Where will we be in 50 years?


In the next few months, most Australians will be considering their financial affairs and the preparation of their annual tax return. It is usually a time for some questioning around how you did manage to spend all that money in the past year and what changes you can make to become thriftier in the upcoming year.

Most of us get so involved in the day to day activities that govern our lives, we have little inclination or time to think about the long term. It is also a truism that those who forget their history are bound to repeat it. Those who look at the long term can see patterns and trends that escape us mere mortals. Those long term thinkers — usually called Futurists — can give a valuable insight into our future based upon reflection and observation of what has occurred in the past. The results can be fascinating and worth thinking about.

Taking the reflection theme to heart, let’s look at where Australia has come from and where we as a society are heading. So go and prepare a beverage of your choice, click on this link for one of the better ‘80s Australian pop songs and read on while we discuss ‘where will we be in 50 years’.

Apart from the convenient segue to a song, there is a good practical reason to choose to look 50 years into the future. There seems to be a 50 year (more or less) cycle in Australian economic and immigration history going back to the days when Australia was comprised of six (sometimes friendly) colonies. It is a cycle of boom and bust — boom when we are using the land to produce riches beyond compare and bust when the rest of the world has moved on from our particular riches, and Australia has not adapted. There is a moral overtone here as well: it appears that we as a society welcome new immigrants during the ‘lean’ years, and throw up barriers to their entry when we are booming.

In the 1880s, the city with the highest per capita income in the world was Melbourne. While the streets were not literally paved with gold, they might as well have been. Next time you are in Melbourne have a look at the expansive and quality buildings built towards the end of the 19th century (which fortunately still exist), as well as the good quality housing stock in the inner suburbs originally from the same era. The impressive thing is that the ‘working class’ could afford to live in an expensive place.

The wealth of Melbourne was based on the mining of gold in the (then) colony of Victoria that commenced in the 1850s. Ballarat and Bendigo were the centres of the gold industry and also have a rich history of 19th century buildings to admire. Gold was the method of exchange in the day and extracting it from the ground increased the wealth of everybody in the colony. In 1852, it was estimated that mining comprised around 35% of the Victorian colony GDP and wages in Victoria rose by 250% between 1850 and 1853. Not that Victoria was alone. Gympie, in Queensland’s south east, boomed after the discovery of gold in the late 1850s and with some justification claims to be the ‘town that saved Queensland’ during the early years of the new colony — as Queensland was technically bankrupt.

By the mid 1860s, the initial boom was over. Immigrants to the gold fields were not only from the same or other colonies, there was a significant immigration from overseas. While the English, Scottish and Americans that immigrated to the gold fields could blend into the cities and towns to find work, the Asians that immigrated (predominantly Chinese) could not and, once the money stopped flowing, their different appearance, customs and language made it easy for those that were suffering unemployment to single out and victimise.

By the early 1890s, the six colonies that were to form the Commonwealth of Australia within a decade were feeling the effects of a long drought that caused a recession and industrial disruption (as well as the formation of the Australian Labour Party at Barcaldine in 1891 during an ongoing shearers’ strike). The South Australian premier at the time said:
I regard as second only to the necessity of protecting our shores against actual invasion, the necessity of protecting Australia against the influx of aliens, Asiatics, criminals, paupers, and other undesirable classes
By the 1890s, the gold rushes were back, due in some part to the availability of capital (from the UK) that could not be used elsewhere due to an ongoing economic conditions in Europe and the Americas. As a result, Charters Towers in northern Queensland was a town of over 20,000 at the turn of the century and had its own stock exchange. It was also considered necessary and economically viable to build a water pipeline from near Perth to Kalgoorlie in the last few years of the 1800s so that the extraction of minerals — again primarily gold — could continue apace. While the Charters Towers Stock Exchange is a shopping arcade today, the water pipeline in WA is still in daily use.

In 1901, the Australian colonies federated and became Australia. In the then population, 98% of Australians were of British heritage (70% born in Australia) and one of the first pieces of legislation through the Australian Parliament was the Immigration Restriction Act — later known as the White Australia Policy.

Even though 98% of Australians had some British ancestry, it didn’t stop the Australian government interning those with ‘enemy’ bloodlines during World War 1. As various trade agreements and imports from Germany and Austria-Hungary were seen as ‘unpatriotic’ and the Australian economy benefitted from product substitution, higher output and the associated profiteering, Australia encouraged immigration (from the ‘winning side’) post World War 1 and like most of the world was caught up in the Great Depression at the end of the 1920s. People again began to feel threatened by immigration and joined local versions of the New Guard (remember Francis de Groot who ‘unofficially’ opened the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and the Communist Party. While both groups were ideological chalk and cheese, they both wanted ‘strong’ government who would keep Australia for Australians.

The economic pattern continues through World War 2, the 1950s and the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the 1960s’ ‘Credit Squeeze’; the largesse of the Whitlam years and subsequent contraction under Fraser and so on to the current day where Australia has not had a recession for over 24 years.

The immigration pattern continued from the propaganda fuelled racism in World War 2, through the ‘new Australians’ that largely supplied the labour for the Snowy Mountains scheme as Australia was rebuilding after the war — until there was a return to restrictions in the 1960s when we were booming after overcoming the ‘credit squeeze’ early in the 1960s. Malcolm Fraser to his eternal credit (with support from politicians in general) assisted a large number of South East Asian asylum seekers to come to Australia in the late 1970s (we had contributed to bombing their country almost to oblivion after all), when we were still suffering the after-effects of the oil crises and stagflation. Over the past 10 years, as our prosperity increased, the rhetoric from politicians to restrict immigration increased again to the ludicrous situation where the government of this country apparently implicated all of us as people smugglers by paying cash to those that profit from the miserable conditions endured by asylum seekers coming to Australia by fishing boat.

So we as Australians have a choice. Are we going to perpetuate a pattern of history that is, if nothing else, racist and economically irrational or are we going to break the mould? There does seem to be a correlation between economic activity and immigration. At the time of writing, the official cash rate is 2%; the government is allowing immediate tax write offs of $20,000 to kick some life into the economy; and, while the US seems to be coming out of a prolonged economic downturn, there are some real and structural economic problems in the Eurozone.

Australia seems to have an economic choice. As a nation we can continue to believe that our current export markets will again expand which is highly unlikely —

  • China is buying less coal than previously and plans to decrease consumption of fossil fuels by at least 20% between now and 2030.
  • India plans to reduce significantly (or even eliminate) the importation of thermal coal within two to three years.
  • NASDAQ reports falling demand and prices for iron ore exports

  • Or Australia could look at the new economy — such as renewable energy or even computer games:

  • The Queensland Government and US Navy are discussing using biofuel grown and produced in Queensland.
  • Australian computer games producers are asking for government assistance to expand

  • Instead our current prime minister is more intent on appointing a wind farm commissioner because they look ugly. In the words of President Obama:
    But we also inherit the beauty and the joy and goodness of our forebears. And we’re on this planet a pretty short time, so that we cannot remake the world entirely during this little stretch that we have. … But I think our decisions matter. And I think America was very lucky that Abraham Lincoln was President when he was President. If he hadn’t been, the course of history would be very different. But I also think that, despite being the greatest President, in my mind, in our history, it took another hundred and fifty years before African-Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality. I think that doesn’t diminish Lincoln’s achievements, but it acknowledges that, at the end of the day, we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.
    It seems that the first sign of a coming decline in our lifestyle is the imposition of barriers against 'unsuitable' immigrants, be they boat people now or Chinese in the 1860s.

    This government (with support from the ALP) has been attempting to remove the legal rights of people to claim refuge in Australia. The previous ALP government wasn't much better.

    At the same time, it seems that our major exports, minerals and other primary produce are finding greater difficulty in attracting and retaining overseas markets. The government’s tax concessions to small business as well as official interest rates indicate that Australia's economic conditions are flat at best. There is even an iron ore price war occurring in Western Australia between BHP and Rio Tinto to move product. All of this would suggest that economic times will get worse rather than better in the next few years.

    When it comes time for others to judge our paragraph in Australia’s history, wouldn’t it be nice for those in 50 years time to recognise our generation as the one that observed there was a pattern and chose the sustainable alternative of assisting people in fear of their lives, value adding exports of high technology devices and supporting those in our society that need help?

    What do you think?
    2353 suggests that we actually first act to identify and restrict ‘unsuitable’ migrants while times are still good. Is that greed? Do we just not want to share our success? And does that blind us to changes? Do we not see our future economic opportunities because we are so caught up in our success that we inevitably slide down into the ‘lean’ years again? — and realise we need migrants to help rebuild. A cycle that 2353 hopes we can escape — once we recognise it.

    For the next two weeks we will be presenting something a little different — an historical approach rather than opinion. We are taking advantage of the parliamentary winter recess to present a two-part piece by Ken on “How did we get a multi-party Westminster system?” In the first week Ken looks at how parliament developed in England and the historical creation of some written but many unwritten rules about how it operates. In week two, he will look at the Australian Constitution and how that reflects the English system by a mixture of law and the accepted unwritten rules (conventions).


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    Casablanca

    11/07/2015Back to the future with Tony 'Santamaria' Abbott: Tony Abbott's career echoes that of his political hero, B. A. Santamaria Stephen Holt. July 6, 2015 The PM's willingness to be associated with the late Alan Reid's novel shows a high level of self-awareness.... On July 30, Abbott will launch a biography of Santamaria written by Gerard Henderson, a fellow former acolyte.... The Liberal Party was once a Protestant outfit whereas Abbott's cabinet today contains numerous fellow Catholics. This flip in demographics can be traced back to Doc Evatt's denunciation of Santamaria, which alienated many Catholics forever...The resulting weathervane aspects of Abbott, with his surprises and U-turns in government, is on a par with the volatility and overexcitement that characterised the bewildering interaction in the 1950s between the Prime Minister's future hero, Santamaria, and the unruly Evatt. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/tony-abbotts-career-echoes-that-of-his-political-hero-b-a-santamaria-20150706-gi1y12.html#ixzz3fZ1RsM00 The Bandar-Log: A Labor Story of the 1950s, by Alan Reid (edited by Ross Fitzgerald). Introduction by Ross Fitzgerald. Connor Court Publishing, May 2015. RRP: $34.95 (paperback) Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man, by Gerard Henderson. Miegunyah Press, August 2015. RRP: $59.99 (hardback)

    Casablanca

    13/07/20151. Anyone could do better than Bill Shorten Jack Waterford. July 10, 2015 Even opinion poll approval seems to come more from a desire to see a new Labor government, or a non-Abbott government, than for a Labor government led by him. Shorten (or more accurately Abbott himself) has done all that is necessary to persuade voters that coalition government is an ongoing catastrophe and menace to the nation's wellbeing, even more bizarre than the Gillard or Rudd governments. But Shorten has not even persuaded his own side, let alone the electorate about a case for voting Labor. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/anyone-could-do-better-than-bill-shorten-20150710-gi74zc.html#ixzz3fePbsK8i 2. Lawyers' taxpayer-funded windfall Adam Gartrell Lawyers are raking in $25 million for their work on the Abbott government's royal commission into unions... Barristers and solicitors are raking in about $25 million of taxpayer cash for their work on the commission – and that doesn't include their expenses. It's well known that counsel assisting Jeremy Stoljar, who came under fire from Labor figures this week for his tough grilling of Mr Shorten, is getting paid $3.3 million for his efforts. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/#ixzz3feW65DOI 3. Treasury Secretary John Fraser reignites call for industrial relations, tax reform Peter Martin. July 11, 2015 Declaring Australia "overly complacent" and warning that his remarks could cause trouble, the head of the treasury has called for a fresh wave of industrial relations reform, for spending cuts deep enough to slash income tax and for land tax as a replacement for stamp duty. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/treasury-secretary-john-fraser-reignites-call-for-industrial-relations-tax-reform-20150710-gi9p66.html 4. Shenhua mine: Barnaby Joyce denies breaking cabinet rules on disunity Heath Aston. July 11, 2015 The updated 2015 cabinet handbook says ministers must not "express private views on Government policies nor speak about or otherwise become involved in a ministerial colleague's portfolio without first consulting that colleague and possibly the Prime Minister". The handbook also lists protocols for cabinet solidarity. "Cabinet ministers cannot dissociate themselves from, or repudiate the decisions of their Cabinet colleagues unless they resign from the Cabinet," it says. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/shenhua-mine-barnaby-joyce-denies-breaking-cabinet-rules-on-disunity-20150711-gi9qza 5. Business, union and welfare leaders to hold National Reform Summit to force better policy-making from Canberra Deborah Snow. July 13, 2015 - 1:32AM Frustrated by endless trench warfare in Canberra, the country's peak business, union, welfare and seniors' organisations have signed up to a "national reform summit" next month to seek consensus among themselves on policy roadblocks which they say are putting the nation's living standards at risk. Unlikely bedfellows at the summit include the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Business Council of Australia, the Council on the Ageing (representing some half a million seniors) and the Australian Industry Group, as well as the welfare sector. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/business-union-and-welfare-leaders-to-hold-national-reform-summit-to-force-better-policymaking-from-canberra-20150712-gialhb.html 6. The moral imperative of climate action Philip Freier and Thabo Cecil Makgoba. July 12, 2015 - 12:00PM On Monday, the General Synod of the Church of England will likely pass two motions calling for urgent and bold action against climate change. The first urges all governments at the Paris Climate Negotiations to take bold action by transitioning to a low-carbon future and encourages the church to actively engage with the climate change issue, and the second affirms the recent decision to disinvest from coal and oil sands as a tactic to address the climate crisis. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-moral-imperative-of-climate-action-20150712-gi9hhd 7. Government pulls the plug on household solar Heath Aston. July 13, 2015 - 12:39AM The Abbott government has opened up another front in its war on renewable energy by pulling the plug on investments in the most common form of alternative energy, rooftop and small-scale solar. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-pulls-the-plug-on-household-solar-20150712-gian0u.html 8. The solar road in the Netherlands is working even better than expected Fiona Macdonald. 11 MAY 2015 The Netherlands made headlines last year when it built the world's first solar road - an energy-harvesting bike path paved with glass-coated solar panels. Now, six months into the trial, engineers say the system is working even better than expected, with the 70-metre test bike path generating 3,000 kWh, or enough electricity to power a small household for a year. http://www.sciencealert.com/solar-roads-in-the-netherlands-are-working-even-better-than-expected 9. Abbott's desire to impose guidelines on Q&A is censorship Oliver Milman. 12 July 2015 16.50 AEST Joel Fitzgibbon describes prime minister’s letter to the ABC chairman as the ‘greatest attack on the independence of the public broadcaster in its history’ http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/12/coalition-desire-impose-guidelines-qanda-censorship-says-labor-mp?CMP=soc_567 10. Tony Abbott: Q&A ministerial ban could be lifted if ABC imposes strict guidelines Bridie Jabour. 10 July 2015 16.11 AEST Tony Abbott said in a letter to the ABC that a move to the news and current affairs division ‘would be appropriate’. Letters between ABC chairman and prime minister reveal proposal to move show from TV division to news and current affairs http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/10/tony-abbott-qa-ministerial-ban-could-be-lifted-if-abc-imposes-strict-guidelines?CMP=ema_632 11. Ethics isn't just useful, it's our only hope for moral progress Matthew Beard 10 July 2015 We shouldn't dismiss the ability of ethics to guide us towards universal truths. Injustices like slavery might have been justified using faulty ethical reasoning, but it was ethics which told us we were wrong. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-10/beard-ethics-and-moral-progress/6610996 12. First pay-day fail for Abbott's "smaller govt" Noel Towell . July 10, 2015 - 10:03PM Thursday's Euro-style pension panic for thousands of Australians military and public service retirees was a rocky start to the new era of "smaller government" in the federal superannuation authority. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/first-payday-fail-for-abbotts-smaller-govt-20150710-gi9avg.html 13. Matthew 7: 3-5 Kaye Lee. July 10, 2015 Abbott says that his two Royal Commissions “were addressing very serious public policy challenges. (Both)…have been casting a spotlight into some of the darker corners of our national life and that’s what royal commissions are there for”. In the first twenty months of the Abbott government, according to Fortress Australia, there were 46 reported preventable deaths of asylum seekers – 39 drowned en route, 5 suicides, 1 murdered in detention and one died from complications from an untreated cut. There have been many more people beaten and abused, many incidents of self-harm and mental illness, but this “serious public policy challenge” will remain in a dark corner. http://theaimn.com/matthew-7-3-5/ 14. Fourth Estate: The third political force Dr Geoff Davies 7 July 2015 The Australian commercial media are the unacknowledged third force in Australian politics. Arguably they are more powerful than any of the political parties. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/fourth-estate-the-third-political-force,7911

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    13/07/2015 2353 What an insightful historical journey you have given us, and such an interesting thesis to explain our attitudes to immigrants. The dichotomy in thinking between those who acknowledge the need for immigration to secure our prosperity, and those who see immigrants as thieves of the jobs that ought to go to fair dinkum Aussies, is striking. The visionaries who saw the contribution of post WW2 immigration to major infrastructure projects such as the Snowy Mountains Scheme, stand out in stark contrast to the Hansonites, the latter day version of the followers of SA Premier Charles Kingston of over a century ago. Today, we see Pauline Hanson's attitudes reflected in the actions of the Abbott government, which seeks to demonise asylum seekers who chose to come here by fishing boats. They are of different ethnic origin to many of us, of different religion, and of different appearance and behaviour. They have been made to look like invaders coming to steal Aussie jobs. Yet they are willing to do the jobs that Aussies won't. In my area they are the ones who take on the back breaking jobs of picking peas and harvesting asparagus. They have so much to offer us in every aspect of our national life. The issue of immigration is complex, evoking in the public mind as it does contrasting attitudes ranging from encouragement, to welcoming, to acceptance, to passive tolerance, to rejection, to outright hostility, even to hatred. While such contrasts are understandable, they do not have to be accepted as inevitable. Malcolm Fraser demonstrated that strong, compassionate, rational leadership can draw the nation together in not just acceptance of immigrants, but also acknowledgement of their value and their contribution to the enhancement of our society, so well demonstrated by our Vietnamese population. What distresses me most about the current asylum seeker dilemma is that because Abbott, in his habitually aggressive punitive style has politicised it to gain political advantage, because he has dragged much of the population along with him, Labor has been sucked into the Abbott vortex that threatens to take both major parties into a black hole of hatred. This is evil. How can this nation extract itself and restore its respectability among its neighbours, other nations, and in the eyes of international immigration agencies, which see Australia as a pariah nation? Not with Abbott as PM. Not with the LNP in power. Not with Labor scared to press the humanitarian case, ready only to gutlessly comply with LNP policy to avoid losing votes to the Abbott followers. It is a tragic example of how cynical, hard-hearted, self-centred, ruthless politics is winning the day on a matter that defines our nation - our attitude to immigration, and most importantly to those in distress seeking asylum from persecution and in many instances, imprisonment and death. It is shameful. The very heart of our nation is threatened. As decent Australians we should rise up in vehement protest. Why are we not? If we don't, where will we be in 50 years?

    Ken

    13/07/20152353 An interesting thesis. I would need to do some more thorough checking of dates but there is something in what you are arguing. Normally we think that we turn anti-immigrant when times are bad. Without checking some more, I'm not entirely convinced but it may well be that the anti-immigration tide does come just before an economic down-turn or, I think, sometimes just before an up-turn. If I have time to do that date checking I will come back with a more detailed comment. Casablanca Thank you. Don't we have a wonderful government that focuses on achieving its ideological agenda "by hook or by crook". Now using the "crook" again to rein in the CEFC and get rid of those "ugly" wind turbines. And unfortunately Jack Waterford's piece is all too true.

    2353

    13/07/2015Thanks for the comments Ad & Ken. There seems to be an increasing amouint of work being undertaken to confirm the 'vibe' that free, open and accepting societies are the incubators of economic growth - something that conservatives like Abbott will probably fight to his dying breath. It took me a while to 'get' the possibility of a connection between economics and bigotry as well. Some work is being done to work out if there is a link - or just a conincidence here. Fortunately others are already doing the work on economics and climate change (another war continually waged by conservatives). There appears to be a link between low carbon economies and economic benefit. Abbott will hate this. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/13/benefits-far-outweigh-costs-tackling-climate-change-lse-study Hope may come from unexpected quarters. Trump running for the US Repoublican Presidential nomination could be a good thing - he will demonstrate to some that 'what about me' is not a valid policy to manage the country with significant influence around the world. Trump will probably split the vote to ensure that an even more conservative pretender has no chance of getting the nomination. As an example of even more conservative - the US National Rifle Association apparently spend a considerable amount of it's last magazince criticising Australia's gun laws as a failure - despite our 370% less homicide rate than the US! http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/your-gun-laws-are-a-mistake-national-rifle-association-to-australia-20150712-giaqal.html

    Casablanca

    14/07/2015EDUCATION 1. Philosophy in schools: promoting critical, creative and caring thinking Laura D'Olimpio https://theconversation.com/philosophy-in-schools-promoting-critical-creative-and-caring-thinking-44578 ENERGY POLICY 2. The government should keep its hands off clean energy finance Samantha Hepburn, https://theconversation.com/the-government-should-keep-its-hands-off-clean-energy-finance-44581 3. Greg Combet rubbishes Abbott on renewables as 'green bank' CEFC calls in lawyers Heath Aston, Nicole Hasham http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/greg-combet-rubbishes-abbott-on-renewables-as-green-bank-cefc-calls-in-lawyers-20150713-gibbjy.html 4. Tony Abbott ‘dragging Australia back’ | Clean Energy Finance Corporation Charis Chang http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/tony-abbott-accused-of-dragging-australia-back-as-renewables-directive-revealed/story-fnjwvztl-1227440370513 5. Clean energy bank 'seeks legal advice' after Coalition pulls plug on wind and solar projects Shalailah Medhora http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/13/clean-energy-bank-seeks-legal-advice-after-coalition-pulls-plug-on-wind-and-solar-projects?CMP=ema_632 6. PM’s deep well of hostility to renewable energy Paul Bongiorno http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/07/13/abbotts-deep-deep-well-hostility-renewable-energy/ 7. If you don’t like looking at wind farms, why not build them at sea? Clive Schofield and Tavis Potts. https://theconversation.com/if-you-dont-like-looking-at-wind-farms-why-not-build-them-at-sea-43614 8. Shame Australia! We top the list of climate skeptics Graham Readfearn https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/shame-australia-we-top-the-list-of-climate-skeptics,7923 9. Following Dutch footsteps, activists to sue Abbott Government on climate Common Dreams 15 2 Jul https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/following-dutch-footsteps-activists-to-sue-abbott-government-on-climate,7884 10. The pope plays his trump card: teaching the power of moral actions Kathleen Dean Moore, and Michael Paul Nelson, https://theconversation.com/the-pope-plays-his-trump-card-teaching-the-power-of-moral-actions-43690 11. Pope’s climate letter is a radical attack on the logic of the market Steffen Böhm https://theconversation.com/popes-climate-letter-is-a-radical-attack-on-the-logic-of-the-market-43437 ECONOMICS 12. Australian economy tanking at the halfway mark Alan Austin https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australian-economy-tanking-at-the-halfway-mark,7931 13. Joseph Stiglitz on Greece debt crisis Joseph Stiglitz http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/joseph-stiglitz-greece-debt-crisis-150713054357586.html GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC POLICY 14. Governomics Ian McAuley, Miriam Lyons https://www.mup.com.au/items/155678 15. Is Democracy in Trouble? John Brumby http://democracyrenewal.edu.au/democracy-trouble-0 16. A challenged democracy: wicked problems and political failures Barry Jones https://theconversation.com/a-challenged-democracy-wicked-problems-and-political-failures-39040 17. Fairness, Opportunity and Security. Michael Keating and John Menadue. (Eds) With many other people, we are concerned about the policy vacuum and the poor level of public debate on important policy issues. We began a series of articles on policy issues in Pearls and Irritations on 11 May. They have now all been posted. There are forty-nine articles on fifteen policy areas from over thirty contributors. This now completes the series. In August, we plan to publish these articles in a book in order to continue the debate for better public policies for Australia. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=3719 18. Let the Constitution and democratic principle guide us to renew federalism Cheryl Saunders https://theconversation.com/let-the-constitution-and-democratic-principle-guide-us-to-renew-federalism-44410 19. Six reasons Abbott’s peace deal on Q&A isn’t quite what it seems Matthew Ricketson https://theconversation.com/six-reasons-abbotts-peace-deal-on-qanda-isnt-quite-what-it-seems-44551 CARTOONS & SATIRE 20. House Prices Set To Skyrocket, Plummet, Flatline, Expert Warns The Shovel http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/13/house-prices-set-to-skyrocket-plummet-flatline-expert-warns/ 21. And now, a statement on groceries from the prime minister First Dog on the Moon http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/13/and-now-a-statement-on-groceries-from-the-prime-minister

    Ad astra

    14/07/2015Casablanca Thanks for another set of interesting links, which I hope to read during the week we will spend in Brisbane, to which we travel today.

    Ken

    14/07/2015Tied to the Greek situation here is Yanis Varoufakis's view of the 2014 Australian budget, when he was still a lecturer in economics out here. Of course, he went on to become the Greek Finance Minister in the Syriza government (before resigning recently to allow the final negotiations to proceed - and I noticed that he has described the latest "deal" as a new Versailles Treaty). http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/austerity-comes-to-australia-lessons-from-the-eurozone/5684176 Casablanca Thank you for an amazing set of links. I particularly liked those on government and public policy and the need to rethink 'democracy'.

    Ad astra

    15/07/2015Casablanca I'm steadily working through your great collections of links. What fascinating and informative reading they make. More this afternoon.

    TalkTurkey

    15/07/20152353 Thank you for your panoramic sweep of our past and present attitudes and how those might affect our future by 2065. Well I too try to peer ahead - more correctly, I try not* to a lot of the time. I've never liked what I saw on a global scale, though I did hope for a higher level of awareness by now than has been achieved by Big Brother. And I did hope too for Australia to become, at least in my lifetime, an island of sanity, an example of clever and caring use of the environment, because we could have, where few other nations are so blessed. But as for places already teeming, with religions that encourage many children per couple - I never had any reason to think that other than what is happening would appen. Before last election I used to speak of my Eye of Time - nothing supernatural, just prediction based on my reading of the signs. And I must say, I thought that We, the writers here, were correct in nearly all our expectations and pronouncements regarding the nature of the Media and the LNP. Against all the Polls I predicted a Labor win, under *J*U*L*I*A* , right up until she was eventually deposed by the despicable perfidious Rudd. His maggotting of her and her amazing Government was hidden from my Eye of Time, I couldn't believe that he was doing that all that time, and that was the one thing that I didn't factor in, and it was Rudd's destructiveness, on top of Murdoch, Miners & Big-Endians, and the pervasive influence of LNP's lackeys IPA in the ABC and elsewhere, that broke the back of the Labor Government. May Rudd rot in Hell afa I'm concerned. But since that election, the sunlight has gone out for my Eye. It sees in grayscale now. I will not be around by 2065, lucky if I make it to 2025 ftm. But I still care passionately about Life on Earth, to the extent that I find it painful to watch such programs as Attenborough's Life On Earth, knowing that daily we are losing species all over the world, while our own population is a great growing plague upon the Earth. We are like locusts, gobbling all in our path, including the very Planet itself. And really, I have always known that. Many, many years ago I had a dream, (I mean a 'real' dream, the sleeping kind) and in the dream the year was 2034. I was in a grey city I didn't know, an Australian city though, could've been Melbourne or Brisbane. And the people were shooting at one another! Almost casually, and all-onto-all. They were out in the streets, they didn't even seem to have any particular animosity to the ones they were shooting at, and they would make and unmake alliances in multi-targeted skirmishes. And overhead were light aircraft, dropping things on people at random ... and everybody seemed to understand what they were doing it for, and it was like a game of Paintball. (It was BEFORE paintball btw!) Since then I've always seen 2034 as the time beyond which civilization has ceased to function. And I look at the melting ice ... the shrinking rainfall ... the decimated forests and fish stocks ... the desertification of vast areas ... the end of phosphate-rich guano deposits ... Chemical-dependent crops ... disappearing bees ... every sign is bad. But most of all, there is the phenomenal global population growth. I KNOW that there will be vastly ever-increasing numbers of refugees, displaced by ocean rise, or religious & ethnic reasons, or simply overcrowding and lack of resources, putting ever-increasing pressure on national boundaries and economies. So I really don't see a future as far away as 2065. But by the Living Dog, in what's left of the current chapter, I yearn to see this nation rid of all things Abborrt. And we will achieve that! VENCEREMOS! *How to do italics again? I forget ...

    Ad astra

    15/07/2015Casablanca I'm finding you latest batch of links absorbing. There are so many writing now about the desperately degraded state of politics in this nation. They seem to express a feeling of powerlessness about remedying it. Some make suggestions, but conclude that the necessary ingredients are missing: vision, leadership, courage, and abandonment of self interest. How many politicians possess these attributes? Certainly, those in a position to change politics toward serving the common good, are bereft. I enjoyed Barry Jones' article, and look forward to getting hold of the collection of essays by Michael Keating and John Menadue on Fairness, Opportunity and Security. So many know we need radical reform of our political system, some think they know how to achieve it, most feel frustrated that so little is being done, and a few seem to have given up any hope that the cynical, self-centred, ruthless politics of today can ever be repaired, can ever reach the soaring quality we so desperately crave. It is so sad, but if ever there was a time for good people to speak out in the Fifth Estate to counter the evil of much of the Fourth Estate and the political class, it is NOW.

    Casablanca

    16/07/2015[i][b][u]TALK TURKEY [/i][/b][/u] For italics: enclose a small i in square brackets before the text to be italicised and after that text add /i enclosed in square brackets. For bold, substitute b, and for underline, substitute a u. If you want to be really fancy and underline a bolded italic name/clause etc, add i b u with each enclosed in their own square brackets before the text; then, after the name/clause etc, add /i /b /u and enclose each in its very own square brackets. Hope that you like your handle with all three options used!

    Casablanca

    16/07/2015POLITICS 22. Tony Abbott’s election decision: should he go early? Paula Matthewson Securing a second term in power won’t be easy for an unpopular PM, but as in life, timing is everything. These are the reasons for an against and early poll. http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/07/14/tony-abbotts-election-decision-go-early/ 23. Shenhua mine: the federal government could have chosen farming over coal In the midst of this public dispute between cabinet members, Hunt’s claim that he could not have refused the mine due to the impacts on agricultural land is wrong. Just as considering the economic benefits of the mine is a legitimate consideration when weighing up approval of the mine, the economic costs due to loss of agricultural land is also a legitimate factor to consider. https://theconversation.com/shenhua-mine-the-federal-government-could-have-chosen-farming-over-coal-44654 24. Joyce breaks cabinet rules, but his fate is PM’s call Patrick Weller Collective responsibility – or cabinet solidarity – is an axiom of political prudence that has mutated into a constitutional convention of how ministers should behave. https://theconversation.com/joyce-breaks-cabinet-rules-but-his-fate-is-pms-call-44557 25. Shenhua coal mine opposition reignites debate over whether Barnaby Joyce could be deputy PM Eliza Borrello http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-14/coal-mine-debate-barnaby-joyce-leadership/6619210 26. Bronwyn Bishop job bid leaves taxpayers with huge expense bill Adam Gartrell http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-job-bid-leaves-taxpayers-with-huge-expense-bill-20150715-gich1g 27. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is meant to back winners, not minnows Craig Froome, The University of Queensland Environment minister Greg Hunt wants the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to focus on new technologies, not wind and solar. But that's not what it was set up to do, and Australia already has an agency for that. https://theconversation.com/the-clean-energy-finance-corporation-is-meant-to-back-winners-not-minnows-44593 28. Come to Paris climate conference, prime minister: French ambassador Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra France's ambassador to Australia, Christophe Lecourtier, has urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to attend the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris late this year. https://theconversation.com/come-to-paris-climate-conference-prime-minister-french-ambassador-44612 29. How baffling is the Abbott government’s assault on windfarms? David Holmes The Abbott government’s decision to effectively cease all new investment in the “mature technology” of wind power in favour of "emerging technology” comes straight from the policy vault of Bjorn Lomborg. https://theconversation.com/how-baffling-is-the-abbott-governments-assault-on-windfarms-44561 30. The 'war on wind' is part of a much bigger fight over renewables Greg Jericho http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-15/jericho-the-war-on-wind-is-part-of-a-much-bigger-fight/6620394 31. George Christensen Takes To Twitter To Threaten Green Groups Will Lose Their Charity Status Thom Mitchell The Abbott Government’s War On The Environment continues, with an LNP member telling environmental organisations to hurry up and get their donations in before the committee he sits on strips them of their tax-exemption status. https://newmatilda.com/2015/07/15/george-christensen-takes-twitter-threaten-green-groups-will-lose-their-charity-status#sthash.nTDXC2RV.dpuf 32. Bill Shorten suffers a $61 million hit to his approval ratings Peter Lewis It's official. Spending $61 million of taxpayers' money establishing a Royal Commission with a brief to damage your opponent is a sound political investment. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-14/lewis-shorten-suffers-a-61-million-hit-to-his-approval-ratings/6618832 33. How Abbott used a royal commission to hurt Shorten - and why it worked Mungo MacCallum http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-14/maccallum-how-abbott-used-a-royal-commission-to-hurt-shorten/6618366 34. Unfair On Welfare: Daily Telegraph Pinged By Press Council Max Chalmers Judging by yesterday's front page, the tabloid won't be changing its approach to welfare or disability coverage anytime soon. https://newmatilda.com/2015/07/14/unfair-welfare-daily-telegraph-pinged-press-council#sthash.ifrKO1Yr.dpuf ECONOMICS 35. Our Economy no longer the envy of the World John Kelly http://theaimn.com/our-economy-no-longer-the-envy-of-the-world/ 36. Inequality has fallen, yet the poor remain in danger of being left behind Greg Jericho http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/jul/15/inequality-has-fallen-yet-the-poor-remain-in-danger-of-being-left-behind VALUES 37. The Banality of Ethics in the Anthropocene, Part 1 Clive Hamilton The Oslo Principles note that “all States and enterprises have an immediate moral and legal duty to prevent the deleterious effects of climate change”. https://theconversation.com/the-banality-of-ethics-in-the-anthropocene-part-1-44568 38. The Banality of Ethics in the Anthropocene, Part 2 Clive Hamilton http://theconversation.cmail19.com/t/r-l-aurtjhd-trhltityg-yk/ 39. How Labor can create a humane refugee policy without reviving boat arrivals Alex Reilly https://theconversation.com/how-labor-can-create-a-humane-refugee-policy-without-reviving-boat-arrivals-44132 40. Shadow and substance James McAuley Forty years after her death, perhaps the most enduring contribution of this decidedly 20th-century thinker is her thinking about a cosmopolitanism suited to the challenges of the 21st century she’d never see. http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/what-makes-hannah-arendt-a-cosmopolitan/ 41. What is Australia's de-industrialised future? Peter Doherty We're compromising our farmland, dismantling our renewable energy industry, degrading our research capacity and loading our future entrepreneurs with debt. What is Australia's de-industrialised future.. If climate change goes fast, the predictions are that we will see a rapid, and increasingly dangerous, breakdown in the global social order. Some might argue that's already under way. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-14/doherty-what-is-australias-de-industrialised-future/6617456 42. What’s wrong with inequality? Duncan Ivison One of the great issues of our day is inequality. Whether it is the Greek debt crisis, anxieties about Sydney real estate prices, the continuing resonance of “Occupy” and cries about the “1%”, or the publishing… https://theconversation.com/whats-wrong-with-inequality-43252 43. Pope Francis calls for a global economy with a conscience Bruce Duncan. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4231 44. Compulsory superannuation and the social contract Guy Rundle, Apr 11, 2015 http://satpa.pe/B9022mD 45. Life during the culture wars Russell Blackford Throughout his recent book Moral Tribes (2013), American psychologist and experimental philosopher Joshua Greene portrays a cultural and political tribalism that divides modern liberal democracies into groups of angry, warring enemies. https://theconversation.com/life-during-the-culture-wars-44537 CARTOONS & SATIRE 46. Search For Bill Shorten Continues The Shovel The excitement following NASA’s flyby of Pluto yesterday was replaced by frustration today, after it became apparent that Bill Shorten was not, in fact, there as had been hoped. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/15/search-for-bill-shorten-continues/ 47. What will I cartoon about if I can't cartoon about Tony government outrage? First Dog on the Moon http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/15/what-will-i-cartoon-about-if-i-cant-cartoon-about-tony-government-outrage

    2353

    16/07/2015TT - thanks for the comment and as someone that will probably be around and annoying my kids in 2034, I hope your dream was somewhat overhyped! However - unless this country gets serious and strats protecting the environment, articles like this one in todays [i]Guardian[/i] (thanks Casablanca) will become more common.

    2353

    16/07/2015And here's the link (d'oh) http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2015/jul/16/10-australian-species-at-extreme-risk-of-extinction-can-they-be-saved

    Casablanca

    18/07/2015POLL 1. Fairfax Poll: closes Saturday How should Bronwyn Bishop respond after the scale of her expense claims were revealed? [b]Total votes cast so far: 83732.[/b] She must resign and pay the money back - 89% Paying back the money is enough punishment - 7% She's done nothing wrong, her expenses are on the public record - 4% [b]Total votes: 83732.[/b] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/chopper-scandal-bronwyn-bishop-ignored-tony-abbotts-message-on-travel-dangers-20150717-giezc9.html HASTAG 2. #chopperbishop Lisa Simons ‏@LisaSimons13 Jul 16 Breaking: Govt to support new emerging energy by having helicopters powered by Kero #ChopperBishop #auspol #LNP_RORT SATIRE 3. In Defence Of Bronwyn Bishop Rossleigh http://theaimn.com/in-defence-of-bronwyn-bishop/ 4. Bronwyn Bishop Starts Day By Smoking Huge Joint Made From Ground-Up Taxpayer Money The Shovel http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/16/bronwyn-bishop-smokes-joint-made-from-taxpayer-money/ 5. What Are Politicians Spending So Much Money Getting From Melbourne To Geelong Buzzfeed http://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/melbourne-to-geelong-is-not-that-far-guys#.wwWYN8Aqv5 HYPOCRISY + RORTS 6. A tale of Two Speakers: Slippery Pete and Chopper Bishop Bob Ellis https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/a-tale-of-two-speakers-slippery-pete-and-chopper-bishop,7951 7. The smell of kerosene Andrew Elder andrewelder.blogspot.com.au 8. Calls Grow To Chop Her, But Will Tony Abbott Check Bishop's Privilege? Ben Eltham https://newmatilda.com/2015/07/16/calls-grow-chop-her-will-tony-abbott-check-bishops-privilege 9. Labor to demand Bishop resign if forms show flight claimed as official business Daniel Hurst http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/17/labor-to-demand-bishop-resign-if-forms-show-flight-claimed-as-official-business?CMP=ema_632 10. Speaker Bronwyn Bishop given resignation ultimatum over helicopter flight James Massola http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/speaker-bronwyn-bishop-given-resignation-ultimatum-over-helicopter-flight-20150717-giebps 11. Chopper scandal: Bronwyn Bishop ignored Tony Abbott's message on travel dangers Michael Gordon http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/chopper-scandal-bronwyn-bishop-ignored-tony-abbotts-message-on-travel-dangers-20150717-giezc9.html 12. Paying back the cash for $5000 helicopter flight does not solve Bronwyn Bishop's problems Michael Gordon http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/paying-back-the-cash-for-5000-helicopter-flight-does-not-solve-bronwyn-bishops-problems-20150716-gidmis.html 13. How much public outrage can Tony Abbott wear for Bronwyn Bishop? Michelle Grattan 14. Joe Hockey hitches a lift on Air Bishop to repair his own image Sean Kelly http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/07/16/bronwyn-bishop-expenses-joe-hockey/ 15. Why a federal ICAC wouldn’t work Tim Lyons http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2015/07/18/why-federal-icac-wouldnt-work/14371416002135 16. Why is Bronwyn Bishop meddling in matters that don't concern her? Irfan Yusuf http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/why-is-bronwyn-bishop-meddling-in-matters-that-dont-concern-her-20150619-ghs7as.html

    Ken

    18/07/2015Casablanca Am enjoying the wide range of links on the Bishopgate - there do, however, appear to be two links missing, to the Andrew Elder and Michelle Grattan pieces. The use of the 'chopper' was obviously all about 'appearances' - a real 'lool at how high and mighty I am'. As others have suggested, she would not have saved a huge amount of time compared to using a comcar. But then of course is the issue that this was a Liberal party fundraiser and she should not have had taxpayer money for a helicopter nor even a comcar. As one of the satircal articles pointed out she could have hired a stretch-limo for $600 (and that should have been her own money or Liberal party funds). The comparisons with what happened to Slipper are well made. If she thinks she is so important that we, the taxpayers, should pay for her travel even when it has nothing to do with the role of government, then she does deserve to go. The next interesting part will be Abbott's reaction - he seems to have been remarkably quiet. (Although Joe Hockey has already used it to re-invent himself yet again and shore up his own electoral prospects.)

    Casablanca

    18/07/2015Ken & all Apologies here are the missing links from above list: 7. The smell of kerosene Andrew Elder http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/ 13. How much public outrage can Tony Abbott wear for Bronwyn Bishop? Michelle Grattan https://theconversation.com/how-much-public-outrage-can-tony-abbott-wear-for-bronwyn-bishop-44853

    TalkTurkey

    18/07/2015Hi Comrades, The article copied in full below was rediscovered by *Professor* Peter van Onselen. It was published by the Liberal Party in 2012. I have take the liberty of providing alternatives to each of the masculine and feminine pronouns thus, ...he/SHE (or vice versa), so his/HERS, anyway think ambiguously for each of the comments Abbort makes and then transpose the present situation and what fun it would be for Bill Shorten to quote it in full in the necessary Motion of No Confidence in Bronwen Bitchop's Speakership. Bearing in mind that Slipper was supposed to have rorted $940 in cab charges (while he was a Liberal!) and pleaded to be allowed to pay it back under the socalled Minchin Protocol which itself is a rort, applied unevenhandedly as shown in the starkly contrasting ludicrously different treatments being applied to these two parallel cases of Slipper and Bitchop.. This must be the most comprehensive case of hypocrisy I have ever heard, not to mention the sheer delight at the perfection of the poetic justice angle. If I've missed providing an inversion in any case please do it yourself mentally. But isn't it, isn't it perfectly poetic? Peter van Onselen - (who somebody yesterday described as a weathercock that thinks he's controlling the wind (:~) - did come up with something good this time anyway! QUOTE STARTS HERE : Tony Abbott Doorstop: Peter Slipper MP 21/04/12 TONY ABBOTT: The Speaker is the guardian of parliamentary standards. The Speakership is one of the most important offices in the Parliament. The Speaker is there to uphold the integrity of the Parliament and now we have very, very serious allegations against the incumbent Speaker, allegations of sexual harassment and allegations of potentially criminal misuse of entitlements. These are very serious allegations indeed. Yes, the Speaker is entitled to the presumption of innocence but he/SHE does have quite a lot of explaining to do. It’s also very important that the Prime Minister act to ensure the integrity of the Parliament. The Speaker is only in that office because the Prime Minister used her/HIS numbers late last year to install him/HER. The Prime Minister, to uphold the integrity of the Parliament, needs now to require the Speaker to step down until these matters are resolved. It’s also incumbent upon the Australian Federal Police to swiftly investigate the potentially criminal allegations that have been made against the Speaker. I can’t underestimate the seriousness of this. The Speaker is required to maintain parliamentary standards and yet there are now these extremely serious allegations against the Speaker him/HERself. So in order to maintain the respect and the reputation of the Parliament, in order to preserve the integrity of the Government and our institutions, it is very important that the Prime Minister act swiftly to require the Speaker to step aside and it’s very important that the Australian Federal Police quickly investigate these matters so that they can be resolved as soon as is humanly possible. QUESTION: So these aren’t the first allegations against him/HER. Should this have been dealt with a long time ago? TONY ABBOTT: [Bill SHORTEN] Well these are matters that have been referred to a court. These are matters where legal documents have been lodged. These are matters that are now to be the subject of proceedings in court, so these are of a vastly more serious and substantial nature than anything that has been alleged against Mr Slipper/Ms BISHOP in the past. QUESTION: After everything that’s been going on with Craig Thomson / [HERE NAME YOUR FAVE RAVE RORTING LIBERAL eg Sinodinos] I suppose the question is, you know, where to from here? Does she/HE need to make a stand now? TONY ABBOTT/ BS: Well this does go to the integrity not just of the Parliament but of the Prime Minister and of the Government. The Prime Minister cannot wash her/HIS hands of this business the way she/HE has tried to wash her /HIS hands of the allegations concerning Mr Thomson/LNP RORTER because Mr Slipper/MS BISHOP is no mere backbencher. Mr Slipper/MS BISHOP is the Speaker of the Parliament. Mr Slipper/MS BISHOP occupies a very, very important office. He/SHE is the guardian of the standards of the Parliament, the protector of the reputation of the Parliament and now there are these extremely serious allegations against him/HER and that’s why the only proper way forward is for the Speaker to step aside while these allegations are being dealt with. If he/SHE doesn’t do so voluntarily, the Prime Minister should indicate that she/HE will require him/HER to step aside until these matters are resolved. QUESTION: Do you have any thoughts on who should take his/HER place while the investigation is ongoing? TONY ABBOTT/(Bill Shorten): Well, as a matter of ordinary parliamentary procedure, if the Speaker is unable to take the chair, the senior Deputy Speaker automatically would take the chair. [ends]

    TalkTurkey

    18/07/2015[i]CASABLANCA![/i] Gee that's hard. I agree I look good thw way you just wrote me but then iits just gilding the lily or maybe throwing another perfume on the rose. Your links are bloody amazing. Right now though, cuses, I'm back on dialup till the 23rd. GRNH!

    TalkTurkey

    18/07/2015PvO's tweet with links Peter van OnselenVerified account ‏@vanOnselenP Check this out. RT @HogesyHoges: I wonder what was here that was deleted overnight? http://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2012/04/21/tony-abbott-doorstop-peter-slipper-mp-0 … Found it: https://web.archive.org/web/20120511152707/http://liberal.org.au/Latest-News/2012/04/21/Tony-Abbott-Doorstop-Peter-Slipper-MP.aspx …

    2353

    18/07/2015TT - Curiouser and curiouser. The Bishopgate brouhaha is subject of the TPS Extra piece that was posted yesterday http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/2015/07/16/taxpayer-dollars-and-helicopters
    How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?