In a galaxy far, far away … Australia


At Davos in Switzerland in January this year the 44th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) took place. About 2,600 representatives of government, business, civil society and academia took part, from over a hundred countries. Australian businesses that attended included Leighton Holdings, Fortescue Metals, Westpac, Westfarmers, Coles and Telstra. International corporations included Nestlé, Royal Philips, Microsoft, HSBC, Total and Heineken. Among the political leaders were Shinzo Abe, Japanese prime minister; David Cameron, British prime minister; Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister; and Hasan Rouhani, Iranian President. Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, was also there. Quite a gathering.

This year’s programme, which consisted of more than 250 official sessions, was organized under four thematic pillars: Achieving Inclusive Growth; Embracing Disruptive Innovation; Meeting Society’s New Expectations; and Sustaining a World of 9 Billion. Discussions on these issues challenged long-held assumptions about society, politics and business in an effort to generate the powerful ideas and collaborative spirit needed to manage the future course of world affairs.

Our prime minister (cough, spit!) was there and made a speech, one of 254 speakers (one for each official session). I will admit I began watching Tony Abbott’s speech when it was broadcast live on ABC News24 but, with my anger rising and the potential for collateral damage to the television and nearby furniture, was forced to turn it off. From what I later learned, I didn’t miss much. Here was I thinking that in a forum like the WEF Tony Abbott might actually say something meaningful … talk about being delusional!

What it did do, however, was make me look more deeply into what was being discussed at Davos and I was surprised at what I found. The range of issues on the agenda and the number of papers and reports supporting discussion was quite staggering. That led me to the title for this article. I know Abbott’s main reason (perhaps his only reason) for being there was that Australia is hosting the next G20 meeting in November this year and he was to give an outline as to where Australia would lead that meeting. But surely, given the issues being discussed at Davos, one would think he would address at least one of them in detail or dare to ‘challenge long held assumptions’ (as reported as an outcome of the meeting). No, not Abbott, he attacks the Labor party! He did brush on governance and taxation, but not in any profound way, and focused on free trade. He ignored almost all of the risks facing economies and businesses (after all, the WEF is dominated by big, and I mean big business) that are clearly laid out in the agenda for the meeting and, in particular, ignored the social risks.

There were papers on what is called ‘the global agenda’ and the trends for 2014. These forecasts are based on worldwide surveys of business people and samples of the general population prepared by Global Agenda Councils attached to the WEF. The top ten trending issues were:

1. Rising social tensions in the Middle East and North Africa
2. Widening income disparities
3. Persistent structural unemployment
4. Intensifying cyber threats
5. Inaction on climate change
6. Diminishing confidence in economic policies
7. A lack of values in leadership
8. The expanding middle class in Asia
9. The growing importance of megacities
10. The rapid spread of misinformation online.

The second major input was a report on ‘Global Risks’ (its ninth edition). The report for the 2014 meeting included the following top ten risks:

1. Fiscal crises in key economies
2. Structurally high unemployment/underemployment
3. Water crises
4. Severe income disparity
5. Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
6. Greater incidence of extreme weather events (eg floods, storms, fires)
7. Global governance failure
8. Food crises
9. Failure of major financial mechanism/institution
10. Profound political and social instability.

Fifty risks, including those ten, were plotted on a risk chart with the traditional axes of ‘Likelihood’ and ‘Impact’ (again based on survey responses). The events listed in the top right quarter (ie more likely with high impact) included:

  • Income disparity (most likely, seventh-highest impact)
  • Extreme weather events (second most likely, fifth-highest impact)
  • Unemployment/underemployment (third most likely, fourth-highest impact)
  • Climate change (fourth most likely, second-highest impact)
  • Cyber attacks (fifth most likely, eighth-highest impact)
  • Water crises (sixth most likely, third-highest impact)
  • Fiscal crises (seventh most likely, highest impact)
  • Ecosystem collapse (only rated fourteenth most likely, but sixth in terms of impact).
Obviously businesses are concerned about these risks, not for any altruistic reasons but for the impact on their capacity to ‘do business’ and their ‘bottom line’. In other words, for business these are seen as pressures on the market or issues that may distort the market. Also the social unrest that may result is not good for business — or government.

Putting the two lists together, it could be said that the key threats are:

  • Climate change and environmental issues (failure to address climate change, water crises, food crises, greater incidence of extreme weather events, ecosystem collapse)
  • Increasing inequality (widening/severe income disparity)
  • Unemployment/underemployment (structurally high unemployment, with particular emphasis on youth unemployment and its longer term implications for economies and social stability).
The reports indicate that while there is action on climate change it is not moving fast enough which, it is suggested, leads to the perception that little is being done. One report suggests $70-100 billion per year to 2050 is required in developed countries to effectively address climate change: another that, although $1 trillion has already been invested in renewable energy, a further $1 trillion per year is required. A complete transformation of economies is necessary: but one report positively suggests that such transformations have occurred before, eg the first industrial revolution and the digital revolution. So what is Australia doing? Eliminating the carbon tax and support for renewable energy industries. Our prime minister also suggests that fires and floods are normal in Australia, are not occurring at a more frequent rate, and that any expert who says otherwise is ‘talking through [their] hat’. To top it off on 6 February he proudly announced he wanted to make Australia the ‘affordable energy capital of the world’. How? By using cheap coal, the same energy source we are trying to reduce because of its impact on climate change. Yes, Australia has lots of cheap coal — just a shame that our grandchildren may not have much of a planet left on which to enjoy this cheap energy!

Yes, on climate change Abbott definitely believes Australia is on another planet. Or, perhaps as I suggested in an earlier post, taking us back to the 1800s: my prognostication in that article that we may need to use more coal and timber is coming true.

Forty-four per cent of Australians think the economic system favours the wealthy (from surveys conducted in 2013). That percentage is low on a global scale (60% in North America; 70% in Europe; 64% in Asia; 70% in the Middle East and North Africa) but still significant. The WEF reports indicate that while inequality is a major problem in developing countries, it is also significant in developed countries and has the capacity to increase social unrest:

The incredible wealth created over the last decade in the US has gone to a smaller and smaller portion of the population, and this disparity stems from many of the same roots as in developing nations.

First among them is a lack of access to high quality basic primary and secondary education for all segments of our society. Additionally it has become prohibitively expensive for the average middle-income family to send their child to college in the US; higher education, once seen as the great equaliser and engine for economic mobility, is becoming unaffordable for far too many.

I will address inequality in a future post but here in Australia, following the argument in the quote, dismantling the full impact of the ‘Gonski’ funding reforms for education will only increase inequality; creating more independent ‘public’ schools is likely to lead to increased fees, further fuelling inequality; trying to reduce workers’ wages, such as the government’s recent submission to Fair Work Australia to examine whether penalty rates are still valid in a modern economy, may only lead to the ‘working poor’ and greater inequality as in America.

Unemployment appears not to be a major problem in Australia, although there is still significant youth unemployment and underemployment, which has been an issue for some years. Abbott’s approach, like John Howard’s, is that ‘any job is better than no job’ even if it is at the minimum wage or lower. It seems we will end up with a class of working poor not because of happenstance (read bad economic management) but because Abbott actually wants to create it — at least then some of the big companies supporting him will have the cheap labour they so crave.

The Global Risks report actually made ‘global governance failure’ the pivot of all the risks, arguing that as the risks are global or have global implications (especially for global corporations!), they therefore require global action. Such action is reliant on global governance mechanisms, so that was a major concern. To my mind, this is simply big business shifting the responsibility.

Why did Abbott ignore these issues at Davos? Why are Australian businesses ignoring them when the rest of the world’s businesses are seeing them as major threats? Perhaps our only hope is that the global corporations operating in Australia start making noises to the government that these issues should be addressed or they may take their business elsewhere. Other factors are already tempting big business to leave Australia: cheaper labour costs in Asia; and the emergence of the Asian middle class which prompts companies to take their production closer to such a large and growing market. If we don’t address other issues that global corporations are concerned about, such as those raised at Davos, what will we have left to attract any business — and that situation will be worsened by forcing the closure of our own local businesses with decisions like that regarding SPC-Ardmona.

One other interesting report, and it was a ‘featured’ report, which suggests it was deemed to have some significance, was ‘Towards the Circular Economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains’. A couple of quotes summarise the gist of the report:

Progressive companies and forward-looking governments are shifting their attention from old style sustainability — a linear concept that goes from take and use to dispose — towards a ‘circular’ approach. This ‘circular’ approach effectively decouples growth from rising resource constraints in a world that will add 3 billion middle-class consumers over the next 15 years …

… Leading global companies are already building the concept of the circular economy into the way they do business. It is helping them to drive innovation across product design, to develop product-to-service approaches and to test new ways of recovering materials from redundant products such as old mobile phones. Heineken, for example, is now pursuing circular practices across its whole value chain.

China is adopting the circular approach in its latest five-year plan.

For business, the approach is deemed profitable. The value of the market in consumer goods in Europe is estimated at €3.2 trillion ‘of which 20% could be recuperated through smart circular practices’. In layman’s terms it is about taking ‘recycling’ to the next level.

Has anyone heard of this being discussed in Australia? I certainly haven’t but I am retired and outside the loop where such things may be raised. But leaving that aside, I have not seen it mentioned in the many articles I read. (After completing my original version of this piece, I did eventually find one article in Casablanca’s excellent Cache) So where is Australia on this? On another planet, or just so far behind we can only see the dust of those ahead of us!

I honestly do not understand which planet Abbott (indeed, much of Australian big business) thinks we are on — it is certainly not the planet Earth in the Milky Way but perhaps another earth in a galaxy far, far away …

What do you think?

Rate This Post

Current rating: 0.8 / 5 | Rated 6 times

TPS Team

23/03/2014After a few weeks of looking at political systems and theory, this week [i]The Political Sword[/i] returns to its roots and puts the verbal sword to politicians. Ken Wolff looks at the importance of the World Economic Forum and its recent meeting at Davos in Switzerland, the matters discussed and the importance of the meeting considering both National Leaders and Leaders of Industry attended. Then the Prime Minister of Australia gets up and discusses . . . domestic politics! It is generally accepted practice that once a politician is outside their jurisdiction, they keep their comments to matters pertaining to how they perceive their country is responding to external events. There is a good reason for this - the leaders of other countries and large corporations are usually not of the same nationality and probably don't have an interest in domestic politics outside their own country. So you would wonder what the delegates at Davos were doing when PM Abbott was airing his dirty domestic laundry - were they hanging on every word spoken, gobsmacked at how irrelevant this speech was, or just wondering how a so called first world country could elect someone like this to represent them? There are some potentially 'earth shattering' events that deserve discussion at the G20 in Brisbane during November. With the myopic vision of PM Abbott - who seems to still be fighting the 2010 election - what are the chances of any real and positive outcome to global issues such as climate change, managing population and economic growth or reducing tensions in the worlds current hot spots, or will he rerun his favourite three word slogans from whatever planet he is inhabiting? As always, your comments are welcome and we look forward to some friendly debate.

Ad astra

23/03/2014Ken What an important piece you have written. The lists of priority issues for discussion at Davos contrast starkly with the issues Tony Abbott chose to address. This disparity illustrates how remote he is from the economic and social issues that are shaping our global world, and will do so increasingly in the years ahead. Even his colleagues acknowledge he is illiterate in economics. Clearly he knows little about the social impacts of economic activity. How then can he be an effective leader of a middle order nation in the tumultuous global economic environment we now experience day after day? We know he can't and isn't. We have an incompetent as our PM. And he is vengeful and hateful to boot. What a tragedy for our nation. What I found most impressive in the lists you quoted was the heavy emphasis on matters that progressives deem critically important: fiscal crises, income disparity and unemployment; and climate change, adverse weather events, water crises and ecosystem collapse. These are issues that Abbott and the Coalition scarcely acknowledge. The only fiscal 'crises' they accept are spurious: the need to reach a surplus and pay off debt. What have we done to deserve such monumental incompetence from our so-called 'leader'. How much longer can we endure his stuttering ineptitude and his all-pervasive malovelence towards his opponents? It's embarrassing and frightening. After all, we are a first world nation. Thank you for another thoughtful, informative and comment-provoking piece.

TalkTurkey

23/03/2014WOO-HOOO! LABOR HOLDS SA! Congratulations JAY WEATHERILL! (whom both Jason & I have met personally) I like him well, he is a beacon of sanity for Labor all over. Absolutely extraordinary circumstances ... Check it out: Here's my old Teachers' College colleague (and decent bloke imo) Dr Bob Such, who was once a Liberal Minister, became IndependAnt because he was too liberal for Liberals, and has been hounded mercilessly and hatefully by them ever since; he won his seat comfortably last Saturday in an election in which Labor won 23, Libs 22, and there were 2 IndependAnts, the other being Geoff Brock, from one from the redneckest area of SA, the Far West around Pt Lincoln where my racist rellies live. (Pt Lincoln proper, a decade ago, had the highest average income in Australia, on the back of the greedy self-destroying Tuna industry plus the deliberately and smugly ignorant rural people - including my rellies.) Brock's constituency of Frome, where Labor isn't even in the race, has nevertheless been poorly served forever by Liberal Governments over time, to the extent that Brock got elected as an IndependAnt instead, I don't know when. So of course since the election last Saturday, both IndependAnts have been under extreme pressure from the Right to side with them and form Government. That would have meant 23 ALP vs (22+2)LNP Govt, minus 1 for Speaker, so EVERY vote would have depended on his casting vote. That would have been unstable, but workable as long as nobody became too ill to attend Parliament during crucial votes. Another scenario was for one IndependAnt to go each way. Labor would have had 24 and Libs 23, with Labor then depending on the Speaker's casting vote. Again, razor's edge. A third possibility was for both IndependAnts to come to Labor, which would have given us a safe margin, 25 to 22, with the Speaker never having to use his/her casting vote. Yet [i]none[/i] of these eventuated. For whatever reason, Dr Such has suddenly revealed that he is to undergo serious surgery this week, and his absence will be for at least two months it seems - possibly more. He has my sincere wishes for a speedy and complete recovery and I hope may yet return to take his seat. But that left an impossible situation for the Liberals. Had Brock sided with them, that would have meant a 23-all count, with neither side able to provide a Speaker and still have a majority on the floor. The only way to resolve the impasse, barring the unthinkable possibility of defection/s from one side to the other, would have been a new election immediately. The Murdoch media - mainly Advertiser hacks, we only have one newspaper in this town - immediately started screeching CHAOS! the whole SA political situation plunged into uncertainty! Yadada yadada bleahh. Of course, the real situation, far from becoming muddier, on the contrary had instantly become crystal clear. The only rational solution was for Brock to side with Labor, to produce a 24-22 outcome - 23 Labor outvoting Libs normally, and with the buffer of the Speaker's casting vote on all vital issues. And that is what Brock has opted to do, with an assurance that he will not bring down the Government by voting against it on vital issues. Poor man, he will be HATED in Frome, though he has been given the eminently appropriate Ministry of Regional Development, which will enable him to do well for his locals, assuming only a wee modicum of pork-barrelling! He would probably have preferred the same position in a Liberal Government - for the sake of an easier life in his constituency - but he has the nous not to create the obvious hiatus were he to have sided with the Liberals - and he would have faced another bruising election in Frome himself of course. The way things have worked out, neither he nor a (hopefully soon-to-return) Bob Such would relish an election anytime soon - They would both be intensely vulnerable now. So for both of them, for reasons both of self-interest and for the good of our State, they have strong incentives to stick with Labor now, and Jay Weatherill looks to be set for a stable 4 years in this blessed State. Whew. Huzzah! Goodonya Jay. Get well soon Bob. And the following is just dessert from Mike Carlton, whom I so irked recently over his pronouncements of utter trust in his seafaring mates' innocence in the Burnt Hands affair. This time - as is usual - I agree with him completely. http://www.theage.com.au/comment/no-martha-defence-for-arthur-sinodinos-20140321-358cd.html

TalkTurkey

23/03/2014The side Abborrtt flaunts and the side he hides. http://www.news-republic.com/Web/ArticleWeb.aspx?regionid=6&articleid=20657875

Casablanca

24/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Monday, 24 March 2014: 32 items [/b] MARCH IN MARCH 1. Letter to Jacqueline Maley Cath Fisher This letter is written in response to Jacqueline Maley’s article – March in March: Two sides to the story we didn’t run. No, Jacqueline Maley you are wrong. We do not “despise” the MSM. We miss it. We miss being able to switch on the telly or open a newspaper or tune into the radio and know that the news broadcast will tell us WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED... Just as our Senator Scott Ludlam “Wants Our Country Back” I want our MSM back. I want Rupert out of the picture. I want our MSM to have the guts to speak instead of cowering in a corner then lashing out and claiming that the left “despises” them because we can no longer trust the MSM or turn to the MSM for proper, fair, fearless reporting. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/22/letter-to-jacqueline-maley/ 2. To Tory Shepherd Kaye Lee To Tory Shepherd, I was made aware of your article Grab-bag of rage as the March in March was much ado about nothing when reading Victoria Rollinson’s excellent article The missing ingredients. I took part in the march and have http://theaimn.com/2014/03/22/to-tory-shepherd/ 3. The Missing Ingredients Victoria Rollison There have been some great contributions covering the March in March on the AIMN and other independent news and blog sites during the week. And not surprisingly, many of them are critical of the lack of coverage this national grass protest movement received in the mainstream media... So I’ve been having a think about what key ingredients March in March was missing that made it so irrelevant and non-newsworthy to the media. I was also thinking about how irrelevant most of the other news that journalists write about is to our community interests. And so I decided to come up with a list of things the March in May organisers might want to consider including in the next march, to see if we can garner the attention of a press that has so badly let us down: http://theaimn.com/2014/03/22/the-missing-ingredients/ 4. March in March Gold Coast: Down with the corporatists David Donovan In a speech to the Gold Coast March in March, David Donovan minces no words in explaining why it is important Australians reject Abbott and his "corporatist" neoliberal agenda. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/march-in-march-gold-coast-down-with-the-corporatists,6302 5. A reflection on #MarchInMarch Curi-Oz Corner Just thinking about what I was planning this time last week, and reflecting on the paucity of news coverage that might have some of the issues that took so many people into the streets around the country. This was particularly prompted by this nice enquiry and the reply it received from the Sydney Morning Herald. There has been many articles online about how individuals felt about getting out and marching last Sunday, but the main stream media’s reaction seems to have been a shock to many who took part and were not, in my opinion, cynical enough about what is considered newsworthy. http://curiozcorner.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/a-reflection-on-marchinmarch/ ENTITLEMENTS + FIDDLES + RORTS + SUBSIDIES + RESPONSIBILITY + LARGESSE 6. Arthur Sinodinos: The man least likely Kate McClymont, Jonathan Swan and Michaela Whitbourn How did squeaky clean Liberal icon Arthus Sinodinos get messed up with the now notorious Eddie Obeid in the NSW corruption inquiry?... What nobody in the Coalition will dispute is how great a loss Sinodinos will be for the Abbott government, even temporarily. "He provides an important link to the centre of the Howard government," one Liberal Senator said. "We … want to learn from the successes and the failures. Arthur is the link to what's gone before." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/arthur-sinodinos-the-man-least-likely-20140321-358ko.html 7. While Sinodinos is off at ICAC, someone should have a look at his financial advice legislation Michelle Grattan Interviewed recently about the government’s plan to roll back key consumer protections in Labor’s financial advice legislation, Arthur Sinodinos said his advice to consumers was to “get more informed… http://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-while-sinodinos-is-off-at-icac-someone-should-have-a-look-at-his-financial-advice-legislation-24632 CULTURE WARS 8. Children can’t vote Kaye Lee Children can’t vote so they have no say in how their country is governed. They must rely on we adults to protect their interests and to be their advocates. So where do children rate in the Coalition’s priorities? After assuring us that there was absolutely no difference between Labor and Liberal on education, the government has signed up the remaining states and territory to the Gonski reforms without the required state co-funding or performance obligations. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/23/children-cant-vote/ ELECTIONS: SA + WA 9. Labor to retain power in South Australia AAP South Australia has avoided a constitutional crisis and the potential of a fresh election with independent MP Geoff Brock delivering Labor the numbers to form a minority government. Labor will be returned for a fourth term thanks to Mr Brock’s support which ends a week of uncertainty after the March 15 poll returned a hung parliament. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-to-retain-power-in-south-australia-20140323-35b58.html 10. Scott Ludlam’s speech made me understand why so many voted for Abbott. trishcorry What day was it, when Australians jumped out of bed and said, “I no longer expect my Prime Minister to display any type of leadership and vision?” What day was it, when we lowered our standards? Today I watched Scott Ludlam’s speech to the Senate “Our Vision for Western Australia” The first thing that struck me, was not the eloquence of his speech, nor the insightfulness of his speech, but the fact that I have never heard our Prime Minister Tony Abbott give a speech with such leadership, vision and clarity, than what I have just witnessed. This type of speech from Tony Abbott? Never. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/23/scott-ludlams-speech-made-me-understand-why-so-many-voted-for-abbott/ 11. Senate poll in WA: Scott Ludlam's hopes may go up in smoke Heath Aston Scott Ludlam's ''welcome to Western Australia'' speech against Prime Minister Tony Abbott lit up social media and made him an instant hero of Gen Y. But the Greens senator's campaign for re-election in WA has been hit by claims he is actually a social conservative on one important issue to many young people: the legalisation of marijuana and other drugs. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/senate-poll-in-wa-scott-ludlams-hopes-may-go-up-in-smoke-20140323-35blj.html POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 12. What changed? Questions for Abbott about Sinodinos Barrie Cassidy Clive Palmer's new demands over the mining tax repeal come at an already difficult time for Tony Abbott, who has questions to answer over his embattled Assistant Treasurer, Arthur Sinodinos, stepping down. He insists it has to backdown on the decision to end the bonus welfare payments to the children of war veterans injured or killed overseas. The payments go to 1240 recipients and cost in total just $260,000 a year. They are essentially education allowances to cover unforseen expenses. Though the demand is small, it says much about Palmer. Nothing can be taken for granted, no matter what the issue. And he's going to have his own pet issues along the way. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-21/cassidy-abbott-has-questions-to-answer-about-sinodinos/5334672 13. The Peter Principle Kaye Lee The Peter Principle suggests that people will tend to be promoted until they reach their “position of incompetence”, and that is exactly what we are seeing with this Coalition government. They had six years in Opposition to develop their policies, and access to the Parliamentary Budgetary Office to cost them, but when it came to the crunch the cupboard was bare. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/22/the-peter-principle/ 14. In a galaxy far, far away … Australia Ken Wolff There are some potentially 'earth shattering' events that deserve discussion at the G20 in Brisbane during November. With the myopic vision of PM Abbott - who seems to still be fighting the 2010 election - what are the chances of any real and positive outcome to global issues such as climate change, managing population and economic growth or reducing tensions in the worlds current hot spots, or will he rerun his favourite three word slogans from whatever planet he is inhabiting? http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/ 15. Do your job, Malcolm Turnbull, it’s what we pay you for Jennifer Wilson Engage with a Federal Minister and you’ll soon come to a conclusion whether he or she is ‘on the job’. After an exchange with Malcolm Turnbull via the social media, Jennifer Wilson has severe reservations if he is doing his. “You’re winning no support trying to avoid questions by point scoring,” I tweeted. ” You’re in charge, govern, in our best interests.” To which the Communications Minister replied” “So it’s shameful to tell the truth is it? Or is it that you are ashamed of the mess Labor left us to clean up?” And so on. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/21/do-your-job-malcolm-turnbull-its-what-we-pay-you-for/ ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 16. Coalition budget reform needs more than tough talk Callam Pickering With every passing week, it becomes increasingly obvious that the Federal Government will need to raise taxes if they hope to meet their budget goals and create a long-term sustainable budget. But are they willing to make a necessary but politically unpopular decision? http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/21/economy/coalition-budget-reform-needs-more-tough-talk?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=618802&utm_campaign=pm&modapt= SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 17. Desmond Tutu: 'I am sorry' – the three hardest words to say Desmond Tutu The social activist and retired Anglican archbishop on seeing his father abuse his mother when he was a child and what he's learned since then about forgiveness. Forgiveness takes practice, honesty, open-mindedness and a willingness (even if it is a weary willingness) to try. It isn't easy. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/22/archbishop-desmond-tutu-sorry-hard-to-say?CMP=ema_632 18. The key to forgiveness is the refusal to seek revenge Giles Fraser The problem with our retributive model of justice is that it can easily serve to perpetuate violence and hatred...Beyond Right and Wrong is a fascinating title – with obvious shades of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil – because it captures something of the complex moral ambivalence many of us feel towards forgiveness... t is a similar uneasy feeling one can have with forgiveness itself, that it undermines the basic logic of proportionality that underpins most moral thinking – that the scales of justice require some sort of balance. Crime needs to be offset by a proportionate amount of punishment. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Forgiveness ignores all of that, which is why it exists beyond right and wrong. http://www.theguardian.com/uk/belief/2013/feb/08/key-forgiveness-refusal-seek-revenge 19. Forgiveness is the secret to happy relationships Luisa Dillner Forget retaliation and revenge if someone hurts you..learn to forgive and you'll be happier and healthier... The UN's report Forgiveness, which looks at the psychological research into the subject, cites studies showing the importance of forgiving within personal relationships, as well as between war-torn nations. It makes you healthier and happier, the research says; it makes you feel stronger – it was Mahatma Gandhi who said, "Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong" – and better about yourself. Holding a grudge is bad for your blood pressure (no surprises there), causes anxiety and can reduce your life expectancy. It affects you and not them – the offender has probably forgotten all about what's making you bitter and twisted... "It's a free choice to forgive or not, but you can usually make a cost benefit analysis for it." http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/oct/10/forgiveness-retaliation-revenge-dillner 20. The Biennale boycott blues Sarah Joseph The Sydney Biennale has commenced after weeks of controversy over the severing of its relationship with Transfield, the company that runs the detention centre in Nauru and which will take over the one at Manus island....The federal government has since weighed in. Malcolm Turnbull described the actions of the boycotting artists as “vicious ingratitude” before Arts Minister George Brandis upped the ante considerably. Brandis has written to the Australia Council, the federal body in charge of arts funding, asking that it develop a policy to refuse federal funding to any arts body which “unreasonably” refuses private funding... Modern social expectations dictate that corporations have a responsibility to respect human rights. Respect for human rights does not equate with “legality under a country’s domestic law”. http://theconversation.com/the-biennale-boycott-blues-24694 21. Listening Character and Political Leadership. How does Abbott Stack up? johnlord It is probably fair to say that you cannot be a good leader without character. Character is the defining point of leadership. Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/22/listening-character-and-political-leadership-how-does-abbott-stack-up/ 22. The world’s best economy (Part Two): Winners and losers through the GFC Alan Austin Practical application of IA's original new comparative evaluation of global economies – the IAREM – proves itself capable of answering some very divisive political questions. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-worlds-best-economy-part-two-winners-and-losers-through-the-gfc,6304 GENDER INEQUALITY 23. Sex and politics: a return to business as usual Louise Chappell The return to white male dominance as business as usual in Australian politics provokes questions for women and other marginalised groups about the relevance of our current political system. with the loss of Lara Giddings as Tasmanian premier, we have rapidly returned to the male status quo of Australian politics. With the exception of Katy Gallagher in the ACT, there is no female head of government in Australia. What happened to reverse this short-lived rebalancing of sex in Australian politics, and does it matter? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-21/chappell-sex-and-politics-a-return-to-business-as-usual/5332914 FREE SPEECH + PRIVACY 24. Fred Phelp’s son: I understand why people are happy my father died. johnlord On Q&A this week I watched George Brandis try to make a case for free speech by saying that we should be judged by what we allow people to say rather than by what we don’t. How simplistic. That people should have the right to insult, harass, humiliate or offend simply because it is their right to freedom of expression is alarming. And they need to be protected by law in doing so. This is why we endure the likes of News Ltd, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones. 25. Bolt, Brandis and the double standard on free speech Dennis Altman It was the ultimate irony. On this week’s Q&A, host Tony Jones issued an apology on behalf of both Indigenous academic Marcia Langton and the ABC for Langton implying on the previous week’s program that News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt was a racist. http://theconversation.com/bolt-brandis-and-the-double-standard-on-free-speech-24423?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+21+March+2014&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+21+March+2014+CID_1bcca4d50b39c34ae8c16284bea55ee6&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Bolt%20Brandis%20and%20the%20double%20standard%20on%20free%20speech MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 26. Australian media march to two different drums Peter Wicks The mainstream media are not giving us the full story... Some of you will be shocked by what I am about to say — shocked and appalled. The mainstream media are letting us down. Yep, I said it. I know it's something I don't often say, but it’s true we are being drip-fed a distorted view of the news. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australian-media-march-to-two-different-drums,6299 27. The deregulation agenda for Australian media: what of the public interest? David Holmes The Keating reforms [of 1992]to restrict cross-media ownership were effective at halting the long march of media concentration in Australia. But in 2006 the Coalition introduced substantial regressive changes in the Broadcasting Services Amendment Act. This included the spectacular handing over of digital television spectrum to the existing free-to-air operators, who have since been able to maintain the same audience share to deliver to advertisers. http://theconversation.com/the-deregulation-agenda-for-australian-media-what-of-the-public-interest-24501 ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY + SUSTAINABILITY 28. The meat we eat ... or don't eat Vicki Hird When you consider the real costs, it becomes startlingly clear that some of the worst things you can waste are meat and dairy... According to new book Farmageddon, that's about 50 million chickens, 1.5 million pigs and 100,000 beef cattle. Globally it's close to 12 billion animals: an extraordinary amount of living creatures born to be wasted. We don't hear much about the land, water and energy being used to produce, process and transport them all because it doesn't appear on food labels. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/19/meat-dairy-waste?INTCMP=mic_232621 29. Changing of the seasons Sara Phillips Our understanding of seasons is purely cultural, so if the seasons shift as a result of climate change, we can expect that our culture will have to adjust too. Seasons are as much a cultural phenomenon as food, music, religion and dance. The Melbourne 'winter' brings with it overcoats and umbrellas and the promise of an AFL game to get you through the long dark nights. The Darwin 'winter' brings with it Mindil Markets and the promise of a croc-free swim. The Woodland Trust in the UK has been recording observations of the changing seasons for 278 years... http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-21/phillips-cultural-change/5336582 ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE 30. Abbott fiddles while Manus burns Michael Gordon One of the first asylum seekers to give evidence was the room mate of Reza Barati, who died during what our Prime Minister has called a ''very, very serious riot'', but what the asylum seekers insist was an unprovoked and well-planned attack by PNG nationals employed at the centre. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/abbott-fiddles-while-manus-burns-20140321-358gi.html 31. Manus Island: Reza Berati was struck, fell from stairs and was hit over head till he died, say inmates Eoin Blackwell New allegations surrounding the death of the Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati emerged on Friday during an inspection of the Manus Island detention centre, organised as part of a court inquiry into last month's violence. Two Australian journalists granted access to the Manus Island facility were not permitted to interview asylum seekers, but many inmates spoke openly and shouted to the visiting party. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/manus-island-reza-berati-was-struck-fell-from-stairs-and-was-hit-over-head-till-he-died-say-inmates-20140321-358qb.html 32. Abbott and O'Neill agree: No human rights inquiry for Manus Island Michael Gordon The Abbott government was consulted and strongly backed the decision of the Papua New Guinea government to shut down a human rights inquiry into the Manus Island detention centre, Fairfax Media has been told. PNG's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato, has also confirmed that the two governments would move to deny access of a human rights lawyer to the centre on Monday. "It's a joint effort. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-and-oneill-agree-no-human-rights-inquiry-for-manus-island-20140322-35a6e.html OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

24/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Monday, 24 March 2014. [b]Abbott fiddles while Manus burns[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-03-21.aspx

Truth Seeker

24/03/2014Ken, thanks for a good piece on another nail in our world wide credibility coffin courtesy of Abbott and his Lying Nut-job Party. It really is scary what these nuts are doing! But I may have the answer in my last post "So, if you work for me… YOU'RE FIRED!" :-) http://truthseekersmusings.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/so-if-you-work-for-me-youre-fired/ Keep up the good work. Cheers :-)

Ken

24/03/2014Ad I agree that many of the issues being discussed at the WEF are consistent with a progressive agenda. That was what fascinated me so much and led to me writing the piece. The WEF certainly isn't a bunch of 'left wing loonies' or 'tree huggers' who can be ignored by conservatives and yet Abbott does ignore them. If he believes so strongly in business and the markets, why isn't he listening to them. That was the frustrating question in my mind as I wrote. But as you say, it is the man himself that is the problem.

Ken

24/03/2014Truth Seeker Glad to see you commenting again. As I said in reply to Ad, I find it almost incomprehensible that Abbott refuses to take any notice of a group like the WEF that includes so many of the big businesses he apparently 'loves'. You are right that Abbott's appearance at Davos and his approach to the major issues raised there has further damaged Australia's credibility in the world. And when he tells experts on climate change that they are talking through their hat, or that the world can have cheap energy using Australian coal, one is left throwing one's hands up in utter disbelief! The planet he exists on is only in his own head and bears little relationship to reality.

Ad astra

24/03/2014TT It is greatly to your credit and that of other Labor workers at polling stations that Labor has been able to form government in SA, much to the chagrin of the LNP. All the hyperbole and confident predictions of the MSM about a whitewash and wall-to-wall LNP governments came to nought. If Abbott ever seriously considered a double dissolution election to resolve the carbon tax issue, he will soon put that dangerous idea behind him. We can ignore any threatening rhetoric he might use. He will be stymied by his innate electoral cowardice. I too enjoyed reading Mike Carlton's assessment of 'Arfur' Sinodinos.

Truth Seeker

24/03/2014Ken, I have been popping in regularly to see what's happening, but have been very tied up with my own site, too much on the go, and health issues etc, leaving me little time for much else. The truth is we currently don't have a government, but rather a rabble of Chicken Little's, running around screaming about how the sky's falling, and it's all the fault of the previous government. All I can say is God help us if he gets control of the senate? Cheers :-)

Ad astra

24/03/2014Truth Seeker Welcome back. Your piece is germane. QT is awful. I have stopped watching.

Truth Seeker

24/03/2014Hi Ad, thanks for that :-) I hope you're enjoying your time out, although I have seen that you're still here pretty regularly :-) Yes, Bronny just has to go! In just a few short sitting weeks, she has trashed hundreds of years of protocols and traditions, not to mention the rules, standing orders, rulings and precedents. And sadly while she's trashing parliament, Abbott's trashing the country! :-( Cheers :-)

jaycee

24/03/2014Someone should tell Mike Carlton they already have a brilliant "Abbott impersonator"..but the zoo will only allow the chimp out to do matinees and kids birthday shows.The zoo also has a "screaming tree gibbon" available to do Pyne ad-libs, but they are afraid the too-close resemblance would make the poor monkey vulnerable to physical attacks! They also have some feral snails available for the Dutton purists.

Ken

24/03/2014Truth Seeker If Abbott gets control of the Senate, it will be his undoing, just as it was for Howard. With that much power he will not be able to stop himself going too far! In reality, I think the new Senate will support him on some things but not all. Palmer has already said he supports repealing the carbon tax and mining tax but wants to retain some of the benefits that Gillard Labor was funding using those 'taxes'. That will lead to some interesting outcomes given Abbott and Hockey's emphasis on debt and acheiving a surplus.

42long

24/03/2014All the whining coming from the SA hopefuls. Illegitimate. OK should we use different rules for different fools? IF the LieNP didn't have enough savvy to do what Labor did and target the electorates that matter, more fool them. Another reason why they should not be in power. _If a Party cannot run an electoral campaign, how would it run a state? Sniff, sniff, Poor Chrissy...

Ken

24/03/201442 long As I pointed out in a post last year ('Do I have a mandate for you') there have been a number of instances at the Federal level where a party has won the popular vote but not enough seats to win government. Famously Beazley beat Howard on the popular vote in 1998. Does that mean Howard's was an illegitimate government? It does if you follow the Liberal's logic of the past few years. As you say, it is no more than whining. It is a relatively common occurence in our political system. The only way to overcome it is to have lower houses (State and Federal) elected on a proportional basis and I don't think either party wants to go there. (Although Tasmania and the ACT already do it and results can be just as 'controversial').

2353

24/03/2014And on top of that Ken, if the Independent had decided to go with the SA Libs, they too would not have a majority on the floor of Parliament. So how is a minority ALP government illegitimate but an minority Liberal government kosher? The premise is illogical - unfortunately Abbott harped on this for three years and eventually seems to have convinced enough people. There has to be some appropriate statement about sheep or lemmings that should go here - but I can't think of it at the moment!

Ken

24/03/20142353 yes, the SA Libs needed both independents and with Such going into hospital that couldn't happen for two or three months - a long time to have a caretaker government. So Brock made his decision.

Ad astra

24/03/2014Casablanca Your Cache, as usual, is spectacular. The first few items, on MinM, made particularly interesting readings. Thank you once again.

Ad astra

24/03/2014Folks Paul Barry will be commenting on the media coverage of MinM in Media Watch tonight.

DMW

24/03/2014Hi Ken [i]The only way to overcome it is to have lower houses (State and Federal) elected on a proportional basis ...[/i] The challenge with proportional representation is that it is close to impossible to achieve with most electoral processes. The two Australian jurisdictions that come closest, Tasmania and the ACT, actually only have multi-member electorates which have only given a very approximate facsimile of proportional representation. Generally the results of elections throw up members from three parties and the very occasional independent leaving a myriad of other allegedly 'minor voices' unrepresented. There are some possible ways to have some form of PR but in the end I suspect most would fail or be unworkable. If I were 'King for the Day' I would implement a system that appeals to our 'lucky' country nature and randomly select by lottery a lucky person on the electoral roll to be the local member. We would, possibly, given the nature of 'randomness', end up with something closer to PR and in all likelihood a far better standard of representation.

Ken

24/03/2014DMW Agree. PR systems usually depend on some form of multi-member electorates - even the Senate where the whole State is the electorate. That is why I said they can also lead to 'controversial' results. I do like your idea of randomly picking local members or to make it even more Australian, pick six and then have them bet on two flies crawling up the wall with the winner of the wager duly elected! I think the permuations of your approach are endless and exciting. And as you say would result in representation of a hiher standard than most elected members provide at present (there are a few exceptions but not enough).

DMW

24/03/2014Ken, your cooking with gas with flies crawling up a wall variation :) still giggling and thinking of mind bending variations.

Casablanca

25/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Tuesday, 25 March 2014: 30 items[/b] MARCH IN MARCH 1. We are family: Sydney’s #MarchInMarch Jim McCool Last Sunday, despite a thunderstorm and torrential downpours, thousands of Sydneysiders joined the #MarchInMarch protests. According to some media reports, this was a march of leftist extremists, the usual parade of tree-huggers and soap-dodgers. I do not believe that to be the case. I was there. My family was there. I have a full time job, I commute to the CBD from the suburbs every day, my kids are in full time education. We saw plenty of other ordinary families just like us. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/23/family-sydneys-marchinmarch-coolmccool/#sthash.xLg2SiOc.dpuf 2. More questions than answers after Adelaide #MarchInMarch: @WorsleyTrevor reports Trevor Worsley I am not a political activist. I have never been to a protest or demonstration of any kind. I had long considered myself a swinging voter, trying at each election to make decisions based on issues and not slogans or political spin. Gradually, over the past few years, I have been becoming disengaged with the political process in this country. This is, in the main, because both sides of politics seem to be less and less interested in the things that matter to the grass roots of the community and much more interested in playing ideology wars with their opposing number. Most people I associate with feel very similar. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/23/questions-answers-adelaide-marchinmarch/#sthash.4jfdrobS.dpuf 3. The #MarchinMarch Canberra in pictures Wayne Jansson Roll over photos to read captions or click for slideshow. Read More from the March In March Archive http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=9d9c7dc5c0b38e5986f92dcc66a20a3b&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 4. March in March Brisbane: Abbott protest above party politics Matthew N. Donovan In his speech to the Brisbane March in March in March, organiser and former ALP state candidate Matthew N Donovan says the movement is above party politics [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/march-in-march-brisbane-abbott-protest-above-party-politics,6306 5. Why I Supported March In March Wendy Bacon March in March was a resounding success because of its diversity, not in spite of it. It should move us to do more for those suffering under Tony Abbott https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/17/why-i-supported-march-march ROYAL COMMISSIONS + INQUIRIES + AUDITS + REVIEWS + WITCH HUNTS + TIME WASTING 6. Building watchdog's 15 police referrals in 7 years score no convictions Ben Schneiders, Clay Lucas "As the Abbott government moves to revive the building industry watchdog, Victoria Police has revealed that not one criminal conviction was recorded as a result of its information over its seven years in existence. The government wants to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which operated from 2005 to 2012, citing a culture of lawlessness in the industry." http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/building-watchdogs-15-police-referrals-in-7-years-score-no-convictions-20140323-35bto.html ENTITLEMENTS + FIDDLES + RORTS + SUBSIDIES + TENDERS + RESPONSIBILITY + LARGESSE 7. Sinodinos Still Living In The Age Of Entitlement Ian McAuley If the Coalition is serious about ending 'the age of entitlement' they will need to crack down on private-public partnerships, political donations and the top end of town https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/24/sinodinos-still-living-age-entitlement 8. This Is The End Of Arthur Sinodinos Ben Eltham Arthur Sinodinos has stood aside from ministerial duties while he's under investigation by ICAC, but that's a moot point. Anyone touched by the Obeids is finished..... https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/20/end-arthur-sinodinos POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 9. Forget the conspiracy theories, Paul Howes is just burnt out Mark Kenny While Howes has a reputation for self-promotion, he has had a lot to work with – his talents are considerable....Personally and professionally, Howes is burnt out. This is a very human situation for early achievers. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/forget-the-conspiracy-theories-paul-howes-is-just-burnt-out-20140324-35d54.html 10. Coalition puts financial advice rule changes on hold Peter Martin and Gareth Hutchens Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has called a halt to the controversial watering-down of Labor's financial advice laws, less than a week after besieged colleague Arthur Sinodinos stepped down from the portfolio.The move means the Abbott government's amended legislation will not be introduced to Parliament this week. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/coalition-puts-financial-advice-rule-changes-on-hold-20140324-35dmr.html 11. Tony Abbott's pseudo reform on the spin cycle Ross Gittins The world of politicians gets deeper and deeper into spin, and so far no production of the Abbott government rates higher on the spin cycle than last week's Repeal Day. Hands up if you believe in red tape? No, I thought not. So how about we package up a huge pile of window dressing with some worthwhile but minor measures, slip in a few favours for our big business supporters and generous donors, and call it the most vigorous attack on red tape ever? This will give a veneer of credibility to our claim it will do wonders for the economy. In the process, of course, we'll have changed the meaning of ''red tape''. It's meant to mean bureaucratic requirements that waste people's time without delivering any public benefit. In the hands of the spin doctors, however, it's being used to encompass everything from removing dead statutes to the supposed deregulation of industries. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/tony-abbotts-pseudo-reform-on-the-spin-cycle-20140323-35bp2.html 12. 'Weakling' Labor pulls its punches Paula Matthewson "The Labor Opposition just hasn't been able to lay a blow on the other side. Apart from struggling to adjust to the uncomfortable but necessarily edifying transition from government to opposition, Labor has seemed singularly unable to capitalise on the panoply of stumbles, gaffes, backflips and dubious decisions that Abbott and his team have manifested in such a short time." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-24/matthewson-weakling-labor-pulls-its-punches/5339958 ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 13. A cost-of-living crisis? Tell 'em they're dreaming Callam Pickering Australian households frequently rate cost-of-living pressures among their greatest economic concerns. Both the Coalition and the Labor Party have tried to position themselves as the party that is most concerned about the so-called cost-of-living crisis. The RBA's article indicates that for the average household there is no cost-of-living crisis, though there may in fact be a number of cost-of-living delusions. But while it is easy to discount the cost-of-living crisis as media sensationalism combined with political opportunism, the reality is that the experience of inflation can vary significantly for different households across time. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/20/economy/cost-living-crisis-tell-em-theyre-dreaming?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=617473&utm_campaign=pm&modapt= 14. Political costs trash public-private infrastructure benefits Flavio Menezes ...new research tells us the best way to assess whether private investment will deliver efficiency gains is to see what would happen if the project failed. This may seem counter-intuitive, but because private investors can seek bankruptcy protection while governments cannot, there is a distortion in their behaviour and inefficiencies may arise. http://theconversation.com/political-costs-trash-public-private-infrastructure-benefits-24416?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+21+March+2014&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+21+March+2014+CID_1bcca4d50b39c34ae8c16284bea55ee6&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Political%20costs%20trash%20public-private%20infrastructure%20benefits 15. Will our next boom industries buoy the unions? Harrison Polites Things look pretty bleak for Australia’s trade union movement. It’s about to receive a public lashing from the government’s royal commission into union corruption. The movement’s key powerbroker and spokesman, Australian Workers Union National Secretary Paul Howes, just resigned. And to top it all off, the movement is staving off criticism it’s losing its relevance due to a dwindling number members. This last point is crucial. While union membership decline is a global trend, Australia’s outfits are shedding members faster than in both the US and the UK... While it’s not an exact fit, there is a bit of a trend emerging here in what the ABS reveals are growth sectors in the union movement and what Deloitte says are the key future growth areas in the Australian economy. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/24/industries/will-our-next-boom-industries-buoy-unions?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=621238&utm_campaign=pm&modapt= SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 16. Think tanks – Influence isn’t always about offering practical solutions Don Arthur Applied to think tanks, this pragmatic approach means identifying the most important problems policymakers are dealing with and producing products that explain how best to solve them within the constraints of electoral politics, institutional structure and government budgets. In Australia, the Grattan Institute seems to embody this approach. It promotes itself as a source of "Independent, rigorous and practical solutions to Australia’s most pressing problems." http://clubtroppo.com.au/ 17. The Limits Of Political Common Sense Janna Thompson A new film that explores Hannah Arendt's experience at the 1960 trial of top Nazi Adolf Eichmann should prompt us to revisit her work on the nature of evil... But even if she was wrong about Eichmann, this does not undermine the serious purpose of her analysis: to explain how ordinary, even decent, people can do evil. https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/19/limits-political-common-sense 18. What Our Politicians Can Learn From Tony Benn Stuart Rees British parliamentarian Tony Benn was a darling of the left, but his career serves as a universal reminder that politics should be about altruism, not egoism https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/21/what-our-politicians-can-learn-tony-benn 19. The Conversation turns three Andrew Jaspan, Three years ago we launched The Conversation with a simple aim: to improve the quality of public discourse (aka conversation). That hasn’t altered, but we have grown, developed and, we hope, improved. We now have more than 10,000 academic and researcher authors contributing in our virtual global newsroom of nearly 50 staff.In terms of traffic to the site, in the past 12 months our audience has doubled to 1.5 million unique visitors a month. However, because we allow free republication of all our content under Creative Commons, our overall reach is around 5 million. To date more than 8,000 sites have published our content around the world. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-putfld-trhltityg-yd/ 20. Religion and Politics Kaye Lee There is an old adage that warns we should never discuss religion or politics. It’s bizarre that two such influential aspects of our lives should be off-limits. The obvious implication is that, in these two areas, people’s minds are already… http://theaimn.com/2014/03/24/religion-and-politics/ 21. Rules of politics I learned from television turnleft2013 The following is a list of 11 rules of politics I learned from watching television. Once I understood this, interpreting why our 1. Give people what they politicians behave the way they do was easy. want, know and expect http://theaimn.com/2014/03/24/11-rules-of-politics-i-learned-from-television/ MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 22. Weighed in the balance Andrew Elder They spent each day on a quest to negate any opinion, fact or thing so long as you can find another opinion - anyone, anywhere - to countervail any other, and then impose whatever you reckon as The Voice Of Balance. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/ 23. Turnbull's bone for the News Corp behemoth .....the excessive concentration of ownership created by the Hawke Government's stupidity has not gone away. And it matters that it hasn't gone away because most people — including the contributors and readers of digital sites such as Crikey, New Matilda, The Conversation, Inside Story and, indeed, Eureka Street — still depend on so-called 'legacy' media for most of their information. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39107#.Uy69_J9xXVU 24. Andrew Bolt Cries Crocodile Tears Martin Hirst Andrew Bolt's 'hurt feelings' over Marcia Langton's comments were confected to force another backdown from the ABC, at a time when it's already under threat https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/19/andrew-bolt-cries-crocodile-tears 25. Freedom to speak badly: one rule for protestors, another for Bolt? Jennifer Wilson Andrew Bolt’s racial vilification case and the government’s subsequent hasty threat to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has placed ‘freedom of speech’ at the forefront of political debate. But its importance is always overlooked, or shunned, when http://theaimn.com/2014/03/24/freedom-to-speak-badly-one-rule-for-protestors-another-for-bolt/ ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 26. Santos Can't Bury The Truth About CSG Any Longer Naomi Hogan With confirmation that a NSW mine has leaked poisons into a local aquifer, the efforts of big companies to defend CSG mining look increasingly fraught https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/19/santos-cant-bury-truth-about-csg-any-longer 27. Should Australia's biodiversity be written into the Constitution? Peter Fisher Environment minister Greg Hunt’s pledge to appoint a threatened species commissioner is a bright spot on an otherwise pretty bleak conservation landscape. Hunt described the “deep challenge” of species… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-putfld-trhltityg-k/ ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE + REFUGEE RIGHTS 28. Manus Island: barrister visits asylum seekers but inquiry under threat Lenore Taylor "It emerged that the Australian government has backed the attempts by the PNG government to shut down the inquiries into the centre, which is entirely Australian-funded and houses 1310 asylum seekers transferred from Australia." http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/23/manus-island-barrister-visits-asylum-seekers-but-inquiry-under-threat 29. The Struggle For Refugee Rights Can Be Won Nick Riemer 'Enough of this madness against refugees. Enough suffering. Enough despair.' https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/17/struggle-refugee-rights-can-be-won 30. When it comes to asylum seekers, Abbott's PNG visit had an Orwellian touch Michelle Grattan Tony Abbott was desperate to paint his just-completed trip to Papua New Guinea in highly positive terms but as far as asylum seeker policy is concerned, it has just thrown up more problems and questions and exposed what a shambles the “PNG solution” is. Where some of the people who come out of the process as genuine refugees will then go is now one of those “known unknowns”. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-putfld-trhltityg-yk/ OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

25/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Tuesday, 25 March 2014. [b]Abbott's PNG visit had an Orwellian touch[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-03-21.aspx

TalkTurkey

25/03/2014Ken Compressed into that thread are the cares of the world. When I look at them I see so much closer and more starkly all the problems I have foreseen all my life, since I was seven or eight, riding on a farmer's tractor as it flattened vast swathes of Yorke Peninsula whipstick mallee scrub, pushing all flora and fauna aside at a staggering pace - (I've written about this here before)... but from that moment, I have become ever-more-certain that we humans are a world-wide plague which would inevitably (as I have always believed) bring about cataclysmic, even terminal change to Life on our planet ... When I look at your thoughtful lists of urgent issues, not one of which is being addressed significantly as far as I know, I can really only say that I am glad I am no longer young, looking forward to a lifetime diet of Soylent Green, and extinctions of all the wonderful beautiful animals we know and love - not well enough to save them while we have the chance. Abborrrtt has engendered a feeling of hopelessness here, because where just months ago we thought Australia could show a way forward to the world, now in a trice we have been thrown into a wild careering reverse which makes us a despised laughing-stock, a pariah when there was no reason for us to have taken this route. Abborrrtt appeals to the basest in Australian society, the ignorant, arrogant, xenophobic, racist, religiomanic, greedy, bullying, self-righteous - because he truly is one of them. And there's the rub with ALL voting systems. Because when you take society as a whole, there's more of them, the Murdoch/Bolt/Abborrrtt/Pell/Rindlard believers, because they get so swamped with their BS chorus ALL THE TIME, than there are who actually research the real situation. Ignorance is Strength. And our enslavement to that nest of vipers is costing you your grand-children's future, and all life on Earth I fear, within three generations at most. My sad but honest prognostication. An atheist since forever, I still think we are locked towards Armageddon just about as foretold in Revelations, the last book of the Bible. Because I can't see any other possibility. Possibly there never has been, since man first learnt to employ fire and dominate all other creatures. I don't think we're really being serious in addressing these issues at all. We need a global Bastille Day, but that is only going to happen on Play Stations. Yet we saved South Australia, we nurture the flame of hope for another 4 years, and with luck and work we might yet keep the Senate from falling into total enemy control. Focus on that Folks, if there is hope it lies with bringing Abborrrrttt down as quick as we possibly can. Think positive, help and encourage where you can. What else?! VENCEREMOS Comrades! :)

Michael

25/03/2014Don't be surprised (I certainly won't be) if Barnaby Joyce has left parliament long before the next election. Watch him in Question Time, his face twice as ruddy as it ever was in Opposition, sitting there glaring down at whatever prop notes he has in his lap. Unmoving. A frozen stroke-in-the-making. Then watch him leave the chamber at the conclusion of QT, shambling away like a hibernating creature dragged from sleep mid-season. He's a beacon of just how hard it is to move from Opposition gladhanding shenanigans into real governing, and in his case, Peter Principle promoted, ministerial responsibility. He has to DO the JOB now, not just roll his eyes and smirk over how someone else is handling it. And he is clearly failing to inhabit the role he made so clear out of government would fit him like a glove. It appears, watching him in government, to fit more like a straightjacket. Tailored and tightening by the day. Watch QT (if you can stomach it - maybe 'Mute'?), you'll see. Bye Bye Barnaby, your hayseed schtick just couldn't cut it in the big time. In Abbott's 'ministry', you're not alone. From PM down.

Ad astra

25/03/2014Casablanca Once again you have fed us well.  Your continued focus on MinM is laudable, highlighting as it does the deliberate avoidance of those events by the MSM.  Paul Barry drew attention to this on Media Watch last night.  It may be difficult for the MSM to ignore indefinitely the importance of these public demonstrations of dissent from the grotesque actions of the Abbott government. I hope there will be March in May events. You have included more comment on the Sinodinos affair, which makes his position appear more tenuous than ever. ICAC will determine his future. The Bolt saga ought not surprise us at all.  We know this man's behaviour from way back.  The most powerful weapon we have is to totally ignore his attention-seeking behaviour.  Indignantly huffing and puffing about him is what his childish nature craves.

Ken

25/03/2014TT Yes, the WEF came up with all the key issues we are facing on this planet. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, it is not as though Abbott and co. can dismiss these issues as coming from 'left wing loonies' - they are seen as risks by businesses around the world - and yet still Abbott ignores them. Like you, I fear for our species. Humans may well end up having the shortest reign as a dominant species. Dinosaurs ruled for something like 160 million years. We are barely scratching a million (counting our early ancestors) and certainly won't last another million the way we are going. We seem to have lost sight of the geological and cosmological time scales operating around us. We think long term planning is looking 20-30 years ahead - less than the blink of an eye to what is happening around us. Won't go on. It is one of my hobby horses that human vanity has led us to this, thinking that with all our technology we can control the future when the reality is that so much of the distant future will be beyond our control. And, as you suggest, we are not doing a very good job of controlling that which we can control in the near future.

Jason

25/03/2014I'm lost for words! On my recommendation, Her Majesty the Queen has amended the Letters Patent constituting the Order of Australia. Knights and Dames in the Order of Australia will be approved by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. There may be up to four Knights or Dames created in any year. This special recognition may be extended to Australians of “extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit” in their service to Australia or to humanity at large. Henceforth, the serving Governor-General will be the principal Knight or Dame in the Order of Australia. The first new Dame will be the outgoing Governor-General. The first new Knight will be the incoming Governor-General. It is fitting that the Queen’s representative be so honoured. https://www.pm.gov.au/media/2014-03-25/new-honour-pre-eminent-australians

Ken

25/03/2014Jason Oh silly me! That was one thing I forgot when I wrote my piece on Abbott taking us back to the 1800s. I will have to rewrite it and make sure I include the whole British class system, Knights, Dames, Lords and all!

Ken

25/03/2014As regards my last comment, I just heard Mark Dreyfus refer to Abbott's knoghts and dames as taking us back to the 1800s. Has he been reading my posts???

2353

25/03/2014Ken, Maybe Dreyfus has been reading us - it would be nice to find out,

Ken

25/03/20142353 Maybe we should send him the link to the 'letter to Abbott'

DMW

25/03/2014Speaking of Lords n Ladies remindeds of this via Jack Waterford the other day [i]Smith (to witness): So, you were as drunk as a judge? Judge (interjecting): You mean as drunk as a lord? Smith: Yes, My Lord …[/i] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/warrior-speaker-cant-be-neutral-20140322-35a08.html

Curi-Oz

25/03/2014I'm thinking of wearing a badge at my next HTV stint at the pre-polling booth that says something on the lines of "Now living life at the rate of several WTF an hour. Thanks Sir.Tiny!" Gods above and below, I hope he doesn't embarrass us even more when the Duke & Duchess arrive! (odds are not looking good though)

Casablanca

26/03/2014[b]PM Tony Abbott rules out reinstating Knights and Dames in Oz[/b]* The Sunday Telegraph. December 22, 2013 HE restored an oath of allegiance to the Queen when he was sworn in as Prime Minister, but Tony Abbott has ruled out bringing back Knights and Dames in Australia. Monarchists including David Flint and Alexander Downer have mused that the PM is such a traditionalist that he may follow New Zealand's lead and bring back knighthoods. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/pm-tony-abbott-rules-out-reinstating-knights-and-dames-in-oz/story-fni0cx4q-1226788026229 [b]* Postscript: This article was removed from the Daily Telegraph website sometime on 26/27 March 2014. Fortunately, it is archived at: http://archive.is/jYavH#selection-1013.60-1013.62 [/b] [b]Tony Abbott brings back Knights and Dames with outgoing GG Quentin Bryce the first to be honoured[/b] OUTGOING Governor-General Quentin Bryce will be made a Dame and incoming Governor-General, General Peter Cosgrove will be made a Knight, under a new honour the Prime Minister has recommended to the Queen. Tony Abbott, who had ruled out such an order in December last year, said up to four will be created in any year. “Knights and Dames in the Order of Australia will be approved by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Prime Minister,” he said in a statement. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/tony-abbott-brings-back-knights-and-dames-with-outgoing-gg-quentin-bryce-the-first-to-be-honoured/story-fni0cx4q-1226864624116

Casablanca

26/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Wednesday, 26 March 2014: 35 items[/b] ENTITLEMENTS + RORTS + LARGESSE + RESPONSIBILITY + TRUST 1. Politicians must prove they are worthy Nicholas Stuart We elect politicians to represent us. We invest them with the power to determine the social structures within which our lives will play out. This is an incredibly important trust, something far more consequential than simply maximising value. We expect them to meet a higher standard and that is why, politically, Sinodinos is being held to account. Our only mistake is to see this as being unusual. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/politicians-must-prove-they-are-worthy-20140324-35ega.html 2. Craig Thomson sentenced and immediately appeals Peter Wicks Former Labor MP Craig Thomson was sentenced today in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, after which he immediately appealed. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/craig-thomson-sentenced-and-immediately-appeals,6312 3. Sinodinos Was Struck Down By The NSW Disease Lee Rhiannon New South Wales' lobbying and favours culture has well and truly reached Federal Parliament. Why won't the major parties back a push for more transparency http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=fa86bee318&e=0a1e2bdeb8 4. Sinodinos was warned 'company may be dishonest' Kate McClymont, Michaela Whitbourn "Liberal Party heavyweight Arthur Sinodinos was warned by top public servants to be careful of the company he was keeping as chairman of Obeid-linked company Australian Water Holdings because ''they may be dishonest'', a corruption inquiry has heard." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/sinodinos-was-warned-company-may-be-dishonest-20140324-35ea7.html CULTURE WARS 5. Cult of hero worship weighs down progress John Hirst ......read James Brown's new book Anzac's Long Shadow. We are used to left-wing critics attacking the Anzac tradition for encouraging militarism. Here is a distinguished former army officer attacking the Anzac legend because it prevents us from being military-minded enough - about the military now, the wars we have been fighting recently, the wars we might be involved in, and how best to prepare for them. The more obsessed we are with Gallipoli the more frozen our minds become - military and civilians both. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/cult-of-hero-worship-weighs-down-progress-20140324-35e59.html#ixzz2wxBlfusy INDUSTRY WARS 6. Sigh of relief from inside SPC Bronwyn Powell The story behind SPC is one that has been well told in recent months in the media. The business had been severely damaged by a ‘perfect storm’ of external economic factors: the high Australian dollar, the flood of cheap imported product being sold in Australia below the cost of production here, and the little to no tariffs imposed on imported fruit products from other countries. These are the same countries that impose tariffs of up to 20 per cent on SPC Ardmona products coming into their markets. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/24/people-powered-spcsunday-social-media-movement-within-spc-bronwyn_powell-reports/#sthash.HkYAzZlv.dpuf ELECTIONS: SA & WA + POLLS 7. Survey explores WA electorate’s shifts between Senate votes Natalie Mast, David Glance & William Bowe ......for political scientists, the new election provides us with what is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to chart changes in the behaviour of voters in two polls held within a tight timeframe. One of the interesting aspects of this election is that no-one is quite sure how the campaign will work. Fundamentally, this is a “second-order election”: government is not being formed. http://theconversation.com/survey-explores-wa-electorates-shifts-between-senate-votes-24726 8. WA Senate re-vote: polls, issues and the troubled voting system Natalie Mast & William Bowe Among the topics of conversation were the issues WA voters are likely to see arise in this out of the ordinary campaign, the chances of election for major, minor and micro parties, and the future of the Senate voting system. http://theconversation.com/wa-senate-re-vote-polls-issues-and-the-troubled-voting-system-24629 9. The Liberals after Brock Bob Ellis With the polls turning decisively against them, cracks appearing daily and the South Australian election result denying them a blue continent. The ‘Blue Continent’ scenario – so beloved of Kelly, Grattan, Uhlmann and the two Joneses – is now inoperative, defunct, redundant, and past caring; and our oldest, most resilient party is on the way back. It will be a red continent, probably, by 2017, with only a blue Tasmania. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-liberals-after-brock,6311 POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 10. Abbott should use his billions on parental leave to improve childcare and flexibility Terri Butler In Australia, there is much to be done to make workplaces flexible enough to enable people with kids to fully participate, for their own benefit and for the nation's. And there's also much to be done to make quality childcare, that meets parents' and children's needs, accessible and affordable. When there's so much to be done, the Prime Minister's expensive and inequitable paid parental leave scheme seems unfair and indulgent. It's inequitable... http://womensagenda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=30f81b85614c4a46de129a5d6&id=f91fc1dbf6&e=87e80a7b7d 11. Maybe we marched against the wrong party Michael Taylor ‘A government is only as good as its opposition’...The Shorten Opposition is so demonstrably soft that I’m half inclined to suggest that the anger and frustration from the March in March should have been aimed straight at them. They are not performing as an opposition should. Simple. The government could (possibly) be a better government if the opposition would be a better opposition. But at the moment they don’t seem capable. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/25/maybe-we-marched-against-the-wrong-party/ 12. Labor paid the price for backing disgraced MP Craig Thomson Mark Kenny While prostitutes, lavish restaurant meals, and ATM cash withdrawals grabbed the headlines, the real significance of the Thomson case was the window it provided on union and political power, its shadowy allocation, and its systemic abuse. After five years of squalid denials and heartfelt claims of innocence, Thomson was eventually convicted and sentenced for theft committed not as the federal Labor MP for Dobell but as a corrupted official during his time as national secretary of the Health Services Union. In other words, he was dodgy long before being elevated to the final prize reserved for too many union leaders - a parliamentary sinecure. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-paid-the-price-for-backing-disgraced-mp-craig-thomson-20140325-35fuc.html 13. Tony Abbott brings back Knights and Dames with outgoing GG Quentin Bryce the first to be honoured News Corp Australia OUTGOING Governor-General Quentin Bryce will be made a Dame and incoming Governor-General, General Peter Cosgrove will be made a Knight, under a new honour the Prime Minister has recommended to the Queen. Tony Abbott, who had ruled out such an order in December last year, said up to four will be created in any year. “Knights and Dames in the Order of Australia will be approved by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Prime Minister,” he said in a statement. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/tony-abbott-brings-back-knights-and-dames-with-outgoing-gg-quentin-bryce-the-first-to-be-honoured/story-fni0cx4q-1226864624116 14. PM Tony Abbott rules out reinstating Knights and Dames in Oz The Sunday Telegraph. December 22, 2013 HE restored an oath of allegiance to the Queen when he was sworn in as Prime Minister, but Tony Abbott has ruled out bringing back Knights and Dames in Australia. Monarchists including David Flint and Alexander Downer have mused that the PM is such a traditionalist that he may follow New Zealand's lead and bring back knighthoods. www.dailytelegraph.com.au/.../story-fni0cx4q-1226788026229 15. At Last, My Years As a Dragon Slayer will be Recognised! rossleighbrisbane Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced his intention to reintroduce knights and dames to Australia. “There won’t be very many knights or dames in the Order of Australia,” he said. “People who may receive this honour will be those who have accepted rather than sought public office”. So my hopes of being a knight aren’t over. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/25/at-last-my-years-as-a-dragon-slayer-will-be-recognised/ 16. Back to the future with Tony Abbott Ross Jones Brave innovator Tony Abbott has decided to blaze a trail to the past by restoring imperial baubles to Australia. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/back-to-the-future-with-tony-abbott,6313 ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 17. Should we simply raise taxes to fix the budget? Leith van Onselen The Australia Institute’s (TAI) Richard Denniss has written a spirited article in The AFR today arguing that the Budget could easily be restored back to surplus if the 3% of GDP decline in revenues experienced over the past decade were restored via undoing tax cuts and concession implemented during the Howard [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail3.com/t/i-l-zvgl-dtyueir-jk/ SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 18. The New Guard Nuovo Novalis ...the National Socialists were pioneers of the technique used by Tony Abbott and fellow members of the Liberal Party who all unrelentingly repeated the “stop the boats” slogan “a thousand fold”: [i]Now the purpose of propaganda is not continually to produce interesting changes for the few blasé little masters, but to convince; that is, to convince the masses. The masses, however, with their inertia, always need a certain time before they are ready even to notice a thing, and they will lend their memories only to the thousand fold repetition of the most simple ideas.[/i] Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf. http://nuovonovalis.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/the-new-guard/ 19. Adolf Hitler and his part in the downfall of political insults Rupert Cornwell Americans are very unimaginative at being rude about people. As with Hillary Clinton last week, it always comes back to the Nazis.. if a debate gets really heated, the names of Adolf, Joseph (as in Goebbels) and Neville will surely crop up. Indeed, there's even a so-called "Godwin's law" to that effect, invented by the author and academic Richard Godwin back in 1990, in the very early days of the internet. The longer an online discussion continues, Godwin posited, the more likely a comparison with Hitler and the Nazis becomes... And these days, it's not just the internet. But a deeper question arises. When it comes to political insults, why can't American politicians do better than evoke the Nazis? http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/adolf-hitler-and-his-part-in-the-downfall-of-political-insults-9178976.html INTERNET + TROLLS + FREE SPEECH + PRIVACY 20. Bigotry, mockery and humiliation Kaye Lee After telling us in the Senate that people have a right to be bigots, in a press conference today Senator Brandis said we must also defend their right to mock and humiliate others as this leads to a robust democracy. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/25/bigotry-mockery-and-humiliation/ 21. Andrew Bolt isn't a racist, but ... Chelsea Bond The Coalition's push to make changes to the Racial Discrimination Act was in part a response to a court ruling that Andrew Bolt had breached the Act over his comments about Aboriginal Australians. Here, Chelsea Bond revisits the newspaper columnist's treatment of Aboriginality, explaining that race is more than skin deep.... Andrew Bolt may not be racist ... but his obsession with, and expectations of Aboriginal bodies and minds is ... well, no comment ... http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-25/andrew-bolt-isnt-a-racist-but/5344286 22. Free speech! Well, sort of Ellena Savage Public opinion, at least that on the right-hand side of politics, says the racial vilification legislation is political and therefore not about enduring notions of justice. Free speech! it says, as if unqualified freedom to information and expression has ever and could ever possibly exist in a civil society. So I can see why the ABC apologised, apologies being easier to procure than permission slips. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39125#.Uy69uJ9xXVU 23. In the unverified digital world, are journalists and bloggers equal? David Glance Amongst the many challenges facing the field of journalism in the move from print to digital, the question of what distinguishes a journalist from a blogger has been a perennial one. This is not just an existential crisis for journalists contemplating their relevance in a digital age, it has real life ramifications as a recent libel case has highlighted http://theconversation.com/in-the-unverified-digital-world-are-journalists-and-bloggers-equal-24702 MEDIA + DEREGULATION + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 24. The growing threat to Australia's media plurality Scott Ludlam If the Abbott government succeeds in deregulating media ownership – using the web as cover – stand by for local news services to be cut and vested interests unexposed. Why then would this government even consider reducing the rules that remain in protecting media diversity in Australia? We know that some media companies have been circling to position themselves in the hope that this government will be a pushover and withdraw those rules that protect what media diversity remains. And now the fix is well and truly in. In questions I put to government senators this week, only one reason was given to justify deregulating media ownership and increasing the concentration of market power: the internet. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/24/malcolm-turnbull-media-plurality-scott-ludlam?CMP=ema_632 25. Labor too gutless to fight media laws Barry Tucker Australia has one of the most concentrated news media ownerships in the world. The federal Liberal National Party coalition government is planning to loosen ownership laws. In an article in The Guardian, West Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says the move poses a threat to Australia’s democracy by limiting different voices, opinions and exposure. http://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/labor-too-gutless-to-fight-media-laws/ ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 26. Plea from the edge of the climate change abyss Peter Martin "The government plans to abolish the Climate Change Authority. While not disputing the science, it shows no interest in lifting Australia's emissions reduction target. It wants to remove the carbon tax and is prepared to underfund the Emissions Reduction Fund that will replace it. It wants to axe the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and wind back the renewable energy target. If it believes the science - and it says it does - its thinking is unaccountably short term, unless you consider the three-yearly electoral cycle." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/plea-from-the-edge-of-the-climate-change-abyss-20140324-35e5b.html ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE + REFUGEE RIGHTS 27. The Resurgence of a Mainstream Far Right Nuovo Novalis ....nothing can change the fact that the 1951 UN Refugee Convention to which Australia is signatory was set up in the wake of the refugee crisis created by the Holocaust. If we had been living in the 1930s, the Coalition government would be talking about “turning back the boats” to force Jewish refugees to “go back where you came from”. Then, as of now, it would have been easy to rationalise it by labelling the boatloads of Jews as “economic migrants” exaggerating the imminent danger to them (coupled by repetition of reassurances by the German government that the Jews would be humanely treated):...The one time there was open violence against German Jews in the streets on Kristallnacht, the result was an unmitigated PR disaster for the government, as even usual party supporters were horrified by the excesses. From then on, all persecution of Jews and other minorities would be conducted in the utmost secrecy. http://nuovonovalis.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/the-resurgence-of-a-mainstream-far-right/ 28. The Holocaust is not your metaphor to use in modern political debates Hila Shachar ... the victims of the Holocaust continue to be appropriated as political metaphors and dehumanised in the process..... I’ve been watching Facebook and Twitter conversations about the Tony Abbott government’s treatment of refugees degenerate into comparisons with the Nazis..... Using images of those who were killed by the Nazis to make a point about the Australian government’s policies is demeaning to those who died. This approach defeats the purpose of fighting for the sanctity of human life in current ethical debates about detention centres, because it appropriates the sanctity of the lives of those who are not here to speak for themselves. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/27/the-holocaust-is-not-your-metaphor-to-use-in-modern-political-debates?CMP=ema_632 29. If Australia wants to stop the boats, it must stand against abuses in Sri Lanka Elaine Pearson Since the Abbott government is obsessed with preventing refugees reaching its shores, why won't it stop countries like Sri Lanka committing the abuses that cause people to flee in the first place? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/25/australia-sri-lanka-human-rights-united-nations?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487 30. Let's put refugee policy on a bedrock of decency Andrew Leigh I would like to see the same outbreak of bipartisan decency occur with asylum seeker policy as happened on Indigenous policy. This would mean never playing politics with the funerals of asylum seekers... Refugees comprise just one-tenth of permanent migrants to Australia in the past decade. So refugees are not clogging our roads. But the asylum seeker conversation is clogging our migration policy debate, because it's both controversial and complicated. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-24/leigh-lets-put-refugee-policy-on-a-bedrock-of-decency/5340408 31. Australia's silence on Sri Lanka is deafening Emily Howie Australia has been silent on a United Nations push for an inquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka. Why? Because the Coalition is more concerned about "stopping the boats." Australia's reluctance to back international efforts to investigate Sri Lankan war crimes reveals that it has a long way to go to become a principled and robust voice on human rights in our region. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-25/howie-australias-silence-on-sri-lanka-is-deafening/5342796 32. Manus Island negligence may have financial costs Andrew Morrison and Greg Barns It's highly likely that the Australian Government's non-delegable duty of care towards asylum seekers is being breached daily, leaving taxpayers exposed to massive liability... The law in Australia is that the Commonwealth Government owes a non-delegable duty to detainees in immigration detention and the Commonwealth can be held liable "for the negligence of others who are engaged to perform the task of care for a third party - no matter whether the person engaged to provide the care is a servant or an independent contractor," as the High Court stated in a landmark 2003 decision called NSW v Lepore. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-25/morrison-and-barns-manus-negligence-may-have-financial-costs/5341926 33. Scott Morrison attacks ABC for 'recycling' navy burn claims Australian Associated Press Immigration minister says 7.30 program's interview with asylum seeker 'a repetition of baseless claims, nothing more than that'.. The Abbott government has repeatedly denied the claims, with senior figures demanding an apology from the national broadcaster for maligning the navy. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/25/scott-morrison-attacks-abc-for-recycling-navy-burn-claims?CMP=ema_632 34. Asylum seekers describe boat turn-back at centre of burns allegations George Roberts "An asylum seeker whose boat was turned back to Indonesia by Australia has given the ABC a detailed first-person account alleging he was deliberately burned by Australian military personnel while in their custody." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-24/asylum-seekers-describe-boat-turn-back/5342210 35. Why bigotry is not OK, Mr Brandis Mariam Veiszadeh Whether it's in their treatment of asylum seekers, their policy of secrecy or their intention to amend the Racial Discrimination Act, it seems that the Abbott government is intent on destroying Australia's moral compass. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/why-bigotry-is-not-ok-mr-brandis-20140325-35f74.html#ixzz2wwtAe1iT OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

26/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Wednesday, 26 March 2014. [b]Abbott Govt hellbent on destroying Australia's moral compass. [/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-03-21.aspx

Casablanca

26/03/2014Best tweet (so far) on new Bunyip Aristocracy: Karen Middleton ‏@KarenMMiddleton 5h Tee hee. RT @pjlogue: Nominations for a [b]Sir Pository[/b] #knightsanddames Also, Followed by Sir Robert Denmore and 1 other the serf ‏@JennaPrice 2h Building a revolution here. One serf at a time. Watch out #knightsanddames

Casablanca

26/03/2014[b]ARISE: Which Knight of Abbott’s round table are you?[/b] Here is what King Abbott’s round table is shaping up. Which Knight are you? Sir Mon? (Pell); Sir Veillance? (Morrison); Sir Plus? (Hockey)..... http://arationalfear.tumblr.com/post/80657727571/arise-which-knight-of-abbotts-round-table-are-you Also, Lord Brandis of Bigotry

TalkTurkey

26/03/2014[u][b]PAPAL BULL [/b][/u] Vatican announces ascension of TalkTurkey! At the recommendation of Prime Minister Tony Abborrrtt in accord with his new Honours plan, and with special dispensation by the Holy See occasioned by the generous donation of Greater Sydney to the Vatican by His Holeymess ArseBigot Pell TalkTurkey of Australia has been created [b]Pope Turkey the First of Gobblemania[/b] Indulgences and absolution guaranteed without prejudice to Bigots Bullies Paedophiles and ALL forms of crime upon suitable donation to the Vatican Council. Suggested rates: As example: Murder : $660,000 or suburban house to that value. Insulting RW shock jocks: Unforgiveable even by God. Sex with Woman: $10,000 Child Rape: $45 and 3 [i]Our Feathers [/i]and 1 [i]Male Hairy [/i] Sex with Man: $120 per hour plus room rent Direct cheques personally to : ArseBigot Pell Locked Bag Zurich

Michael

26/03/2014'Because I'm Prime Minister'. All the ratification Abbott needs to do anything he wants whenever he wants, including the gently gently road being paved to what we know will inevitably happen... Sir John and Lady Howard. Australia as Abbott's demesne. All surprises, and no bloody excuses! (There's a digitally altered - or is it a glimpse into the future by TonyCam? - photo here that sums things up http://www.news.com.au/national/prime-minister-tony-abbott-backs-return-to-the-days-of-knights-with-british-honours-system/story-fncynjr2-1226864799471)

2353`

26/03/2014Sir TT - love it! I wonder if Abbott is keeping the "Lord" title up his sleeve for Howard?

jaycee

26/03/2014Do you remember that book, followed by the "docco"..: "Chariots of the Gods" ?...effing ridiculous of course, but created quite the controversy back then...in the seventies. I think Abbott has placed himself in that same "chariot", in a kind of Romanesque livery and playing the Charlton Heston "Ben Hur" character, is hurtling into the fray..what fray?...any fray!...this is no longer reality..there he is with four white chargers galloping on, jaw set..steely grimace, stoically charging head on to confront an imaginary enemy... "....the crows cheer, the dust swirls his "Napoleonic cape" in dashing heroism, what a bleedin' picture...what a portrait..what a photograph.....Ah!...the glory!...the accolades!...the written history!....he can see it all ...: "...Tony Abbott (note to self ; do something about that name..too common!) leads his nation..NO!...HIS PEOPLE!...that's better...his people..no!..no...MY people...yes!...: "I lead my people..." to glory, to conquest...through the parted waters of the Red Sea..across the scorching deserts...Abraham...Martin and John...wait!...scratch Martin!...make that Tony...Tony and John...hang on...Kennedy was a Democrat!...and Abraham was a Jew!...f#ck!, f#ck!, f#ck!....Wait...Got it!...George..Tony and Bob...Yeeeessssss!...ride on brave chariot...'This train am bound for glory, this tra..." shit!...that's a lefty song...what's a righty song?...are there any?...." Jeeezus....it's one big joke!.........where the f#ck is the MSM. to take the piss?...looks like it's up to us in the fifth estate.

Michael

26/03/2014ABC News confirms that http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/knights-and-dames-tony-abbott-did-not-consult-cabinet/5345888 Abbott decided all on his own to, by Prime Ministerial fiat, reintroduce 'bunyip nobility' to Australia. It's laughable, it's ridiculous, but... It also indicates what an unrestrained Head of Gumnint can do off his own bat, that leaves this country with far more complex undoing than his flight of fancy utterances might suggest. Rescind, repeal, revert, the three Rs of The Abbott Error, epitomised today in Parliament by his mammoth omnibus of repeals of 'red tape', so eloguently exposed as BS masquerading as action by Ross Gittins here: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/tony-abbotts-pseudo-reform-on-the-spin-cycle-20140323-35bp2.html as Casablanca brought to us yesterday. Abbott... This ridiculous man, this Putinesque Berlusconi-manqué, will reduce Australia to nonsense. He's already well on his way, oh "Yes, Prime Minister".

Michael

26/03/2014The University of Monty Python... sorry, Melbourne, makes Sophie Mirabella a don(ce). More proof Australia under Abbott is a nonsense. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/mirabella-secures-new-role-in-academia-at-melbourne-university/5345666

Bacchus

26/03/2014Ad Astra, I received a reply from my local member to your questions from 2353's article last week: "[quote]Why doesn’t Labor and the Greens match the ‘Axe the tax’ slogans with ‘Save the planet - Stop pollution’ and ‘Tax the polluters – They are killing us’. It surely must not be beyond PR experts to come up with such counter slogans. Why is Labor seemingly so impotent in alerting the electorate of the existential danger that we, and our successors face? Why does the Coalition get away with its self-interested ‘Axe the tax’, that is diametrically opposed to the common good?[/quote]" And the reply: "[quote]Dear XXX Thank you for writing to me recently about the Labor Party’s social media and slogans used. I have forwarded your email onto our National Secretariat to be used as feedback and criticism. I really appreciate input and feedback from our community and I thank you for taking the time to put forward your view. Thanks again and all the best.[/quote]" It's something I guess - in my reply I suggested he might like to also have a look at Michael Taylor's piece at the AIMN: http://theaimn.com/2014/03/25/maybe-we-marched-against-the-wrong-party/ Maybe more emails from grass roots supporters may wake them up ;-)

Pappinbarra Fox

26/03/2014If you haven't caught this already. http://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/hilarious-responses-to-dames-and-knights-in-australia

Ad astra

26/03/2014Bacchus Thank you for posting your local member's reply to the questions posed. I hope that Labor's National Secretariat takes note and actually does something. Michael Taylor's piece is spot on. We should be directing our criticisms toward the limp Shorten, who has seldom countered the gross political moves and professional ineptitude of Abbott. Labor must do better, right now.

Casablanca

26/03/2014 Sir TT [b]Australia has no reason to disallow medical cannabis use[/b] By Alex Wodak, St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst and Laurence Mather, University of Sydney International acceptance of medicinal cannabis is growing because it can provide relief for people who can’t be sufficiently helped with current pharmaceutical drugs. But despite growing evidence of its…

Casablanca

27/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Thursday, 27 March 2014: 42 items[/b] THE TONY AWARDS 1. The revival of imperial honours — Abbott’s Machiavellian wedge Clint Howitt Tony Abbott's abrupt decision to bring back imperial honours has driven a wedge through the body politic from the vice-regal office holders, through the rank and file members of all political parties and through the voting public. His offer to the outgoing Governor General, Quentin Bryce, and to the incoming Peter Cosgrove, of an obsolete title in Australia’s system of honours is one of the most cynical moves we’ve seen from this increasingly arrogant and reactionary government. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-revival-of-imperial-honours--abbotts-machiavellian-wedge,6314 2. Tony Abbott, Bill Shorten and Dame Quentin Bryce Bob Ellis Wanting to distract and deflect, as well as punish and shame his Opposition counterpart, Tony Abbott abruptly came up with his plan to ennoble Quentin Bryce.. Shocked by a Shorten motion on the money he was taking from the kids of dead soldiers, and wanting to avoid that headline; wanting also to punish and wrong-foot Shorten for so shaming him and shrinking him, he ennobled his mother-in-law. [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/tony-abbott-bill-shorten-and-dame-quentin-bryce,6315 3. Crowning glory would be our own head of state Andrew Leigh Australian government websites say: ''Australia's head of state is Queen Elizabeth II.'' The slogan ''Don't know? Vote no'' has never been more powerful in Australian public life. Tony Abbott used it when he was campaigning for the monarchy in 1999 and has deployed it relentlessly in recent years, including against a market-based solution to climate change, fibre to the home broadband and fiscal stimulus to save jobs. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/crowning-glory-would-be-our-own-head-of-state-20140325-35gdn.html 4. 'Pre-eminent' Australians to be made knights or dames under a new award, PM Tony Abbott says Emma Griffiths Prime Minister Tony Abbott has brought back the titles of knights and dames for "pre-eminent" Australians, nearly three decades after the honour was abolished by the Hawke Labor government. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-25/pre-eminent-australians-could-be-made-knight-or-dame/5344646?WT.mc_id=newsmail 5. Knights and dames: Tony Abbott says he did not ask his Cabinet or party room before reinstating honours Latika Bourke Labor MPs are ridiculing the Prime Minister's decision as a "back to the future" step and the Prime Minister's own parliamentary secretary agrees it is not a "hot-button issue" with voters. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/knights-and-dames-tony-abbott-did-not-consult-cabinet/5345888 6. Tony Abbott's Bunyip Aristocracy: arise, Lord Clive and Lady Gina Tony Wright Meanwhile, Lord Clive and Lady Gina, Wardens of the Iron and Coal Ports, has a certain ring to it. And the Senate? About time it became Australia's House of Lords. His Grace may be on to it already. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbotts-bunyip-aristocracy-arise-lord-clive-and-lady-gina-20140325-35g7i.html 7. Knighthoods return: Welcome to the Game of Tones Sam Dastyari And there are on-water matters. The free trade agreement with the East India Trading Company will open Australia to Spice Markets unseen for generations. Friends, together we will stop the moats. I’ve consulted the economic round table and can categorically state that by adopting this policy, dozens and dozens of pounds could be saved. I was excited to hear that Ministries will now be determined through a jousting tournament in the caucus room. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/knighthoods-return-welcome-to-the-game-of-tones-20140326-35h7n.html#ixzz2x1ErE0w4 8. Zugzwang, and now the knight is back in play OnlyTheSangfroid The Federal Coalition is in a terrible place and only the most tragic Liberal sycophant would deny it. By staying out of the media spotlight, Bill Shorten has forced the Abbott Government to remain under scrutiny. A death on Manus Island, Holden and Ford closing up shop, a Senator tangled in a corruption inquiry, a Minister for Communications telling people to move away from regional Australia if they want decent internet… this is not a ‘good news’ government. Every option available to the Abbott Government is not in its interest. In chess, this is called ‘zugzwang’ — ‘the compulsion to move’. You can’t skip your move or stay in the same position, so the only option is to do something which weakens your position... Reintroducing knighthoods to Australia is a cynical attempt to distract from the Government’s woes. http://ausopinion.com/2014/03/26/zugzwang-and-now-the-knight-is-back-in-play/ 9. The return of knight and dame honours is no diversion - this is the real Tony Abbott Mark Kenny 'The attitude among Liberals around Parliament House the morning after the announcement was interesting. A mix of bemusement and mild contempt, and support'. But, even leaving aside that his ''no surprises'' pledge referred expressly to voters' expectations, a quick check with some of Abbott's closest colleagues revealed they had no forewarning either. It did not go to cabinet. Was this another run in the park for Abbott's stunning Jesuit justification on paid parental leave, in which he argued it was sometimes better to seek forgiveness than permission? Abbott's message to his party room and to voters alike, appears to be as simple as this: You elected me in the full knowledge of my monarchist convictions - this is who I am: your Prime Minister yes, but I've never hidden that I'm the Palace's man also. This justification would be a stretch even if it were strictly true - which it is not. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/the-return-of-knight-and-dame-honours-is-no-diversion--this-is-the-real-tony-abbott-20140326-35hsi.html 10. Andrew Elder ‏@awelder Protected Tweets 1h Reading Mark Kenny on Abbott and honours (no I won't link to it), I love how the press gallery can only predict things after they occur 11. Tony Abbott’s knights take us back to the dark ages Lenore Taylor, The public response was ridicule rather than outrage, showing that, while Australia's prime minister hasn't moved on, the rest of us have http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/25/tony-abbotts-knights-take-us-back-to-the-dark-ages 12. Knights of the Abbottlands sally forth Ben Pobjie After defeating the unholy Knights of the ALP, King Abbott took out his broadsword and bestowed titles upon the deserving. Truly peace had been returned to the Abbottlands... Once anointed, the knights of the Abbott took their oath: to forever be defenders of freedom, truth and markets; to seek out and destroy enemies of the crown, the dragons of political correctness, the serpents of organised labour, and the cockatrices of excessive regulation in the financial industry. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/pobjie-knights-of-the-abbottlands-sally-forth/5345594 13. Hilarious Responses To Knighthoods Being Brought Back To Australia Jenna Guillaume Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a big announcement today: for the first time since 1986, “pre-eminent” Australians will be honoured as knights and dames. http://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/hilarious-responses-to-dames-and-knights-in-australia 14. Tony Abbott gives Australia a knight to remember Alex McClintock We're getting knights and dames, presumably because in the Coalition's new, masculine country, being a Companion of the Order of Australia simply sounded too girly http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/26/knight-dame-australia 15. ARISE, SIR LAUGHALOT Wendy Harmer On the eve of the Melbourne Comedy Festival when Aussie satirists and jokers are scratching for topical material, looks like they hit the motherlode with the announcement that we are, once more, to have real corgi and scepter, Rule Britannia, knights and dames. Twitter had a veritable laughing fit – there may be no more gags left if the comics don’t get a move on. 16. A proposal for a new, mature Australian flag John Blaxland As we know, there’s a divide between those who would support a new Australian flag and those who believe the current flag is fine. And even those who declare an interest in a new flag are divided on what that design should be. I’ve designed a flag that, I believe, takes into account the many necessary cultural and historical factors – and that may help us mature as a nation. http://theconversation.com/a-proposal-for-a-new-mature-australian-flag-24714 BIGOTRY RIGHTS vs HUMAN RIGHTS 17. The racial vilification provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act explained Human Rights Law Centre On 25 March 2014, Attorney-General George Brandis released an Exposure Draft of proposed changes to racial vilification protections contained in the Racial Discrimination Act. A public consultation process on the proposed changes has also been announced, with submissions due by 30 April 2014. This page contains materials and background information on Australia’s racial vilification laws, as well as link to further materials. http://www.hrlc.org.au/racial-vilification-protections 18. Not enough light in debate over Racial Discrimination Act Tim Soutphommasane There has been much public debate about the Racial Discrimination Act’s provisions concerning racial hatred – but too much heat and not enough light. Unfortunately, there is considerable misunderstanding of how federal racial vilification laws operate. And there is alarming confusion about the concept of freedom, a concept at risk of being debased by ideological polemic and uninformed sloganeering. Freedom is ultimately something that has value because it can be exercised. But when racial vilification occurs, it inflicts injury on how people enjoy their freedom. Over the decades, a significant body of research has established the serious physical and psychological damage that racist harassment can cause. http://www.hrlc.org.au/category/primary/opinion 19. Race act changes are what you get when you champion bigotry Simon Rice Federal attorney-general George Brandis is serious when he says that under his watch, “people do have a right to be bigots”. As drafted (and it is very poorly drafted), his proposed changes to sections… http://theconversation.com/race-act-changes-are-what-you-get-when-you-champion-bigotry-24782 20. Unleashing the Reptile Mr Denmore Of course, there's always been a whiff of bigotry and intolerance here. No country is immune from that. And few of us can claim to have never prejudged another on the basis of race. But recent events are genuinely disquieting for many people, particularly those from minority ethnic groups... Cheered on by talkback radio provocateurs and the windbags of the media outrage industry, it is clear that the current government has been progressively lowering the bar on the issue of tolerance. http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/unleashing-reptile.html 21. Warren Mundine says changes would let bigots 'off the chain' Gabrielle Chan "The head of the prime minister's Indigenous advisory council, Warren Mundine, has suggested the government's proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act will 'let people off the chain in regard to bigotry.'" Tony Abbott's Indigenous adviser says 'right to bigotry' only applies in private and, similar to swearing, there should be limits in public http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/26/warren-mundine-urges-tony-abbott-dont-change-discrimination-act 22. George Brandis has given Australia's racists a free rein Michael Danby The right's 'freedom fighters' have their wish – law 18C is effectively finished after 19 years protecting and conciliating vulnerable members of our pluralist society http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/25/george-brandis-has-given-australias-racists-a-free-rein?CMP=ema_632 23. The priority should be keeping bigotry at bay Vic Alhadeff Freedom of speech should never mean giving one the freedom to abuse others on the basis of race. And the likelihood of that happening in our country has just increased http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/alhadeff-the-priority-should-be-keeping-bigotry-at-bay/5345692 24. Call for book ban by Senator Brandis Melanie Christiansen, October 24, 2006 A FEDERAL Government senator is demanding the withdrawal of a school library book which paints his political hero and Australia's longest-serving prime minister as a tyrant. Sir Robert Menzies is listed alongside the likes of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, Cambodian ruler Pol Pot and the deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the children's reference book 100 Greatest Tyrants, which is used by students at a Mount Isa high school. Senator George Brandis has slammed the book.... describing it as offensive and inappropriate for history studies in any Australian school. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/call-for-book-ban/story-e6freooo-1111112404701 25. Finally! @YaThinkN's inner #bigot has a chance to fly free with the repeal of 18C Noely Neate I am all for free speech; hell, even ripe speech. You should hear me when a neighbour uses his chainsaw or dreaded leaf-blower on an early Sunday morning; my speech flows very freely. As an aside, the neighbour has red hair too, just saying. However, I was raised to be polite member of society and whilst my rage and colourful language may be directed at my neighbour as I fume over an early morning coffee on the back deck, no way in hell would he ever actually hear my words. That would be rude, impolite and damn near cause World War III in the neighbourhood. It seems, though, dear friends, those polite neighbourly days could be gone, thanks to our very own freedom of speech stalwart, Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, who informed me just as recently as yesterday that I have a “right to be a bigot”, yes I do! http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/25/finally-yathinkns-inner-bigot-chance-fly-free-repeal-18c/#sthash.OekpXxDH.dpuf 26. ALP to rally migrants to fight race hate law changes Heath Aston,Jonathan Swan "Labor will launch a blitz on Liberal-held marginal seats to warn migrant communities about the Abbott government's plans to water down race hate protections... Senator Brandis put his controversial changes to the Racial Discrimination Act before the Coalition joint party room before publicly launching an explanatory bill for consultation." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/alp-to-rally-migrants-to-fight-race-hate-law-changes-20140325-35gig.html EDUCATION & MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS 27. Australia’s Gillard leads $3.5-bil. funding drive Japan News Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is leading a global campaign to raise $3.5 billion by 2018 to support basic schooling in developing nations in homage to her father, who was denied an education in his Welsh coal-mining village. As the new board chair of the Global Partnership for Education, a Washington-based organization that unites governments, businesses and civil society to improve global access to education and improve its quality, Gillard will spearhead a campaign to meet the funding target set yesterday at a meeting of the group’s board. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001074913 ENTITLEMENTS + RORTS + LARGESSE + RESPONSIBILITY + TRUST 28. Sinodinos' transition from politics to business and back fraught with peril. John Warhurst The particular lessons concern Sinodinos' reputation and future career. Whatever the outcome of the ICAC hearings, it would appear that his reputation, at least for common sense and perspicacity and probably for good judgment, has taken a battering. What this means for his career in the Abbott government is anyone's guess, but even if he survives for the moment it is likely that the handbrake has been applied to any future promotions to the senior ministry. He has blotted his copybook in a big way. The general lessons are about insider politics and the career paths of party insiders such as senior staffers and party secretaries in particular. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/arthur-sinodinos-transition-from-politics-to-business-and-back-again-can-be-a-path-fraught-with-peril-20140326-35ib9.html POVERTY WARS 29. Forces of Divergence: Is surging inequality endemic to capitalism? John Cassidy "In the stately world of academic presses, it isn't often that advance orders and publicity for a book prompt a publisher to push forward its publication date... Certainly, no economics book in recent years has received this sort of attention." http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2014/03/31/140331crbo_books_cassidy ELECTIONS: SA + WA + POLLS 30. Labor Maintains Poll Lead Adrian Beaumont Last week’s Nielsen had the Coalition leading Labor 51-49, but this week’s polls have Labor ahead. Here is the usual poll table. Note that Essential is not well regarded after a poor performance at the 2013 election. http://theconversation.com/labor-maintains-poll-lead-24833 POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 31. Bill Shorten fears cuts will leave Australians 'stranded by change' Lenore Taylor Opposition leader sets out pre-budget 'tests' for the Coalition in speech to the National Press Club. Bill Shorten has painted Labor as pro-growth but says he is determined to prevent Australian workers becoming “victims” of a changing economy in a speech that tried to flesh out his alternative to the government’s hard line against “corporate welfare”. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/26/bill-shorten-fears-cuts-will-leave-australians-stranded-by-change?CMP=soc_568 32. Army of 1900 spin doctors costs taxpayers millions Noel Towell The federal government's ''army'' of spin doctors and communications staff has grown to more than 1900, based on data supplied by departments and agencies. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/army-of-1900-spin-doctors-costs-taxpayers-millions-20140325-35gqv.html 33. Letter to the Prime Minister re Iraq War Inquiry Paul Barratt ... the text of a letter..sent to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry on 13 March 2013, a few days ahead of the eleventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. 'In the civilian domain, we are accustomed to holding inquiries after natural disasters and man-made accidents....Britain’s inquiry into the Iraq war, conducted by Sir John Chilcot, plans to report its findings soon. This means that while Britons will have the chance to learn from past decisions, Australians will still be deprived of a comprehensive account of the processes leading to our involvement in Iraq. http://aussieobserver.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/letter-to-prime-minister-re-iraq-war.html 34. Sophie Mirabella appointed public policy fellow at Melbourne University Latika Bourke Ms Mirabella said in media release that she was excited to be joining the university, where she studied law and commerce. "I hope to be able to impart some real life experience about politics," she said..Mrs Mirabella is a former President of the Melbourne University Liberal Club and Vice-President of the Australian Liberal Students' Federation. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/mirabella-secures-new-role-in-academia-at-melbourne-university/5345666?WT.mc_id=newsmail 35. The Australian Government Autumn Repeal Day March 2014 This document provides an overview of the Coalition’s deregulation initiatives in the lead-up to and including the first Repeal Day on 26 March 2014. www.cuttingredtape.gov.au 36. More rehash than repeal in Abbott's red letter day Tristan Edis & Harrison Polites A closer look at the government's documentation for repeal day demonstrates why this event is purely a media extravaganza. http://click.e.newsdigitalmedia.com.au/?qs=c77ffdcc891efed03247c44aa0a32d5f858aa36ace938ea318647fcaa1121c30c55992266bfedc9d 37. Financial advisers can be more than bookies in nice suits David James Removing the requirement that financial advisers act in the best interest of their clients will reveal financial advisers for what they really are: salespeople for the banks' wealth management platforms. Tony Abbott argues that the changes will remove 'red tape' and declaimed: 'We're creating the biggest bonfire of regulations in our country's history.' This is a duplicitous use of language that misunderstands how the finance sector works. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39155#.UzIDQhwQ9ZY ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 38. Our long-term unemployment headache Greg Jericho It's clear that long-term unemployment is a key driver of disadvantage because the longer you are unemployed the more likely you will either stay that way, or lose faith and leave the labour force. Australia largely avoided the recession but the recent sharp rise in long-term unemployed will be a key problem for the Abbott Government. It will test its desire for job growth and also reduced government spending in industries such as manufacturing, which traditionally supports those now facing long periods out of work. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/jericho-our-long-term-unemployment-headache/5343362 39. The one certainty of financial advice is unfettered fees Warren McKeown One of the main arguments made by Australia’s banks for the watering down of Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms is that it would reduce the cost of financial advice to consumers. Specifically, the… http://theconversation.com/the-one-certainty-of-financial-advice-is-unfettered-fees-24616 SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 40. The Pell Principle: Mission will trump morality David Walker The current inquiry into institutional child abuse holds some interesting lessons about the nature of religion, which I’ll stay clear of here. But it also holds a larger lesson about the ability of organisations to act morally and to act properly in the absence of external regulation. This will not be news to a lot of people, but I see many others misunderstanding it over and over again. http://clubtroppo.com.au/2014/03/26/the-pell-principle-mission-trumps-morality/ 41. What Brandis calls reform of Racial Act brings difficulty for two sets of Liberal MPs Michelle Grattan And, apart from keeping faith with an outraged columnist, what is this about? There have not been other troublesome cases; the law has mostly functioned well. Brandis said this week that “people do have a right to be bigots, you know”. He points to the fact that politicians offend and insult each other every day as an example of free speech in the democratic process. These statements are literally right but they are the low side of free speech. Indeed politicians' frequent inability to argue with proper civility is what alienates ordinary people. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-puhlill-trhltityg-g/ ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE + REFUGEE RIGHTS Australia’s Guantánamo Problem Ben Saul On a remote, sunny island, some 52 people have been detained for up to nearly five years without trial on secret evidence, with no prospect of release. A series of suicide attempts since 2012 speaks to their profound suffering. One man attempted to hang himself with a bedsheet. Another tried to electrocute himself. Another drank bleach. Another cut himself and used his blood to leave a message on a wall. All remain in detention; the government dismisses them as attention-seekers. The island is not Cuba, where the United States holds inmates at its prison at Guantánamo Bay, but Australia. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/opinion/australias-guantanamo-problem.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0 42. Operation Sovereign Borders The first six months George Roberts, Mark Solomons, Michael Brissenden and other ABC staff ABC News Online documents the first six months of Operation Sovereign Borders, exploring the structure and events that have characterised the operation http://www.abc.net.au/news/interactives/operation-sovereign-borders-the-first-6-months/ OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

27/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Thursday, 27 March 2014: [b]Abbott’s knights take us back to the dark daze[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-03-27.aspx

Casablanca

27/03/2014 [b]Having a laugh[/b] Mad Dame Speaker warns against 'infectious laughter' in QT. ALP Member for Franklin expelled for same under Sec 94a. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnPCDQ5TYBQ&feature=youtu.be%20http://url5.org/zGD Also, PM Abbott who has banished the right of people to be offended, found "Royal Comedy channel" remark "offensive" AND sought a withdrawal by Bill Shorten.

Casablanca

27/03/2014 [b]Another example of Free Speech, Truth, Justice and the Abbott & Brandis way:[/b] The Daily Telegraph has removed from its website the article listed at No 14 in Casablanca's Cache for Wednesday, 26 March, namely, [quote]PM Tony Abbott rules out reinstating Knights and Dames in Oz[/quote]. The Sunday Telegraph. December 22, 2013. [i] HE restored an oath of allegiance to the Queen when he was sworn in as Prime Minister, but Tony Abbott has ruled out bringing back Knights and Dames in Australia. Monarchists including David Flint and Alexander Downer have mused that the PM is such a traditionalist that he may follow New Zealand's lead and bring back knighthoods.[/i] www.dailytelegraph.com.au/.../story-fni0cx4q-1226788026229 Fortunately, the article had been archived and is still available at: http://archive.is/jYavH#selection-1013.60-1013.62

TalkTurkey

27/03/2014Abborrrrtt promised in December that he would not reinstate British honours. It was reported in the Daily Telegraph which has now (very suddenly I believe) deleted the record. But you can't fool the children of the Fighting 5th! NO WAY! http://archive.is/jYavH

Casablanca

27/03/2014Sir TT See my comment at 11:23 AM: Another example of Free Speech, Truth, Justice and the Abbott & Brandis way:

Ken

27/03/2014A bit off topic but an interesting article from the American Civil Liberties Union. https://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty-free-speech-national-security/invasion-data-snatchers-big-data-and The impact of 'smart' phones, 'smart' fridges, 'smart' lights, indeed all sorts of 'smart' gagdets connected to the internet is frightening for the trail they will leave of our lives and who has access to that data.

Casablanca

27/03/2014[b]Abracadabra! Hey Presto! The Samantha Maiden article has been restored to the Daily Tele website:[/b]* and guess what! The removal was inadvertent and not a calculated attempt to protect Abbott from himself. 'The fact that the page has reappeared after a storm of social media fuss proves that it was recognised as a mistake to remove it'.** * PM Tony Abbott rules out reinstating Knights and Dames in Oz. The Sunday Telegraph. December 22, 2013. www.dailytelegraph.com.au/.../story-fni0cx4q-1226788026229 ** Barry Tucker [b]Now you see it[/b] http://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/now-you-see-it/

Casablanca

28/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Friday, 28 March 2014: 38 items[/b] THE TONY AWARDS 1. John Howard disagrees with move to reintroduce knights and dames Former Liberal prime minister John Howard has disagreed with the decision to reinstitute knights and dames into the Australian honours system and said it was ''unlikely'' he would accept an offer of a knighthood should it be offered. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/john-howard-disagrees-with-move-to-reintroduce-knights-and-dames-20140327-35jcu.html 2. Queen’s man John Howard would refuse Abbott’s Sir John title Phillip Coorey Former Liberal prime minister John Howard does not agree with Tony Abbott’s decision to reinstitute knights and dames into the Australian honours system, saying he stands by his long-held view that such a move would be considered “somewhat anachronistic”, even by conservatives... “Despite urging from a number of ¬people, I did not restore knighthoods,” he wrote in his book titled Lazarus ¬Rising. http://www.afr.com/p/national/queen_man_john_howard_would_refuse_s8M6GC71zkQDDfpyKvYenM 3. Why, Tony, why? #knightsanddames Mark Bahnisch So, we’re going to have knights and dames of the Order of Australia. The photoshopped memes and twitter hashtag were fun, weren’t they? The news, though, is so bizarre and unexpected that I saw two friends say on Facebook that they misheard the radio news as saying “Tony Abbott has decided to reintroduce night and day”. Privilege – of this sort, social privilege – won’t play in Penrith. This is – literally – a clownish action. So I’m pleased to see it has sparked off some clowning around. But we need to take it seriously. There is a case for resisting privilege. And it’s important to do so. http://newsocialdemocrat.net/?p=40 4. Australia like esteemed republics Peru and Guatemala: Malcolm Turnbull gently mocks reintroduction of knights and dames Lisa Cox Malcolm Turnbull has gently mocked the return of knights and dames as a step that is in keeping with the honours system of esteemed republics such as Peru, Guatemala, Argentina and Brazil...the Communications Minister and avowed republican told the crowd the move had merely taken Australia back to 1983, the last time that knights and dames were appointed and the year that Daryl Somers won the Gold Logie... http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-like-esteemed-republics-peru-and-guatemala-malcolm-turnbull-gently-mocks-reintroduction-of-knights-and-dames-20140327-35jof.html 5. Q: How conservative is this man? Posted by Houses and Holes A: Absurdly so. From the AFR: Former Liberal prime minister John Howard does not agree with Tony Abbott’s decision to reinstitute knights and dames into the Australian honours system, saying he stands by his long-held view that such a move would be considered “somewhat anachronistic”, even by conservatives. Mr Howard indicated that because of his [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail2.com/t/i-l-zgktt-dtyueir-il/ 6. Abbott is seeking a world that simply doesn't exist Larry Graham While I remain open-minded about Tony Abbott, I am forming an impression that he is losing touch quicker than both Rudd and Gillard and seeking another world that does not exist. http://www.watoday.com.au/comment/abbott-is-seeking-a-world-that-simply-doesnt-exist-20140326-35hk9.html 7. Reverse Australia: A land is girt by Sirs Glenn Davies PM Tony Abbott has announced the return of knighthoods for Australians. For the first time since 1986, “pre-eminent” Australians will be honoured as as Knights and Dames. Surely it is enough reference to Old England that we are girt by sea, let alone to be "girt by Sirs" http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/reverse-australia-a-land-is-girt-by-sirs,6318 8. Now you see it Barry Tucker In a foolish and ultimately self-incriminating move, Murdoch’s Sunday Telegraph has tried to protect federal government leader Tony Abbott from humiliation. Mr Abbott is quite capable of humiliating himself. In fact, he usually does it on a daily basis, making protecting him a full-time, even futile, job. In short, The Sunday Telegraph pulled a page from 22 December, 2013, containing a story in which Abbott ruled out the reintroduction of knights and dames. Following a commotion on social media, the page was restored to the online edition the following day. http://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/now-you-see-it/ MARCH IN MARCH 9. March of the open-hearted: @Sally_Owl tells the inside story of #MarchInMarch Sally Farrell I started writing this on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, on a flight home after attending March in March (MiM) Melbourne last Sunday, and MiM Canberra on Monday, March 17. I am still giving thanks, six days later, for the miracle that ensured MiM 2014 was a great success, that the vision I had for the marches became, in the main, a reality. Over 100,000 Australians marched in a collective, peaceful protest, with only one arrest reported. Magical. - See more at: http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/26/march-touched-nation-sally_owl-inside-story-marchinmarch/#sthash.cGt1sJMH.dpuf http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/26/march-touched-nation-sally_owl-inside-story-marchinmarch/ 10. “I will not let you smear the good people who marched” Matthew Donovan The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair has a bee in his bonnet about March in March. Brisbane Lead Organiser for March in March Matthew N. Donovan responds. Tim Blair is at it again it seems?..I thank him for the spotlight he continues to shine on what was one of the highest turnouts for a protest in many years. Tim, I take issue with your pathetic childish attempt at an opinion piece. Allow me to relieve you of your delusions and blind or wilful ignorance. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/26/i-will-not-let-you-smear-the-good-people-who-marched/ 11. Rage against the mainstream Tim Dunlop If mainstream media journalists have an issue with the rise of the audience, that's fine. But don't talk down to us because you fumbled the reporting of the March in March..... the rules of news have changed, and increasingly legacy media companies have neither the capacity nor the wit to operate in the new environment. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-27/dunlop-rage-against-the-mainstream/5348152 ENTITLEMENTS + RORTS + LARGESSE + RESPONSIBILITY + TRUST 12. Senator Arthur Sinodinos' silk had something of a shocker Kate McClymont Senator Arthur Sinodinos' strategy to salvage his reputation by paying top dollar for a senior silk at a corruption inquiry ended in disaster. It didn't start off too well when Tony Bannon, SC, called the witness a ''smart-arse''. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/icac-hearing-senator-arthur-sinodinos-silk-had-something-of-a-shocker-20140326-35itv.html 13. Arthur Sinodinos awaits corruption ruling Michaela Whitbourn, Kate McClymont The Independent Commission Against Corruption has left the door open to a finding of corrupt conduct against Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos, potentially on the grounds that he breached his duties as a director of the company Australian Water Holdings. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/arthur-sinodinos-awaits-corruption-ruling-20140326-35iuy.html BIGOTRY RIGHTS vs HUMAN RIGHTS 14. George Brandis rolled on changes to Racial Discrimination Act Peter Hartcher, James Massola In a lengthy cabinet meeting on Monday night - and amid growing backbench concerns - Senator Brandis watered down his proposals for changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. The Attorney-General was instead obliged to settle for only a draft exposure bill. This allows the government position to remain fluid and community groups to react... The outcome represented what one minister described as a compromise between the conservative and moderate factions. One minister said: ''George has really drunk the right-wing Kool-Aid.'' http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-rolled-on-changes-to-racial-discrimination-act-20140326-35iyh.html 15. Holocaust survivor’s plea to PM: don’t change race laws Moshe Fiszman Mr Fiszman, 92, spent the Second World War in a series of Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dachau. He was the only member of his family to survive. He has strong opinions on the proposed changes to race laws... Dear Mr Abbott, I beg you to abandon your plans to change the Racial Discrimination Act. You might think you are increasing freedom, but let me assure you that you will be taking away the freedom of communities such as mine. The freedom to live without hatred and without lies being told about us. http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/03/26/holocaust-survivors-plea-dont-change-race-laws-mr-abbott/ 16. How Bolt Sets The Government's Agenda Ben Eltham The repeal of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is a fringe issue pushed by a wealthy elite, that ignores greater threats to free speech... Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs was on the ABC’s Lateline last night, discussing these draft amendments. “One of the phrases one learns in Law school,” she told Tony Jones, ”as I did many decades ago, is bad cases make bad law.” http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=2d7ed48d18&e=0a1e2bdeb8 17. This is free speech on steroids Simon Rice Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben would never have breached federal racial vilification law under the Federal Government's proposed changes - that's how weak they are http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-27/rice-rights-for-holocaust-deniers/5349040 18. Andrew Bolt and appalling barbarity Nour Dados The beating heart of barbarity is the indiscriminate and inhumane treatment of the vulnerable by those in positions of power. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/andrew-bolt-and-appalling-barbarity,6322 CULTURE WARS 19. Why did Tony Abbott wait until he was almost 24 years old to become an Australian citizen? clarencegirl There are a few questions about Tony Abbott’s citizenship that need answering...When Anthony John Abbott was born to an English father and a first-generation Australian mother....his parents did not register him as an Australian infant born overseas or immediately apply for Australian citizenship on his behalf....One cannot escape the suspicion that the future Prime Minister of Australia only applied for Australian citizenship at that time in order to gain a monetary advantage which would allow him to further his studies overseas. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/27/why-did-tony-abbott-wait-until-he-was-almost-24-years-old-to-become-an-australian-citizen/ 20. Culture wars distract from the Abbott non-agenda Jonathan Green These culture war fights and flourishes - rights for bigots, knighthoods, etc - allow the Coalition to show its personality without increasing the footprint of government. Could it be that they're really not all that sure what exactly it is that they want to do? Getting in to government ... that's comparatively simple, a task with a clear objective and an obvious game plan: to attack, undermine and oppose. Shred the credibility of the opponent. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-27/green-culture-wars-distract-from-the-abbott-non-agenda/5347034 ELECTIONS: SA + WA 21. Re-elected Labor gives details of deal struck with Geoff Brock for minority SA Government South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has released details of the multi-million-dollar deal he has struck to win the parliamentary support of independent MP Geoff Brock. The deal will cost $39 million in the first year in return for Mr Brock's guaranteed support for Labor's minority Government. Mr Weatherill says the package is made up of new and existing funding, and there is a one-off $10 million jobs fund http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-27/labor-geoff-brock-deal-weatherill-regional-fund/5348244?WT.mc_id=newsmail POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 22. Sir Abbott, duplicity is thy name Kaye Lee Every day the duplicity of this government becomes more apparent. In order to assist their political puppet masters, the Coalition is prepared to condemn future generations to the enormous task and cost of coping with catastrophic climate change. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/27/sir-abbott-duplicity-is-thy-name/ 23. Don't tweak the FOFA amendments, trash them Alan Kohler These Future of Financial Advice amendments add up to the comprehensive return of disguising sales as independent advice, leaving planners with that grubby feeling http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-27/kohler-dont-tweak-the-fofa-amendments-trash-them/5346390 24. Tony Abbott's repeal day will save businesses just $13m Daniel Hurst "The government devoted most of Wednesday to lower-house debate about redundant laws, as part of its push to remove red tape and ease the pressure on businesses. But opposition MPs ridiculed the worth of the changes, which included the removal of the hyphen from "e-mail" in existing legislation and the abolition of a 1909 act requiring owners of mules and bullocks to hand over their animals for defence purposes." http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/26/tony-abbotts-repeal-day-seen-as-smoke-and-mirrors 25. Labor opens the door to change Mark Latham "One of the challenges for both major parties in Australia is to stop politics from dying of apathy. Two major changes have driven people away from political participation. First, after 20 years of continuous economic growth, Australians have become more self-sufficient, more likely to try and solve their own problems, instead of seeking solutions from members of parliament." http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/labor_opens_the_door_to_change_W1mO8r2rfcRqRXoQEASdAI ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 26. When talking tax, it pays to have the facts Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods When it comes to debating money and taxes, it pays to have the facts. Our polls show how easily the tax debate can get skewed when we base our opinions on misinformation http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/woods-lewis-when-talking-tax-it-pays-to-have-the-facts/5345478 SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 27. Shining a light on dark places. Kaye Lee The attempt to sell the repeal of Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act has led to a new page in the “phrases to repeat” Coalition script. Everyone from Tony Abbott and George Brandis to Tim Wilson is saying that it is the responsibility of the community to “shine a light on dark places”. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/27/shining-a-light-on-dark-places/ 28. The World is Not Hostile Matthew Mitchell. Hobbes’ declaration that life is “Nasty, brutish and short” is often quoted today (although , completely out of context, it was not unconditionally so) and modern economists may decry the “scarcity of resources”, but http://theaimn.com/2014/03/26/the-world-is-not-hostile/ 29. South African lessons about racial discrimination Andrew Hamilton The South African experience suggests racial discrimination begins with the appropriation of wealth and power by one racial group and its consequent suppression of other groups in order to extend its wealth and power. If we are to address racial prejudice and discrimination we need to examine the way in which wealth and power are distributed and protected in society. In Australia, they are being concentrated increasingly in fewer hands. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39170#.UzNiU_mSySo 30. The dunghill origins of morality Michael Collett While vast numbers of people across the world (and Australia) continue to equate godlessness with a lack of morality, unbelievers can feel confident in their virtues. Is it necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values? The answer seems obvious, at least to this nonbeliever: of course not. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-25/collett-the-dunghill-origins-of-morality/5343810 31. Courage of being the 'first': Special thanks to Quentin Bryce Angela Priestley Outgoing Governor General Quentin Bryce is enjoying one of those careers you watch from the sidelines with joy. I speak of Bryce 'enjoying' her career because although her GG term officially comes to an end today, her career's far from over. A woman Like Bryce doesn't slink quietly into retirement, we'll be hearing and learning much more from her in the future. Meanwhile what she's already achieved, particularly the 'firsts' she has pioneered, will always be beneficial to the careers of women. http://womensagenda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=30f81b85614c4a46de129a5d6&id=991f464d45&e=87e80a7b7d ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 32. The Great Barrier Reef: an obituary Oliver Milman, Christian Bennett and Mike Bowers In 10,000 years it has survived fishing, oil exploration, heatwaves and mass tourism but has never looked in greater danger. What exactly would the world be losing if we let the reef die? http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2014/mar/great-barrier-reef-obituary?CMP=twt_gu 33. NSW puts the clamp on coal seam gas Leith van Onselen In a move that is certain to infuriate the oil and gas lobby, the New South Wales Government has announced that it will freeze coal seam gas (CGS) exploration applications for six months, review existing licences, and significantly increase licencing fees. From The Guardian: The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, accused the former [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail2.com/t/i-l-zgktt-dtyueir-c/ 34. Big Gas and its political lackeys: Attacking Australians' rights Sandi Keane While the Abbott Government defends the rights of racists and bigots, the gas industry is given open slather to attack Australian's fundamental rights to property, water, health and even life — among others....The imposition of mining interests on public policy, institutional barriers and neoliberal political ideology has resulted in a shameful pact — a government-sanctioned assault on such basic human rights as clean air and water. http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/big-gas-and-its-political-lackeys-attacking-australians-rights,6319 35. Ripping up the forestry deal won't guarantee Tasmanian timber boom Fred Gale There are many jubilant Tasmanians this week celebrating the death of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement now that the forest industry has endorsed the government’s mandate to tear up the deal. I am not one… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pukiiik-trhltityg-k/ 36. Australia should enlist dingoes to control invasive species Arian Wallach Introduced species pose one of the greatest threats to Australia’s fauna and flora, but expensive efforts to control them aren’t working. Instead of spending millions of dollars on culling, giving dingoes… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pukiiik-trhltityg-u/ ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE + REFUGEE RIGHTS 37. John Menadue. Using the military for political purposes John Menadue On March 20 guest blogger Susie Carleton drew attention to the blanket acceptance of accounts by our service people in treatment of asylum seekers despite the record, according to former Defence Minister Stephan Smith of 2000 incidents of mis- treatment within the military itself including sexual abuse. Last night’s 7.30 ABC program lent more credibility in my mind to the allegations against our service personnel in their treatment of asylum seekers. We need to examine carefully what our military is doing. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=1406 38. How Sweden Treats Refugees Trevor Grant Four months of processing, a state lawyer and a living allowance - with citizenship in five years. According to the director of operations at the Swedish Migration Board, Mikael Ribbenvik, there is nothing complicated about the Swedish approach to asylum seekers. “What we are doing is following international law, European law and the national law," Ribbenvik told me by phone last week. "The law is very clear on this. You should give protection to people in need of protection." http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=a6231c5623&e=0a1e2bdeb8 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

28/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Friday, 28 March 2014. [b]Religious and political leaders, lift your game![/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-03-27.aspx

Michael

28/03/2014What's the explicit tension between the two following sentences from this Fairfax press story: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/i-agree-with-barry-ofarrell-says-george-brandis-20140327-35lr0.html?skin=text-only on Brandis' hate legilation? "One minister said the exposure draft was a compromise between conservative and moderate factions and added that ''George has really drunk the right-wing Kool-Aid'', while a second minister said the original proposal had been ''much worse''. In the Senate on Thursday Senator Brandis said it was a ''matter of public record that the cabinet had a discussion about this matter on Monday. You would know and you would not expect me to reveal cabinet discussion.''" They display not only the lack of discipline (and thus competence) but also the disintegration of the Abbott gumnint barely more than six months into power. Cabinet is leaking from multiple points already, with precise commentary from what should be zipped lips on a fellow member, commentary both derisory and judgmental. The boys can't keep it together this early into running the country. But who would have expected different from Howard's Thirds, the hold-over non-entities and wannabes Abbott made into his cardboard Cabinet?

Michael

28/03/2014One more thought on the immediate knighthoods (seriously, you expect another dame to be made Dame GG under Conservatives?) granted to new Governor Generals. Peter Hollingworth. Howard had to dump his chosen GG around 18 months after installing him. If Hollingworth had been made an instant Knight on taking the job, that would have been one more layer of job-perk (and embarrassment of the Queen) to be stripped away when he quit for the reasons he did. Instant elevation and lacquer-thin 'ennobling' for even the most "pre-eminent" Australians might well come back to bite Abbott's butt. From the most unexpected corners.

Ken

28/03/2014thanks Casablanca for an excellent selection of articles and blogs as usual. The Trevor Grant piece from New Matilda (38) is particularly apt for the post coming up on Sunday night.

TalkTurkey

28/03/2014http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/21/john-pilger-indigenous-australian-families John Pilger makes me ashamed as indeed all comfortably-off non-indigenous people should be. Bigotry OK? NOT IN MY NAME!

Casablanca

29/03/2014 Templar Z☰N DIGITⒶL ‏@z3n_digital Mar 27 The Abbott Poem I love a sunburnt monarchy A land of knights & dames Of bigots, racists, xenophobes. Of voters without brains. #auspol

TalkTurkey

29/03/2014HEMP is Help End Marijuana Prohibition In WA senate poll, HEMP is now considered the best hope of minor parties. They have now preferenced Labor ahead of Greens after Greens last year welshed on a deal you'll read about in the link below. Excerpt: HEMP's lead WA candidate, Jim Moylan, blasted the Greens as ''a joke on cannabis law reform''. ''The Greens take votes away from us because people just assume they are for cannabis law reform,'' he said. In fact, section 8 of the Greens' federal policy document on ''drugs, substance abuse and addiction'' states: ''The Australian Greens do not support the legalisation of currently illegal drugs.'' Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/senate-poll-in-wa-scott-ludlams-hopes-may-go-up-in-smoke-20140323-35blj.html#ixzz2xIrCNN7j In my opinion this is an important development. Cannabis supporters are scattered, but there are many, in all social strata, and in a Senate election that's what counts. But it is also significant in that a 'radical' group has the sense to come back to Labor, the only power in this land which can actually DO anything important.

TalkTurkey

29/03/2014Casablanca Do you know whether there is a second half to that Wide Brown Land parody, that would correspond to the original?

Jason

29/03/20142353 Not sure if you have seen this? Tony Fitzgerald absolutely shreds the Newman Govt http://bit.ly/1dzUKNH

Casablanca

30/03/2014 TT I don't know. I just spotted that as a tweet from Templar Z☰N DIGITⒶL ‏@z3n_digital Mar 27

2353

30/03/2014Thanks Jason, Even the Courier Mail is reporting this. There is possibility of a piece in this - I just have to do the research.

Curi-Oz

30/03/2014Talk Turkey, I don't know any other state that would accept a senate candidate from another state, and that is what the HEMP party currently is offering Western Australia. As a result, I'm not too sure that the HEMP party will get much of its deposit back, as their candidates have been highlighted several times in the media here. It's not a good look when the candidate for the State's House (aka Senate) can't even name the Premier of the state! Frankly, I am more concerned that the Liberals will get more senators out of this current exercise than they did before. The WA media are not owned by Murdoch, but they are saying many of the same things about our 'glorious leader'. Don't forget that many in WA are here to dig stuff out of the ground for Dame Gina, and what she wants she gets, by George (or Barnaby)!
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?