Truth with partisan on the side, but hold the bias, please: Part 1


Quite in love with Jonathan Green

I love Jonathan Green. Indeed, I’ve been quite in love with Jonathan Green for yonks. And that, in media-land, is called ‘disclosure’ (or ‘the big reveal’? Whatever.)

Disclosure is important because this piece is partisan. Whether proudly clutching its first person (it began with ‘I’) or not, this piece like any other can be nought but partisan. Partisan is precisely how we roll and what we are — all of us. (But let’s hope what happens next is also truthful and attentive to the facts.)

So why have I ere-long loved the Green?

Is it the kindly rounded face guesting every now and again on ABCNews24’s The Drum, murmuring wisdoms, occasionally pained, but often beaming genial benevolence?

(*Green starts at 2.30 mins.)

Is it the gentle calm about the ABC radio voice — that it almost never rises, even when the topic is confronting and the participants adversarial; that it holds steady through repeated challenge; that it slips in questions so deferentially as to seem innocuous? (But they’re not, of course.)

It is that the Green’s froggy tweets [@GreenJ] are quite sublime — a mastering of the ‘mot’ so ‘bon’ they out-‘wit’ all others?



Or that his weekly Thursday columns on The Drum website challenge us not only to look but really to learn from what we see?

Whichever way he captivates, this voice has been, for me, a trusted one in media. Not surprising, then, that I leapt to acquire The Year My Politics Broke by Green, a work in fine journalistic tradition of analysis on the 2013 Federal election, the moment it was digitised and out.

But — there is indeed a ‘but’ — while I didn’t quite know it then, I was a reader on a mission. After all, The Year My Politics Broke is written by an insider having voice across four communication platforms (add the book and we make five). Would this powerful, trusted voice shed new, or any, light on the role the fourth estate had played in letting loose the brutal wrenching dogs of pseudo-democracy we’ve just inherited — apparently by vote? If anyone knew the go on media culpability, Green surely would.

I have wondered ever since our last federal election whether journalists in Australia really truly, saw, never mind understood, the anger that hundreds of thousands of Australians felt so directly for so many of them before and after it. Aussie journalists sold Australian voters down the drain, cried some. Aussie journalism hadn’t done its job, said others. Tagged repeatedly by new online media and the fifth estate, even just in this last twelve months, who in the fourth has been listening?

So furious have been some judgments of betrayal, of an abdication of responsibility so heinous, that a chosen consequence could only be arraigning some of them — this very fourth estate — for treason. Those hungry for some kind of just consequence for media inadequacy are not ‘rusted-on’ (the usual disparaging epithet) party-aligned loonies; these are rusted-on human beings (I like to think I’m one) who feel betrayed utterly by press as much as politicians.

And I’ve wondered since; how aware now is the fourth estate that extreme citizen unrest persists, that the language of anger (and yes, I do use Twitter as something of a barometer, but not the only one) is, however extreme the analogy, increasingly aligning what is happening in the Australian political environment with the 1930s rise of fascism (not to mention the part some media played), and resistance — any impetus for action — with notions of real revolution?

Might Green have seen this as he reflected on the ‘breaking’ of his, indeed he argues Australia’s, own politics? Does he see it now? (Surely, I ask myself, after the ‘March in March’ event of 15–17 March the fourth estate might see a little more … now? Or not, as Mr Denmore considers.)

Green’s first chapter (available here in full), though, is one of the most incisive and intelligent dissections of where the last three years or more of politician and press shenanigans have left all things to do with the polity that I have thus far seen. (You really should read it.)

His very first sentence holds a palpable sense of his own disappointment in what modern Australian politics has become: ‘At some point they refined the art of politics, whittling it down to a nub of cynical ambition couched in something that from the middle distance might pass for belief’.

On the ‘sum of modern politics’ he further notes that there is good and bad policy, the good often squandered through a focus on its ‘inter-party or intra-party effect’ because of ‘fear of adverse reaction’, and the bad sculpted from fear to create division that is politically useful. It is, he surmises, a system reacting to circumstance rather than being ‘driven by belief’.

There’s no doubt at all that Green’s personal ‘J’accuse’ includes the press:

And how did we come to this? It’s hard not to overstate the role that the media have played—another institution, like formal politics, looking increasingly uncertain in a world of changing verities and technological circumstances. They have both gone down together in public estimation, our politicians and our press, two estates fundamental to our democratic health, but engaged in a mutually self-destructive relationship.

Quite soon (Chapter 2), ‘the press’ are called (or are they?) on their coverage of the Rudd revival. Green suggests the public interest was little served by coverage of what ‘seemed like little more than self-serving figments … shreds of deliberately laid, wishful myth’ of which he says: ‘And we, the reading, viewing public, could never call the press on this, never challenge the source of all the rumour and ambitious innuendo’ [my emphasis].

Journalistic motives in the Rudd saga are, however, explored In Chapter 2. Significantly, the framework of impartiality in journalism is brought into play. Suggesting that some senior correspondents thought a Rudd comeback likely or, for some reason, desirable, he notes: ‘Again, an impossible proposition to prove or detect, thanks to the notion of confidentiality and the pervading assumption of journalistic impartiality’ [my emphasis].

By Green’s third chapter, the kind of bollocking Andrew Elder has been serving out for years to the press in general and the Canberra Gallery in particular is underway:

Is this a wilful blindness? If Australia’s political discussion is lost into a pit of rudeness and tripe, it has been dumped there by press as much as by politicians … could politicians behave in that manner if the media forced the issue and used its collective intelligence and informational bargaining power? …

The media could play a role in the cure too, of course, but turn a famously tin ear to these discussions … Just fine if the work of these men and women had no broader public impact, if the system was a closed cell whose failures and transgressions could be safely ignored. But the public trust invested in a free press demands a better return than the flabby self-indulgence of so much of the political reporting-as-usual …

If media are to enjoy the privileges they earn as our democracy’s fourth estate, then they need to reawaken a sense of what serving that estate might entail. A shorthand for the position might be policy over personality, but perhaps that’s too tempting an oversimplification.

It hardly seems to matter, in any event, because nothing seems more resolute than the collective failure of Canberra press to just get this simple point. Our gallery hacks are rarely called on it, even though the consensus growing among the increasingly audible community they putatively serve seems to be that our press is not to be trusted or relied upon.

And the one group dealt out of the exchange were the voters, the viewers, the ordinary Australians, the real losers in this cartel collusion between politics and press that substitutes reality for self-serving political fictions [my emphasis].

But it’s not until Chapter 7 that Green next tackles the political press. Writing of press coverage of the ‘pink batts’ affair Green notes: ‘The betrayal of the reader/voter implied in this is obvious, and it suggests either a misinterpretation or abrogation of the role of political media. Or worse than either, it implies partisan journalistic activism’ [my emphasis].

The press really don’t appear again. Instead, towards the end of his treatise (Chapter 11) Green hands us this:

It’s a cycle that needs a circuit breaker before the entire apparatus consumes itself tail first.

And that circuit breaker may just be the popularity of a politician who sees all this, plays to it as well as anyone, but somehow manages to send a simultaneous signal that things need to change, that none of this serves us well. A charismatic celebrity candidate who nonetheless embraces a suite of big ideas, ideas made more palatable by fame, ideas that also mirror the public distaste for the stale systems of media and politics as they stand. It might have been Turnbull. It could have been Rudd. It’s not a description that seems to fit Abbott. We may be surprised or we may have some waiting to do.

It is true in so many ways that The Year My Politics Broke doesn’t disappoint. But it is also true that many more words are spent on the failure of politicians and politics than on how we mediate through the political press our trust in both. Green’s thought of the possibility of a leader who could turn it all around is virtually his only suggestion for how change might occur. A popular charismatic leader is his answer? And, yes, while it isn’t fair to ask someone to write the book you wanted rather than the one you got, I am bemused by a respected elder of the journalistic profession who wrote so vehemently against ‘the cartel collusion’ of politics and press seeming then to offer little more than an ‘oh woe’ and a wish for a new messiah.

I am more confused than bemused at how Green seems initially to position himself: ‘we, the reading, viewing public, could never call the press on this’ or ‘our gallery hacks are rarely called on this’. Well he isn’t ‘the public’, of course. By all first principles of the estates, and by virtue of the layers of media expression he has access to, he’s in a far more powerful position than, say, I am for calling anyone in public life on anything. And the public, by virtue of social media apart from any other way, consistently did call the press ‘on this’. And so indeed did he in November 2012 in ‘Partisan hyperbole: mistaking a claque for a clap’ where he notes ‘a puffed up, perpetually outraged and campaigning media can be a political trap …’, and continued to do in February 2014 in ‘Slogans stifle debate – and we let them’ where he raises the question of what might have happened in the last federal election ‘ … if our media had pushed harder for more considered responses and insisted that the electoral argument go beyond cliché and slogan …’

It seems, then, that Green chooses to comment on the habits of political journalism as if he were not a member of the media. If you are not, perhaps you don’t have to act (other than to comment) for change?

There may be a clue to the apparent contradiction in how strongly Green states, as a cause for the failures of the political press, that the public assume the ‘impartiality’ of journalists when what they often get is ‘either a misinterpretation or abrogation of the role of political media … [or] worse than either … partisan journalistic activism’.

Worse, no less: partisan journalistic activism.

Green is looking for new and different political leaders to bring change to politics, and presumably (by osmosis?) to that colluding political press.

Part of a love that is still ‘quite’ is that I’m equally looking for leaders in journalism to bring change to the political media. Jonathan, for all that I esteem his work, does not yet seem to be putting up his hand.

For some time US journalist, professor and critic Jay Rosen has been critiquing political journalism. In 2011 at the Melbourne Writers festival he set the cat amongst the journalistic pigeons by giving an address titled ‘Why political coverage is broken’. In it he defined something he calls ‘the production of innocence’ in journalism:

By the production of innocence I mean ways of reporting the news that try to advertise or “prove” to us that the press is neutral in its descriptions, a non-partisan presenter of facts, a non-factor and non-actor in events. Innocence means reporters are mere recorders, without stake or interest in the matter at hand. They aren’t responsible for what happens, only for telling you about it. When you hear, “don’t shoot the messenger” you are hearing a journalist declare his or her innocence.

One reason why a journalist as fine as Jonathan Green leads us to the nub of the problem but seems unable to lead us on to solutions is, I’d suggest, that we are in a very moral muddle about partisan, but not biased, journalism versus impartial or objective or ‘neutral’ journalism.

In ‘Truth, with partisan on the side: Part 2’ I want to explore this suggestion further.

But for now:

  • Is political journalism in Australia broken?
  • Should we be looking for leaders in political journalism who might make a new compact with both the public and their own estate?
  • What might leaders and compact be like, if we did?
What do you think?

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TPS Team

13/04/2014Who loves Jonathan Green? While declaring her longstanding passion for the witty media commentator, Jan Mahyuddin (an editor and a bit of a writer from way back) examines the underlying anger that many Australians felt for both politicians and the media during and after the 2013 election. Following a stint as a greyish nomad-ish gypsy, Jan has leapt back into (for her) a measure of political activism, and asks: is political journalism broken? Jan is interested in thinking and writing about political reporting and political journalism, and how words shape the polity. She explores the themes, ideas and solutions in Green’s [i]The Year My Politics Broke[/i], and rates the performance of the media during the election campaign, finding the fourth estate wanting. From reporting misinformation, rumour and innuendo, to the misleading framework of impartiality and balance, the ‘perpetually outraged’ media has let us all down. Does journalism always have to be objective or neutral - or is there a place for a disclosed, partisan position? Can we be trusted to make up our own minds, even when confronted with someone’s opinion? Despite her undying love, Jan challenges Green, as a media elder, to come up with more creative solutions to bring the media in line with our expectations. How can we address these failures by our media? Where are the leaders in the media, who will put up their hands to bring change to our news? Part 1 of this article explains the media muddle we find ourselves in - what do you think?

Ad astra

13/04/2014Jan@j4gypsy What an incisive piece you have gifted to us. Who could disagree with your, and Jonathan Green’s astute and acerbic analysis of contemporary politics in Australia and the Fourth Estate’s role in it. There is no point in attempting to elaborate on this. It is grotesque, it is tragic, it is wholly unbecoming of our first world democracy. Disturbing as is his description of our politics and our media’s reporting of it, our media’s analysis of it, and our media’s unwillingness or incapacity to disentangle itself from the political web our politicians weave, even more distressing is his inability to offer a way out of the slough of despond in which we unwillingly wallow. There is no leader in sight who has the innate wisdom, strength, stature and character to be the hero who might enable the scales to fall from the eyes of the electorate, who has the intellect to fashion a new vision, who is articulate enough to describe it, and persuasive enough to convince. There is no contemporary leader who is capable of overcoming the oppressiveness of the Fourth Estate. So where to from here? The one force that could bring about needed changes to the political system we endure is all of us. No ‘leader’ will emerge unless we press for her or him. Rather than optimistically looking longingly for our political ‘messiah’ - our strong and resolute statesman, we need to promote such a person. We could begin by communicating with existing or potential leaders who embrace our values and ideals, pressing them to reflect on the corrupt, self-serving wasteland that is called Australian politics, hold before their eyes a vision of what might be, a vision of what we need, and insist that they respond to our ideas with their notions of what ought to be changed, and how change might be effected. We must aim at the top, and at those whom we wish were at the top. And we must be persistent. If we are, not only might altruism be stirred in our best people, but also we may stir the likes of Jonathan Green, who has the courage to call the situation the way it is but seems lost in fashioning a solution, instead wishfully hoping for his version of the messiah. Encouragement of potential leaders and the tiny core of journalists who seek something better for the people, instead of something better for themselves, might bear fruit. It’s worth a try anyway.

jaycee

13/04/2014A good scholarly piece, Jan..one can almost see you keen to "hit the accelerator", yet with that grip firm on the hand-brake! Nice timing in the "vocal" structure and sentences. But you already know my opinion on the MSM.press gallery..and while I do have regard for Mr. Green's written pieces,which I regularly (above any others from the ABC.) read, one has to wonder why, when there is so much owner / managerial interference in the journalist's professional work, hasn't ANY made a protest statement by publicly quitting their job? As a carpenter / contractor, I would not, could not ethically stay on a job where the owner asked or demanded that I do shoddy, cheap or unsafe work.....I have never and could never...and I bet there are FEW in ANY occupation, from the lowliest worker to the professionals who would not be thoroughly ashamed to kow-tow, like the MSM. journalists, to a tyrannical overbearing, boss with criminal intent! One can only judge another's action from the nature of good or bad within their own conscience..when one looks to the shameful ducking and weaving from speaking honestly by the best in Australian journalism, one is compelled to judge harshly. If we are to hold high that old adage from our parents that ; "If you cannot say a good word about a person, don't say anything at all"...then surely, the great majority of the vicious MSM. press-gallery hacks should have shut up when Julia Gillard and Labor was so ably steering the country and the lying / sycophant MSM. hacks should honestly now shut up while this bunch of morons are so ably destroying the country!

Ken

13/04/2014Political journalism is broken. But I think some of that stems from broader changes in our society. Our movies offer ‘heroes’ who win out by being aggressive and violent. Our everyday discourse has become less civil - shock jocks are the ultimate example of this and the fact that they are accepted reinforces that change has taken place. (If we still believed in civil discourse they would be taken off air.) Our traditional adversarial and competitive system in the courts and in politics (and I might add in the ‘market place’) seems to have spilled over into society in general. If journalists are only reflecting these changes and presenting views/opinions as ‘news’ in this adversarial manner, are they doing anything wrong? This style of journalism would probably be acceptable if we had a genuinely diverse media – with many different newspapers or other mainstream media outlets at least presenting alternate ‘views’. My own research on newspapers (I was also intending to write a piece but Jan has stolen my thunder – and done so very well) suggests that many newspapers in the UK and US, going back up to two centuries, often began as being very parochial and very partisan to one side or other of their local politics. But this did not matter as much when there were many different newspapers putting contrary slants on the ‘news’. The idea that newspapers should present news as facts in a neutral way didn’t arise in the US until about the 1920s. So, to my mind a bigger issue is media ownership and the way it is dominated in Oz by two major players (and one of those seems to be on the skids). If they adopt this new style of journalism, there is only the fifth estate left to present the contrary ‘view’. While the fifth estate may not be reaching the majority of the population, I would suggest that it is having some influence on young people. Good old fashioned journalism appears to be in short supply on the fifth estate and some attempts at it have failed. But that may only be part of the process which I suggested at the start of this comment. People do not go to the fifth estate for ‘news’ but for alternative ‘views’. And in that regard there may be hope.

Michael

14/04/2014Now Abbott and his mongrels of malice are going after anyone but the offspring of the rich ever making it to a university. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/13/university-places-report-says-scrap-enrolment-targets-for-poorer-students?CMP=ema_792 "Pay as you go"? You don't even get to start unless you're backed by wealth.

Ken

14/04/2014Michael I recall Pyne floated this idea (of removing caps) soon after becoming Education minister but Abbott said it would not happen. I mentioned it in my piece 'Do you not remember the Twentieth Century?' So it is not just another attack but another case of Abbott saying one thing one day and something different the next.

jaycee

14/04/2014It is time to stop mincing our words in regards to those MSM. journalists that colluded with foreign nationals to sabotage the infrastructure of this nation. If it is an act of treason for a citizen of any nation to act to destroy ..say ; a railway network, then it is an act of treason for a person to destroy the NBN. so as to make it unviable for practical usage. If it is an act of treason for citizens to collude with a foreign national to seek to bring down a govt' and destroy social and industrial infrastructure of a nation, then it is an act of treason that the MSM. journalists of this nation did just that to the last govt'. If it is an act of treason for a citizen to undermine the morale and seek to undermine the loyalty of other citizens to their country of birth, then it is treason for certain parties to advertise, pay for and promote propaganda to destabilise the revenue streams of that country. We may not make a "call to arms", but we sure as hell have to stop mollycoddling those traitors that worked to sabotage the Govt', the democracy, the Parliament and the social safety nets and welfare of this, OUR nation, OUR country.....it is not just bias, it is not just partisan, it is bastardry pure and simple...IT IS TREASON!

Janet (j4gypsy)

14/04/2014Thank you Ad for your own, ever-kind and incisive, comments :-). This struck me as a truth of the kind we’ve become accustomed to from your many guiding years with [i]TPS[/i]: ‘The one force that could bring about needed changes to the political system we endure is all of us.’ Most regulars to [i]TPS[/i] would know that I was involved quite intensively in the very early stages of getting #March in March up (see e.g. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/03/26/march-touched-nation-sally_owl-inside-story-marchinmarch/), and then helped just a tiny little bit in the background as it evolved into many groups and locations of activity. And I’ve been fascinated at what has been happening since the 15-17th March from, indeed, the expression that is the ‘force that is all of us’, together. From that moment of unified protest has sprung up conversations all over, suggestions for new political parties, and one or two citizen endeavours towards better governance of serious potential for capitalising on the kinds of strategy Cathy McGowan and later Scott Ludlam used through working within an electorate to make direct change at the ballot box. I think we are on the very cusp of seeing a good deal more happening -– even considering just the size of the Palm Sunday gatherings in support of asylum seekers yesterday, and that 'happening' seems to be translating words into action -- to some extent. I have been wondering, too, whether that ‘tiny core of journalists who seek something better for the people’, is quite so tiny, after all, but might save further comment for a little while.

Ad astra

14/04/2014Janet (j4gypsy) Thank you for your kind comment. There are several ways that ‘the force’ that comprises all of us can have an influence. March in March was a brilliant example of what ‘the force’ was able to do. Thank you for your involvement in bringing it about. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a ‘March in May’? It might be harder second time around for the MSM to brazenly ignore such a seminal event. Other ways include writing to the local member, and to leaders. I am preparing a comprehensive letter to Bill Shorten. I will take time to get it right. Its purpose is twofold: to point to the inadequacies of the Party structure and its policy making mechanisms, and to suggest other ways of structuring the Party in a way that would give voice to Labor’s many supporters, who at present have almost no way of expressing views, asking questions or suggesting a more appropriate [i]modus operandi[/i]. Social media and the Fifth Estate are other media that we ought to exploit to the full. If we do not make our voices heard, if we remain mute and thereby powerless, the only changes that will come about will be from the inner circle, the very ones who have left the Party in the parlous position it now occupies. [b]Speak up we must, again and again and again.[/b]

jaycee

14/04/2014interesting that my above comment was put up on the ABC. The Drum article on Turnbull's hypocracy and the NBN...How long it will stay there is anyone's guess!...I certainly didn't expect it to see the light of day there..I placed it as a joke on the moderators....perhaps theyare cheesed off at the govt' and the Murdochians enough to start to allow some more direct criticism.

TalkTurkey

14/04/2014The above "thank you" from "web designer" I take it is spam. If it was in fact made by Web Monkey, it is he and not one of us who deserves thanks. As we don't give him enough of. Thanks always WM. If it was indeed spam, (if WM doesn't confirm that it was his line), I shall as always in such cases take delight in consigning it to outer darkness. And I'll take my own comment with it. But I can't help wondering, what possible benefit could such spammers derive from such an apparently pointless comment?

jaycee

14/04/2014the slime is running thick and filthy on "our" ABC. ...Turnbull once again shows the sort of bloke he has become...perhaps always was!

TalkTurkey

14/04/2014Robert Louis Stevenson. 1850–1894 Requiem (Morbid) UNDER the wide and starry sky Dig the grave and let me lie: Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you 'grave for me: 5 Here he lies where he long'd to be; Home is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill. By contradistinction: Janet (j4gypsy) Joy! Under the wide and starry sky Where Emus run and Eagles fly Lover of the hot and dry She embraced the place with a will. A space to dwell and yet be free At last she is where she's longed to be: Home in the inland, far from the sea - Our Gypsy, home at the Hill. My partner J**** and I have visited Jan at Broken Hill and her house and she are glowing with complementing each other's needs.

Casablanca

15/04/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 15 April 2014: 60 items [/b] THE TONY AWARDS 1. Benighted Labor failed to create a true Order of Australia Crispin Hull April 4, 2014 THE real lesson from the knights and dames event is that Labor has naively believed in the march of progress. Labor has imagined that, once a significant reform has been achieved, everyone will see is merits and it will not be unwound. Prime Minister Gough Whitlam imagined that he had swept away the grovelling, curtseying, class-laced system of imperial honours, with their Sirs and Dames, by introducing the Order of Australia, to which any Australian could nominate any other Australian. Further, the award recipients were selected by a body of independent people, not on the say-so of the Prime Minister or a Premier. http://www.crispinhull.com.au/2014/04/04/benighted-labor-failed-to-create-a-true-order-of-australia/ 2. Tony’s “Utilities R Us”! Truthseeker April 6, 2014 There has never been an Australian government that needs and deserves a hostile senate, more than this mob! There is also the small matter of our manufacturing industry, shutting up shop (Pardon the pun :wink: ) and shedding potentially tens of thousands of jobs, while the Abbott sticks to the ideological path of slash, burn and sell. http://truthseekersmusings.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/tonys-utilities-r-us/ ENTITLEMENTS + FIDDLES + RORTS + SUBSIDIES + RESPONSIBILITY + LARGESSE 3. Slipper soap opera continues: @Boeufblogginon comments Joan Evatt. April 2, 2014 Any matter involving Peter Slipper, it appears, is always going to be complicated. A simple Mention before the Federal Circuit Court this week proved to be no different. Instead of just setting dates for hearings to commence, the court ended-up with a new version of a legal soap opera. In front of Judge Manousaridis, legal http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=26e1938a8be319a76c63b9ed4890f9fb&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 4. Arthur Sinodinos dazzled by his dreams Jack Waterford. April 5, 2014 In pursuit of that vision, Sinodinos paid no attention to signs or warnings that the AWH story was not as he believed it to be. Nor was he interested in being told. He was going to be a captain of industry and commerce - and, if perhaps ultimately a rich man too, what of it? There's nothing wrong, surely, with being rewarded for taking risks. It's what free enterprise is all about. And should a guy be damned for being insufficiently suspicious of leading lights in business and in the NSW party? Where would it all end if that happened? www.canberratimes.com.au/.../...0140404-364d4.html 5. The Liberal Party's grog and gambling habit Peter Wicks. 11 April 21014 The financial and people links between the Liberal Party and their corporate [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-liberal-partys-grog-and-gambling-habit,6374 POVERTY WARS 6. Early intervention saves money (just give it time) Eamon Waterford 4 Apr 2014 Social ills like criminal behaviour, incarceration, unemployment and homelessness can end up costing billions - which makes early intervention to avoid them look cheap. The kind of people who want to strip unemployed youth of benefits, or lock up criminals and throw away the key, generally like to think of themselves as hardheads. Their enemy, as they see it, is the bleeding heart: emotional, ideological purists whose misguided do-goodery actually causes more harm than benefit. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-04/waterford-early-intervention-saves-money/5367738 BIGOTRY RIGHTS vs HUMAN RIGHTS 7. AHRC President: Freedom of speech not in danger — racism is the real risk Professor Gillian Triggs 10 April 2014 The freedom wars and the future of human rights in Australia. "It is the everyday freedoms that matter to most Australians, not abstract discussions about freedoms." http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/hrc-president-freedom-of-speech-not-in-danger--racism-is-the-real-risk,6369 8. Racial hatred laws 20 years on Frank Brennan. 11 April 2014 In 1994, a year before the Parliament enacted the present section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, I wrote in Eureka Street: 'At this time, in this part of the world, thought-police armed with criminal sanctions are not the answer' to racial discrimination. Senator Brandis has now circulated a proposal to amend the existing provisions. What he has produced is the racial hatred law you have when you don't want a racial hatred law. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39250#.U0wMc7UQ9ZY 9. Aboriginal health group warns against changes to Racial Discrimination Act Anna Henderson 2 Apr 2014 In a speech at the National Press Club in Canberra, Justin Mohamed, the chairman of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), called for the Government to re-think the changes. "Racism does contribute to poor health outcomes for our people," he said, arguing it particularly impacted on mental health. He said Aboriginal staff and patients experience racism within the health system and they should be protected under the existing law. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-02/naccho-wants-medical-services-quarantined-from-budget-cuts/5362000?WT.mc_id=newsmail 10. Racism on the rise in Australia: migrants report cultural shift Cosima Marriner April 6, 2014 Dealing with prejudice is a way of life for many Australians. Cosima Marriner and Natalie O'Brien spoke to a range of people about how they have risen above discrimination. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/racism-on-the-rise-in-australia-migrants-report-cultural-shift-20140405-365a5.html ELECTIONS WA(RS) Labor's Louise Pratt out-polling colleague Joe Bullock in WA Senate re-count Lisa Cox April 14, 2014 Labor’s Louise Pratt is out-polling incoming senator Joe Bullock in the below the line vote count in the WA Senate election. In a sign of the extent to which Mr Bullock’s disastrous campaign hurt the party’s vote in the fresh WA poll, Senator Pratt leads Mr Bullock 1285 votes to 1039. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labors-louise-pratt-outpolling-colleague-joe-bullock-in-wa-senate-recount-20140414-zquie.html 11. Palmer power and other lessons from the Senate by-election Ray Cassin. 11 April 2014 The most insidious outcome of the WA Senate election is the bargaining power it has delivered to Clive Palmer, the Queensland mining magnate who dominates the party on which he has bestowed his name. He massively outspent all his rivals, raising yet again the question of whether limits should be placed on private financing of political campaigns. It is a question that, because of his newfound clout, will not be answered anytime soon. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39252#.U0wMArUQ9ZY 12. Scott Ludlam for President? Kaye Lee. April 4, 2014 Imagine having a head of State who was calm, articulate, honest, dignified, compassionate, knowledgeable, respectful, practical, hard-working. The more I see of Scott Ludlam the more these words echo in my mind. His maiden speech to the Senate in 2008… http://theaimn.com/2014/04/04/scott-ludlam-for-president/ POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 13. To be rich is indeed glorious… Kaye Lee. April 11, 2014 And there we have it – a snapshot of our Prime Minister from his own lips. “TONY Abbott has described his visit to China as the most important ever undertaken by an Australian leader and has congratulated the Communist country http://theaimn.com/2014/04/11/to-be-rich-is-indeed-glorious/ 14. Budget spin enters Fantasyland Barry Tucker. 5 April, 2014 The Budget spin of Australian federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has entered the world of fantasy. It’s a world where fantastic imagination, lies, obfuscation, bull-dust, half-truth and distortion gets mixed in a muddle — all designed to blind-side the voters. Sometimes it blind-sides the news media. Sometimes some of the news media get sick of the deception, get sick of being played for fools — and let rip.... Much kudos goes to the two Crikey journalists who had the decency, the integrity, the knowledge and the insight to treat Hockey’s Briefing Note with the contempt it deserves. http://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/budget-spin-enters-fantasyland/ 15. Maintain silence for the sheep: @Sally_Owl comments Sally Farrell. April 13, 2014 So much of what the Abbott Government is about is intertwined in ensuring that the big end of town, the ‘one percenters’ as they are referred to, are able to regain the significant losses they suffered during the global financial crisis – with the 99 percenters footing the bill. Australia, with the election of this http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=55a4bb5a2eb2e7fbb56b70db59ddf2cd&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 16. He Wouldn’t Dare John Kelly. April 14, 2014 No matter what Joe Hockey says, he wouldn’t dare upset today’s aged pensioners…would he? As much as he would like to, the consequences of such an act would terminate his tenure as treasurer very quickly. Yes, he will probably increase… http://theaimn.com/2014/04/14/he-wouldnt-dare/ 17. The Superannuation saga….. Kaye Lee. April 14, 2014 While a pained Joe Hockey tells us his “truth” about the mess Labor has supposedly left, and that the old age pension is no longer affordable so we must work till we drop, it is worth remembering the Coalition’s history on superannuation. Had they listened to Whitlam, had Keating won, had Howard kept his election promise, had Abbott and Hockey stuck to their word, the future may not look so bleak for those who have worked for a lifetime yet still face a retirement dependent on the pittance the government chooses to give them. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/14/the-superannuation-saga/ 18. Making heads or tails of Australia's economic strategy David Llewellyn-Smith. 7 Apr 2014 The RBA has painted itself into a corner on monetary policy, while the Federal Government is talking about massive black holes while simultaneously saying the budget won't be too tough http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-04/llewellyn-making-heads-or-tails-of-australias-economic-strategy/5367468 19. Tax reform requires hard choices Leith van Onselen. April 4, 2014 The University of Canberra National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling has released new analysis showing that in the absence of tax cuts, the effect of people being pushed into higher tax brackets because of inflation (“bracket creep”) would increase total personal income taxes http://macrobusiness.createsend1.com/t/i-l-zjddht-dtyueir-jd/ 20. Tony’s plutocratic China tour Houses and Holes. April 2, 2014 Crikey has published a list of who's off to China with Tony Abbott on April 9 for a four-day, three-stop tour taking in Beijing, Shanghai and the Boao economic forum: Looks like everyone except Gina. Hope they're not all on the same plane. No stupid comments... http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/04/tonys-plutocratic-china-tour/ 21. Economic managers reap the whirlwind Houses and Holes. April 4, 2014 Institutional stability is one of those vague terms that is cited as a crucial support when one assesses the relative merits and risk of any given market. In Australia's case it is often referenced as a strength of our economic, regulatory and banking systems and is a bit like an unloved old partner, taken for granted until it's not there. http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/04/australian-macro-management-reaps-the-whirlwind/ ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 22. Private is better ... but only at making money Judy Crozier. 14 April 2014 The Abbott Government is encouraging the states to sell off public assets in the interests of efficiency. This is a huge risk, writes Judy Crozier. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/private-is-better--but-only-at-making-money,6380 NBN 23. Coalition to adopt UK broadband platform Renai LeMay . April 1, 2014 Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed plans to implement the same underlying broadband infrastructure platform in Australia which has already been used for some time in the UK, with the two nations' incumbent telcos Telstra and BT to collaborate on the exchange over the next several years. http://delimiter.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=46963e132555d06e37a300a54&id=36014ffdd7&e=d994889257 24. Unlimited 100Mbps for $89.99: TPG equals top NBN plan Renai LeMay . April 3, 2014 TPG has launched a new plan on the National Broadband Network fibre infrastructure which appears to match the existing best option on the market from rival Exetel, with the national broadband provider also now offering an unlimited option at speeds of 100Mbps for just $89.99 per month. http://delimiter.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=46963e132555d06e37a300a54&id=504fce4c2a&e=d994889257 CARR'S DIARY: POLICY, ABs, OATS & IRONY 25. Bob Carr's book and Australia's guided democracy Bob Ellis Bob Carr's new book is an insightful and illuminating read and Carr does not deserve the hysterical public condemnation he's received for writing it...For the book is a very good book indeed, rivalling some of Gore Vidal's essays and some episodes of The West Wing, and Clive James's account of going to China with Mrs Thatcher. This excellence cannot be countermanded by a sniffy toss of the head from Julie Bishop – a worse foreign minister – or Alexander Downer, a fatuous cross-dressing dill. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/bob-carrs-book-and-australias-guided-democracy,6377 26. Bob Carr, former Minister for Nothing Peter Hartcher. April 11, 2014 If Abbott indulged himself in a Downunder Downton Abbey of lords and ladies, Carr’s new diary reveals a Don Quixote figure, where the great struggles and heroic deeds take place in his imagination. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/bob-carr-former-minister-for-nothing-20140411-zqtne.html 27. Bob Carr diaries leave me reaching for a doughnut Annabel Crabb. Apr 11 2014 The pattern is now worryingly familiar. A man of considerable self-regard and oddball personal habits finds himself – thanks to a stroke of luck – privy to a dazzling trove of diplomatic... http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/bob-carr-diaries-leave-me-reaching-for-a-doughnut-20140411-zqthu.html 28. Diary full of 'irony': Bob Carr hits out at media James Robertson. April 14, 2014 Former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans launched the book with a near 20-minute speech. The two men compared their styles and legacies. ‘‘Gareth was always attracted to the long definitive speech,’’ Mr Carr said. ‘‘I was more of an impressionist sketching on that easel’’. Mr Evans – whom Mr Carr has described as a mentor – admonished his friend for being too kind to the Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka. He said that showed that Mr Carr was a relentlessly pragmatic foreign minister, while he always tried to be guided more by liberal and idealistic principles. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/diary-full-of-irony-bob-carr-hits-out-at-media-20140414-zqunc.html SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 29. GetUp! Remember when more than 50,000 of us acted together to reveal Harvey Norman's bad habit of logging native forests to produce timber furniture? It seems there are a few people who weren't too happy with the campaign and don't want to see any more like it. Reportedly, key MPs and industry groups are pushing for a ban on "secondary boycotts", which could effectively stop the GetUp movement and other similar organisations from calling out companies which manufacture or sell products that damage the environment. Ridiculous? You bet. It seems that standing up for free speech is an awfully selective activity. https://www.facebook.com/GetUpAustralia?hc_location=timeline 30. Why the union movement should divorce the ALP Guy Rundle. 3 April 2014 "The public remains far more collective, nationalist, protectionist, and statist than the head members of both major parties — who share a mutual sympathy at the stupidity of their own supporters in rejecting neoliberalism. Their support for market solutions is different from the application of it by Hawke/Keating — even though Keating remains a fetish object for them. They regard the neoliberal market not merely as an efficient form, but as a moralising and disciplinary force, to shape a public that would otherwise become lazy and undynamic." http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/04/03/rundle-why-the-union-movement-should-divorce-the-alp/ 31. In Defence Of Diversity Kenan Malik Immigration is clearly one of the most fiercely-debated and toxic issues of today. The debate is, however, less about the facts than about the existential impact. Immigration has become symbolic of the disruption of communities, the undermining of identities, the fraying of the sense of belongingness, the promotion of unacceptable change. For Goodhart, ‘Large-scale immigration’ has created ‘an England that is increasingly full of mysterious and unfamiliar worlds’. He quotes one man from Merton: ‘We’ve lost this place to other cultures. It’s not English any more.’ http://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/in-defence-of-diversity/ 32. The erosion of our democratic system ‘Joe W’ April 7, 2014 Unless you own a newspaper or a mining company, or are happy to turn a blind eye to the erosion of our democratic values then it would be difficult to get an argument from you that the Abbott Government continues to go from bad to worse. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/07/the-erosion-of-our-democratic-system/ 33. The power of congregations Kaye Lee. April 13, 2014 There are few institutions with the power to influence fundamental change – governments, unions, the military, big corporations, and the church. This government is undermining the unions, using the military for civil operations, and paving the way for big corporations. Globally, we see the military and corporations wielding power in different states. In times like these, as in other times of crisis, the church needs to step up and use its power to remind the world of its responsibilities. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/13/the-power-of-congregations/ 34. Abbott hasn’t Broken Any Promises! rossleighbrisbane. April 14, 2014 There’s a site that that’s tallying up a list of so-called Liberal “broken promises”. Rather unfairly, it lists Joe Hockey’s promise to have a surplus in his first budget, because every knows that he didn’t mean that one. And anyway, he took it back before the election. He clarified his position and only promised a surplus when the revenue exceeded the expenditure. But he assured us that while it wouldn’t happen overnight, it would happen. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/14/19437/ 35. Exposing the lie of politics Sir Scotch. April 12, 2014 It is no surprise that when it comes to trust, collectively politicians rate very lowly. And individually there are many politicians that we definitely do not trust. Yet they continue to win our votes, if not our trust. In this guest post, Sir Scotch looks at this baffling phenomenon. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/12/exposing-the-lie-of-politics-2/ 36. Is Australia run by compulsive liars? Alan Austin 12 April 2014 Categorising and counting the false statements by Australian leaders over the [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/is-australia-run-by-compulsive-liars,6376 37. The Abbott Art of Lying. derwombat 14/02/2014 Since being elected as our Prime Minister some political commentators have suggested that Tony Abbott has made a genuine attempt to be Prime Ministerial. If he has it has been a forlorn attempt. He has been unable throw off a lifetime image of political thuggery, negativity and gutter speech. As Prime Minister he has continued to lie in the fashion of an opposition that knows that its words can be lost in a mist of factual uncertainty and exaggeration. Oppositions can at times be forgiven for over exuberance. Governments and particularly Prime Ministers cannot. http://derwombat.net/2014/02/14/just-political-language-or-the-abbott-art-of-lying-the-australian-independent-media-network/ 38. Tony Abbott’s wriggle room Barry Tucker. 10 April, 2014 Earlier this year federal government leader Tony Abbott spun a version of his intention to spend a week with a remote Indigenous community. It allowed him to say he hadn’t broken a promise. He didn’t make the promise some claim he made. http://thesnipertakesaim.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/tony-abbotts-wriggle-room/ 39. The characteristics of Fascism and how we might note its presence today Paul Cannon. April 4, 2014 Is fascism creeping into Australia? There are clearly no Fascist regimes in Australia, or any regime with even the slightest of Fascist agendas. We’re a luckier country than that. But... the ‘rhetoric and behaviour’ of the current federal government (and state governments) could easily have us believe otherwise. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/04/the-characteristics-of-fascism-and-how-we-might-note-its-presence-today/ 40. In the Clash of Ideologies, Language Wins the War Loz Lawrey. April 12, 2014 Jim Morrison famously and prophetically said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the minds”. This is certainly the case in Australia...the Murdoch media in particular – shape our… http://theaimn.com/2014/04/12/in-the-clash-of-ideologies-language-wins-the-war/ 41. Faulkner's reforms needed for disgraced Labor Rodney Cavalier. 9 Apr 2014 Senator John Faulkner's proposed changes to the rules of the NSW ALP branch are neccessary for a party that has allowed corruption to flourish. These proposals are free of ambiguity, humbug and fakery. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-09/cavalier-faulkners-reforms-needed-for-disgraced-labor/5377638 42. Dysfunctional brand at the core of Labor's current crisis Carol Johnson. 14 April 2014 In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects. If the disastrous results and campaign in the Western Australian Senate re-election are anything to go by, the Australian Labor Party seems to be losing the ability to brand itself and its policies as appealing to the public. It is struggling to justify creating broad electoral alliances between diverse social groups. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-xqmiy-trhltityg-a/ 43. ‘The Protectors’: Lani Bruce on why she joined #leardblockade mass walk-in Lani Bruce. 13 April 2014 I am the mother of two sons and am qualified to teach science in secondary schools. My level of education and understanding of current local issues has developed since the year 2000 – when I voted for John Howard (a very hard thing to admit to) – till today, when I feel that the two major political parties are working for corporations, and not for the people of today or future generations. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/04/13/the-protectors-lani-bruce-on-why-she-joined-leardblockade-mass-walk-in/#sthash.DvFSgmWI.dpuf INTERNET + FREE SPEECH + PRIVACY 44. Pimps, Free Speech, Free Trade and Banned Boycotts! rossleighbrisbane. April 4, 2014 Politically Correctness! It stops us saying what we really want to say. As John Howard said all those years ago, even though he didn’t agree with Pauline Hanson, it was refreshing that now people felt able to express themselves without being stifled by political correctness. Of course, a pedant may have pointed out that she lost Liberal endorsement for doing just that. However…Free speech. We’re looking at outlawing people advocating boycotts, but apparently making racist comments is just exercising one’s rights. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/04/pimps-free-speech-free-trade-and-banned-boycotts/ 45. Nothing to 'like' about social media gag Greg Jericho. 9 Apr 2014 Under a new HR policy that could have been borrowed from the Stasi, public servants now have to think twice before clicking "like" on a Facebook post criticising the Federal Government. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-09/jericho-nothing-to-like-about-social-media-gag/5375322 46. Abbott’s tyrannical silencing of 1,892,100 possibly critical political opinions Jennifer Wilson. April 9, 2014 ‘It is tyrannical to forcibly silence critical political opinion with the threat of loss of livelihood’...the government’s threat to dismiss public servants who express dissenting opinions on social media. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/09/abbotts-tyrannical-silencing-of-1892100-possibly-critical-political-opinions/ 47. Freedom commissioner Tim Wilson expands on public servants' social media rights Markus Mannheim. Apr 10 2014 The freedom commissioner explains why the government is right to limit the public, and private, comments of public servants. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/blogs/public-sector-informant/freedom-commissioner-tim-wilson-expands-on-public-servants-social-media-rights-20140410-36efn.html 48. A civilisation built upon software isn't safe Mark Pesce. 9 Apr 2014 Untraceable but potentially devastating software bugs like 'heartbleed' show we need to be a bit more paranoid and a little less trusting when it comes to internet security. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-09/pesce-a-civilisation-built-upon-software-isnt-safe/5377776 MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 49. ABC MD Mark Scott on independence Barry Tucker. 4 April, 2014 “When I started here the coexistence of commercial and public [media] had settled in quite happily … and it worked. Now the intensities around the battle for digital have meant competition for audiences and competition for revenues.” — ABC MD Mark Scott. Scott was being interviewed by former employee and one-time staff-elected board member Ramona Koval, for The Saturday Paper. http://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/abc-md-mark-scott-on-independence/ 50. A plan for the ABC and SBS Crispin Hull, March 29, 2014 OUR Canberra household has just subscribed to the wonderful BBC iPlayer app. The event has led me to suggest a plan for the ABC when it inevitably has to respond to the politically biased cuts in funding that loom in the May budget. The iPlayer hit a minor snag in [Australia] in that it only had British rights for most of it co-productions. Its solution was to make overseas viewers pay to meet the extra copyright needed. And what is the subscription – a princely $9.49 a month. How can this be?...Foxtel is a minimum $50, but most people pay $100 or more... http://www.crispinhull.com.au/2014/03/29/a-plan-for-the-abc-and-sbs/ SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY 51. Google publishes book on Aussie innovation Renai LeMay 31 March, 2014 Google Australia has published a new 47 page book. Dubbed 'Australia's Innovation Generation' and part of the search giant's Start with Code campaign, the book chronicles the stories of ten innovative Australian entrepreneurs, including high-fliers such as Atlassian's Mike Cannon-Brookes and entrepreneur-turned-investor Niki Scevak. http://delimiter.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=46963e132555d06e37a300a54&id=529664fe72&e=d994889257 ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 52. The truth about the mining tax Kaye Lee April 2, 2014 In fact, repealing the mining tax will cost jobs as mining profits are stripped from our economy and sent to overseas investors. Instead of those billions circulating through our economy, they will be lining the pockets of foreigners. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/02/the-truth-about-the-mining-tax/ 53. What colour would you like your fume stacks? Andrew Kelly. 13 April 2014 The following is a submission made at the Comprehensive Impact Statement (CIS) hearings for the East West Link, Melbourne’s controversial new toll road. This $8 billion project would connect the Eastern Freeway and Alexandra Parade to Citylink severely impacting Royal Park and Moonee Ponds Creek. The project is highly controversial; a situation not helped by a government http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=36af8ffcb0bd532278f8c7c3a7e7920d&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 54. Climate change skeptics are irrational Houses and Holes. April 4, 2014 From Alan Moran at the Herald Sun: IN The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio’s mentor says, “Nobody knows if the stocks will go up, down, sideways” and explains that the stockbroker’s job is to “Move the money from your client’s pocket into your pocket”. There are similarities with the climate change game. Nobody knows whether [...] http://macrobusiness.createsend1.com/t/i-l-zjddht-dtyueir-a/ 55. Climate change is already changing the Australian landscape David Donaldson. 4 April 2014 Climate zones along the coast of southeastern Australia have already moved south by around 350km. Those fluctuations are also altering the way rural communities live http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/04/climate-change-is-already-changing-the-australian-landscape?CMP=ema_632 56. Climate change will 'lead to battles for food', says head of World Bank Larry Elliott 4 April 2014 Jim Yong Kim urges campaigners and scientists to work together to form a coherent plan in the fight against climate change... Battles over water and food will erupt within the next five to 10 years as a result of climate change, the president of the World Bank said as he urged those campaigning against global warming to learn the lessons of how protesters and scientists joined forces in the battle against HIV. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/climate-change-battle-food-head-world-bank?CMP=ema_632 57. UK smog: David Cameron accused of misunderstanding air pollution crisis Rowena Mason and Josh Halliday 4 April 2014 European commission spokesman says PM's remarks that conditions are due to Saharan dust are 'more than disappointing'. David Cameron has come under withering attack from the European Commission, accused of failing to get to grips with the levels of air pollution in Britain after he labelled the smog afflicting parts of the country a "naturally occurring weather phenomenon". As ambulance services in London reported a 14% spike in 999 calls due to breathing problems and forecasters predicted the poor conditions would subside by the weekend.. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/cameron-uk-smog-pollution-europe?CMP=ema_632 58. The toxic truth about air pollution: a lethal scandal of British inaction John Vidal. 3 April 2014 The 'Saharan' smog is a crisis of our own making. But don't expect ministers to do anything sensible like restricting traffic on the roads.. What we are [b]not[/b] being told is that the milky, hazy skies shrouding southern Britain are the result of tiny particulates, or aerosols, that scatter sunlight and come from our own traffic, power stations, farming, construction sites, central heating boilers and industry. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/02/toxic-truth-air-pollution-lethal-scandal-saharan-smog?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487 ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE + REFUGEE RIGHTS 59. Gillian Triggs accuses government of pulling strings to deny UN Sarah Whyte, Lisa Cox. April 9, 2014 The head of the Australian Human Rights Commission has accused the Australian government of "pulling strings" to prevent United Nations’ access to offshore processing centres in Nauru and Manus Island. Inspectors from a UN working group say they were denied access to Nauru after an initial invitation from the Nauruan government to investigate conditions in the detention centre. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/gillian-triggs-accuses-government-of-pulling-strings-to-deny-un-20140409-zqsr5.html 60. Refugee's march of thanks Maureen O'Brien 04 April 2014 Three members of Tri's family made it to the open sea in a wooden boat with 65 others. They encountered storms and shipwrecks, and pirates who raped the women and tortured and robbed the others. Eventually they were handed over to UN troops, who took them to a refugee camp in Malaysia. Tri's story is about trauma, but mostly his emphasis is on the welcome and kindness the family received in Australia. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39127#.U0wO9vmSySo OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

15/04/2014CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 15 April 2014. [b]It's only an entitlement when it's given to poor people. Otherwise it's a legitimate business investment strategy.[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-04-15.aspx

Bacchus

15/04/2014Yay! Casablanca's back on deck! You've been missed... very much... by very many people :)

jaycee

15/04/2014It is interesting that the MSM. give full time and message to Joe Hockey to deliver his "Labor has left us a budget emergency", but cut and edited Julia Gillards "no tax" explanation...AND continue to do so!

Pappinbarra Fox

15/04/2014It is indeed great to be able to sashay over to Casa's cashay.

Ad astra

15/04/2014Casablanca How good to see you back with such a rich collection. I shall relish reading through your comprehensive Cache.

Ad astra

15/04/2014Casablanca I'm still working through your Cache and have already bookmarked several to use in my letter to Bill Shorten: 30, 39, 40, 41 and 42 for starters!

jaycee

15/04/2014Just saw Truzzz on 730. talking up Badgery Creek airport….it isn’t any sort of done deal!…it’s an idea looking for a speculator to build it!…the govt’ is seeking private sector speculators to build it…it’s another joke!…all they do is put up “shadow-boards” of intent and are waiting for bidders to put in an offer…they haven’t any idea!..they haven’t given this much thought at all!….when did we hear about this “brain fart”?…a couple of days ago…when did Abbott get back from Asia…a couple of days ago!…they’re mad!…stark raving bonkers!…they haven’t thought about this at all! There’s no “done deal”..there’s no plan, there’s no bidder, there’s sweet F all!

Michael

15/04/2014You're Clive Palmer. You've got 4 seats in the Senate after a standard half-election vote (WA twice, but the result's the same). You've pretty much got the balance of power. Over the nationwide governance of Australia. Your primary vote in the second election in WA increased. Want to move from "pretty much got the balance of power" with the numbers looking so good for you? Force a double dissolution, go after twelve seats in each State, not a measly six. Go for them ASAP after July 1. You're Clive Palmer. Are you going to do it? You can afford to. Win, you are THE power, a balance with real weight, not just someone the government has to woo. Someone the government has to bend to. You're Clive Palmer. What can a double dissolution do for you? Deliver nationwide governance of Australia to you. What will you do?

Casablanca

16/04/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 16 April 2014: 25 items[/b] BRAND LABOR: REFORMING THE ALP 1. Bill Shorten's plan to democratise Labor James Massola Bill Shorten will announce sweeping Labor Party reforms that empower rank and file members, rein in powerbrokers' say over candidates and call for fewer factional bosses to be pre-selected for the Senate. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shortens-plan-to-democratise-labor-20140414-zqun8.html 2. Careful what you wish for: the pitfalls of internal party reform Nick Economou Failing to win government, however, represents something of a corporate failure on the part of the party. Naturally enough, failure also results in party reviews. Both major parties participate in what is now becoming a post-election ritual for the losing side. http://theconversation.com/careful-what-you-wish-for-the-pitfalls-of-internal-party-reform-25387 3. Why ending union ties would change little for Labor Bradley Bowden As calls for party “reform” mount, a variety of Labor leaders argue that the good times will only return for the party if it ends “union control”. The problem with this argument is that Labor today is not a “union controlled” party. Rather, it is a faction-run party, unburdened by any ideals. http://theconversation.com/why-ending-union-ties-would-change-little-for-labor-25439 4. Can Labor recapture the will and capacity to win the big debates? Barry Jones The ALP may have lost the capacity to take control of major issues and win debates on them. Its last success was against John Howard over WorkChoices in 2007.... Since then there has been a long series of failures in advocacy, even when the evidence was overwhelmingly on Labor’s side. The list includes: handling the economy, taxation, climate change and carbon pricing, environment, asylum seekers and refugees, problem gambling, a republic, human rights and the surveillance state. http://theconversation.com/can-labor-recapture-the-will-and-capacity-to-win-the-big-debates-25132 5. The Australian Labor Party and the pitfalls of the politics of avoidance Geoff Gallop The ALP is... still a nationally important organisation with a base in civil society and our political institutions, local, state and federal. This leads many of its leaders and managers – inside and outside parliament – to think that the crisis is part of the normal cycle of politics and good times will return. http://theconversation.com/the-australian-labor-party-and-the-pitfalls-of-the-politics-of-avoidance-25326 6. The ALP becomes its own worst enemy in WA Senate shambles Natalie Mast The only surprising factor in the stories regarding Joe Bullock, who held the number one position on the ALP Senate ticket at Saturday’s Western Australian Senate byelection, was that they took so long to break into wide circulation. http://theconversation.com/the-alp-becomes-its-own-worst-enemy-in-wa-senate-shambles-25306 7. Labor senator Louise Pratt 'ashamed' of factional deal after West Australian election disaster James Massola Speaking exclusively to Fairfax Media, Senator Pratt said the party was facing "a disastrous result that goes to the heart of the need for reform of the Labor Party". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-senator-louise-pratt-ashamed-of-factional-deal-after-west-australian-election-disaster-20140415-zqv30.html 8. How many people does it take to tell the truth? Kaye Lee As Western Australia prepares to vote AGAIN for the Senate no doubt some people just feel over it all. Though aghast at the result, I remember last September feeling relieved that at least the endless campaigning was over, but they have not had a break in WA. In fact they have been barraged by media and politicians non-stop. They could be forgiven for turning off. In an attempt to get them up-to-date without having to search too far or read too much, here is a selection of the recent news. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/02/how-many-people-does-it-take-to-tell-the-truth/ 9. Bill Shorten's preselection reform plans for ALP may benefit ... Bridie Jabour Australian Labor party reforms being discussed at executive level could see members from only a handful of branches having a majority say in the preselection of local candidates. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/15/bill-shortens-preselection-reform-plans-for-alp-may-benefit-only-a-few 10. ALP Reform Agenda John Faulkner: Last Thursday I asked the NSW Branch of the ALP to circulate a letter proposing changes to the Party’s Rules in NSW. This letter is forthright about the challenges facing the NSW Labor Party and the reforms needed to meet them. These proposals advance my long-standing commitment to internal democracy and Party integrity. http://www.senatorjohnfaulkner.com.au/file.php?file=%2Fnews%2FPVNYYZIZFC%2Findex.html 11. Albo and Shorten should look to New Zealand for primary guidance Grant Duncan While Australia’s Labor Party is digesting a significant electoral defeat, the New Zealand Labour Party, in opposition since 2008, has gone through another leadership change and is positioning itself to… https://theconversation.com/albo-and-shorten-should-look-to-new-zealand-for-primary-guidance-18295 12. Chris Bowen’s plan to win hearts and minds and save Labor Geoffrey Robinson. 18 July 2013 The book provides an illustration of the future direction of the Australian Labor Party if those forces that supported Kevin Rudd’s ascension to the leadership continue to have their way within the party. Like Rudd, Bowen’s vision largely eschews the clumsy neo-labourist rhetoric of Julia Gillard and also her evocation of a “socially conservative” working class. https://theconversation.com/chris-bowens-plan-to-win-hearts-and-minds-and-save-labor-16028 13. Virtue and vexation: the policy vacuum in the 2013 election Barry Jones. 16 September 2013 I have been around for a long time and involved in some terrible campaigns, but the policy vacuum in 2013 was the worst I can recall. There was no serious debate on issues, whether simple or complex, and an obsessive emphasis on personalities, stunts and trivia. https://theconversation.com/virtue-and-vexation-the-policy-vacuum-in-the-2013-election-18144 14. Not Dead Yet - What Future for Labor? Geoffrey Robinson. 8 November 2013 To Latham, the old working class has disappeared and been replaced by aspirational, self-employed, entrepreneurial voters, while a welfare-dependent underclass has been “excluded from employment and all forms of social ambition”. At times Latham does admit that segments of the traditional working class survive, but they are cast as an industrial-era relic in “smokestack” industries whose unions exercise a malign impact on the ALP. https://theconversation.com/book-review-not-dead-yet-what-future-for-labor-19617 15. Labor Party needs reform but the timing is all wrong. Mungo MacCallum. Jan 9, 2012 The case for reforming the structure of the Labor Party is unarguable and it has been unarguable for many years. When the party was formed in Australia back in the 1890s, the workers were truly exploited and unrepresented; the great strikes of the time, and particularly the shearers strike whose leaders were jailed, made the need for a political voice imperative...With the rise of the white collar workforce and the growth of the middle class, the party needed to move beyond its industrial base. It did so, and became a broad-based progressive party of the centre-left, increasingly winning support from intellectuals whose aims and ideals encompassed a far wider agenda than those of the factory floor. www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3763952.html‎ 16. Reforming The ALP Andrew Giles MP. April 01, 2014 It is timely, with State Conference to consider significant reforms next month. How the Labor Party works is important. And not only to ALP members and supporters. It goes to the heart of the functioning of our democracy. Far from navel-gazing, this debate is essential. And it is urgent. This debate is not just about the mores of the Australian Labor Party. Its context is a decline in civic engagement as well as formal political involvement across the developed world. Our pattern of declining primary vote and declining membership is far from unique. http://www.challengemagazine.com.au/andrew_giles_mp_speech_reforming_the_alp 17. Brand Labor's lack of persuasion Carol Johnson. 15 April 2014 The Labor Party's poor showing at the WA half Senate by-election showed a party split into progressive and conservative sides, struggling to sell its positive policies... Labor is bleeding votes to the right and the left – to the Coalition and the Greens. Real-world economic policy dilemmas, implementation problems, powerful vested business interests, demographic changes, pre-selection debacles and media bias have all contributed to Labor’s dire situation. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/brand-labors-lack-of-persuasion,6387 18. Labor and labour should be brothers in arms Daniel Mookhey Labor must resolve its relationship with the union movement and recognise that a strong partnership can be harnessed to deliver a good life for every Australian http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-15/mookhey-labor-and-labour-should-be-brothers-in-arms/5390240 19. Bullock and the ghosts of turncoats past Paula Matthewson There's a history of MPs under pressure jumping ship, so Labor should be careful about trying to retrospectively dis-endorse Senator-elect Joe Bullock. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-14/matthewson-bullock-and-the-ghosts-of-turncoats-past/5387406 20. Labor walking the barbed wire fence: @e2mq173 comments Errol Brandt. April 8, 2014 Conservative voters abandoned Abbott’s simplistic messages in favour of the nonsensical ones offered by Clive Palmer. Progressive voters turned their back on Labor in favour of The Greens. Can the story get any worse for Labor? In a state where the economy is dominated by mining, many voters ditched Labor in favour of The Greens! For every four primary votes for Labor in this election, The Greens achieved three. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/04/08/labor-walking-the-barbed-wire-fence-e2mq173-comments/#sthash.zIWcwss7.dpuf 21. Gallop: ALP reform is a must for social democracy Geoff Gallop. 11 December 2012 There are always two challenges that face a political party operating in a democratic system such as ours – public trust and public policy. When I was elected leader of the Western Australian Parliamentary… http://theconversation.com/gallop-alp-reform-is-a-must-for-social-democracy-11171 CARR'S DIARY: POLICY, ABs, OATS & IRONY + ‘ZIONIST LOBBY’ 22. Bob Carr’s diary gives an insight into government – and a man who tells all, and then some Michelle Grattan. 11 April 2014 If he’d been willing to take more of a chance, Bob Carr might have got a crack at the prime ministership. In his Diary of a Foreign Minister, Carr recounts how NSW ALP secretary Mark Arbib urged him to stand for Blaxland in 2007, to become foreign minister in a Kevin Rudd government. http://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-bob-carrs-diary-gives-an-insight-into-government-and-a-man-who-tells-all-and-then-some-25502 23. ‘Bob learned early self-deprecation is for dummies’ Gareth Evans. 14 April 2014 And although he doesn’t put this in quite so many words, it is clear that he approached the role, in these circumstances, with three basic objectives: to keep himself, and Australia, out of trouble; to have a ball; and to write up the whole experience for posterity in the most readable and colourful possible way. On the evidence of our eyes and ears over the last two years, and now of his book, it is clear that, on all three counts, he succeeded admirably. http://theconversation.com/gareth-evans-bob-learned-early-self-deprecation-is-for-dummies-25579 24. Broadening the context of Australia’s ‘Zionist lobby’ Jordy Silverstein. 15 April 2014 Former foreign minister Bob Carr’s recently released memoir, Diary of a Foreign Minister, discussed in-depth the influence of Melbourne branches of the so-called “Zionist lobby” over policymaking. http://theconversation.com/broadening-the-context-of-australias-zionist-lobby-25538 25. Pro-Israel lobby stronger than it admits, weaker than Carr claims Dashiel Lawrence. 11 April 2014 Former foreign minister Bob Carr’s stunning claims about the pro-Israel lobby influence raise timely questions about its advocacy in Australian politics. What is the lobby Carr refers to? And how significant is its political influence? http://theconversation.com/pro-israel-lobby-stronger-than-it-admits-weaker-than-carr-claims-25478 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

16/04/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 16 April 2014. [b]Brand Labor needs re-badging to re-engage its supporters[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-04-15.aspx

Curi-Oz

16/04/2014Thank you Casablanca. I find that my thinking is much enriched by your contributions each morning.

Michael

16/04/2014Barry O'Farrell's resignation has left a loudly ticking time bomb for Tony Abbott.* The PM has a predisposition for accepting freebies and extending the rules of his 'entitlements' far enough to have to have paid back money in the past. A Liberal leader of a government has just displayed how true probity is exercised in such matters. Questions will inevitably arise in the comparisons that will be made between O'Farrell and Abbott. *And Barnaby Joyce, Julie Bishop, name your Cabinet member.

Ken

16/04/2014Michael First cab off the rank - Sinodinos!! But only if they were men of honour. Despite other faults, O'Farrell oviously was.

TalkTurkey

16/04/2014 How I love the Internet. [i]Especially[/i] for the fact that one can almost always find the complete words to old songs of which you know just a few. In this apposite case, I have since tinyhood known these lines words from my Dad singing just them, no more. [i]If my Pappy had'a' knowed it He'd been sorry that he growed it When he planted that old Apple Tree![/i] Find why I talk of its appositosity after the end of the original song. (... and I always understood that they [i]hanged[/i] my Pappy from the Old Apple Tree, and saw the irony of it.) But look it up on the www, wow, there it is! The whole story, why they hanged 'im and all... Someone else had asked the Cosmos for it and got the right answer. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Old Apple Tree Oh, the old apple tree in the orchard Lives in my memory It reminds me of my pappy He was handsome, young and happy When he planted the old apple tree. Then one day pappy took Mrs. Norton Out on a jamboree When he brought her home at sunup Mr. Norton raised his gun up And he chase pappy up in the tree. When the neighbors came after poor pappy Up in the tree was he. So they took a rope and strung him By the neck until they hung him By the branch of the old apple tree. Chorus: Say goodbye (echo) Say goodbye (echo) Say goodbye to the old apple tree Put the apples in a basket Cut the tree down for a casket Cause he died on the old apple tree. Say goodbye (echo) Say goodbye (echo) Say goodbye to the old apple tree If poor pappy had'a knowed it He surely wouldn't growed it Cause he died on the old apple tree. ~ Jaci Best AnswerAsker's Choice Jaci { R.I.P. Casey } answered 7 years ago ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Why "apposite"? Poor ol' Porky O'Barrel. [i]When ol' Barry sought to bust us He got served poetic justice When he ramped up the ICAC! [/i]

Michael

16/04/2014Ken, hi. Libs like John Hewson and Peter Collins are going on and on about transparency in politicians on the ABC News channel, all the time digging a deeper and deeper hole that has Abbott's 'name' on it. It's almost - almost - as if the whole O'Farrell resigning thing is about setting Abbott up as being not up to standard. But that's way too big a sword for O'Farrell to agree falling on. More likely they are too silly to see every comment about honesty, transparency, and probity being so risen to by O'Farrell can't help but reflect negatively on the Prime Rorter.

Ken

16/04/2014Michael Agree they are just trotting out the usual platitudes about honesty and transparency and, also as usual, don't see the double standards involved. Also inspired by TT I've put together 'Barry O'Farrell's Lament' Haven't got it quite right to fit the tune but close enough for a quick effort. [b]Barry O’Farrell’s Lament[/b] (‘Summer wine’ Lee Hazlewood) Obeid and Sydney Water and the kiss of death in spring My Grange red wine is a result of all these things I came to town and busted Labor to its knees I pointed ICAC in the way of the Obeids But Water Holdings was just biding its time And sent me celebratory Grange red wine Obeid and Sydney Water and the kiss of death in spring My Grange red wine is a result of all these things And Water Holdings said they could fix the water lines Just lots of the State's money and Grange red wine ICAC was looking through the books and on the phones Did I make that call and what is it that I own? But Water Holdings said that everything was fine And we can give to you more Grange red wine When I woke up it was too late to save the day The only thing that I could do was give my job away I wish I’d never heard of Sydney Water’s lines And never mention to me Grange red wine

jaycee

16/04/2014And how many times did we hear of "C. Uhlmann..the most trusted and experienced journalist in Canberra"...or "L. Oakes...the most trusted and experienced journalist anywhere"...or "M. Grattan..the doyen of Australian Journalism"..and a host of other "Senior Political journalists"...and yet this business has been going on right under their "very experienced" noses....in their patch....on their watch...over their drinks....BULLSHIT!!..."trusted" to do what?....look the other way? It worries me that our democracy seems to be held "in hock" to whichever side of politics these "I see no evil" journalists give their allegiance....and we all know where most of those get paid! One has to ponder on whether it is time for a Royal Commission to look into journalistic standards and loyalties..ie; are those loyalties directed to certain foreign national persons or corporations, depending on the payment of thirty pieces of silver..or to the nation that gives them protection under the passport of that nation? I do think it is time that some journalists take a loyalty-check..and if they cannot deliver to the national interest, they migrate to that place where they find most profit....and don't let the door hit your arse on the way out!

Ad Astra

16/04/2014Folks Sinodinos, O'Farrell, and still sundry NSW Liberal politicians to front ICAC. Who's next in the 'massive memory failure', 'can't recall', dishonesty stakes? Abbott? Since he has 'innocently, 'inadvertently', lied over and again, when will he do the 'utterly honorable' thing and bring the highest honour to his Party by falling on his sword?

Ad Astra

16/04/2014Folks Twitter is at it again with of course 'Grangegate', but more cleverly, 'The Lone Granger'.

Ken

16/04/2014yes jaycee, they only report what [u]they[/u] think is important, inspired by their own views. I know there is an unwritten rule about not reporting liaisons (sexual) unless they impinge on the public areas of politics (a la Evans and Kernot). But that doesn't extend to ignoring corruption. Ad Agree totally that Abbott should do the honourable thing and resign. Speaking of which does anyone know where the civil case against him by Ettridge is up to? That, in particular, should raise serious questions about Abbott and lead to his resignation.

2353

16/04/2014An enquiry designed to 'get' an ALP figure has claimed the scalp of a Liberal Premier, probably claimed the scalp of a Liberal Federal Minister as well as the intended victim. I though the first rule in these matters was don't ask the question if you don't already know the answer. I wonder what other collateral damage will be done here.

Ken

16/04/20142353 It's similar to the 'bottom of the harbour' roya; commission that was set up to 'get' the wharfies. And I still think Abbott's commission into unions could have some unexpected consequences. Don't these idiots know that corruption requires two parties and if they are inquiring into one, the other must inevitably be drawn in.

Casablanca

17/04/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 17 April 2014: 52 items[/b] WORSE PM EVER 1. Abbott, “skills beyond his years” Carol Taylor Mark Kenny has been effusive in his praise of Tony Abbott, writing: Abbott in China shows skills beyond his years My first response was a quizzical one; skills beyond his years? Kenny is writing about a person who is 56… http://theaimn.com/2014/04/16/abbott-skills-beyond-his-years/ 2. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear Kaye Lee As Tony Abbott once said, “politicians are gonna be judged on everything they say”, (May 2010), and goodness knows, Tony has said some rather controversial things in the past. We are told that many of his more outrageous statements were those of a callow youth in different times, that he has learned a great deal, and changed his views on many things (some of them several times)... Part of being a Head of State is to be able to think on your feet. Tony often does that by inserting his foot into his mouth. No wonder Credlin always sits within pinching distance. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/16/you-cant-make-a-silk-purse-out-of-a-sows-ear/ VINTAGE LIBERAL 3. Faulty O'Farrell's scandalous premiership Peter Wicks Barry O'Farrell was rolled out of the NSW premiership today, yet according to his colleagues he was more honest than Gandhi and his Government as pure as [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/faulty-ofarrells-scandalous-premiership,6391 4. My turn to wine rossleighbrisbane I have a brief statement: It has been brought to my attention that my evidence to the investigation into teacher corruption was incorrect. Yesterday I stated that I had no recollection of being given a bottle of Latour Rothschild 1949… http://theaimn.com/2014/04/16/my-turn-to-wine/ 5. Barry and Tony's Bizarro home on the Grange Ross Jones NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has resigned after being found to have brazenly misled ICAC about a $3,000 gift, yet according to PM Tony Abbott it's all a sign of his great "honour and integrity" http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/barry-and-tonys-bizarro-home-on-the-grange,6390 6. Words matter Victoria Rollison Words matter. When things happens in politics, the tone of how events are reported, the words that are used, and the way situations are framed are not organised by random. The mainstream media chooses the words they use very carefully… Today the media have presented their preferred frame for the resignation of Barry O’Farrell as: he mistakenly lied to an ICAC enquiry because he forgot that he received a $3,000 bottle of wine from the CEO of Australian Water Holdings. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/16/words-matter/ 7. Timeline: Why Barry O'Farrell had to go ABC Barry O'Farrell's dramatic fall from grace was precipitated by a $3,000 bottle of wine, a thank you note, and what the outgoing New South Wales Premier says was a "massive memory fail". http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-16/why-barry-ofarrell-had-to-resign-as-premier/5394196?WT.mc_id=newsmail 8. Barry O’Farrell – The Corked Bottle of Grange prestontowers When Barry O’Farrell was elected in 2011, he came in declaring that NSW was to be a new state, a corruption free regime. As it turns out, his term of Premier … http://ausopinion.com/2014/04/16/corkedbottlegrange/ 9. NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to resign over 'massive memory fail' at ICAC ABC New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell says he will resign owing to a "massive memory fail" when giving evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) yesterday. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-16/nsw-premier-barry-ofarrell-to-resign-over-icac-grange-wine/5393478 10. Tony Abbott praises Barry O’Farrell for taking ‘honourable step of resigning' Lenore Taylor Prime minister defends outgoing premier and reacts furiously to suggestion that NSW government had 'proven to be corrupt' http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/tony-abbott-barry-ofarrell-icac-wine-steps-down?cmp=wp-plugin ROYAL COMMISSIONS + INQUIRIES + AUDITS + REVIEWS 11. Bret Walker SC to represent Kevin Rudd at Royal Commission into Labor’s pink batts scheme Renee Viellaris "Kevin Rudd has hired a barrister who charges $15,000 a day ahead of his appearance before the royal commission into ¬insulation. But the Federal Attorney-General’s Department has refused to reveal whether Mr Rudd, former minister Peter Garrett, former Senator Mark Arbib and other witnesses will have their legal fees picked up in full by the taxpayer." http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/bret-walker-sc-to-represent-former-prime-minister-kevin-rudd-at-royal-commission-into-labors-pink-batts-scheme/story-fnihsrf2-1226885510728 HUMAN RIGHTS 12. Paul Keating defends his race hate legislation Patricia Karvelas, The Australian "Paul Keating, the architect of the Racial Discrimination Act, has accused the Abbott government of following in John Howard’s footsteps by planning to legislate the ‘right to confront people in respect of their race or creed’." https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCsQqQIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theaustralian.com.au%2Fnational-affairs%2Fpaul-keating-defends-his-race-hate-legislation%2Fstory-fn59niix-1226885794403&ei=591NU-b4AY7PkgXPoIC4Cw&usg=AFQjCNEShuBiYTiTvyyexzo5Ihn-oShbMQ&bvm=bv.64764171,d.dGI HOCKEYNOMICS: CORE & NON-CORE ENTITLEMENTS 13. Pension cowardice puts Canberra in a pickle Callam Pickering The Coalition has a range of options to fix the budget with pension-related reforms that also reduce inequality. Instead, it seems Tony Abbott is kicking the can down the road. http://click.email.businessspectator.com.au/?qs=a6508d9d02fe820c76a336e42d24a7fa41e95a4d881dd9ff13d73860b4f6813c99df8bd0cddce02a 14. The land where entitlement runs riot? Hardly Greg Jericho Perhaps the reason Joe Hockey gets so excited about the age of entitlement whenever he travels overseas is because he needs to leave Australia to find an example of it. Since the election, Joe Hockey has been talking big about the need for the government to cut expenditure. Unfortunately his sales pitch rests on the fallacious view that Australia needs to end its age of entitlement. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-16/jericho-hardly-the-land-where-entitlement-runs-riot/5391558 15. Cut Super Concessions, Not The Pension Ben Eltham Like most of the Coalition's Hockeynomics, the plan to slash old age pensions doesn't match the facts. More than a third of our elderly suffer in poverty https://www.newmatilda.com/2014/04/15/cut-super-concessions-not-pension 16. Pension indexation: a brief history Michael Klapdor In the lead-up to the Coalition Government’s first Budget, speculation has focused on possible changes to the age pension, including adjusting the way pension rates are indexed. Indexation is a complex and important component of the Australian social security system but one that is often misunderstood. The following provides an explanation and brief history of indexation. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2014/April/Pension-indexation 17. Age Pension debate makes clear: adequate super is pivotal Susan Thorp Talk about increasing the Age Pension eligibility age to 70 has generated a lot of anxiety and indignation. What seems to be going unnoticed in all the hype is that we have just experienced a round of… http://theconversation.createsend4.com/t/r-l-xzlhn-trhltityg-yd/ 18. Why Australians don't make extra super contributions Jun Feng, Hazel Bateman, and Paul Gerrans. Australians are increasingly relying on superannuation for their retirement income, but despite more than 20 years of compulsory super, many people are not retiring with enough. The assets under management… http://theconversation.createsend4.com/t/r-l-xzlhn-trhltityg-yh/ 19. Finance Industry calls for retirement changes Michelle Grattan Prime minister Tony Abbott has said pensioners will be better off because they will lose the carbon tax while keeping the compensation for it, as expectations rise of budget changes to put the pension system on a more long term sustainable basis. http://theconversation.createsend4.com/t/r-l-xzlhn-trhltityg-b/ 20. Coalition embraces the grey gouge Leith van Onselen The Coalition’s vow to “end the age of entitlement” has taken a serious hit, with Prime Minister Abbott seemingly ruling-out making changes to Aged Pension arrangements until after the next federal election. From The Australian: “If there is one lesson to be learned from the political quagmire that the former government [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-ziyxy-dtyueir-tj/ 21. Capitalism simply isn't working and here are the reasons why Will Hutton Economist Thomas Piketty's message is bleak: the gap between rich and poor threatens to destroy us... Thomas Piketty has mined 200 years of data to support his theory that capitalism does not work. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/12/capitalism-isnt-working-thomas-piketty?CMP=ema_632 POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 22. The WA Senate election and the rise of money in Australian politics Narelle Miragliotta The issue of political party spending featured prominently during the Western Australian Senate re-election in a manner that we are rarely, if at all, accustomed to in Australian politics. This time, it… http://theconversation.createsend4.com/t/r-l-xzlhn-trhltityg-u/ NO LIFT OFF 23. Badgerys Creek: Jackie Kelly launches attack on PM Tony Abbott over second airport plan Latika Bourke The former Liberal member for the key Western Sydney seat of Lindsay, Jackie Kelly, has launched a blistering attack on Tony Abbott, warning she will "do the prime minister over" with a "soccer mums" grassroots campaign against his plan to build a second Sydney airport in her old electorate. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-15/jackie-kelly-launches-attack-on-tony-abbott-over-badgerys-creek/5392720 24. How powerful are the ‘soccer mums’? Jackie Kelly’s attack on Tony Abbott Angela Priestley Powerful enough to stop the second planned airport in Western Sydney's Badgerys Creek? Former federal Liberal MP Jackie Kelly, who held the Western Sydney seat where the new airport is planned until 2007, launched the attack on Abbott from London, saying she and her supporters will "do the prime minister over". "If you think for a second that the soccer mums of Western Sydney aren't going to give you a kick over this issue you're dreaming," she told Fran Kelly on Radio National. http://womensagenda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=30f81b85614c4a46de129a5d6&id=9f2af81ebb&e=87e80a7b7d CARR'S DIARY: POLICY, ABs, OATS & IRONY + ‘ZIONIST LOBBY’ 25. Bob Carr was right to start a debate on the influence of the Zionist lobby Antony Loewenstein Carr’s more eccentric quotes certainly makes it tempting to dismiss his book, but to do so would be missing the vital importance of his remarks on the Israel/Palestine conflict... To have a prominent political figure challenging the power and message of the Israel lobby is almost unheard of in most western nations – which is precisely what makes the just released diaries of former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr all the more remarkable. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/15/bob-carr-was-right-to-start-a-debate-on-the-influence-of-the-zionist-lobby?CMP=ema_632 26. The deniers club: bowing to Turkey and Sri Lanka Simon Tatz The 'Israel lobby' is second tier compared to the Turks and Sri Lankans, who wield significant sway over Australia's domestic and foreign policy. The fascinating aspect to Bob Carr's self-serving attack on his former prime minister and the so-called Israel lobby is that Carr wilfully ignores that there are other powerful lobbyists influencing government decisions - the Turkish and Sri Lankan governments. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-16/tatz-the-high-price-of-not-upsetting-turkey-and-sri-lanka/5392024 27. The sound of a voice in power: Bob Carr's reflections on Julia Gillard Angela Priestley On the ABC's 7:30....Sarah Ferguson asked Carr why he was so scathing of Gillard's voice in his book. He said his comments were good-natured and Gillard was always comfortable with it. "I think I made gentle humour once or twice about what she'd joke about: her distinctive, broad Australian accent." http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/editor-s-agenda/the-sound-of-a-voice-in-power-bob-carr-s-reflections-on-julia-gillard/201404103863#.U06M3bUQ_X4 INDUSTRY + SCIENCE 28. Australia must move up the manufacturing chain Leith van Onselen Cross-posted from The Conversation: Australia faces a fall in living standards unless policy action is taken. This is due to de-industrialisation and loss of economic complexity. The higher the economic complexity, the stronger the economy’s value-creation prospects. Australia languishes at 79 in global rankings of economic complexity. Modern industry policy could help correct this but [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-ziyxy-dtyueir-du/ 29. For want of industry policy, our living standards are set to fall Goran Roos Australia faces a fall in living standards unless policy action is taken. This is due to de-industrialisation and loss of economic complexity. The higher the economic complexity, the stronger the economy’s value-creation prospects. Australia languishes at 79 in global rankings of economic complexity. http://theconversation.com/for-want-of-industry-policy-our-living-standards-are-set-to-fall-23317 30. Is it time to shut down CSIRO? Mark Fletcher Perhaps it’s time to ask why CSIRO still exists. http://ausopinion.com/2014/04/15/is-it-time-to-shut-down-csiro/ 31. The mathematical world James Franklin Some philosophers think maths exists in a mysterious other realm. They’re wrong. Look around: you can see it http://aeon.co/magazine/world-views/what-is-left-for-mathematics-to-be-about/ SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 32. Australian political mix delivers strange times and unconvincing leaders John Warhurst We live in strange times. Australian politics is particularly hard to read at the moment. This was demonstrated in the recent Senate election in Western Australia when both the Palmer United Party and the Greens did well and there was a swing against both the government and opposition parties. But the really bemusing result has come in the latest Herald/Nielsen poll which reports on an April 10-12 survey. This poll has delivered a 3 per cent two-party preferred swing over the past month to Labor, leaving it ahead once again on 52:48 per cent. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/australian-political-mix-delivers-strange-times-and-unconvincing-leaders-20140416-zqv1g.html 33. Wily Harradine delivered for Indigenous Australians Frank Brennan Brian Harradine did wonderful work in the Senate...he successfully negotiated significant improvements to the lamentable Howard Aboriginal land rights package. Seven years after the Wik debate, Democrats deputy leader Andrew Bartlett said: 'The agreement he reached on the Wik legislation was one of the few cases I would point to where John Howard was bested in negotiations'. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39282#.U06TDrUQ9ZY 34. Whither the unions? What Shorten can learn from UK Labour Rob Manwaring In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects… http://theconversation.createsend4.com/t/r-l-xzlhn-trhltityg-k/ GENDER EQUALITY 35. You're a feminist not an extremist: Penny Wong Angela Priestley Every now and again we need to remember what feminism's already achieved, as well as a wake-up call regarding how much work there's still to do. We also need reminding that progress on gender equality can quickly go backwards. Senator Penny Wong managed to do all three on Friday. http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/editor-s-agenda/you-re-a-feminist-not-an-extremist-penny-wong/201404133878#.U06MdrUQ_X4 36. Am I a feminist? Four women reply (and they're not from the left) Elle Hardy, Claire Lehmann, Trisha Jha, Paula Matthewson Penny Wong has exhorted all Australian women to be proud to call themselves feminists. We asked women from the centre and centre right of the political spectrum to weigh in http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/14/feminism-liberal-women-australia?CMP=ema_632 37. So who's next in line for the NSW Liberal leader position? Women's Agenda Well, we can't be entirely sure. O'Farrell appeared genuinely surprised to be questioned about the bottle of Grange during his appearance at the ICAC inquiry on Tuesday. But we thought we'd put up our pick from the small number of women (six) serving in O'Farrell's full 22-member cabinet. Gladys Berejiklian. http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/top-stories/barry-ofarrell-resigns-time-for-another-woman/201404163897#.U06NarUQ_X4 MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 38. Lego Journalism Mr Denmore It's not widely understood by the reading and viewing public, but a big chunk of what are purported to be 'news events' really are stage-managed set-pieces, minutely choreographed by the public relations industry. http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/lego-journalism.html 39. Good news for the confused Andrew Elder You fools! You ingrates, you Fairfax readers! After all Mark Kenny and Michael Gordon have done for you, you go and claim that the science of Tony Abbott somehow isn't settled. Mark Kenny has long been on a mission to make you think well of Tony Abbott. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2014/04/good-news-for-confused.html 40. Give Journalists the Right Metrics, Not Pay-for-Performance Tony Haile In the best newsrooms, data is a trusted feedback loop that informs and educates. It can tell when the audience is smarter than you thought; it can surprise and confound heuristics; and it can make journalists better. However, when used poorly, metrics can lead to low morale in newsrooms and justify fears that the desire to create great or important content will be sacrificed in favor of cat videos and an endless stream of Miley Cyrus stories. http://ajr.org/2014/04/15/give-journalists-right-metrics-pay-performance/ 41. The Snowden Pulitzer Amy Davidson Awarding the Pulitzer for public service to the Guardian and the Washington Post should go down as about the easiest call the prize committee has ever had to make. It would have been a scandal, this year, if there had been no Pulitzer related to the documents that Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, leaked to several reporters. This was a defining case of the press doing what it is supposed to do. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2014/04/the-snowden-pulitzer.html 42. Edward Snowden on Pulitzer winners: 'Their work has given us a better future' Guardian staff The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden issued a statement on Monday in response to the decision by the Pulitzer prize committee to reward the Guardian and the Washington Post with its top 2014 award. It reads, in full... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/14/edward-snowden-pulitzer-statement-prize-guardian-washington-post 43. Journalism's future needs entrepreneurial 'hackers' Merja Myllylahti The Guardian and The Washington Post have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their work in bringing to light documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It is fashionable… http://theconversation.createsend4.com/t/r-l-xzlhn-trhltityg-g/ ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 44. Australia's dirty secret: who's breathing toxic air? Donna Green, Jayajit Chakraborty and Mark Patrick Taylor Australians living in poorer communities, with lower employment and education levels, as well as communities with a high proportion of Indigenous people, are significantly more likely to be exposed to… http://theconversation.createsend4.com/t/r-l-xzlhn-trhltityg-m/ 45. We all need to pay for climate change mitigation Ben Phillips While the latest IPCC report on mitigation doesn’t recommend any particular strategy for reducing carbon emissions, it suggests changing energy consumption is a key mitigation strategy. According to the… http://theconversation.createsend4.com/t/r-l-xzlhn-trhltityg-c/ 46. Climate targets: Australia can't be caught napping while others take action Erwin Jackson Neither the government nor the ALP want us to discuss what contribution Australia is going to make to the Paris agreement on emission goals in 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/11/climate-targets-australia-cant-be-caught-napping-while-others-take-action?CMP=ema_632 47. Heartland logic: More people have heard of Fidel Castro than Michael Mann, therefore global warming is false. Narahani. ...Joe Bast repeated his widely criticized statement equating people who support action to limit climate change with "murderers, tyrants, and madmen," declaring that the fact that more people have heard of Fidel Castro than Michael Mann proves his case. http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=2496 48. Push for boycott ban reveals economic double standard Fatima Measham A review of competition laws is allowing the Government and industry groups to push for a ban on environmental boycotts. It is a strange protectionism that portrays industries as victims, defenceless against the barrage of readily available information. It appears the free flow of information cannot be so free as to disrupt capital, and the only legitimate choices within a free market are ones unimpeded by ethics or conscience. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39270#.U06SX7UQ9ZY ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE + REFUGEE RIGHTS 49. Stateless Refugee Caught In Legal Limbo Miran Hosny Ahmad Alhaj, born in Saudi Arabia but ethnically Chadian, came to Australia seeking asylum. Virtually stateless, his only hope for protection is ministerial intervention https://www.newmatilda.com/2014/04/16/stateless-refugee-caught-legal-limbo 50. One rule for our navy, another for Indonesian fishermen Emily Mitchell Indonesian fishermen who inadvertently breach Australian waters suffer punitive circumstances, but Australian warships receive differential treatment.. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/11/cowboys-on-the-timor-sea-one-rule-for-our-navy-another-for-indonesian-fishermen?CMP=ema_632 51. Turnbacks abandoned, says Jakarta Michael Bachelard Of the orange lifeboats used to return three boatloads of asylum seekers since January, General Moeldoko said: “The Australian military commander has promised not to do it again”.... If the returns started again after the promise from the Australian military leadership: “I will protest against them even more strongly,” General Moeldoko said, though he refused to elaborate what form that protest might take. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/turnbacks-abandoned-says-jakarta-20140416-zqvnl.html 52. New immigration policy: stop the babies! Andrew P Street. "When is an Australian not an Australian? When they're born in detention" People like babies. They're small and helpless and cute and it's very hard to accuse them of having been born for economic reasons or because they're queue jumpers that just want to steal our jobs. That's not stopping the government from threatening to send 26 infants to Nauru... http://www.thevine.com.au/life/news/10-things-new-immigration-policy-stop-the-babies-20140416-280023/?utm_source=thevine&utm_medium=featured-rotator&utm_campaign=internal-testing OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

17/04/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE.17 April, 2014. [b]They, of course, are just fine, decent people with a liberal dash of memory loss.[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-04-17.aspx …

Janet (j4gypsy)

17/04/2014TT: Thank you for my poem. Truly honoured, and your assessment is - accurate :-). Casablanca: So good to have you back. Such a hole you leave in the read-scape, when you're gone. Ad: it is wonderful that you are making such a serious letter/submission to the Labor Party. This is 'taking action' in the most laudable of ways. Wondered if it could be posted as a blog as well on [i]TPS[/i]. Will leave that thought with you and the [i]TPS[/i] Team :-).

jaycee

17/04/2014Keeping in mind the “in-house” LNP. sexual smears and jokes about Julia Gillard, not to mention the innuendo of her relationship with the union man twenty years before and “The Menu” at the LNP. function all implying that Julia Gillard was a “Scarlet Woman”, author of "The Scarlet Letter"…..could this episode with O’Farrell with the gift of RED WINE now be referred to as the incident of : “The Scarlet Drink ” ?

Michael

17/04/2014Re "The Scarlet Drink", keep an eye out for what happens with the Japanese PM's gift to Abbott on the recent trip - expensive bicycle parts. If ever there was a 'gift between nations' tailored to the individual and not the office, this was it. "The gift to Abbott was more practical than emotional: electric bicycle gears from Shimano, a flagship employer in Abe’s own electorate near Hiroshima." http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/one-for-the-album-as-kinship-goes-up-a-gear/story-e6frg6zo-1226877194828# More importantly, will the Shimano parts turn up on Abbott's pecuniary register? And since they have no use except as bicycle parts, will he actually purchase them (an option politicians given things while on official duty have) or will they simply 'disappear' from the public record... only to appear on his bike? We know from the Prime Rorter's history that he always has his hand out. Might bicycle gears be his bottle of Grange?

Ad astra

17/04/2014Casablanca Thank you for yet another meal of rich nourishment. After the extraordinary events of yesterday, some Awards are appropriate: [i][b]The Fawlty Towers Manuel “I Know Nothing” Award[/i][/b] goes to the soon-to-be-banished NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, MLA. [i][b]The Award for the Most Grotesque Attempt to Make a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear[/i][/b] goes to none other than the Very Honourable, Always Decent, Anthony John Abbott, MP, Prime Minister of Australia. [i][b]The Award for the Most Angry and Persistent Denial in the Face of Incontrovertible Facts[/i][/b] goes to Gerard Henderson on last night’s [i]Lateline[/i]. [i][b]The Award for Inability to Keep the Mouth Shut and Let the Events Speak for Themselves[/i][/b] goes to NSW Opposition Leader, John Robertson, MLA.

2353`

17/04/2014Michael, I don't think we will have to wait that long. The current ICAC enquiry now has everyones interest and accordingly is getting 'to big to fail'. Considering O'Farrell and Abbott have been mates for years it should be reasonably easy to find any evidence if it exists. In any even after the 'principled' stand of O'Farrell, Sinindonus is a goner as well - Abbott will have to let him return to the back bench or face questions around not only Sinindonus' honesty and ethics in accepting an exhorbant salsry for little work (and the job in reality was to 'grease the wheels' for AWH) but Abbott's as well for allowing him to retain the Ministerial Leather. I wouldn't be surprised if another Premier fell on his sword over this as well. He is already claiming he got a gift and sent it back.

Janet (j4gypsy)

17/04/2014Jaycee at April 13. 2014 07:21 PM and April 14. 2014 12:28 PM and April 16. 2014 04:55 PM Thank you jaycee for the kind comments at the beginning of your first post and for all other comments on the state of political journalism :-). Just a few things I want to respond to for now … You suggest that journalists with integrity should be ‘quitting their jobs’. And then make a public statement as to why. And that way greater integrity in the business lies? That’s far too big an ask, from my corner. (Though after Bo’F yesterday … mind you he’ll have an MP’s super to support himself and most principled journos would have infinitely less.) Apart from the fact that I’d never ask anyone employed anywhere to give up an income – if they can’t see where their or their family’s next dollar was coming from, I want to see change within the business. Given, as Ken points out, the issue of how media is owned in Oz, change [i]from within[/i] needs to stay an option because there’s no way we’re not going to have the kind of media ownership we have, for a long time. The media owned as it is does publish the odd journo who speaks straight from their integrity core about our political reality: take this example from Jenna Price a week or so ago at http://www.smh.com.au/comment/governments-belittling-of-abc-the-worst-action-of-all-20140312-34lb8.html: [quote]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.[/quote] If you want a closer look at Price, as both journo and journalism teacher with UTS, and her background – go here (it’s worth it): https://www.uts.edu.au/staff/jenna.price And journalists do move around, of course – whether jumping or being pushed – trying to find a spot, or a couple of them, that allow them to work with integrity. One is Mike Seccombe, who lost his spot at The Global Mail when it folded and has wound up, I’m really glad to say, at The Saturday Paper (http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2014/04/12/james-packers-sweet-deals-casino/1397224800#.U08r5ld9JRw). I’m glad because I think he speaks from a position of ‘truth to reality’ always. (And so, I believe, does Monica Attard, who has wound up at The Hoopla.) Jaycee, sure, I’ll give you ‘treason’ one more time but on the state of the Oz Press Gallery and their ‘access’ journalism. Andrew Elder did another brilliant take down of the Gallery’s Mark Kenny’s ‘PM’s best week’ meme by the way, here: http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/good-news-for-confused.html and it’s worth picking up, of course, the comment from Bushfire Bill that he links to at http://pbxmastragics.com/2014/04/13/theres-a-whole-world-out-there-or-the-joy-of-walking/comment-page-1/#comment-129657 I’ve thought for yonks that the best thing to do with the PG is get rid of it. It might take a while, but I live in hope. But the media isn’t the PG and the PG certainly isn’t all the media. And I’m past standing in back alleys yelling treason at anybody as any kind of way of making change, however slow. We now have to stop yelling, which is easy, and start acting, which is hard, because then we have to figure out the ‘how’. While I see a real place for civil/citizen disobedience/resistance (the Leard Blockade, for example) and quite possibly testing a class action case against a pollie on the grounds of destroying a national infrastructure (Mal and the NBN), when it comes to getting change to some of our media maybe we have to start with ourselves – first. Ergo: How useful is it to keep generalising about ‘the media’? One PG journo is not ‘all media’. Many journos aren’t all media either. Not all journos work for Newscorp. And just a very few who do, also sit in my camp of journos who ‘seek something better for the people’ and are journos we could try to ‘encourage’ (to use again some Ad Astra words from above) towards greater courage. How do we start refining the way we think about and act towards and/or with some of our fourth estate? Maybe it’s time for an amnesty (from us) for some of our political journalists? Maybe it’s time to start off in a different direction with some of our political journalists? I’m really when I ask whether it’s time for a different kind of ‘contract’ with some of the fourth estate who write on politics. (Clearly, I think it is.) So here’s another question or two for now. How long is it since you (plural – as in anyone reading this) wrote to a journalist writing on Oz politics and said ‘thanks’ for a spot-on’ piece, and asked for more - when you thought they really got it right? How long since you put a journalist, who seems to you to have some integrity, onto an issue or a bit of info, and asked if they could follow up? How long since you’ve said to any fourth estate journo: you know, you’re worth more than this; you sure about the approach you just took? A lot easier to do on Twitter, I know – and it happens often now. But there’s email. And snail mail. Isn’t there.

Janet (j4gypsy)

17/04/2014Ad Astra, your awards are sublimely perfect :-) By the way, I had meant to provide a bit of an update on March in March. It's now rebadged as 'March Australia', which I guess makes good sense. Its Twitter handle is now @MarchAustralia and its new website is at www.marchaustralia.com Some cities are planning a march in May and all locations seems to be planning for one in August.

TalkTurkey

17/04/2014Greetings Comrades, First, a bit of Sorry: To You Ken in particular for my not having acknowledged your Gross National Happiness article. I did 'review' it, and was actually ready to write the customary welcoming TPS response, but in the event the review you received was admirable anyway, better than I could have managed. Increase in National Happiness would indeed be the most sensible aim. I suppose that suicide rates would be the single hard measure of its reverse. I heard on ABC a few days ago that suicide rates amongst Aboriginal youth in the NT is TEN TIMES that for the ambient population (not sure that's right) but 16 youngsters took their lives in 10 weeks in 2 small communities there, how do we factor that into the equation? Anyway you know I love your writing Ken. Thank you on behalf of all. Casablanca I can't always get through your Cache but obviously others are making good use of them - and the unique unbroken permanent record of contemporary events and opinion they represent is a golden thread for all future historians. But don't obsess please, and if it gets too onerous don't feel compelled to keep doing it so hard. Now, to this stunning thread by Jan our Resident Gypsy! First: You sure can write Gal. I have never taken a great deal of notice of Jonathan Green, perhaps because of his low-key delivery and the fact that I would rarely find anything to argue with him anyway. I will watch him with more interest in future. But your overall take on him in this case reminds me of Jason's characterisation of Barrie Cassidy, the Barrie that is one of the yapping pack of yellow journalistas, and the other Barrie, the one who criticises the lack of perspicacity of the pack of yapping journalistas - present company of Lopsiders excluded, of course, "OOOhhh no, not [i]Us[/i] of course." Like the loud-mouthed Big-Mouth Frog suddenly confronted with the Frog-Eating Snake. "No, no Mr Snake, no Big-Mouth Frogs around here!" Not that Jonathan Green is guilty of the same offence though, he might be of the MSM but not with them in being a yellow running-dog. He just hasn't been condemnatory enough of the rest of the Media nor of the Right in my experience: Earth Air and Water no doubt, but where's the Fire? I cannot think less of him, though, for his inability to suggest remedies other than to get ourselves an avatar - because I can't either. Indeed the whole Left seems stymied as to this, yearning for a Keating, or a *J*U*L*I*A* - or a Gough. But we have to do more than find such an one. I am out of love with the entire Failed 4th Estate. I didn't think much of most of them back in 2010 as I made clear in [i]The Lass From Yarralumla[/i] poem on TPS 12/10/10 at 10.42 AM -(worth reading if you've never read it already)- but I did acknowledge Laura Tingle, the only one who showed any decency at all towards *J*U*L*I*A* Well since then I am not so supportive even of her, because she too is exasperatingly pallid. But at least she's not positively Right-Wing. But until only months ago I thought Mike Carlton was pretty reliably honest, a good strong voice for sanity. Then he came out with a statement of faith in the sailors aboard the vessel on which the asylum seekers had their hands burnt, wtte that the sailors' word that they didn't do it deliberately was beyond question the Truth. I reposted the subsequent Twitter exchange between us here on TPS at the time. I told him that he could not logically support that assertion, he wasn't there. (The 5th Estate wanted, and wants, a proper independent investigation into the incident, in which at least 3 witnesses told of how the sailors deliberately held the burns victims' hands on a hot pipe - presumably in a series? Several people supported me, but Carlton ended up calling me a gibbering halfwit, an appellation which, coming from such an authority as he, I wear with great pride. Then just a week or so ago Mark Colvin, another whom I have respected thoroughly hitherto, tweeted wtte that Pistorius' evidence in court seemed to be getting scrambled. It wasn't unlike any other tweet about Pistorius, but it should have been below such an experienced intellect as Colvin to add his voice to an already disgusting and trivial and unhealthily voyeurist media feeding frenzy. [i]So I tweeted back, Don't waste your precious time with that Mark. Please.[/i] ['Precious' time - Colvin was on dialysis for years, and losing condition ... Then someone - an admirer I think - donated him one of her kidneys, and he is now quite healthy. At the time many Tweeps, myself included, wished him well. So you'd think he'd find more worthwhile pursuits to follow in his extended time than to follow, and worse, to draw others' attention to the misfortunes of a mug murderer in a foreign land.] But to me, re the Pistorius matter, he replied: [i]I'll waste my time any way I want.[/i] I replied [i]Go ahead but your response is disappointing[/i]. He said [i]You jumped on me for that one reference to the Pistorius matter. Suggest you unfollow me.[/i] (!) "Jumped on" him?! [i]Fed me Duck![/i] I said, [i]I came in friendship and civility, I made that clear with my Please! [/i] I told him I don't unfollow people just because I'm piqued (not anybody at all, actually), reminded him of my wellwishing re his kidney transplant convalescence, and observed that now he seemed pretty liverish. :) Some people supported me, and others supported him, but anyway my point is, I have no belief any more in the superior intellects and superb penmanship of even the best of the MSM, nor their level of civilization neither. For that, I thank Carlton and Colvin from my heart. Because now I am completely assured in my belief that the reading on the Fighting 5th Estate is truer, quicker, cleverer, honester and better written than any to be found on the MSM. And it is all being done for Love, not Money, and that really counts in the Age of Murdoch. Nobody has a barrow to push here. There is one writer beyond all with whom I have never had cause to disagree on any major point, and that is our own Ad astra. He reads widely and he follows his own thoughts, unlike the yellow curs sniffing each other's opinions before rewriting them in their own words. I have no more any sense of hero worship for any of the MSM, and while I too could yearn for a political saviour, I see nobody in the wings who might fill that role at the moment. So we are just going to have to rouse the People ourselves. And I'm serious about that.

Catching up

17/04/2014Keep up the good work.

Casablanca

18/04/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 18 April 2014: 52 items[/b] LEADERSHIP CHURN 1. He’s a surfer, a Christian, and now Premier of NSW Jackson Stiles New Premier of New South Wales Mike Baird has promised to mend the state’s trust in the government.... The new premier’s key message, repeated several times, seemed to be that he will heed community’s concerns about government integrity, and fight to regain trust. http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/04/17/mike-baird-new-nsw-premier/ 2. Triumvirate have similar views on state James Massola In Baird, Abbott and federal Treasurer Joe Hockey have a political soul mate who could help them realise their plans to rebuild NSW. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nsw/triumvirate-have-similar-views-on-state-20140417-36v06.html WINING & LOBBYING + WHINING ABOUT ICAC 3. Will O'Farrell's Demise Fix NSW? John Kaye As another premier departs, it's time for all parties to acknowledge that NSW has a lobbying problem. The opportunity for real reform is now http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=81075fc17f&e=0a1e2bdeb8 4. Barry O'Farrell: a decent man who despised the filth of NSW politics David Marr The outgoing premier was a big fan of ICAC – he once said he worried politicians didn't fear the commission enough. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/barry-ofarrell-a-decent-man-who-despised-filth-nsw-politics 5. The star chamber that took down a premier Quentin Dempster The Liberal Party has suddenly lost a five year political advantage in New South Wales, and there are likely to be more ramifications from ICAC than the resignation of Barry O'Farrell... There are months and years of challenges ahead as the NSW ICAC takes on corruption at the highest levels of government. The 'prize' is the restoration of public trust in government. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-17/dempster-an-antidote-to-the-new-south-wales-disease/5397352 6. Barry O'Farrell's Liberal machine as rotten as Labor's Waleed Aly I’m prepared to believe he genuinely has no recollection of [the Grange]. But that only underscores the fact that he saw nothing remarkable about the exchange at all; that even as he must have been hawk-eyed about anything that even remotely connected to the corruption that destroyed Labor, he saw this kind of give and take as standard practice. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/barry-ofarrells-liberal-machine-as-rotten-as-labors-20140417-zqvtz.html#ixzz2zAINCuAX 7. Did Barry O'Farrell pre-fuel on Grange before lockout? Richard Ackland One thing is certain, Prime Minister Abbott’s strenuous efforts to paint the Labor Party as a collection of the most despicable, untrustworthy crooks, while the Liberals are lovely, decent people no longer cuts the way he planned it. The underbelly of the Liberal Party’s arm twisters and deal mongers is there for all to see, thanks to ICAC. This, no doubt, is the very reason why apoplectic right wing commentators are appearing on our telly screens declaring that ICAC is running amok and its hearings should be put behind closed doors. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/did-barry-ofarrell-prefuel-on-grange-before-lockout-20140417-zqvwz.html#ixzz2zAJDuOlC 8. O'Farrell's Heir Must Improve Transparency Alex Greenwich Independent NSW MP Alex Greenwich has raised concerns over transparency in parliament, with little interest from the Government. Barry O'Farrell's replacement must do better http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=d4dfb77914&e=0a1e2bdeb8 9. ICAC Claims Another Scalp Ben Eltham Only a political partisan would accuse ICAC of bias for bringing down NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell. Elected to clean up Labor's corruption, O'Farrell has himself to blame http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=f7928b4bf5&e=0a1e2bdeb8 10. Bye bye Barry Houses and Holes For three years Barry O’Farrell has been an excellent premier of a state that desperately needed both good government and an end to the blatant corruption that became a feature of New South Wales Labor’s last years in power. Like any politician, he was not above compromise and deal-making. http://macrobusiness.cmail3.com/t/i-l-zijkky-dtyueir-dd/ 11. You don't need ICAC to see the lies in politics Jonathan Green. When it comes to the personal conduct of politicians, a slip of the truth is a hanging offence, no quarter given. In the public performance of politics, a lie is a commonplace, an almost expected behaviour, the mundane reality of our perpetually deceitful public life. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-17/green-you-dont-need-icac-to-see-the-lies-in-politics/5395436 12. NSW's unsavoury intersection of gifts and politics Michelle Grattan Lobbying and the influence of big money are becoming concerning in politics even when actual corruption is not involved. But why did Barry O'Farrell dig himself into such a hole? http://click.email.businessspectator.com.au/?qs=402c42324f4ec16649b30c43ebffdb9e084ab0d25e23498a3e02e4141a647e84a8548ea4fc28a2b3 13. Barry O’Farrell’s resignation is not an act of unprecedented moral heroism Lenore Taylor The Eric Idle award for looking on the bright side of life must go to the prime minister who, having now lost a premier as well as a minister owing to ICAC’s investigations, chose to interpret the event as evidence Barry O’Farrell was acting with honour and integrity never before seen in Australian public life. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/barry-ofarrell-resignation-not-unprecedented-moral-heroism 14. O’Farrell’s downfall will put lobbyists under microscope, campaigners say Lenore Taylor Liberal campaigning to reduce the 'stranglehold' of lobbyists say the premier's resignation will be a catalyst for reform...“This will the the game-changer. Barry O’Farrell has been a roadblock to our efforts to democratise the party and reduce the stranglehold of the factions and the lobbyists,” said long-time Liberal member John Ruddick. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/ofarrell-downfall-lobbyists-reform-members 15. Penfolds Grange 1959: truly a wine to remember Ed Merrison The current Grange winemaker, Peter Gago, describes the wine as a wall of sound. It’s an incredibly powerful, pulsing wave of a wine that assaults the senses with its dense, ripe fruit aromas and the spice and savoury notes that come with oak and time. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/penfolds-grange-1959-barry-o-farrell 16. Barry O'Farrell's term cut short, but it was longer than the average Nick Evershed O'Farrell has lasted a solid 214 days more than the average term length of 901 days. The longest-serving premier in an uninterrupted spell is Bob Carr, who was in office for 10 years and four months. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/barry-ofarrell-term-short-but-longer-than-average 17. Five political crimes far worse than O'Farrell's Grange offence Harrison Polites Canberra should be glad that Barry O'Farrell's example isn't the new benchmark for political resignations. http://click.email.businessspectator.com.au/?qs=7cf515789cceb319956418304a7f7e2de95d865bfe72bf99dc28d03fdca4b88b81c8775bbbdc713b 18. Barry O'Farrell resignation: 'Army brat' turned political operator was at the top of his powers Nick Grimm Barry O'Farrell's resignation comes at a time when many observers thought he was at the peak of his powers. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-17/barry-ofarrell-political-obituary/5396562 19. History repeats: How O'Farrell and Greiner fell foul of ICAC Olivia Monaghan Some academics talk about the 20 year life cycle of corruption; that two decades will pass between corruption taking root and corruption scandals being played out. The NSW experience more or less supports this theory. http://theconversation.com/history-repeats-how-ofarrell-and-greiner-fell-foul-of-icac-25701 20. O’Farrell fell short of basic standards in business and public life Thomas Clarke It is tragic that New South Wales has lost an able and dedicated Premier apparently over a bottle of wine, even if it is a $3000 bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange. Many will be sad to see Barry O’Farrell… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-xvtkit-trhltityg-m/ 21. The demise of the well-regarded O'Farrell is most unfortunate, but don't blame ICAC Michelle Grattan More generally, the lobbying industry and the influence of big money in politics are becoming serious issues for the integrity of the Australian democratic process even when actual corruption is not involved. O'Farrell legislated a ban on donations from corporations and associations. It was an obvious strike against Labor and the unions, but would have had a cleansing effect on the conservative side as well. The High Court struck down the legislation, in a case brought by the unions. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-xvtkit-trhltityg-yu/ 22. He seemed so well on Tuesday Peter Brent BARRY O’Farrell was in the right place at the right time in March 2011 and that’s the reason he, and not earlier Liberal leaders....Peter Collins, Kerry Chikarovski and John Brogden, became NSW Premier. Fluking the timing of the rise to the top explains most modern political success stories, an obvious recent exception being Tony Abbott.+ http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/mumble/index.php/theaustralian/comments/barry_gone/ 23. Carr lashes NSW’s ‘debauched ethos of mateship’ The New Daily “It is a debauched ethos of mateship and factional solidarity linked to fundraising.” http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/04/16/carr-lashes-nsws-debauched-ethos-mateship/ 24. Tony Abbott lambasts journalist over NSW 'corruption' question Guardian reporter Prime minister brands question in wake of NSW premier's resignation an 'entirely unjustified smear' and demands apology http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/tony-abbott-lambasts-journalist-over-nsw-corruption-question ENTITLEMENTS + RORTS + SUBSIDIES + RESPONSIBILITY + LARGESSE 25. The pharmacy racket must end Leith van Onselen The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen has written a cracking article today attacking the Abbott Government for refusing to free-up competition in the pharmacy industry, which she argues is one of the nation’s biggest entitlement rackets... http://macrobusiness.cmail3.com/t/i-l-zijkky-dtyueir-dk/ 26. Barry O'Farrell's resignation puts added pressure on Arthur Sinodinos Mark Kenny When Barry O'Farrell stunned everyone by suddenly pulling the cork on his premiership, it must have sent shards of fear through two other men: Tony Abbott and Arthur Sinodinos. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/barry-ofarrells-resignation-puts-added-pressure-on-arthur-sinodinos-20140416-zqvg7.html POVERTY WARS 27. Age pension action Emily Millane. Just raising the retirement age on its own would be a blunt and regressive measure. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-17/millane-beware-blunt-response-to-age-pension-debate/5396292 28. Two indexes, two very different impacts on pensions Daniel Nethery ...Joe Hockey has flagged two possible changes to pensions. The first, raising the age at which individuals become eligible for the age pension to seventy years, has attracted widespread media coverage, in part because its impact is easy to grasp. The second, modifying the indexation of pensions, has received relatively little scrutiny, yet represents a profound structural reform. It would affect not only senior citizens, but also those receiving a disability support pension or the carer payment. http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=MUngk&m=IhWmP7z8u4hdzG&b=i0ISi9Q7VuA2YLSTEDpdOQ SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 29. Government of the people, by the powerbrokers, for the mates Kaye Lee “In 1992 the former secretary to the Office of Governor-General, Sir David Smith, wrote: There is much that is wrong with the way this nation is governed and administered: never before have we had so many Royal Commissions and other inquiries; never before have we had so many office-holders and other figures in, or facing the prospect of prison; never before have the electors registered their dissatisfaction with the political process by returning so many independent and minor party candidates to Parliament. http://theaimn.com/2014/04/17/government-of-the-people-by-the-powerbrokers-for-the-mates/ 30. The State of the Federation Ted Mack ..over...20 odd years I was given the unique experience of having an independent inside view of 14 years in local government, seven in state government and six in federal government. This didn’t happen because the electors of North Sydney were carbon monoxide affected or because I had discovered some magic secret of electoral success. It happened because people saw the benefits of three fundamental principles – open government, decentralised decision-making and financial probity demonstrated in North Sydney Council for some eight years. http://parkesfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/hporation2013.pdf 31. Can’t tell the difference between reality and the nightly news! rossleighbrisbane Recently, while in China, Tony Abbott praised the way that Asian countries had lifted living standards, announcing: “It’s happened because governments have allowed individuals and families to take more control of their own futures.” http://theaimn.com/2014/04/17/cant-tell-the-difference-between-reality-and-the-nightly-news/ 32. What we talk about when we talk about housing Liam Hogan "Let's move the arguments about cities away from the technocratic, away from thinking about tax systems, supply incentives, planning restrictions, NIMBYs and developers. Let's start with what ought to be common ground: universal housing, on one hand, and universal financial security." https://newmatilda.com/2014/04/16/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-housing 33. We’re wedging ourselves to death Rob Burgess On a whole host of issues, political opponents divide the community and stir up fears that make actual progress impossible... This list of serious problems that Australian governments are unwilling to address is growing, thanks to a political culture in which serious reforms are cynically opposed and milked for political advantage. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/4/17/politics/were-wedging-ourselves-death 34. Should you be taxed for a service you don't use? If you want a better Australia, the answer is yes Van Badham The issue here is not too much spending, but too little revenue: tax was only 26.5% of GDP in Australia in 2011, yet the OECD average is 34.1%. The underspending is deliberate and ideological; to engineer funding shortfalls that allow the introduction of economically discriminatory mechanism of "user-pays". Denying public investment in education – or in health, or in welfare, or in any other national infrastructure – is not a necessity, and it's not an inevitability. It's a choice. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/17/a-lesson-in-logic-why-its-up-to-us-all-to-meet-cost-of-educating-australia?CMP=ema_632 35. Australian self-interest through Asian eyes Rob Burgess Recent history shows how quickly a latent dislike of Australia can become manifest – the fury on the streets of Indonesia during the recent phone-tapping scandal was fed by negative stereotypes of Australians that stretch back through the 20th century. Not only are we remembered as the lucky country that ran the white Australia policy, but our political leaders of the past have (often unfairly) been seen as colonialists seeking to impose a Western order on peoples who, from their own domestic perspective, were throwing off the shackles of a colonial past. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/4/17/politics/australian-self-interest-through-asian-eyes?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=719366&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt= 36. Identity crisis: who does the Australian Labor Party represent? Mark Rolfe In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-xvtkit-trhltityg-c/ 37. No more Labor Bullocks for Australia's sake Louise Pratt Joe Bullock's fringe views are out of touch with even his own union's members...Labor must stop letting union powerbrokers make grubby deals that destroy the Party's chances. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/senator-louise-pratt-alp-must-have-no-more-bullocks-for-australias-sake,6394 38. Tony Benn, the great conjuror David Hayes The Labour politician turned radical in mid-career and ended up a revered figure. His remarkable story can also reveal Britain to itself http://inside.org.au/tony-benn-the-great-conjuror/#sthash.sZblofR3.dpuf 39. Disappointed democracy Andrew Gamble We are all democrats now. This was not always so. After the world was proclaimed safe for democracy in 1918, democracy was soon in retreat, and by 1942 there were only twelve democracies left. Yet since 1945 and 1989, it has been autocratic systems of government which have been in retreat. Today, 117 or 60 per cent of the 195 member states of the United Nations are classified by Freedom House as being electoral democracies. Democracy has become the preferred form of government for successful states, associated with economic prosperity and political stability http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1400280.ece 40. Why tax deductible childcare is a bad idea Leith van Onselen The Australian’s Particia Karvelas has produced a good article today explaining why making childcare tax deductible and removing the $7,500 cap, as proposed by several submissions to the Productivity Commission inquiry into childcare, would be a bad deal for lower-to-middle income families: The chief executive of advocacy group Early Childhood Australia, [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail3.com/t/i-l-zijkky-dtyueir-jy/ 41. The God of big things Janna Thompson In his new book, Terry Eagleton explores the persistence of religious ideas in political life and culture... Eagleton’s complaint against all these attempts to provide a substitute for God is that they failed to motivate the masses. The exception is nationalism, and Eagleton makes too little of its ability to unify people and motivate them to care about the fate of each other. In this respect nationalism seems a better candidate than culture as a substitute for religion. It has been responsible for evil as well as good, but so too has religion. http://inside.org.au/the-god-of-big-things/#sthash.tWMzeM2i.dpuf MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 42. Arise, Prince Lachlan Rodney Tiffen Lachlan and James Murdoch’s appointments to senior positions could help sow the seeds of unrest in the Murdoch empire. http://inside.org.au/arise-prince-lachlan/#sthash.QxPanesb.dpuf 43. ABC China deal The ABC's Australia Network has struck a deal to make its content available throughout China. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-17/an-abc27s-australia-network-signs-china-content-deal/5396664 44. Big coal buries itself on Twitter Houses and Holes When the brains behind the Minerals Council launched an advertising campaign to defeat Labor’s mining tax, they nailed it...Miners spent $22 million on the ads and saved billions in tax they never had to pay. Now the Minerals Council has a new multimillion-dollar ad campaign, this one to defend the coal industry. But “Australians for Coal” doesn’t seem destined for the success of the anti-Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT) campaign. This campaign seems to be a dud. http://macrobusiness.cmail3.com/t/i-l-zijkky-dtyueir-dy/ ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 45. Fiona Stanley attacks deniers and Tony Abbott, warns climate change is a serious health issue Lisa Cox Professor Stanley has declared “I don’t think I can be silent” and said she was “anxious and angry” about climate science being denigrated. “Once something does become politicised the science goes out the window, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/fiona-stanley-attacks-deniers-and-tony-abbott-warns-climate-change-is-a-serious-health-issue-20140417-zqvvu.html 46. Can business save us from climate change? Christopher Wright Without a functional international climate policy, and a set of Australian policies that look set to be repealed, it might seem that business offers the greatest hope for mitigating climate change http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-xvtkit-trhltityg-b/ 47. China's genuine green energy revolution John Matthews China is leading the world in the installation of renewable energy and is also the largest consumer of coal. But it’s the green system that’s being built to last. http://click.email.businessspectator.com.au/?qs=402c42324f4ec1667268b6e2a713794c96beb187ad035f7ee9aaf24951a78631d2cac5464c053c75 48. Abbott urged to ensure Japan abides by whaling decision Andrew Darby The Abbott government has been warned it must ensure that Japan abides by an International Court of Justice ban on Antarctic whaling after lawmakers in Tokyo passed a resolution effectively rejecting the judgment. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-urged-to-ensure-japan-abides-by-whaling-decision-20140417-36uva.html ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE + REFUGEE RIGHTS 49. The asylum-seeker plan that keeps disappearing over the horizon Peter Browne The collateral damage is too great for policy-by-slogan to be sustainable. The alternative can bring benefits for asylum seekers and for Australia http://inside.org.au/the-asylum-seeker-plan-that-keeps-disappearing-over-the-horizon/#sthash.doBaJg5x.dpuf 50. Rights and justice for #refugees are not commodities Nour Dados When they come for the innocent without crossing over your body, cursed be your religion and your life. Anon The quote above came to my attention as I followed the protests at Villawood Detention Centre on social media over the past few weeks. It seems apt to think about protest in these terms, http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=09148647bf7962baa9421eec7b160654&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 51. Easter memory loss makes plastic of the present Andrew Hamilton In our society the devaluation of memory can be seen in our treatment of asylum seekers. The memory of the displacement of people in World War II and the determination to find refugees a home has been lost. So has the memory of the corruption of societies under Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler: the emphasis on control and security, the stripping of people from the protection of the rule of law, the scapegoating and demonisation of unfavoured minorities, the control of information, the neutering of parliament and the enrichment of those close to power. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39285#.U0_sJrUQ9ZY 52. Suffer the children, they have no asylum Philip Freier Earlier public debate about the need to free children from detention shows that Australians can come to a new consensus about this vital issue, even though widespread disagreements remain about other aspects of refugee policy. If it happened before, it can happen again. Easter is a good time to look again at what is happening to children in detention centres, and to consider the crippling cost to their well-being now and in the future. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/suffer-the-children-they-have-no-asylum-20140417-zqvtu.html#ixzz2zABoVVk9 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

18/04/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 18 April 2014. [b]'Government of the people, by the powerbrokers, for the mates' [/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-04-17.aspx

Catching up

18/04/2014Good to see Barry Cassidy gone, and Quentin Dempster back on the ABC 24 over the last few days. We are actually been told what is going on.

Ad astra

18/04/2014Janet (j4gypsy) Thank you for your kind comment about the Awards. In between family matters, I'm working though my letter to Bill Shorten. It is surprising how much there is to write about Labor's revival. So far it's over two thousand words. Anyway, when it's finished, I'll send you a copy.

Ad astra

18/04/2014Casablanca I'm very much enjoying the wording of your Twitter announcements of your daily Cache. They are very clever.

Ad astra

18/04/2014TT I did enjoy reading your stylishly-written comment at 2.09 pm yesterday. Your words ring true. Thank you too for your kind compliment. Your conclusion is irrefutable: [i][b]"So we are just going to have to rouse the People ourselves. And I'm serious about that."[/i][/b]

Patriciawa

18/04/2014Talk Turkey! Like Ad Astra I always enjoy reading your comments, but what a lovely description from you of our press gallery yesterday. [i]yellow curs sniffing each other's opinions before rewriting them in their own words. [/i]

Casablanca

18/04/2014 Vale Gabo Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate writer, dies aged 87 Colombian author became standard-bearer for Latin American letters after success of One Hundred Years of Solitude http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/17/gabriel-garcia-marquez-dies

Michael

19/04/2014The 60 per centers. Seriously, can anyone name one Federal government minister any more than 60 per cent capable of filling their position? One?

Curi-Oz

19/04/2014Depends on what criteria you are using, and what weighting you are giving to the mere fact of belonging to a particular party. In one case, given what I overheard recently, I would suggest that the weighting for one ministry might be 75% Liberal, 20% familiarity with overseas travel, & 5% not male ... or was that 5% educated? Choice between either the Foreign or Education ministers either way! *meouw*

Casablanca

20/04/2014 [b]Age pensions: Later, and less, plans the government[/b] Gareth Hutchens. April 19, 2014 [i]If the Abbott government lifts the pension age to 70 then Australians will become some of the oldest workers in the developed world. Recent data from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development shows if Australia acts it will be doing so years before other countries. Australia is already lifting its pension age to 67 by 2023, but if it then starts to lift the age to 70 it will be jumping ahead of other countries - in some cases by a long way. Canada and Germany will finish lifting their pension age to 67 by 2029, while Britain will be done by 2036. South Korea will just finish lifting its to 65 by 2033. China has no scheduled increases above 60. So why is Australia jumping so far ahead - a country which has had compulsory superannuation since 1992?[/i] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/age-pensions-later-and-less-plans-the-government-20140418-36wb6.html

Casablanca

20/04/2014 [b]TRACKING ABBOTT’S WRECKAGE[/b] [i]Tony Abbott has been in power since 7 September 2013. From that moment, he and his government have broken promises and hurt Australians. [/i] Using Sally McManus' figure of 131 promises broken since Abbott came to power, he & his Government have broken a promise every 1.72 days. Easy, I guess, when the MSM turn a blind eye. http://sallymcmanus.net/abbotts-wreckage/

Casablanca

20/04/2014 Happy Easter Swordsters!

Jason

20/04/2014http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/neville-wran-dead-aged-87-20140420-36ywh.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn%3Atwi-13omn1677-edtrl-other%3Annn-17%2F02%2F2014-edtrs_socialshare-all-nnn-nnn-vars-o%26sa%3DD%26usg%3DALhdy28zsr6qiq

Catching up

20/04/2014Neville Wran dead aged 87
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?