Funding health: part 2


This week I focus on the future of commonwealth government health funding and begin with consideration of the role of the Medicare levy in commonwealth government spending.

While health expenditure may increase so does revenue from the Medicare levy so long as wages and the workforce continue to grow. In constant (2012‒13) prices, the revenue from the Medicare levy grew faster than the growth in government health expenditure for six of the eleven years between 2003‒04 and 2013‒14. The levy revenue increased by 57% in that time (from $6.5b to $10.2b in constant prices) while commonwealth government health expenditure increased by 61.5%. In the early half of those years the levy provided around 17‒18% of commonwealth health spending but since 2009‒10 has been around 15‒16% and is currently about 16%. What the year-by-year figures actually suggest is that the Medicare levy covers a greater proportion of health costs when the economy is doing well and falls when the economy is performing poorly, so changes are not just a result of increased health spending. It is a concern currently that unemployment has increased and wages growth has slowed, both of which will impact Medicare levy revenue in the short term.

The fastest growing area of health spending by the commonwealth government is actually the subsidy for private health insurance. The private health insurance rebate cost the government $5.5 billion in 2012‒13 having risen from $1.4 billion in 1999‒2000 and in the Hockey 2014‒15 budget it was predicted to grow faster (by 5.9%) than Medicare costs (3.5%). What does the government get for that? The AIHW figures for 2012‒13, remembering they were for total health spending, show that private health funds contributed about $11.8 billion but the government spent $5.5 billion to achieve that, leaving a nett benefit of $6.3 billion. But private health funds also pay for dental, optical and other services and actually contributed about $8 billion to the major commonwealth costs of hospital and referred medical services (under Medicare, private health funds make no contribution to unreferred services) — so it could be argued that the real nett benefit to the commonwealth government was $2.5 billion. The Grattan Institute has estimated that the extra cost to public hospitals, if the private health insurance rebate was abolished, would be $2.5 billion, leaving the government $3 billion in front, which is $500 million more than the real nett benefit it currently achieves.

Treasury and the Intergenerational Reports (since 2002) have been continually arguing that the rising health spending in the coming decades is due to the ageing of the population. The 2010 Intergenerational Report (IGR) suggested that 40% of the projected increase came from ageing and population growth: the balance was through technology changes and demand for higher standards in health services. The 2015 IGR, however, suggested that non-demographic factors will actually account for 80% of the increase in health spending — ageing alone contributes only 10%, with the other 10% simply from population growth. If that sort of reduction in impact is repeated in the next IGR, ageing may not contribute at all to increases in health funding!

The other issue to consider in relation to meeting rising health costs is that government revenue generally grows, as a result of growth in GDP and wages, and it is usually just the speed of that growth that varies. Since 2003‒04 the only decline in revenue came in the years 2008 to 2010 when we were affected by the GFC: the final budget outcome was $4.8 billion lower in 2008‒09 than the previous year and another $6.2 billion lower the following year. Long term studies suggest that we can expect such short-term economic downturns about once every 8‒10 years.

As I pointed out in ‘Abbott continues to tell porkies’ government revenue has been revised downward on a number of occasions in the past three years. Despite that, the total revenue has still been slightly higher each year: $360.2 billion in 2012‒13, $374.0 billion in 2013‒14 and estimated to be $384.1 billion in 2014‒15 (the last figure is that included in the 2015‒16 budget papers, not the original budget figure). Earlier forecasts had suggested that revenue could be as high as $407 billion in 2013‒14, so there has certainly been a considerable slowing of the growth of government revenue and programs introduced on the basis of those earlier forecasts are now causing fiscal problems.

It is that ‘normal’ growth that allows governments to implement new programs as well as meet rising costs. Problems arise, as at present, when growth slows and those programs that have been introduced earlier, based on the previous forecasts of growth, still require increased spending — that is when expenditure starts to exceed revenue. But it also suggests that it only takes a few years before that revenue rises again at a faster pace to cover expenditure. It is interesting that the 2007 IGR predicted long term ‘real’ GDP growth of 2.5% (below the historical average of about 3.3%) but the 2015 IGR now places that long term GDP growth at 2.8%. Calculating from the size of the current economy, the cumulative difference of that apparently small 0.3% in the two projections is enormous: a difference of about $500 billion in the size of GDP in 40 years. And, of course, such a large difference also makes a significant difference to the government’s revenue — a difference of about $120 billion in 40 years (at the current revenue share of GDP). So very small differences in parameters make significant actual differences in GDP and government revenue and that is important in considering whether we can meet future health costs — remembering that this is based on ‘real’ growth after inflation.

The biggest danger to future commonwealth government revenue, as claimed in the IGR, is that the ageing population will lead to a relatively smaller workforce. Whereas in 1974‒75 the ratio of workers to aged people (the ‘dependency ratio’) was 7.3:1, it is projected to be 2.7:1 by 2054‒55. On the other hand, that was one reason the GST was introduced so that those who are not in the workforce are still contributing to revenue — except all that revenue goes to the states. But the IGR still predicts a 62% participation rate in the workforce and a much larger population with that average 2.8% real increase in GDP — so where is the problem?

What does that mean for health funding? Since 2002‒03 health funding has actually fallen slightly as a proportion of the commonwealth government’s total spending: from 17.4% in 2002‒03, reaching a peak of 18.2% in 2004‒05 to 2006‒07, a low of 15.1% in 2008‒09, and is now 16.1% — if it was still at 17.4% an extra $5 billion would have been available in 2014‒15. So there is a clear argument that it is not rising health costs that are impacting overall commonwealth government spending. On the basis of the proportional fall in health funding, it could actually be argued that funding that would otherwise have gone to health has been diverted to other programs.

As the data in Part 1 indicated, health costs aren’t out of control but the number of services is climbing and an ageing population may contribute to that rise: the most recent IGR, however, as stated above, considers that only 10% of the increase in costs will be a product of the ageing population. There will be other increases in health costs unrelated to ageing: for example, AIHW has projected rising rates of diabetes as a result of obesity. Dealing with obesity, and hence avoiding future costs associated with diabetes, is a matter that relates mainly to primary care.

The cost of GP services (non-referred) is already fully covered by Medicare and it could be said that it is the referred services that are causing the shortfall in the Medicare levy but individuals already contribute 16% of the cost of referred services — and that is the additional out-of-pocket contribution over and above the contribution through the Medicare levy and general taxes.

If ageing is the problem it is made out to be, the problem it gives rise to is some level of increased services and Abbott’s new ‘price-signal’ by stealth (the freezing of the Medicare rebate) will not significantly change that. Most people don’t go to the doctor simply because they can but because they need to and, in that regard, it is probably true that an ageing population may lead to some increase in the use of health goods and services (but, I repeat, even the government’s own report says only 10%). To the extent that people do put off seeing a doctor, it may lead to late identification of conditions, thus allowing them to develop into chronic conditions and so a greater burden on the health system and health funding. Alternately they will attend emergency rooms at public hospitals where they do not need to pay, only increasing the burden on public hospitals. Either way, it will not be beneficial nor cost efficient.

All in all, the Medicare levy works well for what it is intended — an equitable distribution of costs — and it works well when the economy is working well. The private health insurance rebate could be abolished and the government would be better off — keeping it is ideological, in support of private enterprise (privatised medicine). As pointed out previously on TPS, there is considerable scope for raising revenue by addressing tax expenditures, without directly raising GST, income or company taxes, or even the Medicare levy. There are many ways of meeting future health costs.

Basically health funding appears to be an economic issue, not simply a fiscal issue, and rising costs can be covered in a vigorous economy. The economy will continue to grow, even with an ageing population, just not quite as fast as we have been used to. Governments have a major role in encouraging a strong economy, including promoting new industries, promoting full employment (noting that unemployment costs the government twice, by reduced taxation revenue and increased expenditure on unemployment benefits) and ensuring good health so that people can remain active participants in the workforce for so long as they choose. Meeting health costs really requires the government taking more initiatives to promote economic activity, not tightening the purse strings which stifles economic activity.

In my view, increased health spending arising from an ageing population is not as big an issue as the government makes out, particularly when one remembers that we had a problem at the opposite end of the age spectrum in the 1950s and ‘60s — the need for more schools and teachers for the then young ‘baby boomers’ — and we managed to get through that. I think that older people are being used as scapegoats for inaccurate forecasts, ideologically-driven fiscal policy and to justify subtle attempts to push a greater share of health services to private enterprise.

What do you think?
Ken admits that, as an older person, he may have a vested interest in presenting this piece. Whatever the reasons causing increased health costs, should they be met by increasing taxes or should governments better manage the economy and rely on normal revenue growth to cover costs? Are there other ways? Is this government even capable of making the right decisions? Or is it no more than another Liberal battle in its ongoing war to introduce a privatised health system into Australia?

Next Sunday 2353 returns with his look at ‘The challenge of renewables’.


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Casablanca

23/08/2015CAPTAIN CALAMITY 1. Banksy Reveals Latest Installation The Shovel August 21, 2015 Celebrated street artist Banksy has unveiled his biggest project yet – a full-scale parody of a parliamentary system, perched on a hill in the Australian town of Canberra. Called ‘The Australian Parliament 2015’ the interactive theme park is described as dysfunctional, at times absurd, and on the whole massively disappointing. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/08/21/banksy-reveals-latest-installation/ 2. Abbott is losing the plot in his war on environmentalists Waleed Aly. August 21, 2015 - 8:46AM We will be subjected to the Abbott Government's nonsensical hyperbole as long as it insists on casting environmentalists as a special interest group that threatens the liberal order. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/abbott-is-losing-the-plot-in-its-war-on-environmentalists-20150819-gj3a1p.html#ixzz3jP53UsiQ 3. Tony Abbott — leader or destroyer? Barry Tucker. August 20, 2015 A small heading in today’s Sydney Morning Herald said Tony Abbott is not a bad leader. But how do you judge?... Is there any test that Tony Abbott would pass as a national leader? It’s often said that he was a very successful Opposition Leader. By this it is meant that he successfully destroyed a Labor government. He is and always has been a successful destroyer — he does pass that test. http://theaimn.com/tony-abbott-leader-or-destroyer/ 4. Storm clouds gathering over Tony Abbott's leadership Peter Hartcher August 22, 2015 - 3:01AM The general expectation among Liberal MPs, among Abbott's friends and foes alike, is that the next spill will be precipitated by the frontbench. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/storm-clouds-gathering-over-tony-abbotts-leadership-20150821-gj4vsa.html#ixzz3jW4FAN4D 5. Tony Abbott's game of fallow the leader Paul Bongiorno Aug 22, 2015 Like the little boy in the Dutch fable, Tony Abbott stuck his finger in the dyke this week, hoping to hold back the spring of cabinet leaks. In the original, the little boy saves his country. After a night of cold fortitude, the hole is patched. Abbott is unlikely to be so lucky. The leaks keep coming as the pressure on the dam wall of his government builds to bursting. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2015/08/22/tony-abbotts-game-fallow-the-leader/14401656002272 6. Abbott government's zeal for political hyperbole makes facts dispensable Lenore Taylor. 21 August 2015 18.55 AEST It was easy to miss in the prime minister’s bluster about green ‘sabotage’ of the Carmichael mine, but the project’s delay was down to administrative error. Perhaps due to the repeated deployment of blunt-force political hyperbole, [b]the government appears to have developed an almost complete immunity to facts.*[/b] http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/21/abbott-governments-zeal-for-political-hyperbole-makes-facts-dispensable?CMP=ema_632 * [i]NB Only the Press Gallery and the MSM missed the fact that Abbott has always had an immunity to facts.[/i] 7. Reactionaries And Vigilantes: The Very Public Implosion Of The Abbott Government Ben Eltham. 20 Aug 2015 ‘Policy on the run’ doesn’t even begin to really describe what’s been happening in Canberra of late. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/20/reactionaries-and-vigilantes-very-public-implosion-abbott-government#sthash.wMRgChec.dpuf 8. Three-word slogans have left Abbott with an economic quandary John Quiggin It's a tough ask to deliver "jobs and growth" while also reducing "debt and deficits". The Abbott Government might be better off shifting attention away from economics altogether http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-21/quiggin-abbotts-economic-quandary/6714896 9. Government overreach throws a good week off track Barrie Cassidy Against the odds, the Abbott Government was this week clawing back from the previously awful week - until somebody mentioned the word "lawfare", and once again ideology and a predilection for the negative threw it off track. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-21/cassidy-government-overreach-throws-a-good-week-off-track/6712502 10. Tony Abbott wrong on costs of tougher climate targets, government modelling shows Lenore Taylor 21 August 2015 16.27 AEST Tony Abbott wrong on costs of tougher climate targets, government modelling shows PM’s claim of ‘massive and unmanageable costs’ are laid bare by figures showing that a 45% emissions target would cut GDP by a maximum of just 0.7% http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/21/tony-abbott-wrong-on-costs-of-tougher-climate-targets-government-modelling-shows?CMP=ema_632 11. Time running out for the Prime Minister for Indigenous affairs Michael Gordon. August 22, 2015 - 12:00AM No prime minister came to the job with more exposure to Indigenous Australia, or promised more, than Tony Abbott....One year on, Abbott's candid assessment not only still stands, but represents a broader report card on a government with an innate capacity to rub voters up the wrong way and a leader who again finds himself vulnerable to disastrous polling numbers. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/time-running-out-for-the-prime-minister-for-indigenous-affairs-20150821-gj4kr6.html#ixzz3jW40gXqW 12. Can Canning fix it? Kaye Lee. August 21, 2015 It is widely accepted that a defeat for the Liberal Party in Canning would see the end of Tony Abbott’s leadership. Even if you are a conservative voter, this would be to your benefit – it will not cause a change of government but it could snatch your party from the clutches of the Credlin/Abbott cartel which is not only leading your party to defeat but this country to ruin.... Can Canning fix it? Yes they can! http://theaimn.com/can-canning-fix-it/ 13. Canning – the by-election to end all by-elections David Speers. August 21, 2015 The countdown clock started this week for the Canning by-election and potentially for Tony Abbott’s Prime Ministership. http://m.switzer.com.au/the-experts/david-speers 14. Canning by-election looms as make or break for Tony Abbott's leadership Mark Kenny August 21, 2015 - 12:00AM The WA by-election will be a tough one but, it presents the PM with an unlikely opportunity.... The Prime Minister's office now seems to recognise that its curious refusal to stand for anything positive has opened the stage for opponents to grandstand. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/byelection-looms-as-make-or-break-for-abbotts-leadership-20150820-gj3kuu.html#ixzz3jQmuOUEb LAST THROW OF THE DYSE 15. Judging Dyson Heydon Richard Ackland Aug 22, 2015 With his credibility as trade union royal commissioner in question, Dyson Heydon’s past rulings speak volumes about the man he is.... The current circumstances in which he finds himself are personally excruciating. Why he took on this grubby job for such a grubby government must be one of his inconsolable regrets. Or at least you’d hope so.... The royal commissioner is a creature of the government with no constitutional protections for independence. The High Court must be wincing in horror at the reflected muck on its escutcheon. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/08/22/judging-dyson-heydon/14401656002264 16. Bias and the ‘black-letter’ judge: who is Dyson Heydon? Gabrielle Appleby and Heather Roberts. August 21, 2015 1.10pm How has a former judge with an avowed commitment to judicial independence and probity found himself at the centre of a very public controversy over his own impartiality?.... He argued that only a black-letter approach could foster public confidence in the independence of the justice system. https://theconversation.com/bias-and-the-black-letter-judge-who-is-dyson-heydon-46341 17. Oxford-educated former High Court judge Dyson Heydon has to put himself in Real People's shoes Michaela Whitbourn August 21, 2015 - 4:08PM "What I'm going to do is to commence work on a consideration of this interesting and in some respects complex matter," he said. He hopes to make a decision on Tuesday. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/oxfordeducated-former-high-court-judge-dyson-heydon-has-to-put-himself-in-real-peoples-shoes-20150821-gj4pjv.html#ixzz3jQdkjBAX 18. Senator Stephen Conroy exposes Heydon's full links to the Liberal Party Stephen Conroy 21 Aug For those who didn't hear Senator Stephen Conroy's speech exposing Dyson Heydon's full links to the Liberal Party in the Senate on Tuesday this week, IA thought our readers would be interested to hear them, given these links appear to be unreported elsewhere. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/senator-stephen-conroy-exposes-heydons-full-links-to-the-liberal-party,8079 19. Dyson Heydon, TURC and the botched Julia Gillard smear job Peter Wicks. 22 August 2015, 11:00am The Federal Court case that nailed Kathy Jackson has also given us a flashback to the way the Royal Commission handled one significant witness. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/dyson-heydon-turc-and-the-botched-julia-gillard-smear-job,8085 20. Trade union royal commissioner Dyson Heydon interprets the black and white letter of the law Tom Allard August 22, 2015 - 1:29AM It was a heart-warming beginning to an extraordinary judicial hearing, one where a lion of the Australian law was excoriated by legal counsel for Australia's trade unions as unfit to preside over a royal commission. Friends and colleagues believe the political atmospherics won't sway a black letter lawyer like Heydon. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/trade-union-royal-commissioner-dyson-heydon-interprets-the-black-and-white-letter-of-the-law-20150821-gj4jw4.html#ixzz3jW2esoVO 21. The calm before the storm Sean Kelly The Royal Commission proceeded calmly today. The political debate will not. Regardless of what happens, and despite the calmness displayed by the lawyers, next Tuesday is likely to bring on a political shouting match. It will not be pretty. And whatever is said, Abbott, Heydon, and the Royal Commission will all come out significantly the worse for wear. https://www.themonthly.com.au/the-monthly-today/sean-kelly/2015/21/2015/1440135037/calm-storm DEMOCRACY UNDER THE PUMP 22. The Public is Fed Up With Politicians ... and Not Just Because of the Expenses Row Miriam Lyons. August 15, 2015 But like a fish that has to keep swimming to stay alive, democracy must be constantly defended and extended to survive. Instead, Australia has been starving it of oxygen. Our elected representatives seem willing to commit almost any crime against the safeguards designed to keep them in check. Dodgy expense claims are probably the least of our worries.... Australia, along with many other Western countries, allowed our strong reforming tradition to decline http://democracyrenewal.edu.au/public-fed-politicians-and-not-just-because-expenses-row 23. Do we want to stop governments flouting the law? Are you serious Senator Brandis? Lachlan Barker 21 Aug 2015 Our chief law-maker, Attorney-General George Brandis, says the Abbott government is above the law and wants to appeal our rights as citizens to challenge this in the courts. As these self-same citizens are also voters, has he now completely lost the plot? https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/do-we-want-to-stop-governments-flouting-the-law-are-you-serious-senator-brandis,8082 24. Abbott's fear-mongering threatens our civil liberties Daniel Ellery. 21 August 2015, 5:00pm There are ominous signs our civil liberties will increasingly come under threat as Abbott's continued dive in the polls brings on more hyped-up terror threats. Ellery looks at the history of fear-mongering as a means of controlling the masses. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/abbotts-fear-mongering-threatens-our-civil-liberties-,8084 25. Same-sex marriage: At some point governments have to govern Mike Steketee Tony Abbott is salivating at the prospect of a plebiscite or referendum on same-sex marriage, as it gives him a chance to exploit the "when in doubt, vote no" mentality. But really, shouldn't this be handled by Parliament? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-21/steketee-governments-have-to-govern/6715386 26. Tony Fitzgerald remarks: Full transcript Tony Fitzgerald. September 11, 2014 Effective democracy needs principled politicians, an independent, impartial judiciary plus, as the American author Norman Mailer said, "individuals not only ready to enjoy freedom but to undergo the heavy labor of maintaining it." That task includes blunt criticism of political misconduct. As President John F. Kennedy said, "without debate, without criticism no administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive." http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/tony-fitzgerald-remarks-full-transcript-20140911-10fb83.html#ixzz3jYsMa3qA A SPENDTHRIFT GOVERNMENT 27. $52,000 per public servant, the price of a department's 'integration' Noel Towell August 21, 2015 The Immigration Department will pay $711 million, or $52,000 for each of its public servants, for its merger with Customs as it slashes wages for frontline border officials and asks them to work an extra week each year. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/52000-per-public-servant-the-price-of-a-departments-integration-20150819-gj2t9k.html#ixzz3jW2uindn 28. Parliament House set for $20 million surveillance upgrade despite concerns Henry Belot. August 22, 2015 - 10:30PM Parliament House is set for a $20 million upgrade of electronic security and surveillance camera capabilities, despite concerns they may be used to catch leakers and whistleblowers. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/parliament-house-set-for-20-million-surveillance-upgrade-despite-concerns-20150819-gj2hjy.html#ixzz3jZ6peYcA 29. The Abbott Government keeps backing the wrong horse Michael Taylor. August 21, 2015 That’s $200 million just on three ‘races’ the Abbott Government has wasted simply to win some political mileage. http://theaimn.com/the-abbott-government-keeps-backing-the-wrong-horse/ HEALTHCARE 30. Australia's brave new Healthcare crucible Leong Ng. 22 August 2015, 12:00pm Modern day metaphorical usage of 'crucible' is used with controversial topics such as Mr Abbott’s continuing troubles, described as a ‘crucible of crisis’.... How are these related in the context of recent happenings in Australian healthcare? https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/australias-brave-new-healthcare-crucible,8075 31. Questionable care: Avoiding ineffective treatment Stephen Duckett and Peter Breadon. August 2015 In some hospitals, far too many people get a treatment they should not get, even when the evidence is clear that it is unnecessary or doesn’t work. Australia urgently needs a systemto identify these outlier hospitals and make sure they are not putting patients at risk. To show how such a system could work, this report examines five treatments that should not be used on certain patients. http://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/828-Questionable-Care3.pdf LAWFARE: WE WANT FAIR LAW 32. We must be allowed to challenge environmentally sensitive projects Geoff Cousins. August 19, 2015 Cynically stripping away the rights of communities to defend a clean environment is not the type of behaviour we expect from the government...Tony Abbott and George Brandis can throw around invented words. What we are engaged in is not 'lawfare', but we do demand fair law. This simply translates to good governance that we should expect in a modern, robust democracy like ours. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-government-is-backing-a-loser-in-coal-20150819-gj2kms.html#ixzz3jP6Zcw8c 33. Climate stance of Australian politicians 'disturbing' – US Geological Survey chief Oliver Milman. 20 August 2015 13.44 AEST Chief scientist Virginia Burkett says: ‘I thought it was just a US problem but it’s not, apparently, it’s a global problem’. A senior US government official has decried a “disturbing” rejection of climate science by Australian politicians. Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has previously said the science of climate is ‘crap’ but now accepts human activity is warming the planet. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/20/climate-stance-of-australian-politicians-disturbing-us-geological-survey-chief?CMP=ema_632 34. Chicken Little Abbott and Brandis wrong on 'lawfare' Stephen Keim and Chris McGrath. August 21, 2015 - 11:45PM Brandis' wild claim that federal environmental laws give a "red carpet for vigilante litigation" is the legal equivalent of "the sky is falling". The claim is wrong on many levels. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/chicken-little-abbott-and-brandis-wrong-on-lawfare-20150821-gj4htj.html#ixzz3jW3PURaR

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23/08/2015Thank you Ken for your well-researched concluding piece on funding health. Your revelations are most enlightening. You make some significant statements: That Medicare covers healthcare costs better when the economy is doing well and more people are in work and paying tax, and that it covers a significant proportion of health costs. That the subsidy of private health insurance is the fastest growing area of health costs, and its abolition would save government money if it could only overcome its ideological desire to retain the subsidy in support of private enterprise. That ageing of the population contributes only 10% to the increase in health costs detailed in IGR 2015, that contrary to conventional wisdom it may become less significant with time, and that older people are being used as scapegoats for rising costs. That GDP and wages growth continue almost without interruption and contribute revenue to meet at least some health costs, but overreach in new programs can result in commitments that cannot be met if revenue is less than predicted. That the prediction that the taxpayer to recipient ratio will become more and more unfavourable and will jeopardize health funding, is not as dire are portrayed. That non-referred (GP/primary care) services are largely covered by Medicare, and that it is the referred services to specialists and the flow of patients to hospital emergency departments when primary care is not available or not used because of ‘price signals’ that the government is keen to introduce, that escalate health costs. That the solution to meeting rising health costs for governments is to promote strong economic activity, enhance workforce participation, and improve wages, all of which generate tax revenue, rather than ‘tightening the purse strings’ and imposing punitive measures to inhibit the use of health services, such as the ‘GP tax’ (co-payment). It is amazing that this free market-oriented government does not comprehend this. Abbott, Hockey and ministers who have a microphone thrust in their faces now endlessly repeat the latest three-word mantra that ‘jobs and growth’ is what they have a ’plan’ to achieve. Pity growth is stagnating and jobs are growing slower than the population – in other words the economy is going backwards under these grown-up, adult, economic wizards. [b]It seems clear that the Abbott government, ideologically-driven as it is, has no idea of what it is doing, no plan to achieve its stated aims, and no agenda for Cabinet or the Party Room to discuss except contentious issues designed to wedge its opponents and win the next election. The new definition of ‘hopeless’ is the Abbott government.[/b]

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24/08/2015Casablanca What a splendid collection you have gifted us today. I enjoyed very much Richard Ackland's [i]Judging Dyson Heydon[/i]: in [i]The Saturday Paper[/i]. It is a well-referenced piece that enables insight into Heydon's personality, beliefs, style as a jurist, and his past judgements. It explains why Tony Abbott chose him for this politically-oriented Royal Commission, and his likely approach to writing the findings. Already there is a clue: his extraordinary public questioning of Bill Shorten's credibility as a witness. If he attempts to justify his continuation as the Commissioner, it will be fascinating to read his reasoning and the legal justification for such a position. From his past history of judgements and his legal orientation, Heydon could argue that a 'fair-minded lay observer' might reasonably apprehend that his impartiality has been compromised by his conduct in accepting an invitation to speak at a Liberal Party event. If he were to do that, his legal integrity would not be further compromised. On the other hand, if he were to use legal niceties, augmented with historical quotes from the classic literature, as is his bent, that he ought to continue, that nothing he has done ought to exclude him from persisting, not only will his integrity be further strained, but it could also be concluded that Abbott's captain's pick of him to be the Commissioner was shrewd as he would likely deliver the adverse findings that Abbott desired from the outset. Watch how Heydon manages, to use his own words: 'this interesting and in some respects complex matter'. Heydon's reputation is on the line. Abbott's is already in tatters, and should Heydon withdraw, his Royal Commission will be in tatters too. Tomorrow should be an interesting day!

2353

25/08/2015It looks like Heydon can work out what to do now. It's really not a hard decision - there is a perception of bias as he accepted an inviation to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser. It doesn't matter about the original scheduling, the estimate of funds to be raised or anything else. Those who profess some ability in the law (be they ex-High Cout Judges or Justices of the Peace) have to demonstrate that they are impartial in areas they are likely to be called upon to adjudicate. "Trade unions royal commission: Dyson Heydon delays decision on whether to stand down" http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/trade-unions-royal-commission-dyson-heydon-delays-decision-on-whether-to-stand-down-20150824-gj6jgr.html#ixzz3jloo7OZW

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25/08/2015Folks Has anyone heard the latest [i]Newspoll[/i] result on the radio or TV news this morning? It has not yet featured on ABC Melbourne radio. In case you have missed it, here it is, copied from [i]The Poll Bludger[/i]: [i]"The latest Newspoll in The Australian has is unchanged on last fortnight with Labor leading 54-46 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of 39% for Labor (steady), 38% for the Coalition (down one) and 13% for the Greens (steady). The poll also reflects Ipsos in having Bill Shorten bouncing back, with this approval up five points to 34% and disapproval down five to 52%. Tony Abbott is down three to 30% and up two to 63%, and Shorten has also taken the lead on preferred prime minister, which goes from 38-38 a fortnight ago to 40-35 in Shorten’s favour. "Also out today is a Roy Morgan poll which has Labor coming off its six-month high a fortnight ago, their primary vote down one to 36% with the Coalition up two to 38.5%, the Greens down 1.5% to 14%, and Palmer United up half a point to 1.5%. Using previous election preferences, this translates as a modest shift in Labor’s lead from 54.5-45.5 to 53.5-46.5. However, the shift is bigger on respondent-allocated preferences after an aberrant result last week, with Labor’s lead coming in from 57-43 to 54.5-45.5. The poll was conducted by face-to-face and SMS over the last two weekends from a sample of 3174.[/i]" http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2015/08/24/newspoll-54-46-to-labor-9/ [b]Not great news for Abbott and his government. Is that why we have heard nothing/little on the airwaves?[/b]

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25/08/20152353 What do you make of Dyson Heydon's deferral of a decision about his whether he should continue as Commissioner in the Abbott-inspired witch hunt? Is he having difficulty reconciling his actions with the requirement of the law that the Commissioner must be seen to be unbiased? Is he earnestly trying to find an element of the law that could be interpreted as allowing him to continue? I suspect so. Time will tell!

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25/08/2015Folks Did you watch Machine Man on [i]Four Corners[/i] last night? There was concern that it would damage Bill Shorten, but there was nothing new except Martin Ferguson's grumpiness. I doubt if it will adversely affect Shorten's approval ratings. What do you think?

Ken

25/08/2015Ad First, thanks for your kind words on the article. I think one thing that is implied in what I say is that governments (and Abbott's is not alone) seem to become obsessed with the small detail and often tend to overlook the bigger picture - they should be looking at health expenditure not in isolation but as part of a broad economic picture. I'm not sure that Ferguson's grumpiness is new! :-) But one thing I found interesting is that Shorten appears to be yet another leader who believes they are destined to be PM. In recent times I would put Fraser, Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Abbott (and now Shorten) in that category - they have each at some time in their life been led to, or come to, believe that that is their destiny. Why is that so? Does it just give them the drive to go for the job, or does it indicate something darker in their personalities that we should be wary about? I don't have an answer but I do find it a little unsettling.

DoodlePoodle

25/08/2015Perhaps I'm missing something but I question the need that ABC find to run that Four Corners Programme on Bill Shorten. I also thought the Killing Season was also a "free kick" for the Liberals. Was there any like programmes about Tony Abbott aired by ABC when he was the Opposition Leader?? It must be a change for Dyson Heydon to find himself in the spotlight. His delay suggests that perhaps he is finding it difficult to convince himself that there isn't a perception of bias.

Casablanca

26/08/2015POLL POSITION 1. Bill Shorten's approval rating improves as Coalition slides further in Newspoll Katharine Murphy. 25 August 2015 06.05 AEST Labor leads the two-party preferred vote 54% to the Coalition’s 46%, while Tony Abbott’s popularity falls three points to 30% after horror parliamentary fortnight – and the Coalition’s primary vote also slipped below Labor’s. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/25/newspoll-bill-shorten-approval-rating-improves-coalition-slides-further?CMP=ema_632 CAPTAIN VINDICTIVE + MURDOCH 2. How did the Australian media get it so wrong with Kathy Jackson? Frances Jones. 24 August 2015 When you have the Education Minister Christopher Pyne bullying Craig Thomson, it’s on a different level. For five years, Craig Thomson was bullied by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne and their gang of thugs who are now running the country. It was bullying on a national scale. Mostly the media was asleep to it.... The Kathy Jackson/Craig Thomson saga tells you everything you need to know about the Liberal Party and the Australian media. http://theaimn.com/how-did-the-australian-media-get-it-so-wrong-with-kathy-jackson-2/ 3. AFP to be investigated over its refusal to examine whether Bronwyn Bishop broke the law Bevan Shields August 25, 2015 - 7:25AM The Australian Federal Police's refusal to examine whether Bronwyn Bishop broke any laws by chartering a taxpayer-funded helicopter to a Liberal Party fundraiser is under investigation. A loophole that allows federal politicians to secretly repay wrongly claimed entitlements without the public knowing will also be scrutinised by the Commonwealth Ombudsman. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/afp-to-be-investigated-over-its-refusal-to-examine-whether-bronwyn-bishop-broke-the-law-20150824-gj6crb.html#ixzz3jnueJPaC 4. The rise and fall of the Insiders' hero David Donovan 24 August 2015, 5:00pm Insider Mike Seccombe says Tony Abbott should be defended for his Kathy Jackson "captain's pick" because, he says, everyone "thought she was a hero at the time". If by "we" Seccombe means the dull echo chamber inhabited by Australia's largely lacklustre political Insiders, then perhaps he is right. They certainly did think she was a hero, doing the needful to help them bring down the "evil" Gillard Government. https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/the-rise-and-fall-of-abbott-pyne-and-the-insiders-hero,8090 COCKAMAMIE UPSIDE-DOWN ARGUMENTS 5. The real vigilantes are in the Abbott government Desmond Manderson. August 21, 2015 Of all the cockamamie upside-down arguments used by this government to undermine the rule of law in Australia, this has got to be the most ridiculous The government has been caught breaking the law. Legal action has been taken to make sure that the law is obeyed... It is the Abbott government that pays court to and includes cowboys and pirates, and thinks that they are entitled to set aside basic legal principles and values in order to get their own way.... And in each case, the government has aggressively attempted to disparage or silence its critics. These are all examples of a government which believes that it inhabits a national emergency, a "state of exception", in which the normal rules of legal conduct and rational debate do not apply. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-real-vigilantes-are-in-the-abbott-government-20150821-gj4ogb.html#ixzz3jbm4jaEf 6. You're crazy if you believe Labor's emission cuts would cost $600bn Greg Jericho 24 August 2015 11.24 AEST When a government is embarrassed about something, it puts it out late on Friday afternoon without even a media release. Such was the case last Friday, when the release of the government’s modelling of emissions cuts was put online without any fanfare, and with a fair degree of embarrassment. It showed the cost of emissions reductions is much less than suggested by the prime minister in parliament.... Despite the fear-mongering, the Coalition’s own modelling shows if emissions were cut 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, GDP growth would stay above 2% http://www.theguardian.com/environment/grogonomics/2015/aug/24/youre-crazy-if-you-believe-labors-emission-cuts-would-cost-600-bn JOBS AND GROWTH, JOBS AND GROWTH, err, JOBS.. &...err...GROWTH 7. 10,000 New Job Slogans Created Last Quarter The Shovel, August 24, 2015 The Abbott Government moved a step closer to delivering on its promise of saying jobs a million times by 2018, with new figures showing speeches with the word jobs have been created at a rate of more than a hundred a day since June. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/08/23/10000-new-job-slogans-created-last-quarter/ 8. Tweet by Joe Hockey @JoeHockey 25 August. Since coming to office, 335,800 more Australians are in work – more proof our economic plan is working Stephen Koukoulas added, But population up 585,000 and unemployment up 114,000. Not enough jobs for simple population growth 9. Tony Abbott shouldn't campaign on jobs and growth Paul Malone August 22, 2015 - 10:00PM When Tony Abbott was elected to government Australia's unemployment rate was 5.6 per cent and economic growth was running at about 2.3 per cent a year. Today unemployment is up to 6.3 per cent and economic growth remains at a below-trend rate of 2.3 per cent....The number of people out of work for more than a year climbed to more than 190,000 in May – the highest for 16 years. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/abbott-shouldnt-campaign-on-jobs-and-growth-20150820-gj4217.html#ixzz3jc75BZYu 10. “Jobs and Growth” … But what is it? John Kelly August 22, 2015 With so much negative feedback on Tony Abbott’s predilection for three word slogans, one would think the brains trust within the Coalition would have learned something by now and tried a new tack. But...we now have the latest gem to come off the assembly line, i.e. ‘Jobs and Growth’ only this time Abbott says it twice. So perhaps that’s the new tack, a three word slogan repeated....While we know that unemployment is over 800,000 and underemployment is 1,100,000 and the likelihood that both are still growing, what is the jobs and growth plan to bring those numbers down? http://theaimn.com/jobs-and-growth-but-what-is-it/ 11. Once, firms cherished their workers. Now they are seen as disposable Will Hutton 23 August, 2015 The Amazon revelations reflect a wider tendency for companies to take a brutal approach to employees at all levels http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/23/amazon-jeff-bezos-workers-rights-capitalism-employment-law?CMP=soc_568 12. Income For The Top 1 Per Cent Grew by Almost Half. See If You Can Guess How the Bottom 90 Did Thom Mitchell 25 Aug 2015 A new report has called on government to intervene to equip young people with the skills needed in Australia's changing jobs market or face deepening inequality. http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=75a4620a96&e=0a1e2bdeb8 13. NBN will have to raise $26.5b to fund costs of national broadband network David Ramli. August 24, 2015 - 2:08PM Remember Turnbull said he could give us his NBN lite for $29 billion and not a cent more? http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/the-economy/nbn-set-to-announce-cost-blowout-20150823-gj5ze3.html#ixzz3jhv4P3Ln 14. 'Disastrous': BlueScope Steel closure would trigger loss of 5000 jobs in the Illawarra Heath Aston August 24, 2015 - 1:26PM China now makes half the world's steel – 800 million tonnes a year – but its slowing domestic economy has resulted in a slowing rate of steel-intensive projects like building railways and high-rise buildings getting the Communist Party's go-ahead. China's exports of steel have increased as a result, driving the price in Australia down from $US500 a tonne to $US350 in just 12 months. Bluescope is losing $A200 a tonne on the 500,000 tonnes it exports each year. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/disastrous-bluescope-steel-closure-would-trigger-loss-of-5000-jobs-in-the-illawarra-20150824-gj68e1.html#ixzz3jhwxBQrX 15. Rich pay too much, says Joe Hockey, laying ground for income tax cuts Daniel Hurst 24 August 2015 09.41 AEST Treasurer signals further spending cuts as he says Australia’s top marginal tax rate is higher than other comparable countries and reduces incentives http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/24/joe-hockey-lays-ground-personal-income-tax-cuts-at-next-election DAZE OF GOOD GOVERNMENT 16. Cabinet: Functioning Exceptionally Well The Shovel, August 20, 2015 As you can see from the picture, our cabinet is functioning exceptionally well. Pretty much ‘as-new’ condition. For full details, please visit the Gumtree listing: http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/city/cabinets/cabinet-functioning-exceptionally-well/1087220908 http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/08/20/cabinet-functioning-exceptionally-well/ 17. The Snouties: Awarding the most 'on the snout' pollies Kate M As we all know, good government started six months ago - following Abbott's near demise as our Prime Minister. And this last parliamentary sitting fortnight in Canberra has been another stellar example of this. There’s been press conferences galore, leaky cabinets and question-time performances worthy of entry into the Tonies (pun intended). http://theaimn.com/the-snouties-awarding-the-most-on-the-snout-pollies/ 18. Liberty the loser in the modern-day Liberal Party Sophie Morris. Aug 15, 2015 Liberalism and the Liberal Party are becoming mutually exclusive, as Tony Abbott digs in over same-sex marriage and climate policy. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/08/15/liberty-the-loser-the-modern-day-liberal-party/14395608002249 19. Abbott's slips don't require regicide John O'Sullivan. Aug 23 2015 at 4:25 PM Since Labor's Keynesians didn't save in the boom, as Keynes advised, the Coalition has to find money for public investment, pensions, and health in the lean years. Tinkering won't be enough forever... Liberals should unite around Abbott, who, in return, should look for allies in and out of the Coalition for a new reform push. That would at least tackle real problems. http://www.afr.com/opinion/abbotts-slips-dont-require-regicide-20150823-gj5qnh?eid=cpc 20. With good judgment, little else matters. Without it, nothing else matters. Kaye Lee August 24, 2015 Making judgement calls is the essential job of every leader. With good judgment, little else matters. Without it, nothing else matters.... Judging someone’s judgement is a judgement call. I’ll let you be the judge. http://theaimn.com/with-good-judgment-little-else-matters-without-it-nothing-else-matters/ 21. How Tony Abbott's media appearance promise has 'all gone horribly wrong' Matthew Knott August 24, 2015 - 7:59AM ... the Prime Minister said in September 2013. "If there's something to say after a cabinet meeting, there will be the appropriate announcement. If there's not, there won't be."....Some were dubious. This was a man, after all, who had made seemingly endless media appearances campaigning against the carbon tax: filleting a fish, ironing shirts, wearing hard hats on building sites.... "Now that strategy has changed." Abbott fronted the media just eight times in his first two months as PM; last week he gave four press conferences in five days. At times it was unclear exactly why he was there.... "The narrative has been lost. People know what Tony Abbott stands against, but not what he stands for. He's strong on negatives, but weak on positives because no vision has been outlined." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/how-tony-abbotts-media-appearance-promise-has-all-gone-horribly-wrong-20150821-gj52wz.html#ixzz3jhYTqZT1 22. STRONG Action From The Abbott Government or Perhaps They Could Use These As Their “Talking Points”! Rossleigh August 22, 2015 Now, let’s see if I have this straight: 1. We Liberals like the word, “STRONG” 2. Every chance he gets, Abbott reminds of the importance of having STRONG borders. http://theaimn.com/strong-action-from-the-abbott-government-or-perhaps-the-could-use-these-as-their-leak/ 23. Tony Abbott Remembers The 'Good Old Days', When 'The Blacks' Knew Their Place Amanda Porter 25 Aug 2015 This is not the first time the Prime Minister has used appeals to nostalgia to bolster misinformation about Indigenous affairs. Most recently, Abbott has used these claims to justify his latest response to Indigenous disadvantage: the cashless debit card. - See more at: https://newmatilda.com//2015/08/25/tony-abbott-remembers-good-old-days-when-blacks-knew-their-place-0#sthash.25gmRnv6.dpuf LIFTERS & LEANERS 24. It's The Economy, Stupid Ben Eltham 25 Aug 2015 As the Treasurer drops asinine one-liners about lower taxes and leaners, the deficit remains large and the economic outlook increasingly serious http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=724fee7b39&e=0a1e2bdeb8 25. Hockey's tax story has a long journey ahead from fairy tale to reality show Michelle Grattan. August 24, 2015 4.11pm Treasurer Joe Hockey has delivered yet another address saying income tax cuts must be given. That gets him an easy headline but tells us very little about the government’s plans. https://theconversation.com/hockeys-tax-story-has-a-long-journey-ahead-from-fairy-tale-to-reality-show-46526 26. Buying Hockey's Myths Would Plunge Economy Lower Than The Treasurer's Own Standing Ian McAuley 25 Aug 2015 The Treasurer's thought bubble on income tax cuts relies on long debunked economic furphies. No wonder no one takes him seriously anymore. http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=57413de192&e=0a1e2bdeb8 Joe Hockey offers the tax cuts we neither need nor can afford Peter Martin. 24 August 2015 Why pick now, of all times, to cut income tax? Bracket creep - Joe Hockey's stated reason for wanting to cut rates - is at a record low. That's right. The risk of getting a pay rise that would push up your average tax rate is the lowest since the official wage price index began in 1997. In the past year, wages climbed just 2.3 per cent per cent, which is about as close to zero as wage rises get. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/joe-hockey-offers-the-tax-cuts-we-neither-need-nor-can-afford-20150824-gj6o1f.html#ixzz3jptaNRf4 27. Prime Minister Tony Abbott blamed for Torres Strait motel getting 'stiffed' $53,000 Sharnie Kim and Kym Agius A far north Queensland motel says it has been left out of pocket by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet over a last-minute cancellation, and the owner blames Tony Abbott. Mr Mills said he was only notified less than two days before check-in that more than $53,000 worth of accommodation would not be required. "This is allegedly 'the small business Prime Minister' and the 'Indigenous Prime Minister', and he's absolutely rolled over one small business and rolled over us very heavily. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-25/pm-blamed-for-torres-strait-motel-getting-stiffed-53000/6722136 THE MINISTER FOR WOMEN vs WOMEN 28. The war at home Kaye Lee August 23, 2015 In Victoria alone, police were called out to 65,393 domestic violence incidents in 2013–14 – twice as many as in 2009–10. Of those, almost 30,000 were serious enough for police to press charges. Last year, 66,326 domestic violence incidents were reported in Queensland – a 13% increase since 2012. Despite this growing epidemic of domestic violence, this government wants to make it more expensive to leave an abusive partner. It is becoming increasingly apparent that this government is only paying lip service to addressing domestic violence. http://theaimn.com/the-war-at-home/ 29. Bill Shorten's letter to Tony Abbott on women's support services Women's Agenda. Aug 25, 2015 9:24AM Two weeks ago, our incoming editor Jane Gilmore interviewed Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, specifically on the subject of domestic and family violence. During the interview, Jane raised concerns about the 'Hey Sis, We've Got Your Back' Aboriginal Women Sexual Assault Network, which is about to close due to a lack of funding. Shorten promised to raise the matter with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and subsequently wrote to the PM asking for his assistance. http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/top-stories/bill-shorten-s-letter-to-tony-abbott-on-women-s-support-services/201508246185#.VdyL8Jf4hM6 30. PPL a "first world problem": Can someone let Scott Morrison know he's governing in the "first world"? Georgina Dent Aug 20, 2015 11:36AM On Monday the social services Minister Scott Morrison dismissed arguments about paid parental leave as being a “first world problem". Can someone please let the minister know he's living, governing and "ministering" in the first world? If he's more interested in fixing non-first world problems perhaps he'd consider a relocation? Because, it seems a pretty sure bet, in the short-term at least, Australia is by and large going to present first world issues to solve, address and govern. http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/top-stories/ppl-a-first-world-problem-can-someone-let-scott-morrison-know-he-s-governing-in-the-first-world/201508206170#.VdyLSZf4hM4 BY-ELECTION, BUY VOTES OR BYE, ABBOTT. 31. PM commits $10m for new Eagles nest Trevor Paddenburg August 22, 2015 4:34PM Prime Minister Tony Abbott commits $10 million to West Coast Eagles new base at Lathlain Park http://www.news.com.au/national/western-australia/prime-minister-tony-abbott-commits-10-million-to-west-coast-eagles-new-base-at-lathlain-park/story-fnii5thn-1227494410846 32. Another “near death” experience for Tony Abbott, or worse? Peter Kennedy 25 August 2015 Canning might look like a safe Liberal seat on paper, but there are good reasons for the federal government to be worried... Expectations are high that the PM will unveil a few “sweeteners” on the jobs front. He was expected to announce more defence work for the shipbuilding company Austal during a visit to its Henderson site early in the campaign. There was plenty of praise, but no contracts. http://insidestory.org.au/another-near-death-experience-for-tony-abbott-or-worse 33. Abbott's mind should be on Canning, not Cape York Paula Matthewson 24 August, 2015 With the Canning by-election campaign ramping up, Tony Abbott's decision to visit Indigenous communities now muddies a narrative that should be built around jobs and the economy. If this year's week in the north is anything like the last one, it will be hard to identify what benefit, if any, this travelling road show brings to the local communities that feature as backdrops for prime ministerial pic-facs....Abbott's boys' own adventure in Cape York seems like self-indulgence at a time when discipline in communication is particularly needed. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-24/matthewson-abbotts-mind-should-be-on-canning-not-cape-york/6719186 34. Paying for promises Kaye Lee, August 25, 2015 It seems obvious that Joe’s $25 billion promise to cut income tax was made in haste in the hope it could influence the Canning by election because he has no idea how he is going to pay for it – all he knows is that rich people pay too much tax. One wonders if Joe understands the concept of progressive taxation. http://theaimn.com/paying-for-promises/ HEYDON vs THE FAIR-MINDED LAY OBSERVER 35. George Brandis To Deliver Dyson Heydon's Speech, And We Got An Advance Copy! Mathew Kenneally. 24 Aug 2015 Sometimes, in the annals of journalism, really awesome shit happens. This is one of those occasions https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/24/george-brandis-deliver-dyson-heydons-speech-and-we-got-advance-copy 36. The Dyson Heydon question and Australia’s infantile disorder J.R. Nethercote. August 24, 2015 - 8:11PM What Lord Macaulay described as a "fit of morality" is an all too frequent environment in which important public questions are now being discussed in Australia. This is another such occasion and it is far from the first this year. The "a fair-minded lay observer" (FMLO) will have quite a struggle to cut through the verbiage and the rhetoric that has enveloped the matter. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-dyson-heydon-question-and-australias-infantile-disorder-20150824-gj69bc.html#ixzz3jnVnJXYR 37. John Hewson says Dyson Heydon should consider quitting Ewin Hannan. Aug 23 2015 at 11:27 AM Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson says Dyson Heydon might need to resign to preserve the integrity of the Royal Commission Into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. http://www.afr.com/news/policy/industrial-relations/john-hewson-says-dyson-heydon-should-consider-quitting-20150823-gj5kjj?&utm_source=social&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn 38. Justice Dyson Heydon Friday, March 15, 2013 Justice Dyson Heydon retired from the High Court of Australia in March 2013. Justice Heyson spoke to Richard Aedy. http://www.abc.net.au/sundayprofile/stories/3716374.htm 39. Builders want inquiry into union corruption to continue if Dyson Heydon quits Ewin Hannan. Aug 23 2015 at 3:25 PM "The integrity of the commission's work is not in question. The evidence is not tainted." Dave Noonan, national secretary of the CFMEU's construction division, said the position taken by the "industrial relations zealots" at Master Builders showed how "partisan the commission is". http://www.afr.com/news/policy/industrial-relations/builders-want-inquiry-into-union-corruption-to-continue-if-dyson-heydon-quits-20150823-gj5mlg#ixzz3jhUHPCnO 40. Dyson Heydon, TURC and the botched Julia Gillard smear job Peter Wicks 22 August 2015, 11:00am The Federal Court case that nailed Kathy Jackson has also given us a flashback to the way the Royal Commission handled one significant witness Julia Gillard... Rob Elliott, the man Kathy Jackson paid over $400,000 with union member funds to do nothing, [made]an absolute mockery of the Royal Commission. Elliott was brought in as a witness by the Commission to be one of the witnesses testifying against Julia Gillard. Elliott’s testimony was meant to be a smoking gun, however it turned out to bear more of a resemblance to a leaky water pistol. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/dyson-heydon-turc-and-the-botched-julia-gillard-smear-job,8085 ASYLUM + MIGRATION + MULTICULTURISM + PREJUDICE 41. Migrant crisis: How Australia compares on refugees and asylum seekers Inga Ting and Maher Mughrabi. August 15, 2015 Australia ranked 70th out of 140 countries for its contribution to hosting refugees in 2014 – a year when the number of newly displaced hit a record high. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/world/how-the-worlds-forcibly-displaced-add-up-20150813-giyg57.html#ixzz3jeWdkvi2 42. The European Union’s migrant ‘emergency’ is entirely of its own making Ruben Andersson. 23 August 2015 09.15 AEST We could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/23/politics-migrants-europe-asylum?CMP=soc_568 43. Democracy is not just about voting. Newly arrived migrants need a say in service provision Jenny Phillimore August 24, 2015 There's a risk that migrants are disenfranchised from their adopted political systems http://democracyrenewal.edu.au/democracy-not-just-about-voting-newly-arrived-migrants-need-say-service-provision 44. Ignorance, cruelty, racism and bigotry in Australia Natalie Cromb. 18 August 2015, 6:30pm Australia is not the land of the fair go, it is a nation where cruelty, ignorance, discrimination and racism are not only common place but rewarded, respected and justified https://independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/ignorance-bigotry-and-racism-in-australia,8068 45. HESTA divests: Disrupting The Supply Chains Of Mandatory Detention Matthew Kiem 25 Aug 2015 The inspiring tale of activism that forced a major super fund to ditch a company in the misery business. http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=29a82b35f9&e=0a1e2bdeb8 TURN LEFT 46. Two Futures: New options for an innovative Australian social market Denis Bright. August 24, 2015 Two Futures raises the profile of new progressive foundations for Australian public policy. Its goal is development of achievable policy pathways towards a more innovative, environmentally aware and socially just Australia. http://theaimn.com/two-futures-new-options-for-an-innovative-australian-social-market/ 47. The meaning of Jeremy Corbyn Charlie Masquelier 17 August 2015 The unexpected popularity enjoyed by a principled, anti-system/anti-establishment politician on the left-hand side of the political spectrum attracting herds of new labour supporters has not, however, gone unnoticed. What, then, could lie beneath the surface of Corbynmania?...Corbyn can position himself as a true opponent of austerity and re-vitalise the ideological debate within the Labour Party. He is currently the symbol of authentic opposition and change on the left... what Corbyn’s current popularity seems to suggest is that there is still a place for ostensibly left-wing ideas within the Labour Party. http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/sociology/2015/08/17/the-meaning-of-jeremy-corbyn/?utm_content=bufferdd30a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer 48. UK to apologise for Iraq war if Corbyn PM — and charge Blair with war crimes Dierdre Fulton 24 August 2015 Hated by the establishment, anti-austerity and anti-war candidate for the British Labour leadership, Jeremy Corbyn, send chills down whatever passes for Tony Blair's spine. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/uk-to-apologise-for-iraq-war-if-corbyn-pm--and-blair-charged-with-war-crimes,8089 49. Corbyn Frightens UK Labour and Tories John Kelly. August 25, 2015 Jeremy Corbyn is a name that may not be familiar to most Australians...the British people are clearly looking for something better than either major party has thus far offered....if presented in the right way, in language that nullifies the frantic, desperate cries of the neo-liberal elite, Shorten and Labor could well present a Corbyn styled manifesto that would both resonate with an electorate that is clearly fed up with the status quo and at the same time, reset the economic argument. http://theaimn.com/corbyn-frightens-uk-labour-and-tories/ 50. Why Politics Today Can't Give Us The Heroes We Need Mark Triffit. August 11, 2015 What has become of political heroes? http://democracyrenewal.edu.au/why-politics-today-cant-give-us-heroes-we-need 51. It's Time To Trust The Young Tim Costello. 25/08/2015 08:26 AEST Increasingly I find my country's past easier to explain than its present. Today's Australia confusingly lacks a coherent narrative or explanation for how we are doing things, and to what purpose. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/tim-costello/its-time-to-trust-the-young_b_8026342.html?utm_hp_ref=au-politics HEALTHCARE 52. Australia’s brave new healthcare crucible: Snowball's chance Leong Ng. 24 August 2015, 11:30am COAG's response to the recently released "independent" report of Kim Snowball into AHPRA illustrates Australia's perfunctory approach to problems with its dysfunctional health industry regulator. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/australias-brave-new-healthcare-crucible-snowballs-recommendations,8088

2353

26/08/2015Ad, I suspect Heydon is attempting to reconcile two diverse opinions. He obviously feels his 'work' is 'important' but realises that he has compromised hmself. While we will never know, my suspicion is that Heydon is searching legal precedent for an argument that suits his belief that he should continue.

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26/08/2015Coincidence - I think not. When is the by-election? "Tony Abbott pushed for US request to join Syria air strikes" http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-pushed-for-us-request-to-join-syrian-air-strikes-20150825-gj7kfh.html#ixzz3jsp7QR00

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26/08/20152353 Knowing Abbott as we do, it is odds on that he initiated the suggestion that Australia become involved in targeting IS in Syria. He would believe that national security is a positive for him, so being the cynical politician he is, he would want to extend Australia's involvement for no other reason, irrespective of any danger this might mean for our airmen. Everything Abbott does is political, and designed to enhance his chances of re-election.

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26/08/20152353 I suspect you are right about Heydon. There is bound to be a struggle going on in his mind between being true to his oft-stated legal beliefs about the apprehension of bias, and his desire/determination to continue as Commissioner and put the unions, Labor and Bill Shorten under the pump, and fulfil his 'obligation' to the one who appointed him to this kangaroo court.

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26/08/20152353 This is what Benard Keane says about bombing in Syria in [i]Crikey[/i] today: "[i]The telling thing about the fact that the Abbott government begged for a US invitation to bomb Syria for domestic political purposes -- first mooted by, of all people, Oz editor-at-large Paul Kelly, and confirmed today by Fairfax -- is that no one is surprised; not surprised that Australian forces will be put in harm's way for political purposes, not surprised that the illegality of such an action has been swept aside, not surprised at the clumsiness that has revealed the government's crass tactics."[/i] Is there any doubt that Abbott urged Obama to request Australia's involvement in Syria? If News Corp. agrees, only a blind Abbott sycophant would argue otherwise.

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26/08/2015Folks This might scare the wits out of the LNP, that is if they have any wits left: [i]Poll puts Liberals in trouble in Canning byelection, with parties neck and neck[/i] http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/26/poll-puts-liberals-in-trouble-in-canning-byelection-with-parties-neck-and-neck?CMP=ema_792

Casablanca

26/08/2015Ad, I note in that Guardian article on polling that: [i]The solar industry has announced it is urging voters to pick anyone but the Liberals, and has invited all candidates to a forum a week before the election to explain their policies.[/i] Good to see a minnow industry group taking it up to the government. www.theguardian.com/.../poll-puts-liberals-in-trouble-in-canning-byelection-with-parties-neck-and-neck

Casablanca

26/08/2015AUSTRALIA'S 65% CLASS 1. Battlers and plutocrats: How political connections reward Australia's super-rich Paul Frijters and Gigi Foster 26 August, 2015 Research reveals a huge proportion of Australia's richest people amass their wealth via political connections rather than via innovative businesses - which is helping them at the expense of everyone else, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/frijters-foster-battlers-and-plutocrats/6725118 2. Why some billionaires are bad for growth, and others aren’t: Not all inequality is created equal Ana Swanson August 20, 2015 Specifically, when billionaires get their wealth because of political connections, that wealth inequality tends to drag on the broader economy.... But when billionaires get their wealth through the market — through business activities that are not related to the government — it does not.[b] In Australia a whopping 65% of wealth comes through political connections - beaten into the top spot by India & Columbia.[/b] http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/08/20/why-some-billionaires-are-bad-for-growth-and-others-arent/?tid=sm_tw SPENDTHRIFT GOVERNMENT 3. $10m splurge to rename Border Force Nicole Hasham 26 August, 2015 What's in a name? If you're the newly created Australian Border Force, the answer is about $10 million. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/#ixzz3jtOVdDRM 4. National Reform Summit: We are 'sleepwalking into a real mess' Peter Martin 2:16PM Former Treasury boss Martin Parkinson has warned Australians face the equivalent of a recession in the next ten years. Australia is facing the equivalent of a recession in the next decade as incomes grow at only a fraction of the officially forecast pace http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/national-reform-summit-we-are-sleepwalking-into-a-real-mess-says-former-treasury-boss-martin-parkinson-20150826-gj8040.html#ixzz3jth4kcG0 5. Crossbench senators refuse to meet Christopher Pyne's education negotiator Lenore Taylor Consultation led by former public servant Robert Griew labelled a ‘waste of money’ as wrangling goes on about Coalition’s stalled higher education package... At least four crossbench senators opposed to the Abbott government’s stalled higher education package have refused, or been unable to attend, meetings with the consultant who is being paid $150,000 to talk to them and to universities on behalf of the higher education minister, Christopher Pyne. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/26/crossbench-senators-refuse-to-meet-christopher-pynes-education-negotiator?CMP=ema_632 6. Did Abbott mislead us on emissions reductions? Greg Jericho. 26 August 2015 Did Tony Abbott mislead the public on the cost of emissions reductions? A Government report quietly released on Friday afternoon suggests he did, and that his direct action policy is costing us more than it needs to. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/jericho-did-abbott-mislead-us-on-emissions-reductions/6723162 7. NBN: Getting on with the job... of failure Alex Kidman. 26 August 2015 The NBN company might be getting on with the job with perpetually shifting goalposts, but we're still a very long way from having anywhere near ubiquitous or economically relevant broadband for all. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/kidman-getting-on-with-the-job-of-failure/6725940 ABBOTT & THE MEDIA 8. Don’t make fun of the Liberals (they don't like it) David Donovan. 26 August 2015, 11:30am Don’t ever ridicule the Liberal Party (or parts thereof) — it makes them ever so cross. So stop! Twitter handles poking fun at Tony Abbott are not acceptable and certainly not to be published on the ABC — even late at night. The Liberals are the party of free speech, obviously, but only for bigots and certainly not for the ABC. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/dont-make-fun-of-the-liberals,8096 9. Tame media lets adversarial Abbott play race card in Chinese trade deal debate Mark Rolfe. 25 August 2015, 6:00pm PM Abbott trying the race card over Labor's response to the Chinese free trade deal wasn't as surprising as the mainstream media's blind acceptance of the slur https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/tame-media-let-adversarial-abbott-play-race-card-in-chinese-trade-deal-debate,8093 ABBOTT THE FUTURE EATER 10. There is no future under an Abbott government Kaye Lee While our government dithers about, there are many forums and conferences and discussions going on around the country with constructive ideas for a better Australia. We all know the problems we face. Somehow we must drag our politicians to the solutions. Here are a few suggestions. http://theaimn.com/there-is-no-future-under-an-abbott-government/ 11. The Governance Report John Lord "You cannot believe in democracy and at the same time expect that the party you support is the only one that should ever win”. What can you expect then, if your team doesn’t win? You won’t be happy and you know in your heart that the new government will do things that you disagree with. And it has every right to do so. http://theaimn.com/the-governance-report/ DYSON HEYDON 12. Watch this space! THE CONTENDERS 13. The AIMN interviews with Bill Shorten and Richard… TurnLeft2016 August 26, 2015 How often have you seen the pundits and political professionals interview our politicians and it leaves you wanting to throw things at the TV screen – “No, don’t ask that! Ask something we care about!”. With Australia facing a possible Federal election within the next 12 months, it is time to ask the party leaders the questions You want answers to.... Tony Abbott slithered into the Prime Ministership with very few questions from the media but a lot of photo opportunities. http://theaimn.com/the-aim-interviews-with-bill-shorten-and-richard-di-natale-hopefully-you-ask-the-questions/ 14. Shorten can keep Labor together. That doesn't mean he's entitled to be PM Jason Wilson. 25 August 2015 17.20 AEST From Labor loyalists on social media, to the new Labor Herald, to some of my fellow columnists, why are we seeing a push to believe in Bill Shorten? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/25/shorten-can-keep-labor-together-that-doesnt-mean-hes-entitled-to-be-pm?CMP=ema_632 15. Mark Latham, the Labor leader who crashed, burned – then exploded again Katharine Murphy 25 August 2015 20.49 AEST A decade ago he was his party’s great election hope. Now he’s raging at some of Australia’s leading women and ranting at audiences in a very public meltdown...The trajectory of “almost prime minister” to “contrarian columnist” to public meltdown in Melbourne may seem a curious one were the protagonist anyone but Mark Latham. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/25/mark-latham-the-labor-leader-who-crashed-burned-then-exploded-again?CMP=ema_632 DAMNED CENSORSHIP 16. Damned Whores and God's Police: Facebook blocks anniversary promotion of feminist classic Michael Safi. August 26, 2015 Author Anne Summers flabbergasted after Facebook tells her it does not allow ‘profanity’ in boosted posts promoting a conference on her pioneering Australian work... Her book, released in 1975, argued Australian women were still confined to two roles, entrenched early in the country’s colonial life: either the “damned whores” who came as convicts, or the “respectable” women who guarded the colony’s morals. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/26/facebook-blocks-australian-feminist-anne-summers-from-boosting-post?CMP=ema_632 HEALTHCARE 17. Balancing the health budget: chronic disease investment pays big dividends Maureen Rimmer. August 26, 2015 2.25pm Economic modelling shows that policies to reduce chronic diseases can have large economic benefits –A$4.5 billion a year for diabetes alone – by reducing health costs and boosting the workforce. https://theconversation.com/balancing-the-health-budget-chronic-disease-investment-pays-big-dividends-46598 OFF-JUDICIAL DETENTION 18. Offshore detention ‘black sites’ open door to torture Suvendrini Perera and Joseph Pugliese. August 26, 2015 2.02pm Australia's system of offshore immigration detention operates outside of any effective state jurisdiction. https://theconversation.com/offshore-detention-black-sites-open-door-to-torture-46400

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27/08/2015LAST THROW OF THE DYSE: 10am on FRIDAY 1. Dyson Heydon: Why will it take until Friday? Alan Austin. 27 August 2015, 11:42am Dyson Heydon has been urged to disqualify himself as royal commissioner investigating trade unions on the grounds of apprehended bias. He will announce his [...] https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/dyson-heydon-why-will-it-take-until-friday,8102 2. Trade unions royal commisson: Dyson Heydon to announce decision on future on Friday Jane Lee August 26, 2015 - 10:04PM Dyson Heydon will announce whether he will resign from the royal commission into trade unions on Friday. The commission has issued a statement saying Mr Heydon will announce his decision at 10am on Friday, and publish his reasons online "as soon as possible thereafter." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/trade-unions-royal-commisson-dyson-heydon-to-announce-decision-on-future-on-friday-20150826-gj86a6.html#ixzz3jzSeQMJC 3. PM won't weigh in on Heydon's future Lisa Cox. August 27, 2015 Prime Minister Tony Abbott has refused to weigh in on whether Dyson Heydon should step down. Mr Abbott refused to weigh in on Thursday whether Mr Heydon should step down as the head of the royal commission into trade unions ahead of a decision the retired High Court judge is due to make on his fate on Friday. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/#ixzz3jzRlzt9s 4. Tony Abbott offers Jacqui Lambie confidential union briefing James Massola, Heath Aston. August 26, 2015 - 8:24AM The Abbott government has offered a briefing on a secret report by the trade union royal commission - the contents of which pose "grave threats to the power and authority of the Australian state" - but has "emphatically denied" the briefing was offered as a bargaining chip to secure political support to re-establish the building industry watchdog.....Labor workplace spokesman Brendan O'Connor said the offer of a briefing was "concrete evidence" of the commission's political objective and that "he's using this secret report as political leverage"....A spokesman for the Prime Minister emphatically denied the offer of a briefing was a "bargaining chip". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-offered-briefing-on-topsecret-royal-commission-report-as-bargaining-chip-for-jacqui-lambies-senate-vote-20150825-gj76o5.html#ixzz3jvzWYESV A CERTAIN LACK OF GRANDEUR 5. Perplexing paradoxes Kaye Lee Wedge politics is the new game and some say Abbott is good at it. But the trouble with playing that sort of politics is you can find yourself painted into a corner. Everyone knows that Abbott is on the nose but they have to run with his chosen attack line – would you trust the man who knifed two Prime Ministers? Which is why no-one is formally challenging what is patently an inept leader. The contenders are ready and jockeying for pole position. They are waiting to be dragged unwillingly by backbenchers to the leader’s chair. http://theaimn.com/perplexing-paradoxes/ 6. How Australia’s cartel-like political parties drag own democracy Former Victorian secretary of the ALP NICHOLAS REECE argues that recent events suggest that political parties, as the main delivery mechanism of change, have become incapable of changing themselves. 'For the ALP it is the rejection of internal democratic reform and the failure to modernise the relationship with the union movement. For the Liberal Party it is an entrenched and embarrassing under-representation of women in its senior ranks.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4412 7. Australia Locked In Its Anglophile Past Robert Macklin 26/08/2015 10:23 AEST As they confront the rise of ISIS and the inevitable mass migration caused by climate change, Australia's military and intelligence leaders are in a state of confusion tinged with panic. In many ways they are the victims of Australia's colonial past which produced a strain of Anglophilia that today finds its most vigorous expression in the Prime Minister Tony Abbott. One of the more disturbing aspects of this Anglophilia is the 'Five¬Eyes' alliance that emerged from an informal agreement for intelligence sharing between Britain and the U.S. early in World War II. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/robert-macklin/a-state-of-confusion-ting_b_8036106.html 8. Tony Abbott's government should be judged on quality, not quantity John Warhurst . August 26, 2015 - 3:21PM This week, Fairfax Media provided observers of Australian politics with some interesting data. It was the number of acts of parliament passed by the Abbott government in its first 700 days compared with the same measure for the last ten Australian prime ministers (not including Bill McMahon, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-government-should-be-judged-on-quality-not-quantity-20150826-gj7u6i.html#ixzz3jwBHEtjU MEDIA TROPES 9. ABC's Leigh Sales cleared of bias in Joe Hockey budget interview Matthew Knott. August 26, 2015 - 10:56PM ABC host Leigh Sales has been cleared of bias by the independent media watchdog for a controversial post-budget interview with Treasurer Joe Hockey that was queried by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.... Mr Turnbull said the Hockey-Sales interview - and a post-budget interview by Lateline host Emma Alberici - were "very aggressive" and recommended journalists take a "more forensic" approach. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abcs-leigh-sales-cleared-of-bias-in-joe-hockey-budget-interview-20150826-gj8fjg.html#ixzz3jzBtddbG 10. Rupert Murdoch destroys freedom of the press John Menadue links to an address by journalist QUENTIN DEMPSTER to the Medico-Legal Society of NSW on the parlous state of journalism and the media, particularly the damage being caused by Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. 'It is a no-holds barred speech about the damage that Rupert Murdoch is doing.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4434 11. Final edition of Roxby Downs Sun goes to print after Fairfax Media cull The first fatality of Fairfax Media's newspaper shake-up in South Australia occurs today when the Roxby Downs Sun goes to print for the last time. Budget cuts to Fairfax newspapers have already squeezed the life out of several regional and agricultural newspapers http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/roxby-downs-sun-goes-to-print-for-final-edition/6728254 12. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's verbal gymnastics over Syria Lisa Cox. August 27, 2015 - 9:07AM Was it an uncomfortable question or a case of verbal gymnastics? Either way, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has again brushed away questions about whether or not his office pushed for a request from Washington for Australia to conduct air strikes in Syria. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/prime-ministers-verbal-gymnastics-over-syria-20150826-gj8ojp.html#ixzz3jzDwh4k6 13. Donald Trump is global journalism’s American junk food Christian Christensen 26 August 2015, 3:00pm Controversial U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump is a clickbait distraction from an uncomfortable discussion about what ails the western world https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/donald-trump-is-global-journalisms-american-junk-food,8097 ABBOTT OF THE NEVER NEVER 14. He Came. He Saw. We Hope He Listened Justin Fenwick 27/08/2015 10:24 AEST "Tony Abbott's main concern is to present his support for constitutional recognition as some kind of evidence that his government is committed to improving the situation for Aboriginal people while they continue with policies of dispossession and forced assimilation," Mr Gibson said. Mr. Gibson also said that this trip is a deflecting act for the Government from the real on-the-ground issues that are affecting Aboriginal people across Australia. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/justin-fenwick/he-came-he-saw-we-hope-he-listened_b_8046172.html ABBOTT'S ARMY IN SYRIA 15. Who are we backing in Syria? Former Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary STUART HARRIS believes Australia should turn down the US request to join in airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria. 'It would be a serious mistake for Australia to respond positively to the US request, that we presumably invited, to join in airstrikes on Islamic State. … Like US policies towards Syria, it also lacks clear strategic objectives.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4450 16. RAAF to bomb Syria: another Captain’s pick? Former Australian Ambassador to the United Nations RICHARD BUTLER writes that the PM has preemptively stated his preferred position before the National Security Committee of Cabinet meets to discuss the US request to Australia to deploy RAAF assets in bombing IS targets in Syria. ‘The preparation of fundamental analyses of what our reply to the US might be can now stop and be replaced by papers simply describing operational and search and rescue arrangements.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4457 17. Syria; a step too far for Tony Abbott Former foreign news editor JOHN TULLOH suggests that the more we get involved in a far away conflict, the more resentment and bitterness we cause among disaffected Australian citizens of Middle East origin and thus the greater the threat to the stability of our way of life. 'Is it not about time that federal Parliament had a proper debate about the pros and cons of our participation in this conflict? Britain’s House of Commons did two years ago, voting down a proposal for military involvement.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4440 18. Staring into the Syrian Abyss Allan Patience. 27 August, 2015 The insanity of the proposal that Australia should commence bombing raids inside Syrian territory is beyond belief. Our belligerent prime minister insists that the initiative for this development came from none other than President Obama himself. Other reports suggest that Australia has actually put pressure on America, obliging it to issue an official request to join in the US military’s air strikes against the Islamic State’s (IS) bases across the Iraqi-Syrian border. http://theaimn.com/staring-into-the-syrian-abyss/ JOBS & GROWTH 19. Five things to remember when you hear politicians take credit for ‘job creation’ Ben Phillips. August 27, 2015 3.07pm Politicians all too often use monthly jobs numbers to infer that the other mob is doing a bad job or that they are doing a great job at managing the economy. But that's a flawed use of the data. https://theconversation.com/5-things-to-remember-when-you-hear-politicians-take-credit-for-job-creation-46689 20. China FTA truth still elusive Australian Population Research Institute Research Associate BOB KINNAIRD is not impressed that the Government has still not told the Australian people the truth about the labour mobility provisions in the China FTA two months after releasing the text of the FTA. 'The result is confusion even among usually well-informed commentators. … The fact is that FTA clause applies to all Chinese nationals on all non-concessional 457 visas and 400 visas regardless of where they are employed, that is, on projects over $150 million and elsewhere.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4456 21. Transfield recruits migrant labour despite large-scale redundancies in Victoria Nick Toscano. August 27, 2015 - 12:28PM 'Rort':locals out, migrants wanted. Transfield sacked 120 workers, then put out a call for overseas staff to work on 457 visas...Infrastructure giant Transfield is recruiting temporary migrants to work on some of Australia's largest electricity networks less than two months after slashing 120 jobs in Victoria. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/#ixzz3jzQi9F4i 22. Tax cuts for the rich? Seriously Mr Hockey? John Passant. 27 August 2015, 8:00am Treasurer Hockey's latest thought bubble is to have the workers pay for tax cuts for the rich by imposing 15 per cent GST on fresh food, health and education. [...] https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/tax-cuts-for-the-rich-seriously-mr-hockey,8098 23. The robots are coming for your job! Why digital literacy is so important for the jobs of the future Stewart Riddle In a report released this week, the Foundation for Young Australians claims that up to 70% of young people are currently preparing for jobs that will no longer exist in the future. https://theconversation.com/the-robots-are-coming-for-your-job-why-digital-literacy-is-so-important-for-the-jobs-of-the-future-46730 24. National Reform Summit: how can we ensure Australia remains an innovative nation? Roy Green and John Hamilton Howard Australia has many celebrated examples of world innovation, but ensuring this continues in a systematic way, has proven elusive. https://theconversation.com/national-reform-summit-how-can-we-ensure-australia-remains-an-innovative-nation-46630 ABBOTT WEDDED TO THE PLEBISCITE OPTION 25. Michael Kirby Lecture Hon Julia Gillard. 26AUG2015 What is motivating me is the sense of concern I have developed over the last few weeks about the proposal to have a plebiscite or referendum on same sex marriage. I am genuinely troubled about this proposal’s potential long term ramifications for our democracy and its capacity to sustain reform. http://www.scribd.com/doc/276139019/Hon-Julia-Gillard-Michael-Kirby-Lecture-26AUG2015 26. A plebiscite on marriage? Robert Menzies didn’t need it Mark Finnane Every generation in the last 150 years has seen in Australia a contest over marriage which reflects shifting positions on its defining features, and its associated rights and obligations. https://theconversation.com/a-plebiscite-on-marriage-robert-menzies-didnt-need-it-46547 27. Julia Gillard changes her mind to back gay marriage and lambasts Abbott plan Lenore Taylor. 26 August, 2015 The former Labor prime minister says Tony Abbott’s proposal for a referendum or plebiscite on marriage equality suggests politicians can’t make a decision..[Abbott's] “....derisory references to the ‘politicians’ choice’, makes the blunt nature of the populist appeal clear,” she said. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/26/julia-gillard-changes-her-mind-to-back-gay-marriage-and-lambasts-abbott-plan?CMP=ema_632 28. Julia Gillard changes mind to support same-sex marriage Patrick Hatch. August 26, 2015 - 10:06PM "Given the 1970s feminist in me saw much to be concerned with from a gender perspective with traditional marriage, I thought the better approach was not to change the old but to create something new," she said during The Michael Kirby Lecture at Victoria University. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/julia-gillard-changes-mind-to-support-samesex-marriage-20150826-gj8k24.html#ixzz3jw59ka8N 29. Gayby furore: Burwood Girls represent Australia better than the Tele Mat Howard This week the Telegraph reminded me of the homophobia that made me feel like I didn't belong in Australia. But it's the students of Burwood Girls High School who speak for the country I'm glad I returned to http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/howard-burwood-girls-represent-australia-better-than-the-tele/6729802 30. News Limited should watch Gayby Baby. They might learn something about respect Penny Wong The need for the ‘Wear it Purple’ initiative has never been greater. What a shame some people are using to manufacture outrage to their own ends... The one benefit of Wednesday’s manufactured furore over a Sydney high school’s participation in “Wear it Purple” day, including a screening of the film Gayby Baby, is that it leaves us all in no doubt as to the priorities of some of the protagonists. A Presbyterian minister claimed the film is “trying to change children’s minds by promoting a gay lifestyle”. A News Limited columnist told a 12-year-old girl she wasn’t part of a normal family and attacked an organisation dedicated to reducing bullying in schools as a “political front”. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/27/news-limited-should-watch-gayby-baby-they-might-learn-something-about-respect?CMP=ema_632 VIVA LA REPUBLIQUE! 31. The ARM Finds New Life with Peter FitzSimons John Lord On Wednesday 26 August it was my good fortune to hear Peter FitzSimons give an address on the subject of an Australian Republic. He has recently been appointed as head of the Australian Republic Movement (ARM). It was an amusing, forthright and passionate speech. Because I worked diligently with the Malcolm Turnbull led ARM in 1999 I was interested in how reinvigorated the movement had become. http://theaimn.com/the-arm-finds-new-life-with-peter-fitzsimmons/ 32. The Republic debate is back: Is this Hockey's ‘Marriage Equality’? Kate M August 26, 2015 At a time when Hockey is struggling for popularity, and when even dangling tax cuts before people isn’t winning him any votes, a cynical person might wonder if this is Hockey’s attempt to get back behind a barrow that others will be happy to push along with him. http://theaimn.com/the-republic-debate-is-back-is-this-hockeys-marriage-equality/ 33. Joe Hockey did not consult Tony Abbott on plans to lead fresh republican push Peta Donald and Susan McDonald Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Treasurer Joe Hockey did not consult him before leading a new push for Australia to become a republic.... Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull congratulated the Treasurer for agreeing to lead the group, saying it was "absolutely his call"... ARM aims for vote on republic in five years http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/joe-hockey-did-not-consult-tony-abbott-on-republican-push/6727896 34. Republicans should challenge the system, not pander to it Chris O'Regan The essential problem with the republican movement is not that it is "too earnest" as the new head of the movement says, but that it's too timid and exclusionary http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/oregan-republicans-must-challenge-the-system-not-pander-to-it/6728236 35. If we can unite republicans, the rest will be history Tim Mayfield Clearly all the passion in the world won't be enough on its own to get an Australian republic over the line. But we can fulfil our national destiny if we avoid the division of the 1999 referendum http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/mayfield-if-we-can-unite-republicans-the-rest-will-be-history/6728492 36. Australian republic: time for 'high-brow worthiness' over, says Peter FitzSimons. Daniel Hurst 26 August, 2015 New chair of Australian Republican Movement says republicans are ‘putting the band back together’....The movement towards a republic in Australia has suffered from too much focus on “legal niceties” and “high-brow worthiness” and must now champion the big-picture aspirations of an independent 21st century nation, Peter FitzSimons says. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/26/australian-republic-time-for-high-brow-worthiness-over-says-peter-fitzsimons 37. Abbott says republic a long way off as he defends Australia's political 'maturity' Daniel Hurst 27 August, 2015 Australians for Constitutional Monarchy mock Joe Hockey’s parliamentary group pushing for a republic as ‘going off on a folly’. Tony Abbott has criticised advocates of a republic for suggesting there is a lack of maturity and independence in Australia’s system of government, after the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) sought to build fresh momentum. http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=acf8723f9bd34a0bae506860b11af28a6f2c83d0f6d78b999bd537f4a9202b64 38. The Band's Back Together: Joe Hockey Joins Renewed Republican Push Karen Barlow 26/08/2015 15:28 AEST Updated: 26/08/2015 15:36 AE CANBERRA -- The push behind an Australian republic has secured a crucial political ally, with Treasurer Joe Hockey signing on to the campaign. In a surprise move that has raised the ire of some colleagues, Hockey will join Labor Senator Katy Gallagher in forming a Parliamentary Friendship Group for an Australian head of state. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/08/26/hockey-joins-republic-campaign_n_8041070.html GREAT DODOs THINK ALIKE 39. The closing of the Canadian mind John Menadue links to a New York Times feature on Canadian PM Stephen Harper. 'Like Tony Abbott, Stephen Harper has attacked science and the media. He has weakened citizenship laws and supports polluters.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4438 DAMNED LIES 40. Damned Lies, Minister Hunt and Climate Models Charles Sturt University Professor of Public Ethics CLIVE HAMILTON reacts to the Daily Telegraph’s effort in taking a bunch of numbers 'concocted in Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s office and turning them into the screaming headline “ALP’s $600B Carbon Bill”’. '$633 billion sounds big, but compared to what? Well, compared to cumulative nominal GDP over 2013-2030, which, using the Minister’s figuring, will amount to $46.1 trillion. So over the whole period the “devastating blow” amounts to a shortfall in nominal GDP of 1.37% in 2030.' http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4422 41. Adani mine: Leave rule of law alone Mr Abbott Richard Denniss. 24 August, 2015 A move to change the law so that environment groups have no standing to object to mines such as that of the Adani operation should be of deep concern to business. Tony Abbott's recent attack on the federal court should ring alarm bells for business leaders who claim to be concerned with "sovereign risk". The Prime Minister's clear desire to help shepherd his pet project, the Adani Carmichael coal mine, through the various state and federal regulatory steps is at odds with his promise to deliver "good government". You would expect the business community to condemn rather than applaud such an interventionist prime minister. http://www.afr.com/opinion/adani-mine-leave-rule-of-law-alone-mr-abbott-20150824-gj6aab?eid=cpc:nnn-14omn2224-optim-nnn: outbrain-outbrain_paid-dom-displayad-nnn-afr-nnn&campaign_code=15caf010&promote_channel=sem&utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=paid%20outbrain#ixzz3jw2wq7PR 42. Citigroup sees $100 trillion of stranded fossil fuel assets if Paris succeeds Giles Parkinson 27 August 2015, 11:30am Citigroup estimates that unless the world switches from fossil fuels, based on current market prices we'll be left with an eye-watering US$100 trillion in stranded assets. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/citigroup-sees-100-trillion-of-stranded-fossil-fuel-assets-if-paris-succeeds,8101 HEALTHCARE 43. The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing JOHN MENADUE once more raises his concerns about the ability of the Department of Health and Ageing to develop good health policy and manage health reform. 'A test of the new Minister is whether she can help facilitate the necessary reform.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4431 44. Quotas aren't enough - we need to restore balance to work lives Michael Bradley Sometimes you do have to bash down the doors of prejudice with blunt force. But quotas won't help women who have turned away from certain careers because they were designed by men with no other demands... Women comprise 50 per cent of the Australian population and, for at least the past 40 years, it's been generally acknowledged that they are not inferior to men. Any statistician can tell you that, in the absence of any relevant difference between the sexes in terms of their fitness for a particular occupation, and in the absence of any structural obstacle to either gender's ability to access it, by now we would well and truly have achieved 50 per cent representation by women within that occupation. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/bradley-we-need-to-restore-balance-to-work-lives/6726052 IT TAKES A VILLAGE.... 45. Sydney’s Holroyd High School and asylum seeker children John Menadue links to an ABC interview with a Sydney school principal who discusses the experience of refugee and asylum seeker children in her care. 'Refugees and their children face many difficulties in settling in Australia. But the evidence shows that after this settling in period, refugees and their children outperform Australian-born people in many areas.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4454 46. Don’t worry about the kids: Let’s just protect the alcohol industry ARC Future Fellow and Director of the Centre for Health and Social Research (CHaSR) at the Australian Catholic University (Melbourne) SANDRA JONES comments on a recent study from Monash University found that a quarter of all alcohol advertising on Australian TV was during televised sports. 'While the industry would state that they are only targeting those over the age of 18, their messages are clearly being heard, and internalized, by even very young children. Surely it is time for our government to recognize that.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4436 47. ‘There will be blood': ministerial remarks on the responsibility of children Honest History secretary DAVID STEPHENS points out that Senator Michael Ronaldson, Minister for the Centenary of Anzac, has been most vocal on the twin themes of blood sacrifice and the responsibility of children. 'Last year the Minister talked about how children “must understand that” in many cases their “freedom has been paid for in blood”. This year he has warmed to the theme. “We must also do whatever we can to ensure that the future generations of young Australians understand as well”.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4414 CANNING + THE DONKEY VOTE 48. Liberal Democrat candidate in Canning a spanner in the works for Liberal Andrew Hastie Heath Aston. August 27, 2015 - 2:16PM The task facing Andrew Hastie, the former SAS soldier hoping to retain the seat of Canning for the Liberal Party at next month's crunch byelection in Western Australia just got trickier. The field of eight nominees is set to swell by one, with the addition of a candidate representing the Liberal Democratic Party. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/liberal-democrat-candidate-in-canning-a-spanner-in-the-works-for-liberal-andrew-hastie-20150827-gj8yp6.html#ixzz3jzUkw7lJ 49. Turnbull, Bishop, Morrison to campaign in Canning byelection - but what about Tony Abbott? James Massola August 27, 2015 - 1:17AM Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison — the three Liberal ministers seen as leadership candidates in February's failed spill motion — are all set to campaign in the Canning byelection over the next 10 days. But Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is in Northern Australia for the rest of this week, would not say on Tuesday if he would make another appearance with Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie ahead of the crunch by-election contest because "life is pretty busy". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/turnbull-bishop-morrison-to-campaign-in-canning-byelection--but-what-about-tony-abbott-20150826-gj83b5.html#ixzz3jw5j5hjM 50. If Tony Abbott loses the Canning vote his leadership could be terminal Phillip Coorey. 21 August 2015 When Tony Abbott pledged at the 2013 election that a Coalition government would stop the boats and scrap the mining and carbon taxes, Don Randall felt he had been blessed. Randall, who died suddenly and unexpectedly last month, told colleagues in 2013 that it was as though the Coalition's mantra was designed solely for his Western Australian seat of Canning. http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/if-tony-abbott-loses-the-canning-bogan-vote-his-leadership-could-be-terminal-20150820-gj410v#ixzz3jw3ke6Kd

Casablanca

27/08/2015Breaking News: Heydon to delay his announcement concerning 'apprehended bias' until Monday.

Casablanca

28/08/2015THE PLOT THICKENS 51. Dyson Heydon again delays ruling on union commission amid tip-off claims Daniel Hurst. 27 August, 2015. 16.54 AEST Dyson Heydon has again delayed his decision on his future at the helm of the trade union royal commission and released details about a previously undisclosed tip-off the night before he withdrew from a Liberal party event. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/27/dyson-heydon-urged-to-delay-ruling-on-union-commission-amid-tip-off-claims 52. Dyson Heydon may have 'misled' on decision to quit Liberal fundraiser, says ACTU, as ruling delayed again Jane Lee, James Massola. August 27, 2015 - 5:50PM Dyson Heydon has deferred to Monday his decision on whether to resign from the royal commission into trade unions, following claims from the ACTU he may have misled the public on why he withdrew from a Liberal Party fundraiser.... On Friday, instead of Mr Heydon's decision on whether to stand down, the unions will be able to make "any further submissions" on the latest evidence at the commission. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/dyson-heydon-misled-us-on-decision-to-quit-liberal-party-fundraiser-says-actu-20150827-gj98y6.html#ixzz3k1dKqtG3 53. Dyson Heydon: Call that stirred up a judicial hornets’ nest Michael Pelly. August 27, 2015 12:00AM At 5.30pm on August 12, a staff member at the NSW Bar Assoc¬iation took a call from Marcus Priest, lawyer, journalist and a former senior adviser to oppos¬ition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus... Heydon never sat as a trial judge in his 13 years on the bench — three on the NSW Court ¬Appeal (2000-03) and 10 on the High Court (2003-13) — so he has never heard a formal charge of bias against himself. The finding he will make is not subject to ¬appeal. The biggest concern for Heydon’s credibility is the statement released at 11.22am on the day the story broke, saying that he had withdrawn from the engagement ¬“before it attracted any media ¬attention”. Later that day, the commission released as proof the 9.23am email and another sent by Gregory Burton SC to Price at 11.12 the previous day with details of the event. The Labor Party smelt a rat and immediately demanded that Heydon release all correspondence ¬related to the event. http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/dyson-heydon-call-that-stirred-up-a-judicial-hornets-nest/story-fn59niix-1227500405479?sv=d4bac15a8193b059e5e351d74f948f35 54. Dyson Heydon’s past behaviour fails the smell test Graham Richardson. August 21, 2015 12:00AM When a royal commissioner is chosen by a government increasingly micromanaged by its prime minister, it is even easier to point the finger. When you pick a person to examine and report on trade unions, with recommendations on how to improve their governance, you would think you would go for someone with considerable experience in industrial relations. Surely you would not choose someone with no experience in the branch of the law to be investigated? If you think that, you are different from Tony Abbott. He picked Dyson Heydon.... More significantly, I have to wonder why the man himself thought it proper to accept Abbott’s invitation. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/dyson-heydons-past-behaviour-fails-the-smell-test/story-fnfenwor-1227491952961 55. Full disclosure: Dyson Heydon has still more questions to answer Sean Kelly. 27 August, 2015 I have no view on the delay, and at any rate that is a legal question. But, one way or another, this debacle should be resolved as quickly as possible. After two weeks of media coverage, it is hard to see how the Commission, which has achieved some important things, can survive much more of this with any credibility intact. That would be a pity. https://www.themonthly.com.au/the-monthly-today/sean-kelly/2015/27/2015/1440658069/full-disclosure?utm_source=Today&utm_campaign=f83303d617-Today_27_August_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-f83303d617-302949185#round-up

2353

28/08/2015According to rumours I've seen, Heydon is being apid around a million a year to head this enquiry. That is slightly over $2700 a day. And the delays roll on.

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28/08/2015Casablanca Amidst family and medical commitments this week I have enjoyed working through your vast and varied collection of links. It's not possible to comment on them all, but the 'Heydon Affair' deserves attention. Your heading: 'The plot thickens' is apt. Walter Scott's adage applies: "O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!" The further this messy matter proceeds, the murkier it appears to become. Even if Heydon, a learned jurist, could be excused for 'overlooking' crucial information about the Liberal fundraiser, excused for not reading related documents, a sin about which he so sarcastically castigates others, he should not expect to be excused for deliberate deception, if indeed that turns out to be the case. Whichever way it goes, the Royal Commission is morally defunct. If Heydon decides to continue, even with the endorsement of a higher court; even if he recuses himself and Abbott appoints another; and certainly in the unlikely event that it is abandoned, nothing good will come of it. A Commission discredited by whatever means will mean nothing to the public, will achieve little legally, and will struggle to bring wrongdoing in industrial intercourse to account, all because the instigator, our vengeful prime minister decided to use a legal process and what increasingly appears to be a complicit Commissioner, to achieve a punitive outcome directed at his political opponents. There's more to come! Who knows what will happen next, and what the ultimate outcome will be? On another subject, I thought the two articles on inequality made very informative reading. The mantra of 'simpler, lower, fairer taxes', which Abbott repeatedly tells us are in the LNP's DNA, is not-too-subtle code for reducing tax disproportionately for higher income earners and leaving their perks in place, thereby ensuring that inequality increases, a phenomenon that does not faze our PM at all!

Ken

28/08/2015Ad Just going back to your piece on Extra about Abbott being a dud: I found the following written by Laurie Oakes during the 2010 election campaign. While stating that Abbott had tried changing his image during the campaign, "abandoning the biff and self-indulgence" and had looked more like a viable alternative leader as the campaign progressed, he went on to say: "The coalition front bench is another story. It takes a real leap of imagination to see them as a competent alternative government, but -- with all eyes on the leader -- no-one has noticed." So, even back then, some were seeing that it wasn't just Abbott who was the problem but the people with which he had surrounded himself. And that hasn't changed.

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28/08/20152353 $2,700 a day is an obscene amount to pay a Commissioner, no matter how proficient. I doubt if the world’s most skilled neurosurgeon would be paid that much!

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28/08/2015Ken When you look at the front bench, Laurie Oakes’ comments ring true. Regarded as the second most important man in the government, Treasurer Joe Hockey is a dud. He seems to have no idea of what he is doing. He makes erratic statements, believes in the now widely-discredited trickle-down economics, floats bizarre ideas, mouths platitudes devoid of action plans, tells lies about the state of the economy and his budget, makes unbelievable predictions, and gets very little done. Mathias Cormann, Hockey’s cigar-puffing mate, serves as a mindless echo chamber for Hockey’s wacky pronouncements. Christopher Pyne, the Leader of the government in the House, is also a dud. His overblown rhetoric, his extravagant defence of the indefensible Bronwyn Bishop, his enthusiastic yet blind pursuit of so-called education reform that would disadvantage countless students from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, his scant negotiating skills, his lack of progress in his portfolio, and his unashamed arrogance, mark him too as a dud. Warren Truss seems a pleasant enough fellow, but is ineffectual. He is there because he is Leader of the Nationals, not because he has any outstanding talents. Eric Abetz is another dud. His weird ideas about the unemployed, whom he believes should post 40 job applications a week, his distorted ideas about when people ought to consult their doctor, his unctuous demeanour, his unconvincing rhetoric, and his unimpressive presence, mark him. George Brandis, as the nation’s first law officer has shown his disregard for the very law he is commissioned to defend. His missteps abound, yet he carries on with bald-faced self-importance, dripping with condescension. Greg Hunt is a laughable fellow, seemingly able to believe his own unbelievable views and predictions. He can call black white without embarrassment. His plans are flawed and his accomplishments flimsy, yet he carries on as if all’s well and everything will be just dandy. A genuine dud. Peter Dutton is a dud no matter what portfolio he is given. The medical profession tagged him as the worst health minister ever. He’s been no better in immigration, where he clearly enjoys not saying anything of importance. If it were not for Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison and Andrew Robb, for whom journalists have some regard, Abbott would have chosen a Royal Flush of duds. Why are we surprised? Laurie wasn’t!

Casablanca

28/08/2015[b]DYSON HEYDON ROYAL COMMISSION TIMELINE[/b] March 13, 2014 — Heydon officially appointed to head the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. April 10, 2014 — Gregory Burton of the lawyers branch of the NSW Liberal emails Heydon with invitation to deliver the 2015 Sir Garfield Barwick address. It states: “We are formally a branch of the party.” Email does not mention fundraising aspect of the event. April 11, 2014: — Heydon accepts the invitation, dependent upon the commission being completed. September 10, 2014: — Former prime minister Julia Gillard is called to give evidence. October 30, 2014: — Royal commission report deadline is extended from December 2014 to December 2015. March 2, 2015: — Burton emails Heydon to remind him of the event that he “kindly accepted” to address. March 25, 2015: — Heydon proposes his address topic and says he has no preference for a speaking date in August. — Burton replies that he is aiming for a speaking date in a non-sitting week so NSW and federal parliamentarians have “less excuse not to turn up”. April 4, 2015: — Burton sets speaking date for August 26, which is a non-sitting day for MPs. April 7, 2015: — Heydon confirms the date has been put in his diary. June 12, 2015: — Heydon receives email copy of invitation from the organisers which uses the Liberal Party logo and has an attachment referring to funds going to “State election campaigning”. The email itself is headed: “Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division) Lawyers Branch and Legal Policy Branch ...” Email was printed out for him by his associate, but he says he only noted the “date, time and place” of the dinner and not any other details. July 8-9, 2015: — Labor leader Bill Shorten gives evidence at the commission. August 12, 2015: — Burton sends email to Heydon stating the event is “nominally under the auspices of the Liberal Party lawyers professional branches”, but that it is “not a fundraiser”. Email also says: “In the absence of hearing from you we have proceeded on the basis you are happy to go ahead even though the Commission is still in hearing (not expected when originally arranged) and thought it presumptuous to do other than leave that up to you.” August 13, 2015: 9.23am AEST — Heydon’s associate responds to the organiser’s email stating: “If there is any possibility that the event could be described as a Liberal Party event he will be unable to give the address, at least while he is in the position of Royal Commissioner”. 9.35am AEST — Sydney Morning Herald publishes story about the Heydon speech. Commission media office starts getting journalist queries, as does Burton. 11.22am AEST — Heydon issues media statement confirming he won’t be delivering the speech. The media statement reveals the line from the 9.23am email. 3.11pm AEST — Heydon issues to the media copies of the email exchange of August 12-13 with Burton. August 21, 2015: — Unions bring case to disqualify Heydon over apprehended bias. Heydon says he hopes to report back on August 24. August 24, 2015: — Heydon says he needs more time to consider ruling. August 26, 2015: — Commission says Heydon will announce his decision on Friday, August 28. August 27, 2015: — Further revelations in The Australian lead to the decision being postponed until Monday, August 31. Source: AAP

Casablanca

28/08/2015Ad, I hope that life has returned to normal for you and yours. I seem to have been prescient in another of my headings, namely 'Donkey Vote' PUP will reap the whirlwind at #1 spot while the big three take up the last 3 positions on the card. the large size of the field will also play into the Donkey vote.The AEC website has not listed the Ballot card positions as yet. Meanwhile, Border Force has knocked Deyson off the front page for today at least. The heading 'A CONGA LINE OF STUFF-UPS' could pop up soon in Casablanca's Cache PUP takes top spot on Canning by-election ballot paper August 28, 2015 - 12:58PM http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/pup-takes-top-spot-on-canning-byelection-ballot-paper-20150828-gja2xv.html#ixzz3k5ToA0pO Ballot card positions (mentioned in the MSM so far) 1st PUP 2nd LIB DEMS 3rd ? 4th ? 5th ? 6th ? 7th LNP 8th ALP 9th Greens

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28/08/2015Casablanca The 'donkey vote' is on. Some Liberal voters will read 'Lib Dems' as Liberal and tick that box, a long way above the LNP box they should tick. Such a coincidence couldn't happen to a nastier leader. The Border Force stuff-up is so gross that it could be made only by incompetent operatives given a vague assignment by a totally hopeless minister, who now says he 'can't comment on operational matters'. Some label today's actions as 'Stalinist'. That is an insult to Stalin, who would never have countenanced such appalling planning and execution. Indeed the executions would have been those who created such an embarrassing mess.

Ken

28/08/2015Ad and Casablanca Someone on The Drum tonight was saying that the word in legal circles is that the delay in Heydon handing down his decision has been to allow time to line up a replacement.

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28/08/2015Ken That scenario seems entirely plausible. While Abbott lauds Heydon and no doubt would prefer his chosen attack dog to continue to savage the unions as well as Labor and its leader, it is more important to him that the Commission continues, irrespective of who the Commissioner might be. He would ditch Heydon in a minute and replace him if doing so would enable the Commission to continue. The worst result for Abbott would be to lose the Commission as well as Heydon.

Casablanca

29/08/2015FEAR + FARCE 1. Citizens of Melbourne, Border Force is concerned for your safety First Dog on the Moon. 28 August 2015 18.40 AEST Border Force can assure you, fear is a great motivator. Ask anyone on a 46% rating in the polls. Wait, did we say that out loud? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/aug/28/citizens-of-melbourne-border-force-is-concerned-for-your-safety VANITIES AND VENDETTAS - POLICY CIPHERS 2. Border farce and hot air fills the leadership vacuum Peter Hartcher. August 29, 2015 - 3:08AM We already have a national reform summit – it meets in Canberra for about 20 weeks of the year at taxpayers' expense. It's called parliament. But without leaders, parliament is just an expensive public stage for the parading of vanities and vendettas.... Tony Abbott sent a video recording of himself giving a stump speech bragging of his government's achievements. It was an insult to the intelligence of the 90 or so chief executives, union leaders, economists and policy experts in the room.... The summit existed because everyone in the room knew exactly what the Abbott government was doing, and knew it was woefully inadequate. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/border-farce-and-hot-air-fills-the-leadership-vacuum-20150828-gja8cj.html#ixzz3k8Y3anos 3. If our politicians aren’t embarrassed they should be Kaye Lee. August 28, 2015 The Reform summit overwhelmingly agreed that our politicians are trapped in legislative lethargy, consumed by poll driven populism, too afraid to do what must be done, too absorbed by political posturing..... It was the absolute antithesis of parliament. People of diametrically opposed views were able to state their case and respond to points others had raised. There was no sense of doom and gloom, just a myriad of different ideas about how we can address the problems we face now and into the future. http://theaimn.com/if-our-politicians-arent-embarrassed-they-should-be/ 4. Where's our ambition? Quit stalling and get on with reform Barrie Cassidy 28 August, 2015 It seems that every time we float even modest ideas or reforms, they are deflated by ridiculously distant deadlines. From the republican movement to fiscal repair, this week showed we can be a pretty unambitious lot http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-28/cassidy-quit-stalling-and-just-get-on-with-reform/6729848 5. Embattled PM ignores carbon, backs Hockey's tax cut pledge Paul Bongiorno 29 August, 2015 Frustration with the lack of leadership coming from Canberra prompted two of the nation’s more influential newspapers to stage what was billed as a reform summit this week. But instead of a far-reaching agenda, on display was the sort of self-interested myopia the organisers bemoaned. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2015/08/29/embattled-pm-ignores-carbon-backs-hockeys-tax-cut-pledge/14407704002299 6. Achieving policy ends via unlawful means: Will that be Abbott's defining legacy? Max Costello As definers of poor government, Abbott's dishonesty and chaotic incompetence are stand outs. But implementing policy via unlawful means deserves to go down in history (if the charges are laid and found proven) for something even more distinctive — its criminality. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/achieving-policy-ends-via-unlawful-means-will-that-be-abbotts-defining-legacy,8103 7. The Tired 'Reform' Agenda Of Neoliberalism Should Be Traded For Equality, Happiness, And Justice Ben Eltham. 27 Aug 2015 Two major media outlets are hosting a "Reform Summit". It's an empty gesture. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/27/tired-reform-agenda-neoliberalism-should-be-traded-equality-happiness-and-justice 8. Abbott blind on tax Leith van Onselen 28 August, 2015 One has to ask: if Mr Abbott is so concerned about productivity, then why did he make the “captain’s call” ruling-out changes to negative gearing or the capital gains tax discount? Over the past two decades, there has been a massive shift in lending away from productive businesses towards unproductive housing, with business lending now at a record low share and housing lending at a record high: http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2015/08/abbott-blind-on-tax/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+MacroBusiness&utm_content=Daily+MacroBusiness+CID_f97283df66d054115bbd8b49b799c24f&utm_source=Email+marketing+software&utm_term=Abbott+blind+on+tax

Casablanca

29/08/2015FEAR + FARCE Good on Melbourne for standing up to the Australian Border Force JR Hennessy 28 August, 2015 3:31pm It's easy to dismiss this kind of militant affectation as the death rattle of a desperate administration who have only national security to prop up their fading credibility in the eyes of the electorate. But there's more here - we're looking at the downward bend of a long arc toward a more authoritarian character in Australian law enforcement. The old adage about the trade-off between security and liberty wilts in the face of this eminently Australian manifestation of the security state. At least Melbourne sent the message that it wouldn't put up with this macho vision of border security. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-28/hennessy-good-on-melbourne-for-standing-up-to-the-abf/6732998

TalkTurkey

29/08/2015Greetings Comrades I have to tell you first, I haven't read your lead Ken, I am sorry Cobber but these days I have trouble reading anything in much depth, white rage and Black Dog in equal proportions drive me to Twitter where I am a prolific part of the shouterati. White rage because every day, every bloody day there's more outrages with this mob. From deregistering ancient aboriginal sacred sites to Nauru, destroying NBN and Gonski and environmental protections set in place by Labor. Setting people against people, destroying this country's social fabric, wasting its resources and making it an international pariah. So many outrages, every day, and the last few weeks have been extreme. Bronwyn Bishop and her extraordinary rorts, Hastie and his hand-amputations, Dyson Hayden and his bent Royal Commission, yesterday's amazing scenes with the Border Farce ... Black Dog because I can't say Little Goat Bleat and oust this terrible mob. I feel so ashamed, as if I've personally let the country and the world down. But for all their extreme RW actions, we hold the hope of Payback at the polling booth within little more than a year. The repair job will be daunting after Abbort's depredations but we of the Left will be more determined than ever before to uphold our hardwon Rights.

Ken

29/08/2015TT You are forgiven.:-) Keep up the good fight on Twitter - something I haven't mastered. I'm not sure if I could say anything in 140 characters. I think there is room for hope. The way social media was used to organise the demonstration at such short notice against the Border Farce plan and force its retraction. And I see the idea that a Minister has responsibility for his portfolio has gone out the window - Abbott and Dutton are blaming the public servants in Border Force. Shorten at least has pointed this out.

Ad Astra

29/08/2015TT Take heart dear friend. The Abbott apparatus is crumbling under the weight of its own stupidity, incompetence and utter lack of insight. Abbott is now a laughable object of contempt. How can he survive? The people are awake, the journalists are awake, even his own colleagues are awake to his incompetence and hopelessness. Whether the Canning by-election will bring about his end, or whether he will survive until the whole electorate throws him out, nobody knows. Labor no dought hopes he will hang on and drag the LNP to political oblivion next year. Your astonishment, anger and frustration is shared. We need to be patient, yet hopeful.

Casablanca

29/08/2015TT Venceremos! my good man. The black dog is hard to train but not totally unable to stay at heel. Take cheer from Peter Hartcher's article in today's Fairfax Press: [b]Border farce and hot air fills the leadership vacuum[/b] Peter Hartcher. August 29, 2015 - 3:08AM We already have a national reform summit – it meets in Canberra for about 20 weeks of the year at taxpayers' expense. It's called parliament. But without leaders, parliament is just an expensive public stage for the parading of vanities and vendettas.... Tony Abbott sent a video recording of himself giving a stump speech bragging of his government's achievements. It was an insult to the intelligence of the 90 or so chief executives, union leaders, economists and policy experts in the room.... The summit existed because everyone in the room knew exactly what the Abbott government was doing, and knew it was woefully inadequate. www.canberratimes.com.au/.../...150828-gja8cj.html Don't forget, Casablanca points to fertile ground to hoe.Her (almost daily) summaries of press articles is designed especially for members of the shouterati who are busy spreading the good word on Twitter. We each have a part to play. Again I say, Venceremos! ps Keep to pressure up in Sturt.

Casablanca

30/08/2015FEAR + FARCE + FASCIST FANTASIES 1. Border Force Farce And The Abbott Government! Rossleigh. August 29, 2015 Well, the Border Force in Melbourne sort of confirmed it. Either they have no idea, or else they think that they’re writers who believe that anything Clark and Dawe can do they can do better. When Peter Dutton refused an interview with the ABC because it was an “operational matter”, the whole idea I had for a piece had been stolen by the minister himself. http://theaimn.com/border-force-farce-and-the-abbott-government/ 2. Border Force Concedes ‘Operation Fortitude’ Press Release Accidentally Sent From 1938 The Shovel . August 28, 2015 Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg has conceded that the initial press release announcing Operation Fortitude was a “clumsily translated” statement accidentally sent from the 1930s. “It did come across as a little abrupt. It’s always hard to translate these things perfectly from the original German,” Mr Quaedvlieg said. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/08/28/border-force-concedes-operation-fortitude-press-release-accidentally-sent-from-1938/ 3. Good on Melbourne for standing up to the Australian Border Force JR Hennessy 28 August, 2015 3:31pm It's easy to dismiss this kind of militant affectation as the death rattle of a desperate administration who have only national security to prop up their fading credibility in the eyes of the electorate. But there's more here - we're looking at the downward bend of a long arc toward a more authoritarian character in Australian law enforcement. The old adage about the trade-off between security and liberty wilts in the face of this eminently Australian manifestation of the security state. At least Melbourne sent the message that it wouldn't put up with this macho vision of border security. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-28/hennessy-good-on-melbourne-for-standing-up-to-the-abf/6732998 4. Tony Windsor says Border Force patrol was 'a deliberate act to create fear' Lucy Cormack . August 29, 2015 - 1:30PM Former independent MP Tony Windsor has hit out at a bungled operation that would have seen people stopped for passport checks on the streets of Melbourne, telling ABC radio he had no doubt that some in the Abbott government "hopes that something goes wrong domestically". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/former-mp-tony-windsor-border-force-patrol-was-a-deliberate-act-to-create-fear-20150828-gjaj8a.html#ixzz3kBYFEDya 5. How an angry mob caused an Australian Border Force backdown Kaitlin Thals 10:00pm, Aug 28, 2015 People power puts a stop to a police operation that one MP describes as ‘something Joseph Stalin would be proud of’ http://links.thenewdaily.mkt7096.com/ctt?kn=26&ms=MjMzNzYyMjkS1&r=MTAyODk0Mjg0MzE3S0&b=0&j=NjIyNzIzMzQxS0&mt=1&rt=0 6. Tony Abbott says border force announcement was 'over the top' Staff and agencies. 29 August 2015 15.57 AEST ‘We would never stop people randomly on the street and demand their visa details,’ PM says, adding he had no prior knowledge of the Melbourne operation... But Labor demanded the government take responsibility for the “quasi police state” plan rather than shifting blame on the agency. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/29/coalition-says-border-force-must-find-out-what-derailed-visa-operation?CMP=ema_632 7. Stopped on the street by border force? Six things you need to know Paul Farrell Following Australian Border Force’s announcement about conducting visa checks in Melbourne, here are six crucial facts about police and immigration officer powers http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/28/australian-border-force-melbourne-cbd-six-things-you-need-to-know-explainer 8. If Border Force acts like this in Melbourne, what do they do offshore? Jeff Sparrow We’ve warned that Australia’s cruel immigration regime would have a carcinogenic effect on the body politic. It’s happening, despite today’s stuff up http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=daacb1036e5d017638f4a60716449a360e4ca968b85426e1fcf956a82bdedf15 9. Border Force: Absurd attack on civil liberties Tim Wilson. August 29, 2015 - 3:07PM Plans for a paramilitary-style operation in Melbourne's CBD were always going to lead to overreach. The increasing paramilitarisation of wandering bureaucrats was always going to lead to overreach that united everyone in favour of defending civil liberties. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/border-force-checks-abandoned-in-melbourne-cbd-as-interagency-cooperation-clarified-20150829-gjal9v.html#ixzz3kD64HriS 10. F is for farce: how Australian Border Force united the nation against it Lenore Taylor Not since Tony Abbott gave Prince Philip a knighthood has the nation appeared so immediately galvanised into calling out a truly stupid and offensive notion http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/28/f-is-for-farce-how-australian-border-force-united-the-nation-against-it?CMP=ema_632 11. Dual citizen? Beware the Border Force street patrol Eva Cripps August 29, 2015 In many cases, buying into a conspiracy theory may result in an instant loss of credibility. However as reality becomes increasingly more absurd and Government policy more outrageous, what may once have seemed ludicrous now verges on genuine possibility. Friday the 28 August 2015 will go down in history as the day the citizens of Melbourne stood up against a police state and fascism. It will also be remembered as one of the most appallingly planned and ridiculously thought-out operations by a Government agency ever. And it demonstrates just why the instant revocation of citizenship in the proposed Allegiance to Australia Act is so incredibly dangerous. ADOLESCENT GOVERNMENT 12. Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Christian right Mike Seccombe. August 29, 2015 As Australia becomes less religious, churches have insinuated themselves into politics and gained particular control over Tony Abbott. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/08/29/prime-minister-tony-abbott-and-the-christian-right/14407704002308 13. If George Brandis won't stand up for the rule of law, why is he attorney general? Mark Dreyfus. The attorney general doesn’t just support attacks on the institutions of the law – he’s now leading them. Two years in, will he rise to his own rhetoric? ... for all his high-minded rhetoric, two years into his term as attorney general it is clear that he either can’t, or won’t, fulfil this vital role. http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=4cde8341877ebff6f64260c713483f6d924c23c2ba3b99f4b2b7e8c45dc3bace 14. Troubled waters for Morrison Paula Matthewson 9:30pm, Aug 28, 2015 While prime minister Tony Abbott’s performance on indigenous affairs remains underwhelming, so was the sense of humour of one cabinet minister this week who seemed particularly excited to accompany the PM on the Boys’ Own Adventure to Australia’s north. Former Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison posted a photo on Twitter of a boat on the high seas with the caption: “Enroute to Bamaga from Thursday Island on Border Force One with PM”. Social media participants howled down the minister for using a photo of a boat that wasn’t part of the Border Force fleet or even in a part of the ocean that was remotely near Australia. http://links.thenewdaily.mkt7096.com/ctt?kn=15&ms=MjMzNzYyMjkS1&r=MTAyODk0Mjg0MzE3S0&b=0&j=NjIyNzIzMzQxS0&mt=1&rt=0 15. Farm groups furious at Coalition move to restrict environmental challenges Lenore Taylor. 19 August 2015 16.10 AEST Farm organisations horrified they will be swept up in changes to environmental laws that aim to stop green groups taking legal action against resource projects http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/19/farm-groups-fear-coalition-move-to-restrict-environment-challenges 16. Don't believe the hype. Coal employs fewer people than McDonald's Ben Oquist If Tony Abbott wants to focus on jobs, he has to abandon his obsession with coal – a capital intensive industry that creates fewer jobs than the horse industry http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=4cde8341877ebff62872c2f376468ff798e25ae75ae2c3d149cb1698b77fa4fd DITHERING DYSON 17. Plebiscite To Be Held To Determine Whether Dyson Heydon Is Biased Or Not The Shovel August 27, 2015 Australians will be asked to go to the polls to determine whether Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon is biased or not, after the man himself was unable to make a decision.... Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the plebiscite will be held after the next election. “There’s no need to rush into this,” he said today. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/08/27/plebiscite-to-be-held-to-determine-whether-dyson-heydon-is-biased-or-not/ 18. New material ramps up pressure on Dyson Heydon Michael Bradley, 28 August, 2015 New information surrounding Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon and the invitation to speak at a Liberal Party event has surfaced, and with it the clouds circling above him just got darker Heydon now has to consider not just whether the facts fairly give rise to an apprehension of bias, but also whether the earlier non-disclosure of plainly relevant material compounds that risk. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-28/bradley-new-material-ramps-up-pressure-on-heydon/6732800 19. Heydon’s whorl Editorial. Aug 15, 2015 Tony Abbott has described Dyson Heydon as “absolutely beyond reproach”. Which is exactly the problem. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2015/08/15/heydons-whorl/14395608002242 POLLS + PETITIONS 20. Labor maintains big lead in Newspoll, but not in other polls Adrian Beaumont. August 27, 2015 9.54am AEST This week’s Newspoll has Labor maintaining a strong 54-46 lead, but the other polls this week from Morgan and Essential have the Coalition regaining ground lost over the Bronwyn Bishop expenses scandal. Here is this week’s poll table. https://theconversation.com/labor-maintains-big-lead-in-newspoll-but-not-in-other-polls-46635 21. Online petitions: a show of care undercut by ease of signing Jill Sheppard August 28, 2015 11.07am AEST With the advent of the internet and proliferation of online petitions – organised by GetUp!, change.org and others that pop up in our inboxes and Facebook walls – online petitions have flourished while written petitions have stalled.... Women and men use the internet in equal measure, so the opportunities to sign an online petition should be gender-neutral... https://theconversation.com/online-petitions-a-show-of-care-undercut-by-ease-of-signing-44959 NATIONAL ECONOMIC REFORM SUMMIT 22. Australia’s economic performance is wallowing in mediocrity – OUCH! Bill Shorten. 26th August 2015 I believe in reform, but reform with purpose. My purpose is for our economy to create more goods, services and jobs. In other words, lifting output, improving equity, and delivering better-quality economic growth. But now is the time for straight talk. I believe our economic performance is wallowing in mediocrity. That’s the reality Australians see. https://www.laborherald.com.au/economy/australias-economic-performance-is-wallowing-in-mediocrity-ouch/ 23. Where's our ambition? Quit stalling and get on with reform Barrie Cassidy It seems that every time we float even modest ideas or reforms, they are deflated by ridiculously distant deadlines. From the republican movement to fiscal repair, this week showed we can be a pretty unambitious lot. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-28/cassidy-quit-stalling-and-just-get-on-with-reform/6729848 24. Summit stuck in the past on climate-economy link Ben Oquist How can a serious national economic reform summit entirely fail to grapple with the economic opportunities afforded by energy modernisation, renewables, and the transition away from coal? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/oquist-summit-stuck-in-the-past-on-climate-economy-link/6729174 MARRIAGE EQUALITY 25. Wong and Plibersek congratulate Julia Gillard on her marriage equality speech Labor News • 26th August 2015 Senator Penny Wong has welcomed former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard’s speech railing against a marriage equality plebiscite and urging the federal parliament to vote ‘yes’ on same-sex marriage. Former prime minister Julia Gillard has been applauded for her speech at Victoria University tonight, where she led a blistering attack on a planned plebiscite or referendum on marriage https://www.laborherald.com.au/politics/labor/wong-and-plibersek-congratulate-julia-gillard-on-her-marriage-equality-speech/ 26. The Guardian view on Australia and gay marriage: all out of step except Tony Abbott Editorial A beleaguered prime minister has managed to turn what other countries and most Australians regard as an issue of principle into another piece of party management http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/28/the-guardian-view-on-australia-and-gay-marriage-all-out-of-step-except-tony-abbott?CMP=ema_632 27. Gayby baby not going awayby, but love is love says Sharpe Labor Herald 27th August 2015 So there’s a documentary, a loudmouth newspaper and equally loud supporters speaking out – including NSW Labor’s Penny Sharpe, who made this passionate speech in state parliament last night. https://www.laborherald.com.au/people-families/gayby-baby-not-going-awayby-but-love-is-love-says-sharpe/ 28. Julia Gillard just did a marriage equality turnaround. Wow. Labor Speeches • 26th August 2015 Instead of delivering a speech about education, former prime minister Julia Gillard has spoken out against the Liberal plan for a plebiscite or referendum on marriage equality saying if she was in parliament today then she would vote in favour of same-sex marriage. “What is motivating me is the sense of concern I have developed over […] https://www.laborherald.com.au/people-families/julia-gillard-just-did-a-marriage-equality-turnaround-wow/ MORE FROM THE LABOR HERALD 29. Labor doesn’t need to search for a reason for being Kim Carr • 27th August 2015 Debate continues around whether Labor should keep its socialist objective, and Senator Kim Carr argues that Labor should stand by its 'reason for being.' https://www.laborherald.com.au/politics/labor-doesnt-need-to-search-for-a-reason-for-being/ 30. Two views on the socialist objective Kim Carr and Luke Foley. 27th August 2015 The socialisation of industry is still in Labor’s policy platform, but some argue the time is nigh for the socialist objective to be written out for modern times. Senator Kim Carr and NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley bring both sides of the debate. https://www.laborherald.com.au/politics/two-views-on-the-socialist-objective/ 31. How the “Warren Buffett Rule” became an official ALP thing Erinn Swan • 24th July 2015 National Conference has voted to consider toughening up the ALP’s approach to income tax to prevent high rollers minimising their taxable incomes and avoiding the same tax rates that every day people pay. The Buffett Rule is the basic principle that no household making more than $1 million each year should pay less tax than middle-class families pay. https://www.laborherald.com.au/economy/how-the-warren-buffet-rule-became-an-official-alp-thing/ 32. Slacktivism vs activism: should kids be on the frontline of protest? Wendy Harmer. 27th August 2015 I won’t be a bit surprised if one day in the future my children are lying on a couch in a darkened room explaining to a therapist why they have a phobia of large crowds, the smell of spray paint and lapel buttons. Since the kids were tiny my husband and I have carted them along to protest rallies. THE VISION THING 33. “I didn’t need the Liberals’ help to change Australia” Paul Keating • 18th August 2015 It has become a creeping part of the orthodoxy of late that the reformation of Australia’s financial, product and labour markets between 1983 and 1996 was not executed by the Hawke and Keating governments but was some kind of project undertaken with the active co-operation of the then Liberal-National opposition. Nothing could be further from the truth. https://www.laborherald.com.au/economy/hey-john-labor-fixed-the-economy-not-you/ CANNING CAMPAIGN 34. The Canning campaign diary Kelly McManus • 24th August 2015 Canning field campaign manager Kelly McManus pens a diary of the by-election campaign to elect local candidate Matt Keogh in WA. https://www.laborherald.com.au/politics/the-canning-campaign-diary/ 35. Meet Matt Keogh, the Labor candidate for Canning Labor Herald • 20th August 2015 Labor’s candidate for Canning remembers handing out how-to-vote cards at the 1990 federal election – he was just eight years... https://www.laborherald.com.au/politics/meet-matt-keogh-the-labor-candidate-for-canning/ 36. From one defence guy to another: Mike Kelly’s advice to Andrew Hastie in Canning Mike Kelly • 26th August 2015 In my 20 years’ service under Labor and Coalition governments, serving on many deployments, I believe all parties and leaders had our welfare very much in consideration and with equal conviction. I therefore must take issue with Andrew Hastie’s comment that he did not think Labor “had his back” in Afghanistan. https://www.laborherald.com.au/politics/from-one-defence-guy-to-another-mike-kellys-advice-to-andrew-hastie-in-canning/
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?