Whither the Left: Part 3

Gross National Happiness, people power and Labor

In Part 2 of these articles I discussed the Left’s approach to the new world in which we now live and suggested that adopting a measure such as Gross National Happiness (GNH) could help create a new approach to economics. I intend discussing that in full in another post but for now will explain why it is important.

In the previous articles I have also talked about the new ‘intellectual working class’. They earn better money than the ‘labouring working class’ and tend to be classified, financially, as middle class. But the new consumerism helps keep them locked into the role of wage slaves. More and more consumer goods are produced and pushed at them, locking them into working longer to fulfil their role as consumers. In fact, it is consumerism that is the key driver of the current economic growth model.

I believe there is a growing gulf between created consumer ‘wants’ (as opposed to ‘needs’) and the capacity to secure them. An economic model that continues to be based on that consumerism will lead to increasing dissatisfaction and discontent among portions of the population. That this may already be happening is reflected in a decline in ‘happiness’ in North America, Australia and New Zealand in the past decade. One danger in a modern consumer society is that some may see ‘happiness’ as merely more consumer goods.

Human dignity is another side of the ‘happiness’ equation.

The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and associated feelings of economic insecurity may also have contributed to the decline in ‘happiness’ (less so in Australia than the USA), but the GFC highlighted some of the problems of the globalised world. Whereas, in some countries, it is government corruption that attacks human dignity, in the GFC in the West it was the greed of the banks. People were treated merely as tools in achieving higher profits for the banks. The political system’s moral compass is also out of order when the banks are allowed to get away with risky undertakings that threaten the whole of society and are then bailed out because they are ‘too big to fail’. The banks have managed to place themselves above people and when that happens human dignity suffers. Indeed, the political emphasis on economics has the same effect.

In a globalised world where multi-national corporations can wield as much, if not more, influence on a nation’s economy than the government itself, people feel helpless. What is the point of a government if it cannot control what happens? If a government lacks control, people certainly feel more insecure because their livelihood may depend not on a government decision, a government over which they can have some influence, but on a global corporation over which they have no influence.

One of the slogans during the Tunisian, or ‘Jasmine’ revolution in 2011 was ‘Dignity before bread’. Compared to the nations around it, Tunisia was relatively prosperous, although there was an increase in unemployment at the time and risk was being moved from the State to the individual — just as it is in Australia. There was also government corruption. The young unemployed man whose self-immolation helped trigger the revolt had gone to the authorities to complain about his situation but was physically beaten, in total disregard of his human dignity.

In this globalised world, where people are becoming mere cogs in an international economy, where even their own governments are at the mercy of international financiers and corporations, and politicians pay more attention to the economy than to society, human happiness and human dignity are becoming the last refuges of what it means to be human.

‘People power’ is becoming more important in this new world, reinvigorated by the internet and social media.

Adopting Gross National Happiness (GNH) and people power as fundamental to a well-functioning and sustainable economy appears to me a key way forward for the Left, and indeed for Labor in Australia, even if as a party seeking government Labor has to adopt the more moderate elements of these approaches.

The concept of Gross National Happiness as a measure of a nation’s economy and progress began in Bhutan with four ‘pillars’ and was expanded into nine ‘domains’.

The four pillars are: good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation and environmental conservation.

The domains are: psychological well-being, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards.

Gross National Happiness does not ignore economic growth, seeing it as necessary to alleviate poverty, provide health services, schools and so on. The major difference is that GNH measures economic progress not in terms of the dollar value of production and services but by the well-being it achieves for the people and the society.

It offers an approach that is consistent with many of the approaches of the Left in this new world: it is people-centred, including communities not just individuals; it is focused on well-being and equity; it includes key issues such as climate change; it supports human dignity. An important part of the Left and GNH approach is that these elements do not operate in isolation: they intertwine and each is essential for overall happiness and dignity and genuine people-centred economic progress.

People are central to the Left approach. It is their well-being, happiness and dignity that should also be central to any left-of-centre government’s approach.

Our sense of community has diminished. At university I read about miners in the UK, and indeed at Newcastle in Australia, having a strong sense of egalitarianism that was fostered by overlapping work and neighbourhood networks. In our more diversified and mobile world that is unlikely to return: people in the same neighbourhood are now more likely to be in places of employment scattered around the suburbs. (Perhaps that is the reason that governments now spend millions on providing major events, attempting to create a sense of community across many neighbourhoods.) It is, however, possible to create local ‘communities of interest’ by involving people in issues that concern them — and now they can also be virtual ‘communities’ through the power of the internet.

Such involvement is the other key aspect of the Left approach to people. The New Left would be content with various forms of consultation and involvement in policy development but the radical Left would seek more autonomy, or structures in which people can actually make decisions.

Equity has long been at the core of Left beliefs. There are two major aspects of equity: one regarding the rights and freedoms of people; and the other, the economic and social equity of groups in society, including the vulnerable and minorities.

The Right of course believes that equity is achieved by removing government from the picture and allowing individuals to choose what they wish. Unfortunately, in the 250 years since the first industrial revolution, it is obvious to all but the Right that this approach does not work — many are left behind without the resources to make the choices this approach supposedly allows. The Left believe in government intervention to achieve the desired outcomes. That needs to remain central to Labor policies as we are now seeing what happens if governments kow-tow to the rich industrialists, entrepreneurs and financiers of the nation (it was a similar failing that helped undermine New Labour in the UK).

Quality of life was a New Left issue that needs to remain: it can cover everything from climate change to local transport and amenities, culture and general human dignity.

The climate change message can be sold as a quality-of-life issue. The LNP effectively did this in Opposition, in a negative way, by arguing that measures to address climate change would impact people’s livelihoods and standard of living. This needs to be countered with the quality of life downside if nothing is done.

Local amenities are always important in politics, to all sides: where else does ‘pork-barrelling’ come from? But local amenities should be put into a quality-of-life context as part of an overall vision for people across the nation, not just locally, a vision that promises to provide social amenities and enhance equity.

The radical Left would see local amenities as a question for the local people supported by government, not decided by government (the approach to people). There is a strong case for such an approach. I recall from my working years a situation where a community was offered funding to support the health of its older residents. The community, however, said that it wanted lights on the local outdoor basketball court. The public servants, of course, had difficulty with whether that would fit within the guidelines for funding but somehow the community view prevailed and the benefits were surprising. In a community that had no street lights, the lighted basketball court attracted the young people, so that they were less likely to be wandering about the community at night causing disturbances; as it was the only lit area, adults also tended to congregate there, particularly on hot nights, which brought a level of supervision over the young people; older people also came to the area, meaning, rather than being isolated in their homes, they were also being watched over by the community. That provides a classic example of how local people, more often than not, know better what is required.

Economics is not really a key element but one that in current politics needs to be addressed, particularly given the political domination of neo-liberal economics. It is, of course, complicated by the global corporations that restrict the power and influence governments can exercise over their own economy.

While the prevailing view is that a successful economy can be used to achieve social equity and other beneficial outcomes, a more radical Left view would draw on new economic approaches required to meet the challenge of climate change and improve Gross National Happiness.

It is unrealistic to expect a prospective government to abandon the current emphasis on economics but Labor should be able to change the nature of the debate. It can give more emphasis to the social outcomes of economic policies and also the social drivers of economics. It should begin adopting measures leaning towards Gross National Happiness, even if politically it is unable to adopt them in full, and pursue the argument that real economics is about how we use and distribute our resources, including human, social and environmental, not just capital. It can claim support of manufacturing by promoting and supporting environmental and renewable energy industries — something that was done under Julia Gillard but, unfortunately, without sufficient emphasis on the positive impact for manufacturing. There are many avenues available for Labor to change the tenor of the economic debate and it should take these up.

Another aspect of the New Left approach is addressing individual issues. Many of the issues pursued by the New Left remain relevant in Australia today, perhaps more so in the face of Abbott’s attacks on welfare, workers and marginalised groups. Not all voters are interested in all issues and they may not support a full range of Left (or progressive) approaches, but if their interest can be gained for the issues they believe in part of the battle is won. It may even be possible to attract the interest of some groups who normally support the LNP, for example by addressing the issue of fracking, which is a concern to many rural communities.

The differences between the New Left and the working class and its unions were overcome to some extent because there were common issues on which they could join (although significant differences remained). Strength will come by emphasising the commonalities and networking between groups.

Change can also come if Labor links itself to some of the new social movements that may arise, just as it eventually did with the anti-Vietnam War movement. It was the Labor Left that drove that linkage and perhaps it will be again, with future links.

The Fifth Estate is part of the new people power and how we use that power is crucial for success. Progressive blogs generally support Labor and they can continue to attack Abbott and point out his mistakes but that will have only limited influence on those who are not already leaning to Labor or the Left. Some middle-of-the-road or undecided voters will see it as no more than they would expect from ‘the Left’. They may not like Abbott particularly but will react negatively to repeated negative attacks.

The worst mistake Left and progressive blogs can make, as Jeff Sparrow pointed out immediately after the election, is to attack the voters as fools, or dupes of, for example, Murdoch: ‘In any case, blaming the populace amounts to a category error. It’s the task of the Left to persuade people’, he wrote.

At the moment progressive blogs tend to be reactive to political events. They rarely come out and say ‘this is what progressives stand for’ or describe what progressives propose should be done to improve the future. The book I reviewed, Pushing our luck: ideas for Australian progress, provides a range of progressive policies for the future. There is scope for more radical prescriptions that may not succeed but, like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, add to the depth of the debate. Attacking Abbott’s mistakes is a valid approach but it needs to be interspersed with more positive messages that appeal to the many different groups that are affected by his decisions — even identify groups that have been affected and write pieces about how they can be better supported under a progressive approach.

Sell a positive message and it may also attract readers who are sitting on the political fence. Include in blogs pieces on civil liberties and personal freedoms, the lack of social amenities in communities, the decline in public services, the failings of the health and education systems and the growing inequality in society. State what a progressive vision means for these issues. There are clearly different sites that already achieve aspects of this but perhaps they need to link more closely and share more comprehensively.

There is room for all aspects of the Left agenda, from progressive views to radical views.

Can they be openly debated to create a more unified Left agenda and also a meaningful but more moderate left-of-centre stance for Labor?

Of course, failing all else, we can take to the barricades again as in 1968.

What do you think?

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TPS Team

9/03/2014Today we publish the final part of Ken Wolff's ‘Whither the Left’ series on [i]The Political Sword[/i]. Ken compares what could be called the blatant consumerism of the western world with a concept that tries to improve the happiness of a population. Given a report last week that the largest increase in repossessions in Australia was in the section of the population that ‘purchased the most toys’ and typically sent their children to expensive private schools, this is a relevant conversation. We are also challenged to question why the progressive side of politics seems to be forever playing catch-up in the twenty-first century and, in the view of many, has completely lost the progressive elements that in the end improved the human condition. Is it a triumph of marketing and spin over substance or are there other factors at work here? As always, we welcome your comments.

Ad Astra

9/03/2014Ken We waited expectantly for Part 3 and are not disappointed.  You have given us a template for not only identifying the core values and intent that Labor might adopt and articulate, but also the approach that advocates ought to consider, where the negative comments that lambaste everything the government does would be accompanied by positive suggestions about more suitable approaches.  Negatives sound less carping when mollified by positives. The values that Labor embrace, while not exclusive to it, nevertheless are closely associated with progressives.  Ken has identified several: equity, education, care of the environment and the existential threat of global warming.  Add to that health and aged care, disability care, and concern for the disadvantaged and deprived, and a substantial platform for the creation of a comprehensive policy program, which would stand in stark contrast to that of the conservatives, would be created.  Although conservatives would claim ownership of all of these, their lukewarm,  and at times conflicting attitude to them, belie this. What Labor now needs is a series of comprehensive  policy papers on these aspects, which lucidly articulate values, intent and plans.  Sadly, if they already exist, they have been hidden from public view.  These papers ought to include the framing that promises to appeal to the electorate, and the public relations approach that is most likely to succeed. The Fifth Estate could and should catalyze this process.  We have already had an indication that the Fourth Estate does follow the Fifth; we ought to take advantage of this. Already Ken you have indicated that a piece on GNH is on its way.  Other authors might like to consider pieces on the other policy areas mentioned above.  In doing so, a radical revision of our thinking about the purpose of public policy is needed.  Is the persistent pursuit of economic growth appropriate?  What is the best balance between growth and environmental sustainability?  How can equity be achieved while sustaining a sound economy?     How can the inherent self interest of the many be balanced against the common good?   The fundamental differences between progressives and conservatives as described by George Lakoff: the 'strict father' versus the 'nurturant  parent' models of political behaviour, enable Labor to clearly distinguish itself from the Coalition, instead of trying to mimic it, as occurs far too often. So here is an invitation to authors to take up a policy area and articulate an approach that Labor ought to consider.  Labor operatives are bound to become aware of it.  At present they seem too caught up in the turmoil of daily politics to stand back and think.l

Catching Up

9/03/2014Once again, a good read.


10/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Monday, 10 March 2014: 52 items[/b] NEW GROWTH INDUSTRIES: ROYAL COMMISSIONS + INQUIRIES + AUDITS + REVIEWS + WITCH HUNTS + TIME WASTING 1. Workers under microscope: Abbott government to scrutinise pay, penalties, conditions James Massola The federal government's sweeping review of Australia's workplace laws will put penalty rates, pay and conditions, union militancy and flexibility under the microscope. The inquiry means that all the elements of WorkChoices that people hated are back on the table, including individual contracts. A leaked draft of the terms of reference for the Productivity Commission inquiry into the Fair Work Act, obtained by Fairfax Media, reveals the inquiry will examine the act's impact on unemployment and under-employment, productivity, business investment and the ability of the labour market to respond to changing economic conditions. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/workers-under-microscope-abbott-government-to-scrutinise-pay-penalties-conditions-20140306-34aau.html 2. Malcolm Turnbull starts fifth NBN audit Lia Timson Malcolm Turnbull has commissioned a fifth audit of the national broadband network since coming to office in September... The inquiry will concentrate on the period from April 2008 to May 2010. It will look into the processes that led to the creation of NBN Co, the builder of the network, and the steps leading to an implementation study. It is in addition to a review of NBN Co governance already under way by auditors KordaMentha. Mr Turnbull has appointed former Telstra director Bill Scales to head the audit. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/it-pro/government-it/malcolm-turnbull-starts-fifth-nbn-audit-20140307-hvgmh.html 3. Edward Melhuish suggests Australia should make preschool free Rachel Browne Australia needs to introduce free preschool places for all children if it is to compete economically with other developed countries...Research by Edward Melhuish from Oxford University has also found that a quality preschool education has a bigger influence on a child's literacy and numeracy skills at ages 11 and 14 than their primary school education - but a mother's education level was the most significant factor. Professor Melhuish urged the government to follow Britain, Scandinavia and many European countries in offering free early education in a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into childcare and early childhood learning. Australia only invests 0.3 per cent of GDP on early education, ranking it at 32 out of 34 OECD countries. The cost of a free program could be offset by an increase in female workforce participation, the creation of a better-educated workforce and a reduction in welfare dependence. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nsw/edward-melhuish-suggests-australia-should-make-preschool-free-20140308-34e1i.html 4. Can we arrest the childcare slippery slide? Georgia Wilkins and Colin Kruger It is a system that eats up $5 billion in federal funding each year - but that is plagued by rising costs, availability problems and an inability to provide the sort of flexible care needed in a busy and fluid world. According to think tank The Australia Institute, the number of households reporting difficulties with the cost of childcare for a child under five stands at more than three out of 10. Then there is the problem of what it dubs the ''uneven availability of childcare places''... Australia's female workforce participation rate lags behind other OECD countries, a fact bemoaned by state and federal governments and blamed, in part, on the costs and shortcomings of the nation's childcare system. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/can-we-arrest-the-childcare-slippery-slide-20140307-34cty.html 5. Hardly the wages blowout of an inflexible market Stephen Koukoulas As the Productivity Commission undertakes a "comprehensive" review of workplace laws, it's worth noting that Australia's soft economy is being accompanied by slowing wages growth - exactly what you'd expect to see in a market with a good degree of labour flexibility... In the end, the hard facts on the macroeconomic outlook confirm a good degree of labour market flexibility and no urgency for mass reform of the industrial relations system. A soft economy is being accompanied by slowing wages growth. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-07/koukoulas-hardly-the-wages-blowout-of-an-inflexible-market/5305998?WT.mc_id=newsmail 6. Introducing one of Tony Abbott’s climate science experts Carol Taylor The elevation of Dr David Evans as a climate science adviser has a ring of familiarity. Evans, a mining engineer with a PhD in mathematics, is not only a prominent climate change denier but subscribes to the conspiracy theory that “climate change is merely a cover for a massive power play”. His standing as a climate science expert is thus odd, but he is well enough credentialed for Tony Abbott. He is the person most likely to tell Tony Abbott what he wants to hear. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/09/introducing-tony-abbotts-climate-science-adviser/ ENTITLEMENTS + FIDDLES + RORTS + SUBSIDIES + TENDERS + RESPONSIBILITY 7. Will Libs bite bullet, withdraw Howard's over-the-top entitlements to self-funded retirees? Margo Kingston When Samantha Maiden reported today that the Audit Commission wanted super-generous seniors health card benefits to self-funded retirees reversed, I dug up my 2002 SMH budget comment on the matter. The Libs are to blame for this totally unsustainable entitlement culture they knew would help cripple the budget over due to our aging population. If they don’t act in the budget and instead just cut benefits for the less well-off they will be credibility-naked. http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=b69d00b02f5a6b5f1219272946b85a4a&history_id=1&subscriber_id=877 8. Jacksonville investigators Peter Wicks Former HSU national president Michael Williamson was remanded in custody on Monday and the usual suspects were around to bleat about Craig Thomson. http://www.independentaustralia.net/article-display/jacksonville-investigators,6252 9. Budget blowout on Christmas Island Bianca Hall The cost of housing Immigration Department staff on Christmas Island has blown out by $11 million since December, despite the number of asylum seekers detained on the island falling by more than 430 people in that time. The resort, which boasts a fine dining restaurant and nightclub, charges $285 a night for a single room, although the Department of Immigration is charged a bulk-rate for staff staying at the facility. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/budget-blowout-on-christmas-island-20140308-34e3t.html 10. Is Transfield Services' $1.22 billion contract value for our money? David Biles Hard questions need to be asked about the costs behind Transfield Services asylum seeker contract. Contracts for the private management of prisons or detention centres are nearly always clothed in secrecy under the rubric of "commercial in confidence" and therefore it is somewhat surprising that the basic facts of this contract have been made available to the public. However, the details of what Transfield is required to do for the $1.22 billion have not been made known... It equates to more than $300,000 per year per detainee. Clearly, more information will be needed if one is to understand the basis for this remarkably high and seemingly excessive figure. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/is-transfield-services-122-billion-contract-value-for-our-money-20140309-34fkj.html#ixzz2vUCFWsCf INDUSTRY WARS 11. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce makes grist for Hockey's mill @e2mq173 comments Errol Brandt The Abbott government has finally found its cause célèbre, the platform from which to prosecute its case for industrial relations reform. The latest financial results from QANTAS confirm that it is in serious trouble and that something must be done. The only question is – what? The Abbott government has refused to offer http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=fd34a2da91acb9e9f7c996c2a5f3e7e9&history_id=1&subscriber_id=877 12. Why we don't need a reboot of the forest wars Lyndon Schneiders The certainty and cooperation that has finally marked the Tasmanian timber industry in recent months is under threat from the axe of the Liberal party... Less than two weeks out from the Tasmanian election, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is trying to reignite the long-running forest wars in a calculated bid to drive a wedge between the timber industry and environmentalists. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-07/schneiders-why-we-dont-need-a-reboot-of-the-forest-wars/5303944?WT.mc_id=newsmail CULTURE WARS 13. Mark Latham hits out at Gina Rinehart's 'living beyond our means' comment. Fairfax Media with AAP Former federal Labor leader Mark Latham has accused Gina Rinehart of double standards after the billionaire mining magnate slammed Australia for its ‘‘entitlement’’ mentality. Mr Latham’s comments come after the mining tycoon took aim at welfare recipients and the political left for spending the ‘‘bottomless pit’’ of revenue created by mining. ‘‘We are living beyond our means,’’ Ms Rinehart, worth an estimated $19.89 billion, reportedly wrote in a column for the Australian Resources and Investment magazine. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/australians-living-beyond-our-means-says-gina-rinehart-20140307-34ar9.html 14. Social class affects school achievement less than you think Kevin Donnelly In a recent article in The Conversation, Stewart Riddle cited UK, US and Australian research to argue that: … social class is the strongest predictor of educational achievement. But recent research shows… http://theconversation.com/social-class-affects-school-achievement-less-than-you-think-23973 15. Eviction from the middle class: how tenuous jobs penalise women Veronica Sheen Treasurer Joe Hockey wants a new debate about pushing the pension eligibility age beyond 67. This could provide fresh challenges for people who have been evicted from the middle class by midlife. My research on midlife women in insecure jobs reveals how people who once would have been considered “middle class” lose this broadly defined social status. It gives an insight into what this means for their social and economic situation – social class – in later life...The main trajectory involved losing a long-term permanent job after the age of 40. The women told of the effects in their workplaces of factors – including downsizing, work intensification, casualisation, credentialism and off-shoring – that led to their job loss. http://theconversation.com/eviction-from-the-middle-class-how-tenuous-jobs-penalise-women-23004 16. Dear Gina @e2mq173 responds #DearGina Errol Brandt Dear Gina, You probably receive a lot of fan mail. but I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your piece about the Age of Entitlement. Quite frankly, we don’t hear enough scornful derision from the plutocracy these days. Your article warmed my cold heart. Unfortunately I fear the message will be lost, especially amongst those who have chosen public-standard education. What resonates with me is your loathing of debt, respect for Margaret Thatcher and a seething hatred of those who believe they have entitlement. Let me add my comments to yours. http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=50156428d035102d120b5a3b9bea6fbf&history_id=1&subscriber_id=877 17. Gina’s Right. Axioms for the New Age. rossleighbrisbane There was a bit of discussion on a Facebook page where some people expressed concern at others who were attacking Gina’s weight and appearance. The general gist of them was that the Right won’t be defeated if we all emulate… http://theaimn.com/2014/03/08/ginas-right-axioms-for-the-new-age/ 18. Our own Tea Party conservatives are a threat to Australia's economic record Wayne Swan Unlike what we can see in the US, success in Australia is more likely to be determined by effort, not by where you were born. Regrettably, our model is now under fierce attack... Through the last three decades –18 years of which were under Labor led social democratic government – Australia did all this and still delivered social fairness. We turned outward to the world, embraced global trade and capital mobility and kept the fair go intact...I am always struck by just how fortunate Australia is to have a strong economy and a just society. It hit home again this week, as I am in London to attend a meeting of the Inclusive Prosperity Commission put on by the Centre for American Progress, which does such great work to advance the cause of fairness. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/06/our-own-tea-party-conservatives-are-a-threat-to-australias-economic-record?CMP=ema_632 19. Personal responsibility or pawning off accountability Jeff Schiller The Government's creed of 'personal responsibility' is all about fobbing off its responsibilities and putting them in the hands of the public...There is compelling evidence that privilege undermines not only social conscience but the capacity for an individual to distinguish between their efforts and their privileges. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/personal-responsibility-or-pawning-off-accountability,6254 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 20. Minister for women doesn't have to identify as feminist, says Senator Michaelia Cash Judith Ireland Senator Cash said that while feminism had done "wonderful things for women", for herself in 2014, "it's all about being part of a government that implements policies that will take women further down the journey of economic empowerment".... "Merely because you are a feminist does not mean you will implement policies that empower women," she said. "Labelling myself as a feminist, if that is a prerequisite now for being a Minister for Women, that's ridiculous."This week, during a Women's Day event, Prime Minister Tony Abbott referred to himself as a "feminist" when he talked of the impact his three daughters had had on his attitudes towards gender equality http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/minister-for-women-doesnt-have-to-identify-as-feminist-says-senator-michaelia-cash-20140307-34ata.html 21. Call for more women in leadership roles AAP More women are needed in Parliament and in senior business positions to help improve working conditions for women and reduce domestic violence, the sex discrimination commissioner says. Speaking on International Women's Day on Saturday, Elizabeth Broderick said progress had been made on a number of fronts including the paid parental leave scheme but men still held the bulk of power. She told ABC Radio that 93 per cent of the CEOs of Australian corporates were still male and about a third of parliamentarians were women. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/call-for-more-women-in-leadership-roles-20140308-34eqs.html 22. Abbott’s feminist message: don’t think you can mess with me on PPL Michelle Grattan On the matter of his paid parental leave scheme, Tony Abbott has got religion. He’s been using every occasion in the run up to Saturday’s International Women’s Day to sing hymns to what he’s determined to make a legacy policy. (Abbott’s functions have even included hosting drinks in the cabinet suite for women from the media, where his chief of staff Peta Credlin also gave a speech.) The Prime Minister’s PPL message has not just been for women at large. He is, in effect, saying once again: party colleagues, of either gender, who have doubts, listen up. There might be many critics out there - including the Audit Commission, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group - but this is my baby and I’m protecting it like any devoted father would. http://theconversation.com/abbotts-feminist-message-dont-think-you-can-mess-with-me-on-ppl-24132 POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 23. Tony Abbott's plan is to have no plan at all Waleed Aly ''No plan B,'' screams the opposition. True enough, I suppose. But let us not be lured into thinking this points to a government with no ideas and no imagination. The absence of a plan here is something studied and deliberate. The Abbott government has a plan to have no plan and it's really committed to it. That's the whole point of neo-liberalism. It sees the world as a market and solves every problem through it. In this scheme, governments exist to keep the market running, not to develop elaborate plans for companies or industries. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-plan-is-to-have-no-plan-at-all-20140306-349xa.html#ixzz2vEelfeDc 24. Tony Abbott, a man for his time Jacqueline Maley Does anyone under the age of 40 harbour any emotional attachment to ''Aussie'' brands? Just as barely anyone under the age of 30 buys newspapers, and most women I know shop online as often as they do in actual shops, I strongly suspect that rumours of Australians' aviation-based patriotism are grossly exaggerated... Once upon a time, air travel was prohibitively expensive and considered special. Now it is accessible to people on all incomes. Consumers have greater choice and are very price-conscious. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-a-man-for-his-time-20140307-34cbk.html#ixzz2vLHwlY6w 25. The real penalty is the lost weekend Wendy Harmer There are now two different Aussie Sundays. One's a sacred day to spend with family and friends and the other is like … well … any other Tuesday. Which Sunday will you have? Depends. The Fair Work Commission has begun its review of Australian workers' penalty rates. This debate will go beyond politics and right to the heart of our long-cherished ''avagoodweekend'' culture. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-real-penalty-is-the-lost-weekend-20140307-34cb6.html#ixzz2vLIae1d6 26. Australia's Greens Senator Scott Ludlam Absolutely Demolishes PM Tony Abbott (VIDEO) Jessica Elgot An Australian senator has launched a scorching attack on the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, calling his government "heartless and racist", "thoughtless" and "kinda revolting"...In a monotone voice dripping with menace, Ludlam coldly condemned policies on the environment, school funding to the shark cull, to an almost empty chamber. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/05/tony-abbott-scott-ludlam-video_n_4902446.html?utm_hp_ref=tw 27. Abbott-whacking Greens senator's emotional politics Benedict Coleridge Greens Senator Scott Ludlam this week excoriated Tony Abbott, homing in on Abbott's politics of fear. Whatever you think of the speech, its implication was that politics includes a struggle over the cultivation, control and directing of public emotions. While our instinct is to think of our politics in terms of discussion and consensus, the public sphere also includes forms of expression beyond speech, such as ritual, recognition and mourning. http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001NrlllPbyIeMWsEGj12NYhviN3gEUytyjl8oo1_ne2uzXWhKyKRh7pBO8tRW9tMoI2AerkBC4cdSICLbM_uLDvpQBVYk8Qk0wQacKkktw6Ia0SVXl2bgBDrUcLyG2-pQ17hl6GDgZacfGxkQurnX9Me-S8DC5e8K9EAnCX9qOVeF0WvGQkWCekR_menxkViyGqoC7berQTpGMvE99BvIDEh0lp6aSDcD9&c=1uKBCkplwGJqy4Jz214g32XWUqQwwmBustUftyulvO0Zq1j1sMU0fA==&ch=tozwCRlUZ8SX7s8sNiZIQ1t5uIG68cpPkmu9xJuInt3kJQyyIxhtGg== 28. Long road to recovery for bruised politics Barrie Cassidy Australian politics took a battering during the hung parliament years, but if you thought it was going to be smooth sailing from here, you were wrong http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-07/cassidy-long-road-to-recovery-for-bruised-politics/5303954 29. PM Tony Abbott will be forced to horse trade with the Senate's motley crew Peter Hartcher Senators have a long history of defying their party leaders: In the 54 years from 1950 to 2004, 245 members and senators crossed the floor to vote against their own party, or 24 per cent of the parliamentarians who served, according to the parliamentary library. The record holder, WA Senator Reg Withers, crossed the floor a remarkable 150 times. The vast majority of these 245 - nine out of ten - were conservatives. And they have always been much more inclined to cross the floor when their party has been in power. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/pm-tony-abbott-will-be-forced-to-horse-trade-with-the-senates-motley-crew-20140307-34chk.html#ixzz2vMHhpoAI THE ECONOMY+ BUSINESS 30. Rebalancing act begins to pay off Ross Gittins With the release of data this week, we at last have some good news on the economy. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/rebalancing-act-begins-to-pay-off-for-the-economy-20140307-34co4.html 31. Financial sector changes pose risk of collapse, warns superannuation body Bianca Hall The government's looming changes to the financial services sector could spark a wave of financial collapses similar to those that occurred in 2006-10, which wiped $6 billion in savings from more than 120,000 investors, Industry Super Australia (ISA) claims. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/financial-sector-changes-pose-risk-of-collapse-warns-superannuation-body-20140308-34e0u.html 32. Qantas encounters turbulence as it flies its flag into big storm Jack Waterford It's clear the political game has changed, with Tony Abbott himself, rather than his Treasurer, Joe Hockey, now leading the charge against governments coming to the rescue of businesses in trouble. This is projected as a virtue in its own right - in the sense of the government's being against business or middle-class welfare. But it is also marketed as part of a complementary policy - the argument that the proper role of government is only to create the circumstances in which businesses generally can flourish. The market should decide; government should not engage in picking winners, tilting playing fields, making special deals, giving special incentives or regulating the market in such a way as to hinder enterprise, initiative, inventiveness and red-blooded competition. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/qantas-encounters-turbulence-as-it-flies-its-flag-into-big-storm-20140307-34cvy.html#ixzz2vLL3FyJf 33. Lessons for all major players in Qantas saga Michael Gordon Really? My information is that the statement was not the work of a ''low-level person'' at Qantas at all, and that the instigator consulted others before releasing it. Indeed, the episode would seem a good metaphor for a political and communications strategy that was flawed from the start and backfired dramatically, damaging the Qantas brand, alienating stakeholders and turning the flying kangaroo into a political football. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/lessons-for-all-major-players-in-qantas-saga-20140307-34cm1.html#ixzz2vLfEY9sl 34. Little faith despite the fine words Mike Carlton We learnt this week that Labor's wicked carbon tax is the source of much of Qantas' troubles. Then again perhaps it isn't. On Monday, the airline's hugely well-staffed spin-doctoring division pumped out a statement announcing that its problems were ''not related to the carbon tax''. Ahem. That was not the smartest line to take if you are trying to screw an unsecured loan of $3 billion from a government which believes the tax is the root of all evil, and by Wednesday someone had wised up. Suddenly this impost was ''among the significant challenges we face''. And as any economist will confirm, while some jobs disappear, others are created. Abbott's exciting new commitment to cutting down 74,000 hectares of World Heritage-listed forest in Tasmania will give heart to thousands of redundant Qantas employees. They can retrain as lumberjacks. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/little-faith-despite-the-fine-words-20140307-34cc0.html#ixzz2vLgBT6lo 35. Will hidden taxes and competitive pressures make the NBN unsustainable? Stephen King ....is the NBN economically sustainable? The NBN is based on a tried-and-true scheme of hidden cross subsidies. The scheme is quite simple. The government provides a service that is much cheaper to provide in urban areas than in rural Australia. The government bans any private firms from providing this service. Then the government sets a single, uniform price for the service to customers across Australia. The price is high enough to cover all costs, which means that it is much higher than the underlying cost in the cities while it is usually below cost in the bush. http://theconversation.com/will-hidden-taxes-and-competitive-pressures-make-the-nbn-unsustainable-24032 POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 36. Railing against a 'left' that no longer exists Jonathan Green Hardline leftist views have lost their expression in Australia's mainstream politics, leaving conservative keyboard warriors effectively shouting at clouds, writes Jonathan Green. The conservative commentariat seems to be in the grip of a nostalgic yearning. A hankering for a time when ideological divisions were rich, clear and meaningful, when a clear sense of what separated the left and the right gave a certain rhythm to the cut and thrust of mainstream politics. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-06/green-railing-against-a-left-that-no-longer-exists/5300948 37. Whither the Left: Part 3 Ken Wolff In Part 2 of these articles I discussed the Left’s approach to the new world in which we now live and suggested that adopting a measure such as Gross National Happiness (GNH) could help create a new approach to economics. I intend discussing that in full in another post but for now will explain why it is important...In the previous articles I have also talked about the new ‘intellectual working class’. They earn better money than the ‘labouring working class’ and tend to be classified, financially, as middle class. But the new consumerism helps keep them locked into the role of wage slaves. More and more consumer goods are produced and pushed at them, locking them into working longer to fulfil their role as consumers. In fact, it is consumerism that is the key driver of the current economic growth model. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2014/03/09/Whither-the-Left-Part-3.aspx#comment INTERNET + TROLLS + FREE SPEECH + PRIVACY 38. Lawsuit against schoolboy Andrew Farley for defamation on Twitter must act as deterrent Crispin Hull Be careful using Twitter, you might be sued for defamation. There, I have said it in less than the 140 characters, but there is much more to the story than that....The District Court judge thought the tweet so ugly that he did not repeat it in his judgment. The case does not break any new law, but might change habits. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/lawsuit-against-schoolboy-andrew-farley-for-defamation-on-twitter-must-act-as-deterrent-20140307-34csc.html#ixzz2vLF1l8VV 39. Not a tweet out of freedom czar Tim Wilson Richard Ackland Where's our freedom commissioner when we need him? Tim Wilson, human rights and free speech champion, surely should have something to say about the lad who has been lumbered with a $105,000 damages verdict for speaking his mind, via Twitter and Facebook, about a music teacher at Orange High School? http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/not-a-tweet-out-of-freedom-czar-tim-wilson-20140306-349x9.html#ixzz2vEfmtMTN 40. Teacher defamation highlights social media’s legal perils David Rolph Last November, a young man was ordered by a NSW court to pay A$105,000 in damages for defaming a teacher at his former school on Twitter. The decision, which only came to light earlier this week, should… http://theconversation.com/teacher-defamation-highlights-social-medias-legal-perils-24058 41. When data privacy goes missing, will the regulators hear it cry? Rob Livingstone What does privacy mean in an age of ongoing privacy breaches? With new privacy law coming online in Australia on March 12, our Privacy in Practice series explores the practical challenges facing Australian… http://theconversation.com/when-data-privacy-goes-missing-will-the-regulators-hear-it-cry-23367 42. Redefining privacy in the age of Edward Snowden Bruce Baer Arnold What does privacy mean in an age of ongoing privacy breaches? With new privacy law coming online in Australia on March 12, our Privacy in Practice series explores the practical challenges facing Australian… http://theconversation.com/redefining-privacy-in-the-age-of-edward-snowden-21891 43. Digital tools for a better, more sustainable health system Sarah Dods It seems that almost every politician, health economist, policy expert and health-care worker has a different take on the state of the nation’s health system and ways to make it more sustainable. But notably absent from the debate so far is the role of technology. So, how can digital innovation improve the health system’s bottom line? http://theconversation.com/digital-tools-for-a-better-more-sustainable-health-system-23482 MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 44. Limited News on Scott Ludlam's speech George Bludger Greens' Senator Scott Ludlam has hit a chord with the Australian people with his scorching speech about Tony Abbott ― and that is something News Limited simply won't allow. http://www.independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/limited-news-on-scott-ludlams-speech,6255 45. Murdoch is no 'demented plurocrat' Judith Ireland Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hosed down suggestions he has described Rupert Murdoch as a ‘‘demented plutocrat,’’ arguing the News Corp head is the ‘‘most normal’’ media mogul he knows... On Sunday, Mr Turnbull also shrugged off suggestions he may be appointed as the next Australian Ambassador to the United States. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/rupert-murdoch-is-no-demented-plurocrat-says-malcolm-turnbull-20140309-34f33.html ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 46. Ross Garnaut slams Abbott government's direct action policy as like a 'Martian beauty contest' Peter Hannam, Jonathan Swan Direct action policy is vague, fails public interest analysis tests, says Garnaut... Abolishing carbon pricing could cost the federal budget at least $4 billion a year within five years, if the Abbott government wants to reduce emissions in line with Australia's international commitments, says economist Ross Garnaut. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/ross-garnaut-slams-abbott-governments-direct-action-policy-as-like-a-martian-beauty-contest-20140307-34atj.html 47. Abbott’s half right: our national parks are good but not perfect Rod Keenan Prime Minister Tony Abbott this week told a timber industry dinner that he doesn’t think national parks should be a growth industry: “We have quite enough national parks. We have quite enough locked up… http://theconversation.com/abbotts-half-right-our-national-parks-are-good-but-not-perfect-24029 48. The Tony Chainsaw Massacre Prime Minister Tony Abbott In a speech given in Tasmania this week, Tony Abbott says Australia's old growth forests are open for business — the logging business. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/tony-abbotts-love-of-wood-not-seeing-the-forest-for-the-trees,6249 49. Cape York’s wildlife ignored in the rush to develop the north Noel D Preece The future of Cape York Peninsula – home to many of Australia’s unique birds, mammals, frogs and reptiles – is currently under review. Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently launched the first stage of a http://theconversation.com/cape-yorks-wildlife-ignored-in-the-rush-to-develop-the-north-21998 ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE 50. Inside the horror at Manus Island Rod St George I have never seen men as desperate, alone and vulnerable as I saw among the sexually abused on Manus Island... Like many, I watched with horror as the recent violence at Manus Island unfolded. But not with surprise. Last year I worked on the island as the occupational health and safety manager for the security firm G4S.... The key problem was the Department of Immigration, which refused to consider professional advice concerning the protection of the inmates. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/manus-island-inside-the-horror-20140306-349x8.html#ixzz2vEY9NnP3 51. Scott Morrison's Christian charity falls by wayside Paul Malone But if we were to find a role for Morrison in [the Good Samaritan] story, we would have to create an individual who seeks help to roll the victim into a ditch, hopefully out of sight and out of mind. That's what Morrison is doing with battered refugees. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/scott-morrisons-christian-charity-falls-by-wayside-20140308-34e7w.html 52. Asylum seekers across Australia launch legal appeals following data breach Oliver Laughland and Paul Farrell Government faces slew of federal court appeals after details of every asylum seeker on the mainland was accidentally published http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/08/asylum-seekers-launch-legal-appeals-data-breach?CMP=ema_632 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


10/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Monday, 10 March 2014: [b]Abbott continues to play fast & loose with trust & truth. [/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CACHE-2014-03-10.aspx

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10/03/2014Casablanca What a splendid collection you have gifted us today. I've a birthday party to attend this afternoon, so I'll luxuriate in reading your offerings this evening.


10/03/2014Ad Shorten has said Labor needs new policies, not those of 2013. One can only hope that it does look back to its philosophical roots; that there is internal debate about the left and progressive stances on issues to create a final meaningful policy; and that it does not succumb to the input of media managers and their focus groups. If they use focus groups, it should be to help identify the best way of selling their policies - what are the key words the focus groups respond to - not to identify what those policies should be (at least not in total, although there is room to identify issues of concern). Casablanca Just to endorse Ad's comment. You have provided an amazingly full list today and I am slowly working my way through it.


10/03/2014Entitlements? Kevin Price gives Gina (and a few others) a piece of his mind ... http://kevinprice.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/gina-rineharts-misplaced-reality.html ... and what a brilliant mind it is.

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11/03/2014Ken It is encouraging that Labor is "[i]looking back to its philosophical roots; that there is internal debate about the left and progressive stances on issues to create a final meaningful policy; and that it does not succumb to the input of media managers and their focus groups."[/i] I wonder when we ordinary folk will get to know what they decide? DMW The Kevin Price article is very well written. Thank you. Casablanca I'm still working through yesterday's Cache. I have another busy day today.


11/03/2014Ken Rounding your classic trilogy, this forward-thinking piece concisely outlines the possible directions the Left needs to take to attempt to pull the social fat from the fire: you have helped me develop an overview of where we've come from, where we're at, and where we might hope to go. Our problem now of course is that the fat is well alight already, with Abborrrrtt and Murdoch fanning the flames and gross national happiness being downgraded like our now-lost 3xAAA rating. Why it is that Bill Shorten seems quite disinclined to speak out about what is being done to us day by day is absolutely baffling. It is as if he is in the thrall of the Right. What do we do about Shorten? He seems as dud as a lead coin. What can we offer in place of the LNP that will reboot the Australian sense of decency? At the moment, and you may imagine how True Believer Me feels about saying this, spokespeople for the Greens are killing Labor in the realm of stirring words. Labor looks like a Kangaroo in a spotlight, though not so pretty! I think Shorten should gracefully acknowledge that he is totally inadequate to lead the ALP, and hand over respectfully to Albo. What do you think? Don't forget to #MarchInMarch. The sad part is that it will perforce be almost entirely negative in message: ABBORRRTTT BEGONE. And Ken, this is a Masterly Work of yours. Thank you.


11/03/2014TT I didn't mention the Greens in my articles because I didn't want to get bogged down in a debate about them, but they are the most effective Left party at the moment. They do have a left agenda and generally stick to it. They have drawn some of the left vote and young people away from Labor. On the other hand, the links between Labor and the Greens in the last parliament also lost Labor votes - those who saw the Greens as too far left - and Labor does need some of those votes to win government. So it is a fine line Labor has to tread. I think the emphasis on well-being/happiness and changing the basic nature of the economic debate are the planks that can bring in a left/progressive approach that still appeals to a majority of voters. And I will be interested to see how many Labor politicians speak at the March in March events. Labor needs to link to people power. I agree that Shorten has failed to take the opportunities presented to him. With all the blunders the government has already made, Labor should be making the government a laughing stock by now. If Abbott made the Labor government look as though it was always in 'chaos', it would be easy enough to name this government 'blunder after blunder'. Shorten lacks charisma and a biting turn of phrase: I have noticed that to make a point he tends to get angry and raise his voice, which will not go down well with the electorate.


11/03/2014Hi Ken, I am not sure Australia is ready to embrace the concept of Gross National Happiness as a measure of our economy or the nation's well being. Our adherence to the 'protestant work ethic' and a consequent 'hair shirted' view of life may be a big road block. Also the whole concept would be so easily pilloried by economic rationalists particularly those right wing ones that seem to have a firm grip on the current government's tender appendages. [i]I think a lot of the problem lies with the word happiness. It's an eye-catching, emotive word beloved of book publishers and headline writers. But what does it actually mean? [/i] Ross Gittins http://www.rossgittins.com/2012/02/yes-there-is-more-to-life-than.html There has been a lot studies and writings on happiness and how it affects our lives and yes, even the economy. I have heard mention that even our own ABS has factored 'happiness' into some of it's work. (Finding an actual reference has eluded me and my scratchy research skills at the moment) Ross Gittins (again!) had some very valuable insights and prognostications relevant to 'happiness' and measuring it in his [i]Ronald Henderson Oration [/i] in August 2004 titled: [b]An Economics Fit for Humans[/b] http://www.rossgittins.com/2004/08/economics-fit-for-humans.html The concept of an economics (and an economy) fit for humans tied in with the idea a living wage may be a good path to follow which may eventually lead us to embracing the idea that Gross National Happiness is a better measure than Gross National Product.


11/03/2014DMW You may have to wait until my piece on bringing GNH into play. I agree that 'happiness' may not 'sell' but there are already indexes available that measure well being, and the idea of happiness shows up in those as subjective questions on 'life satisfaction'. And as to the economic rationalists, I have another piece almost finished prognosticating their demise over the next decade or so - it ties in with the new types of indexes that are now available and what they will mean for the ideas of the economic rationalists. So a lot more of this discussion to come! And thank you for the link to the Gittens article - it fits exactly with what I am saying in the nexdt couple of pieces, and I may have to see if I can work it in.

Pappinbarra Fox

11/03/2014Ken, another excellent piece. TT I supported Albo in the first round but now believe that he may not be the best there is to take the fight to Abbott, as the leader. I am now forming the view (not solidified yet) that a team of Tanya, Albo and Penny - move to Lower House - would sort out Abbott. Abbott would be blown away if Shorten stepped down and Tanya ascended with the Albo-Penny combo behind her. He didn't handle Julia in the past and he wont be able to handle Tanya in the future. What do others thinkl?


11/03/2014Pappinbarra Fox Like your thinking but unfortunately it will never happen while the NSW right dominates in the ALP. Plibersek, Albanese and Wong are each from the Left. Under the factional deal that exists (as I understand it) the Right takes leadership in the House and the Left in the Senate and usually has a deputy from the other faction. Like Gillard, Tanya has a chance of leading in the House (if Shorten steps down) because she is already deputy but then someone from the right faction would probably become her deputy. They need to break some of these deals and conventions and consider what is best for the Party in terms of leadership and winning votes.


11/03/2014Hi Ken I have been known to put the cart before the horse on occasion :) Not that I think that Gittins is the final (or best) word on the topic though he has been writing on it for most of his career and he is a gold mine of anecdote and references. I recall an interview with him where he spoke at some length on how his Salvationist upbringing has influenced his thinking toward this. Less hairy shirted upbringing maybe. I look forward to your further writings on this and wish much joy and learning as you delve into the likes of Akerlof, Easterlin, Loewenstein, Kahneman, Thaler, Tversky and others in your research.


11/03/2014DMW Who? I had to look up a few of the names you mentioned. Some interesting stuff but I find it fascinating that economists have to come up with such theories when much of what they are saying is self-evident to someone like me trained in anthropology. I did some anthropological economics which is where I learned the idea that economics is not all this mathematical mumbo-jumbo that modern economists seem to use, but a basic question of how a group (any group, whether a tribe in the Amazon rain forest or a modern western nation) uses and distributes the resources available to it. The problem arose when economists tried to turn their field of knowledge into a 'science' with so-called predictable outcomes. Generally I have found that economics is only an exact science in hindsight (and not always then!). I hope you're not an economist! :-)


11/03/2014Ken I am PhD from UoL A Pot hole Digger from University of Life. Although a keen reader on things economic if I were take up study I think I would start with History and then see where to go ... Anthropology does have some appeal but in the end I suspect my major field of study remains in the taste of water that has been sterilised with malt, hops and yeast.


11/03/2014DMW Your last is an excellent study and I will be testing some of its black variety next Monday - Saint Paddy's day.

Catching up

11/03/2014Not time to get rid of Shorten or anyone else. We need to get behind him, and grow the party. New members, is enough would have to alter the power balance within the party. When the time comes for change, is that is seen as necessary, I would love to see us move onto the next generation, clean skins are essential. There is much depth and talent in the Labor parliamentary party. There is many newcomers that have ability. The likes of Albo and Tanya will have big roles to play. The same cannot be said of the Coalition, If they have up and coming ability, it is being kept on a tight rein and hidden. All we can do, now is holde ourt breath and hope that Abbott and his mob do not caused damage that cannot be undone easily. There is a good chance this will be the case, for Abbott and Co are quite lazy, and ineffective in putting things in place. All slogans and hot air, not much more.

Catching up

11/03/2014I love Abbott taking credit for the SPC reversal. He knew they would be OK, and did not need Federal money. Seems to forgot, that the state government filled in for him. Also I believe the horrible unions and workers came to the party. We still have SPC in spite of Abbott, not because of him. Sinodinos on Lateline defending the indefensible when it comes to his legislation.


12/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Wednesday, 12 March 2014: 46 items[/b] NEW GROWTH INDUSTRIES: ROYAL COMMISSIONS + INQUIRIES + AUDITS + REVIEWS + WITCH HUNTS + WASTE OF TIME & MONEY 1. Fraser papers query royal commissions' usefulness Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders Cabinet papers from 1982 reveal that, in the midst of its Costigan Royal Commission on the Painters and Dockers Union, Malcolm Fraser's Coalition government had grown sceptical about the effectiveness of such inquiries. ''Royal commissions produce reports but little comes out of them on which prosecutions can be based,'' the papers from the National Archives read. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/fraser-papers-query-royal-commissions-usefulness-20140309-34fi1.html 2. Manus Island riot: full report by Australian official may not be released Lenore Taylor Australians may not see the full report by Robert Cornall into the fatal riot on Manus Island, because both the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments will receive an account in which immigration officials have already “merged” the findings of investigations being undertaken by each country.... How, in these circumstances, can there be any accountability? http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/10/manus-island-riot-full-report-by-australian-official-may-not-be-released ENTITLEMENTS + FIDDLES + RORTS + SUBSIDIES + TENDERS + RESPONSIBILITY + LARGESSE 3. The Murdoch payback Rodney E. Lever Malcolm Turnbull says the growth of the internet means: “… we should have less regulation and more freedom.” Given Australia already has the most highly concentrated media ownership in the western world and most people still get their news from TV or newspapers, this statement is an insulting furphy. The only thing that is absolutely certain is that it will be carefully designed to give Murdoch more power, more control and more wealth to stash in his tax-free island banks. When Murdoch used his imported ace headline writer to help the LNP steal last year’s election victory, the old octogenarian wasn’t whistling Dixie — he was out to claim his reward. He has obviously made it clear to the Abbott Government it is now time to pay the piper. http://www.independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/the-murdoch-payback,6266 4. Thatcher’s Britain is the wrong economic model Unconventional Economist Gina Rinehart has made the curious claim today that Australia should follow the example of Britain’s Thatcher Government: ‘’Thatcher steered through a lack of courage in her own political party, which had become riddled with lefties or ‘non-courageous wets’ and self-interested power mongrels, who didn’t grasp or didn’t want to grasp what was needed for [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail3.com/t/i-l-fukkuy-dtyueir-ji/ 5. Gina Rinehart and the reality of entitlement Kevin Price I want to say this to Gina Rinehart and others who continue to ply this 'tirade of entitlement'. First up, Ms Rinehart, my grandfather knew your father,...the relationship between the two men was of entrepreneur and government minister responsible...So you need to be aware, Ms Rinehart, that you are the beneficiary of that government largesse that enabled your father...to explore and develop and establish relationships that resulted in substantial personal wealth, and modest state wealth. Without it, you would very likely not be in the position of undue influence that you enjoy today. That largesse means that you received the benefit of entitlement, but it doesn't mean you are someone who is any position to dictate what entitlements should be given in a world sixty years on. http://kevinprice.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/gina-rineharts-misplaced-reality.html 6. No merit in Rinehart's welfare whinge Callam Pickering Should Australian politicians turn to business leaders for policy insight? Not if Gina Rinehart’s recent comments are any indication of the quality of insight on offer...[she] has no public policy experience beyond lobbying and rent-seeking. She is a businesswoman but not an economist nor an expert on politics or political economy. She has no expertise on social issues or social work or psychology. She is neither a lawyer nor a tax expert. In fact, it would be quite remarkable if Rinehart could offer valuable insight on social policy and economics. I don’t think the public quite appreciates how difficult it is to be both supremely successful in business and able to offer expertise on a wide variety of other topics. But in Australia -- and globally -- we often expect business leaders to offer insight and value on topics they have no specialty in. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/11/economy/no-merit-rineharts-welfare-whinge?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=607500&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt= 7. Abbott government spent $15,000 on weekly boats media conferences AAP The Abbott government spent more than $15,000 flying Operation Sovereign Borders commander Angus Campbell and other officials to Sydney for weekly media briefings before abandoning the practice. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-spent-15000-on-weekly-boats-media-conferences-20140311-34jl9.html CULTURE WARS 8. Class and climate: how financial warfare affects the air David Peetz and Georgina Murray The climate crisis has deep roots in class. Its class impacts are everywhere, from the acrid particles accumulating in the lungs of working-class men and women in the Victorian town of Morwellto the thousands of Bangladeshis displaced each year by inundation of their land. But the climate debate does not just raise questions of capital against labour. It also reflects deep divisions within classes. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pklijtk-trhltityg-p/ 9. How social class affects health Sharon Friel The unequal distribution of power, money and resources also creates health inequities. Nowhere is this clearer to witness in Australia than in the fact that the richest 20% of the population can expect to live an average of six years longer than the poorest 20%. Australians who are socially disadvantaged by income, employment status, education and place of residence, and Indigenous Australians, also have a higher risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers, and depression. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pklijtk-trhltityg-m/ 10. Does the way we speak affect our future? Annabelle Lukin Dialects bring with them an ensemble of cultural associations, a rich resource for writers like Dickens, Twain and Achebe, who draw on dialectal features to create highly evocative characters. Dialects place speakers geographically and from a socioeconomic perspective. http://theconversation.com/does-the-way-we-speak-affect-our-future-23503 11. National curriculum: call to boost 'western/Judeo-Christian' influence Daniel Hurst, Guardian "A group of religious private schools has called for the national curriculum to include a “western/Judeo-Christian” influence category, an idea that is likely to appeal to the team reviewing what students are taught. Christian Schools Australia’s suggestion is broadly in line with the direction the education minister, Christopher Pyne, signalled in January." http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/10/national-curriculum-call-to-boost-western-judeo-christian-influence 12. Did free university education increase higher education attainment? Andrew Norton This year marks the 40th anniversary of Gough Whitlam’s free higher education policy. It continues to be the subject of considerable nostalgia. But did the policy increase higher education attainment? The answer to this question is quite complex. http://andrewnorton.net.au/ 13. It's not 1914 all over again: Asia is preparing to avoid war Nick Bisley One hundred years ago, Europe stumbled into an unexpected and utterly devastating war. It was unexpected for two reasons: the diplomatic mechanisms set up after Napoleon’s defeat had kept the continent free from great power war in the 19th century, and that Europe’s economies had become profoundly intertwined.…War became possible because a rising power could not find satisfaction in the existing international order. Chauvinistic nationalism, a complacent mindset about warfare and non-existent diplomatic efforts to reduce the risks of conflict dragged Europe to war. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pklijtk-trhltityg-x/ POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 14. What's prompted Abbott's sudden drying out? The latest acrobatic feat of policy by our agile Prime Minster seems to involve a decisive, if not entirely graceful, lurch to the right. Abbott is taking very hard line on Qantas and appears anxious to take the role of a free market warrior in the mould of Margaret Thatcher. What has prompted this sudden drying out of a politician who has previously gloried in his pragmatism? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-10/maccallum-whats-prompted-abbotts-sudden-drying-out/5309288?WT.mc_id=newsmail 15. NSW Government forces Origin to spread anti-carbon price propaganda Lachlan Barker On Friday last week, the power bill for the property where I used to live arrived. The property is shared by seven people and I do the sums to work out who owes what. So I opened up the bill to begin my calcs when this appalling piece of coal burners’ propaganda caught my eye... it is outrageous propaganda against climate action and it's a gross over-estimate.’ http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/nsw-government-forces-origin-to-propagate-anti-carbon-price-propaganda,6267 16. Prime Minister Tony Abbott plays down reports of cuts to Commonwealth Seniors Health Card ABC Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Federal Government will keep its commitment to index eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. The Commission of Audit has delivered an interim report to the Government that reportedly recommended eligibility criteria for the card be tightened. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-09/government-no-plans-to-restrict-access-to-seniors-health-card/5308770?WT.mc_id=newsmail 17. Abbott’s paid parental leave will do little to bring women to the workforce Greg Jericho A review of research and data suggests Tony Abbott’s proposed paid parental leave (PPL) scheme will probably fail to achieve any significant lift in women’s participation in the workforce. More worrying is that spending on childcare, which is much more likely to achieve this aim, is to be constrained by the budget in a way the PPL scheme is not. http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2014/mar/10/abbotts-paid-parental-leave-will-do-little-to-bring-women-to-the-workforce 18. US Republican praises 'hardliner' Tony Abbott Lisa Millar A former United States Republican presidential candidate says his party could learn lessons from Tony Abbott's election victory. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-10/us-republican-praises-tony-abbott/5309338?WT.mc_id=newsmail 19. 'Crowding out' and the fallacy of fiscal austerity Matthew Smith In the lead-up to the federal government’s budget in May, we’ve been told to expect deep cuts in government spending. Such a policy is said to contribute to a short run decline in Australia’s economic activity, but will lead in the longer term to a greater sustained expansion as the private sector grows and blooms like flowers in spring. This argument is a fallacy - grounded in a false economic theory. I’ll explain why. The fiscal austerity argument is essentially based on “crowding-out”, which contends that expanding the size of government will in the long run crowd out the private sector. So shrinking government through fiscal consolidation will release resources enabling the private sector to expand. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pklijtk-trhltityg-o/ 20. Smoke and mirrors with red-tape ghosts Peter Martin Josh Frydenberg, the Prime Minister's parliamentary secretary, says he wants to attack the red tape that is "cutting jobs, impeding innovation and deterring investment". Last Friday the head of the Productivity Commission nominated the red tape tying up newsagents, pharmacies and taxis as among the last shards unattacked by the wave of competition reforms set off by the Hawke government in the early 1990s. His back-of-the-envelope calculations put the benefits of the so-called Hilmer reforms at $20 billion. He said the remaining reforms would probably be worth $5 billion... Repeal day is a stunt copied from the US. It would be fair to say that repealing these types of laws - and they are the only types Frydenberg mentions - will achieve nothing whatsoever when it comes to repealing red tape that matters. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/smoke-and-mirrors-with-redtape-ghosts-20140310-34hnq.html#ixzz2vbgMpd48 ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 21. Productivity push should focus on frontline managers Daryll Hull Australia has more than two million registered businesses, and at least equally that number of actual places of work. These range from one and two person workplaces to groups of 100 people plus. These… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pklijtk-trhltityg-n/ 22. The simple truth of our 'miracle' economy David Llewellyn-Smith "Australia's miracle economy is not as complex as it appears. It only has three moving parts, really, and if you understand that then you've gone a long way to gaining insight into where it's headed at any given time." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-11/llewellyn-smith-the-simple-truth-of-our-miracle-economy/5311498 23. More privatisation will aid economy Ross Gittins I have no sympathy for those who take an ideological approach to the privatisation of government-owned businesses, whether they support all selloffs because governments are always inefficient or. oppose all selloffs because the private sector can never be trusted. No, each proposal should be judged on its merits - with a lot of boxes to be ticked before privatisation is justified. Even so, it seems likely we'll see a fair bit of privatisation in coming days - particularly at the state level - as part of Joe Hockey's efforts to get his budget back in the black while avoiding having a contractionary effect on economic activity and, indeed, while ensuring the economy accelerates to the point where we get unemployment down again. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/more-privatisation-will-aid-economy-20140309-34ff1.html 24. Three rules for successful privatisation Leith van Onselen Ross Gittins has published a sensible and pragmatic take on the privatisation debate, whereby he argues that asset sales should be assessed on a case-by-case basis dependent on three criteria: …the first test of whether a proposed privatisation is in the public interest: it ought to involve an increase in competition [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail3.com/t/i-l-zlrjjy-dtyueir-du/ 25. How not to bail out a country Stephen Grenville Emergency bailouts are still creating moral hazard for both debtor and creditor countries. Taxpayers are bearing the long-term cost, while bondholders walk away unscathed... Just as religion without some form of hell loses its discipline on behaviour, bailing out creditors leaves them with less reason to exercise care in making future loans. http://click.e.newsdigitalmedia.com.au/?qs=7fd1e14f98df6fbe9dc5281a58ac16c6b4b8b25a1192ff4ebb618f6bf826a9b78c5ef8209460c74b I AM WOMEN 26. Women the new majority on Q&A panel, at least for one night Angela Priestley It was a rare moment on the ABC's Q&A last night when three female panelists joined the discussion. While the panel show has featured all-women panels previously, to specifically discuss women's issues, its number of female guests during regular shows has rarely outnumbered men. http://womensagenda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=30f81b85614c4a46de129a5d6&id=f3bc59a4c7&e=87e80a7b7d 27. When the Finance Minister calls equal representation a 'side issue' Angela Priestley International Women's Day is not the time to call equal representation a "side issue" when it comes to governing the country. Nor should such matters be dismissed as low on the priority list on the remaining 364 days of the year. But on IWD especially, our Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann should have known better than to label the low number of women on the Abbott government's frontbench as less important than other issues. He did just that on Sky New's Saturday Agenda over the weekend telling David Lipson that, "We are not going to get distracted by these sorts of, what I would say, are side issues." http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/editor-s-agenda/when-the-finance-minister-calls-equal-representation-a-side-issue/201403093704 28. Tony Abbott's right: Women did crack the ceiling, but then what happened? Angela Priestley All very true. It wasn't so long ago that we did have an incredible number of female leaders in power. A record number of women in Cabinet. A record number of female heads of state. A record number of women in board positions across corporate Australia. We even had a minister for women who was, actually, a woman... Meanwhile, a change of government can swiftly see any significant progress come undone. http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/editor-s-agenda/tony-abbott-s-right-women-did-crack-the-ceiling-but-then-what-happened/201403043680 29. Stereotypes of women and work leave academics out of the picture Renee Adams ..the narrow range of images used to portray women, work and family – the businesswoman with briefcase, the mother with children and the one juggling both. Society’s focus on women and work appears fixated on these kinds of stereotypes - and government policy settings are squarely aimed at them. Think paid maternity leave, tax rebates for child care, gender balance reporting requirements for corporations with 100 or more employees... One neglected corner of the working women debate is that of female academics – the women who teach the new generation of leaders, produce valuable research and take part in what is commonly referred to as “thought leadership”. http://theconversation.com/stereotypes-of-women-and-work-leave-academics-out-of-the-picture-24065 30. Which country has the highest proportion of women in parliament? Leila Rafei The latest data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union show that Rwanda tops the list as the country with the highest proportion of women in parliament, with nearly 64 percent of seats held by women in 2013. Globally, women account for an average of about 20 percent of parliamentary seats, up from 15 percent a decade ago. The top ten countries are a mix of high and middle income economies, some with legally mandated gender quotas and some without. Rwanda, a low income country, is followed by Andorra at a flat 50 percent and Cuba at 49 percent. Sweden, with 44 percent of parliamentary seats held by women, is the country that achieved the highest rate without any gender quota... While there is still much progress to be made, the general trend is an increase in women’s representation across all regional and income groups. At the bottom line, Rwandan parliament member Connie Bwiza Sekemana sums it up best: “The issue is not the sex. It is the issue of equal opportunity, of citizen’s rights, human rights, the fundamentals of any citizen.” http://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/which-countries-have-most-women-parliament?cid=EXT_TWBN_D_EXT SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL SCIENCE + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 31. Voters will punish Shorten's lack of vision Rob Burgess The opposition leader’s tired and vague messages of protecting jobs and democratising the Labor party are not enough to cut through the serious economic issues facing the nation http://click.e.newsdigitalmedia.com.au/?qs=7fd1e14f98df6fbe91c8cf80439a8ca9ed438b9dcecd719c8792b6ff6e86f77e1fc5d87426eb7b39 32. Thankfulness Daemon Singer Not only are many Australians ungrateful for the privileges and the way of life this country provides us, but they also wish to deny others from enjoying the rewards of our country too… Although many of us are appalled at this, we keep electing governments that perpetuate the cruel policies towards asylum seekers...when we go to the polls next time at a Federal level we need to make a decision whether to go for Labor or Liberal or do what Indi did and find ourselves a representative who listens to us, as voters, individually, and isn’t going to be bent to the will of the party, rather than the will of the people they represent. Our single capacity for choice in terms of who represents us on the world stage is the greatest thing our forefathers ever did for us and for which we should be eternally thankful. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/10/thankfulness-2/ 33. Countering neoliberalism: A new life for Labor? Geoff Davies The way forward for progressives is to argue against the self-serving neoliberal ideology of the fatcat and for prudent and sensible management of the markets.. For three decades, while Labor has focussed on being merely a slightly paler imitation of the Coalition, its membership has plummeted, inequality has risen, it has repeatedly capitulated to wealthy bullies and, it seems, there is no policy too degrading for it to adopt as it races the Coalition into the depths of fear and negativity. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/countering-neoliberalism-a-new-life-for-labor,6263 34. The neoliberal hypocrisy over 'market forces' Tony Lewis 9 While many people proclaim neoliberal ideals, no-one actually lives by them, because neoliberal ideology is hollow and hypocritical at its core... Most people who proclaim these values are the first to turn against them in particular circumstances — those circumstances being quite simply the moment they feel themselves threatened by the real forces of the market. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/neoliberal-hypocrisy-over-market-forces,6268 35. How the cottage industries in class ideology did themselves in Chris Peers What is absent from social analysis as promoted by the prevailing intellectual elite is an ability to balance the redundancy of socialist thought with the obsolescence of utopian philosophy. To drive a middle path between what remains of the left and the prevalence of the right, it may be necessary to consider more carefully the prevailing wisdom for traces of moral and philosophical bias. The concept of human capital is a case in point. It is a relatively new idea, generated effectively from modern economic theory, which projects two different things. http://theconversation.com/how-the-cottage-industries-in-class-ideology-did-themselves-in-23005 36. Cultural production of ignorance provides rich field for study Michael Hiltzik "Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford, is one of the world's leading experts in agnotology, a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance. It's a rich field, especially today when whole industries devote themselves to sowing public misinformation and doubt about their products and activities." Robert Proctor doesn't think ignorance is bliss. He thinks that what you don't know can hurt you. And that there's more ignorance around than there used to be, and that its purveyors have gotten much better at filling our heads with nonsense. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20140307,0,1622098.column#ixzz2vXuxvwx6 INTERNET + TROLLS + FREE SPEECH + PRIVACY 37. Mobile phone tracking: it's not personal Mark Burdon What does privacy mean in an age of ongoing privacy breaches? With new privacy law coming online in Australia on March 12, our Privacy in Practice series explores the practical challenges facing Australian… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pklijtk-trhltityg-b/ 38. Get off my cloud: when privacy laws meet cloud computing Jake Goldenfein What does privacy mean in an age of ongoing privacy breaches? With new privacy law coming online in Australia on March 12, our Privacy in Practice series explores the practical challenges facing Australian… http://theconversation.com/get-off-my-cloud-when-privacy-laws-meet-cloud-computing-21001 MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK + MISINFORMATION 39. Prime Minister Tony Abbott treads cautiously on media ownership rules Jonathan Swan and Judith Ireland Tony Abbott has added weight to speculation that the Coalition is planning to relax media ownership rules, which would allow big media companies to increase their dominance in regional Australia. "The media world has changed beyond recognition over the last couple of decades," the Prime Minister said on Monday. "It's important that regulation evolve to match the changing environment." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/prime-minister-tony-abbott-treads-cautiously-on-media-ownership-rules-20140310-34gvr.html 40. It’s like Abbott thinks that we all suffer from ADOS (see blog for explanation) rossleighbrisbane Another thing that we all should remember is that people who run the media are just like the people who run the government. In some cases, exactly like the people who run the government. As Milan Kundera once said, “The struggle of man against power is…” Oh, shiny! http://theaimn.com/2014/03/10/its-like-abbott-thinks-that-we-all-suffer-from-ados-see-blog-for-explanation/ 41. Duty to Whom? Mr Denmore Do journalists have a duty of care to their readers and viewers? Or is their first responsibility to their employers? Of course, these responsibilities are not mutually exclusive. But anyone who pays attention to some of the more 'colourful' output of the tabloid press, radio and commercial television in Australia might conclude where loyalties primarily lie... While defenders of aggressively partisan journalism argue they are merely giving audiences want they want (the Fox News model), this can have severe consequences in a country where nearly 70% of the metropolitan media is controlled by the chief purveyor of this stuff. http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/duty-to-whom.html YARTZ & CULTURE 42. THE NONSENSE OF AB-SENSE: Kevin Price The nonsense of ab-sense: a critical review of jack straw’s epochal work, ab-sense—a book that doesn’t exist, by an author who has never been seen http://kevinprice.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/the-art-lazaar-papers.html ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 43. Australia should set terms for G20 climate change talks Mike Callaghan Will Australia reluctantly be pushed into discussing climate change in the G20 while it is in the chair? This would not be a good look for Australia. But avoiding the topic will not be good for the G20. So why not take an initiative and set the terms for a discussion on climate change at the Brisbane G20 Summit? The pressure is building for climate change to be on the G20 agenda in 2014. The headline in response to recent comments by the US G20 sherpa (the senior G20 official) Caroline Atkinson was 'Heat on Abbott as US urges climate change'. http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/?COLLCC=3823348789& 44. Heaven help us before Hell becomes the inevitable destination Kaye Lee In May 2007, the Prime Ministerial Task Group on Emissions Trading presented John Howard with a report that had “been informed by the views of a wide range of stakeholders”. They considered 216 submissions from interested parties and held discussions with 180 groups and individuals both in Australia and overseas. Dr Peter Shergold, Chair of the Task Force, said the broad-ranging expertise of government, industry, and environmental organisations had been of significant benefit to their deliberations. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/10/heaven-help-us-before-hell-becomes-the-inevitable-destination/ 45. Cheap batteries will revolutionise the renewable energy market Chris Huhne The big power companies will struggle to keep up as a solution emerges to the problem of storing wind and solar power.... The objective is to cut battery prices by 30% in three years, and to halve them by 2020. Since battery cost is the main obstacle to electric cars, this is potentially game-changing. It would allow electric cars with a 200-mile range to compete with the Ford Mondeo and not just the BMW 5-series (Tesla has already spurred the Bavarian luxury car-maker into an electric response). http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/09/cheap-batteries-renewable-energy-market-big-power-companies-wind-solar-power ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE 46. What Minister Morrison is giving up for Lent Kerry Murphy When I was young, I remember being encouraged to give up lollies or chocolate for Lent. On the eve of the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday last week, the Immigration Minister announced he would be effectively giving up granting protection visas for refugees for the duration of Lent, and beyond, until 1 July. http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001AtITtA1FlkC3d0XdR_Ik8TgWyfQESpJxEILhnG0gFZxEJNwFbfgYA9L-qJzGKcCZdOGqBmDe12bwvm4-INpBpYHAMsxXJ5cgR-3xFUuu1lMw18hPYMmq7wjtVZTfvq15ssUS2aBXUtgzaJliuzbNaHSY6fj9lHhwruEit2snZKzJTnIP1iFhMOPm6CjoeW5a_A24nfE0G-gCNpDNmoV-iYp3RiUsTwst&c=kYFHblnpXBkBfneqeJ2coAFzU9QN-0R4vO-7T44bZB7mUT-IEAs1JQ==&ch=xBM7a_PGvHbPKZ33Tr0-IeXqX2N9PN3iBzn_Y2BEd_RMHetlt9lnNg== OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


12/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Wednesday, 12 March 2014: [b]Some great articles cached for your edification[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CACHE-2014-03-10.aspx


12/03/2014I too support DMW's research project. It adds value to human life ;-) I'm also warming to Shorten's leadership approach (given the opportunity I would have voted for Albanese). After three years of Abbott shouting three word slogans from the rooftop and manufacturing a phoney election campaign, there is a significant group of Australians that are 'over' politics. Shorten's quietly quietly approach removes the irritant from these people's lives and allows plenty of room for the current Government to demonstrate their skills (or lack thereof) - as well as the implementation of the 200 costed and ready to go policies they claimed to have at the 2013 election. To me Shorten is playing the long game here and will have plenty to say in a measured way when the next election rolls around. On the subject of economists discussed above, I did a bit of economics in my Business degree. I have fond memories of the economics lecturer strolling in at the first lecture and telling us that economics is not a predictible science as claimed by some. In chemistry, put two things together and it's almost guaranteed there will be a known reaction (accompanied by a puff of smoke in some cases). Put 100 economists into a room and ginve them a problem, they will tell you a solution. Whent he solution doesn't work, they will give you 150 good reasons why it didn't.

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12/03/2014Folks You may have noticed that the site has been slow in recent days. Web Monkey has worked on the server and has now restored TPS to its usual efficient state. You will now find it working normally again.

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12/03/2014Folks Do read Chris Huhne's article on cheap batteries (45 in Casablanca's Cache). It will give heart to those concerned about global warming, and will scare the daylights out of the fossil fuel purveyors.


12/03/20142353 Sounds like you had a decent economics lecturer who actually understood its limitations. I hope you are right about Shorten's 'long game'. It still worries me, however, that he lacks charisma and a natural turn of phrase. It is, in a sense, the Howard model - no charisma but a 'steady hand'.


12/03/2014March in March...I'll be there..12 noon Parliament house...see you there!


12/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Thursday, 13 March 2014: 34 items [/b] MARCH IN MARCH 1. MARCH IN MARCH And why I support it. John Lord What is that incites normal everyday citizens to protest? To rally as a grass roots organisation and March across the nation saying: “Let disgust be your compass”. After all it is estimated that only 15% of Australians have ever protested. Has the Abbott Government been so poor so harmful as to merit a grass roots uprising. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/12/march-in-march-and-why-i-support-it/ 2. Roy Morgan: Labor extends lead Houses and Holes Fresh from Roy Morgan: If a Federal Election were held today it would result in an ALP victory – two-party preferred support is ALP 53.5% (up 3% since the Morgan Poll of February 15/16 & 22/23, 2014) cf. L-NP 46.5% (down 3%) according to the Morgan Poll. This multi-mode Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted over the last two weekends [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail2.com/t/i-l-zljpl-dtyueir-ir/ NEW GROWTH INDUSTRIES: ROYAL COMMISSIONS + INQUIRIES + AUDITS + REVIEWS + WITCH HUNTS + TIME WASTING + VINDICTIVENESS 3. Don't ring the bells yet. The Catholic church isn't planning to open its wallet David Marr One of the great powers of a royal commission is to embarrass. Pell and the bishops can see terrible embarrassment looming as the royal commission into institutional response to child sexual abuse turns its sights on the privileged protection of the Catholic church from the courts. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/12/dont-ring-the-bells-yet-catholic-church-isnt-planning-to-open-wallet?CMP=ema_632 INDUSTRY WARS 4. Unwinding the Coalition's economic pantomime David James Economics is full of circular arguments. The Government is on the one hand arguing — most notably with the SPC Ardmona case, the exit of the car manufacturers and Qantas — that it will not get involved in supporting Australia's industry base. But then it argues that its policies will boost Australia's industry base. Lower unemployment will inevitably follow. For the first time ever it is apparently possible to have it both ways. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39075 CULTURE WARS 5. Is Abbott warrior class, or class warrior? Rob Burgess On both sides of government, some politicians act in the best interests of the nation and the economy. Others are simply fixated with booting out the ‘wrong kind’ of people on the other side of the fence. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/12/national-affairs/abbott-warrior-class-or-class-warrior?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=608852&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt= 6. Guess who lied to us? Michael Taylor News overnight that the rights of the average worker (including awards and penalty rates) were to be stripped bare confirm that the government was serious when it claimed that Australian workers were overpaid. I don’t want to write about this latest attack on our rights and our pay as I admit I have nothing to add to the overwhelming disgust and opposition that’s been swamping social media sites all morning. Rather, I simply want to remind people of what Tony Abbott said in 2012… http://theaimn.com/2014/03/12/guess-who-lied-to-us/ 7. Choosing to send children to public schools will improve outcomes for all Verity Firth and Rebecca Huntley If anxious Australian parents take their kids out of the local school, it starts to do worse. If enough persisted with the public system to improve it, then the benefits would flow.. In the current climate, the decision parents make about where to send their kids to school seems to be a profound personal, even political statement. Education has become a sensitive issue for our politicians and an emotive and confusing subject for parents and voters... http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/11/choosing-to-send-children-to-public-schools-will-improve-outcomes-for-all?CMP=ema_632 8. Tide of inequity to blame for falling education results David Gillespie Education is a very big line item in state and federal budgets. Thanks to incessant demands for smaller classes, it is getting bigger at an astounding rate. But rather than address the obviously impaired state of our education system, the government's plan is to send you the bill. In 2011-12, Australian governments spent a tad over $47 billion on running the country's schools. But only three-quarters of that went to government-owned schools. The remaining $10 billion or so went to ''private'' (Catholic and independent) schools. Governments are not normally big fans of throwing public money at private choices. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tide-of-inequity-to-blame-for-falling-education-results-20140311-34k42.html#ixzz2vkKKS2uN 9. Coalition launches 457 visa class war Leith van Onselen I noted a few weeks back how the Abbott Government had announced a review of 457 visas for -temporary foreign skilled workers, which looked as if it would unwind conditions enacted by the former Labor Government, such as the requirement that a job must be advertised locally before a 457 visa [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail2.com/t/i-l-zljpl-dtyueir-ji/ THE FRONTIER WAR 10. Historian shines a light on the dark heart of Australia's nationhood Paul Daley Henry Reynolds says the frontier war – his term for the violent dispossession of Indigenous Australians – raises questions of global importance about the ownership of an entire continent...As a student at school and university in mid-20th century Hobart, Henry Reynolds received a conventional education in Australian history. Which is to say he learnt absolutely nothing about the violent dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders after European settlement in 1788 – events he has referred to unambiguously in his controversial writings as “frontier war”. http://www.theguardian.com/world/postcolonial/2014/mar/10/historian-shines-a-light-on-dark-heart-of-australias-nationhood 11. When the black lady sang Maureen O'Brien Soprano Deborah Cheetham was in her 30s when she was reunited with her birth mother. It was the beginning of her understanding of herself as a Yorta Yorta woman and member of the Stolen Generations. At the time she was in the throes of composing her opera, Pecan Summer, based on the 1939 protests by Aboriginals from the Cummeragunja Mission. She soon learned that the story was closer to her than she had realised. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39076 ELECTIONS: TAS + SA + WA 12. Tasmania elections: historical concerns match contemporary anxieties Philip Hoare My own ancestor was deported to Tasmania for stealing manure – an extraordinary notion which made me reflect on the dilemmas facing Australians today... http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/10/tasmania-elections-historical-concerns-match-contemporary-anxieties?CMP=ema_632 13. Tasmania election: what is the Hare-Clark system? Wayne McLean After trading blows around predictable topics, the only issue of consensus in a recent televised debate between the leaders of the Tasmanian Liberal and Labor parties, Will Hodgman and Lara Giddings, was that minority government is not an option ahead of this Saturday’s state election. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pkylrx-trhltityg-c/ 14. The Tasmanian election Amanda Lohrey "In Tasmanian politics, there is an obsession that the Liberal and Labor parties share: if only the Greens would go away. It’s like some pesky virus from another planet, and not even the most drastic medicine can effect a cure. In 1998 the ALP and the Liberal Party went so far as to collude in altering the state’s constitution in an attempted shut-out of minor parties." http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/march/1393592400/amanda-lohrey/tasmanian-election 15. Systematic failure in Western Australia Andrew Elder The Liberal Party and the ALP are the two political parties with experience in governing Western Australia. In the same way that the ALP had systematically failed in governing NSW, we can now say that the Liberal Party has failed systematically in governing WA, and that this cannot be remedied by working it through or even making piecemeal changes. Politics happens at the interface between the individual and wider society. The WA Liberals have failed at that interface, and on either side of it. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/ 16. Fringe dwellers, sharks, preference paybacks and viral videos: WA Senate race Guinevere Hall The candidates for the West Australian Senate election have been quick off the mark with opening statements on how they see the issues. The Liberal Party, with the most to lose from the Senate rerun, came out hard against minor parties. Julie Bishop said: “The outcome of this election will not mean a change of government and it won’t mean that the Liberal Party has control of the Senate. What we need to do is ensure that there is a strong representation from Western Australia inside the government. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/09/fringe-dwellers-sharks-viral-videos-guineverehall-reports-wa-senate-race/#sthash.SgXRyW4t.dpuf POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 17. Tony Abbott and his headless chooks: Environmental abusers Lyn Bender Abbott and his cronies aren’t just climate deniers and skeptics — they're headless chickens pushing us all towards the precipice. Lyn Bender lists 30 acts of environmental vandalism by the Abbott Government so far. http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/tony-abbott-and-his-headless-chooks-climate-change-vandals,6269 18. Tony Abbott ignored John Howard's advice on sacking Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson Gareth Hutchens, James Massola The Abbott government defied the advice of John Howard and Peter Costello when it axed the nation's top economic official, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson. The former prime minister and Australia's longest serving treasurer both backed Dr Parkinson and Dr Watt (Prime Minister and Cabinet) as highly respected officials and suggested they be retained. But Mr Abbott, who has sole power to appoint departmental secretaries, announced in his first statement after being sworn in that Dr Parkinson would go. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-ignored-john-howards-advice-on-sacking-treasury-secretary-martin-parkinson-20140311-34kg1.html 19. Wilkie: Gillard’s backroom deal — and how she betrayed me Andrew Wilkie Julia Gillard came to the member for Denison with a curious proposal. Federal MP Andrew Wilkie is now spilling the beans on the secret deal — and why he ultimately tore up an agreement once she stabbed him in the back. http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/03/12/wilkie-gillards-backroom-deal-and-how-she-ultimately-betrayed-me/ 20. This is now serious: Joe, stop frightening the kiddies Michael Pascoe What was a somewhat bemusing sidelight of politics and consumer confidence has now become serious: the government has so peeved Labor supporters that they've tipped the consumer confidence balance to negative. As the accompanying graph shows from the demographic breakdown of the Westpac/Melbourne Institute consumer confidence index, Labor voters confidence has plunged below GFC levels. Joe Hockey's constant negativity and dire warnings have scared them more than the Great Recession. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/this-is-now-serious-joe-stop-frightening-the-kiddies-20140312-34lmt.html ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 21. Ken Henry warns of 'imminent crisis' over costs of health and welfare AAP Former Treasury chief says federal government must face up to urgent need for taxation reform. With the government facing a massive challenge to rein in the budget deficit, Henry recommended it take another look at his 2010 taxation review. Prime minister Tony Abbott has promised to deliver a tax-reform white paper within this term of government. Any major changes would be taken to the next election. Henry believes a future increase in the rate of the GST is inevitable. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/12/ken-henry-warns-imminent-crisis-over-costs-of-health-and-welfare?CMP=ema_632 22. Why major Budget reform is needed to avert crisis Leith van Onselen In a speech yesterday at the Australian National University, former Australian Treasury secretary, Dr Ken Henry, and former Liberal leader, John Hewson, warned of a looming “crisis” in Australia’s taxation system unless there was widespread reform. From The AFR: “There will be a day of reckoning”. …we are getting closer to [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail2.com/t/i-l-zljpl-dtyueir-tr/ 23. Henry and the tax experts are wasting their breath Callam Pickering Australia’s tax revenue is a pittance compared to what it could be. Instead of focusing on where the really beneficial changes could be made Canberra squabbles over welfare payments. http://click.e.newsdigitalmedia.com.au/?qs=6a01b03735b2c121081b2edf7c452bee6274fe163e5c136c850d69717ea379b486ce42d478e7484e SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL SCIENCE + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 24. Climate change body chief: 'bad guys' won after the 'good guys' lay down Lenore Taylor Bernie Fraser says ‘brazen falsehoods’ and ‘misinformation’ have confused a switched-off and fed-up public.. One of the country’s most experienced policy thinkers draws a brutal conclusion about Australia’s climate change debate: the “good guys” have lost the argument because they failed to contest untruths peddled by “bad guys”, including the federal government. Bernie Fraser, the chairman of the independent climate change authority, which the Abbott government intends to abolish, is a softly spoken former governor of the reserve bank and former secretary of the federal treasury, not known for simplistic assessments of major policy discussions. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/mar/12/climate-change-body-chief-bad-guys-won-when-the-good-guys-lay-down?CMP=ema_632 25. On refugees, both the left and the right are wrong. The solution: compromise Robert Manne While the opponents of the asylum seekers have closed their hearts to suffering, supporters have often closed their minds to the consequences of the policies they have advocated for. In Australia over the past 15 years attitudes to the asylum seeker issue have divided rigidly into two broad ideological camps—on the right, the opponents of the asylum seekers who arrive unauthorised by boat; on the left, their supporters. These camps are not only divided over values. They are also divided over relatively straightforward facts.... Caught then between the extremely effectual ruthlessness of the right and the ineffectual and sometimes misguided humanitarianism of the left, the national debate over the future of asylum seeker has now reached a kind of stalemate from which it will be difficult for us to emerge. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/12/on-refugees-both-the-left-and-the-right-are-wrong-the-solution-compromise?CMP=ema_632 26. Fence-sitters key to asylum seeker success Fatima Measham After more than a decade of refugee advocacy, campaigns still cater to small 'l' liberals and progressives. They are of course critical to consolidating support for asylum seekers and sustaining political pressure. Yet the debate has become so polarised that it would seem as if the left has a monopoly on compassion. This is a serious.... There is continuity when it comes to harsh asylum seeker policy and it demands disruption. We need a circuit-breaker. A campaign that targets the 'undecideds' in a sophisticated way and accommodates supporters across the political spectrum may be the start. Cathartic one-off campaigns have their place in this discourse, but we also need to consider what a long-haul movement looks like. My guess is that it will require building relationships with unlikely allies. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39054#.UyA-44AQ9ZY INTERNET + DIGITAL STORYTELLING + RESPONSIBLE ANONYMITY + PRIVACY 27. An online Magna Carta: Berners-Lee calls for bill of rights for web Jemima Kiss The inventor of the world wide web believes an online "Magna Carta" is needed to protect and enshrine the independence of the medium he created and the rights of its users worldwide. Sir Tim Berners-Lee told the Guardian the web had come under increasing attack from governments and corporate influence and that new rules were needed to protect the "open, neutral" system... Berners-Lee's Magna Carta plan is to be taken up as part of an initiative called "the web we want", which calls on people to generate a digital bill of rights in each country – a statement of principles he hopes will be supported by public institutions, government officials and corporations. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/12/online-magna-carta-berners-lee-web?CMP=ema_632 28. The readers' editor on… the line between comment and fact in live blogs Chris Elliott Live blogs play a key role in digital storytelling. The honest eclecticism of the form brings a greater depth to reporting than is possible in day-to-day print journalism. Barbara Harper, my colleague, wrote about some of the principles that underpin them in an Open Door column on 17 June 2013. However, it's a form that still disturbs some readers. One complained recently that live blogs run counter to the principles of CP Scott because the line between comment and fact is often blurred. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/09/comment-fact-live-news-blogs MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK + VILIFICATION 29. Japan laws of broadcasting a stern lesson of what could happen to ABC Norman Abjorensen The ABC, in comparison [to Japan's NHK], is on slightly surer ground, but for how long? Attacks on public broadcasters - and by implication, on the public's right to know and access information - have profound implications for political discourse and the health and vitality of democracy. We can only hope Mr Abbott is not emboldened by Mr Abe's assault on public information. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/japan-laws-of-broadcasting-a-stern-lesson-of-what-could-happen-to-abc-20140309-34fkk.html 30. Government's belittling of ABC the worst action of all Jenna Price Of the many utterly loathsome actions of the members of this government, the attempt to besmirch, belittle and demean our ABC is among the worst. There can be no other analysis of this concerted campaign than to say it is a determined attack on democracy; the right of reporters to ask the hardest questions; and the right of the citizenry to expect its journalists will speak truth to power. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/governments-belittling-of-abc-the-worst-action-of-all-20140312-34lb8.html#ixzz2vkNIUo50 31. Gerald Stone releases audit into ABC's coverage of asylum seekers Matthew Knott An independent audit of the ABC's asylum seeker coverage has uncovered isolated examples that could be perceived as biased – including a television report whose "one purpose" was to elicit sympathy for people smugglers. But the review of ABC television current affairs programs, conducted by former 60 Minutes executive producer Gerald Stone, found no systemic bias in the broadcaster's coverage of the contentious issue. Of the 97 surveyed stories on asylum seekers, 93 raised no concerns. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/gerald-stone-releases-audit-into-abcs-coverage-of-asylum-seekers-20140312-34lk8.html 32. Media House of Cards Mr Denmore Discussion about Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull's proposals to dismantle specific laws for specific media platforms overlook another consequence of new technology: While consumers are plugging into a global media market, current laws still are mainly designed to protect local media. And those tired and clueless oligopolies will only get more powerful with the inevitable consolidation that Turnbull's changes will spark. http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com.au/ 33. Empowered shock jocks must also be accountable Michael Mullins The Federal Government plans to change the Racial Discrimination Act to give preference to free speech over protecting individuals and groups from vilification. It is not surprising that there is strong media support for the changes, as they will give investigative reporters and shock jocks alike the legislative freedom they need to do their job. But the Government must include robust legislation to penalise those who get their facts wrong. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39067 ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 34. Solar recruits an anti-carbon tax marketer Tristan Edis In a case of poacher turned gamekeeper, the solar industry has recruited one of the masterminds behind the anti-carbon tax campaign to help defend the Renewable Energy Target... John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, explained that its campaign will initially focus on the Western Australia Senate election rerun. Their ask is simple and easy to understand – vote for the parties that won’t change the Renewable Energy Target. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/12/solar-energy/solar-recruits-anti-carbon-tax-marketer?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=608852&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt= ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE See items 25 & 26 above OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


13/03/2014[b]MARCH IN MARCH[/b] * [b]MARCH IN MARCH[/b] * [b]MARCH IN MARCH[/b] * [b]MARCH IN MARCH[/b] “Let disgust be your compass” Some marches will occur on Saturday 15 March, some on Sunday, 16 March and the Canberra one will be held on Monday, 17 March. FIND YOUR GROUPS IN YOUR AREA....find your group like the page and share far and wide.ALL MARCHES ARE LISTED PLEASE 'SEE MORE' FOR THE ENTIRE LIST, and thank you for your support-Stacie https://www.facebook.com/marchinmarch


13/03/2014CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Thursday, 13 March 2014: [b]“Let disgust be your compass” & MARCH IN MARCH.[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CACHE-2014-03-13.aspx


13/03/2014Casablanca You're our anchor! Swordsfolks! Don't forget to thank her! Laboring late To OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Thank you Mate For all you do. This story featured on Media Watch: http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/03/11/message-australian-time-say-sorry/.Ux_w44v7mRE.twitter jaycee Jason & I will be at #MarchInMarch Adelaide, I'll have my flat cap and a colourful T-shirt with FLOWERS on the front and a SONG printed on the back. I do want to meet you, I missed out around New Year because I'd just got out of hospital. NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE YOUR PLACARD ON SOME TWO-BE-FOUR SO YOU CAN WHACK HARD! [Not really, let the MESSAGE do the whacking!] Folks stir your family friends and workmates to swell our numbers.


13/03/2014I've been away, I've come back... and Abbott's still here???!!! So much for long distance wishes!


14/03/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Friday, 14 March 2014: 24 items [/b] ENTITLEMENTS + FIDDLES + RORTS + SUBSIDIES + TENDERS + RESPONSIBILITY + LARGESSE 1. Gina Rinehart and the age of entitlement. John Menadue There is a quite dishonest campaign being run about the need to cut spending and reduce taxes. It looks as if we are being softened up to help the “deserving rich”. The facts are clear however that Australian taxes are very low by world standards. At 28% of GDP our taxes are well below the OECD average of 34% of GDP and much lower than the taxes in some northern European countries that have very successful economies and where taxes reach about 45% of GDP. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=1371 INDUSTRY WARS 2. Who's really vindicated by SPC's new deal? Alan Kohler SPC Ardmona's multimillion deal with Woolworths means everyone is breathing a sigh of relief and both levels of government feel their fiscal policy is vindicated. But in the end the benign dictatorship of the supermarket duopoly continues at the expense of food manufacturers. Until the Australian dollar comes down, and/or manufacturers get their act together on costs so they can export successfully, the two big supermarket chains will continue to dictate terms. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-13/kohler-whos-really-vindicated-by-spcs-new-deal/5315430 CULTURE WARS 3. Australian schools: engines of inequality Laura Perry and Christopher Lubienski. Like many of the English-speaking market democracies, Australia and, perhaps to a lesser extent the US, like to think of themselves as merit-based societies in which everyone has a “fair go". This idea led to the creation of school systems that guaranteed all children, no matter their origins, access to a publicly funded education. By creating educational and economic opportunity, this arguably helped the emergence of strong middle classes in each country. But the current reality is of education systems that are socially stratified and full of inequalities. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pkjtde-trhltityg-s/ POVERTY WARS 4. Weekend Wars – Liberals attack working families and penalty rates Wixxy There is a debate going on currently within the community about workplace relations and in particular penalty rates. I am sure that many of you that are unfortunate enough to be represented by a Coalition MP will have a similar tale of woe. Those that don’t should take note on this attack on working families and working conditions by a government that seems to care nothing for the 99% and greatly for the profit margins of the 1%... The reason that shops are busiest on Saturdays and Sundays is because people like their weekends. It also stands to reason that asking somebody to give that up weekend is a bigger ask than asking someone to work 9 to 5 on a weekday. http://wixxyleaks.com/2014/03/12/weekend-wars-liberals-attack-working-families-and-penalty-rates/ 5. Why Are Penalty Rates Back On The Table? Shirley M. Jackson The Coalition have put industrial relations back in the news with their proposed Productivity Commission review of the Fair Work Act...that key aspects of the current industrial regime are going to come under examination — with potentially dire consequences... When the news of an IR review is taken with the proposed Medicare co-payments, the Royal Commission into unions (which was downgraded from a building industry commission, because apparently business is never corrupt and bribes come from no-where), and the talk about institutionally gutting Centrelink, it makes me wonder: have the current Government been sent back through time from a dystopian economic future to devour the poor? https://newmatilda.com/2014/03/12/why-are-penalty-rates-back-table 6. Coalition wages blunt IR campaign Greg Jericho Expect penalty rates, working hours and weekend wages to be a hot topic in coming months as the Government mounts its industrial relations campaign. Perhaps the most unsubtle political campaign being waged at the moment is that on industrial relations. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-12/jericho-coalition-wages-blunt-ir-campaign/5312286 7. The real politics of the possible Jonathan Green If politics was the art of the possible, then it would be able to make short work of the most egregious examples of social disadvantage facing Australia. But is treating Indigenous children on a path to blindness a vote winner? How many of the country's 105,237 homeless people can be counted on come polling day? That's why politicians instead spend their time talking about the great dunes of macro-economic policy, when in truth those dunes are piled by winds far beyond local control... The politics of the possible might instead try to do the things it actually can; it might fund child welfare, intervene to cushion poverty, devote appropriate resources to health and education and all the rest. It might stop selling us self-aggrandising, illusory soap. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-13/green-the-real-politics-of-the-possible/5316292?WT.mc_id=newsmail ELECTIONS: TAS + SA + WA 8. Tasmania election: an uneasy sense of deja vu hangs over Labor Oliver Milman "A tough but beleaguered female Labor leader in a politically damaging alliance with the Greens, assailed by a populist, conservative opposition that enjoys a yawning lead in the opinion polls. Julia Gillard’s administration and Lara Giddings’ Tasmanian government are not, of course, exactly alike, but there’s no escaping the sense of déjà vu hanging over the Apple Isle’s election campaign. Giddings heads to the polls on Saturday, 15 March." http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/13/tasmania-election-an-uneasy-sense-of-deja-vu-hangs-over-labor 9. Tasmania: where electoral scrutiny is silenced Chris Earl Elections should involve applying scrutiny on your opponents, something that is made difficult when you are legally prevented from naming them in your campaign material. If nothing else, a least new awareness of Tasmania's Electoral Act idiosyncrasies brings the focus of political campaigning onto the parties and their policies instead of personalities. Some would say that's refreshing. However, keeping things all nice is one thing. More importantly assessing the performance of a government (and the people who make up that government) is what democratic elections are all about. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-12/earl-tasmania-tasmania-where-electoral-scrutiny-is-silenced/5315736 10. SA election: ‘we want to control health costs but we’ll keep feeding that beast that fuels them’ Marie McInerney South Australia goes to the polls this Saturday 15 March and a change of government looks very likely. Health hasn’t featured greatly in the campaign. The main issue has been about what should happen to the site of the existing Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) when the new site opens in mid-2016. Labor is suggesting a high school and the Liberals a private health service precinct. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2014/03/12/sa-election-we-want-to-control-health-costs-but-we%E2%80%99ll-keep-feeding-that-beast-that-fuels-them/ 11. Why Labor needs to do badly in WA Rob Burgess A loss in the WA Senate re-run and the upcoming state elections may not be a bad outcome for Bill Shorten. Firing blanks for now could be a boon for him in the long run. http://click.e.newsdigitalmedia.com.au/?qs=93fca2cc8f3eb0aa692dd1e0ad2a2265b92f74a4ed732dfe24bacadb2174296566c1b8e8fab4c13f 12. Progressive, to a point: @GuinevereHall interviews the ALP’s Louise Pratt Guinevere Hall Senator Pratt is currently the Parliamentary Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Water. After considering a career in journalism or academia, she joined the Labor Party at 21 because she wanted to be a participant in change, not a commentator. She was first elected to political office at 28 http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/13/progressive-point-guineverehall-interviews-alps-senator-louise-pratt/#sthash.B5fb0W73.dpuf POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 13. Social media has nothing on these political disasters Tim Dunlop You think social media is to blame for our poor political debate? Think again. There are six moments in our recent history that have taken a battering ram to the body politic. Now, by all means, social media has its failings, and there is much to be said about the way some people use it. But social media is not the originator of what ails us and to focus on it is to confuse cause with effect. To illustrate what I mean, here are six matters that have done infinitely more harm to public debate and people's confidence in our democratic process than blogs or comment threads, or social media more generally. They are examples of how cynicism is generated when those with power over our lives decide they don't have to play by the rules they insist everybody should play by. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-13/dunlop-social-media-has-nothing-on-these-political-disasters/5317980 14. Julie Bishop's 'soft' power David Donovan Julie Bishop was out spreading Australian "soft power" overseas yesterday in a gaffe strewn BBC interview. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/julie-bishops-soft-power,6276 15. Turning Conroy's NBN legacy to dust Supratim Adhikari Stephen Conroy won’t have to worry about NBN Co staffers speaking ill of him behind his back for much longer. The latest NBN audit will have enough ammunition to dismantle his NBN legacy root and branch. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/13/technology/turning-conroys-nbn-legacy-dust?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=610227&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt= ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 16. RBA: Old farts are killing risk Houses and Holes Last night Deputy Governor of the RBA Phil Lowe delivered a thoughtful speech at the Sydney Institute titled Demographics, Productivity and Innovation...The point I want to emphasise here is that regardless of whether the techno-pessimists or the techno-optimists turn out to be correct, our attitudes to risk-taking, to innovation and to entrepreneurship have a significant influence on our future living standards...We are not lacking an innovative spirit and the problems of stagnant old farts can be overcome. What we are lacking are the tax, micro and macro economic settings to promote risk-taking in areas of productive innovation. http://macrobusiness.createsend1.com/t/i-l-zltuiy-dtyueir-jj/ 17. To cut fairly, you must look at tax expenditures Dale Boccabella By reviewing tax expenditure separately from direct expenditure, the Federal Government can't know the full extent of spending and thus where cuts should be made http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-12/boccabella-to-cut-fairly-you-must-look-at-tax-expenditures/5315620 18. Macarthur Man rises from Labor Mark Latham "The public has twigged to a major change in national wealth creation. With ongoing globalisation, there is little government can do in economic management other than try to get the business environment right and improve the skills base of its people. Promises of planning, protecting or subsidising ailing industries back to prosperity are phoney. In the new economy, the real power lies with consumers – another area of limited government influence." http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/macarthur_man_rises_from_labor_CjEz7YDGTXvH5r9bGuZSqJ SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL SCIENCE + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 19. The dangers of collectivism haven't passed Julie Novak A central theme of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom is that extensive economic interventions by government suppresses the ability of individuals to make their own choices, and this leads to several dire consequences. Under any mode of economic organisation, the challenges of resolving what, how, when and where to produce and exchange goods and services unavoidably presents itself. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-12/novak-dangers-of-collectivism/5315134 20. Australia needs a double-shot of Confucius and Cicero Peter Cai Australia needs to better understand its own history and traditions, as well as Asia’s, if it is to truly embrace the region it’s a part of... So what do we need: more Confucius or more Cicero? In fact, Australia needs both. Allow me to illustrate this point to you. I tutored undergraduate Asian studies and history courses, in particular a course on Asia in the world, which teaches the history of the interaction between Asia and Europe. One of the major conduits for interaction between China and the West was through Jesuit missionaries, who were the first to translate Confucian classics from Chinese into Latin and brought advanced Western sciences like astronomy and mathematics to the Middle Kingdom. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/13/china/australia-needs-double-shot-confucius-and-cicero?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=610227&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt= INTERNET + TROLLS + FREE SPEECH + PRIVACY 21. Privacy and implementation: The show-stoppers of the Internet of Things David Glance The first and probably hardest of the obstacles that will have to be overcome is that of privacy, or more specifically, the vast opportunity that the Internet of Things offers to people who want to take advantage of the potentially highly invasive nature of these devices. The second major challenge is how to make objects and structures that are semi-permanent of upgraded infrequently part of the Internet of Things. http://theconversation.com/privacy-and-implementation-the-show-stoppers-of-the-internet-of-things-24368 22. Snowden and Berners-Lee’s campaign for an open internet Robbie Fordyce You might have seen this week that there’s a campaign regarding the future of the internet. Its chief proponents? NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, inventor of the web Tim Berners-Lee, journalist Glenn… http://theconversation.com/snowden-and-berners-lees-campaign-for-an-open-internet-24329 MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 23. Where is the outrage when the media lie? Michael Taylor As was evident at The AIMN yesterday, we in the social media are held to account if disputed information is published. Why not the mainstream media too? Last year it was revealed that The Australian had exaggerated the number of asylum seeker deaths under Labor’s watch and yet, despite publicly accessible data being available to them, they now publish an even more exaggerated and grossly inaccurate figure. Where is the outrage? Information has been pulled out from thin air or an outright lie has been fed to us. http://theaimn.com/2014/03/13/where-is-the-outrage-when-the-media-lie/ ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 24. Facts won’t beat the climate deniers – using their tactics will Rod Lamberts A colleague of mine recently received an invitation to a Climate Council event. The invitation featured this Tim Flannery quote: “An opinion is useless, what we need are more facts."...The quote is ludicrously, appallingly, almost dangerously naïve. It epitomises the reasons we are still “debating” climate science and being overwhelmed by climate skeptics/deniers/contrarians in the public space. http://theconversation.com/facts-wont-beat-the-climate-deniers-using-their-tactics-will-24074 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


14/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Friday, 14 March 2014: [b]Abbott peddling “brazen falsehoods”, “untruths” and “misinformation”[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CACHE-2014-03-13.aspx


14/03/2014Not that a change in host will do much good but I live in hope! RADIO National breakfast host Fran Kelly will host the Sunday morning ABC1 panel show, Insiders, from April 27. Kelly, who has been a regular panellist on the program and is a former political correspondent for ABC Radio and The 7.30 Report, will replace long-time host Barrie Cassidy, who is taking long-service leave to write another book.


14/03/2014Fran KELLY!!!???? She can barely phrase her own commentary on political events when on the couch on Insiders. Marshalling the entire show??? George Brandis made the imprimatur on this, didn't he? Must've. Or Spike Milligan is still alive and providing helpful hints to the IBC. Yes, I know, "ABC", but have you listened to the latest crop of 'reporters' on the IBC lately? (Or, pronunciation aside, heard Viginia Trioli on News Breakfast this morning announce "Here's Vanessa now with the weather now"? Apparently the weather report was about to be delivered... now.)

Pappinbarra Fox

14/03/2014Don't get me started on Virge and Micky on ABC breakfast - that pair ought to get a room - well away from the cameras.


15/03/2014Goodday Comrades Taking a 2-hour break from HTV distribution at a polling booth, been there 10 till 1, be back from 3 to close at 6. We won't win this seat anyway but the Party still has to make a show of course. Things don't look good but then, [i]remember whenever you're down and out the only way is up[/i] ... except when you're dead I s'pose, yes, bit late then. Can't find that song on youtube. Folks #MarchInMarch is tomorrow, or Monday if you're in Canberra. Do turn up eh. Make a placard, can't be that hard! Things are tough for Labor atm. That's when the tough get going. About time too. VENCEREMOS! Even if it takes years. But it didn't need to have been like this. Bloody fool Aussies. So MARCH!

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16/03/2014TT With your polling booth efforts, you must feel gratified with the SA election results. Congratulations The wipe out of Labor predicted by the pundits was wrong. I hope the March in March goes well. Participants should be buoyed by the election results.


16/03/2014With a bit of luck Denis Napthine will go this year. It is a while since HE looked good in the polls.


16/03/2014Thanks to all who are keeping TPS going. It's still the one of the best blogs around, and special thanks to Casablanca for continuing the good work begun by Lynn. I have discovered so many good articles and websites from their links. Not so many comments these days, but I, at least, am still lurking :) In my opinion we are currently seeing the combined effects of the 'dumbing down' process begun by Howard coupled with an Australian 'compassion bypass' - poor fellow my country indeed! I'm not sure what the answer is but I know it's not the Abbott Govt.


16/03/2014Lisa thank you for your comments. We are doing our best. Yes, the 'dumbing down' has been taking place with media conivance and there is no simple answer.


16/03/2014Hear! Hear! Lisa! I'm here every day, but my time for writing is limited and the left are very uninspiring these days. No chance of a Julia replacement? Say Tanya P?


16/03/2014@PatriciaWA Ms Plibersek was in Perth last week. She is tall. And then wears high heels, so towers over Mr Shorten. Both however, speak very well, even at a "rubber chicken" gee-up for the troops before pre-polling opens next week. I don't think Ms Plibersek is quite ready for the top job just yet. But she is a team player (learnt well, I would say, from PMJG) and wants to do a good job. I think the ALP have to loose some of the dead weights on the right of the party first though. I was also at the #MarchInMarch in Perth this morning. http://wp.me/p3xJZ6-6W for my observations and some pictures.


17/03/2014Just saw Abbott on TV telling all concerned that a government website monitored by a "dozen" or so bureaucrats replacing "thousands" of public servants would assist in the growing prosperity of this nation. The man is an I D I O T. Ummm, the man is an I D I O T. (Sorry, Abbott wafflespeak is catching.) An interesting grasp of economic thinking from him, as a nation's leader, where thousands of lost jobs equates to increasing national prosperity.

Catching up

19/03/2014Debate in senate re senator Sinodinos. Government not happy. Abbott's legislation repealing red tape introduced. Shorten gave a frisky response. We should be afraid, I believe of what Abbott is doing. It is more than reviewing red tape. It is about removing all regulations on businesses. Yes, I see the word uttered by Senator Brandis of Classical liberalism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism#Meaning_of_the_term What we are seeing, is not a cleaning up of unnecessary legislation. What we are seeing, is pure ideology of this government. Senator Milne is correct. One man;s red tape is another4's protection. Do we believe that society should not be protected from business. That is what this government is saying. This might be a bigger issue, that those already raised by this government. Yes, we should bescared.

Catching up

19/03/2014The government has already return donations in relation to Senator Sinodinos. That was quick action. This is the second lot returned. That indicates that the Liberal party was aware previously that these donations did not pass the barbecue test.
How many umbrellas are there if I have two in my hand but the wind then blows them away?