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April 2015
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30 April 2015

'Outraged and offended': bipartisanship breaks down on Bali nine executions

Justice Minister Michael Keenan has attacked Labor.

The bipartisan response to the execution of the Bali nine drug smugglers has collapsed only a day after the men were killed, with the Abbott government accusing Labor of playing politics with "tragedy" by raising concerns about its approach to the death penalty.[Read More...]

29 April 2015

No Other Words Needed

29 April 2015
by David van Mill

Chan and Sukumaran are victims of the futile war on drugs

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are the victims of an ill-conceived war. On Tuesday night, the two convicted Australian drug traffickers were executed by firing squad in Indonesia. They have become the latest victims in the unwinnable “war on drugs”.[Read More...]

29 April 2015
by Shiro Armstrong

The costs of Australia’s “free trade” agreement with America

The evidence shows that trade deals struck primarily for political reasons can cause significant economic damage.

The critics were right. Ten years after the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement, or AUSFTA, came into force, new analysis of the data shows that the agreement diverted Australia’s trade away from the lowest-cost sources. Australia and the United States reduced their trade with rest of the world by US$53 billion and are worse off than they would have been without the agreement.[Read More...]

28 April 2015
by Bruce Haigh

The decline of the lucky country

Brace yourselves - things are not going to get better, at least not for some time.

It is to do with our collective moral fibre or lack of it as entrusted in our politicians, public servants, captains of business and industry, senior military officers and the media, otherwise known as the leadership elite and ourselves; the reason is selfishness, greed and immaturity.[Read More...]

28 April 2015
by Rossleigh

Tony Abbott, Battlelines, Lomborg And The Big New Thing Somewhere Else!

“Gallipoli was a splendid failure; the Western Front was a terrible success and we should recall our victories as much as our defeats.”

Tony Abbott, 26th April, 2015

“It doesn’t make much sense, though, to impose certain and substantial costs on the economy now in order to avoid unknown and perhaps even benign changes in the future. As Bjorn Lomborg has said: ‘Natural science has undeniably shown us that global warming is man-made and real. But just as undeniable is the economic science, which makes it clear that a narrow focus on reducing carbon emissions could leave future generations lumbered with major costs, without major cuts in temperatures’.”

Tony Abbott Battlelines

So even before he became Leader of The Opposition, Tony was qutoing Bjorn Lomborg. This, of course, has been pointed out by several people lately, so I thought I’d check my copy of “Battlelines” (Yes, I bought a copy, and, no, I don’t know who bought the other one!) to find out exactly what he said when quoting Lomborg.[Read More...]

28 April 2015
by Kaye Lee

Premature congratulation

The Abbott government suffers from a bad case of premature congratulation.

We have had a parade of Hockey, Cormann, Frydenberg, Abbott and others telling us that they have halved Labor’s debt – which is a rather bizarre claim considering the gross debt has increased by $83 billion (and counting) since they took office.[Read More...]

27 April 2015
by John Passant

Evidently the ANZACs died for free speech, except for Aborigines and SBS

For the past few years an group of Aboriginal people and their supporters have marched on ANZAC Day in Canberra to remember those killed in the Frontier Wars. This year the police stopped them from marching and postured aggressively at them.

We couldn’t have Aboriginal people pointing out the truth about the Frontier Wars from 1778 to 1920 in which tens of thousands of Aboriginal warriors fell defending their land against the invaders could we? That would expose the reality of the essentially white character of the celebration of ANZAC Day and its reinforcement of white Australia.[Read More...]

27 April 2015

NBN is costing us millions, say councils

Households are a more lucrative customer as they choose high cost/high speed service regardless of actual need.

Thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in benefits across Australia have been lost because of NBN Co's decision to target residential areas instead of businesses, according to a new study into the $41 billion national broadband network.

Research firm Geografia surveyed 322 businesses in three precincts in Southeast Melbourne on behalf of the Frankston, Greater Dandenong and Kingston councils.[Read More...]

27 April 2015

Coles' Every Day Value strategy to come under scrutiny

Coles' decision to shift towards everyday-low pricing will be put to the test this week, when the food and liquor chain releases its first quarterly results since adopting a hybrid promotional strategy late last year.

Analysts believe same-store food and liquor sales growth at Coles slowed from 4 per cent in the December quarter to 3.8 per cent or 3.9 per cent in the three months ending March, and top-line sales grew around 5 per cent, buoyed by new stores.[Read More...]

27 April 2015

Regional unemployment hits 12-year high

Unemployment is rising in the Hunter Valley and other mining regions in Australia.

The unemployment rate in regional Australia has risen to 7.3 per cent, a 12-year high, as job demand shifts increasingly to major cities with the winding down of the mining construction boom.

Regional Australia has not experienced unemployment rates this high since March 2003, with regional NSW recording the largest increase in jobless rates in the past three months, particularly in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle - big coal-producing regions.[Read More...]

26 April 2015
by Victoria Rollison

Curing Political Outrage Fatigue

I agree with Tim Dunlop when he says we’re currently living through a phase of ‘the normalisation of bad politics’. There are hundreds of examples of the way in which the low expectations of the Abbott government due to their blatantly, and now universally acknowledged ineptitude is giving them a free pass to keep being inept without the usual outrage that follows.[Read More...]

26 April 2015
by Richard Ackland

Why does the right hate ICAC?

It’s a little bit exciting that we have a fresh outbreak of the culture wars around the meaning of “corruption” and what the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption stands for.

Conservative analysts think it is a good idea that the High Court has knocked ICAC off its perch, because the outfit was too big for its boots, to mix a metaphor, particularly after it started going after Liberal politicians.[Read More...]

26 April 2015
by Jewel Topsfield

Countdown to death: Bali pair given final notice

Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be executed within days, according to lawyers.

Jakarta: Bali nine organisers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran may have just three days left to live after they were officially given 72 hours notification of their executions on Saturday.

The condemned men are bracing to be killed on Tuesday night however Attorney-General spokesman Tony Spontana said no date had been set and they may have longer.[Read More...]

26 April 2015
by Luke Williams

Jobactive's Work for the Dole contracts sold to US companies

The government’s new “jobactive” program has favoured American companies for lucrative employment services contracts.

Nearly half of the Work for the Dole co-ordinator contracts tendered by the federal government have been awarded to two giant corporations, including one in a joint venture with a major Australian charity.[Read More...]

25 April 2015
by David Tyler

Joe Hockey 'trajects' his credibility right over the cliff

"NO WAY" will the Coalition be “putting a date on the surplus” Joe Hockey roundly declares on ABC Insiders. It is no backflip, the federal treasurer suggests. He never set such a date. Yet it’s not what the record reflects.

Joe Hockey on ABC Insiders 19 April 2015:

“We never put a date on returning to surplus. We just need to show we have a quality trajectory, a quality trajectory back to surplus and that we are getting the budget under control. Now, you will see that in the budget…”

Last election, Joe Hockey promised a “guaranteed return to surplus within one term”, a promise that voters certainly heard as “putting a date” on the surplus. It was upbeat, it was encouraging and it was ongoing.[Read More...]

24 April 2015
by Lady Melmac

Reading Between The Lines On The Latest Iraq/Syrian War and Australia’s Involvement

The terror threat level has risen to High with Queensland especially keen to amp up the security factor with the G20 and the state election coming up. Rubbish bins been welded shut in Brisbane’s busiest train stations and extra patrol dogs and signage (asking commuters to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings and to report any unusual activity) are not all they are doing to combat terrorism in QLD. Staff will check the toilets before each train arrives in the CBD, these extra measures are to remain in place indefinitely. It is likely that these security measures will be rolled out to other Brisbane landmarks and Government buildings.[Read More...]

24 April 2015

Anzacs who became opponents of war


The sheer scale and futility of the slaughter at Gallipoli and the Western Front have been a source of horror for 100 years.

Mythology about the Anzacs and the First World War is still used to justify militarism today. But for a number of the Australian soldiers that fought, the experience turned them into socialists and opponents of war.[Read More...]

24 April 2015

Australians' living standards face the greatest threat in a generation

Australian commuters are now spending an extra hour a week travelling to and from work, a new report has found.

Australians' living standards face the greatest threat in a generation, with no signs of strong wage growth, longer unpaid commuting times and a rise in workforce casualisation putting more pressure on middle- and lower-income households than they have faced in 20 years.[Read More...]

24 April 2015

Bali nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran could be executed within days: lawyer

Awaiting execution: Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Australian Embassy representatives have been told to go Nusakambangan - the death island where drug-smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are being held.

Jakarta: The Bali nine duo are expected to be killed within days with the Australian Embassy summoned to Nusakambangan - the island where the executions will take place - on Saturday.[Read More...]

23 April 2015
By Ben Eltham

Is This The Beginning Of The ALP's Renewal?

Labor’s shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen, gave a speech at the National Press Club yesterday.

After a lacklustre start to opposition there are some encouraging signs for Labor. The electorate is pushing more progressive policies on the party.

All things considered, it wasn’t a groundbreaking oration. Bowen was there to spruik Labor’s updated retirement policy, which he championed as a policy for fairness.
Bowen announced two modest tweaks to superannuation tax breaks for the rich, which he claimed would save around $14.3 billion over the next decade. The costings come from the Parliamentary Budget Office, and appear solid.[Read More...]

23 April 2015

The Original Anti War Song

Warning: Graphic War Video

I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier

21 April 2015
by James Supple

Nothing to celebrate in Anzac: The bloody history of the British empire

Victims of one of the famines Britain imposed on India

The Gallipoli campaign was not about democracy, but defending the profits and colonies of the British empire, one of the most brutal the world has seen.
The 100 year anniversary commemorations of Gallipoli will gloriify it as sacrifice for a noble cause. Tony Abbott has called it part of a war that “shaped our nation”. In 2012 then Prime Minister Julia Gillard declared on Anzac Day that, “all of us inhabit the freedom the Anzacs won for us”. But Gallipoli and the First World War was no fight for freedom or democracy.[Read More...]

21 April 2015
by Matt Thistlethwaite

Pacific debate an opportunity for collaboration with China

Debate is again raging about Australia's role in the Pacific.

It has recently been reported that the Fijian Government has insisted it will not re-join the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) until Australia or New Zealand is kicked out and consideration is given to admitting China. This is a debate that Fiji's newly elected Government want to have.[Read More...]

21 April 2015
by John Slater

Race baiters don't deserve the high ground on Indigenous policy

There is perhaps no area of public policy as desperately in need of fresh ideas and honest debate than the disadvantage faced by Indigenous people. Yet it is difficult to think of a topic more hamstrung by political correctness and woolly-minded clichés than the plight of the first Australians.[Read More...]

21 April 2015
by Judith Ireland

More than a million Australians live in poverty: report

More than a million Australians are living in poverty despite two decades of economic growth, according to new research which calls for a radical policy shake-up to deal with the national "disgrace".
Just weeks before the federal budget, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia has found that between 4 and 6 per cent of the population - or between 1 and 1.5 million - is classed as being in poverty, "with little to no hope of getting out of that situation".[Read More...]

21 April 2015
By Julian Burnside

'Tiny hearts' and 'balls of steel'. Is this really what the world thinks of Australia?

An empty Australian lifeboat that carried turned-back asylum seekers is docked at Pangandaran wharf in western Java island.

Katie Hopkins has held Australia up to the world as some kind of racist role model for our violent treatment of asylum seekers. And why wouldn’t she?
Australians have “tiny hearts and whacking great gunships”. We “threaten [migrant boats] with violence until they bugger off”. And British people should be more like us.[Read More...]

20 April 2015
by Kaye Lee

You get what you pay for

While their philosophy remains to cut spending and lower taxes, the Abbott government are unlikely to produce an equitable budget.

As John Daley of the Grattan Institute put it:

“If you try to fix on the spending side, you only hit the bottom half. If you fix on the tax side you more or less hit the top half.”

[Read More...]

20 April 2015
by Natalie Cromb

Noel Pearson's assimilation agenda divides Indigenous Australians

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indigenous leader Noel Pearson

It is time for conservative North Queensland Indigenous leader Noel Pearson to stop promoting assimilation and start listening to his people, says Kamileroi representative Natalie Cromb.
INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS in Australia have taken numerous hits over the last month.[Read More...]

19 April 2015

Tackling FIFA's World Cup corruption

International soccer powerbroker Chuck Blazer, now an FBI informant.

Hosting rights for the coming FIFA World Cups are tainted by corruption. Australians are driving reform of soccer’s governing body.

The scene playing out on Manhattan’s busy Upper East Side was as comical as it was dramatic. On a cool November night in 2011, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service were chasing Chuck Blazer, an obese international soccer powerbroker, as he rode his mobility scooter down Fifth Avenue. Blazer, who until 2013 sat on the executive committee of soccer’s world governing body FIFA, was on his way to dinner at Elaine’s, a famous celebrity hangout.[Read More...]

19 April 2015
by John Passant

Selfish corporate giants dodging all the tax they can

Big business gave the Australian Senate the middle finger salute during Economics References Committee hearings into tax avoidance.
Not surprisingly, it was hard to get any information out of them about their tax avoidance activities. This put further heat on Joe Hockey, who effectively let them co-write last year’s budget.[Read More...]

19 April 2015

Call for Pyne's resignation over $4 million funding to climate contrarian

Revelations that the Federal Government allocated $4 million in funding to climate contrarian Dr Bjorn Limborg for a "consensus centre" has sparked calls for Education Minister Christopher Pyne's resignation.

The government would cover roughly a third of the cost for an Australian iteration of Dr Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Centre at the University of Western Australia (UWA), confirmed Mr Pyne's office following an investigation.[Read More...]

19 April 2015
by Sophie Morris

Abbott government plans to be rid of senate 'ferals'

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm.

Tony Abbott has a gun pointed at the senate: a chance to fix preference systems that advantage minor parties, then rush to a double dissolution.

The subject line on the media alert from Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm read as both a threat and a promise: “A feral crossbench? You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
His email lobbed just after lunch on Wednesday, minutes before the publication of the final report by parliament’s Joint standing committee on electoral matters on the 2013 federal election.[Read More...]

18 April 2015
by Ross Elliott

Raising the GST could hit new housing hard

As Governments state and federal begin grappling with harsher budget realities and an electorate disinterested in listening when it comes to the necessity of budget cuts or asset privatisation, it becomes increasingly likely that Australia will follow the New Zealand path and raise the GST. This could hit housing especially hard because of the way new housing is taxed.[Read More...]

18 April 2015
by John Lord

It’s a Taxing Time for ”All But the Rich”

Never in the history of this nation have corporations, rich individuals, and the Government that supports them, been so openly brazen. The Australian Tax system is absolutely riddled with rorts for corporations and the privileged.
The Abbott Government has shown an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination. Ideology and governance for their supporters has determined every decision they have made since coming to power.[Read More...]

18 April 2015
by Kaye Lee

The financial management of the Coalition

In August 2013, a journalist asked Joe Hockey “Should you win the election, at what stage will you own the economy and at what stage will it no longer be Labor’s fault?”
Hockey responded “We will own the economy from day one, whether it’s Labor’s fault or not. I’m not afraid to accept responsibility and I’m not afraid to be accountable. We will own it from day one. We will be responsible for the Australian economy.”[Read More...]

17 April 2015


17 April 2015

New law will increase violence against asylum seekers: former judge

New laws giving security guards in detention centres more power to use force have been criticised.

A new law giving security guards in detention centres power to cause grievous bodily harm if they "reasonably believe" it is necessary to protect life or prevent injury is likely to encourage abuse of and violence against asylum seekers in detention, a Senate committee has been told.[Read More...]

16 April 2015
by Lachlan Barker

AGL's CSG blunders flare at Gloucester and expose EPA

Flaring off in the Surat Basin of Queensland. Note the black smoke even if full open air

AGL's dangerous flaring of wells at its Waukivory Road CSG field in Northern NSW has again demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the NSW EPA in monitoring and regulating gas leaks.
AGL are presently undergoing the process of flaring off at their controversial Waukivory Road CSG field at Gloucester on the NSW North Coast. This has raised high level of concern among the residents of the area.[Read More...]

16 April 2015

Stop rich from using negative gearing to offset wages, save $1b: ACOSS

The ACOSS report said that over half of the benefit of "negative gearing" deductions goes to the top 10 per cent of personal taxpayers, earning more than $100,000 a year.

Australians would no longer be able to claim losses on their investment properties against their wages, saving over $1 billion in federal revenue a year, under a plan put to the federal government by the Australian Council of Social Service.
As the discussion on the tax white paper ramps up, ACOSS has released a report calling for the Abbott government to restrict tax deductions for negatively geared investment properties and wind back capital gains tax (CGT) concessions.[Read More...]

16 April 2015

Australia's 'Dr Death' Philip Nitschke fears arrest in Britain

Euthanasia advocate Phillip Nitschke.

Australia's "Dr Death", Philip Nitschke, fears he could be arrested by British police when he attends an interview about his euthanasia advocacy work in the UK on Thursday.
Mr Nitschke said London's Metropolitan Police had requested a cautioned interview with him this week and that his lawyers had warned him of a "small but nevertheless possible chance" of being arrested and detained during the meeting.[Read More...]

16 April 2015

Australia prepares to send first refugees from Nauru to Cambodia within days

Sar Kheng, and Peter Dutton

The Australian government has chartered a plane to move the first group of refugees from Nauru to Cambodia within days as part of a $40m resettlement deal, sources on the island have said.
Several letters that were reportedly distributed by Australian immigration staff to refugees on Nauru and a spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration has confirmed it is sending an official to Nauru.[Read More...]

15 April 2015
by John Passant

Penalty rates

Let’s start with the big picture. The Abbott government has had an agenda of austerity since it was elected. There was and is the fake Budget emergency to justify Budget attacks on pensioners, the sick, the disabled, the poor, the unemployed, Universities and a whole range of services.[Read More...]

15 April 2015

Tony Abbott moves to reassure business and lay out his blueprint for growth

The Abbott government's second budget will set the course for a "nimble" five-pillar Australian economy, according to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and will contain new money for families and for small businesses while delivering deficits that will "decline every year".[Read More...]

15 April 2015
by Matthew Knott

Karl Kruszelnicki steps up concerns over 'flawed' Intergenerational Report

The man appearing on television screens across the country promoting the Abbott government's Intergenerational Report - science broadcaster Karl Kruszelnicki - has hardened his stance against the document, describing it as "flawed" and admitting to concerns that it was "fiddled with" by the government.[Read More...]

14 April 2015
by Tim Colebatch

The true story of Western Australia and the GST

Raising the stakes? WA premier Colin Barnett.

It sounds so unfair. Across Australia, the GST will give state and territory governments an average of $2370 for every resident next financial year. But the umpire has decided that one will get a lot more, some a bit more, some a bit less – and Western Australia will get just $714 per resident, 30 per cent of the national average.[Read More...]

14 April 2015
by John Edwards

Tony Abbott’s new budget strategy – and how Bill Shorten will respond

Both major parties have assumed a similar ceiling on tax receipts.

Speculation about the May budget is building, but much of its direction is already revealed in last month’s 2015 Intergenerational Report, or IGR. That unusual document unexpectedly illuminates the path to the next election and probably the one after that. Taken in the context of our evolving economic circumstances, it is the contemporary political map for Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten, and for the rest of us as well.[Read More...]

13 April 2015
by Ben Clark

The Hypocrisy of the Liberal Litigator

Last month, Joe Hockey took to the witness stand defending his reputation from allegations made by Fairfax Media.
In 2011, Aboriginal activist Pat Eatock also stood in court defending her reputation from allegations made by News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt.
One had parliamentary privilege to defend themselves, the other didn’t. One had the parliamentary press gallery itching on their every word, the other didn’t.

Both stand in the way of a purist conception of free speech. But only one attracted the derision of the conservative commentariat.[Read More...]

13 April 2015
by Kaye Lee

It makes no sense

In March 2014, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) opposed AGL Energy Limited’s (AGL) proposed acquisition of Macquarie Generation, NSW government-owned power stations which produce just over a quarter of NSW’s energy.

The ACCC considered the proposed acquisition was likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for the retail supply of electricity in NSW. The ACCC was also concerned about the likely competitive impact of the proposed acquisition in one or more of the wholesale electricity markets in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, stating that:[Read More...]

13 April 2015

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey lead Coalition poll dive

Budget woes leave Abbott vulnerable: Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey.

The question of the Liberal leadership could be revisited in months as support for Tony Abbott's government drifts south again, with Australians signalling they are not convinced by the sudden switch to "fairness" and the promise of a routine second budget.

With that budget just 4 weeks away and attention in national politics focused squarely on the economic sphere, Mr Abbott's woes appear linked to the sinking popularity of his Treasurer Joe Hockey, who as architect of the first politically toxic blueprint, has suffered a massive 45 per cent reversal in his approval rating over the last 13 months from plus 20 per cent in March 2014 to minus 25 now.[Read More...]

11 April 2015

Tributes flow for cricket great Richie Benaud

Cricket icon Richie Benaud.

Superlatives flowed from around the world as Richie Benaud was remembered as an Australian treasure, sporting icon and voice of cricket after his death on Friday, aged 84.
The former Australian captain and commentary doyen died overnight in his sleep after battling skin cancer.

A pioneer on the field, off it and behind the microphone, Benaud was hailed as “the Godfather of Australian cricket” and second only to Sir Donald Bradman for his immense contribution to the game.[Read More...]

10 April 2015
by Arrin Chapman

Is Abbott pandering to mob rule to retain power?

Reclaim Australia rally April 2015

Is the Abbott Government just pandering to the views and values of the mob in order to retain power? Many of Reclaim Australia's arguments resonate with the government's line.

SINCE COLONISATION, Australia has had a poor record with regard to race relations.
Academics and critics such as Victorian QC and vocal opponent to the White Australia policy, Howard Nathan, claim that this is slowly but steadily improving.[Read More...]

10 April 2015
by Chas Keys

Tony Abbott's gaffes and missteps: a recent history

All politicians say and do some things they later regret. But the problem of gaffes and missteps usually becomes a significant liability only when there are many of them in a short period, as has been the case with Tony Abbott over the past several weeks.

From late January to mid-March there was a steady stream of comments and decisions from Abbott that had people questioning his judgement. The trouble started on Australia Day, when he announced that the Duke of Edinburgh would be knighted. Some monarchists cheered, but the principal reactions around the nation were incredulity, consternation and annoyance. Abbott was ridiculed in the media and in the community. His decision a year before to bring back the titles of 'Sir' and 'Dame' on a limited basis had not been popular, but this year's reaction was much stronger and almost universally negative.[Read More...]

09 April 2015
by John Passant

Stop the cuts: tax the rich – one socialist’s view

I am a former Assistant Commissioner of Taxation in charge of international tax reform in the ATO. I retired in 2008. I am currently a casual tutor in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry at the University of Wollongong. I am also a unionist, activist and socialist.

I will be talking later this month at the University of Wollongong about stopping the government cuts and taxing the rich. Australia is a low tax and low spending OECD country. My view is that the money is there to fund better public health, education, transport, social welfare, pensions and Universities, and to take urgent action to address climate change (among other things.)
The question is who to tax and I will argue that the rich and capital are capable of paying much more in taxes to fund a fair and equitable society in Australia.[Read More...]

09 April 2015

Australia joins South China Sea war games

A Chinese vessel used to expand structures and land on the Johnson Reef, called Mabini by the Philippines and Chigua by China, in the South China Sea, in this 2014 photo released by the Philippines.

Australian military personnel are being deployed to participate in three-nation war games staged close to a South China Sea flashpoint amid fears in the Philippines that China's military is seeking to take control of the disputed region.

The US and the Philippines have doubled the size of their annual 10-day exercises at locations that include a Philippines' naval station 220 kilometres from Scarborough Shoal, a hotly contested area that has been occupied by China since 2012.[Read More...]

08 April 2015
by David Hetherington

Laffing all the way with voodoo economics

The U2 song Desire is possibly the only number one single that references a branch of economic thinking. "Voodoo economics", chants the song's overdub, borrowing the derisive label that George Bush Snr coined for Ronald Reagan’s economic policy.
Forty-five years on, voodoo economics is back in the spotlight with the recent visit to Australia of one of its chief shamans, Arthur Laffer. Laffer is most famous for his eponymous curve, which purports to show that cutting taxes on the rich raises extra tax revenue.[Read More...]

08 April 2015
by Mark Kenny

Reserve Bank puts house prices over jobless by keeping rates on hold

Fear of fuelling the Sydney and Melbourne real estate markets appears to have trumped hope for job-seekers and borrowers across the nation with the Reserve Bank leaving the official cash rate on hold in April rather than opting for cheaper credit to spark a new round of hiring.[Read More...]

08 April 2015
by Ben Grubb

Dallas Buyers Club slays iiNet in landmark piracy case

The studio behind Dallas Buyers Club wants to identify those who pirated the film.

A Federal Court judge has ordered several Australian internet service providers, including iiNet, to hand over to a film studio the identities of thousands of account holders whose internet connections were allegedly used to share without authorisation the Dallas Buyers Club movie.[Read More...]

08 April 2015
by Rob Marsh

Rebranding Wage Slavery: An Intentional Imbalance

The title of the article, belonging to the Herald Sun, is “Time to Embrace Life’s Imbalance”.

It sits squirrelled away in the bottom corner of page 26 of today’s business section, a measly couple of hundred words. Easy to overlook.
In it, we are compelled by “business consultant” Judy Reynolds to forfeit a good work-life balance and instead adopt an attitude of “intentional imbalance”.

Those two words we don’t often hear thrown together. I wonder where else we’d like to implement an “intentional imbalance” in our lives?[Read More...]

07 April 2015
by John Passant

Pauline Hanson and Reclaim (white) Australia.

Pauline Hanson, the figure of popular racism from the 1990s, spoke at the Reclaim (White) Australia rally in Brisbane. This is significant.

During her political popularity (when for example in 1998 her One Nation Party with 22% of the vote won 11 seats in the Queensland Parliament) Hanson reflected the despair of a middle class under attack because of changes in the capital accumulation process and some workers, especially non-unionised workers in regional areas.[Read More...]

07 April 2015
by Harold Levien

The coalition government’s bankrupt economic policies

This Government has demonstrated massive incompetence in formulating their economic policies and their budget. Such is this incompetence since coming to Office they appear to rely on deception as a principal means of gaining acceptance of their policies.

The Coalition Government seems to have been fighting the next elections since the day it won Office and using the same misleading tactics. Throughout the last election campaign, and for months before, the Coalition bitterly attacked both Labor's budget deficit and government debt. Yet when the Labor Government left Office Parliamentary Library statistics show government gross debt was 19% of GDP. The advanced economies' international organisation, the OECD, apparently calculates the figures differently showing Australia's debt as 33% of GDP in 2013. This is still much lower than all OECD economies except for tiny Estonia and Luxemburg. Government debt to GDP in 2013 shown for some leading economies was: Germany 86%, Canada 93%, UK 99%, USA 104%, France 112%, and Japan 224%. NZ was 40%. These figures place into context the Coalition's bellowing attack on the previous government for the size of our public debt.[Read More...]

07 April 2015

Scam means thousands were sold useless insurance by salesmen from Combined Insurance

Victim: Truck driver Riadh Zora was sold the wrong insurance cover.

When the two suit-wearing insurance agents knocked on his door in January 2013, Riadh Zora welcomed them into his Greenvale house.
"They looked very nice, so I let them in," says Mr Zora, an Assyrian immigrant who arrived in Australia in 1984 and supports his three children and wife by driving a truck 11 hours a day, six days a week.

The two salesman were from Combined Insurance, an insurance company that has operated since 1959 and which in 2008 was bought by giant US financial services firm ACE.[Read More...]

06 April 2015
by John Passant

Reclaiming (white) Australia and the fascists

It is clear fascists were involved in the racist Reclaim (White) Australia rallies on Easter Saturday across Australia. There are lots of photos of Nazis present at the rallies, including the one above.

This is not a one off. There are many other similar images of tattooed skin heads and beer drinking middle aged angry men to suggest a significant Nazi presence at the rallies. Obviously not all of them got the message to leave their Nazi paraphernalia at home and some didn’t understand this might mean covering up fascist tattoos as well as not bringing swastika flags to the rallies or giving Heil Hitler salutes.[Read More...]

06 April 2015
by Alan Austin

Abbott’s senior public servants expose his incompetence and lies

Official internal data on the Abbott Government’s performance half-way into its first term is highly disturbing. Alan Austin reports.

AUSTRALIA was well-managed from 2007 to 2013. Now, in contrast, many economic and social indicators are deteriorating badly.

Those two claims are not from the Abbott Government’s hostile opponents. They are derived from the Government's own publications.

Virtually all recent periodical reports have revealed the abject failure of this Government to match the performance of its predecessor — despite much more benign global conditions. They confirm breaches of many pre-election commitments.[Read More...]

06 April 2015

Rupert Murdoch's US empire siphons $4.5 billion from Australian business virtually tax-free

Rupert Murdoch's media empire in the US has siphoned off $4.5 billion of cash and shares from his Australian media businesses in the past two years, virtually tax free.

According to calculations by University of NSW accounting academic, Jeffrey Knapp, over the past 10 years, Mr Murdoch's companies here have paid income tax equivalent to a rate of 4.8 per cent on $6.8 billion in operating cash flows, or just 10 per cent of operating profits.[Read More...]

Easter Break Fri - Mon : Happy Easter Everyone!!!

02 April 2015
by Michael Taylor

Imagine the uproar if the government shut down the water supply to a ‘white’ community

How quickly things change.
In the 1990s the government’s National Homelands Policy encouraged Indigenous Australians to return to their traditional lands where they could live in an environment that provided them with their social and spiritual needs. All that the government expected was that they had secure tenure over this land, that this homeland was their principal place of residence, that support from resource agencies was available, and most important, that the homeland had a permanent supply of water.[Read More...]

02 April 2015
by Jennifer Wilson

If you can’t deal with vulnerability you’ve no business being in government

If there’s one single characteristic that defines the Abbott government, and increasingly the ALP opposition, it’s their utter lack of care for people who are in some way vulnerable.

One might once have been tempted to use the phrase “lack of compassion” but it’s been rendered almost meaningless through overuse, and besides, in the current political discourse the word “compassion” carries negative value, being framed as a weakness unless directed towards victims of plane crashes, and hostages. Almost everyone else faced with difficult circumstances is implicitly blamed for finding themselves in them, denied care, and all too frequently punished.[Read More...]

02 April 2015

The Pharmacy Guild: the most powerful lobby group you've never heard of

There's always been a fear that if they ran a campaign they could bring a government down

I was in my early 20s, my first year of full-time journalism, and had been assigned a task well above my pay grade: to uncover the 10 most powerful lobbyists in Australia.
At the end of each phone call, I would ask: is there anyone else I should look at?

When the first person said the Pharmacy Guild, I ignored them. How powerful could chemists be, I sniffed. Pretty small stuff, surely, compared to the miners and the gambling industry. To tell the truth, I'd never heard of the guild before[Read More...]

01 April 2015
by Tim Colebatch

Simpler, fairer and easier to comply with: the tax option with bravery added

Can the Coalition – and Labor and the Greens – rise to the challenge of tax reform?

Tax reform is not for the faint of heart. Any government that takes it on seriously deserves praise for courage. But as the Rudd and Gillard governments showed, courage is prone to desert you under fire, and in any case, successful tax reform requires a lot more than courage.[Read More...]

01 April 2015

Big business took $25 billion in tax relief in 2014, Tax Office figures show

Australian Tax Office data shows the nation's top 900 companies paid an effective tax rate of 19.3 per cent.

Australia's biggest 900 companies claimed tax deductions and exemptions worth a total $25 billion last year – enough to wipe out two-thirds of the current federal budget deficit at a stroke.[Read More...]

01 April 2015

Nauru abuse goes further than the Moss review

Sex with under-age detainees and pressure to cover up abuse show Nauru’s dysfunction goes well beyond the Moss review.

Humidity is always trapped beneath the vinyl canvas tents. A thick and hateful thing, unrelieved by halting airconditioners, or untouched by them at all. And trapped beneath these tents are men, women and children ensnared in a wicked environment.[Read More...]