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October Articles have moved to the Archives

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November 2014

Read in 106 Countries

30 November 2014
by Kaye Lee

The death of due process, transparency and accountability

Increasingly this government is seeking to subvert due process and impose their agenda in totalitarian fashion.

Regardless of whether you think the increase in fuel excise is an appropriate measure, the move to introduce it through regulation rather than legislation is specifically designed to bypass parliament. The regulations will need to be backed up with proper legislation by the Senate within 12 months or the money raised will have to be refunded.[Read More...]

30 November 2014
by Michael Taylor

Will Tony Abbott have the courage to accept some blame for the Victorian loss?

Federal politicians have always been quick to point out that party losses at the State level have been, and always will be, because of State issues. Federal politics and personalities play no part whatsoever in the election and the subsequent result; it’s fought on State turf.

Yet . . . federal politicians have also been quick to point out that victories at the State level – for their party – were delivered as a protest vote against the ruling federal party, should of course, they themselves be in opposition at the time.[Read More...]

29 November 2014
by Sean Kelly

Every parliament’s rule of three

First, a game. Think of any term of any Australian government. Perhaps Whitlam’s last, or Howard’s first. Or Kevin07. You have 20 seconds. Name three political events from those years.

Time’s up. My bet is most of you struggled to make the target.
Now for the second part of the game. It’s a simple piece of political arithmetic. Were the three things seen as good or bad? If two out of three were good, that government was re-elected. If not, it was gone.

For Howard’s first term I had gun laws, waterfront, GST. It’s a close-run thing: good, bad, mostly good. Which is how that election turned out. Howard got fewer votes than Kim Beazley, but scraped into power. By Howard’s last election, the maths was clearer: WorkChoices (bad), Costello leadership chatter (bad), rising interest rates (bad). Goodbye Johnny.[Read More...]

28 November 2014
by Neil Francis

A failure of moral leadership

Before Oregon's assisted dying law - the Death With Dignity Act - explained Dr Hugo Richardson, "we saw many patients who felt that they had reached the end of traditional treatment … and that there were no options." Dr Richardson is a Board-certified palliative care specialist at Oregon's largest hospital.

Prior to the law, "we saw many more violent suicides among terminally ill patients," he said, adding that since the Act came into effect (in 1997) "I have seen no violent suicides.[Read More...]

28 November 2014

What the Senate is telling us about big-party politics

The challenges of dealing with a fragmented Palmer United Party are a reminder that the major parties are struggling with low levels of primary support.

Senator Jacqui Lambie arrives at Parliament House yesterday. Her vote against the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) legislation has split the Palmer United Party.

The Palmer United Party’s partial disintegration this week is both good and bad news for the Abbott government. Jacqui Lambie’s declaration that she will vote against all government legislation until and unless it revises its Defence Force pay deal will make life difficult; even assuming she doesn’t spend the next five and a half years rejecting everything, she’ll be one more cat needing to be herded. Getting the PUP on board will no longer bring her guaranteed support.[Read More...]

28 November 2014
by Larry Pickering


The Lebanese CEO of Australia Post, Ahmed Fahour, earned (that’s probably the wrong word) an unprecedented $4.8 million last year. It made the ABC’s Mark Scott’s $800,000 look miserly and made him the highestpaid postman in the world, ten times higher than the top US postman who runs a business 20 times larger. Not bad for a public servant.[Read More...]

28 November 2014
by Mardi Wilson

Abbott vs Youth: Complacency not contentment

The unpopular Abbott Government is unfairly targetting young Australians in its policies, so why aren't more young people becoming activists?

THE CURRENT AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT does not impress the youth of this country — but you wouldn’t know it by examining their presence on the ground.[Read More...]

28 November 2014

Sick To Death – Is this really the end of the $7 Sick Tax?

I won’t go so far as to say common sense has prevailed, however the new sick tax looks to have been taken off the table for the moment at least.
Common sense and the $7 GP co-payment never really went together at any rate.[Read More...]

28 November 2014

Suicidal hubris or a trick up the sleeve?

Has this federal government lost its grip on reality, fooled by its own rhetoric, destined for a grisly political death or do they have a grand game changer ready to be unleashed?

The Abbott Government seems to be on a mission to systematically annoy, exploit or degrade as many pockets of the Australian electorate as they can in one term of government. But for a party that regards the power of office as an end in itself, they appear to be running a flawed strategic agenda.[Read More...]

28 November 2014
by Correna Haythorpe

Students with disability

Children with disability need the same things at school all children need – to feel accepted and happy, to learn to the best of their ability, and to get an education that equips them for life and work after school.
Unfortunately this is not happening for many, despite the efforts of teachers, principals and support staff.[Read More...]

26 November 2014
by John Kelly

Yes…We are better than this!

If you were watching ‘The Project’ on Channel 10, Tuesday night you may have seen veteran Australian actor, Bryan Brown introduce a new movement dedicated to doing something positive about the extraordinary cruelty that our Federal Government is inflicting on hundreds of innocent children currently in detention camps both on and off shore.

There have been a number of occasions when catchy little jingles have captured the heart of our nation but in the cases I remember they have generally dealt with sport. ‘C’mon Aussie C’mon,’ comes to mind. ‘Up there Cazaly,’ is another classic. I remember how they stirred our national spirit and reminded us of things that have made our country great. They still do to some extent, the video in the story will do the same.[Read More...]

26 November 2014
by Reverend Dr Ray Barraclough

Progressive Christians oppose Chaplaincy Program

While the Government can't find money for the ABC and SBC, it continues throwing it at school chaplains. A group of progressive Christians says there are valid questions about the administration, ethos and very existence of the Government-funded Chaplaincy Program.

A group of progressive Christians is calling for a fundamental reshaping of the government-funded Chaplaincy Program in state schools. This is no minor issue for up to $700 million has been spent or earmarked for the program.[Read More...]

26 November 2014


Nigel Stanford isn’t just a musical genius, but by the looks of this video he has a strong passion for science as well.[Read More...]

27 November 2014

Tony Abbott a backward-looking failure adrift on world stage, says Bill Shorten

Labor opposition leader issues a fiery denunciation of Australian prime minister and his government

Bill Shorten has launched a scathing critique of Tony Abbott, casting the Australian prime minister as a backward-looking failure at home and “adrift” on the world stage.

The opposition leader said the government had “no prospect” of getting its higher education changes through the Senate, had lost the argument for other contentious budget proposals, and should drop the measures before next month’s economic update.[Read More...]

25 November 2014

In 1966 The Beatles knew about Abbott

25 November 2014
by Brendon O'Connor

Australia too ready to forget costs of US wars

In his latest novel Amnesia, the brilliant writer Peter Carey presents the argument that the US government was behind the 1975 dismissal of Gough Whitlam. Carey himself believes in this conspiracy theory, arguing that the Americans were hardly likely to make an exception for Australia, given their record in Iran, Cuba, Congo, Chile, and elsewhere.[Read More...]

25 November 2014
by John Kelly

Debt: Stop the deception and tell the Truth.

If you are like me, you have probably had it with this ‘debt and deficit disaster’ mantra that is peddled incessantly by the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the rest of this disorganised, ideological rabble who call themselves a government.
Is it too much to ask that they tell the truth and stop deceiving the Australian people into believing that running the economy of a country is the same as running the economy of a household?[Read More...]

25 November 2014

Police listened to lawyer-client phone call after Sydney counter-terrorism raid

Lawyer of arrested man – who was later released without charge – did not know police were listening under the terms of preventative detention order.

Police officers covertly listened to a phone call between a lawyer and a client who had been detained without charge under a preventative detention order (PDO) during September’s counter-terrorism raids in Sydney.[Read More...]

25 November 2014
by Gerard May

A campaign lesson for progressive leadership in Australia

There is something remarkable happening in New York that aspiring progressive leaders who seek to make a mark on the political landscape in Australia can learn from.

The current Democratic Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, won the mayoral election last year by a landslide gaining 73% of the majority vote becoming the first democratic mayor of the city since 1993.[Read More...]

24 November 2014
by Fergus Green

Australia, China and the new carbon climate

As the dust settles after the US–China climate announcement and Australia’s G20 climate debacle, we take a closer look at the Abbott government’s approach to international cooperation on climate change and economic prosperity.[Read More...]

24 November 2014
by John Passant

Strike to defend the ABC and SBS

In my view, the ABC is not ‘our’ ABC, nor is it ‘our beloved’ ABC. It certainly isn’t an ‘impartial’ ABC. It is up to its armpits in defending capitalism. Sometimes it questions aspects of capitalism, but more often it seems to be pushing a conservative agenda.
It was the ABC whose reporting gave John Howard the ammunition for the Northern Territory intervention, a racist action of the highest order aimed at further de-humanising indigenous people and driving them off their land.[Read More...]

24 November 2014
by Max Berry

A fork in the line: which way to Brisbane?

Two rail projects connecting Melbourne and Brisbane are planned or under consideration but we will be lucky to get one of them funded and completed — even without competition from the other.

IT'S A COMMON PRACTICE among conference organisers to invite both a government minister and his/her opposition shadow to speak, so the audience can compare offerings from their politicians on a matter close to their hearts, or at least their careers.[Read More...]

23 November 2014
by Paul Bongiorno

Post G20, Abbott gets a sh*t sandwich

When you’ve hosted 20 of the world’s most powerful leaders and pulled off a free trade agreement with an economic giant, the old Ethel Merman song would have to sum up your week: “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.” The tune topped the charts at the depths of the Depression in the 1930s. For those prospering despite the misery around them, the lyrics could be taken at face value. For millions, it was an irony that struck a chord.[Read More...]

22 November 2014
by Mike.B

Clive Palmer storms out of interview after questions over legal battle

Whilst I agree that public figures, particularly politicians, should be held to account in their business dealings outside of politics, there should also be a sense of diplomacy in regards to how the questions are asked.[Read More...]

21 November 2014
by Peter Coates

Russian gunboat diplomacy in Australia's region

President Putin's unsmiling face only briefly darkened Brisbane's G20 Summit in mid November 2014. But Putin's frosty style was reinforced by the small Russian fleet of warships that sailed into the Coral Sea off Queensland. The fleet provided a reminder that gunboat diplomacy still exists. "Gunboat diplomacy" refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives with the aid of conspicuous displays of naval power. The fleet's appearance provides a golden opportunity to place some naval issues in context.[Read More...]

21 November 2014

Halal products may be funding Islamist extremism, claims Nationals MP

Abbott government backbencher George Christensen says it’s ‘outrageous’ his grocery dollars are going towards a ‘religious tax’

George Christensen on Vegemite: ‘It’s lovely to know a jar of the salty black stuff is sponsoring the advocacy of robbing women of all of their marital property rights.’

Consumers who buy halal products could be funding Islamist extremism, an Abbott government backbencher claims.[Read More...]

21 November 2014

The incredible shrinking Malcolm Turnbull and the ABC Sell-out

Leigh Sales let Malcolm Turnbull off the hook over the Government's clear broken promise to not cut the ABC's budget. In a clear breach of an explicit pre-election promise by Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull has slashed the ABC’s budget — but don’t expect 7.30 to hold him to account.

THE ONLY WAY to understand Australian politics is with a strong case of cognitive dissonance.
Follies and faults that in one side are pilloried relentlessly are excused and glossed over when committed by the other.[Read More...]

21 November 2014

Anti-snooping app: Amnesty & partners unveil tool that detects surveillance

In collaboration with privacy and civil rights organizations, Amnesty International launched Detekt, an app that enables people to scan their devices for traces of surveillance spyware, created with activists and journalists in mind.[Read More...]

21 November 2014

Assange's extradition order upheld by Swedish Court of Appeal

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange shakes hands with Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino

Sweden's Court of Appeal announced on Thursday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's arrest warrant will be upheld by the Scandinavian state. Assange's lawyer said shortly after his client will take take his case to Sweden's Supreme Court.[Read More...]

20 November 2014
By Amy McQuire

Report Reveals Removal Of Aboriginal Children At Crisis Point And Rising

Marnti Warajanga

The Productivity Commission has claimed some progress in Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage, but the report also includes harrowing figures on Aboriginal 'child protection'.

The rates of Aboriginal children removed from their families have increased each year since Kevin Rudd said sorry to the Stolen Generations, and more and more are being placed with non-Indigenous carers, a new report into Indigenous disadvantage has revealed.[Read More...]

20 November 2014

It’s Time for Abbott to Step Down

Surely when Alan Jones, one of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s most fervent supporters, gives him a grilling on radio, it is time to say enough is enough. For whatever reason the talkback radio host found it necessary to take Abbott to task on the issue of the free trade agreement with China, it was enough to ask: if his friends are unhappy, isn’t it time someone tapped him on the shoulder?[Read More...]

20 November 2014
by Mia Pepper

The nuclear house of cards

A Nuclear Reactor

Uranium miners Paladin Energy, Toro Energy and BHP Billiton all go into their Annual General Meetings over the next two weeks. There is likely to be a lot of posturing over a recent upturn in the uranium price. While the nuclear ideologues are charging ahead, many investors are treading carefully.[Read More...]

20 November 2014

Reserving the marine2

Australia's Marine Reserves

In September this year US President Barack Obama banned fishing and other commercial activities like deep-sea mining across huge tracts of the south-central Pacific Ocean. He recognised that the world's oceans are running out of time and in protecting 788 000 square kilometres he created the world's biggest oceanic marine reserve.[Read More...]

20 November 2014

Palmer's relationship with 'liar' Lambie hits new low

The relationship between Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie has sunk to a new low, with the Tasmanian senator vowing to ignore "abusive threats" from her party leader who has branded her a "liar".

The feud within the Palmer United Party erupted earlier this month when Senator Lambie said she would defy her party if necessary and oppose all government legislation in protest to proposed pay rises for Defence personnel.[Read More...]

20 November 2014

Pauline Hanson returns to lead One Nation

plans to contest Queensland election

Pauline Hanson at her home in the Scenic Rim today

Pauline Hanson has announced her return to the One Nation party to become its leader after a 12-year hiatus.
The serial candidate wants to win a Queensland seat and will prepare the party for next year's Queensland election.
On the day her ascent was announced, Ms Hanson has already taken a swipe at foreign ownership, Halal and multiculturalism.
[Read More...]

19 November 2014
by John Pilger

The siege of Julian Assange is a farce

The siege of Knightsbridge is a farce. For two years, an exaggerated, costly police presence around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. Their quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee from gross injustice whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His true crime is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.[Read More...]

19 November 2014
by Barry Everingham

Bronwyn Bishop: The world's worst Speaker

Bronwyn Bishop is a person of many parts, none of which qualify her to be Australia’s Speaker
ONE OF THE GREAT TRADITIONS inherited by the Australian House of Representatives from Britain’s House of Commons has been the rule of the impartiality of the Speaker. Indeed, in the Commons the Speaker remains in situ even after elections, where he or she may not remain a member of the ruling party.

In the main, our Speakers have been good, a few bad, but none, with only two who broke the rule: both ALP Members – Leo McLeay in the Whitlam years and way back to a character called Sol Rosvear, who began as Speaker under Curtin.

Today, things are different.[Read More...]

19 November 2014

Reg 'Toecutter' Withers, former Fraser government minister, dies at age 90

Reg Withers in 1991

Liberal party senate leader orchestrated Gough Whitlam’s downfall in 1975 and was later lord mayor of Perth

Reg “Toecutter” Withers, a former Fraser government minister, has died at the age of 90.
As the senate leader, Withers was the orchestrator of Whitlam’s downfall in 1975, an act that etched him in Australia’s political history.[Read More...]

19 November 2014

Mr Bean and Colonel Klink star in Senate question time name-calling

Senators exchange jibes during a fiery question time after Labor seeks details on free trade agreement with China

Colonel Klink Mr Bean

Labor senator Sam Dastyari invoked Colonel Klink (left), while Eric Abetz said Dastyari reminded him of Rowan Atkinson, pictured (right) playing Mr Bean. Photograph: AP/AFP The Senate has descended into name-calling, with the government’s upper house leader Eric Abetz accusing his counterpart Penny Wong of taking an “immature and very un-Australian approach”.[Read More...]

Band Aid 30 - Do They Know It's Christmas [Official Video]

Support Band Aid - Buy the single on iTunes

18 November 2014
by Sean Stinson

P20 leaders’ summit cancelled due to lack of point.

With all the fuss surrounding the storm in a teacup that was the G20, I’d just like to give a shout out to another notable recent non-event. While our very own treasurer Joe Hockey posed for photo ops with the leaders of the free market, talking up the need to ‘lift people out of poverty’ as the basis for boosting economic growth by 2% above normal growth expectations, the leaders of the world’s 20 poorest countries didn’t meet for multilateral discussions last week, mostly because they weren’t considered important enough get an invite, since they clearly had nothing to bring to the table, and probably could not afford the airfare anyway.[Read More...]

18 November 2014
by Lachlan Barker

The Stars of the South

Australia's Meg Lanning going hard in the field for the Southern Stars

Australia’s women cricketers continue their good form, while the Australian men keep up their patchy performances back on home turf.

Finally, some good news from the cricket field: Australia’s women cricketers are dominating the green sward for another summer.

So far, they have defeated the West Indies women’s team 4-0 in a 20 over match (T20) series and are now leading the current one day international (ODI) series 2-0.[Read More...]

17 November 2014
by Ross Jones

Punching with your eyes shut

Australia’s likely dual citizen prime minister is leading Australia down a path of destruction and ruin, and we all should hope the Liberals have a plan B.

IT IS TIME, ladies and gentlemen, to resist. We have a traitorous government hell-bent on destroying us. This is not a drill.[Read More...]

17 November 2014
by David Leyonhjelm

National parks: protected from what?

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The "hands off" management approach taken with national parks over the last half century is a great example of this phenomenon, especially when considering the dreadful environmental consequences that have arisen from the huge growth in area of protected public land.[Read More...]

16 November 2014

Victorian election: Clive Palmer targets education, health and zonal tax system

Leader says Victoria needs the PUP in a kingmaker role to pressure the main parties to invest in education and says corruption commission Ibac needs more teeth

Clive Palmer speaks at the Palmer United party Victorian election campaign launch in Melbourne.

The Palmer United party (PUP) has named education and health its top priorities in launching a Victorian election campaign focused on gaining the balance of power in the upper house.[Read More...]

15 November 2014

Another suppository of wisdom...

'Nothing but bushes': Australian PM compares nation to moon prior to British colonization

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has caused an explosion of anger online after stating that before colonization in 1788, the country was “nothing except the bushes” – apparently forgetting about the country’s indigenous peoples.[Read More...]

15 November 2014
by Jackson Stiles

Gen Y won’t be living the dream

Australia’s youth facing the truth of high unemployment and rising living costs.

Gen Y could be the first generation in modern history to enjoy a lower standard of living than their parents because of an increasing burden of debt and disadvantage, a prominent young Australian warns.[Read More...]

15 November 2014
by Martin McKenzie-Murray

Fear and abuse: the Nauru letters

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison

One woman molested after a suicide attempt, as other abuse is left uninvestigated. These are the horrific conditions on Nauru.

She is Iranian and has been detained on Nauru for 16 months. I do not know her name, but what she describes is obscene. Her allegations – like the others I have – are expressed in a neat, handwritten letter. The language is anguished but expansive, possessed of a broad English vocabulary. She has written a second letter in Arabic. This missive is less neat and marked with violent, cyclonic erasures.[Read More...]

15 November 2014
by Sophie Morris

Nats ready to turn on Abbott

Nationals senator Matthew Canavan.

While the Liberals court Clive Palmer, overlooked Nationals are threatening revolt from within.

As the government moved to pass its Direct Action climate policy with the support of Clive Palmer, the Nationals very nearly torpedoed the whole deal.[Read More...]

13 November 2014
by Don Aitkin

Is poverty increasing, or are we getting wealthier?

Two reports came out a week or so ago that seemed to point in opposite directions. The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) published a report called Poverty in Australia 2014, while the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) published one called Things are getting better all the time. The ABC told us about the ACOSS study, but was silent, at least when I was listening, about the one from the IPA. No doubt if some had asked why, the answer would have been that ACOSS is a reputable non-government organisation, while the IPA is a right-wing think-tank. In fact, both are non-government organisations, and both are think-tanks, one is to the left and one to the right.[Read More...]

11 November 2014

New powers for Scott Morrison

Reader Susan Argall alerts us to yet another attack on our rights that should have us all extremely concerned.

The following is a post from November 7 from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)

#‎BREAKING. Scott Morrison has introduced another new draconian Bill called “Australian Citizenship and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014″. It gives him the unreviewable power to cancel the citizenship of any Australian without any criminal conviction at all. Think about that. Being able to lose your Citizenship despite not having been found guilty of a criminal offence.[Read More...]

11 November 2014

Designing capitalism's successor

We live in a world dominated by capitalism — yet capitalism itself is quite clearly not working well in its current form; Herman Royce suggests using its innate proclivities and talents to design its own replacement.

IT’S QUITE AN UNDERACHIEVEMENT. It hasn’t just been happening recently, though, it’s been going on for at least decades in one form or another. The Budget still being fought over with tenacity and ill-feeling, months after its announcement, and despite military distractions, is just a recent glaring example. But given the game rules, the dominance of monetary concerns should hardly be surprising.[Read More...]

10 November 2014

Abbott plays musical chairs

Former PM Bob Hawke allegedly took PM Abbott to task at the service over the gross insult accorded by seating Julia Gillard next to Kevin Rudd.
Seating bitter political foes Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd next to each other was far too tactless to be accidentally done by a PM’s ceremonial and protocols mandarins.

ON FORMAL OCCASIONS, seating arrangements are important. Anyone who has ever organised a wedding, or been to one, knows that.[Read More...]

10 November 2014

Agricultural disarmament

The so-called industrial revolution of the nineteenth century was a perverse revolution. It knocked down small-scale traditional industries and boosted giant monopolies. Millions of people were forced off the land and into cities of factories, disease, and hunger.[Read More...]

10 November 2014
by John Kelly

How Long can Hockey Survive?

For someone whose popularity was the envy of everyone in the new Coalition government earlier this year, Joe Hockey must be wondering what the hell happened. His pre-budget popularity among all voters was 21 points on the positive side (51% for and 30% against). Then came his first and possibly last budget. That budget is best described as a fart bomb, the aroma of which just won’t go away.[Read More...]

10 November 2014

Philip Nitschke: politicians out of step with public's attitude to euthanasia

Suspended right-to-die advocate says medical board’s view was based on the ‘doctors know best’ premise

Politicians and the medical profession are out of touch with the views of mainstream Australia about right-to-die laws, the euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke said in Darwin on Sunday, ahead of an appeal against the suspension of his medical registration.[Read More...]

09 November 2014

Noel Pearson Remembers Gough Whitlam

This speech is being touted as the best ever Australian speech ever.

For those of you who may have missed it, here it is in its entirety. I suggest you watch it.[Read More...]

08 November 2014

Foxtel drops prices, tells pirates ‘you’re welcome’. HA!!!

Foxtel have dangled a carrot to potential subscribers with GoT

Foxtel has dropped prices in a bid to offer a more attractive product and lure people away from piracy.

On October 31, part News Corp-owned pay-TV provider Foxtel announced it was extending an agreement with US cable TV station HBO to continue exclusive supply of the latter’s premium TV to subscribers throughout Australia in 2015.[Read More...]

08 November 2014

Death, torture, and an embassy afraid:

Hazaras face death on return to Afghanistan

An Australian Hazara is killed by the Taliban, our embassy staff fear leaving their Kabul compound, and Scott Morrison continues to return asylum seekers.

On October 9, the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, said in a press conference that he had launched “appropriate inquiries” into the torture of Zainullah Naseri following his refoulement to Afghanistan. Days earlier, Zainullah had appeared on the front of The Saturday Paper, detailing his capture and abuse by the Taliban after being forcibly deported from Australia, where he had been seeking asylum. “I told them 100 times not to deport me,” he told me in that piece. “I would be killed. But they did not believe me.”[Read More...]

08 November 2014

Who is running green politics?

Christine Milne and Bob Brown.

While the Greens fight over relevance, the movement from which they were born is going professional.

On a balmy evening in mid-August 2012, a dozen or so people are enjoying an al fresco dinner in Broome. Among them are the recently retired leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown, and his successor, Christine Milne.

Also there is one of Australia’s best-connected businessmen, Geoffrey Cousins, and Ben Oquist, Brown’s long-time chief of staff, now working for Milne.[Read More...]

08 November 2014
by James Brown

An Australian War Crime

Defence’s silence is loud and clear

Under Australia's new laws, this reporter could be jailed for conveying this article

As a supporter of the Australian military it gives me no pleasure to write these next sentences. Based on the available evidence, the Australian public would be forgiven for thinking that their military is unaccountable and the Department of Defence untroubled by its legislated duty to be transparent to the public and the parliament. There’s been no cover-up, nor to my knowledge have any lies been told. But the Defence Department is deliberately suppressing information about an incident of which it is not proud. And for all the damage it is causing to public confidence in the institution, the effect of this policy is much the same as if a cover-up had occurred. Let me explain.[Read More...]

08 November 2014

UK, Australia to share DNA database to aid international crime solving

Police forces in Britain and Australia will be able to access each other’s DNA and biological databases when investigating serious crimes, it has been announced.
The revelation further suggested that if the bilateral agreement proves successful the deal may be extended to include US and Canadian police forces.[Read More...]

07 November 2014
by Antje Missbach and Anne McNevin

“Our boats, our people, our knowledge”

Australia is sending dubious messages to Indonesian fishing communities

For the past fifteen years, Australia has funded information campaigns designed to deter asylum seekers from reaching Australian shores. In countries of origin and at transit points, films, billboards and TV commercials have warned asylum seekers of everything from the dangers of crocodiles and sharks in the hostile Australian environment to the risks of the voyage at sea. Recent campaigns have also emphasised that those who make the journey will never be resettled here.[Read More...]

07 November 2014
by Everald Compton

Four icons under threat: flag, Anzac Day, reef, bush

No longer is anything sacred or certain or permanent.
Icons now have fleeting value and we are challenged either to defend them or create new ones that may adequately replace them.
With this in mind, I reckon it is worth our while to spend a moment looking at four of them.[Read More...]

07 November 2014
by Ross Ellot

Australia's housing policy?

This could be a very short yarn because despite the almost daily media reports of a housing boom or bust (depending on which media you read) and despite regular jawboning on housing prices by no less than the Reserve Bank, and despite tumbling affordability for young families and talk of generational lock-out from the housing market, we don't actually have a housing policy as such. Nor does it seem much of an official view.[Read More...]

07 November 2014

To Nobody's Surprise, Australian “Terrorism” Law May Be Used for Copyright Enforcement

As we foreshadowed, a new law requiring mandatory data retention by ISPs was introduced into the Australian federal parliament last week. In the few days since then, there have been claims and counter-claims about whether data obtained under the new law would be limited to use in fighting major crimes (such as terrorism, as the government originally claimed), or if it could be used to target citizens who download and share files online.[Read More...]

06 November 2014
by Alex McKean

Here we Joh again! Crime and corruption with Campbell Newman and Ken Levy

For more than half of the term of Queensland’s Newman Government, its anti-corruption watchdog has been headed by a controversial figure who remains under investigation for a serious crime.

THE ACTING CHAIR of Queensland’s corruption watchdog, Dr Ken Levy, has just had his appointment extended yet again by Premier Campbell Newman. While the controversy continues to rage about the reasons for this most recent extension, it is worthwhile to consider the history of events leading up to the current impasse.[Read More...]

06 November 2014
by Bruce Haigh

Australia and WWI: proportion or propaganda

In Albany last weekend, the Australian Prime Minister delivered what no doubt will be the first of many testimonies over the next five years to Australian involvement in WWI. He spoke of Australian sacrifice, but not of the horror of war. And he did not place this sacrifice within the global context that marked this unnecessary war.

The substance of the address was as superficial and shallow as the man delivering it. With a limited knowledge of Australian history Abbott was prepared to trot out the hoary old chestnuts that Australian sacrifice at Gallipoli and on the Western Front shaped the future of the nation. This has become the central theme of the Anzac myth. It is conveyed as a positive, as nation building.[Read More...]

05 November 2014

Union to defy order to remove Campbell Newman footage from ad

Together Queensland says it has not breached parliamentary rules, as clerk Neil Laurie tells it to stop using footage

A new union advertisement featuring footage of the premier of Queensland, Campbell Newman, in parliament is in breach of the rules, the state parliamentary clerk has said. Photograph: Daniel Munoz/AAP A union has been warned to remove footage of the Queensland premier, Campbell Newman, addressing parliament from a TV advertisement or risk being charged with contempt.[Read More...]

05 November 2014

Kevin Andrews slammed by NT politician for comments on de factos

The Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews at a press conference.

Federal families minister called a ‘pooncy, pasty faced person from some pissant place’ for claiming married couples stay together longer than unmarried couples

The Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly has objected to comments by the federal families minister, Kevin Andrews, that de facto couples should get married, labelling him a “pooncy, pasty faced person from some pissant place that no one cares about”.[Read More...]

04 November 2014

Who will win the Melbourne Cup? Guide to the field, runners and riders

Protectionist looks like a good bet at Flemington but Willing Foe has a chance of upsetting the odds

Our BIG race is run at Flemington today. Check out the form and chances of all the equine participants. And of course bigwallbling.com's tips at the end. Got the winner last year, maybe we can make it two in a row.[Read More...]

04 November 2014
by Philip Soos

Control fraud: Australian banksters rort with impunity

There has never been a better time to be a criminal in Australia — so long as you’re a white-collar criminal in the finance industry.

RECENTLY, the head of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Greg Medcraft, called Australia a “paradise” for white-collar criminals (note image above).[Read More...]

04 November 2014

‘ISIS is coming’: Shia man shot by IS supporters in Australia

Muslim worshippers pray in the Gallipoli Mosque in a suburb of Sydney.

A Shia man was shot by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) supporters as he was leaving an Islamic prayer center in southwest Sydney, according to eyewitnesses.[Read More...]

04 November 2014
by Craig Murray

With all the hoohaa in regards to the new security laws being passed by parliament, the following article by ex UK diplomat Craig Murray shows why these laws should NOT be passed. The potential for similar actions here are not beyond reality. Make no mistake, the Abbott government are capable of anything.

CPS Cover-Up in Progress

Jack Straw: Former UK Foreign Minister

I was told by a member of the Metropolitan Police Operation Lydd team that they believe there are grounds to prosecute Jack Straw, but that the Crown Prosecution Service will bury it. That was over two years ago when I gave my own sworn evidence to the investigation.[Read More...]

03 November 2014
by Mikayla Novak

NO! To increasing the GST

Reform of the Australian federation should not serve as the stalking horse for worsening our already uncompetitive taxation burdens.

On the 125th anniversary of Sir Henry Parkes' famous Tenterfield federation speech, Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke of the need to reform what is widely seen as an increasingly dysfunctional federal system. [Read More...]

03 November 2014
by Andrew Topf

The end of an era: is the US petrodollar under threat?

Recent trade deals and high-level cooperation between Russia and China have set off alarm bells in the West as policy makers and oil and gas executives watch the balance of power in global energy markets shift to the East.

The reasons for the cozier relationship between the two giant powers are, of course, rooted in the Ukraine crisis and subsequent Western sanctions against Russia, combined with China's need to secure long-term energy supplies. However, a consequence of closer economic ties between Russia and China could also mean the beginning of the end of dominance for the U.S. dollar, and that could have a profound impact on energy markets. [Read More...]

01 November 2014
by Tony Windsor

No debate before war is undemocratic

“In extending support and sympathy to the innocent people of Iraq … this prime minister exposes his greatest hypocrisy. Where was the sympathy and support for the Iraqi asylum seekers who fled Iraq and tried to reach our shores in leaky, sinking and in some cases sabotaged boats? They were the so-called illegals, remember? Now the government are truly the illegals.” [Read More...]

01 November 2014

Abbott and Forrest’s assault on Indigenous land rights

The iconic 1976 Land Rights Act is under attack like never before under the Abbott Government, writes former Fraser Liberal Government Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ian Viner AO QC (via Northern Land Council – Northern Edition).

WITH the Commonwealth Government’s push for 99-year leases, the Forrest Review’s call for Aboriginal land to be privatised so as to be bought and sold, and attacks upon the Northern Land Council in particular over their defence of traditional ownership and their responsibilities under the Land Rights Act, the iconic 1976 Land Rights Act is under threat like never before. [Read More...]

01 November 2014

Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over

This is probably the most important political speech since Churchill's “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.

Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin's speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn't get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don't think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill's “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946. [Read More...]

01 November 2014

The Coalition’s Looming Debt and Deficit Disaster

They’re spending like drunken sailors.

When you voted in the federal election last year, were you concerned about Labor’s debt and deficits, and did they effect how you voted? Did you think that Labor’s spending was unsustainable and had to be stopped? [Read More...]

01 November 2014

Australians for Honest Politics set for a revival?

As reported by John Kelly in September, there has been an ongoing investigation into Tony Abbott’s eligibility to enter Parliament as dual citizenship precludes one from running for office. [Read More...]