is what people are saying about you (with my own comments in italics):

  • You are a prime minister who displays breathtaking incompetence. The role of prime minister is far beyond you.
  • You are a prime minister who regularly embarrasses both yourself and your country on national and international stages.
  • You are a prime minister who shows more loyalty to the elite few ahead of the wider electorate.
  • You are a prime minister who has no interest in the opportunities of the future.
  • You are a prime minister who is out of touch with the majority of Australians.
  • You are an extreme radical.
  • You are a person who can’t sustain media and public scrutiny without ‘cracking’.
  • You are a habitual liar and back-flipper.
  • You are a  person who is totally out of touch with reality.
  • You lack direction.
  • You are a prime minister who not only ignores that we belong in a global community, but also want to remain isolationist.
  • You are a complete idiot who cannot make a public appearance without being stage managed.
  • You have lied about everything that Australian people value: the ABC, pensions, Medicare, our security etc etc. You have lost the peoples’ trust.
  • The cruelty of your policies know no bounds, and the economic incompetence is breathtaking.
  • I agree with all of the above but I certainly don’t agree with this one: some people would like harm to come to you. I personally wish no harm of you and I deplore seeing such comments. I also deplored the calls from far right-wing radicals to have Julia Gillard shot, dumped out to sea in a chaff bag, or those – including yourself – standing under signs screaming ‘ditch the witch’. In what context does ‘ditch’ mean? Something sinister, I imagine. You didn’t appear too concerned about these particular threats which leads me to believe this is behaviour you tolerate. So it may come as no surprise that daily people are posting comments wishing you the same. They hate you that much, yet they chose to follow your lead in displaying hate. Again, I deplore those behaviors from any political persuasion.
  • For a couple of years now people have questioned the nuances of your relationship with Peta Credlin and the power she may wield as a result. Personally, I really don’t care about your private life, but the power she wields is questioned not only on social media but the mainstream media as well.
  • The question of your apparent non-renouncement of your British citizenship is gaining momentum. Quite a storm has developed. We may never find out the answer, but the consensus among thousands of people is that if you are not legally entitled to hold an office in the Australian Parliament, then you should be disqualified from receiving the parliamentary pension based on your years of service. Come clean!
  • This will surprise you: most Labor voters want you to stay on as prime minister until the election because you are considered Labor’s best weapon. Conversely, many disgruntled Liberal voters want you removed forthwith. No matter what people want, they do not expect you to be in the job by the end of June.

Have you heard enough? I could go on – there is so much more. And I haven’t even started on your ministers yet. But at this stage I won’t: people are saying many of the same things about them too.

Lingua Tribute: Translators are not tools

[君子不器 Junzi bu qi] Translators are not tools

A Tribute to Linda Jaivin’s Found in Translation: In Praise of a Plural World

‘Linda Jaivin has been translating from Chinese for more than thirty years. While her specialty is subtitles, she has also translated song lyrics, poetry and fiction, and interpreted for ABC film crews, Chinese artists and even the English singer Billy Bragg as he gave his take on socialism to some Beijing rockers. In Found in Translation she reveals the work of the translator and considers whether different worldviews can be bridged. She pays special attention to China and the English-speaking West, Australia in particular, but also discusses French, Japanese and even the odd phrase of Maori. This is a free-ranging essay, personal and informed, about translation in its narrowest and broadest senses, and the prism – occasionally prison – of culture.’

The print version or ebook can be purchased by clicking this image:

The Confucian saying, 君子不器 Junzi bu qi, is not hard to decipher according to Linda Jaivin, just to translate. Take your pick: ‘The accomplished/gentleman scholar is not a utensil/pot/tool.’ If it’s possible for a woman to be to a ‘gentleman scholar’, then Linda more than fits that tag from her essay for the Quarterly magazine.

The contact page on her website is for ‘messages or love letters’. It entices the sender to engage ‘tutoiement’ – the process of using the informal ‘tu’ in French. We should all pay homage there to her invisible hand behind the subtitles that have enriched cinephiles’ lives for decades. As a former teacher of NESB [Non-English Speaking Background] students and an author and sub-editor with Global Voices Online, this is my response to her essay and my tribute to translators.

In 1980 I attended a matinee Woody Allen doubleheader in Lisbon. The packed house was a clear indicator of his international popularity. I remember laughing loudly during both movies. It was a tad embarrassing for my reactions were slightly ahead of the pack as most of the audience were reading the subtitles. His New York Jewish humour didn’t seem to ruffle the Portuguese audience’s enjoyment.

Lingua Voices

Our GV Lingua team has volunteer translators for approximately forty languages. They are as diverse as Aymara, Magyar [Hungarian], Swahili, Bangla, Korean and Amharic [official language of Ethiopia and second-most spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic]. In addition, posts are also translated into English as all stories on the main section use that lingua franca. Nearly 100,000 translations of posts have been completed since 2006.Volunteers choose which ones they will translate. It is a form of feedback that can be a bit disheartening sometimes but that is compensated for when quoted bloggers/ tweeters find their words in two kinds of Chinese, Filipino or Farsi and send messages of delight.

Word play

As an author and a sub-editor helping with translations into English, my earliest lesson was to avoid puns. Word plays are potential nightmares for audience and translators alike. The most common slang in Oz English can stump even experienced linguists. It belongs in Pandora’s box, with jargon and cricket metaphors, marked ‘never to be opened’. Allusions to Australian Rules football prove even more dangerous.

When I wrote ‘Coca Cola Machine ‘Out of Order’ in Australia’ it was translated into six other languages including Malagasy, Macedonian and Catalan. In French it became ‘Distributeur Coca-Cola « En panne » en Australie’ [‘Distributor Coca-Cola ‘Broken Down’ in Australia] abandoning the double play on words. The charged word, ‘machine’, just went through to the keeper. That’s wicket-keeper, not goal-keeper, in case anyone is translating this response.

Neologisms [new words] are an essential element of netizen-speak but they are not universally understood even amongst geeks or tweeps (not to be confused with tweeping). Inevitably we fall captive to the latest. ‘Lacticvist’ was impossible to resist when breastfeeding in public hotted up in early 2012 but its rendition as ‘les militantes de l’allaitement maternel’ was a real mouthful. De l’autre côté, ‘SlutWalks’ was simply incorporated into the German, Italian and French using quotation marks – a very slippery slope indeed for L’Académie français. The Spanish translator was more creative with ‘Marcha de putas’- roughly ‘march of whores’ though it had currency in Brazil by then. Portuguese prefers ‘Marcha das Vadias’ i.e. ‘Bitches’.

It is often hard to know exactly which connotations attached to words like these, especially in different languages and cultures. Linda observes, “The swearwords and curses of a language expose what is forbidden, what is permitted and what is held sacred in that culture.”The use of Twitter hashtags presents its own complications. Some tweeters use multilingual tags such as #Syria #Siria #Syrie #Syrien to reach a wider audience but limit the length of the message. Others tweet in more than one language. GV always includes the original text when quoting plus a translation. The 140-character limit adds a challenge normally confined to post titles or headings, where brevity invites wit but not always clarity.

Lingua global

Linda asks, ‘Ĉu vi parolas Esperanton?’ When my partner and I visited Iceland in July 2013, we were entertained by an Esperanto choir on the grand steps of Reykjavík’s Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. They were taking a break from the World Congress of Esperanto, which involved over one thousand participants from fifty-five countries. Linda would be glad to know that there were some Chinese involved. Hvað er merking hörpu? No prizes for guessing that one, though harpa has two distinct meanings in Icelandic.Sub-editing posts written originally in a LOTE (Language other than English) is both daunting and rewarding. I often use Google Translate to check a word or phrase or to get a better grasp on the context.

Google doesn’t seem to like Japanese but sometimes gets it right. A scandal about Tokyo’s governor taking a bribe had this: ‘The document is a note of hand to borrow 50 million yen with no interest, no collateral and no return date set.’  I presumed ‘note of hand’ referred to something hand-written but it turned out to be a legit term for an informal promissory note. I.O.U. might have sufficed even if some readers wouldn’t have understood the etymology. It is a clear forerunner of SMS and twitter-speak.

“Words have the power to change the way we think.”

Meanwhile the Chinese government is trying to eradicate Chinglish [中式英語]  in a bid to stop people who ‘slip carefully’ in their translations. Chinese netizens are also annoying the authorities by mining euphemisms that Internet surveillance software is not blocking yet. They started using the term “tea talk” or “forced to drink tea” [被喝茶] to describe vigorous interrogations by the internal security police.“River crab’ (censorship)  and ‘watch uncle’ (corruption) have required pest control. Mention of the 18th National Party Congress was banned on Sina Weibo [China’s version of Twitter] and their Facebook equivalent Renren, so it became ‘Sparta’ because of its similar sound. Modifying English words also became a game on Weibo. Freedamn [中國特色自由] is freedom with Chinese characteristics. You can raise the red lantern against China’s censorship by offering a friendly Internet connection for the new circumvention software called Lantern [燈籠].

You have to wonder what the Chinese censors would have made of the ChinaSmacks’ translation of the ‘My Vagina Says – If your vagina could talk, what would she say?’ meme. It certainly went against stereotype: “You need to be invited – to get in!”

Barbaros babble

Chinese is one of the United Nations six official diplomatic languages. The others are Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish. They are obviously vehicular but they don’t always travel that well. We spent a month in 1996 at a Spanish language school in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The teachers claimed that Cubans speaking Spanish sound like they have a mouthful of chewing gum. At that time my Chilean colleagues and students at Melbourne’s Westall Secondary College tested my tin ear by omitting the end or middle of words and sometimes both. They often contracted two of these into one word. There’s a word for everything in English, often borrowed. ‘Elision’ might fit here or perhaps ‘syncope’.Arabic should present fewer difficulties, at least for Arabs. However, a Tunisian blogger maintains that their vernacular can be almost impenetrable at times, even to near neighbours.

Linda canvasses “linguistic imperialism”. English may be the great vehicular language but assumptions about its  international currency are hazardous. The term ‘dog-whistling’ originated down under thanks to Prime Minister John Howard et al and has spread to some in the U.S. and UK. One of my posts began :

“There has been a contest for the worst pun following remarks by Teresa Gambaro [MP who] called for immigrants on work visas to be taught ‘social norms’ such as the use of deodorants and waiting in orderly queues.”

I was stretching all the rules about language accessibility but you’ve got to have fun. ‘Raw prawn’ and ‘hair of the dog’ were my favourites. My advice: “Check it out while the poop is still fresh”. You wouldn’t be dead for quids!

Northern Territory lights

Segue to Katherine High School 2002. After sharing my interest in etymology with my Year 8 class, I was approached on lunchtime yard duty by an unfamiliar youth who asked if it was true that I read the dictionary for fun. My confirmation brought the response, “You’re a very sick man!”When we were teaching in Maningrida in Arnhem Land during 2003-6, senior students were required to get exemptions to enroll in English as a Second Language [ESL]. For most it was not their second, third or in some cases even fourth or fifth. The indigenous community, and its homelands, has ten or more languages. Some are spoken by one or two extended families yet are healthy, rich and vibrant. Nakkara, with ap,proximately 60 speakers, and Rembarrnga are two of those. The township has a lingua franca but somewhat surprisingly it isn’t the local traditional owners’ Ndjebbana/Kunibidji but rather the other major language of the township Burarra.

Ars Poetica

Linda explores difficulties with translating poetry. They apply equally to song lyrics. Welsh band Manic Street Preachers’ song ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’ didn’t faze some of our translators. Rezwan did an outstanding job in Bangla, going by my back-translation using Google. However, there was a stumble over ‘fascists’. Most online machines were fooled, ‘phyasistaderao’ being the only stab for ফ্যাসিস্টদেরও. Linda is, of course, no fan of “machine translations”.

Postscript

Finally, some wisdom from multi-linguist supremo, Danica Radisic, GV’s Central and Eastern Europe editor. Recently Niki wrote of her childhood growing up as a third culture kid:

Our parents’ work and lives allowed us to travel to different countries and often live on several different continents throughout our childhood, learn to speak countless languages and move seamlessly between cultures…”

Her ability to converse with someone simultaneously in their respective native languages is awesome. She concludes:

“…this spot on the Word Wide Web [GV] that is a scrapbook of different cultures and opposing views, is where third culture kids come when they grow up.”

The full story is on The Bridge at GV. Please join our global conversation.

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.

This isn’t good enough, Mr Shorten

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au

Bill Shorten (image from theaustralian.com.au)

The Government, and in particular Tony Abbott and the education minister Christopher Pyne have come in for a caning over their education reforms which, by all accounts, are a complete back flip (and a lie) from what they promised during the election campaign.

There are two issues: they lied; and their proposed reforms dismantle the far better models negotiated by the previous government.

The outrage is being thundered across social media and a small whimper is also coming from some sections of the mainstream media. But who are raising their voices in protest? Mostly, the protests are from concerned parents via Facebook or Twitter and some State premiers via the non-Murdoch tabloids.

Thousands of people across social media are also asking; “Where is Bill Shorten?” Yes, where is he? This has been a monumental balls-up by the Government and he could, to quote a friend, turn this into a “turkey shoot”. The Government’s lie and back flips over education have been exposed yet he has gone mute. He should be hammering the point home and he should be hammering it relentlessly. It was a style that helped Tony Abbott win office. He can learn from it. Yet what has been the response from the Opposition? This wet lettuce leaf attack:

The opposition education spokeswoman, Kate Ellis, said the Coalition’s backflip was a betrayal of students, teachers and parents.

Wow. I bet that hurt.

I thought, just maybe, that the Labor Party might have something resembling a media release about this on their web site and the mainstream media were playing their usual game of ignoring it. After all, when Julia Gillard was prime minister the ALP site was loaded with media releases from both her and her ministers. Even though they were conveniently overlooked by the media, at least they were saying something. At least they were attempting to get their message out.

So I took a look. This was all I found; a blog post called Abbott Backflips on Better Schools by a person named Deb Boughton which reads:


Have you heard what’s happened?

As a teacher for nearly three decades, it’s absolutely ridiculous to find out that the Coalition Government yesterday announced that they “cannot go ahead with the Gonski funding arrangements”.

The Better Schools reform was set to deliver more resources for our kids and provide greater support for students who needed it most. It’s about making sure that none of my students are left behind no matter what their circumstances are. Now all of that is under threat.

What makes it even worse was that not only are they just cutting funding for our kids, but Tony Abbott and the Coalition lied about it. During the election, they declared they were on a “unity ticket” with Labor’s plan for Better Schools, but now it just seems they want my students and my school to get by with even less.

The NSW Government has already stood up to say that they will fight any changes, but we need to send Tony Abbott a clear message: we want our Better Schools.

I’m not usually a political person, but this is too important for me to stay quiet on. You and I have to speak up on this so we can have the better schools we were promised.

Yours sincerely,

Deb Boughton

Posted by Australian Labor on November 26, 2013

That’s all. Nothing else. It’s a good post and good on Deb Boughton for writing it, but notice the date? November 26. Nothing else and nothing since. Was it a media release? No. Was it by member of the Opposition? No. It was a blog post. A blog post almost a week old that has attracted not one comment. It has received a total of only 13 ‘Likes’ on Facebook and hasn’t even been shared on Twitter.

I would rightly assume that the Leader of the Opposition could command a wider audience than this humble blog. If we can write an article, for example, critical of the Prime Minister that attracts over 115,000 views in one day alone and be shared on 56,000 Facebook pages, over 460 Twitter re-tweets and 330 comments, then what could Mr Shorten achieve?

Bill, you’re obviously doing something wrong, and that isn’t good enough.

 

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?

Australia’s media problem (and how we can fix it)

media

A guest post by Chris Were.

Editor’s note: After reading this post you may easily form the opinion that The AIMN is promoting the efforts of a ‘rival’ site. This isn’t so. In the independent media there are no rival sites as long as we maintain our focus of providing a more balanced forum than the main stream media. We are, after all, supporting the same cause. I now hand you over to Chris:

Why did the Murdoch media have such influence over the recent Australian election and what can we do about it?

The real winner in the Australian election wasn’t Tony Abbott, but the American citizen that no one voted for — Rupert Murdoch. With headlines such as “Kick this mob out” overlaying a picture of Kevin Rudd, the Murdoch press presented a very one-sided election coverage that was as much anti-Rudd as it was pro-Abbott. Regardless of Murdoch supporting Abbott or Rudd, such biased political coverage is disturbing at best and at it’s worst, very destructive to a democratic country.

In Australia, 11 of 12 capital city daily papers are owned by either Murdoch or Fairfax, providing a monopoly over the public discourse on important issues.

We are living a modern age of blogging and social media, with access to incredible amounts of information, and yet it is the mainstream media that still sets the national political agenda.

This is wrong.

One of the greatest challenges in our modern era is to ensure the majority are well informed on the important issues of the day — which is not the case with the current media monopolies controlling the public conversation.

There is a wealth of great content being generated on websites such as the The Conversation, Australian Independent Media Network, New Matilda, Independent Australia, Macrobusiness, Delimiter through to bloggers such as The Failed Estate, Grog’s Gamut etc. However, despite these websites providing thoughtful, critical analysis and discussion, they don’t reach a mainstream audience.

In the last five years social media has exploded, with more than 2m Australians on Twitter and more than 10m on Facebook. While this has been a great enabler of discussion, it has replaced the water cooler or dinner table discussion rather than helped set the national discourse. The majority of political discussion on these mediums are still dictated by the narratives in the mainstream media.

An article published in the mainstream media will reach the largest cross section of our community. From the local plumber through to the lawyer across the road or the priest in the parish around the corner. When you run into the local plumber, it is quite likely they are familiar with the narrative of the local paper, enabling you to have a shared information base to discuss the issues of the day.

When visiting www.news.com.au, you are presented with celebrity gossip and the latest sporting headlines along with a dash of politics. Readers will naturally be more interested in some topics than others, but this aggregated news source ensures it is read by the whole community, not a minority.

The content of Australia’s new media websites need to be packaged in a simple, easy to access format and cover a wide variety of topics. This will allow the content to reach a broader cross section of the community and ideally, given a large enough audience, set the narrative on important issues.

Sure, those who are tech savvy enough can curate their own personalised news from Twitter, Facebook or even RSS, but those people (myself included) are the minority. There are numerous new media websites that produce excellent content across each category (sport, finance, gossip, politics etc.), but the audience has to actively seek out those sources.

Where is the simple alternative that show cases the best non-mainstream content in Australia?

It’s time this content was all in one place.

It’s time for us, the people, to claim ownership of the narrative.

It’s time the front page was determined by the readers.

And of course, it’s essential that those putting in the time, effort and research to write quality content are adequately paid for their work.

These are some of the goals of Newsflock. It won’t happen over night, but I’m determined it will happen. If you want to help or are a publisher who is interested in participating, get in touch via @newsflock on twitter or the Newsflock Facebook page.

This article was first published on Newsflock October 1,2013.

  • Chris Were

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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John Lord’s Election Diary Update No. 6

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au

Sunday, August 4

Like the political tragic that I am, I watch the ABCs Insiders programme. A number of things are worth reporting. Mike Seccombe of the Global Mail makes the statement that when the Economic history books are written they will show that Howard and Costello were bad economic managers. They blew the boom. I couldn’t agree more.

For once, the panel talks about the Murdoch Press and the fact that Col Allan is back in Australia to conduct News Corps campaign against Rudd and the Labor Party. It’s obvious to all the panel that Murdoch wants to destroy the NBN. What a prick the man is.

The fact that Murdoch wants Rudd to lose the coming federal election is not merely political, it is commercial. News Corp hates the government’s National Broadband Network. The company has formed a view that it poses a threat to the business model of by far its most important asset in Australia, the Foxtel cable TV monopoly it jointly owns with Telstra.

One of my quotes that I often use. It refers to the MSM.

“It is said of pornography (and I am not expert in this field) that in order to maintain the viewers or readers interest it needs to progressively become more outlandish – more tantalising – more seductive-more flirtatious-more provocative – more stunning and more enticing. And in their desire to maintain some dominance, that’s exactly what mainstream media is doing. It has chosen to prostitute itself in the forlorn hope of remaining relevant”

My watching is interrupted by a Tweet from Margo Kingston saying that my Diary is well done. Now, that’s what I call a sweet tweet. High praise indeed.

Then it’s announced that the Victorian Premier has signed up to the Better Schools reforms. I think he could see an electoral backlash if he didn’t. And Western Australia signed up to the NDIS. Labor has all the policies. Is the Coalition actually going to an election with the government’s policies? Now that’s a first.

The Insiders Poll of Polls shows little change. Still about 50% each. Here is another fact-checking site run by Richard Dennis of the Australia Institute.

http://www.factsfightback.org.au/

RUDD ANNOUNCES AN ELECTION FOR SEPTEMBER 7

The first thing that enters my head is ‘’VOTE KEVIN ON SEPTEMBER 7’’ I GIVE UP ON WATCHING THE FOOTBALL TO WATCH THE EVENTS TAKING PLACE ON ABC24.

As an old advertising person, I reckon Rudd delivers a much better opening salvo. He looks excited and serious at the same time. He has decided to take Abbott on, where he’s at his weakest, the economy.

Warren Truss is interviewed and surprise, surprise he has no policies. Only those of the Liberals. Can someone please explain to me what the difference between a National and a Liberal is.

I spend five minutes praying that the Judges in the Ashbygate scandal release their findings. No, only joking, but it would be nice.

Then Tony appears and tells the press that he has released a multitude of policies and they are all in his booklet anyway. I want them fully-costed and in the public arena where they can be debated. My thinking is that it will be in the last week. And he is still trying to avoid debating Rudd.

Secretly I don’t blame him. Rudd has a formidable mind. And he said STOP THE BOATS three times and ILLEGALS four. But seriously there has to be a point in time when Abbott has to give the people some reasons to vote for him.

I get a Facebook friend request from Bill Shorten. Shit, I open one of my best Reds.

So, we are off and running in the most important election in my lifetime.

Monday, August 5

A good read from Independent Australia.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/will-obama-advisors-win-election-for-the-alp/

And another from Carol Ahern at:

https://theaimn.com/murdoch-hates-rudd-a-reminder/

The first Newspoll from the OFFICIAL Liberal party newsletter ‘’The Australian’’ newspaper is released and Dennis Shanahan does his usual word fiddle.

The reader will note that he uses the word personal in a way to suggest that the ALP primary vote is Rudd’s personal popularity measure. Whereas in the preferred PM stakes Rudd is a country mile in front.

‘’KEVIN Rudd’s personal support among voters has slumped back to levels last seen before he was removed as prime minister in 2010 as he opened the 2013 election campaign by declaring himself the “underdog”.

The latest Newspoll survey reveals that Labor starts the campaign with its support virtually unchanged in the past fortnight at 37 percent to the Coalition’s 44 percent, down one percentage point.

Never the less, it has to be said that Labor is behind the eight ball and the will start the underdog. There will be many polls over the next few weeks and Newspoll because of its methodology is somewhat sus.

I should at this point make myself clear. I do not necessarily agree with all Labor Party policy. For example, I have reservations about its Asylum Seeker policy. However, I truly believe that to elect a conservative party with Tony Abbott as its leader would be a disaster.

My view of the leader of the opposition is as follows:

‘’Tony Abbott, if nothing else is a very colourful character. He is aggressive both physically and in the use of language. His negativity is legendary and he has little consideration for any ideas other than his own and says NO to his opponents’ policies regardless of their worthiness. (Except for political necessity) he is by evidence and his own admission a liar of some regularity. Added to that he has a political gutter mentality and little respect for the institution of parliament and its conventions.’’

Murdoch’s 70%

If the front pages of today’s Murdoch press are a forerunner of things to come we are in for a rugged few weeks. Is it too much to think they could raise themselves from the sewer of their own bile?

A Facebook friend, Val Burge had this to say:

Murdoch’s front page (The Daily Telegraph) is in breach of Australian media Standards of Practice. “A paper’s editorial viewpoints and its advocacy of them must be kept separate from its news columns.”

And Speaking of News Ltd

Today, News Ltd publicly apologised to a former student politician Barbara Ramjan, who was branded a serial liar by Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger after she had accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of physically intimidating her. Readers might remember she accused Abbott of throwing a couple of punches at her. Well, they have settled out of court. In doing so it gives credence to her original story. Abbott said the incident never happened. It looks as though News Ltd thinks it did.Yet another of his pathetic lies. Will it be reported in the Murdoch Press? Of course not. They are collectively where the truth goes to die.

Bloody hell the man knows how to lie. Kaye Lee tells the story:

They truly haven’t got a clue.

“Tony Abbott’s first election campaign photo opportunity was at a Queensland meat packing company that the opposition leader claimed was “under direct threat” from carbon tax costs of $5 million, but which would actually face a bill of one tenth that amount next year if Labor is re-elected.

JBS Australia’s Ipswich plant has a current annual carbon tax liability of around $1.9 million for its 80,000 tonnes of emissions at the $24 carbon price.

As reporters at the scene reminded Abbott, the company received $4.8 million from Labor’s Clean Technology Food and Foundries program to pay for half the cost of improvements that will cut emissions – at its current production levels – to 35,000 tonnes.

So if Labor is re-elected, in the first six months of next year the company’s liability would be half of an annual bill of around $840,000 – about $420,000.

And if Labor then floats the carbon price – as it has promised – in the second half of the year its bill would fall further. At a carbon price of about $6 the annual bill would be $210,000.

That takes the total 2014 liability to about $525,000 – or about one tenth of Abbott’s estimate.

Abbott indicated he was calculating both direct and indirect carbon costs and extensions to the tax planned for the future. Here’s what he said at the event:

“By the time the plant has paid its direct carbon tax costs, by the time this plant has paid higher electricity and gas prices because of the carbon tax, it’s up for $5 billion a year in costs that its competitors simply don’t face and then of course if this Government is re-elected there’ll be the carbon tax hit on heavy transport and this plants takes in and puts out some 80 B-doubles a day so that’s obviously going to be another big carbon tax hits on a plant like this on the job securities of the workers at a plant like this.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/04/election-campaign-cars-carbon-tax

Tuesday, August 7

Day two of the campaign I wake up make a green tea, turn on the iPad and peruse the MSM headlines. I am not surprised by the avalanche of antigovernment drivel dished out by mainly, the Murdoch press. Then I wonder how it is possible to combat this filth from News Ltd. The power this man has is just immoral.

Lenore Taylor has a good article in the Guardian on this subject and two paragraphs stand out.

‘’The Daily Telegraph ran a front page on that reform package, comparing former communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy to despots and dictators including Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.’’

‘’News Corporation paper the Australian reported that Murdoch signed four copies of the Conroy front page at a recent birthday bash for conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, also attended by Abbott and many of his front bench. One was a gift for an editor and the others were to be auctioned by the organisation.’’

For the full article go here.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/05/telegraph-headline-rudd-attack-murdoch?INTCMP=SRCH

Further scanning of the news tells that Mr Abbott has yet again escaped any bad press arising from News Corps apology to Barbara Ramjan. The story doesn’t appear. More lying by omission.

And Tony, after saying on July 4 that he would be prepared to debate Kevin Rudd anywhere, anytime, now refuses to do so. Is anyone keeping count of his lies? It’s now three debates but only one is real.

On top of that Joe Hockey says he will not commit to a final budget bottom line.

My Thought for the Day

“With Barnaby Joyce gaining preselection for the seat of New England and Tony Windsor not standing it is highly likely Joyce will win? This will mean that when Warren Truss retires, Barnaby becomes deputy Prime Minister of Australia if the LNP wins. NO THIS IS NOT A JOKE”

Oh and I should mention that the Morgan Poll has the parties at 50/50

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.

 

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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