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We must find a better way

While we all enjoy the Aussie wit unleashed by helicopter ‘misjudgements’ and raw onion eating gaffes, our obsession with gotcha moments often overshadows the good work that politicians do.

Greens leader Richard di Natale decided to take a few weeks off over the winter break and take his family to Portugal for a holiday. While there, he also was investigating Portugal’s approach to drug abuse.

Instead of calling it a study tour and family reunion and claiming expenses, as members from both major parties have been known to do, di Natale paid for his family holiday himself but used part of his time there to learn about the results of a different way of dealing with illicit drug use.

Portugal had a big problem with high heroin use, overdoses and the spread of HIV.

In 2001 they decided to change their approach by treating illicit drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. They redirected the money and resources that had been spent on prosecuting individual drug users towards treatment, rehabilitation and ensuring that social services were provided to people who had a drug addiction.

If someone is found in the possession of less than a 10-day supply of anything from marijuana to heroin, he or she is sent to a three-person Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, typically made up of a lawyer, a doctor and a social worker. The commission recommends treatment or a minor fine; otherwise, the person is sent off without any penalty. A vast majority of the time, there is no penalty.

Drug trafficking and dealing remains a crime in Portugal but individuals with a drug problem are treated through the health framework rather than through the courts. They felt that having a criminal penalty for individuals who are using drugs didn’t deter them from using that drug, but what it did do was deter them from seeking treatment.

A widely cited study published in 2010 in the British Journal of Criminology found that after decriminalization, Portugal saw a decrease in imprisonment on drug-related charges alongside a surge in visits to health clinics that deal with addiction and disease.

The use of illicit drugs remained largely unchanged but problematic drug use went down remarkably. Drug use amongst young people decreased. Many more people sought treatment. They saw fewer cases of HIV being transmitted, fewer overdose deaths and reduced crime.

Along with instituting a robust public health model for treating hard drug addiction, Portugal also expanded the welfare system in the form of a guaranteed minimum income. Changes in the material and health resources for at-risk populations for the past decade are a major factor in evaluating the evolution of Portugal’s drug situation.

While Australia’s situation may be somewhat different to that of Portugal, according to the United Nations 2014 World Drug Report, Australians are the biggest recreational drug users in the world.

We ranked second for use of opioids (pain medications such as codeine or morphine), third for methamphetamines, fourth for cocaine and seventh for cannabis.

The report states the number of Australian drug users continues to rise.

“In Australia, expert opinion points to an increase in the consumption of cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, and solvents and inhalants,” the report reads.

More than 10 per cent of people aged between 16 and 65 use cannabis, and 2.1 per cent use cocaine.

According to a survey by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around 2.1 per cent of Australians say they used methamphetamine or amphetamine drugs including ice, speed, base and prescription amphetamines in the past year.

Overall use of methamphetamines has actually fallen from a peak of 3.7 per cent of the population in 1998.

But the proportion of users taking the more potent ice has increased dramatically in recent years.

In 2013, 50.4 per cent of users said the main form of the drug they used was ice, up from 22 per cent in 2010.

Meanwhile the proportion using “speed” had fallen from around 51 per cent to 29 per cent.

Misuse of prescription drugs is a big problem. Around 4.7 per cent of the population misuse pharmaceutical drugs, most of those – around 3.3 per cent – misuse pain killers.

According to the ABS, the number of prisoners in adult corrective services custody increased by 10% over the past 12 months to reach a ten year high of 33,791.

The national imprisonment rate also climbed to a ten year high of 185.6 prisoners per 100,000 adult population.

12% of male prisoners and 17% of female prisoners are in custody for illicit drug offences.

In 2009 the Australian Crime Commission released a report that organised crime is conservatively estimated to cost Australia $10 billion a year. Illicit drugs are responsible for at least half of Australian criminal activity. When you add to this illicit drug trade the money-laundering and fraud that go with it, the combined figure makes up at least 75 per cent of all organised crime.

The main illicit drugs from which organised crime derives its huge profits include amphetamines, ecstasy, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and ice (methamphetamines).

In Australia, outlaw bikie gangs are heavily involved in illicit drugs in the main capital cities, which is why we see so much violence among them as they fight their turf wars. The Australian Institute of Criminology has estimated that, in 2004 alone, money-laundering in Australia involved between $2,800 million and $6,300 million from crime proceeds.

It seems obvious that our current approach is not working. We are spending billions on a losing battle, incarcerating victims while a burgeoning market provides an endless supply of funds to criminals. Much of our gun crime is also related to the drug industry.

I applaud Mr di Natale for investigating alternatives and for the integrity he showed in choosing to pay for his trip himself.



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  1. M-R

    I’ve been saying for months that I shall be voting Green for the first time at the next elections. I don’t think they’re without fault; but I do think they’re without greed.

  2. musicinhills

    Hi M-R, thank you, exactly my sentiments also, and it will also be the first time for me, although i went to green party meetings in Herberton some years ago.

  3. John Lord

    The problem is that our major political parties spend most of their time deriding their opponents that they leave little for creative thinking.

  4. Kaye Lee

    I am perhaps too optimistically sensing a change in that from some John. There are still those stuck in the negative mode but both parties are engaging more in a contest of ideas. Abbott going is like a huge weight being lifted from everyone’s shoulders. At least we can discuss things now even if the chance for change is remote.

    I too feel the Greens are at least motivated by passion and a belief in justice and if you are going to represent lobby groups, theirs seem the ones with the greatest altruism.

  5. Don Wreford

    Dr di Natale is exceptional as he not only is well educated but has a concern for the social welfare of our community rather than what many consider most politicians are great on rhetoric but are not believable and thought to be out for the money and status power.

  6. miriamenglish

    I remember reading about a study done on a drug decriminalisation trial in Scotland held in two sister cities with almost identical drug, crime, economic, and geographical profiles. I think they were Glasgow and Edinburgh, though I’m not sure. I remember the results were striking. The city that maintained harsh penalties for drug use continued to have high rates of drug use, drug associated crime (such as burglaries and assault), and drug associated disease (HIV and Hep C). The city that adopted harm minimisation with decriminalisation of personal use, giving access to legal, clinic-mediated drugs with health care and support saw drug use decline, drug-related crime drop off sharply, and drug-related disease reduce. Most interestingly, many people who continued to be addicted to opiates became integrated into society, now able to hold down a steady job. I, and many others were outraged that the results were promptly ignored and buried.

    The Guardian not long ago carried a story about how studies involving 11 countries found that tough drug laws don’t work. There is ample evidence that treating the medical/psychological problem of drug use as if it was a legal one benefits only organised crime and hurts everyone else. It makes one wonder why politicians so consistently choose that option. I know in the USA there have been rabidly anti-drug politicians exposed who were importing shiploads of drugs. I wonder if the same is happening here. I recall a case some decades ago, in Sydney, I think it was, where a prominent businessman who was part of the political inner circle was found to be importing shiploads of drugs.

  7. diannaart

    Thanks Kaye Lee.

    Now I understand why the LNP & Labor call the Greens loony:

    Instead of calling it a study tour and family reunion and claiming expenses, as members from both major parties have been known to do, di Natale paid for his family holiday himself but used part of his time there to learn about the results of a different way of dealing with illicit drug use.

  8. Ross

    Portugal is not America.
    You can’t look to Portugal for answers.
    Portugal does not flood our screens with an ultra violent gun obsessed culture.
    Our politicians don’t flock en mass to Portugal for jolly ”fact finding missions”.
    Rupert, praise be upon him, doesn’t live in Portugal.
    No, no, no, wasting your time looking to Portugal, they don’t even speak English in Portugal.

    (Sarcasm alert)

  9. darrel nay

    miriamenglish is promoting decriminalisation and less harsh drug laws – I whole-heartedly agree. Maybe we could use the resources we save, by not prosecuting the drug laws, to actually make a dent on the violent crime in this country.

  10. randalstella

    Let’s say that the Greens, or anyone, could get some political traction on drug control for the sake of the facts on better administration, for the sake of addicts and their families. Let’s just say.
    What would happen then? What Media event will become headline morning news?
    Call this a quiz.

  11. silkworm

    Not a mention of the benefits of cannabis for a multitude of medical conditions. Pity.

  12. darrel nay

    Not a mention of the benefits of cannabis for social cohesion. Pity.

  13. Jexpat

    Cannabis legalisation has been bringing in big money in the US state of Washington (around $70 million last year, for state with a population of 7 million). Oregon’s recent legalisation, that began October 1, has broken Washington’s sales records and looks to bring in similar amounts of state revenue.

    And note: these figures don’t include savings in law enforcement, court and corrections costs or ancillary benefits such as increased tourism and flow on effects to other businesses.

  14. Judes

    A little off subject … But then maybe not. Speaking of medical issues, we bloggers have an online friend who needs a little help ‘Truthseeker’ has this morning put up a special page regarding his medical condition.
    Please take some time to read it, and help out of you can.
    Without sites such as AIMN and TSM, we would not be as politically informed, nor would we meet and have the ability to chat and share opinions with some extremely well informed online bloggers.

  15. Wally

    A big part of the problem is minors access or lack of access to alcohol, when I was a teenager (about 16yo) you could go to a movie for half price in the morning, see an R rated movie after lunch and have a couple of pots in one of the quieter city pubs before catching the train home. Depending on how much money you got in tips selling papers after school you might even have a joint on the way home.

    Nowadays it is easier for kids to buy ice and synthetic drugs than it is to buy a beer or score a gram of weed. It is no wonder we have a drug problem to some extent we have forced teenagers hands to the point that it is easier to be radical than it is to be conservative. Wether it be due to peer pressure, hormones or just part of growing up teenagers want to push boundaries and experience life for themselves.

  16. miriamenglish

    Randal, I hope that it would be something like “Winning the Drug War” or “Billions Saved Ending War on Drugs”. Maybe something like “Politicians Finally Make Sense”.

    Not from the Murdoch media though. I expect they depend heavily upon drug money, so they’d be baying at the full moon with headlines like “Soft on Drugs”.

  17. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    There is an old saying if it ain’t broken, do not fix it..But our Society is being broken by Drugs and more Drugs. And needs to be fixed quickly as a lot of these people who are taking drugs, are also having Children who will also be broken..

    I know from watching my Nephew the help they give him is not working. They put him in a Hospital for over 12months, then let him go back to the same place and people he learned how to do drugs with. And with same treatment, that did not work before. Really no help to change and to realise that as he is now he has no hope what so ever.

    He knows so well how to pretend to do and say whatever he feels the medical people want..

  18. Anomander

    You can only imagine the story being run in the Daily Terrorgraph…


    The lunatic head of the radical, extremist Australian Greens Party, Richard di Natale wants to make drugs more freely available to scumbag drug users and schoolkids by stopping police prosecuting filthy drug users.

    NSW Premier, Mike ‘Pretty Boy’ Baird claimed “this completely rational act from the tree-hugging Greens was in contrast to our our Christian values and threatened to undermine the state’s economy”. Premier Baird said he “despite the proposal being supported by the medical profession, he had been lobbied extensively by prominent casino owners, who would see their revenue decline as money laundering dried-up, hitting the revenue side of government”.

    Under the proposal from the do-gooders, police would effectively be forced to abandon the hand-fought ‘War on Drugs’ in favour of a namby-pamby slap on the wrist and counselling by some bleeding-heart lefty psychologist.

  19. randalstella

    Thanks to Miriam, who showed that my quiz post (just above, Oct. 10th at 12:26) was not actually invisible.
    But the prize has to go to Anomander, who’s nearer to being correct; but features the figurehead over the powers that no one in public life is allowed to question. The prize: that recording of Abbott sitting there being paid ‘tribute’ to by Turnbull.
    The actual answer is: Police Raid
    Headlines like ‘Police Raid International Drug Ring; Biggest Drug Bust in History’. ‘Police warn that a major drugs ring is about to swamp the country with ICE. They warn that drug laws need to tighten; otherwise bikie gangs will take over’. And so on.
    The answer I thought would be obvious – as police raids and arbitrary decisions on prosecutions that suit extreme reactionary politics are increasingly setting the political agenda, as people here might have noticed. Why was Peter Slipper so hounded, and Mal Brough able to walk free, indeed promoted to the Ministry? What has been the delay on Kathy Jackson, alleged to have misappropriated at least hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Craig Thomson was dawn-raided and strip-searched over rip-offs of the same Union involving much smaller amounts?
    it is not a peripheral thing. It is a central thing. Dawn raids on Craig Thomson, Muslim homes etc, mix the justified with the political, and ‘advise’ the Media lackeys in advance to make it a big splash. This in itself is a perversion of justice, and might prejudice any jury. It is irony that the most insular and secretive organisations in the country collude with the Media over these events. Moreover it is a deliberate perversion of politics.
    No eager Media bod would dare to try to tell the justified raid apart from the unjustified – even if they had the nous to suspect a difference.
    This is rule by tight insular groups with the backing of massive force of State, and whose politics is, let me say, not at all libertarian, unless it comes to their testimony.
    National Crimes stats are part of this ‘joke’ as they hardly begin to include official corruption; and thus miss out on the central reason why drug laws will not change except perhaps for a bit around the edges, like the minor liberalisation on cannabis.
    The heading here: ‘We’ must find a better way. Well, if you don’t know, let me tell you: it makes not an iota of difference what ‘we’ want. It is what those with power want. And enough of them are very fond of the current rackets, and would do anything – I mean anything – to keep them going.
    This is a profoundly, pervasively corrupt country. It is so pervasive that I state without hesitation the following: Abbott did not get into power because enough people thought his lies the truth. He got into power because enough liked his lies, the way he was lying. He lied like a thug. Enough Ozzies like that. They are indeed a dangerous breed, mate. Abbott was a big hit with the hardcore elements in police forces. Meanwhile decent and honest police have to run their gauntlet as a working life. Who has the incentive to stay in police forces?

    Kaye Lee, while I’ve got your attention, if I have. What happened to the 4 Corners programme on Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler? I think you said that you had a friend in 4 Corners who seemed to tell you that it was just a rescheduling matter. It is not. We have contacted 4 Corners with that very simple question. None of us have received any reply at all – besides auto merchandising emails. If there is nothing to hide, why don’t they tell us? Like I said to you last time. I do not believe one word that comes out of that horrible organisation, after wanting to believe them for years. And it was not John Howard’s fault, as it goes back far further than that. They are also dreadful to their staff over many years, including rewarding the crawlers and show ponies and dispensing with talented and good people.

    Those who present themselves as politically informed, concerned and active should know such very basic things. The last Labor Government was Whitlam’s. There has not been another – and the way it is going there never will be again. As there are not the minds, there is not the moral courage.

  20. diannaart

    Wow – love the chat.

    Just wanted to agree with your POV – particularly pertaining to ‘the last Labor’ government, notwithstanding my admiration for Julia Gillard, I agree the last Labor government that actually governed for workers was way back in Whitlam’s day.

    I think Gillard wanted to govern for the people – but too much power held by right wing faction – one of whom was Bill Shorten.

    The only way for Labor to recover its soul is to clear the decks of people who should really be in the LNP.

  21. Kaye Lee


    About the Jackson Lawler show I know nothing. You said you saw a trailer. I said I knew they were rescheduling shows at the time but knew nothing about that specific show. The show my contact was working on hasn’t aired yet either. They are often subject to court orders delaying or prohibiting screening. Perhaps that was the case – I don’t know. I will try to find out.

  22. randalstella

    Thanks to diannaart. If only we could give the Right of the Labor Party the option of switching. They are cosier where they are. Like that New Zealand joke about the average intelligence of both countries benefiting from NZers migrating here – it would improve both major Parties.
    Kaye Lee. Thanks. The Jackson-Lawler programme was being promo.ed on the day set for screening, just hours before the scheduled slot, I’m told. It must at least have been in advanced preparation. The only apparent reason it did not go to air that night was the Turnbull spill. There has been no reason offered since, or any mention of the programme at all.
    After the hatchet job done on Shorten just previously, the pit into which this programme has disappeared does not smell of roses.
    By the way, your contact within the ABC had better be very careful.

  23. Kaye Lee


    My contact can look after themselves. They would not be scared of anyone.

    Google shows a story from the Australian. I cannot access any Murdoch publications but the headline is “Twist as Kathy Jackson, Michael Lawler do ABC Four Corners deal” on Sept 11 2015.

    It appears they chose to “tell their story”.

    I will continue investigating.

  24. Kaye Lee


    The Lawler Jackson story is still a going concern. All of their programming has been thrown around so things that are time sensitive take precedence. One of the issues that Four Corners faces is that they are reliant on interviews for their format. They don’t pay for any of their interviews so, unless people agree, it’s hard to get a story. Lawler and Jackson apparently agreed to be interviewed but Dave Donavan at IA tweeted that they hadn’t contacted him. Perhaps the story is ongoing but it definitely hasn’t been canned.

    My contact is very surprised that the show was being promoted because they had been working on the Malcolm story all week and the promo goes out Thursday. Are you sure about when and where you heard it? They asked me to find out.

  25. randalstella

    On 14th Sept. 4 Corners had programmed the Jackson-Lawler story. It was promo.ed.
    On the Media Watch website, on the Message Board, there is a short reference of Friday 11th Sept. to the programme as being set for ‘next Monday’. I reply to that comment later, asking what I have asked here.

    Why won’t they answer our simple and polite questions, put directly to 4 Corners?

    What ‘Malcolm’ story? Turnbull?
    Look at their programme guide. There is one ‘time-sensitive’ programme, on the overthrow of Abbott, on 21st Sept. The next one, of 28th, on unnecessary medical procedures, is not ‘time-sensitive’. The ISIS one that follows might be. The one coming up this week is not.
    Your source is not being helpful.


  26. Kaye Lee

    They are being as helpful as they can be. People only know the full deal about their own stories – there is a certain proprietorial secrecy. They answered all my questions as fully as they could. There is no conspiracy to stop this story.

  27. Wally


    What is more important, how good a politician is at doing the job, which political party they align themselves with or which side of centre they belong to?

    Personally all I care about is how well they perform in government and that includes the opposition members because they may not hold the balance of power but they are still members of the government of the day. I might add that my criteria for being good at the job would entail doing the best thing for the majority of voters whilst ensuring that minorities/individuals are not victimised or discriminated against.

    If Labor clear the decks of anyone who leans to the right they are probably less likely to win any election, balance and a strong opposition is the key to good governance.

  28. diannaart


    I agree Labor needs to be a broad church – it always has been. Currently there is a faction which would be more ideologically suited to the Libs.

    Do you have another explanation or Labor’s lurch to the right?

  29. Kaye Lee

    The promo on Sept 11 was for the women and children being rescued from ISIS. That was shown on the 14th with a follow-up last week.

    “What ‘Malcolm’ story? Turnbull?”

    Dethroning Tony Abbott – charting the events that led to the Prime Minister’s downfall.

    Perhaps they are adding more to the Jackson Lawler story. Can you find a link to the promo you are talking about because the promos I can find are for the story that aired on the 14th.

    If you heard it on media watch they may have been referring to the article in the Australian – it was Sept 11th. There have been leaks from Four Corners to the Australian – some current employees were previously employed there.

  30. randalstella

    Who claimed there was ‘a conspiracy to stop the story’? It could be a decision not to put compromising material to air, in a suddenly changed political climate.
    The question is, what has changed from 14th Sept, when a few hours before scheduled viewing time the Jackson story was to run that night? They don’t run the ABC for themselves; they run it for the public interest.
    The staff don’t know which programme they are promoting for that week?
    What is the ‘time-sensitive’ stuff about? What’s time-sensitive about this week? Or 28th Sept?
    If the Jackson thing goes to air, how will it be different from what was set up for 14th Sept?
    Any denial that the programme was set for 14th Sept. is ultra-Orwellian.

  31. Kaye Lee


    I have given you a link to a promo from the 11th disproving what you are saying. I think you are mistaken. I think you are referring to the story in the Australian. Unless you can show me scheduling for the 14th for the story I will believe what I have found backed up by the person who works there.

  32. randalstella

    There was no programme shown on 14th Sept. The 4 corners website shows that.. I am not referring to the Australian.

  33. Wally


    “Do you have another explanation or Labor’s lurch to the right?”

    I think society in general has shifted to the right and the number of possible/probable reasons would fill a short novel. Fall of the Berlin Wall, demise of the USSR, end of the cold war…………………….. Closer to home you can attribute change to the influence of Gina Rinehart, Twiggy Forrest and Jerry Harvey, all of them would sell their grandparents to be sex slaves if there was a decent quid to be made. This trio have 3 key similarities, too much money, small brains and a total lack of compassion.

  34. Kaye Lee

    I see. From memory, weren’t the ABC doing a running commentary on the challenge, so the scheduled programme on saving people from ISIS was put off.

  35. randalstella

    That’s right. When I got back, I switched off the PVR that was to record the 4 Corners ep. that I expected to be on Jackson (I would not have done the one on ISIS). I saw the beloved Uhlmann bemoaning Tony’s defeat, prattling on endlessly.
    Below is the Media Watch website reference I referred to. I have no relationship with the author. He is not alone in expecting the Jackson programme. It was word-of-mouth that it was to be a soft-soap job. But I wanted to see for myself. I saw the promo. Perhaps as you suggest, they have revised their approach on it. This would be wise – or wiser. Richard’s subject headline refers to the job 4 Corners did on Shorten shortly before. Thanks for your interest and attendance on the matter.

    Author Richard le Sarcophage
    Date/Time 11 Sep 2015 11:55:24am
    Subject Re: Fantastic Four Corners Hatchet-Job.

    Now one hears that Four Corners is to present an extended ‘interview’ with Kathy Jackson next Monday.

  36. Kaye Lee

    From what I understand, the show will still air though I don’t know when. I cannot comment on the ‘soft soap’ approach but obviously Jackson and Lawler believe that to be the case or they wouldn’t have agreed to do the interview for free.

  37. randalstella

    The whole approach by the ABC on the Thomson- Jackson thing has been imprudent, with running-with-the-pack rhetoric, that might be a long slow bite on the bum for them, given looming legal realities. The notoriety of their approach might have seemed they needed to backtrack a bit.
    Jackson and Lawler are now facing inevitable scrutiny. If she is guilty she goes to jail. His situation is fluid but downhill as the saying goes. He is not spoken of kindly in circles I frequent. These matters needed to have been dealt with ages ago – why not concurrently with Craig Thomson? The Media, including the ABC, should have a lot to answer for over such asymmetries of treatment. The treatment of Thomson was cruel and filthy politics no less, and the ABC failed their responsibility to investigate independently and fairly.
    If they actually get around to presenting this thing,fairness would demand they make reference to the ABC’s own artificial isolation of the Thomson case from Jackson and the allegations against her which were very plain to any investigator at the time. I expect that they have nowhere near the capacities for such admission and honesty.

  38. Kaye Lee

    The thing that really worries me about Jackson is her apparent feeling of invulnerability. I watched her give evidence at the TURC on the day she tried to have the lawyer representing the union dismissed because he had previously been a “charity shag” of hers. Her behaviour and attitude were atrocious. She either has a hide thicker than a rhino or she actually believed she was untouchable.

  39. Kaye Lee

    Just days before Mr Abbott was rolled by Mr Turnbull, the former prime minister announced a multimillion-dollar ice crime-fighting plan, but the blueprint ignored education, frustrating police and other government ministers.

    It can be revealed Mr Abbott had been urged to refocus a strategy on intervention, counselling and education and a report was prepared saying directing most resources into policing would not work. But Mr Abbott’s focus remained on wanting to give law enforcement officers more powers, new laws and resources.

    The confidential report prepared by the Parliamentary Library for Mr Abbott has been obtained by The Sunday Mail.

    “A substantial number of cost-effectiveness studies have compared the efficacy of investment in drug policing as opposed to drug treatment,” the report said. “These studies have consistently shown better outcomes and treatment is more cost-effective than incarceration.” “

  40. diannaart


    There has indeed been a shift to the right across many OECD nations. This may be why we find ourselves with a Labor so dominated by the minority right faction – I guess this is where we differ.

    How can Labor reclaim its heart with such a dominant right-wing group?

    Parallel to Labor, the Libs have been strangled by their far-right minority – we are only seeing a little ray of hope with the ousting of Abbott – however, as in both parties, Australia will remain a backwater while these far-right mobs dominate both our major political parties.

    We do not have a democracy when the bulk of power is held by, not just the Gina Rinehart’s, Twiggy Forrest’s and Jerry Harvey’s, but a massive global corporate force behind the scenes in parliament.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a global corporate coup that undermines democracy and makes corporations more powerful than government. It creates a “trade tribunal” system that allows corporations to sue governments for expected lost profits resulting from environmental, labor, health, consumer protection and other laws. The judges in the tribunals will be corporate lawyers on temporary leave from corporate job in order to rule on cases brought by corporations and then returning to their corporate job. This rigged rule of law system will prevent countries from acting in the public interest and for the protection of the planet. The TPP undermines the rule of law.

    The above applies to Australia – particularly right now we have signed up to the latest TPP.

  41. Pingback: We must find a better way – » The Australian Independent Media Network | olddogthoughts

  42. Wally


    Adopting the TPP is bad governance and opposite to what a democratic government is elected to do, in no way can this policy be considered to benefit the majority nor could the corporations who benefit be deemed victims. Privatisation of public assets such as public transport has already provided some consortiums direct access to the public purse that ensures no matter how poorly they perform and how unprofitable the business activities are they will always make a profit. It bewilders me how these privatisation arrangements can be considered beneficial to the public.

    We certainly need to change our direction.

  43. diannaart


    The privatisation of many of our (national) assets has had decades to prove the claims of more efficient, cheaper to the consumer – I cannot find any evidence that this has happened, anywhere – maybe something somewhere, there is always an exception or 2.

    For the greater part, we are still being sold the same myth; that for-profit benefits public more than not for profit.

    Bewilders me also, wherever profit is the foundation, then vested interests will keep investment costs to a minimum, including workers’ pay, I do not know how we can stop this stupid cycle.

    Will take cojones and ovaries of steel on the part of our politicians to state the truth that privatisation couldn’t clothe a pimple on the bum of greed.

  44. diannaart

    Good link:

    “The retail component of bills is too high in the deregulated, competitive electricity market,” the report found. “This is either because the cost of competition is high or because competition is ineffective.

    They posit OR “because competition is ineffective”???? Because monopolies for public benefit and use are inherently non-competitive.

    There remain many areas in which private business can make their mega-bucks and, presumably, die happy.

    Leaving public assets with the public – this means managed and regulated by our governments which is why we have governments don’t we?

    Easy to see the reasons why neo-cons despise governments – not that governments prevent them from making money, simply that they want more money.

  45. diannaart

    Now they choose to blame the hapless consumer:

    Even though the market has been deregulated for several years in Victoria and more recently in NSW, there are still a large number of households who either cannot or have not shopped around for the lowest prices on offer. As a result, these households often pay more than 50 per cent more for their electricity than households who have shopped around.

    Why is the onus for essential services placed on the public? the very people who have little say in how contracts and prices are crafted?

    A spade is clearly a tractor to these companies which pay very clever people to design contracts which are hard to understand completely and even harder to get out of.

  46. Wally


    And to make it worse these companies send millions of dollars back to their parent companies in the guise of consultancy fees TAX FREE every year. Even if government are less efficient at operating the utility most of the waste is spent within Australia, all the current situation does is rip off the consumer and the public purse.

  47. diannaart

    Many government owned utilities gave back to Australia with secure apprenticeships, research that remained for public use and much more I am too tired to list (been clearing backyard) – it all depends upon how something is valued.

    Our right-wing economic managers know the price of everything and the value of nothing. They don’t even value the planet which supports us all.

  48. Kaye Lee


    I have had confirmation from Four Corners that no promo about the Jackson episode was broadcast.

    The story is definitely ongoing. The Australian article from Sept 11 said “ABC sources confirmed Four Corners had spent time with Ms Jackson and Mr Lawler, as well as Mr Rofe, but the show has not yet interviewed other key players.”

  49. Kaye Lee

    Thanks cb.

  50. randalstella

    On the 4 Corners item on Jackson/Lawler
    For its reach and long-term consequences, more concerning than this murky pair has been the conduct of the ABC over this whole affair. They could hardly run any of their many prejudicial and simplistic items on Craig Thomson without prefacing his name with the adjective ‘disgraced’, like the corporate hacks of the commercial media, begging every question about how the issue arose. Now when after all these years they actually get somewhere near to how it arose, the ABC feign sensational revelation over the allegations against Jackson and Lawler, as if no one could have known that until recently. As silent affirmation on that lie, not a word of reference is offered for the years of investigation that actually have brought J&L to this predicament where they will face the law, very belatedly; and are looking desperately for the good publicity they used to count on. The ABC were obvious choices as they provided good publicity to Jackson’s campaign in the past.
    The 4Cs thing has a pseudo-insiders’ affectation that suggests they do not even know what investigative journalism is anymore; and would prefer not to know. It plays at scoop when it has no more to deliver than what the two subjects tell or reveal. It was not investigative journalism. It was voyeurism. The use of an apparently devious pair, shows its own deviousness.
    As it is the ABC, this is worse than the deplorable issues ostensibly covered. All that the ABC’s technique of cautious impressionism suggests is that the powers-that-be have now ditched this pair, having served their purpose; and the ABC is the flunky to announce the discreet, gradual withdrawal of a gross campaign of one-sided political bashing through the Media.
    The 4Cs item is as if ‘we have dealt with that’. Well, they have dealt with it like toadies of corporate power. It is as if the damage done by the years of one-sided treatment of this issue can be simply shrugged off as if already forgotten. This sort of wilful and feckless amnesia is totalism pretending openness.
    A real investigation asks questions on substantive issues, not loose rhetorical questions, such as on the psychology of the interviewees.
    The most work was done in the editing stage, in the decision about what went to air. You could see the production team thinking their way through the process of finding an angle for broadcast – as very evidently it was not going to be any analysis of the case.
    Once in the history of 4Cs, this sort of material would have carried a production note about needing more substance. That the two subjects, particularly L., revealed themselves uncanny in their attitudes to accountability should not divert from the impressionism that passes for journalism here.
    4Cs left us with some impression that one of this pair might just be on the verge of ditching his beloved, to try to cover for himself. But what cover was at work at the ABC by the vague purpose of the presentation?
    I wish both Lawler and Jackson proper due processes, with everyone of their legal rights recognised and all material facts accurately rendered through the legal process and through the Media. That would be something others were not afforded.

  51. diannaart


    I thought the 4C’s program gave Lawler and Jackson enough rope to hang themselves – no in depth discussion could be held with such self-obsessed and vacuous people.

    Maybe the ABC was lazy or maybe that is the only way to handle psychopaths.

  52. Florence nee Fedup

    What come out in 4 Corners from Lawler, was his insistence that he urged Jackson to act.

    It is interesting to look at how long this couple have been together. Formally I believe around 2012.

    There are photos of then together long before apparently as a couple in company of such as Abbott and his family.

    One might ask, who indeed encouraged Kathy to be a whistler blower, that is if she needed any encouragement.

    The more we learn, the murkier in becomes.

  53. diannaart

    There are photos of then together long before apparently as a couple in company of such as Abbott and his family.

    Right wing moles undercover in unions and industrial groups?

  54. Backyard Bob

    Just how compromised an institution is the AC these days? It gives every impression of a place in dire peril.

  55. Backyard Bob

    And kudos to di Natale for paying for his own trip when he could easily have dumped those costs on the taxpayer and managed to justify it as so many of them do.

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