The speech I would like to hear


Last year on TPS I posted a blog ‘What happened to leadership and conviction?’ and bemoaned the fact that modern politicians are so poll-driven, rather than seeking to drive the polls by driving the policy debate. This year in a number of posts, ‘Whither the Left’, ‘Bringing Gross National Happiness into play’ and ‘The wonderful world of the economic rationalists’, I have also raised alternative approaches for Labor. (This piece can also be considered as Part 4 of ‘Whither the Left’.)

I thought rather than simply be critical, or make suggestions from the sidelines, I should put my words where my mouth is and actually come up with a speech I would like to hear.

Here is the speech I would like to hear from Labor as a step towards government. I am not a speechwriter, but this provides the gist of what I think should be said.

It is basically a political speech that could be used by Labor, generally taking the more moderate, more pragmatic approach to the issues raised in the earlier articles. It does not go into policy detail (that will have to come later) but can be seen as the philosophical introduction to the actual policies. It aims, as I have suggested previously, at changing the tenor of the economic debate.

Leading the way

Good evening to all of you, the members of this great nation, Australia.

We are each a member of a single nation, and like members of any organisation, we share its good times, we share its hard times, and pull together through thick and thin.

We have a great nation. It can and should be better.

We founded Australia as a nation in 1901 based on a great democratic tradition that brought ordinary people into the political process, even into the Parliament itself.

We did not have elites born to rule us and we did not need them. We described ourselves as the ‘land of the fair go’ and believed every one should have the opportunity to live the life they chose.

Most importantly, we believed everyone was equal. Anyone could aspire to be a Member of Parliament, or even Prime Minister.

Anyone could aspire to the vocation they wanted, based only on merit, not their background.

Everyone could aspire to create a better world for their children.

Where we were born, or to whom we were born was not meant to be a consideration.

At different times, not everyone was included in the vision but over time our vision of Australia became more inclusive. Our forebears knew then, as we know now, that our nation can always move forward, always be better than it is.

Now is one of those times when we need to take another step forward to aspire to an Australia that is greater, fairer, and more caring of its people.

It is time to address some of our current weaknesses and move forward. Not ignore them — as the current government is doing — and drift backwards, losing the gains our grandparents made, abandoning the aspirations of the nation.

There is more than enough evidence that there are still areas of weakness in our social and economic institutions.

Our economy is losing low-skilled jobs, so education and training, and re-training, are becoming more important, not less important.

Our population is ageing, so more needs to be done to encourage active ageing, allowing people to continue to contribute to our society, whether that is in employment or volunteering. The only answer the current government has is to increase the pension age.

We are losing manufacturing industries and more needs to be done to encourage the industries and jobs of the future. The Coalition government simply watched it happen. At the last election, it promised a million new jobs knowing full well that was no more than normal growth as it had been for the previous decade — it was a promise to do nothing, which is exactly what the government did.

And despite our nation increasing its wealth for a generation, inequality in our communities has increased. That needs to be addressed, not ignored, as this government would have you believe.

I know some will react by saying nothing can be done unless we have a strong economy.

That is self-evident.

But what is the point of a strong economy:

— if school children are being left behind because their schools do not have sufficient resources

— if people are dying because our hospitals are overcrowded and under-resourced,

— if people are working but still earning barely enough to survive,

— if our nation is in flames from the effects of climate change.

Every year we delay addressing these things, is another year that will add to the cost of rectifying them in the future. Another year that will actually weaken our economy.

Our future economy will not be strong if we do not have enough tradespeople and graduates coming out of our TAFE colleges and universities.

Our future economy will not be strong if people are sick for longer because we failed to provide adequate health services.

Our future economy will not be strong if we are spending more and more on the ravages of bushfires, of more frequent droughts, of rising sea levels, because we did nothing now.

A strong economy also needs quality infrastructure. The Coalition will cry ‘debt’, just like the boy who cried wolf. But it is the same type of debt that you go into when buying a home. You finish up with an asset that is worth more, that can be passed to your children. It is the same for the nation. If we have to borrow to provide essential infrastructure, it is for the benefit of the nation as a whole and enhances our nation both for us and for future generations. Quality infrastructure boosts national productivity and national wealth, and that flows into higher government revenue to improve education and health and all the other services we need.

A strong economy requires the merging of the work of our scientists and researchers with that of enterprises and entrepreneurs to improve products, create new products, and new processes for producing them. That will not happen if, like the current government, we continually reduce funding for research.

It will require us to identify and improve the services we can provide to other nations, just as we already provide educational and engineering services.

A strong economy requires skilling our workforce and having managers working smarter. It requires high quality students coming into the workforce, bringing new skills and new ideas. It requires all parties listening and sharing and working together, at the enterprise level, the industry level and nationally. And in these times, internationally.

It requires people being supported in their work and feeling a sense of achievement in what they do. From the highest to the lowest paid, every role is essential — a CEO relies on a cleaner as much as an airline pilot relies on an aircraft maintenance worker.

It requires that those who are not working have other ways of maintaining their self-esteem. Without that they will not become productive workers when the opportunity arises, or effective volunteers if they are already retirees. Each requires that sense of belonging and of being able to contribute to our society.

What the other side won’t tell you is that the economy is about people. An economy is not something that exists in a vacuum. It is the product of the effort of the people.

There is no economy without you and for that reason you should feel part of the economy.

And people deserve to benefit from their part in maintaining our economy. They need to feel they are receiving a fair share of the national wealth they have helped create.

A strong economy should provide for the people. They should feel included and secure. They should know that government will help in those times when they need help; that the government will help when transitions are taking place in our economy and in our lives as a community.

A strong economy should create wellbeing for all of our people. People should feel happy and satisfied, not just in their work but in their lives. That is the ultimate aim of a successful economy. And that cannot be measured just in dollars and cents.

At present Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the main measure of our economy but it simply adds together the value of all the products and services we provide.

For example, a house that is destroyed in a bushfire adds twice to the GDP: once when it was first built, and again when it is rebuilt after the fire. But GDP takes no notice of the loss of that house, nor the devastating impact that loss had on the family that occupied it.

GDP also takes no account of damage to the environment — although the costs of rectifying that damage will be considerable. It takes no account of the depletion of our natural resources. Yes, some of that is necessary for our economy but we also need to be mindful of future generations and what resources we will be leaving for them. We must find the right balance between the economy and our environment, and to do that we need to look at our economy differently.

It is time we included other measures of our economic progress, because, in reality, GDP only measures our economic activity — GDP would count the money spent rectifying environmental damage as a plus, something that adds to GDP. That seems a strange way to measure the strength and sustainability of our economy!

There are already new measures available and being developed. Some focus on wellbeing. Some take account of the costs of achieving GDP growth.

My government will examine these and see which we can use in Australia, which will genuinely measure our progress as a people and as a nation.

To make the economy work at its best we need a strong people bound together. People are not bound together by a philosophy that encourages greed or promotes every man and woman for themselves. We must maintain our traditional ethos of the fair go and of helping a mate.

I believe Australians are bound together by our sense of fairness, by our sense of equality. We need to build on that.

As a government we will also be honest with you and explain what we intend doing and more importantly, why we are doing it. It is true that sometimes government decisions can cause difficulties for some, although of benefit to the nation as a whole. If we all understand why such a decision has to be made, then both the government and the people can ensure that our sense of fairness comes into play to support those who lose out until the wider benefits become apparent.

We will bring a different focus to the role of government:

We will focus on food security, not just agriculture as an industry. That will include underpinning the food security of other nations through our agricultural exports.

We will focus on our social strength, not just social security as a means of making welfare payments. We will strengthen the role of communities and people in supporting their neighbours.

We will focus on wellbeing, not just health. We will include active ageing and the vitality of our communities.

We will focus on the best use of our workforce, not just employment. That means skilling our people, but also encouraging innovative management approaches and innovative businesses, both small and large.

We will focus on environmental sustainability in which climate change is a critical but not the sole part. We will include what needs to be done to maintain our river basins and ground water so that communities and enterprises will also have access in the future.

We will focus on the breadth of our economy not just individual industry policies and ensure an approach that adds to our future strength.

We will focus on energy security. That will mean looking across all our energy sources, not individual sources and their associated industries in isolation.

But our main focus will be you, the members of our Australian nation. All of our decisions, including our economic decisions, will be made against the underlying principle of what can best improve the wellbeing of our people.

We have reached this point because of the inaction and wasted opportunities of previous Coalition governments who believed in so-called ‘trickle down’ economics: the belief that greater national wealth would benefit all — but that has not always been the case. They provided tax cuts instead of providing infrastructure for our future, for our children and our grandchildren. Yes, we all like tax cuts but if they cost us better schools and hospitals, if they cost us the NDIS and a future-proof fibre network, are they worth it? It only makes it more difficult for our future generations to maintain a strong economy and a strong society.

We must always remember that the decisions we make now are not just for ourselves but for our children, our children’s children and their children. We want them to enjoy life in Australia as we have done and not pass to them something in which they find only sacrifice to save the nation. If we do not take the first steps now that is what they will face.

We may not have time to complete the job but at least we will be able to say to future generations, we started the job, we did our best, and we have strengthened our nation enough for you to build on and continue making it a great nation, a nation always moving forwards, that can hold its head up in all the councils of the world.

We can achieve this. Labor will lead the way.

We will … [then follows the policy detail.]

What else can you add to the speech?

What else should a left-of-centre party (Labor) be saying to win votes?

What can be borrowed from the radical Left?

What do you think?


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TPS Team

15/06/2014We welcome regular poster Ken Wolff back this week with this excellent speech. We'd love to hear your ideas on what you think of Ken's speech, and also what you'd like to hear from a Labor leader.

Casablanca

16/06/2014CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 15 June 2014.[b] ‘L’Australie est dirigée par un clown narcissique’ (Australia is led by a narcissistic clown).[/b] Posted at: www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-06-06.aspx

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16/06/2014Ken If only Labor’s leaders would give such a speech! The people, that is, those who would listen, would nod in agreement. Even Coalition supporters, whilst not going along with your criticisms of their party, would be in tune with the sentiments you express. Recent polls, specifically [i]Essential Poll[/i], indicate that a solid majority believe in fairness and equity. They are unhappy about political moves that diminish these ideals, specifically the recent Federal Budget. Even some Coalition supporters are unhappy about the way the budget penalizes those on lower incomes and the middle class. Without saying so expressly, you have framed the speech you would like to hear in terms of the ‘fair go’, and opportunity for all, one that appeals to the majority, one that would be accepted as credible by most. A cogent reason for the Coalition’s recent electoral success has been its uncanny skill at framing the debates it wished to have in terms that were believable, appealing and memorable. I don’t need to spell out their sharp slogans in illustration. Labor needs to be able to match the Coalition in framing debates. The ‘fair go’ frame is the place to start, especially after the recent budget has so flagrantly assaulted it. You have some subsidiary frames: the need for good education to ensure the skills we need for a smart and productive economy; the need for good healthcare to maintain health and manage illness that impairs wellbeing and productivity; the need for an equitable income for all so that no one lives in poverty and indignity; and the now urgent need to stop our planet going up in flames. The way you express the danger that our nation may go up in flames from the effects of climate change is as powerful as it is emotive. The deniers would scoff, but the message would resonate with the increasing number that is worried. The way you link the need for a strong economy with education, health services, and environmental sustainability gives meaning to these frames, meaning that the people would understand. You rightly emphasize the centrality of research in all fields to make Australian a smart, innovative, productive nation. In short, you have succeeded in moving away from the formal frameworks of economics to the frameworks that people understand, frameworks that make sense, frameworks that might be discussed at the bowling club, in the pub, or around the water cooler, just as ‘axe the tax’, ‘pay off the debt’ and ‘stop the boats’ surely were. Some snappy slogans along these lines would encapsulate these frames: ‘Good education - smart country’; ‘Healthy people – productive people’; ‘Healthy planet – productive land’; ‘Good research – intelligent country’. Another frame you introduced was the benefit to the economy of sound infrastructure: education, health, physical infrastructure, (such as public transport, road, rail, and ports): ‘Strong infrastructure (support) – strong economy’. You stressed too the importance of inclusiveness and wellbeing for all the people, important both for individuals and the economy – another frame: ‘We are one – let’s all be in this together’. Your speech abounds in the fodder for appealing frames. You ask what else can be added; my suggestion is well-researched frames that capture the essence of your messages; frames that, like those of the Coalition, are plausible, appealing, and memorable. What else should Labor be saying? Your speech is the substrate on which a rallying cry could be fashioned, one that stressed the uniqueness of this island country, its origins, its challenges and the way we have risen to them, its prospects if we look after it and the people who live here, and the need for a ‘we must all pull together’ approach. You have made a strong start with what you have written. As you say, policy areas would need to be covered one by one, but your introduction sets the scene, suggests the frames, and sensitizes the audience to the exciting prospects that are to come. Excitement is what we need in this country to counter the depressing doom and gloom laid on us every day by Abbott, Hockey and Co., disaster artificially conjured up to scare us witless, and thereby willing to be compliant with their ideological intent and their punitive neoliberal plans that will exacerbate inequity and intensify hardship. Thank you Ken for inspiring our souls, elevating our spirits. I hope Labor leaders read and re-read what you have written.

Ken

16/06/2014Ad Might I say in the vernacular, "well spotted". You have captured much of the intent of "my speech" and I agree that some pithy frames may have helped but I will leave that side of it to the experts. I have linked many issues to the economy because, as I said, Labor needs to change the economic debate, move it beyond dollars and cents to all the things that add to a successful economy - health, ecucation, infrastructure, research, etc. Destroying the self-esteem of young unemployed people, as the current budget proposes, will not make them productive workers. It is, as you have said numerous times before, the 'strict parent' model of the Right. People need to know there is an alternative approach and why it will work. The one you didn't mention that I think is important, and I know it resonates in the western suburbs of Sydney, is that this is about our children and grandchildren and the type of country we will be leaving them. It also resonates with migrants and refugees because, after all, that is why they came here - a better life for their children. And I think that is one way of framing the climate change debate. The 'fair go' is central and underpins everything because that is the Australian ethos and, as Hockey and Abbott are discovering, an ethos is a difficult thing to change. Even if an ethos is ignored at times, or seems to be drifting away, people always return to it in times of struggle.

Michael

16/06/2014Did anyone else see the Keystone Kops routine of Abbott arriving at a RAAF base on ABC News TV this morning? The first footage, supposedly "live", showed Abbott walking (in his increasingly odd gait) down the steps from the airplane, on his own, the returning warrior. The camera was in tight on him, knees to just above his head, as he walked, carrying nothing, to his Commcar, where an aide opened a rear door for him. The car didn't move. Nor did the aide get in. Strange - he's paid to wait at the airport to open Abbott's door and then find his own way to... where? The next door Abbott needs opened for him? No, the "live' footage revealed more. The camera pulled back to a long shot, and scurrying down from the plane, arms loaded with bags of some kind, to scuttle across the tarmac into the car via the other rear door, Peta Credlin. Scooting like a squirrel with its head down, 'I can't see you, you can't see me'. She was right, as it happens. The next bulletin the same channel ran, Abbott waddled his lonely warrior walk from plane to car... And the footage, courtesy of a deft cut in the editing room, 'jumped' ahead to show the vehicle pulling away. No sign of the Credlin scuttle to get into the car once the great man had cleared his solitary framing. But her head was clearly silhouetted in the rear seat alongside Abbott. So much ridiculous stage-managing to achieve exactly what? The unedited footage shows us Abbott on his own, with seconds after a scuttling apparatchik joining him in the official vehicle. The second footage is edited to feature the 'leadership walk' and the car pulling away, but with another person clearly suddenly 'arrived' in the car with Abbott. Both versions achieve nothing except the sending of a signal - "we want you to see things our way, and will go out of our way to ensure this". But, being Abbott's gumnint, they screw it up. Cackhanded, yee how!!

Patriciawa

16/06/2014Thanks, Ken. Of course, the fair go' and all it stands for in Labor policy. Your article is helping us all to reflect on how to stay within broad ALP guidelines in what I think is a difficult political scene, not just for ALP supporters but for seriously committed Coalition followers too. As Casablanca points out above 'Australia is led by a narcissistic clown' who is unpredictable and impossible to respond to with any consistent policy line. He's also a plagiarist and a liar as Tanya Plibersek pointed out when she exposed ‘Joe Hockey's welfare crisis…….. as a complete fabrication.’ For me Labour has always stood for free universal health care and public education. I was a beneficiary of that myself even before I understood that I owed it to the hard work and planning of people like Clement Attlee 'fighting the giant evils of want, squalor, disease, ignorance and unemployment'while at the same time joined in a wartime Coalition with their Tory rivals against their mutual and greater enemy, Nazi Germany. So I would want included in that speech questions about the retention of universal free health care and free public education at pre-primary, primary secondary and tertiary levels.

2353

16/06/2014Casablanca - couldn't argue with your brilliant heading today PatriciaWA - [quote]So I would want included in that speech questions about the retention of universal free health care and free public education at pre-primary, primary secondary and tertiary levels.[/quote] Not only are these items important, they are important to the less well off in our community and would, if sold well, increase the ALP vote.

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17/06/2014Ken You are right. Ordinary people are concerned about the country they want for their offspring. Ideologically and politically driven politicians who focus on short term strategies to gain an advantage find it convenient to ignore the long view. This is recklessly dangerous when it comes to global warming. This is what we see from Abbott day after day. His recent support for the coal industry shows his disdain for climate science and the picture of disaster it paints. His focus is on the here and now and to hell with the sort of country and world that our offspring will inherit. Labor needs a frame that addresses the question: "What sort of country, what sort of world do you want for your offspring". There is a rich opportunity for the frame-makers here. Labor needs to get moving?

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17/06/2014Folks You will probably not have heard about the latest Newspoll: 53/47 to Labor, down from 54/46 last time. And you almost certainly will not have seen the latest Morgan multi-mode polling which gives a result around 55/45 to Labor. Abbott continues to lose ground in the popularity stakes; now 30% approval and 61% disapproval. The most telling statement though comes from Morgan: "Morgan also conducted a phone poll of 637 respondents from Tuesday to Thursday last week which showed an effective disappearance for the net majority in support of repeal of the carbon tax, for which support was down two points since the previous such poll in February to 47%, and opposition up five to 46%. The poll also found 88% believing Australia should reduce carbon dioxide emissions versus only 10% opposed, while a question on global warming had 29% nominating that concerns were exaggerated, 49% selecting “if we don’t act now it will be too late”, and 16% opting for “it is already too late”." When 65% of the people (almost two-thirds) indicate that we must act now on global warming, and even then it may be too late, Abbott's recalcitrant behaviour is politically dangerous for him and stupid for the rest of us.

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17/06/2014Folks The link for the above comment is at [i]Crikey's PollBludger[/i]: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2014/06/16/newspoll-53-47-to-labor-3/

Ken

17/06/2014patriciawa Apologies for not replying earlier. Thank you for your comment and suggestions. Yes, Labor needs to return to basic values and present a longer term vision. The issues regarding universal free health care and education are in one sense a matter for policy detail because they will depend on government revenue. While they are strongly supported, Labor would need to be careful they did not leave themselves open to the usual attacks of 'reckless spending', 'higher taxing', etc. Labor would need to frame the context in such a way to justify increasing government revenue by reducing or eliminating some concessions for the well-off and perhaps some tax increases. If it is too difficult to raise sufficient revenue then perhaps more means-testing could be considered.

Casablanca

18/06/2014[b]Welfare facts[/b] First Dog on the Moon It's time for facts! And by facts, First Dog on the Moon means graphs – like tiny dollops of science you can hold in your hand http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/jun/16/first-dog-data?CMP=ema_632

TalkTurkey

18/06/2014Dear Prime Minister Ken, All right-minded people of goodwill will surely agree with everything you have just said. That's the sort of society we want, yes indeed. The society, even beyond the economy. Trouble is that due to the various Evils to which we are daily subjected, there is an amazing proportion of the society which is neither right-minded nor goodwilled. Evils of Greed & Self-Interest, of Propaganda in the Right-Wing dominated Media, of entrenched Privilege, Power and Wealth already so concentrated in the hands of the Few, Racism and Xenophobia and most of all Prejudice, based on Religion. They are Legion, these Evils, not just figments in the Fables of Jesus. Where do we find the Gadarene Swine to drive their unclean spirits into? And how do we get them to do the Lemming Dash over the cliff? - Because they're not about to respond to chants of [i]Out Demons Out![/i] After all these horrible doings by this dreadful misbegotten Government, 47% would still prefer LNP to Labor. Unbelievable. Irrational. What's to be done? Well, if The People really want that sort of society, they must do what always should have been done, TAX the RICH and STOP FUNDING RICH SCHOOLS and most of all TAX RELIGION! As Deep Thought would probably say: Tricky! http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/deep-thought http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aboZctrHfK8

Casablanca

18/06/2014 James Ashby has dropped his case....

TalkTurkey

18/06/2014Michael, "Warrior Waddle" is about as good as it gets to describe Abborrrrrtt's weird gait. I've searched in vain for the right word. Gunslinger's Swagger, Square-Gaiting, Slouch, - there is no word for it, and that is very perplexing. It's the truculent, cocky, aggressive, bully-boy, musclebound walk of the leader of a small-town gang of thugs. He's not even musclebound, it's just an affectation. Thinks it makes him look tough. Casablanca Mr Onthemoon is lovely isn't he. Thank you for that one. Did you check out the Burning Man event in the ACT on the 21st? - And Burning Man generally? Sounds groovy!

Ken

18/06/2014TT Thank you and thank you for your vote. :-) Labor needs to bring people and society back into the economic debate. Economics is, after all, just one of the processes by which a society operates. It is a servant of society. It should not be its master. I have said before that my understanding of economics comes largely from an anthropological background. Economics is, simply, the way a society uses and distributes the resources available to it, whether it is a hunter-gatherer society or a modern technological society. I do think more people will listen when they are put back in first place in the economic debate.

Casablanca

18/06/2014 Hi TT Here is what I have discovered - venue TBA [b]Can Burning Man triumph in Australia[/b] http://m.inthemix.com.au/news/46792/Can_Burning_Man_triumph_in_Australia_ CANBERRA - June 21 2014: Canberra Burners Solstice Event - 9pm -3am, venue tba The enthusiastic miscreant Burners marauding the capital are organising an arts-centered precompression to welcome the new season and keep the creative fire alive through the cold months. Never been to Canberra? This might just be the motivation you've been waiting for - it's gonna be one helluva a celebration. https://www.facebook.com/events/698211960200543/

TalkTurkey

19/06/2014Slipper's statement post Ashby's discontinuation of his case against him. http://sc.independentaustralia.net/PeterSlipperStatement.pdf

TalkTurkey

19/06/2014Wow Casablanca, That really sounds like fun. I'd love to be there, you'll just have to go on my behalf so I/we can live it vicariously through you. Burning Man is not a yobbo thing it seems but a genuine artistic event. Glad rags and dancing shoes for you on Saturday night!

Casablanca

19/06/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 18 June, 2014. 68 items[/b] ABBOTT: THOUGHT BUBBLES + LIES + SHENANIGANS + LIES + DENIALISM 1. Tony Abbott's Overseas Jaunt: I call Shenanigans! Chris Graham. 15 Jun 2014 As public relations disasters go, the Prime Minister's overseas trip was a triumph. Here's a blow-by-blow account... plus 21 tips on how Abbott can help avert future disaster. His image as a bumbling, misogynistic, homophobic, environmental vandal is now so entrenched that every time something – anything - happens his lengthy list of past stuff ups, terrible policies and wrecking ball politics comes back to haunt him. In short, everything Abbott touches now appears to turn to custard, and that’s not going to end anytime soon given the length and breadth of Abbott’s indiscretions. https://newmatilda.com/2014/06/15/tony-abbotts-overseas-jaunt-i-call-shenanigans 2. Diplomatic fails could follow Abbott home Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods Tony Abbott has some work to do in building voters' confidence as a representative of our interests in the world ahead of the G20 summit on home turf later this year http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-18/lewis-woods-diplomatic-fails-could-follow-abbott-home/5531292 3. Why does Abbott Lie? John Lord June 18, 2014 We the voters are regularly left to decide who is and who is not telling the truth. Or who is telling more or less of it. In the past few years the most perplexing aspect of political lying has been its frequency, blatancy and its audaciousness. Or its unmitigated shameless effrontery of truth as we understand it.... It is also my contention that the conservatives in our country, led by Tony Abbott have imported this lying strategy, or political technique, of far right conservatism into the discourse of Australian politics. http://theaimn.com/abbott-lie/ 4. Abbott's Little White Lies: What Would Jesus Do? Chris Graham The Abbott Government's lie that frontline Aboriginal legal services would be unaffected by budget cuts is even more startling when you consider the statistics https://newmatilda.com/2014/06/18/abbotts-little-white-lies-what-would-jesus-do 5. Legal Service Cut Not a Broken Promise: Scullion Max Chalmers. 18 Jun 2014 An Abbott Government decision to de-fund an Aboriginal legal service program aimed at reducing incarceration rates was not a broken promise, claims Minister. Max Chalmers reports https://newmatilda.com/2014/06/18/legal-service-cut-not-broken-promise-scullion 6. 'I am a conservationist' – is Abbott the only person who believes that? Bob Brown 16 June 2014 The prime minister says he's a conservationist and an environmentalist. I've heard that before, from the mouths of loggers, dam-builders and gougers of the Earth http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/16/i-am-a-conservationist-is-tony-abbott-the-only-person-who-believes-that?CMP=ema_632 7. Tony Abbott's climate change policy makes me cringe Bill McKibben. 17 June 2014 "Americans who travelled abroad during the George W. Bush years have some sympathy for Australians and Canadians right now – it’s not easy being citizens of countries run by international laughing stocks." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-climate-change-policy-makes-me-cringe-20140617-zsa7t.html 8. When your dad is not the PM Jennifer Wilson. June 16, 2014 The Prime Minister cannot see his daughters favoured, while he subjects the daughters and sons of others to harsh and cruel demands that have the potential to ruin their lives. http://noplaceforsheep.com/2014/06/16/when-your-dad-is-not-the-pm/ 9. Readers divided over Tony Abbott’s daughter's legal stoush relating to a rental property Annika Smethurst. and Brendan Casey June 16, 2014 “If security is an issue because she is the PM’s daughter then she should have had the AFP inspect the property and its surroundings before she signed the lease. It’s fine for her to “feel like being independent” and do her own thing, but she also has to accept responsibility for her actions — not play the “I’m the PM’s daughter” card when she stuffs up,” Herald Sun reader Steve said. http://www.news.com.au/national/readers-divided-over-tony-abbotts-daughter-frances-legal-stoush-relating-to-a-rental-property/story-fncynjr2-1226955234697 10. ‘Dear Frances Abbott’ Jackson Stiles. May 31, 2014 Dear Frances Abbott, I’m angry about your scholarship. I’ve managed until now to keep a lid on it. I kept my cool when I read the news, broken by The Guardian and New Matilda, that you were the only student at the Whitehouse Institute of Design to receive the $60,636 scholarship...But then I heard the allegation that perhaps the only other person to ever receive this scholarship was Billy Whitehouse, the boss’ daughter. That tipped me over the edge. http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/05/31/letter-frances-abbott/ FAMILY FEUD: JOE WON'T RECONCILE WITH HILDA 11. Working age Australians have become far less reliant on welfare payments, new figures show Ben Schneiders. June 15, 2014 Working age Australians have become far less reliant on welfare payments since the turn of the century – undermining Abbott government claims of a crisis of welfare dependency in Australia. The finding comes from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, an authoritative Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research report that has tracked more than 12,000 people since 2001. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/working-age-australians-have-become-far-less-reliant-on-welfare-payments-new-figures-show-20140615-zs8cv.html 12. Household spending cuts estimated at $10 billion Eli Greenblat. June 16, 2014 A trickle of profit warnings from retailers this month could be prevented from turning into an avalanche if rising house prices and a delayed lift in interest rates can counter an estimated cut of $10 billion in household expenditure due to belt tightening following the federal budget. A report...by Deloitte Access Economics argues that while the budget will clip 1 per cent from consumer spending over the next four years, the cuts to welfare - as well as new taxes and charges flowing from the budget - should not spoil 2014-15 being a strong year for retailers. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/household-spending-cuts-estimated-at-10-billion-20140615-3a5rt.html 13. Australia's richest 1% own as much as bottom 60%, says Oxfam Daniel Hurst. 16 June 2014 Income inequality has risen since mid-1990s and nine richest people now have greater net worth than poorest 4.54 million. The richest 1% of Australians now own the same wealth as the bottom 60%, according to a new report designed to bolster the case for global and domestic action to shrink the gap between rich and poor. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/16/australias-richest-1-own-as-much-as-bottom-60-says-oxfam?CMP=ema_632 14. As G20 host, our welfare policy is exposed to an unflattering light Olga Bursian. 13 June 2014 Australia is hosting the G20 this year and showcasing to the world its approach to welfare policy: deny young people income support for up to six months and instead make more food vouchers available. This is a bizarre and certainly remarkable innovation on the traditional role of democratic governments to govern in the public interest. http://theconversation.cmail2.com/t/r-l-xkyfjl-trhltityg-q/ 15. The Fair Budget Gee 16 June 2014, The classical 'fair' Budget, by William Shakedown. http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/the-fair-budget,6579 16. Hockey’s fairness lecture won’t help him fix the budget Flavio Menezes 13 June 2014 Gross government debt as a percentage of GDP remains low at 35%, which is about one third of the OECD Average. Recent research shows that Australia could sustain a debt about 5.5 times higher than the current figure. This suggests we are very far away from a level of debt that could lead to a real budget emergency. http://theconversation.com/hockeys-fairness-lecture-wont-help-him-fix-the-budget-27922 17. Hi ho, Hi ho….where am I s'pose to go? Kaye Lee. June 16, 2014 This government is fully aware that their policy regarding unemployed people under 30 will cause enormous hardship. This is shown by the fact that they have allocated $229 million in the budget to deal with the expected 550,000 job seekers who would need emergency relief over the next four years. http://theaimn.com/hi-ho-hi-ho-spose-go/ 18. Joe Hockey's discordant democracy Mark Hearn. June 16, 2014 Hockey must articulate a convincing political narrative to revive the fortunes of a government struggling in the opinion polls – as a consequence of its own poorly explained budget policies. In particular, Hockey needs a plausible rationale for dismantling Australia’s welfare system: inequality is OK, apparently, provided it enhances economic performance. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/joe-hockeys-discordant-democracy-20140613-zs6l7.html 19. Hockey’s Class Warfare John Kelly. June 18, 2014 When a politician defends his/her position by drawing attention to social classes, you can be forgiven for thinking his/her original argument wasn’t that strong to begin with. Joe Hockey is on the ropes desperately trying to defend the indefensible. Even his own side can see that. http://theaimn.com/hockeys-class-warfare/ 20. Who exactly is engaging in class warfare? Mungo MacCallum 16 June 2014. The Treasurer has dismissed criticism of his budget as "class warfare", but he was the one who pitted an upper class of the rich and powerful against the victims of rising inequality. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-16/maccallum-who-exactly-is-engaging-in-class-warfare/5526378 21. Is the struggle for equality of opportunity over? Don Arthur. June 16, 2014 Equality of opportunity was one of the big themes of Gough Whitlam’s 1969 and 1972 campaigns. His 1972 policy speech promised "a new drive for equality of opportunities" through reforms to education, health and urban planning. He argued that opportunity depends on the kind of investments only government can make. In his 1985 book The Whitlam Government 1972–1975 he drew on Abraham Lincoln for support:... http://clubtroppo.com.au/2014/06/16/is-the-struggle-for-equality-of-opportunity-over/ 22. What is absolute poverty? Matt Cowgill. The latest HILDA report is out! The HILDA survey is an extremely valuable resource – it asks a large sample of people a whole bunch of questions about income, family life, and other things, and tracks respondents over time. We learn things from HILDA that we can’t learn from any other Australian data source. http://mattcowgill.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/what-is-absolute-poverty/ 23. Joe Hockey's numbers racket Jenna Price. June 17, 2014 Mr Hockey, most Australians have a social conscience. The research shows 70 per cent of Australians surveyed think it is unfair that the richest 1 per cent of Australians owns more than 60 per cent of the poorest Australians. We also think the very wealthy don't pay enough tax. In fact, Mr Hockey, want to know what we really think? Australians want you and your government to take action to close the gap, not to make it worse. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/joe-hockeys-numbers-racket-20140616-zs9k4.html 24. Budget tightening worse than RBA expected Michael Pascoe. June 17, 2014 It's just one phrase in the latest board minutes but, given the restrained language of central bankers, it leaves no doubt about the role of Joe Hockey's first budget in subduing the economy....While the politics and general commentary remain consumed by the details of this or that individual policy, the RBA is concerned about the big picture impact on the economy – and that, along with resources construction falling away, is keeping interest rates steady "for some time yet". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/budget-tightening-worse-than-rba-expected-20140617-3aagh.html 25. Five weeks on, deal-breaker for voters has shades of ‘93 budget Shaun Carney, Monash University Five weeks after its release, treasurer Joe Hockey’s first federal budget is proving to be a remarkably durable political and media commodity, and not in ways that portend well for the Abbott government… http://theconversation.com/five-weeks-on-deal-breaker-for-voters-has-shades-of-93-budget-28058 26. British public wrongly believe rich pay most in tax, new research shows Katie Allen. 16 June 2014 The British public dramatically underestimate what the poorest pay in tax and wrongly believe the richest face the biggest tax burden, according to new research that calls for a more progressive system. The poorest 10% of households pay eight percentage points more of their income in all taxes than the richest – 43% compared to 35%, according to a report from the Equality Trust. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/jun/16/british-public-wrong-rich-poor-tax-research POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 27. Coalition electorates favoured 3 to 1 in Abbott government infrastructure spend Ben Westcott. June 12, 2014 The Abbott government has been accused of pork-barrelling after analysis of the budget's infrastructure spending revealed Coalition electorates are favoured for new money by a ratio of three to one. A Fairfax Media analysis of the Abbott government's 2014 budget has calculated that, of the new projects announced and funded, just under three-quarters were in Coalition electorates. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/coalition-electorates-favoured-3-to-1-in-abbott-government-infrastructure-spend-20140615-zs675.html 28. What Gina wants, Gina gets Kaye Lee. June 18, 2014 In 2012, Gina Rinehart self-published a book called Northern Australia and then some: Changes We Need to Make Our Country Rich. In it she calls for northern Australia to become a special economic zone with tax and red-tape exemptions... Whether it be tax zones, or dams, or food bowls – forget the science, forget the experts, forget the environment, forget the lessons of the past, and the traditional owners – what Gina wants, Gina gets. http://theaimn.com/gina-wants-gina-gets/ 29. School chaplains - God knows why: @e2mq173 comments Errol Brandt. 15 June 2014 The school chaplaincy program is wasteful and indefensible government policy...it is one of the few areas of the budget that has consistently increased in cost with no discernible outcome. http://nofibs.com.au/2014/06/15/school-chaplains-god-knows-why-e2mq173-comments/#sthash.hoSHvDOz.dpuf 30. The Greens play tough but will avoid double trouble Paula Matthewson The Greens are playing tough politics on a number of budget measures before the Senate change-up and could pave the way for a double dissolution - but don't hold your breath on that. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-16/matthewson-the-greens-play-tough-but-will-avoid-double-trouble/5525644 31. This government is now officially obscene Michael Taylor . June 15, 2014 One of my more mundane, but at times more amusing jobs as a federal public servant was for a short time reviewing letters to and from the Prime Minister and happy or unhappy campers. The Prime Minister, of course, laid his or her eyes on none of these letters. http://theaimn.com/cant-serious/ 32. Nine things you don't know about the Senate's micro-parties Harrison Polites. 18 June 2014 Turns out the micro-parties actually do have proper policies. Well, at least two of them do... “Our Senate Commitments have been carefully written to give you, the voters, an understanding on how we will form policy and how we will make decisions on proposed legislation that passes from the House of Representatives to the Senate http://click.email.businessspectator.com.au/?qs=bcbc50ce311b3f5a8f88c2966fc6daf773a378d576b84a8450d13c9167f88a9923a7f83fcd33143d ESPIONAGE + COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE 33. Spying on dissent: it's the Australian way Rowan Cahill. Monday 16 June 2014 The clandestine involvement of military folk in the political and industrial affairs of the nation has a long history. Dissenting organisations should adopt counter-intelligence measures. Allegations this week that the anti-mining camp at Maules creek in NSW was infiltrated by corporate spies should come as no surprise. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/16/spying-on-dissent-its-the-australian-way?CMP=ema_632 GENDER INEQUALITY + SEXUAL VIOLENCE 34. Army chief Lt General David Morrison labels gender inequality in militaries a 'global disgrace' Mary Gearin. 14 Jun 2014 Australia's Army chief has used a speech in London to argue that militaries that exclude women "do nothing to distinguish the soldier from the brute". The four-day Global Summit To End Sexual Violence has ended with 155 countries signed up to a declaration to end impunity for rape in war. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-14/australia-army-chief-delivers-speech-to-summit-on-wartime-rape/5523942 EDUCATION + INEQUITY 35. School equity experts barking up the wrong tree Kevin Donnelly Those wanting to improve equity in Australia's education system should be looking to increase rather than limit school autonomy and school choice. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-17/donnelly-school-equity-experts-barking-up-the-wrong-tree/5527358 36. P-Tech and its made-to-order trainees Sharon Beder. June 13, 2014 Unfortunately for Tony Abbott’s PR progress through the US, he has just associated his policy thinking with a chain of failed attempts at vocational “education”. The schools are publicly funded but industry partners advise on curriculum and mentor students. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ptech-and-its-madetoorder-trainees-20140613-zs6zn.html 37. Why should I pay for elite kids' education? Marcus Padley. June 17, 2014 All I want is for my kids to be happy and have the opportunity, not have them left out while they try to be something the school wants to market but they’re not capable of living up to. So can it be done better? I can’t help thinking that it can, that some school has the opportunity to pioneer a new culture that leaves the implied arrogance of the current private school customs exposed. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/money/why-should-i-pay-for-elite-kids-education-20140612-zs4wd.html#ixzz34u6IpPkw 38. The costs of the ‘great cost shift’: lessons from the US Steven C. Ward The US system of higher education, while lauded as a model to be emulated by the Australian government, is facing harsh criticism on home soil. With up to US$1 trillion in student debt owed to the government… http://theconversation.com/the-costs-of-the-great-cost-shift-lessons-from-the-us-28032 39. What proportion of uni graduates leave Australia permanently? Andrew Norton. June 16, 2014 In our Grattan report on HELP doubtful debt, we struggled to get long-term data on graduates leaving Australia. We were interested in this issue because currently there are no provisions for recovering HELP debts from graduates living overseas. http://andrewnorton.net.au/2014/06/16/what-proportion-of-uni-graduates-leave-australia-permanently/ 40. Andrew Bolt, Karl Marx and the casualisation of Australian universities Dr Benjamin Thomas Jones 16 June 2014 Despite the fantasies of Andrew Bolt and the hard right of Australian politics, even though universities employ the odd Marxist, there is nothing Marxist [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/andrew-bolt-karl-marx-and-the-casualisation-of-australian-universities,6581 ROYAL COMMISSIONS + INQUIRIES + AUDITS + REVIEWS + WITCH HUNTS 41. #TURC on the HSU Day 1: Home is where the Hart is Peter Wicks 17 June 2014 The Union Royal Commission moved onto the HSU yesterday, with Katrina Hart seemingly perjuring herself in her written submission. http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/turc-on-the-hsu-day-1-home-is-where-the-hart-is,6582 42. HSU members of the Jackson faction were in the Royal Commission's spotlight today: Joan Evatt June 17, 2014 TURC and it's the turn of the HSU http://nofibs.com.au/2014/06/17/hsu-members-of-the-jackson-faction-were-in-the-royal-commissions-spotlight-today-boeufblogginon-reports/ SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + IDEAS + ACTIVISM 43. Australian civil society and the C20: now isn’t the time to be polite Bronwen Dalton and John Butcher 18 June 2014. One of the many preparatory events leading up to the G20 Leaders Summit in Australia later this year is the C20 Summit, which will begin in Melbourne on Thursday. The C20 – or Civil Society 20 – aims to… http://theconversation.com/australian-civil-society-and-the-c20-now-isnt-the-time-to-be-polite-27863 44. Pain now, rewards later? Young lives cannot be relived Johanna Wyn and Hernan Cuervo. 18 June 2014 The federal government’s proposed budget measures are particularly harsh on young people, particularly the most vulnerable. A raft of measures, if introduced, will reduce young people’s access to income support, to education and training and to employment. http://theconversation.com/pain-now-rewards-later-young-lives-cannot-be-relived-27376 45. Young suffer in our return to a class-based nation Ian Verrender A new fissure has opened up in the political and economic landscape, defined not so much by wealth, but by generation. We continue to punish the young, to offload our problems onto future generations and to reduce opportunity by encouraging and enshrining a class-based nation. We appear to be in a state of regression, to a time prior to the 1970s when only those from privileged backgrounds could entertain the prospect of pursuing professional careers, when one's background determined one's future. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-16/verrender-young-suffer-in-our-return-to-a-class-based-nation/5525410 46. Another Ride On The ‘Youth Engagement Merry-Go-Round’ Graeme Gibson. 16 Jun 2014 The announcement that the federal government is to de-fund the national peak body for youth affairs should come as no surprise. https://newmatilda.com/2014/06/16/another-ride-%E2%80%98youth-engagement-merry-go-round%E2%80%99 47. Lifters and leaners: why the idea of equality of opportunity is a big con Bill Garner. 17 June, 2014 "The big problem for Hockey and the Liberals is that the debate on equality has shifted dramatically." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/lifters-and-leaners-why-the-idea-of-equality-of-opportunity-is-a-big-con-20140617-zsa6d.html 48. Kim Hames shows why politicians still need lifelong 'perks' Darren Brown. June 15, 2014 While the Abbott Government's decision to remove the so-called "gold card" travel entitlements for former MPs has been cheered by the great unwashed, the comments made by WA’s Health Minister Hon Dr Kim Hames during parliamentary estimates last week highlighted precisely why reducing former politician’s perks was a foolish and short-sighted move. http://www.watoday.com.au/comment/kim-hames-shows-why-politicians-still-need-lifelong-perks-20140616-zs8k2.html#ixzz34xDzEbqM 49. How to be happy? Give away your money Ross Gittens. 17 June 2014 If I wanted to get more happiness into my life, I wouldn’t do it by trying to earn more money. I’d concentrate on spending more time with family...That’s because, though money does buy happiness, it buys far less than we expect it to. It suffers from rapidly diminishing "marginal utility" – each extra $1000 you spend brings less satisfaction than the one before. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/how-to-be-happy-give-away-your-money-20140617-zsacj.html#ixzz34xEvZiuJ 50. Vampire fiction with added Kevin: Review of Troy Bramston's 'Rudd, Gillard and Beyond' Margot Saville "Two days after the leadership change, a senior Labor person told him ‘if only Rudd had had a few Chinese meals with half-a-dozen trade union figures, he’d still be leader’." http://dailyreview.crikey.com.au/vampire-fiction-with-added-kevin/ 51. Slavery isn’t all that bad, is it? Robby Miller. 17 June 2014 There is one accessory the mega-rich have that the nouveau riche like Abbott would love, says Robby Miller — other people’s time. Australia is a wonderful place to live, so is the gap between Australia’s not-too-poor and the growing-ever-richer something to worry about? http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/slavery-isnt-all-that-bad-is-it,6585 52. Five weeks on, deal-breaker for voters has shades of ‘93 budget Shaun Carney, Monash University Five weeks after its release, treasurer Joe Hockey’s first federal budget is proving to be a remarkably durable political and media commodity, and not in ways that portend well for the Abbott government… http://theconversation.com/five-weeks-on-deal-breaker-for-voters-has-shades-of-93-budget-28058 53. Who cares if Abbott and Hockey are Catholic? Andrew Hamilton. 28 May 2014 The central question at issue is about the value we place on human beings, and so of the claims they may rightly make on one another in society. This is primarily a human question, and so secondarily a religious question. The ideology underpinning the Budget and the understanding of the role of government is that human beings have value measured to the contribution they make to economic growth, and that successful competitors should be rewarded while the unproductive are to be disciplined or disregarded. It enshrines the sense of entitlement of the affluent. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41474#.U55E3bGIiSo ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 54. Understanding the climate change battle of attitudes Andrew Hamilton, 11 June 2014 Many of those who are sceptical about human contribution to climate change and who oppose environmental regulation see human beings primarily as individuals responsible for their own lives and advancement. They see human beings as in control over their world, and entitled to freedom; they are deeply suspicious of restrictions imposed to protect society, the environment or future generations. And they believe that human prosperity and wellbeing will be best advanced by giving full play to individual initiative and action. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41549#.U54n_bGIiSo 55. Climate Institute tells Labor: don't retreat from emissions trading policy Michelle Grattan. 15 June 2014 The chief of the Climate Institute, John Connor, has warned Labor against backtracking on its commitment to a cap-and-trade… http://theconversation.cmail2.com/t/r-l-xkyfjl-trhltityg-x/ 56. Australia sends mixed messages on iconic World Heritage areas Geoff Mosley, 16 June 2014 This week, experts will debate the future of two of Australia’s World Heritage areas, the Tasmanian Wilderness and the Great Barrier Reef, at a meeting in Doha, Qatar. The world will be watching, as it… http://theconversation.cmail2.com/t/r-l-xkyfjl-trhltityg-yu/ 57. Abbott: why we’ll rely on fossil fuels for decades ABC June 15, 2014 Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told business leaders in Texas coal will fuel human progress for many decades to come, adding that it had contributed to the Government’s decision to scrap the carbon tax... “For many decades at least, coal will continue to fuel human progress as an affordable energy source for wealthy and developing countries alike.” http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/06/15/abbott-well-rely-fossil-fuels-decades/ 58. The Pope, the President and our pro-coal PM Neil Ormerod | 06 June 2014 During Abbott's forthcoming visit to Obama he will find a president not only willing to take strong action in relation to climate change, but doing so with the public support of the US Catholic bishops. This is not a situation he will find comfortable given that in the Australian context he has always previously been able to count on the support of Cardinal Pell to muddy the waters on climate change. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41500 59. The Foxification of global warming and the war on coal Dana Nuccitelli. 18 June 2014 Conservative media outlets love to describe climate policies as a 'war on coal,' but what does that phrase even mean? http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/jun/18/foxification-global-warming-war-on-coal 60. Australia’s economy will suffer if we fall behind on climate action Martijn Wilder. 18 June 2014 Australia’s economy faces grave threats from climate change, but the greatest threat is if we do not make a serious effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s not just the physical impacts of climate… http://theconversation.com/australias-economy-will-suffer-if-we-fall-behind-on-climate-action-28093 61. Obama ridicules climate change deniers in speech to grads Mark Landler, June 14, 2014 President Barack Obama, appearing emboldened after his recent move to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, ridiculed members of Congress on Saturday for denying climate change or pleading scientific ignorance as an alibi for avoiding an uncomfortable truth. Speaking in gleefully sarcastic terms to a commencement ceremony at the University of California, Irvine, Obama likened those who deny climate change to people who would have told President John F. Kennedy, at the dawn of the space program, that the moon "was made of cheese." http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/us/obama-mocks-lawmakers-who-deny-climate-change.html?_r=0 62. Environment Minister Greg Hunt backflips on solar roof rebate program Jonathan Swan, Fergus Hunter. June 14, 2014 Greg Hunt was forced into a humiliating backflip by senior colleagues after the Environment Minister re-announced a half billion-dollar solar power policy without the Prime Minister’s permission. The Sun Herald can reveal Mr Hunt took his colleagues by surprise when he announced to an industry gathering last November that the Coalition was committed to its $500 million "one million solar roofs" program. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nsw/environment-minister-greg-hunt-backflips-on-solar-roof-rebate-program-20140614-zs7xi.html ASYLUM SEEKERS + REFUGEE WEEK 63. A Little Compassion For Refugees Went A Long Way Emily Conolan. 16 Jun 2014 Refugee Week officially began on Sunday. Emily Conolan shares a story of a small transformation in Tasmania. https://newmatilda.com/2014/06/16/little-compassion-refugees-went-long-way 64. Why 71% of Australians want boats pushed back Andrew Hamilton. 15 June 2014 In the lead up to Refugee Week the attitudes of Australians to people who come by boat to seek protection made sober reading. According to a Lowy poll 71 per cent of Australians believed Australia should turn back asylum seeker boats. That figure was far higher even than the Prime Minister's disapproval rating. People drew different conclusions about its significance. Some would say that 71 per cent of Australians can't be wrong. At Eureka Street we have never been persuaded that majorities always have truth on their side. In this case there are solid reasons, frequently rehearsed here, for believing that they are wrong. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41560#.U54k6LGIiSo 65. Chronicle of an asylum seeker's death foretold Fatima Measham. 13 June 2014 As I take in the submissions presented to the Senate inquiry into the Manus Island riots, I am reminded of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Chronicle of a Death Foretold. In it, nearly the entire town knew of Santiago Nasar's impending death; his assassins had made a point of divulging their intent to everyone they met over the course of the day. The prevailing impression from the Senate inquiry is one of similar inevitability and complicity http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41559 66. It's time Parliament had a say on 'disgraceful' PNG solution Frank Brennan. 05 June 2014 Australia's cruel arrangement for asylum seekers arriving without a visa cannot be scrutinised by our courts and has never been approved by our Parliament. In the name of democracy, in the name of Australian self-respect, and in the name of human rights protection and the rule of law, it is time this arrangement was presented to our Parliament for its approval by our elected representatives or for immediate ditching. It's a disgrace. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41531 67. Dog whistle politics and winning the debate on asylum seekers Kellie Tranter 17 June 2014 Through using cynical dog whistle politics, the Australian people have been manipulated into supporting a costly and inhumane offshore refugee detention http://www.independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/winning-the-debate-on-asylum-seekers,6583 68. A lost chance to correct the Manus Island injustice Greg Barns. 18 June 2014 The Migration Act is underpinned by Australia's obligations under the UN Convention on Refugees to treat asylum seekers in a way that does not harm them, but this seems to have been missed by the High Court in its ruling on offshore processing http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-18/barns-a-lost-chance-to-correct-the-manus-island-injustice/5532530 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

19/06/2014CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 19 June, 2014. [b]Clobber Abbott not the environment![/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-06-19.aspx

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20/06/2014Casablanca I sat up in bed last night working through your outstanding set of Cache items and am still doing so this morning. What struck me as I read your initial items was that we now have a level of incompetence in the Abbott government far in excess of what they repeatedly accused the Gillard government of perpetrating. The Hockey budget is a classic example of miscalculation, 'policy on the run' redolent with uncertainty, disingenuousness, deviousness, and oughtright lying in a most flagrant way. Many of Hockey's assertions post budget have been shown to be wrong, deliberately misleading, provocative, and devised to evoke antagonism towards the less well off, Australians he pejoratively labels 'learners'. He accuses others of class warfare, yet he is a perpetrator of some of the most nasty warfare against the middle and lower classes. His whole budget is class warfare, a budget that heavily penalises the least well off while exempting the well off from the heavy lifting'. The articles you cite document in detail, with accompanying financial data, the veracity of the above assertions. We have a nasty, ideologically driven, incompetent government which exposes these attributes day after day, one that has no insight into the inappropriateness of its actions, yet no intention to move away from its destructive course. We warned readers here what to expect; even our most dire predictions seem to have been exceeded. Alas, the Lucky Country!

42long

20/06/2014Hi all.

42long

20/06/2014Sorry for that my last attempt didn't happen so I'm a bit reticent to write a long post and have it go Poof.

Ken

20/06/201442long Please have another go. We always welcome your comments.

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20/06/2014Folks If you need an example of this government's incompetence, take the co-payment for medical services. On ABC radio today, they had the new president of the AMA, and several other doctors, from whom Jon Faine sought clarification. None could say how the co-payment applied to blood and biochemical tests and imaging ordered by the doctor. Does the $7 apply to each test, of which there might be fifteen or more, to every image, of which there might be several? No one knew the answer, and Peter Dutton, our brilliant Health Minister, was unavailable to enlighten us. The truth is that this has not been worked through - it's 'policy on run'. Let's suppose a doctor orders ten blood tests and a chest X-ray, and an ultrasound examination. Is the co-payment applied to the consultation, and one for all the tests and another for all the imaging, a total of $21, or to all tests and imagining, a total of $91? NOBODY KNOWS! Clearly, Hockey saw the co-payment as simply a saving and a disincentive, did his usual rough calculations and came up with a number, without consulting the providers. Now he has to work out the details and the logistics. How can he introduce the co-payment process while there is so much confusion? He can't. So we won't see it for a while. Imagine if Julia Gillard's government had done what Abbott's government has. Every Murdoch outlet would be screaming incompetence, chaos and 'policy on the run', every news bulletin would echo this, and every pollster would invite the public to express its disgust. But what do we hear from the Fourth Estate about this shambles? You know the answer.

Patriciawa

20/06/2014On one of my rare GP visits this week I asked his receptionist how they viewed the co-payment there at his centre. Her very firm response was, [i]"The doctors don't want it. It won't get in." [/i] Would that were true! What do you think, AA?

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20/06/2014Folks In my 10.35 comment, 'learners' should be 'leaners'. Sometimes the automatic spell correcting facility on this tablet is too smart by half!

DoodlePoodle

20/06/2014The week after the budget I actually had to have a lot of tests etc and would have used my 10 max in one go. I was joking with my LNP friends about how many middies of beer I would have had to forgo that week. The thing that I have really noticed with a lot of the government members is the strain that is beginning to show on their faces. Particularly Julie Bishop, I sometimes feel she is out of her depth in her portfolio. I am a regular reader her but don't contribute much. I concur with the thoughts expressed in "The speech I would like to hear".

Casablanca

20/06/2014 Hello Ad, In a fit of self-indulgence yesterday, I wondered if the complete absence of any posts on TPS for some 36 hours was due to everyone working their way through the latest Cache. It is affirming to know that at least one person has journeyed through what was a long list. On TPS we have railed against the 'Groupthink' of the Press Gallery but on the other hand, I am fascinated when I detect a theme in articles written across the Fifth Estate and sometimes in more mainstream publications where writers have come to the same conclusions. As you note, the financial data which have been included in the Cache articles give the lie to Hockey's mantras as well as to his wilful misrepresentation of the official figures. Peter Martin in today's press points out the flaws and basic arithmetic errors in Hockey's assertion that 'The average working Australian..... is working over one month full time each year just to pay for the welfare of another Australian.' Martin also asserts that information to be included in this year's tax returns at Hockey's bequest ..'to show in dollar terms, how much of a person's tax bill was spent on each budget area' will be based on false assumptions. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/hockeys-welfare-claim-confused-and-ultimately-flawed-20140619-3ah2y.html). The other theme in the wider recognition that Abbott is not up to the job, that he embarrassed Australia on the world stage. As you say in your second post today 'Imagine if Julia Gillard's government had done what Abbott's government has'. Yes, the Murdocracy would be screaming blue murder. Imagine if Labor had a brain snap and decided that it would uni-laterally and casually start referring to East Jerusalem as the 'disputed' Territory. Imagine if Julia had said 'Canadia', or dozed-off during the D-Day celebrations... Mark Kenny, as I have mentioned before, appeared to embrace some journalistic standards for a short time after the election but his last two paeans to Tones should be labelled 'For consenting adults only'. This man is the Fairfax Media's chief political correspondent: Tony Abbott learns to walk tall in land of giants Mark Kenny He might not be known for adroit diplomacy, but the Prime Minister has revealed the right touch in his dealings with the superpowers. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbott-learns-to-walk-tall-in-land-of-giants-20140619-zsevx.html 'Father' Tony Abbott takes his secular message to the world Mark Kenny Cosying up with Canada on climate change suggests Tony Abbott sees Obama as a lame duck whose final years are less important. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/father-tony-abbott-takes-his-secular-message-to-the-world-20140612-zs4si.html Andrew Elder posted again a couple of days ago. He is scathing about the Press Gallery and says that 'The traditional media are following rather than leading new media when it comes to politics; and we will have a new politics created though a new media before the likes of Massola, Kenny, Grattan and Carney can even understand it, let alone report on it'. See Breaking News: http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/breaking-news.html#comment-form

Ken

20/06/2014Casablanca Yes, it also took me quite a time to make my way through, even cherry-picking those I thought most interesting - because that meant most of them. Like Ad, I had to do it in two bites. I'm not sure what I would do without you as many of my ideas for pieces spring from something I've read in Casablanca's Cache.

Ken

20/06/2014Ad, patriciawa and DoodlePoodle The main thing the confusion surrounding the $7 co-payment shows is that it was a decision purely at a government level. Often, but admittedly not in every case, a decision like this is announced after a lot of work has been done by the bureaucracy. The idea would already have been floated and work undertaken to work out the details so that there is little or no more work after the announcement. In this case, the bureaucracy (the Health Department) appears not to have had time to do the basic work before it was announced in the Budget. The figures Hockey quoted appear, on the surface, to come primarily from Treasury and perhaps Finance - purely on the dollars and cents and no real thought of implementation, which is a matter for Health. There are no doubt lots of people running around in the Department of Health now trying to find answers to some of the questions you have raised. And DoodlePoodle, thank you for your comment on my piece.

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20/06/2014Folks Do read Andrew Hamilton's piece on Eureka Street: 'Understanding the climate change battle of attitudes'. It is beautifully written exposition of the attitudes, positive and negative, that different folk take to climate change, and how central such attitudes are to the debate on this crucial issue. If only Abbott and Hunt could bring themselves to such a debate, armed with solid knowledge, free of bias towards coal, oil and gas, willing to put the planet and its occupants ahead of self interest and vested interest in polluting industries, there just might be some hope that rational planet-preserving dialogue could begin in this country. But what hope have we that these doctrinaire politicians would even be interested? http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41549#.U6PKGGVuvxBx

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20/06/2014Casablanca Thank you for your comment. You have the uncanny knack of finding related articles and grouping them logically, each article reinforcing the previous one, building to a crescendo that convinces conclusively. Each topic is treated similarly. I want to bookmark so many; the simplest thing is to bookmark the whole Cache. You are brilliant, an outstanding contributor to TPS. It is up to us to keep up with you. It takes time, but how better could we spend our time, when you have done the hard yards collecting and collating. I read that piece by Peter Martin, one economics correspondent who knows what he's talking about, much more than does Joe Hockey. I will now read your other links. Thank you so much.

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20/06/2014Casablanca I thought the Kenny articles were the utterances of a sycophantic journalist, presumably accompanying Abbott, and seeking to curry favour. They were sickeningly pathetic. Kenny is capable of better than this drivel. What's got into him? Andrew Elder is of the view that his ilk is incapable of analyzing the complexities that beset contemporary politics and international diplomacy, which neither he or Abbott comes within a bull's roar of comprehending.

42long

20/06/2014Thanx Ken I have to do something with this computer,

Jason

20/06/2014Labor’s debilitating civil war and dysfunctional, chaotic campaign have been blamed for Kevin Rudd’s loss to Tony Abbott in last September’s federal election. A campaign review by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) vice-president, Jane Garrett, and the Brisbane city councillor and former Queensland state secretary Milton Dick, which was released on Friday, finds “the single biggest reason voters turned away from Labor was internal party disunity http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/20/alps-2013-election-failure-mainly-down-to-internal-disunity-review-finds

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21/06/2014Jason Do you have a link to the actual ALP election report? The Guardian article focussed on the core reasons for Labor's defeat, but offered little in the way of remedy, except a few campaigning suggestions at the end.

Jason

21/06/2014Ad astra, Here's a link https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/australianlaborparty/pages/2378/attachments/original/1403229510/2013_Campaign_Review_FINAL.pdf?1403229510

Bacchus

21/06/2014Ad, Did you ever receive a reply to your letter to Bill Shorten?

Casablanca

21/06/2014 Patriciawa cc Ad Astra Here is a mini Cache arising from your comment above about the $7 co-payment. We know that Abbott & co spent very little of their time in opposition developing policies as they were pre-occupied with stunts. It is becoming painfully obvious that Abbott and co just picked a few policies off the shelf in the International Conservative Policy Shop. They are failed policies elsewhere so why does the Coalition think that they would work here? Some of the comments in these articles may hold clues about how we can overturn this impost. 1. Nurses vote overwhelmingly against charging patients £10 to see their GP Andrew Gregory, June 18, 2014 13:54 Speaking after the proposals were thrown out, RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: "Charging patients for GP visits is a controversial issue - one that goes to the heart of what the NHS is and should be. Today, nurses and health care assistants have reaffirmed their passionate belief that the NHS should be free at the point of delivery. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nurses-vote-overwhelmingly-against-charging-3715658#ixzz3501n1raC 2. NHS is the world's best healthcare system, report says Denis Campbell and Nicholas Watt. 18 June 2014 Study by Washington-based foundation says healthcare provision in the US is the worst in the world http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/17/nhs-health 3. How does the NHS compare to other healthcare systems? Julia Kollewe, Jan 21, 2012 Britain's free, state-run National Health Service dates back to the immediate post-war period and is funded by taxpayers. With a budget of more than £100 billion, the NHS is the largest publicly funded health system in the world. http://money.aol.co.uk/2012/01/21/how-does-the-nhs-compare-to-other-healthcare-systems/ 4. $7 co-payment proposal – how it will work AMA 15/05/2014 Based on early advice from the Department of Health, this is a summary of how the AMA understands the $7 co-payment will be implemented by the Government. https://ama.com.au/gpnn/7-co-payment-proposal-how-it-will-work 5. Senate Estimates – what they reveal about Federal Budget 2014/15 Jennifer Doggett 02 June, 2014 ....regardless of the advice Professor Halton and her Department provided to the Minister, she cannot be held in any way responsible for the Government’s policy decisions on this, or any other, issue. As an unelected public servant, her role is to give advice and it is the role of the Government to then act on this advice, if it so wishes. Blaming a public servant – even one as senior and reputedly influential as Professor Halton – for a bad Government decision not only lets Minister Peter Dutton off the hook on this issue, it undermines the fundamental accountability of the Government. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2014/06/02/senate-estimates-what-they-reveal-about-federal-budget-201415/?wpmp_switcher=mobile 6. Nicht nachmachen! Lessons in Germany’s failed GP co-pay Danielle Thompson May 23, 2014 Germany recently scrapped a GP co-pay similar to the one being brought in by the Australian government....The German co-payment on GP visits was forecast to bring in 2 billion euro a year in revenue, but the administration associated with the co-payment cost the German government 360 million euro per year to run. Norbert Metzke, president of Germany’s doctors’ association http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/05/23/nicht-nachmachen-lessons-in-germanys-failed-gp-co-pay/?wpmp_switcher=mobile 7. Medical co-payment belongs on scrap heap Brian Owler. June 18, 2014 The health measures in the federal budget are almost universally opposed by the people who provide health services in Australia. The Australian Medical Association is at the forefront of this opposition. The message is clear: the measures add up to bad health policy. The health of Australians is too important for healthcare to be an ideological toy. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/medical-copayment-belongs-on-scrap-heap-20140618-zsbb3.html#ixzz35AVfdSHM

Casablanca

21/06/2014 [b]Arthur Calwell: how dodging the bullet spared the people[/b] Sally Young. June 18, 2014 ...the anniversary of an unfortunate event in Australian political history: 48 years ago, Australia witnessed its only attempted assassination of a political leader. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/arthur-calwell-how-dodging-the-bullet-spared-the-people-20140619-zsda8.html#ixzz35ATb0Dat

DoodlePoodle

21/06/2014Rather remarkable that even after that attempted assassination that security at Old Parliament House was so low. The Prime Ministers suite was located on the left hand front corner of the building with ordinary windows - an easy pot shot for any crazy. The story goes that reporters wanting to get a scoop would lay wait in the ceiling above the cabinet room and were known as "Rats in the Roof"

Patriciawa

22/06/2014Many thanks, Casablanca. Have just come across your little cache! Great for tomorrow morning's reading. Bedtime now.

TalkTurkey

22/06/2014Greetings Comrades, Casablanca did you get to Burning Man last night? If so I hope it was thrilling! Urgh I'm watching Hang-Dog Henderson who has variously been likened to * Eeyore the Depressed Donkey, https://www.google.com.au/search?q=eeyore+depression&newwindow=1&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=aR-mU4WLIoHgkAWVlYH4DA&ved=0CCkQ7Ak&biw=1366&bih=587 * Marvin the Paranoid Android http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0007553/quotes and Droopy the Dog. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=droopy+dog+faces&newwindow=1&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=ZR6mU76UAczUkwWy8YDQDQ&ved=0CCkQ7Ak&biw=1366&bih=587 Good, that got me off thinking about that slimy Henderson. Why is he on ABC so much? Their choice of "guests" - who presumably are handsomely recompensed for their oh-so-expert opinions - is beyond a disgrace, it's chicanery of profound influence in the political process. Their constant guesting of IPA is ridiculous and dodgy beyond belief. Kathy Jackson can't be cross-examined under the terms of the RC into Unions, having destroyed her target Craig Thomson, 'misused' untold Union funds herself, besmirched the entire Union Movement and helped bring down the Gillard Government. Ashby walks away from his mischievous persecution of Slipper, having destroyed him and helped elect the crooked Mal Brough, thus helping to bring down the Gillard Government And Abborrrtt himself, shameless habitual liar himself, thugstruts the grand stage, having successfully indelibly branded *J*U*L*I*A* a liar - which she is not. Comrades we are a quarter way through this insane Government's term, it's the winter of our discontent indeed, but we must fight on, fight fight fight, as we have been doing since forever, joining in protest actions wherever they seem worthy, staying in the loop, always trying to awaken the somnolent Many to what sort of mob the LNP is and where their respective true interests lie. Because although the Many's interests are diametrically opposed to those of the LNP and its backers, they live in a state of false consciousness believing like farm animals that those feeding them have their interests at heart. That's all we can do, Fight On, and be sure, we will defeat this evil that is dividing and infuriating people from the forests of Tasmania to the CSG fracked areas of NSW and the threatened Great Barrier Reef and Aboriginal lands of the Kimberley ... The Enemy is within, Comrades, and [i]we have to deal with them.[/i] And I don't mean [i]cut[/i] a deal with them. I mean [i]deal [/i] with them, good and proper.

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22/06/2014Jason Thanks for the link. Bookmarked. Bacchus Still no reply from Bill Shorten, but I haven't been at our south coast home for three weeks, and won't be for another week. Hopefully it will be there when we return. TT Well said. We have more than two more years to endure this incompetent government and its slimy sycophants, the likes of Gerard Henderson. I suppose he's on [i]Insiders[/i] to give 'balance', even though unbalanced himself.

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22/06/2014Casablanca Thank you for your mini-Cache, which I'll address this evening. Abbott's policy laziness is manifest day after day, possibly more so in the health field than in others.
What does two plus 1 equal?