Can the World be a Better Place?


‘Pay it forward’ is a concept where the beneficiary of a good deed repays the ‘debt’ by assisting others, who need some help and support into the future, rather than the initial benefactor. Wikipedia credits the terminology to a book written in 1916 by Lily Hardy Hammond entitled In the Garden of Delight.

On 10 October the Nobel Prize Committee announced the winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. They were Malala Yousafzai, a 17 year old Pakistani lady who promotes the rights of children to have an education and, as a result of her activism, was shot in the head two years ago by the Taliban while attending school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, and Kailash Satyarthi, a 60 year old Indian gentleman who has campaigned for years against child slavery and child trafficking.

The Guardian reported that the two prize winners contacted each other soon after the announcement was made and decided to invite their respective prime ministers to the joint award ceremony in Oslo on 10 December 2014. There is a long history of dispute and mistrust between the two countries and it will be interesting to see if both prime ministers attend.

The Nobel Prize Committee stated in its press release:

The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism. Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed. It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today. In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour.

Effectively what has happened here is that two people from different nations and religions have been awarded what is considered the ultimate prize for work to better the human race.

While some may argue that the Nobel Prize committees don’t always get it right, more often than not, they do. Usually the people or organisations that have been awarded a Nobel Prize have excelled in advancing the human condition in some way. In 2014, the committee acknowledged that the joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize showed that different religions and different nationalities (India and Pakistan) can work together to achieve a common aim, despite the long history of distrust between those two countries at a national level. It is a powerful message.

Alfred Nobel made his fortune by invention. He successfully applied for 355 patents — including dynamite (which Alfred invented after his brother Emil was killed in an explosion). In 1888, another of his brothers, Ludvig, died and a French newspaper accidently published Alfred’s obituary, criticising the invention of dynamite. Nobel then rewrote his Will to:

… set aside a bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes to honour men and women for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine and literature, and for working toward peace.

He died in 1895, and after his estate was settled, 31,255,000 kroner (around US$250 million in 2008 terms) was left for the establishment of prizes. Yousafzai and Satyarthi will share a cash award of around $1million from Nobel’s estate as well as the well deserved honour and glory.

Nobel hasn’t been the only person to ‘pay it forward’. Microsoft hasn’t had a reputation of being the most ethical of companies on the planet with a number of ‘anti-competitive behaviour’ judgments against it in various jurisdictions. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is headed by Bill Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft. According to its website, the Foundation has US$40billion in assets, has made US$30.1 billion in grants since inception, of which US$3.4 billion was granted in 2012 and US$3.6 billion was granted in 2013.

The Foundation’s website claims:

Our foundation is teaming up with partners around the world to take on some tough challenges: extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries, and the failures of America’s education system. We focus on only a few issues because we think that’s the best way to have great impact, and we focus on these issues in particular because we think they are the biggest barriers that prevent people from making the most of their lives.

While the program is based in the USA, there have been a number of grants to universities, hospital research organisations and even website design companies in Australia to further the aims of the Foundation.

Unfortunately for every Alfred Nobel or Bill and Melinda Gates, there are others like the Koch brothers in the USA and Rupert Murdoch.

There are a number of groups both here and in the USA that claim to be ‘grass roots’ organisations that are concerned about the government’s influence in every day lives. In the USA:

There’s just one element missing from these snapshots of America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the sugar daddies who are bankrolling it, and have been doing so since well before the “death panel” warm-up acts of last summer. Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers are.

In August 2010, The New Yorker magazine published a long article demonstrating a link between Koch Industries and ‘grass roots’ organisations such as ‘Americans for Prosperity’. Koch Industries is a company owned by David and Charles Koch that manufactures Lycra and other ‘household brand names’ and has significant interests in the oil and energy industry. The article claims:

During the 2000 election campaign, Koch Industries spent some nine hundred thousand dollars to support the candidacies of George W. Bush and other Republicans. During the Bush years, Koch Industries and other fossil-fuel companies enjoyed remarkable prosperity. The 2005 energy bill, which Hillary Clinton dubbed the Dick Cheney Lobbyist Energy Bill, offered enormous subsidies and tax breaks for energy companies. The Kochs have cast themselves as deficit hawks, but, according to a study by Media Matters, their companies have benefitted from nearly a hundred million dollars in government contracts since 2000.

Remember the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ of 2008? Australia’s reaction was a series of measures to stimulate the economy — namely the $900 cheques to families, the home insulation scheme and the ‘Building the Education Revolution’ where infrastructure was provided at thousands of schools across the country. On a macroeconomic level, the program was successful as Australia is one of the few countries in the world that can truthfully claim continual economic growth for a period that exceeds 20 years. The New Yorker reports, however, that in America:

Soon after Obama assumed office [in 2008], Americans for Prosperity launched “Porkulus” rallies against Obama’s stimulus-spending measures. Then the Mercatus Center released a report claiming that stimulus funds had been directed disproportionately toward Democratic districts; eventually, the author was forced to correct the report, but not before Rush Limbaugh, citing the paper, had labelled Obama’s program “a slush fund,” and Fox News and other conservative outlets had echoed the sentiment. (Phil Kerpen, the vice-president for policy at Americans for Prosperity, is a contributor to the Fox News Web site. Another officer at Americans for Prosperity, Walter Williams, often guest-hosts for Limbaugh.)

The New York Times reported Jane Mayer’s article in The New Yorker and correctly pointed out that David Koch had donated millions of dollars to the arts, cultural facilities and medical research in the USA. It also mentions:

As Mayer details, Koch-supported lobbyists, foundations and political operatives are at the center of climate-science denial — a cause that forestalls threats to Koch Industries’ vast fossil fuel business. While Koch foundations donate to cancer hospitals like Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, Koch Industries has been lobbying to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from classifying another product important to its bottom line, formaldehyde, as a “known carcinogen” in humans (which it is).

There seems to be a divide here between progressive and conservative. While not praising the businesses of Alfred Nobel or Bill Gates, both of whom were rightly criticised at times for their business practices, there seems to have been some element of ‘paying it forward’ through the establishment of a financial environment to celebrate and improve the human condition. Others such as the Koch brothers seem to devise methods to promote their own business interests while attempting to remain unseen. Australian Senator Cori Bernardi is proud of his links to the US ‘Tea Party’ which receives considerable funding from the Kochs according to Jane Meyer. Bernardi was sacked from the ‘front bench’ during the time Malcolm Turnbull was opposition leader and resigned from a junior ministry in the Abbott government for the promotion of views that were too conservative even for the Liberal Party. Ironically, one of the people promoted as a result of Bernardi leaving the ministry was Arthur Sininidos who became assistant treasurer — then ‘stood aside’ when questions were asked about his business ethics.

The Abbott government’s denial of climate change, dismissal of the human rights of the unemployed and refugees, and the claim to be managing a ‘debt crisis’ are straight from the ‘playbook’ of the US conservatives as detailed by Jane Meyer in The New Yorker magazine.

Australia also has a history of people who have ‘made good’ ‘paying it forward’. Two examples are Graham Wood and Clive Berghofer who both actively support causes they believe in.

Wood co-founded Wotif, a last minute accommodation booking website in 2000. It now operates internationally and is based in Brisbane, Australia. In a 2006 interview, Wood described how he became wealthy — coming up with the original idea and realising he had nothing to lose. Wood has given significant funds to University of Queensland, the Australian Greens, assisted in the bankrolling of two news websites (The Global Mail and The Guardian Australia) and with Jan Cameron (the founder of the Kathmandu clothing firm) purchased a timber mill in Tasmania to effectively shut it down and preserve the old growth forest.

Clive Berghofer comes from Toowoomba in Queensland and made considerable money through property development. He was Mayor of Toowoomba for ten years and for some of that time also a National Party state member of parliament prior to the law being changed so that people could not serve on two levels of government concurrently. As evidence that conservative political leanings do not automatically disqualify people from attempting to improve the human condition, Berghofer’s website claims he has made numerous donations to medical research as well as sporting and educational bodies. Berghofer is on record as donating $60 million to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research as well as significant funds to Careflight.

As Nobel Prize winners, both Yousafzai and Satyarthi have earned the right and deserve to be known as ‘The Honourable’. Demonstrably, both of them will make good use of the fame and fortune that comes from being judged the world’s best peacemakers according to the Nobel Prize Committee for 2014. You could argue that the Gates family, Warren Buffett, Graham Wood and Clive Berghofer are also ‘paying it forward’ by supporting causes that will improve the human condition. It’s a shame that conservatives such as the Koch brothers and Bernardi seem only to seek improvement to their own condition.

What do you think?



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TPS Team

23/11/2014This week 2353 discusses the concept of 'pay it forward'. I guess this is similar to philanthropy, but with the emphasis on repaying a 'debt' by paying it to someone else other than the original benefactor. "You can't pay anyone back for what has happened to you, so you try to find someone you can pay forward." 2353 contrasts this attitude with some well-known conservative identities for whom it seems to be all about 'what can I get out of this for me.' Let us know what you think below.

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23/11/20142353 What a delightful piece you have written, one that shows what benefit accrues to mankind when benefactors such as Alfred Nobel, Bill Gates, and locals Graham Wood and Clive Berghofer apply the ‘Pay it forward’ principle in public life. You contrast it with the Koch Brothers’ support for any cause that they believe might imperil their business interests in fossil fuels and thereby their bottom line. Their advocacy for the Tea Party and their climate denialism brands them as ones who place self-interest way ahead of the common good. Indeed, it is the self-interest of the fossil fuel industry and all who support it that is the real enemy of remedial action to combat global warming. Unfortunately, self-interest almost always trumps the common good – in politics, in business, and in many human relations. Sadly, we far too often see it here in this country’s politics, and we are all the poorer because of it.

TalkTurkey

24/11/2014Greetings Comrades! This is the longest I've been without writing anything on TPS for over 4 years. A combo of excuses which I'll go into next post, after this post on your Question 2353: [i]Can the World be a Better Place?[/i] H'mmm. Tricky. (As Deep Thought would say I'm sure.) As tricky as: [i]Can Humanity induce The Koch Brothers to have a joint Scrooge-like epiphany and become altruistic?[/i] Me, I hae me doots. Wish I could be more hopeful but there it is. Graham Wood is very special I agree. So, in terms of funds to charities at least, is Bill Gates. But they are exceptions. With such as Reinhart and Koches and Murdoch, greed for wealth and power is insatiable. And they already have so much power and so much wealth that they can make and break Governments, and there has been nothing all the millions of ordinary people can do - or anyway have done - about that! For the world to be a better place, those rich and powerful people's wealth and power would need to be stripped from them and redistributed equitably and wisely. Will our species try? Maybe if Our Saviour (!) appeared on the scene and took the lead? H'mmmm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08kEFELCb3I There's at least 5 kinds of people in the world. The kind that would do what Desert Pete asks - prime the pump and leave the bottle full. The kind that doesn't trust him & drinks the little in the bottle, not getting much himself & leaving none. The kind who had plenty of water with him but just smashes the bottle out of pure orneriness. The kind who follows instructions up to the point where he gets water himself but just doesn't bother to leave a full bottle. The kind like Desert Pete himself, who maintained the well and supplied the bottle and information ... What would be the betting that you'd come back in a year and all would still be as Pete wished it to be? H'mmmmmmmm! Now, some of my excuses! One, I've been on Dial-up for nearly a fortnight until today, (mobile Broadband I get 8 gigs/month, run out most months.)Sucks the enthusiasm out of me! Two, the 'flu that J**** & I had in July has left us both feeling chronically lassitudinous: we run out of energy like the non-Duracell Bunny but worse! We will make sure to get jabs in future. Three, the political landscape has been so dreary, and I'm so weary of the incessant sycophancy of the MSM suckholing the LNP, that it feels like headbashing against a brick wall. For the moment at least. Abborrrrtt is hellbent on destruction of everything that was decent about our society, and encouraging everything indecent, including Australia's reputation, so skyhigh after Labor's handling of the GFS. I spend hours on Twitter yelling abuse at the LNP the ABC the AFP the IPA the MSM and many many more ... But Napthine's very confident of being rolled, Abborrrtt is at last thoroughly toxic, and the Senate is getting to be a bit more fun due to JaLa, so my Black Dog is letting up a bit on me. So my block it isn't terminal. And be sure, TPS is forever my ideological home. Those who have gravitated here have done so because in all the Wide Brown land there is no place more sane more thoughtful and more comradely. Ad astra's influence has so permeated the site that it quietly radiates civilization and clear thought. Master Web Monkey, you sure don't get much attention these days but you are there unseen as always but Thank You so much. And Casabalanca's Cache, I don't always read it all atm I admit, but wait till the approach of the election and that stuff will be [i]smokin'! [/i] As long as I can wield a Political Sword myself, I am true to this site. [i]I'll tell you the biggest excuse for my present otherwise pre-occupation soon. It's ... weird! And very worrying.[/i]

2353`

24/11/2014TT - I like your comparison to the water in the desert. Unfortunately it's true. Hopefully it will become less true over the next few years when people realise that we are all in this together. Another thing to hopefully assist your mood - according to opinion polls Newman would currently lose his seat in Queensland; The LNP might hang on if they are lucky and the election must be held before July 2015. When you remember that Newman currently controls over 70 seats in a 89 seat parliament, do you reckon the public have the 'baseball bats' ready?

Ken

24/11/20142353 I think it comes down to the difference in philosophical approaches adopted by the individual. The arch conservatives (and neo-liberal types) believe they have 'earned' their wealth by their own efforts and are therefore justified in 'enjoying their success'. Others accept that the society they live in has provided the opportunity for them to achieve success. (In Australia, Dick Smith often talks in these terms.) If you believe in this, it follows, logically, that you should pay something back to society. America has a long traditon of philanthropy based on this approach. I think it has changed, even in America, since the rise of neo-liberalism under which the former view tends to prevail. It is ironic that in Australia, with its egalitarian and 'fair go' traditions, the selfish view has predominated among the wealthiest. They 'enjoy their success' and leave it to the government to look after the rest of us. I think Murdoch and Rinehart are classic examples, although they also think the government should be doing less. Historically there was also the concept of [i]noblesse oblige[/i] which, at least, suggested the upper classes should bear some responsibility for those less well-off (even if such support was provided on the upper class's terms). That also has largely disappeared. We are lucky that some still consider that their opportunities have been provided by the society they live in. They recognise that many other societies do not offer the same opportunities - so success becomes almost an accident of birth and deserves some 'repayment'.

Casablanca

24/11/2014 2353 & Ken, The following articles amplify points that you have made: [b]Australia: The selfish country[/b] Sam de Brito. November 18, 2014 It was quite a week for deriding the flat-earth, parochialism of our Prime Minister as he focused "not on what might happen in 16 years' time" yet also managed to ignore the sweating brows of world leaders in Brisbane's 40 degree heat. US President Barack Obama delivered a climate change slap-down – addressed to Aussie youth at Queensland University – while British Prime Minister David Cameron poked Tony Abbott in the ribs on the topic and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave him a lesson in geography, saying climate change "won't stop at the Pacific islands". Yet, to paraphrase the great George Carlin, blaming Abbott for inaction on climate change is like blaming the bulldog on a Mack truck for a road accident. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/australia-the-selfish-country-20141119-11pbz0.html#ixzz3JxInKoLK [b]Scrap all regulations for small businesses, mining magnate Gina Rinehart urges[/b] Xavier La Canna. 24 Nov 2014, 8:40am Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, has urged all government regulations be lifted for small businesses, and said more people should defend the mining sector because the nation could not survive without it. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-23/scrap-all-regulations-on-small-businesses-rinehart-urges/5912100 [b]Coalition needs a better budget, not better PR[/b] Paula Matthewson 24 Nov 2014, 8:36am Slick media strategies and strong narratives are of no help to a flailing government if its political decisions are flawed and its policies untenable... It's hard to know why some of the Abbott Government's biggest and most vocal media supporters have chosen the past week to complain about its abysmal performance. Other than the Government's abysmal performance, of course. bc.net.au/news/2014-11-24/matthewson-the-coalition-needs-a-better-budget-not-better-pr/5912742 [b]'We pass by on the other side' [/b] John Menadue 16 November, 2014. We are one of the richest and most privileged people in the world but our recent performance on Ebola, foreign aid and refugees tells the world a quite different story... We are also ignoring our responsibilities as a wealthy country in overseas development assistance. In the last budget, the biggest cut in government spending was in overseas development assistance. We spend more on our cats and dogs than we do on ODA. At the same time that it cut funding for the poor of the world, the government kept in place a whole range of programs that advantaged the wealthy, such as superannuation concessions and subsidies to the mining industry. Surely we can do a lot better than this. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=2726

Casablanca

24/11/2014[b]Take your convictions to a double dissolution[/b] Andrew Bartlett, 24 Nov 2014, 3:59pm While the Abbott Government faces a very complex Senate equation, this Senate is still less hostile than that faced by many previous governments. A Senate deadlock-breaking mechanism is readily available, and if Tony Abbott doesn't use it, we're entitled to believe his exhortations about a budget emergency are hollow. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-24/bartlett-take-your-convictions-to-a-double-dissolution/5913862

Ken

24/11/2014Casablanca Thanks for the links. They show that 'self-interest' has taken over, not just in politics, but is expanding its reach among the population generally - as discussed in the comments to my piece 'Whose responsibility?'

2353

24/11/2014How do you do it Casablanca (without trying to sound like "Mike Moore from Frontline")? Ken and I write pieces and within a day or so, you have some relevant links to expand the conversation. I'm genuinely impressed.

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25/11/2014Casablanca Thank you again for your links. You have the consummate skill of finding references relevant to the discussion of the current piece and contemporary issues. We value so much your continued contribution to [i]TPS[/i] and to our understanding of the complex political and social problems that beset us all.

Pappinbarra Fox

25/11/2014An interesting and thought provoking article. Can the power of mass self interest outweigh the authority of the powerful who wield their power in their own self interest? To give an example - if most individuals (singly with little power) believe or are convinced that it is in their self interest to take every step possible to combat climate change would that MASS self interest outweigh the self interest of those wielding power and taking a contrary position? Or to put it another way can democracy work on the principle that the self interest of individuals taken en masse is a democratic expression of society's wishes that should, or indeed must, prevail over the self interest of contrary views? Alternatively what a society we would have if the power of paying it forward gained mass expression. What I like about TPS is the willingness to explore in an intelligent way progressive points of view. Thank you for that Ad, Ken, Casa, 2353 TT et al

Ken

25/11/2014Pappinbarra Fox Thank you for your kind words. We try. :-) As to your comment, it raises the other issue discussed a little while back - social responsibility and the common good. There comes a point where the common good needs to over-ride self-interest; or, as you say, when the self-interest of many is the same and creates a common interest. In the case of climate change, it is in the self-interest of every individual on the planet that something should be done (at least attempted). If the wealthy and powerful took the 'pay it forward' approach, they would be supporting a carbon free energy future and putting their money into it, not just for economic reasons, but because it is in the interests of the society that has supported them and allowed them to become rich. I do not hold out much hope of that among the wealthiest Australians.

Casablanca

26/11/2014Ken, 2353, Ad Astra, Pappinbarra Fox & Talk Turkey Thank you for your endorsement of the articles that I select for TPS. I especially appreciate the comments by 2353 and Ad about the relevancy of the links. I can return the compliment and point out that the opinion pieces and comments that you contribute to TPS are always relevant, topical, germane and sympatico with the pressing political and social justice concerns of our polity.

Casablanca

26/11/2014Julie Bishop: Just a reminder that I posted a list a few days ago of articles about our Foreign Minister and the inevitable speculation about her leadership aspirations and potential. I have added to the list again today. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Julie-Bishop.aspx

Casablanca

28/11/2014I have the following to [i]Julie Bishop[/i] at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Julie-Bishop.aspx [b]Move over Joe Hockey[/b] John Menadue 26 November, 2014 The Julie Bishop media blitz continues.... And on substantial issues...there is little of real achievement...There is clearly no excuse for Julie Bishop’s ignorance or surprise in what was in train with the China/US agreement on climate change. A minister who was on the ball would not be blindsided like this. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=2780 [b]Leadership as distraction[/b] Andrew Elder. 24 November 2014 This coming week, you will see the proof of the Press Gallery's sheer utter lack of bias. This week, no matter what the government announces - in defence, health, sport, you name it - press gallery journalists will try and frame it through leadership manoeuvring. There will be talk of 'the Bishop camp' here or 'an unnamed Abbott supporter' there. Talk of Bishop looking fresh and energetic will be contrasted against the current Prime Minister being described as 'beleaguered'. This is not to suggest that a leadership change is afoot. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/leadership-as-distraction.html

Casablanca

28/11/2014[b]A major barnacle on the government is Abbott’s breach of trust, and his compounding that sin by being unwilling to be upfront about his broken promises. [/b] [b]1. When the PM normalises lying [/b] Jennifer Wilson November 27, 2014 “It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.” Tony Abbott, August 22, 2011..Every time Abbott lies to the citizens of this country we become increasingly disaffected, and not only from our Prime Minister, but from the institution he represents. Abbott has normalised the discourse of lies. He has taken the dishonesty of politicians to a whole new level. http://theaimn.com/pm-normalises-lying/ [b]2. He is Such a Lying Bastard.[/b] John Lord. November 25, 2014 The subject of political lying, since the election of Tony Abbott, has almost become a permanent point of discussion on main stream media, social media and the blogosphere.... Lying is so engrained in his political persona that he knows not the difference between fact and fabrication. http://theaimn.com/lying-bastard/ [b]3. Lest We Forget. “Remembering Abbott’s Past”[/b] John Lord. April 19, 2014 There are three reasons. Firstly he is arguably the worst liar to have ever walked the halls of parliament. A liar by his own admission and by evidence. Secondly he is a luddite of the highest order. Anyone who cannot comprehend science and is dismissive of technology belongs in another time and is intellectually unsuited for leadership in the complex word of today. Lest we forget that he appointed Malcolm Turnbull as the then opposition spokesperson to destroy the NBN. Thirdly he is a characterless man of little personal political morality which has been on display throughout his career. He is and always has been an unpopular gutter politician of the worst kind. Lest we forget. http://theaimn.com/lest-we-forget-remembering-abbotts-past/ [b]4. Suicidal hubris or a trick up the sleeve?[/b] David Frizzell. November 27, 2014 Has this federal government lost its grip on reality, fooled by its own rhetoric, destined for a grisly political death…The madness we are witnessing are the actions of a government that thinks it belongs in power...Since coming to office this government has waged vicious attacks on our most vulnerable, acted as an unabashed lobbyist for our most harmful and moribund industries, ignored, denied and chastised science, killed off promising new industries, skipped their way excitedly into a religious war, ignored a global health emergency, defamed global leaders, pursued nasty political vendettas, punished its detractors and nobbled our national broadcaster. Ramshackle? This mob are an outright circus of evil clowns and it makes the pain, torment and burden just that much more difficult to bear. http://theaimn.com/suicidal-hubris-trick-sleeve/ [b]5. Getting the government shipshape will take a lot more than throwing the co-payment overboard [/b] Michelle Grattan. 26 November 2014, 11.40pm AEDT Tony Abbott’s reference to removing “barnacles” from his government has become the Canberra chatter. In technical terms, according to senior government sources who’ve had nautical advice since the Prime Minister’s comment, the process involves “careening” – turning a ship on its side for cleaning or repair....A major barnacle on the government is Abbott’s breach of trust, and his compounding that sin by being unwilling to be upfront about his broken promises. http://theconversation.com/getting-the-government-shipshape-will-take-a-lot-more-than-throwing-the-co-payment-overboard-34721 [b]6. The enduring myth of the industrial relations club [/b] Anthony Forsyth. 27 November 2014, 6.32am AEDT In late 2013, Sydney Institute director Gerard Henderson re-hashed one of his favourite hobby horses – the idea that Australia’s system of workplace regulation is really an industrial relations club. The main target of this critique is the national industrial tribunal, the Fair Work Commission (FWC). The Abbott government currently has this body in its sights, with a proposal to create an independent appeal bench sitting above the Commission. So what is this “IR club”? And does it really exist? The IR club view was instigated by Henderson in a 1983 article in Quadrant http://theconversation.com/the-enduring-myth-of-the-industrial-relations-club-34647 [b]7. Abbott Must Clear More Than Barnacles To Stop The Coalition Ship Sinking[/b] Ben Eltham. 27 November, 2014 With Dutton's medical co-payment on the rocks, the government can only recover if it navigates away from the rocky seas of its own budget. https://newmatilda.com/2014/11/27/abbott-must-clear-more-barnacles-stop-coalition-ship-sinking [b]8. 'He Was Supposed To Be The PM For Indigenous Affairs'[/b] Amy McQuire. 27 November, 2014 Frustration that Tony Abbott is not listening to a broad range of Aboriginal voices has inspired a 'Freedom Summit' in Alice Springs, which aims to elect leaders who will speak out. https://newmatilda.com/2014/11/27/he-was-supposed-be-pm-indigenous-affairs

Casablanca

28/11/2014[b]9. Abbott vs Youth: Complacency not contentment[/b] Mardi Wilson. 27 November 2014, 8:00am The unpopular Abbott Government is unfairly targetting young Australians in its policies, so why aren't more young people becoming activists? https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/abbott-vs-young-people-complacency-not-contentment,7131 [b]10. Under Tony Abbott we are going nowhere, with the nowhere man[/b] Nicholas Stuart November 25, 2014 Tony Abbott has only himself - and Julie Bishop - to blame. A vital opportunity to jump-start his prime ministership with some international pizzazz was squandered. Obstinately and adamantly, he insisted climate change would not be mentioned in Brisbane. Naively he thought, simply because Australia would be in the chair, he could dictate what would be discussed at the G20. Pardon? The world doesn't work like that. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/under-tony-abbott-we-are-going-nowhere-with-the-nowhere-man-20141124-11sh8t.html [b]11. Tony Abbott a 'backward-looking failure' adrift on world stage, says Bill Shorten [/b] Daniel Hurst, Wednesday 26 November 2014 Labor opposition leader issues a fiery denunciation of Australian prime minister and his government... Bill Shorten has launched a scathing critique of Tony Abbott, casting the Australian prime minister as a backward-looking failure at home and “adrift” on the world stage. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/26/tony-abbott-backward-looking-failure-adrift-bill-shorten?CMP=soc_568

Ken

28/11/2014thank you again Casablanca Still have a few more to read but from the pieces you linked that I have read (and particularly the last), what I found interesting was Abbott's defence of his position. He continually reverts to the usual line that this was all Labor's fault. That is not just a political attack on Labor but, I think, a deliberate tactic that diverts attention from the real historic budget problem which, as many economists have pointed out, was the repeated tax cuts given by Howard and Costello. Instead of using those 'boom' years to set the budget up for the future, they just eroded the budget's revenue base and relied on the taxes flowing in from the mining boom. That allowed the Howard government to balance the budget but set up the long term problem that is now coming home to roost. As long as Abbott keeps talking the way he does, he is actually being quite successful in diverting everyone's attention from that underlying fact.

Casablanca

28/11/2014[b]Vale Phillip Hughes. 1988-2014[/b] A touching tribute at Phillip's Primary School: https://twitter.com/lucethoughts/status/538123114819751936/photo/1

Casablanca

28/11/2014Ken, You said, [i]As long as Abbott keeps talking the way he does, he is actually being quite successful in diverting everyone's attention from that underlying fact.[/i] Richard Denniss summed up Abbott's diversionary techniques very well in a piece that I linked last week. In case you missed it check it out here: [b]Tony Abbott's drop and run tactic: Infatuated with the present, blind to the future[/b] Richard Denniss. November 22, 2014 Tony Abbott was made for "drop and run" politics. A key part of media training for politicians, the "drop and run" is a smooth strategy for deflecting a question, promoting a three-word slogan and moving on to attack your opponent. Dodge the query, never dwell on details, just drop your message and shift debate to the weakness of the other side. As opposition leader, Tony Abbott employed the drop and run technique with brutal effect. www.canberratimes.com.au/.../...141121-11rfse.html

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28/11/2014[b]Older people may be better learners than we think[/b] Anthony Hannan & Henry Brodaty. 27 November 2014, 6.44am AEDT http://theconversation.com/older-people-may-be-better-learners-than-we-think-34534 [b]Does brain training work?[/b] By Active Memory | 21 November 2014 https://activememory.com/news/Does-brain-training-work

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28/11/2014[b]LNP speaking in barnacle encrusted forked tongues![/b] [b]1. Joe Hockey, Tony Abbott split on GP fee[/b] Phillip Coorey. 28 November, 2014 Treasurer Joe Hockey will fight a ¬proposal to shelve the Medicare ¬co-payment as it emerged he was among several members of cabinet unaware of the move. http://www.afr.com/p/national/joe_hockey_tony_abbott_split_on_ieVDEgq1Lui5ninQ6akVTJ?utm_source=PoliticOz&utm_campaign=588a12d3fc-PoliticOZ_28_November_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-588a12d3fc-302949185 [b]2. Just own up and say that budget’s are really hard[/b] Laura Tingle. 27 November, 2014 Forget for a moment, if you can, all the noise and unpleasantness about barnacles and canoes and recalcitrant senators, and budget measures that are (or aren’t) about to be dumped. Let’s instead consider something of more immediate concern to the average voter: the state of the economy and what impact the budget might have on it, short term as well as long term. In just over two weeks, Treasurer Joe Hockey will release the mid-year review of the budget (known as MYEFO). http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/just_own_up_and_say_that_budgets_oLlS5YyUmpHuKcH5kKGXJK [b]3. Coalition's GP co-payment strategy foundering on the rocks of confusion [/b] Lenore Taylor. 27 November 2014 A brief history of political barnacle cleaning shows how comprehensively the Abbott government is botching it. John Howard popularised the “cleaning the barnacles” metaphor to explain abandoning or shelving policies that were becoming a political liability....But barnacle cleaning only works if the difficult issue is neutered. It works best if the media can be persuaded to present a government’s acceptance of parliamentary or public opinion defeat as some kind of victory for strategic realpolitik and listening to the electorate. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/27/coalitions-gp-co-payment-strategy-foundering-on-the-rocks-of-confusion?utm_source=PoliticOz&utm_campaign=588a12d3fc-PoliticOZ_28_November_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-588a12d3fc-302949185

Ken

28/11/2014Casablanca Yes, I had read that article but it wasn't in my mind when I wrote the comment. And I'm glad you put the 'Vale Phillip Hughes' up. It was all I could think about yesterday afternoon and even last night in bed. I was tempted early evening yesterday to put up a comment to the effect that a few interesting political things had happened during the day but they were as nothing to me compared to the passing of Phillip Hughes. I am a mad cricket follower and it is just unbelievable that a death has occurred in the way it has. And I also feel, not just for Phillip's family, but for Sean Abbott who bowled the ball. He is even younger than Phillip at 22 and I fear that he will go through life with the guilt that he has killed a man just by doing what he normally does as a cricketer. I sincerely hope he also gets through this. Back to politics soon.

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29/11/2014[b]Clive James: It's awkward I'm still alive[/b] Writer and broadcaster, who wrote a poem earlier this year predicting he would be dead by autumn, says he’s embarrassed he is still here. Clive James has lost none of his arch wit or charm, despite his long fight against leukaemia. http://www.theguardian.com/media/mediamonkeyblog/2014/nov/27/clive-james-its-awkward-im-still-alive?CMP=ema_632

Casablanca

29/11/2014Ken, I too am a cricket tragic. The reaction to the demise of such a talented, un-assuming and enthusiastic young player has been heartening. His parents and the townsfolk of Macksville, NSW, must be overwhelmed by the response from the broader Cricket Community.

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29/11/2014[b]ABC cuts: leaked efficiency review shows no way savings could be made without impacting on programming, Greens say[/b] Louise Yaxley. 29 November, 2014 The Greens say a leaked review into efficiency at the ABC and SBS shows there is no way that cuts of the scale imposed by the Government could have been made without having an impact on programming. Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam has obtained a leaked copy of parts of the draft efficiency review of SBS and the ABC written by Peter Lewis, who spent many years as chief financial officer of Seven West media. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-29/leaked-review-shows-program-cuts-couldnt-be-avoided-greens-say/5927418

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29/11/2014[b]Abbott Denies Ever Appearing In 2013 Election Campaign[/b] The Shovel on November 26, 2014 “If you thought you saw him on the campaign trail, you didn’t. If there were things that you thought he said, he didn’t say those things. If there were statements that you could have sworn he made, he didn’t, in fact, make those statements. He was overseas on holidays for the entire five-week period”. The spokesperson said it was quite common in the excitement of an election campaign for people to mis-see things. When Mr Abbott was today shown footage of what appeared to be him on the campaign trail, he simply said, “I never did those things. Efficiency dividend”. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2014/11/26/abbott-denies-ever-appearing-in-2013-election-campaign/

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29/11/2014Phillip Hughes 1988-2014: ave atque vale! [b]1. Phil Hughes tragedy shows danger still lurks in cricket [/b] Gideon Haigh. November 29, 2014 OUR awareness of danger in sport can change in an instant. A racing car crashes. A skier falls. A bull fighter is gored. Suddenly the possibilities are obvious. Until we forget again. A week ago, being a batsman in cricket was as safe as milk. Now, with the shattering death of a gifted, popular and hugely promising young player, it seems impossibly dangerous. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/opinion/phillip-hughes-tragedy-shows-danger-still-lurks-in-super-safe-cricket/story-fnb58rpk-1227138799932?nk=a510df62dfb2d8b71b3ad2536d853c77 [b]2. Phillip Hughes death: 'Weeping' Australia in mourning - Slater[/b] "The whole of Australia is mourning because he was a fighter. He got dropped by Australia but came back out and scored lots of runs. Australians can relate to that. His death has affected a nation." http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/cricket/30239932 [b]3. Hughes would have followed Hayden, Langer path, says coach[/b] Jesse Hogan. November 28, 2014 - 10:00PM Phillip Hughes' first international coach is convinced he would have emulated Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer in overcoming early career hiccups to become a mainstay of the Test team. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/sport/cricket/hughes-would-have-followed-hayden-langer-path-says-coach-20141128-11wged.html [b]4. Phillip Hughes' quarter century will never be forgotten[/b] Adam Collins 28 November, 2014 As Australian cricket endures its saddest hour, we mourn the smile, the pluck and the promise of a man whose life was cut tragically short, writes Adam Collins. Inconceivable. It's wholly inconceivable that a cricketer so addicted to hundreds would finish his innings with a tally of years numbering a mere quarter of a century. Galling. So utterly galling that Phillip Hughes's passing would be a product of doing what he did best and which brought so much joy - in front of his mother and sister no less. Going to work, but not coming home for dinner that night. Incomprehensible. Just incomprehensible that his medical report revealed a fatal brain injury that has only occurred once before as the result of a cricket ball. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-28/collins-phillip-hughes-quarter-century-will-never-be-forgotten/5924710 [b]5. Phillip Hughes dead: Cricket legend Richie Benaud narrates moving Channel Nine tribute to Phillip Hughes [/b] Holly Byrnes. November 28, 2014 7:52PM HE is the patriach of the game in Australia and the voice of cricket every summer. Now, with a father’s tenderness and capturing the heart-break of a nation, Richie Benaud has lent his evocative narration to Channel 9’s powerful tribute to Phillip Hughes. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/phillip-hughes-dead-cricket-legend-richie-benaud-narrates-moving-channel-nine-tribute-to-phillip-hughes/story-fnlpdwwz-1227138795741 [b]6. Phillip Hughes' death means process of feeling ‘normal’ about cricket again may take years to reach its end [/b] Paul Hayward. 27 Nov 2014 Cricket has viewed blows to the head as macho jousting – it never considered the possibility of a 25-year-old Test batsman having his life ended by a small red ball... In his baggy green cap the Australian cricketer bounces down the pavilion steps with an inbuilt spirit of adventure. It is no cliché to say he carries his nation’s optimistic tendencies on to the field. That bounce will now become a sad and wary trudge. For how long, no one can say, but it would be a miracle of counselling, of self-possession, if any of those players who saw Phillip Hughes struck down by a bouncer at the Sydney Cricket Ground ever feels quite the same about the game he loved. Not only the eyewitnesses to the accident, but all his friends and colleagues across the vast Australian territory, and everyone he has ever played with or against. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/international/australia/11257978/Phillip-Hughes-death-means-process-of-feeling-normal-about-cricket-again-may-take-years-to-reach-its-end.html [b]7. Country boy chased Baggy Green dreams[/b] Andrew Ramsey. 27 November 2014 Unassuming as much as he was forever undaunted, Hughes had initially organised to return to the family property for the duration of Australia’s three-week series in Zimbabwe because he did not expect to be named in the touring party. But when told he had indeed made muster, he simply swapped his stockman’s hat for the cricket variety, changed his travel arrangements to instead squeeze in a few days at the farm on his way back to his new home in Adelaide from Harare, and got on with it. Like so many from a bush background, Hughes comfortably married professionalism with pragmatism – but admitted he had trouble resisting the call of Nambucca Shire. http://www.cricket.com.au/news/feature/phillip-hughes-country-boy-to-baggy-green-dream-andrew-ramsey/2014-11-27

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29/11/2014[b]ABC sacks Quentin Dempster[/b] Anna Patty. November 28, 2014 When veteran ABC broadcaster, Quentin Dempster, says "bye-bye" in his Queensland, boy-from-the-bush way next Friday night, it will be for the last time. After more than 30 years with the national public broadcaster, Dempster told viewers on Friday night that he plans to go out with a "bang". "Next Friday will be the final edition of 7.30 NSW," he said. "I will be leaving the ABC after 30 years to return to the private sector. It has been an honour to work with Australia's great and unique public broadcaster." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/abc-sacks-quentin-dempster-20141128-11voj4.html

Michael Taylor

29/11/20142353, I'm working on making Australia a better place first. My goal is simple: kick these bastards out.

Ken

29/11/2014Michael And so say all of us! Trouble is, we can vote Abbott out but we will still have the Murdochs and Rineharts of this world who will do their damnedest to screw the country and get the Libs back in. If only they took the 'pay it forward' view, or the view that they 'owe' the society that allowed them to prosper.

Casablanca

29/11/2014Michael, But just how to kick them out is the issue. A change of government in Victoria today would be a good start as it would reflect in large part on Abbott's leadership (or lack thereof).

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29/11/2014[b]The other cricketer who died like Phillip Hughes[/b] Chloe Saltau. November 28, 2014 The rare injury that befell Phillip Hughes, and its unbearable consequences, are known all too well by one other cricket family. An eerily similar case, perhaps the only other one caused by a cricket ball, from 21 years ago, is documented in a book of forensic case studies written by Melbourne-based journalist Liz Porter, Written on the skin. http://www.theage.com.au/sport/cricket/the-other-cricketer-who-died-like-phillip-hughes-20141128-11w4vi.html

2353

29/11/2014Michael - that's the game plan. You're definitely helping. Have you seen how often the anti-Abbott sites on Facebook link to the AIMN?

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29/11/2014[b]Labor, heal your hate: @burgewords #CreatingWaves on @AustralianLabor[/b] Michael Burge. November 29, 2014 In an arc from Whitlam’s sacking, to Keating’s toppling of Hawke and Gillard’s of Rudd, a ripple of Labor-red retribution runs through the left-leaning party and its followers so pervasively I wonder why anyone ever agrees to lead the rabble...Maybe with all my questions I’m missing the hate’s purpose. Is Labor’s pulsating hating principle some kind of energy source to help progressives ‘take it up’ to conservatives? If so, it’s not working. Since Paul Keating was popularly elected in his own right, all hate seems to have done for the party is truncate ALP leadership regimes. After acrimony borne of fundamental internal divisions, they collapse after about three years in power. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/11/29/labor-heal-your-hate-burgewords-creatingwaves-on-australianlabor/#sthash.SdMbX0ar.dpuf

Casablanca

29/11/2014Yippee! Napthine concedes defeat in Victoria. Be afraid Tony, very afraid.

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30/11/2014[b]Will Tony Abbott have the courage to accept some blame for the Victorian loss?[/b] Michael Taylor. November 29, 2014 News is now in that the Napthine Government has been kicked out after only one term. Already members of Abbott’s Government have distanced themselves from the result. Head on over to Twitter and look at the [b]‘it wasn’t us’ tweets[/b]....I wasn’t alone. Speaking to polling-booth volunteers, the message was the same: people weren’t voting against Napthine – they were voting against Abbott (or his government/Hockey’s budget). In the word of one voter, just to “watch him squirm”. Again, head on over to Twitter but this time look for the [b]‘it was them’ tweets.[/b] They dominate Twitter. http://theaimn.com/will-tony-abbott-courage-accept-blame-victorian-loss/

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30/11/2014Bert Evatt ‏@DocEvatt 10h10 hours ago Latest exit polls has 80% satisfaction rate with local sausage sizzle, except Liberal voters deeply unimpressed with halal snags. #vicvotes

Ad astra

30/11/2014Michael How good to see you back on [i]TPS[/i]. What a great victory for Labor, and what a warning for Abbott and his government. One term governments may become the norm if they don't perform. By comparison, the Abbott government is performing much more poorly than did the Napthine government, and Denis Napthine is a decent fellow. With the nasty, vindictive, vengeful Abbott at the helm of his barnacle infested ship, a similar fate awaits the Coalition in 2016. He has not yet realised that [b]he[/b] is the mega barnacle that is slowing his ship. The Coalition's only hope is to chisel off this ugly barnacle and replace Abbott with someone half respectable, someone who is not a pathological liar, someone who will listen to the people. Is there such a person in the Coalition's ranks?

Pappinbarra Fox

30/11/2014Nope

TalkTurkey

30/11/2014Greetings Comrades. I think few on the planet would not now of the unfortunate Phil Hughes, victim of a bouncer, a ball intended to do pretty much what this one did, just not so thoroughly. But how many know who Jorge Castillo-Riffo was? He was just doing his job on the brilliant new (Tx To Labor) Adelaide hospital construction site and was killed only a day or so after Phil. His plight was unrecognised for quite a while. Here's the story. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-28/workers-vote-to-suspend-work-at-royal-adelaide-hospital-site/5924332 Every human is precious. But some get huge attention, most get squat. So this here's just a thought for all the Jorges. I been up country at Mannum on the Murray for a couple of days with friends. Nice town, small, not commercialized, good location, punt, worth a visit if you're in SA. Now about this here ELECTION! Congratulations to the True Believers, and to the Unionists. Congratulations to all the successful Labor candidates and to Dan Andrews himself. May your grip on power be strong and wise. But - As Ad astra says - the best thing about this result is the effect it is having on Abborrrtt. After his [i]septidies horribilis[/i] (made that up - Latin provides no word for 'week') canoes, policy backflips, and backflips over backflips, and lies, and lies about lies, and more) the Vic Libs made him stay away. (Keeping a PM from helping your campaign? Astounding!) But now, with that known by all observers, he is the laughing stock for not having had the goolies to defy his friends in the Vic Libs. Remember that Oscar Wilde quip: [i]He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.[/i] I see no upside for Abborrrrtt's Govt now - no light in sight. They haven't the wit, the insight, the policies, honesty, decency, education or anything to right the ship of state now so precariously listing to starboard under the mad master's command. They are sort of buggered,but they're there for another 21 months probably, and they can do heaps more buggering to Australia in that time. [b] END THE CONFUSION! [i]DOUBLE DISSOLUTION![/i][/b]

Pappinbarra Fox

30/11/2014I got my power bill on Friday. I was overjoyed to see that there was a reduction due to the termination of the carbon price. I got $0.68 reduction. Just another $549.32 to go to meet Tony’s claim. Yipppeeee!! Bring back the carbon price I say!!!

Michael Taylor

30/11/20142353, yes, I've noticed that. Facebook is very good to The AIMN. Ad Astra, thank you. I haven't been visible lately due to numerous unplanned interstate trips, as well as taking a trip overseas to celebrate my 60th. I think the Abbott factor was immeasurable in regards to the Napthine loss. But I don't think Abbott will ever grasp the extent of it.

Curi-Oz

2/12/2014curioz December 2, 2014 at 12:11 AM On contemplation of some of the comments about Mr Abbott today, it has just struck me that even after the “coup” against Mr Whitlam’s government, there was not this level of vituperation against Mr Fraser as there is against Mr Abbott. Is it that we have a better exposure to comments by the MSM and others? (Yay for the internet!) Is it that we are (in general) more experienced in identifying people playing silly-buggers? Is it that we are in an echo-chamber of our own ideology, and we are out of touch with the wider economy? (because we all know there is no such thing as society…) Or is it that we have identified that the installation of this current government is the second coup in this country, organised by a similar coterie to the first one in 1975? There is a part of me that keeps hoping that somehow we will survive in such a way, that the society that is Australia will recover and reclaim that generosity of spirit that I first experienced when I arrived here forty odd years ago. There is a part of me that fears the damage is terminal, and will continue to make Australian society/economy smaller and meaner still.
What does two plus 1 equal?