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September Articles have moved to the Archives

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October 2014

Read in 99 Countries

31 October 2014
by Bob Ellis

Has Abbott Crossed the Shadow-Line?

I could be wrong about this, but it seems to me that Abbott has crossed, this week, a shadow-line, and nobody believes a thing he says any more, and nobody wants to hear his voice any more.

It may have been when he said the petrol price hike was not a new tax, it was an old tax, enlarged somewhat. It may have been when he said it was to bring the deficit down, then, correcting himself, admitted it was to build new roads with; not trains, roads. It may have been when, in a speech of no great subtlety, he gave the states a cruel choice of a bigger GST, imposed by themselves, or oblivion. It may have been the eight hundredth time he said ‘debt and deficit disaster’ in Question Time, or denied he had broken any promises, any promises at all, or when he refused to punish the big polluters, only reward them; including, it seemed, the coal billionaire Clive Palmer, co-author of his legislation. [Read More...]

31 October 2014
by Bob Ellis

Yesterday’s bogeyman and the petrol tax

The terrorism scare isn’t going very well for the Abbott Government lately, with people more worried about the cost of living than ISIL.

THE HOME-GROWN ISIL BOGEYMAN isn’t playing very well for the Liberals lately.

The boy they shot dead was seventeen. The boy in the recruiting video was a teenager too — red-haired and blue-eyed and clearly naive. It seemed wrong he should go to gaol for twenty-five years, or be targeted for assassination by drone in Iraq or Syria. And the Australian master terrorist Mohammad Ali Baryalei, now reportedly dead – killed perhaps by a fighter bomber ASIO gave information to – didn’t kill any of us, though he probably wanted to. [Read More...]

30 October 2014

The UK is now turning its back on migrants dying at sea – have we learned nothing from Australia?

Around 250 migrants from Sub-Saharian areas are hosted on a landing craft of Italy's Navy ship San Giorgio

The end of British support for search and rescue operations in the southern Mediterranean is appalling. Yet again, the British Conservatives have filched policy from their former colony

And so, another wealthy, developed nation – this time, the United Kingdom – has decided to turn its back on people dying at sea. [Read More...]

30 October 2014
by Peter Bowden

Gough Whitlam with very faint praise

The press, almost to excess, have farewelled Gough Whitlam over the past two weeks. Even the current government has praised the man who, it is widely acknowledged, "changed the face of Australia." Tony Abbott was especially fulsome. In the House of Representatives condolence motion last week, he stated: "In every sense, Gough Whitlam was a giant figure in this Parliament and in our public life. He was only prime minister for three years – three tumultuous years – but those years changed our nation and, in one way or another, set the tone for so much that has followed. Whether you were for him or against him, it was his vision that drove our politics then and which still echoes through our public life four decades on." [Read More...]

30 October 2014
by Brian Morris

New evidence for a 'Celestial Jesus'

The barbaric beheadings and crucifixions by ISIL illustrate how Islam is prone to cruel and merciless interpretations. But Christianity might also reflect on its own barbarity, not dissimilar to ISIL - seven crusades, the conquistadors, and centuries of merciless Inquisitions; all based on absolute intolerance of those who rejected Jesus Christ.
Since the 'Enlightenment' a rising tide of doubt has surrounded Christianity, the Bible's authenticity, and Jesus. [Read More...]

30 October 2014

Medibank members call in ACCC

Medibank Private members open new battlefront, turning to the ACCC in their campaign against public float.

At least 60 members have lodged complaints with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission demanding the regulator investigate statements made to them by federal governments before 1998 that they were the owners of the health fund’s assets. [Read More...]

30 October 2014
by Kaye Lee

Upside down downunder

We sure do things upside down downunder.

Tony Abbott’s chief business adviser first tells us we are unprepared for global cooling, followed by lashing out at the UN response to the Ebola outbreak and labelling the world body a “refuge of anti-western authoritarians bent on achieving one-world government”. [Read More...]

30 October 2014

Hockey uses 'explosion' over red tape on pizza trip to justify regulation cuts

Treasurer says council regulations prevented him pushing two tables together, hence the need to act on $250bn regulatory drag on economy

Joe Hockey has used a frustrating experience at a pizza restaurant to make a political point about excessive regulation. [Read More...]

30 October 2014
by David Donovan

The new act in the Question Time pantomime: Federation and the GST

The Abbott Government has finally revealed what it has long denied: the Plan B to its savagely unfair Budget — raising the GST.

As I predicted in what now looks like a remarkably prescient piece written within three days of the Abbott Government being elected, a rise in the GST was always coming. Despite being a clear broken election promise and still a vicious attack on the poor and underprivileged, it will nevertheless be used by Abbott as political camouflage as he works towards being re-elected in 2015. [Read More...]

29 October 2014
by Richard Jackson

Islamic State and the language of terror

In a public context saturated with lurid daily warnings about the threat of home-grown terrorists, beheading plots and radicalised foreign militants, Tony Abbott recently intensified his rhetoric about the threat posed by Islamic State (IS) even further, calling them an "apocalyptic death cult". In doing so, he recalled the immediate days after the 9/11 attacks when George W. Bush warned that a global network of diabolical terrorists had launched a "new age of terror" against all "civilised nations". [Read More...]

29 October 2014
by Craig Murray

So what's the difference, AU and UK?

Growth, Poppies, Corpses and Serendipity

Opium production in Afghanistan has increased by 4,000% since the start of the US/UK/Others occupation. 4,000%. Really. For the first time, this year production of processed opium exceeded 7,500 tons. This industrial manufacture would be impossible without the active participation both of the puppet government we installed, and the command structures of our intelligence services. The Karzai and Dostum families, alongside other of our clients, have become terribly wealthy. Secret funds of intelligence services have swelled. [Read More...]

29 October 2014

Speaker refuses to investigate altering of Hansard by Barnaby Joyce's office

Bronwyn Bishop says ‘case is now closed’, shutting down Labor calls for speaker to examine whether there was an attempt to mislead parliament

Barnaby Joyce sits on the bench in the House of Representatives on Monday.

The government has shut down Labor’s calls for an investigation into whether Coalition frontbencher Barnaby Joyce deliberately misled parliament when his staff changed Hansard records. [Read More...]

29 October 2014

RET 2.0 – Or Is It?

Dr Anthony Horton reports that although the renewal energy industry is becoming increasingly competitive, international investors are turning their backs on Australia. [Read More...]

29 October 2014
by John Lord

A Week is a Long Time in Politics

If ever a week in politics supported a headline it was the week that Gough Whitlam died. In the main the death of this undeniably charismatic, but gifted man was met with sadness by both supporter and foe alike.

The exceptions who didn’t were Bolt and Jones. Yes, the two who write and comment outrageously on the basis of payment for controversy didn’t but eventually they will pass on as Gough did. [Read More...]

28 October 2014
by Kellie Tranter

Silencing dissent and the mastery of fear

The power elite are using well-worn, time honoured methods of silencing reputable sources of dissent to keep ordinary Australians in a docile, compliant state of perpetual fear.

From the review of the National School Curriculum to the relentless claims of bias by both our public broadcaster and in our academic institutions, there is a concerted campaign playing out in this country to implement a model of thinking that occupies the entire intellectual and cultural space. [Read More...]

28 October 2014
by Kevin Markwell and Nancy Cushing

Animals and Australian identity

Next week the race that has 'stopped the nation' on the first Tuesday of November since 1861 will see millions of dollars of thoroughbred horseflesh thunder around Flemington Racetrack. The richest race of its kind in the world, it will sweep up hard-core and once-a-year punters alike in what has become one of the nation's defining rituals.

Epic events like the Cup demand there be heroes and there is no horse more heroic than Phar Lap, so ingrained in Australian mythology that he forms the basis of a question in the Australian citizenship test. But Phar Lap is far from being the only animal that has helped give shape and meaning to Australian identity. [Read More...]

28 October 2014

Victorian Labor set to topple government

A Herald Sun/Galaxy opinion poll shows Labor leading as the election approaches.

Opposition leader Daniel Andrews at the Victorian Labor campaign launch

A Herald Sun/Galaxy opinion poll shows Labor holding a two-party preferred lead of 52-48 per cent over the coalition ahead of the November 29 ballot.

The poll has Labor’s primary vote on 38 per cent, while the coalition is on 40 per cent, down 4.8 per cent from its 2010 election result. [Read More...]

27 October 2014

China launches new World Bank rival

Australia No Show After Pressure From US

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) shows the way to the guests of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 24, 2014.

China and India are backing a 21 country $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Memorandum of understanding were signed with 21 Asian countries in Beijing Friday. Australia, Indonesia and South Korea were absent following hidden pressure from Washington. [Read More...]

27 October 2014

Yorke peninsula farmers fight for family heritage in bitter battle with miners

Farmers and miners are locked in conflict over some of South Australia’s most productive cropland. And both are at the mercy of the dizzying rise and fall of commodity prices

Ripening cereal crops on farmland that forms part of the mining lease in the Yorke peninsula, South Australia.

On a clear day, the first thing that impresses a visitor to South Australia’s Yorke peninsula is colour: a sea of cereal crops from rich green to faded yellow meets deep red crumbling cliffs that tumble into the cool blue Gulf St Vincent waters, crowned by a limitless expanse of South Australian sky. The region west of Adelaide has been settled for generations by farming families who have transformed a once hostile environment into productive cropping land. [Read More...]

27 October 2014

Tony Abbott pushes for reform of 'dog's breakfast' of federalism

PM suggests states’ fiscal responsibilities go down to match revenues or their revenues go up

Tony Abbott surrounded by state and territory leaders at the 10 October Council of Australian Governments (Coag) meeting.

Tony Abbott has urged the commonwealth and states to work together to to fix the “dog’s breakfast” of federalism.

The prime minister wants reform but has stepped away from his earlier calls for the states to cede control to the commonwealth. [Read More...]

24 October 2014

Civil liberties advocate opposes use of online avatars to catch sex offenders

Sweetie, the image generated by Terre Des Hommes to catch would-be sex offenders.

Terry O’Gorman speaks out after conviction of Brisbane man over interactions with a computer-generated image of Sweetie.

Australia’s leading civil liberties advocate has spoken out about the use of online avatars to catch out accused sex offenders, following the conviction of a Brisbane man over sexual interactions with a computer-generated image of a non-existent nine-year-old girl. [Read More...]

24 October 2014
by John Pilger

The forgotten coup: how America and Britain crushed the government of the 'ally' Australia

Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him. [Read More...]

24 October 2014

Juice Rap News:The G20 - feat Tony Abbott & Scott Ludlam

Welcome to Rap News. The G20 Summit is happening and the leaders of the wealthiest nations on the planet are converging on Australia to come and learn directly at the feet of the master of fascist dystopian fuckwittery: Tony Abbott. [Watch Short Video...]

23 October 2014
by Antony Loewenstein

Australia's war on whistleblowers must end

The prosecution of Freya Newman, court actions against news outlets and police investigations of immigration leaks show the war on whistleblowers is escalating

Frances Abbott, Tony Abbott and Leanne Whitehouse

Freedom is difficult to resuscitate once extinguished. Australian attorney-general George Brandis recently chastised journalists for criticising his government’s new laws aimed at preventing reporting about “special intelligence operations”. Because he’s a culture warrior brawler, Brandis damned the “usual suspects of the paranoid, fantasist left” but also “reputable conservative commentators” for questioning his judgment over what citizens should and should not learn through the media. [Read More...]

23 October 2014
by John Lord

Political “Foot in Mouth Disease”

I heard John Howard say:
“A wise man once said that everything should have context”.

What we say with our words and do with our actions defines context and explains the difference between rulers and leaders.

My Father used to call it Foot in Mouth Disease [Read More...]

22 October 2014

Don’t Worry – Australia to Forcibly Release Intentional and Controlled Release of Aerosolized GMO Vaccine

File this under “we’re f*cked” – According to a few different sources, Australia is actively trying to approve a new way of vaccinating you: by air! An article in Prevent Disease: The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) is on its way to approve a licence application from PaxVax Australia (PaxVax) for the intentional release of a GMO vaccine consisting of live bacteria into the environment in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria. [Read More...]

22 October 2014

Can US do anything right these days?

Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US

​Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani.

The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on the ground beside. [Read More...]

22 October 2014

OPEC alliance begins to crumble as price of oil plunges

The past few weeks have seen the gradual breakup of the powerful international oil cartel of OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Comprised of twelve member-states, OPEC has been extremely influential in the oil industry, controlling prices and supply since its inception in 1960.
The cartel is most notoriously known for its oil embargo on the United States and Western Europe in 1973, in retaliation for support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War, plunging Western countries into an oil crisis and ultimately economic recession, the latter lasting almost a decade. [Read More...]

22 October 2014

Barry Spurr takes legal action to compel New Matilda to reveal source of emails

Sydney University professor of poetry seeking injunction to destroy emails referring to ‘Abos’, ‘mussies’ and ‘chinky poos’

University of Sydney students rally outside Professor Barry Spurr's office calling for his sacking.

Independent news website New Matilda is being taken to court in an attempt to compel it to reveal the sources behind a story that saw racist emails sent over two years by a University of Sydney professor published online. [Read More...]

22 October 2014
bt Evelyn Robinson

Trust me, I'm a politician

When he was Leader of the Opposition, Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a speech on the occasion of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions on the 21st of March, 2013. Now, in 2014, he has announced that he intends to make international adoption "cheaper, faster and easier" for Australians wishing to adopt. [Read More...]

22 October 2014
by David Leyonhjelm

NBN scandal

By mid-2015 the NBN will have cost taxpayers more than $12 billion, while only 12 percent of premises will be connected. It will burn $100 million a week this financial year and by mid-2015 will have consumed 46 percent of the $29.5 billion in equity the Commonwealth has pledged to it.
To call this a scandal would be an understatement. To say it demands urgent attention should be to state the bleeding obvious. [Read More...]

21 October 2014

The rise and fall of free education

Free education was won through consistent protest in the 1970s and can be won back now through consistent protest.

By the mid-1880s, all of the Australian colonies had passed education Acts based on the principal of “free, compulsory and secular” education. This mirrored similar legislation in Britain where the Factory Act of 1833 had made it unlawful for children under nine years of age to be employed in textile factories. [Read More...]

21 October 2014
by John Passant

Proud to be an economic girlie man

The other day Australia’s Finance Minister, Mathias ‘the terminator’ Cormann, called Opposition leader Bill Shorten an economic girlie man.

Cormann of course is a tough economic he man. So tough in fact he is picking on the poor, pensioners, the unemployed, the sick, the disabled, students and low paid workers. He is not a he man; he is a bully, a bully for the rich and powerful, picking on the powerless. [Read More...]

21 October 2014
by Paula Matthewson

Labor misreads the politics of Ebola

Amid criticism that it's in constant lockstep with the Coalition, Labor seems determined to take an opposing position on Ebola. But this underestimates voter sentiment on security.

No other government has vested so much of its credibility in protecting the nation's borders than the Abbott Government. As a result, it is arguable that no other nation measures the competence of its government and other political parties in such terms. [Read More...]

21 October 2014
by Natalie Cromb

Bigoted Barry Spurr: Christopher Pyne's racist reviewer

Flier for rally held at Sydney University on Friday

One of the Abbott Government’s handpicked curriculum reviewers has been shown to be a disgusting bigot, however proud member of the Kamilaroi people, Natalie Cromb, says the problem is much bigger than Barry Spurr.

An academic so apparently linguistically endowed he was appointed as the English curriculum reviewer by the Federal Government, used words such as ‘abo’, ‘mussies’, ‘chinky-poos’, ‘fatsoes’ and ‘bogans’ over at least a two year period, in emails disseminated internally and externally in his capacity as Sydney University professor of poetry and poetics. [Read More...]

20 October 2014

MH17 missile ‘was Ukrainian’

Schindler's Lost

German intelligence head Gerhard Schindler says pro-Russian rebels shot down jet with stolen weapon.

German intelligence has accused pro-Russian rebels of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 using missiles captured from Ukrainian forces, a media report says. [Read More...]

20 October 2014

Medibank sale could net government up to $5.5b

The public float of Medibank Private could raise up to $5.5 billion for the government.

The federal government hopes to raise up to $5.5 billion from the sale of Medibank Private.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said retail investors will be able to buy shares in the private health insurer for between $1.55 and $2 a share. [Read More...]

20 October 2014

Abbott Government ignores Australia’s actual debt crisis

Australia's private debt is 7 times higher than public debt and rising rapidly.

The Abbott Government has concocted a fake government debt crisis to ram through unpopular measures, whilst recklessly ignoring the very real private debt emergency.

A PERENNIAL AND DIVISIVE ISSUE in politics and economics today is the matter of public debt. It is commonly asserted that rising public debt threatens the economy and needs to be reined in. Governments are often portrayed as ‘irrational’ actors when they incur a fiscal deficit, causing unnecessary inflation and interest rates to rise by borrowing to meet the shortfall. [Read More...]

17 October 2014
by Alan Austin

Nobel Prize for economics challenges Hockeynomics

The newly awarded Nobel Prize for economics challenges Joe Hockey’s voodoo economics prescription for Australian economic growth.

The nobel prize for economics announced yesterday bolsters the campaign for better industry regulation in Australia.

The prestigious award – officially, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences – went to Professor Jean Tirole of the Toulouse School of Economics in France. It recognises his work on how poorly regulated corporations operate to the community’s detriment. And how the problems can be fixed.

Drawing attention to industry regulation is timely for Australia as the Abbott Government strives to wind back regulation brought in by previous administrations, but with little success. [Read More...]

17 October 2014
by Lachlan Barker

Coal is NOT good for humanity — or Australia


WHEN TONY ABBOTT said “coal is good for humanity” at the opening of a coal mine in Moranbah on Monday, it was somewhat overshadowed by his comical, bumbling threat to “shirtfront” Russian President Vladamir Putin at the G20.

Senator Larissa Waters from the Greens responded angrily to the Prime Minister’s remark, stating in a press release:

People will be shaking their heads in disbelief at the Prime Minister’s alarming comment today, and future generations will wonder how our Prime Minister could be so short sighted.
[Read More...]

17 October 2014

It’s official: Electric car 26-year world record broken by Australian solar racing team

A new speed record by the Sunswift Australian solar racing team for the fastest electric vehicle over a distance of 500 km has been officially recognized. Their vehicle eVe can achieve more than 100 km/h. [Read More...]

16 October 2014

Australia needs to be fairer if it wants to be richer

Giving back: Of the 7.4 million adult Australians who don't pay tax, almost half are retirees or students.

So-called rich get a pretty rough deal: Vanstone

Australia's richest seven people have more wealth than the bottom 1.73 million households combined. Most people think that's a problem. Amanda Vanstone, on the other hand, seems to think the bottom 1.73 million should be thankful. [Read More...]

16 October 2014

Australians richest in the world, says global report

Global Weath Report puts Australians at the top of global rich list, well ahead of the rest.

High real estate prices make Aussies the richest.

Australians are the richest people in the world thanks to high real estate prices, according to a new report by Credit Suisse.

The Global Wealth Report by the Swiss bank found the median Australian net worth was $US225,000, well ahead of the Belgians who had a median net worth of $US173,000. [Read More...]

16 October 2014

Named and shamed: ‘shonkiest’ companies revealed

Tim Tams, Thermomix and banks slammed in CHOICE’s annual Shonky Awards in Sydney.

Commonwealth Bank has been slammed for its poor response and “slick PR campaign” used to apologise to its customers for almost a decade of dodgy financial advice at Australian consumer advocate CHOICE’s annual Shonky Awards. [Read More...]

15 October 2014
by Rob Cover

Shirtfronting: the dangerous diplomacy of hypermasculine Australian politics

Prime Minister Abbott's recent threat to shirt-front Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G20 points to some recent changes in how the discourse of diplomacy and political leadership are communicated publicly.

Having made global headlines, the statement becomes more than just one of Abbott's domestic political twists or an international almost-humorous tongue-slippage gaining unwarranted media attention. Rather, it becomes representative of the ways in which parliamentary and governance politics are represented in Australia within an international context. [Read More...]

15 October 2014

Détente? Donnelly, Wiltshire and the national curriculum

The federal government review of Labor’s national curriculum failed to provoke the furore most observers were expecting. Why?

Christopher Pyne’s appointment of right-wing warrior Kevin Donnelly as one of two reviewers of the national curriculum was greeted with howls of outrage. The just-released Donnelly–Wiltshire report, by contrast, has provoked little more than quibbles and grumbles, many of a practical rather than an ideological kind. Troops readied for a resumption of the culture wars have been stood down. An air of puzzlement prevails. [Read More...]

15 October 2014

The Kurds of Kobanê : betrayal on all sides

The Kurds of Kobanê are the latest victims of a war that arose as a direct consequence of imperialism and oppression. Alan Maass and Tom Gagné explain the background in Socialist Worker US

BLACK SMOKE hangs over the Kurdish city of Kobanê in northern Syria, visible from the nearby Turkish border, as people organized into the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) make their stand against forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). [Read More...]

15 October 2014

The case for a Federal ICAC

On May 15 this year, the Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, unsuccessfully introduced a bill to create a national anti-corruption body. She makes a powerful case, raising many very concerning examples. Every Australian should read what she had to say. [Read More...]

14 October 2014
by Kaye Lee

Do ya do ya do ya really care?

I make this pledge to you the Australian people.

  • I will govern for all Australians.
  • I want to lift everyone’s standard of living.
  • I want to see wages and benefits rise in line with a growing economy.
  • I want to see our hospitals and schools improving as we invest the proceeds of a well-run economy into the things that really count.
  • I won’t let you down.
  • This is my pledge to you.

-Tony Abbott campaign launch speech, August 25 2013

Nice words but let’s face it – the Abbott government doesn’t give a shit about you. The evidence is overwhelming. [Read More...]

14 October 2014
by Bob Ellis

And Now, The Putin Factor

‘Government by exclamation mark’ was how I came to think, in the early days, of Abbott’s rule. More and more this seems to be so. [Read More...]

14 October 2014
by Amanda Vanstone

A rich right wing piggy, a former minister in the Howard government, lectures us...

Rich versus poor is the wrong debate

I wish I received a parcel of shares in The Big Australian every time I saw or heard a story about the rich/poor divide in Australia. All this stupid rich-versus-poor debate does is stir up the politics of envy. [Read More...]

14 October 2014

Kiev secretly received data from MH17 crash investigators – Ukrainian hacktivists

Ukrainian CyberBerkut hacktivists claim that they have penetrated the internal network of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and found proof that Kiev is getting secret data from MH17 crash investigators, including information which implies its involvement. [Read More...]

13 October 2014

Tony Abbott says 'coal is good for humanity' while opening mine

‘Coal is vital for the future energy needs of the world, so let’s have no demonisation of coal’ says PM

The prime minister, who describes himself as a conservationist, said coal was vital to the world and that fossil fuel should not be demonised.

“Coal is vital for the future energy needs of the world,” he said. “So let’s have no demonisation of coal. Coal is good for humanity.” [Read More...]

13 October 2014
by Barry York

C21st left

I became active on the left when I was in my mid-teens. The main issue, as I recall, was 'capital punishment'. The Victorian State Government was determined to proceed with the hanging of Ronald Ryan in 1966.

I have vague memory of attending May Day rallies prior to that, with my dad, but it was around the age of 15 that my self-conscious direction moved to the left.

Other issues were the civil rights movement in the US and apartheid in South Africa. The scenes from both countries on TV filled me with anger - not just at what was happening but at the hypocrisy of the societies that did nothing to stop it other than words. [Read More...]

13 October 2014
by Patricia Edgar

Ageing is a triumph and a new research paradigm is needed

We have a problem with social attitudes towards ageing and it's not just with politicians and policy bureaucrats. It's with the media, journalists and misguided advertising where older people are rarely presented in any way but negative. And it's with the wider public who are obsessed with trying to stay and look young, and who view with dread the negative stereotyping applied to what will be the largest cohort of people over 60 ever seen in the history of mankind. [Read More...]

13 October 2014

One in seven Australians living below the poverty line, survey reveals

Acoss chief says findings ‘deeply disturbing’ and the 2014 federal budget is likely to push poverty rates even higher

The elderly are among those most likely to be living in poverty. Photograph: Daniel Karmann/DPA/Corbis Four in 10 Australians who rely on social welfare payments – and nearly half of people on the disability support pension – are living below the poverty line, according to a major new report. [Read More...]

11 October 2014

ASX’s worst day in 15 months

Australian shareholders lost $34 billion in value as the market slumped.

Volatility indexes are almost at their highest levels for 2014.
The biggest one-day fall on the sharemarket in 15 months has capped off a volatile six weeks for Australian shareholders. [Read More...]

11 October 2014
by Paul Bongiorno

Union commission witch-hunt and budget booby trap

The suspicion is George Brandis rushed to extend the royal commission into unions for one great purpose – to damage the Labor Party in the run-up to the 2016 election. Certainly its commissioner – the attorney-general’s favourite judge, who he referred to as “The Great Dyson Heydon” in a recent speech – has thrown a huge spotlight on the dark side of organised labour’s fundraising, featherbedding and criminality. [Read More...]

10 October 2014
by Kaye Lee

How to pay for a war

ADF blows up missiles that don't fit planes, construction, Joe Hockey, MYEFO, nominal GDP, paying for the war, PEFO, real GDP, Revenue

The Treasurer said if Mr Shorten was “honest” about his promise of bi-partisan support for Australia’s mission in Iraq, he would pass budget measures currently stalled in Parliament. Is he suggesting that sick people, pensioners, students and the unemployed should fund the war? [Read More...]

10 October 2014
by Steve Bishop

Here we Joh again! Newman’s $32 billion whopper — and other LNP lies

Campbell Newman and his cronies have been telling porkies again. What $80 billion debt?

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and his Treasurer Tim Nicholls continue to lie blatantly and shamelessly to Queenslanders about the size of the debt the Budget has to deal with.
It is one of many demonstrable lies (but by far the biggest) told by the LNP — which truly deserves the title of the Lying Newman Party. [Read More...]

10 October 2014
by Malcolm King

Busting myths we take for granted

ABS unemployment methodology is accurate

Only Blind Freddy and possibly Cheech and Chong, believe the ABS unemployment methodology bears any resemblance to reality. According to the ABS, not only must you not be in employment, but you can't have done even one hourof paid work in the four weeks prior to the survey. You must have applied for something in the previous four weeks - and you must be available to start immediately. That narrows down the field.

The ABS estimate does not take into account people who have been employed for a few hours of part-time work per week but would like to work more hours. To the ABS, these folk are happily 'employed' [Read More...]

09 October 2014

Minister to Medibank members: It’s not yours

Finance Minister says the government was the ultimate owner of Medibank Private.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has responded to reports in this publication which have raised doubts about the Commonwealth Government’s claim to full ownership of Medibank Private.
Senator Cormann stands by the view held by successive Coalition and Labor governments since 1997 that members do not have equity in the insurer. [Read More...]

09 October 2014

Harriet Wran murder trial: autopsy may take another three months

Daughter of NSW former premier accused with two others of killing man in alleged drug deal gone wrong

An autopsy on the man allegedly killed by Harriet Wran may take another three months, a Sydney court has heard.
The daughter of the former New South Wales premier Neville Wran is accused, along with Michael Lee and Lloyd Edward Haines, of murdering Daniel McNulty in a Redfern housing commission block in August. [Read More...]

09 October 2014

Preventative detention orders 'used as a tool to break terrorism suspects'

Legal group says order designed to prevent imminent terrorist attack being deployed as a ‘psychological use of force’ by police

Search warrants were executed across Sydney’s north-west suburbs on 18 September. Photograph: NSW Police A man arrested in the recent New South Wales counter-terrorism raids was placed under a controversial preventative detention order after he exercised his right to silence, raising concerns about whether the orders were used appropriately. [Read More...]

08 October 2014
by Alex McKean

Senate Inquiry into Queensland Gov’t reveals Courier-Mail’s corruption

Murdoch’s Brisbane masthead The Courier Mail has clearly displayed bias and inconsistency in its hysterical coverage of the Senate Inquiry into the Newman Government.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF A SENATE INQUIRY into certain aspects of the Newman Government in Queensland has been greeted with howls of derision from Brisbane’s daily print newspaper, the Courier-Mail.
There was little evidence of balance in the coverage of the issue on 2 October 2014, when the paper contained a two-page spread condemning the Inquiry (nor again in today’s issue). [Read More...]

08 October 2014
by Ross Jones

Australia’s forthcoming conscription

Where there is war, there is death. We should be chary of putting our young in harm's war.
Were it legal, I’d open a book on conscription being introduced before the 44th Parliament finally faces the voters. It’s what Tories do.
They’ll creep it up. The sequence goes: advisors, air-drops, air-strikes, regular army, conscripts. [Read More...]

08 October 2014
by Jim Green

Australia's uranium agreement with India under attack

The federal government's plan to permit uranium sales to India has been subjected to a strong critique by the former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), John Carlson.
Others to have raised concerns include former Defence Department Secretary Paul Barratt, and Ron Walker, former Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors. But Carlson's critique carries particular weight given his 21 years experience as the head of Australia's safeguards office. [Read More...]

07 October 2014

Pressure builds to legalise medical marijuana after boy denied treatment

Australian drug law reform head says most people support the right of parents to do whatever they can to help a sick child

Doctors at a Melbourne hospital stopped administering cannabis oil to Cooper Batten because of concerns about legal ramifications. [Read More...]

07 October 2014

Hong Kong Protests

Now The Hard Part, Kick Out The US, Build National Consensus

When protests in Hong Kong exploded people looked for US involvement. It was not hard to find. The overt intrusion of the US is available in budgets, documents and websites; the covert involvement has not yet been uncovered but is no doubt there. What does US involvement mean for the credibility of the protest movement and the future of Hong Kong? [Read More...]

07 October 2014

Is the free market free?

On 2 September when the Senate passed the repeal of the mining tax, the legislation included a considerable slowing of the process to increase superannuation for workers. Senator Lazarus for PUP, and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, both emphasised that this gave individuals more money in their own pocket. Cormann went so far as to suggest people could now decide what to do with their extra money. [Read More...]

07 October 2014 by Jennifer Marohasy

Opera House Still Above Sea Level: Despite Homogenisation

ONE of the longest continuous sea level measuring gauges is not far from the Sydney Opera House at Fort Denison. The mean sea level trend is 0.65 millimetres per year based on monthly sea level data from 1886 to 2010.

Except that sea levels haven’t trended consistently up each year but rather follow 50-60 year cycles, then there is the impact from El Nino events, and of course the moon is responsible for the neap tides and the king tides. [Read More...]

06 October 2014
By David Leyonhjelm

ACCC powers

'The Sims 4' is the latest instalment of a computer game best described as a virtual but living dollhouse. There's no specific goal; players just create characters and then care for or irritate them as they please. It has been promoted as the 'game that lets you play with life like never before'.
It's hard to fathom, but 'The Sims' is one of the most popular computer games ever. It's also highly addictive, with players glued to their computers day and night.
I suspect that Rod Sims is a Sims addict. [Read More...]

06 October 2014
by Kaye Lee

Self-belief is no substitute for accountability

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” ― Thomas Paine

Self-belief is a powerful tool in achieving success and there is no question that Tony Abbott has it in spades. But does he have the substance to justify it? [Read More...]

06 October 2014

Asio welcomes proposal for 'coercive questioning' powers in security laws

Parliamentary inquiry submission makes case for wider powers to detain without charge and jail people for refusing to answer questions

Asio will gain broader powers to secretly detain Australians without charge and conduct “coercive questioning”, even when less intrusive measures are available, under proposed national security laws.
In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry examining the federal government’s second tranche of national security legislation , Asio welcomed the changes and noted that a previous requirement to exhaust other methods of collecting intelligence first had been softened. [Read More...]

05 October 2014
by Tad Tietze

Who Let All These Aussie-Born Jihadists Into The Country?

Denying the threat Australians feel about Islamic terrorism will do precisely nothing to tackle social cohesion.

Look … many of the people that we're interested in this particular operation are Australian citizens. The vast majority of them are Australian citizens. So, in terms of their ethnicity, I think we need to understand that these are people who are in many cases born and bred Australians. Now, many of them have linkages back to the Middle East, Afghan in particular, however, I don't want to overplay the particular ethnicity because these are Australian citizens.
— Andrew Colvin, (then Acting) AFP Commissioner, 7.30, 18 September

The current, often hysterical, public debate over the terrorist threat in Australia is one in which all sides have danced around the most important empirical fact of all — that the Jihadists are a product of modern Australian society after more than a decade of the so-called War on Terror.Read the whole article

04 October 2014

Surely we're entitled to ‘our’ taxes

Most working Australians pay at least 30-35% of their wage or salary in income tax. And then they pay 10% GST on most purchases, tax on petrol (about 65% of the cost of petrol are taxes), stamp duty on house or car purchases, land rates, utility taxes, road tax, and a Medicare levy. On top of all those added taxes they still have to pay school fees, university fees, and in some cases, medical fees. The list goes on and on.
So what amount of your income are you really paying in taxes? [Read More...]

04 October 2014

Burning questions over ADF deployment to Middle East

The government has not yet made a detailed case for why the ADF needs to be fighting in the Middle East, nor what national interests our military is fighting to protect.
[Read More...]

04 October 2014
by Jonathan J. Ariel

Bad medicine: the sale of Medibank Private

Christmas has come early for the battalion of brokers, advisors, consultants and assorted carpetbaggers with the announcement of the forthcoming IPO of Medibank Private (ASX code presumably "MPL").
The looming privatisation by Commonwealth Finance Minister Mathias Cormann raises many, many issues. [Read More...]

03 October 2014
by Malcolm King

Don't cry for me South Australia

I have a fantasy that Juan Peron takes over South Australia, gets rid of the Liberal and Labor parties and turns the Advertiser into a newspaper. I picture him and Evita on the Town Hall balcony in King William Street, addressing the crowd.
It's a lovefest. Juan's uniform, tailored by an old SS officer, is showered in Coopers Ale, Beerenberg jam and frog cakes. Our savior!
Unfortunately, Argentina's problems of the 1950s bear no relationship to what is happening in Crow Land today. South Australia's economic issues are far more serious. [Read More...]

03 October 2014

'Thank you for smoking': Leyonhjelm confirms Philip Morris backing

Liberal Democratic senator gives speech praising smokers but it emerges party accepted tens of thousands of dollars from tobacco giant in 2013 election

David Leyonhjelm said politicians who continued to slug smokers with higher taxes had an ‘even filthier habit’

The Liberal Democrat senator, David Leyonhjelm, has confirmed that his party receives funding from the tobacco giant Philip Morris, after giving a speech thanking the nation’s “wonderful, generous” smokers and comparing tobacco control to the “catastrophic” war on drugs. [Read More...]

03 October 2014

Freedom of information may cost $800 as Coalition seeks to abolish regulator

Bill is introduced that would distribute commissioner’s roles across other departments

Privacy and Freedom of Information minister Brendan O'Connor (right) speaks to Australian Information Commissioner Professor John McMillan

The federal government has introduced a bill to abolish Australia’s freedom of information watchdog, meaning people would have to pay $800 if they wished to seek tribunal review of government information decisions. [Read More...]

02 October 2014

Andrew Wilkie Gives His Response To Government's Sweeping National Security Reform

At Least He Tells It Like It Is [Watch Video...]

02 October 2014
by Dr Jennifer Marohasy

MSM Complicit in Climate Lies

Sydney Morning Herald not balanced, not fair, not factual

Michael Brown’s article ‘Pseudoscience and nonsense reign once science is left behind in climate debate’, published by the Sydney Morning Herald on 10th September 2014, is in breach of the Australian Press Council’s General Principles 1 and 3. In refusing to provide Jennifer Marohasy with an opportunity for reply The SMH is in breach of Principle 4. [Read More...]

02 October 2014
by Peter Wicks

Welcome To The Terrordome – Tony Abbott fails on terror

We're putting on our serious faces

To their credit Australia Post is apparently standing their ground on the latest attempts to breach our privacy.
Despite requests from the Attorney Generals office and the threat of buying off Clive Palmer to pass legislation to enforce it, our personal mail will not be forwarded to be opened, read and cleared by George Brandis before being sent to us. [Read More...]

02 October 2014

Abbott’s bogus war narrative and his problem with history

In a door stop interview in Arnhem Land two weeks ago ‒ reminiscent of George W Bush’s ‘freedom’ address to Congress in 2001 ‒ Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated:

“These people…. do not hate us for what we do, they hate us for who we are and how we live.”

Unfortunately, in attempting to capitalise on these new events in an attempt to bolster his opinion polling by using Howard-style tactics, PM Abbott is ignoring some harsh realities about why domestic Australia is now seen as a target for Middle East struggle. [Read More...]

01 October 2014
by Alan Austin

Costly blow-out in Australia's debt

The Abbott Government seems to have abandoned its pre-election commitment to reducing the nation's "skyrocketing debt". Borrowings have increased dramatically since the last election.
Now we know by how much.
Debt has increased by 13.7% over Labor's levels. Interest payments have risen a staggering 28.6% to more than thirty million dollars per day. In just the first ten months. [Read More...]

01 October 2014

How Hong Kong Protesters Are Connecting, Without Cell Or Wi-Fi Networks

People check their phones at a pro-democracy demonstration in Hong Kong.

As throngs of pro-democracy protesters continue to organize in Hong Kong's central business district, many of them are messaging one another through a network that doesn't require cell towers or Wi-Fi nodes. They're using an app called FireChat that launched in March and is underpinned by mesh networking, which lets phones unite to form a temporary Internet. [Read More...]