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The disappearance of your right to know. Author: Rot. N. Government

Saturday 8 June 2019

1) I had intended concluding my remarks from last Wednesday’s piece on the character of Coalition MPs in the House of Representatives with an analysis of Coalition Senators but seeing as the numbers are not yet finalised I shall confine myself to a few general remarks.

The new group of Senators will take their seats on July 1. At this stage, it looks as though they will be a little more accommodating to the Morrison government than the previous misfits.

It appears the government will need the support of five, maybe 6, conservative crossbenchers to pass legislation.

Labor’s Katy Gallagher, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts in Queensland and Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania look as though they will get another go in the house of bribery.

“Ten sitting senators have lost out including Lisa Singh and Gavin Marshall (Labor), Ian Macdonald, Jim Molan, Lucy Gichuhi (Liberals), Steve Martin (Nationals), Peter Georgiou (One Nation), Derryn Hinch (Justice Party), Fraser Anning (Conservative Nationals) and Duncan Spender (Liberal Democrats) will exit the chamber.”

The Greens, with a seat in every state, will keep their representation at 9 and the existing non-Greens crossbench cut from 10 to six.

Labor seems to have won 13 seats.

Despite what appears to be a spend of $60 million Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party failed to win a seat.

Maybe he can claim to have lost the fight but won the war.

What was it Keating called them, ah yes, “unrepresentative swill.” Well, that they still remain.

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that, the vast majority take very little interest. Why is it so?” (John Lord)

2) “Mr Morrison refused to comment on whether he supported the proposal Home Affairs and Defence bureaucrats were alleged to be discussing in Smethurst’s story. He said he supported the free press and argued the raid was not an attack on that.”

So said the Australian Prime Minister in response to a police raid on a News Corp journalist’s home more than a year after a story she reported.

It seems to me that the more power you give them the more reasons they will find to use it.

The Government puts forward arguments for increasing the powers and the budget of AFP while those opposed are too feeble to dissent lest they are shamed for being insincere about national security.

They are given everything they want and the public put up with more and more secrecy and a lack of transparency that has become a hallmark of the cloud of clandestineness under which this government seems to operate.

As if that incident wasn’t enough a day later they raided the offices of the ABC regarding the Afghan files.

I am really bewildered that this warrant allows the AFP to “add, copy, delete or alter” material in the ABC’s computers.

Does it mean that the AFP could change as little or as much as it decided in order to falsify evidence or indeed create it?

All Australians should think about that: the AFP has the power to delete material in the ABC’s computers. Is this Australia 2019?

This is an unprecedented violation of the independence of the press and coming so soon after the election carries with it an implicit message that the government and its agencies have the power to shut you up and that they intend to use it.

It’s aimed at intimidating whistleblowers that have revealed information that the people have a right to know. It’s aimed at shutting down journalists and frightening ‘the you know what’ out of those contemplating spilling the beans.

So here we are three weeks after the election having been assured during the campaign that the economy was the best in the world, but now we have a crisis created by the same party and only they can fix it. No change really. Just lie some more.

“Surely an incoming government who doubles the countries debt cannot then claim to have inherited a debt problem that amounts to a budget crisis.” (John Lord)

For their part, the fourth estate as the custodians of the public’s right to know is obliged to act responsibly and report facts.

Clearly, Peter Dutton needs to fess up as to the point of raiding Smethurst’s home and not her office and he also needs to explain why the raid was necessary in the first place.

He wanted more power than any person in Australian political history has ever had. He now has it but is he the right man to be in charge of the most secret democracy.

Then on Thursday 6 May the AFP more or less admitted that journalists from both the Newscorp and the ABC stables are now likely to be charged with publishing protected information.

The raids provoked outrage and drew international attention to Australia’s draconian secrecy laws. Which, by the way, are supported by both major parties.

The combined raids are so full of coincidences as to make me wonder what side of my mouth I should laugh from.

3) It hasn’t taken long. And you can put aside the excuse that the new minister, Angus Taylor, is new to the job and is still settling in. Transparency is something this government tried to destroy in its previous two terms.

In yet another example of Coalition clandestineness, or secrecy plotting.

This time the Energy Minister has failed to release our emissions data for the December quarter as mandated by the Senate. And there can be no excuse.

Labor’s climate and energy spokesman, Mark Butler, responded saying that Taylor “must immediately release the latest emissions data.”

“Angus Taylor has failed his first task as new emissions reduction minister,” Butler said. “This is a disgrace and shows total disregard to the Australian people and the Senate process.”

“But really it’s no surprise considering Angus Taylor has continually argued against climate action and is part of a government that has incessantly lied about what their emissions data actually shows, which is that emissions are rising and we’re not on track to meet our international climate commitments.”

In 2018 the Senate passed an order that the data be released no later than 5 months after being determined.

The government has been under pressure because its climate policy has been failing to stall Australia’s emissions, which have been increasing every year for the past four years.

They have lied and lied and lied about the figures. Particularly the Prime Minister and the Minister. They should immediately stop doing so.

“If a political party is not transparent in supplying all the information necessary to form a judgement, it is destroying the democracy that enables it to exist.” (John Lord) 

Then out of the blue on Thursday 6 June what should be released into the public domain as a matter of course, is done so in an interview with “The Australian“ newspaper. Now, how classy is that?

The figures show emissions rose by 3.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or 0.7%, in the year to December 2018 thus continuing a steady climb since the abolition of Labor’s carbon tax.

4) On World Environment Day 5/6/2015, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Australia was not taking credible action on Climate Change and called us a free rider. What has changed?

My thought for the day

“To my friends who keep insisting that we are guaranteed free speech, please listen. The Australian constitution does not guarantee it. It only implies it.”

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10 comments

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  1. Pappinbarra Fox

    A law that prevents anyone revealing criminal acts by our soldiers or builders at the instruction of a foreign minister is a bad law.

  2. New England Cocky

    “Despite what appears to be a spend of $60 million Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party failed to win a seat”

    Clive Palmer never really wanted to be in Parliament again because it interfered too much with his personal life. Rather, he wanted to influence Liarbal Nat$ government policy so that his Galilee Basin COAL mining interests would be promoted under the mutualism that is the Adani Aunty Gina & friends foreign owned multinational corporations for ruining the Great Barrier Reef and destroying the Great Artesian Basin with CSG pollution.

    Now the AP Queensland Labor government is protecting its political position by accelerating the approval process … the desired goal.

    So what is $60 MILLION in a coal development worth $4 BILLION?

    Truly it may be said that the past six (6) years of Liarbral National$ misgovernment is creating the worst third wold economy in the OECD for the benefit of foreign owned multinational corporations who extract profits from our peaceful Australian markets and legally pay nothing for the privilege.

    How are these policies promoting the best interests of Australian voters?

  3. Frances

    Apparently, we have only high caliber people running for and entering parliament and have to give a pay hike to MPs, senators as working Australians struggle with stagnant wages, rising unemployment, etc. I don’t think the pay hike includes their daily allowances, entitlements. Highlights from ABC:

    Minimum pay for federal politicians set to surpass $211,000 thanks to 2 per cent increase
    Scott Morrison's prime ministerial pay to grow $11,000 to more than $549,000
    New Labor leader Anthony Albanese will take home around $390,000

  4. wam

    Perhaps we shouldn’t worry too much with 5g and then 6g there will be no need to raid because everything will be in the air everywhere.

    loved the thought, lord, speech has always been free if:
    you have no money or possessions
    you are rich enough
    insured
    or
    backed by murdoch
    Leaving you safe from libel charges. .

    This mob are just adding the ryder to sweep up any ‘free speecher’ the ‘AFP’ select They will now get rid of the free access to redress the ‘free speech’ of tlob et al by losing 18c.

    ps no critique of albo’s cabinet, outer cabinet, assistant cabinet?
    75% of my representatives are labor and one of our reps has 3 jobs. The other two zero, why is that so???

  5. Terence Mills

    Perhaps the most ominous comment on our news in recent days [and throughout his political career] has been :

    Minister Dutton was unavailable for comment

  6. Keitha Granville

    You are correct Frances, it does not. Many of them claim as much in allowances as their salary, and many staggering amounts much much more.

    You can look it up, MP entitlements and allowances, and be horrified.

    I will say it again – if you HAVE you will GET

  7. Stephengb

    I said before and I say it again
    Poor fellow this Australia.

    We have hit a new low.
    The events of this last 3 weeks, starting with the re-election of the worse government since Federation on the basis of bare faced lies, has signalled the beginnings of a horror 3 years, for those of us living close to the line.

    I worked every day and every hour overtime I could. I saved for my retirement even before the compulsory super introduced by Labor.

    I retired and I share my super with my new wife who had no such good fortune. And here I am at 71 looking for work. Why because my wife’s aged pension is reduced by 50cents in the dollar because of my super!

    In short I pay 50cents in the dollar for our combined aged pension because I share my good fortune.

    So so pissed off.

  8. Stephengb

    Lenore Taylor of the Guardian laments the state of lies on our democracy.

    I lament the state of our 4th Estate who let politicians get away with down right lies.

  9. totaram

    Stepehngb: the 4th estate are “owned” by certain people who tell them what they can and cannot do. Very simple in its crudest form, but that is how it has always been with some thin veneer of “fee press”.

    I am sorry to hear about your problem of super, pension etc. However, this is an existing “retiree tax” which no one has thought fit to publicise. You should have considered carefully, before you “officially” acquired a new wife.

    If you have children, there is also a “death tax” which will apply if they inherit the remnants of your super. It already exists.

  10. Lynette Faragher

    I am fascinated that we continue to speak of Australia as a ‘democracy’. It clearly is not a democracy at all. The recent raids on a journalist’s home and on the ABC ( which is not really ‘free’ media anyway), say it all. What true democracy would deport decent people who have earned the right to live in Australia on the basis that their home is now safe when during the deportation process that ‘home’ erupted in further rioting and mayhem.
    Thank you AIM bloggers for revealing so many truths about our government’s many lies.

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