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January 2015 Articles have moved to the Archives

Click here to see them

February 2015

Read in 118 Countries

28 February 2015
by Alex McAuley,

Penalty rates and the right to rest and play

“If you don’t want to work on a weekend, fair enough, don’t work on a weekend. But if you do want to work on a weekend, and lots of people, particularly students, particularly young people, want to work on a weekend, you want the places to be open to provide jobs.”

– Tony Abbott, January 2015

Penalty rates are under sustained attack. The Business Council of Australia, representing some of the country’s biggest companies, has been issuing increasingly shrill demands for the rates to be cut or abolished.[Read More...]

28 February 2015

Back to the Seventies . . . Remember Social Security?

Do you remember the days when better systems were in place to help the unemployed? Loz Lawrey reflects on those better days, and where the system started to go wrong.

Ah, the seventies. Heady days of my youth. I remember them well. A healthy job market full of “opportunities” for those who wanted them, and a social security system which really was a safety net providing help to those who needed it and benefiting our broader society as well.[Read More...]

28 February 2015

World’s first grid-connected wave power station switched on in Australia

It also supplies zero-emission desalinated water.

The world’s first grid-connected wave power station has been activated off the coast of Western Australia (WA).

After more than a decade of testing and demonstrations, Australian company Carnegie Wave Energy has switched on a pilot project that has begun feeding wave-generated electricity into a local WA grid.[Read More...]

27 February 2015
by Everald Compton

The great Australian revolution

Back in October, I told friends in the Queensland Liberal National Party that they would lose the election they faced in 2015. They looked at me kindly and quietly wondered whether the first signs of dementia were emerging.

I spelled-out the reasons for my forecast. Too many bad political calls, some of them being very politically naïve. I said these issues would lose them 25 seats, but still leave them with a comfortable majority in normal circumstances.
But, the circumstances were not normal.
[Read More...]

26 February 2015
by Tess Lawrence

Tim Wilson already promised Gillian Triggs' job

Trusted sources have stated to me that Wilson was actually promised the presidency several years ago as an inducement to leave his role as a director of the Institute of Public Affairs, often described as a conservative think tank by some, a non-think tank by others.

That promise was also allegedly more recently affirmed in secret discussions held at the behest of the Attorney General George Brandis, himself acting on direct instruction from besieged Prime Minister Tony Abbott.[Read More...]

26 February 2015

An aggressive Tony Abbott fuels campaign against himself

Tony Abbott wants the corrosive leadership chatter eating away at his authority to go away.

But it is Abbott who is feeding the insurrection with aggressive ill-judged performances that reveal a leader incapable of change, and determined not to listen.[Read More...]

26 February 2015
by Brittany Ruppert

'Abbottsolutely hopeless' poster hits Chippendale

Tony Abbott 'hopeless' poster at a service station on Regent St, Chippendale.

It is inspired by an iconic image of "hope", but represents the exact opposite: the "hopeless" Abbott government.
Fed-up with a federal government he describes as "inept and uncaring", Mr Agzarian decided to put more than $3000 of his own money towards "making a statement".[Read More...]

25 February 2015


By Smelly Tongues - A writer of ignominious distinction

So said former Prime Minister Julia Gillard to a murmuration of dodgy “journalists” some time back, when said “journalists” had been doing little else but for the duration of her reign. Crap about her past, crap about her partner, crap about her wardrobe, crap about crap, a whole lotta crap, and fuck all substance.[Read More...]

25 February 2015
by Benji Hillier

Terrorists aren’t the real threat

‘We pledge to keep our country as safe and secure as we humanly can … I give you this assurance: As a country, we won’t let evil people exploit our freedom.”

Listening to Tony Abbott’s 14 February national address, the precursor to today’s national security statement, I couldn’t help but be reminded of an earlier, greater, more solemn and defining pledge.[Read More...]

25 February 2015
by Kaye Lee

The lioness vs the weasel

Since I began writing for AIMN I have tried to present facts and ideas but there comes a time when you just have to say FUCK OFF YOU TURKEY.

The treatment of Gillian Triggs by Abbott and Brandis is the straw that broke this camel’s back. How dare they.

For the chair of the Senate Committee, Ian MacDonald, the man who wore a coal mining shirt into Parliament, to say he “didn’t bother” reading the report on children in detention is indicative of the government we must endure.[Read More...]

25 February 2015

Labor refers offer to find another job for Gillian Triggs to federal police

George Brandis and Gillian Triggs during a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday.

The Abbott government has been accused of breaching the criminal code by offering Gillian Triggs an incentive to resign as president of the Human Rights Commission.

It came after both Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis stepped up their attacks on Professor Triggs, accusing her of orchestrating a political stitch-up and losing the confidence of the Australian people.[Read More...]

25 February 2015

Studies linking fluoride in water to health issues prompt Australian review

Have the health benefits of fluoride in drinking water been overstated?

Australian health authorities are reviewing the case for fluoride in drinking water amid concerns scientific evidence supporting the benefits and risks to people's health may have shifted.[Read More...]

24 February 2015

Telcos face mass SIM card recall after spy agencies' encryption hack revealed

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone may be forced to order the recall of potentially millions of mobile phone SIM cards after it was revealed that US and British spy agencies stole encryption keys that secured personal information, including calls and texts, on the chips.[Read More...]

24 February 2015

Seven ministers put Tony Abbott on notice

Seven ministers who voted for Tony Abbott in the failed spill motion are now prepared to help remove the Prime Minister if he cannot revive the government's fortunes and recover his position in the polls.

The ministers have discussed the timing of any potential move on the Prime Minister, and favour waiting until June – after next month's NSW state election and the May budget.[Read More...]

24 February 2015

Dramatic split in PM's power base over finances and Credlin, leaked emails reveal

A dispute about the Liberal Party's finances has caused a split in Tony Abbott's inner circle, with the party's federal treasurer threatening to resign over transparency issues and alleged conflicts of interest involving the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Peta Credlin, and her husband, federal director Brian Loughnane.[Read More...]

23 February 2015

Honey-on-tap beehive a crowd-funding success for father and son team

The Andersons and their Flow beekeeping system.

A father and son duo from northern NSW who invented a backyard beehive system to deliver honey on-tap have raised US$1million in less than three hours via a crowd-sourcing website to fund their first production run.[Read More...]

23 February 2015

Indonesian heroin smugglers ready to walk free while Chan and Sukumaran face death penalty

The freight ship Uniana, which was used to transport 390 kilograms of heroin from south-east Asia to Port Macquarie.

In two years' time, a big-time Indonesian heroin smuggler will become eligible for parole in the Australian prison system. If it is granted, he'll be taken to the airport and flown back home to his family.

Unlike the Australian pair, they were lucky to have been caught by the Australian police, not by those in Bali.[Read More...]

23 February 2015
by Yale Stephens


THE PERFECT POLITICAL STORM swirling around the Liberal Party risks engulfing a third state government, with a new Galaxy poll in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph showing an 11% swing against Mike Baird’s administration; the figures put the state Coalition at grave risk of falling into minority status — or worse — and will raise fresh questions around the adverse impact of the Abbott government on the fortunes of the Liberals across the country.[Read More...]

23 February 2015
by Jennifer Morohasy

Cyclonic inflation

I was concerned when I heard late last Thursday that a category 5 cyclone was heading straight for Yeppoon in central Queensland. I have a house there, on a ridge just two streets from Lammermoor Beach. Category 5 cyclones have wind speeds in excess of 200 km/h, with strongest gusts exceeding 279 km/h. They typically leave a trail of absolute destruction.

As it turned out, tropical cyclone Marcia made landfall further north, just after passing over Middle Percy Island. My house is still standing, the bananas in the front yard now all leaning badly.

There is a weather station on Middle Percy, and it recorded a top wind speed of 156 km/h, the strongest gust was 208 km/h, and the lowest central pressure was 972 hPa. This raw observational data is available at the Bureau's website and indicates a category 3 cyclone.[Read More...]

23 February 2015
by Mark Kenny

Sydney siege report: Biggest question left unanswered in review

NSW Police Commissioner Scipione addresses the media after the release of the Sydney siege report.

The public, and more particularly the families of the victims of the Martin Place siege, are being asked to accept at face value the conclusion that the authorities whose job it is to see danger coming, acted at all times correctly - that each decision, when viewed on its own, was justifiable.

It is an assertion that holds up a lot better if the tragic outcome of those decisions is ignored.[Read More...]

23 February 2015

If You Think World Politics Are Not Connected...

UK and Australian Liberal Emblems

Spot the difference - are the UK Tories taking lessons from 2004 Australian election? The Conservatives’ election strategist, accused of recycling ideas from campaign for Australian Liberal party in 2004

The UK is only a couple of months into the general election campaign, but political parties are already scraping the barrel for ideas.

Keen-eyed politicos, reports the Independent, have spotted that a Conservative attack advert released in January bears a striking resemblance to one from the Australian general election10 years ago.[Read More...]

21 February 2015
by Kaye Lee

No courage, no vision, no plan

In 1946, after World War II, gross debt in Australia peaked at 120% of GDP. Despite this, in 1949, the government of the day had the courage and foresight to embark on the largest construction project undertaken in Australia, the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme.

The Scheme cost $1.16 billion and was completed in 1974. By then, gross debt had declined to around 8 per cent of GDP.[Read More...]

21 February 2015
by Paul Bongiorno

Tony Abbott's foul-mouthed fury at whip Philip Ruddock

Some months ago there was an ugly confrontation between Ruddock, parliament’s longest-serving member, and the PM. It ended in acrimony, with a prime ministerial “get fucked” adding colour. The topic was the long-time politician’s post-parliament job prospects. Abbott shocked his interlocutor by giving him rude short shrift.

Sacked chief government whip Philip Ruddock says it’s unhelpful to discuss what led to his demise. But his prime minister linked it directly to his near-death experience at the hands of his party room. A closer look shows the paranoia driving everything Tony Abbott is doing in his dangerously weak state.[Read More...]

20 February 2015
by Binoy Kampmark

David Hicks and the death of a legal system

David Hicks

In the annals of obscene legal history, that of David Hicks, whose terrorism conviction was just quashed by the United States Court of Military Commission Review, must rank highly. It is also instructive on various levels: what is says about his treatment by the US legal system; and what it reveals about the attitudes of the Australian government.

Australians tend to demonise or sanctify their legal villains, casting a social net around them that either protects, or asphyxiates them. If one is an Irish scribbling horse thief with murderous tendencies and eccentric battle dress sense, then one is bound to get a spot in the hero's pantheon. The book collecting, education promoting judge who sentenced him to death receives the opposite treatment: snubbed by the juggernaut of historical folklore.[Read More...]

20 February 2015

Meta data and the effects of surveillance

The government’s controversial meta data laws would have them presume all its citizens to be guilty until proven innocent, and demand that we relinquish our individual privacy for the government’s perception of the common good.

Proposed mandatory data retention legislation might well see citizens regressing to cold war practices of leaving notes in hollowed-out trees and chalk marks on park benches, in an effort to escape the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies.[Read More...]

20 February 2015

Abbott's Tough Talk Undid The Good Work

Fears Tony Abbott has damaged Bali nine diplomacy

Some of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's senior colleagues are concerned that his tough talk with Indonesia may have undermined a carefully crafted strategy to save the lives of two Australians on death row.[Read More...]

18 February 2015
by Brian Martin

Leaking in the public interest

Whistleblowers make an amazing contribution to society. They speak out in the public interest about corruption, abuse and hazards to the public, drawing attention to problems that need fixing. But they often suffer reprisals, paying an enormous penalty for their valuable efforts. I now recommend leaking whenever possible.[Read More...]

18 February 2015
by Brian Murphy

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64? 74? 84?

I am going to Canberra next Tuesday 24th and Wed 25th February to stand in front of Parliament House and ask those very questions on the behalf of my generation.

I haven't demonstrated since the Vietnam War but I feel the need to now as I am concerned about our future based on my situation.

You see for the last 17 years through community presentations, through government departments like Centrelink and through media releases like this on the BabyBoomer web site BONZA, I have preached the message based on the Intergenerational Reports of 2002, 2007 and 2010 that we should plan for our futures and make ourselves financially independent as possible because we will live longer and may not be able to rely on welfare to look after us until our demise.[Read More...]

18 February 2015

Corporations Want To Profit From Global Health Using TISA & The TPP

Is this the beginning of Globalised Service Industries?

I recently wrote about the TPP and now I think it’s time that we take a look at the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). It’s a services-only free trade agreement (FTA) that began in 2012 with exploratory discussions between Australia, US and the European Union (EU) for a year and with formal discussions beginning in early 2013. Australia, US and the EU take it in turns to chair the negotiations in Geneva. The services sector accounts for around 70% of Australia’s economic activity and accounts for around 17% of Australia’s total exports. Current countries negotiating the TiSA are Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, The European Union (representing its 28 Member States), Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States. These countries also account for around 70% of global trade in services. China and Uruguay have expressed interest but have yet to be invited, it’s also worth mentioning that the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) bloc have not been invited.[Read More...]

16 February 2015

The strange case of the smiling car salesman and the trillion dollar deficit.

Not content spewing forth the ubiquitous puerile bovine excretum from the pages of Labor’s debt and deficit disaster and other mandatory slogans, Treasurer Joe Hockey last week apparently took complete leave of his senses, going off-script and announcing to the world that Australia would soon face a trillion dollar deficit. That’s right, $1 trillion. By 2037, based on our current debt trajectory, we will owe one thousand billion dollars.[Read More...]

16 February 2015

Bali nine death sentence judges 'asked for bribes' for a lighter sentence: new claim

The six judges who handed down the death penalty to the Bali nine pair on death row offered to give them a lighter sentence in exchange for money, the men's Indonesian legal team allege.

The sensational allegation is contained in a letter sent by the legal team of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to Indonesia's judicial committee, claiming there had been a breach of ethics.[Read More...]

15 February 2015

US Navy ships look to establish Darwin military base, but China won't be happy, warns expert

US Navy Chief of Operations Admiral Jonathon Greenert speaking at Australian National University.

American warships could be stationed permanently in Darwin as part of the United States military's strategic plan in the region, but an expert warns that will not sit well with China.

US chief of navy operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, said the US was considering having a permanent naval base in Australia.[Read More...]

15 February 2015

Cruel and unnecessary deaths

Last year 630 Australians died as a result of Hepatitis C. More will die while the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee rejects calls to make treatment affordable.

Australians are dying cruel and unnecessary deaths since a federal advisory board rejected funding for breakthrough Hepatitis C (HCV) treatment, say health experts.[Read More...]

15 February 2015

Does Tony Abbott's war on the 'death cult': Keep Australians safe?

The way to keep people Australians safe is to develop a truly independent foreign policy and stop invading other countries.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in his condolence speech to the Australian Parliament and public hid from them the truth that Australian governments, past and present, had participated in illegal invasions of sovereign Islamic nations. These invasions have many serious results, including the deaths of huge numbers of hapless people (combatants and non-combatants), destruction and pollution (chemical and depleted uranium), regional instability, a weakened world economy, millions of internally and externally displaced people, unresolved regional political consequences, destroyed economies and the theft of resources by the invaders.
The way to keep people Australians safe is to develop a truly independent foreign policy and stop invading other countries.[Read More...]

15 February 2015

Australia's imminent TPP disaster: Crowning corporations

The controvsial top-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership is due to be signed very soon and is likely to have negative impacts upon many areas of ordinary Australian's lives without any financial gain whatsoever, writes Dr Matthew Mitchell.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a global trade agreement being pushed by the United States onto nations around the Pacific. What is so disturbing about the TPP compared with other trade agreements is that it covers so many areas. Its breadth means it will affect many aspects not only of Australian business, but also of everyday Australian life.[Read More...]

14 February 2015

Adverse reaction to anti-vaccination campaigners

As the states toughen up vaccination regulations, anti-vaxxers claim their rights as parents are being denied.

It has been tough going for the anti-vaccine movement these past few weeks. They’ve been copping it in the United States, where unvaccinated measles carriers have helped spread an outbreak of the virus at Disneyland right across the country. They’ve been copping it in Australia, too, where a vigorous public campaign has successfully pressured American anti-immunisation advocate Dr Sherri Tenpenny into abandoning plans for a series of seminars here. And to top it all off, they’ve been copping it from the Victorian government, which in mid-January announced plans to introduce by 2016 “no jab, no play” laws, similar to the New South Wales regulations implemented last year.[Read More...]

14 February 2015

Julie Bishop’s long play moves to old mate Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop in parliament, Monday.

Julie Bishop finds herself in a unique position: pointedly wedged between two rivals and ready to decide the future of both.

When Julie Bishop cast her vote in the secret ballot on the Liberal leadership spill, she took a precaution to protect herself against any challenge to her loyalty.

The party’s perennial deputy leader made a note of the number inscribed on her ballot paper, so she could retrieve it, if necessary, to prove she had voted as promised. In the climate of distrust that surrounded the spill motion on Monday morning, it was a smart move.[Read More...]

14 February 2015

Coalition elder statesman Philip Ruddock axed as Chief Whip following Liberal Party spill attempt

Philip Ruddock (right) departs Monday's Liberal party room meeting to announce the result.

Tony Abbott's Chief Whip, Philip Ruddock, has been removed in the wake of Tony Abbott's near-death-experience in a spill attempt earlier this week.
He will be replaced by Queensland LNP MP Scott Buchholz.

The dramatic development appears to be part of the continuing fall-out from that ballot after eyebrows were raised when Mr Abbott's camp underestimated the pro-spill forces at 16 to 18 votes only to find they had more than twice that at 39. In the end, the Prime Minister survived that proposed spill by an uncomfortably close margin of just a dozen votes.[Read More...]

13 February 2015
by John Kelly

Should the Senate Block Supply?

Was this week’s performance in and out of parliament what PM Tony Abbott meant when he told us “good government starts today”? How did it go?
Well, there are no changes in the PM’s office and he regards any questions about it as ‘impertinent’.

The government’s handling of the submarine policy was an utter shambles with Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews and others displaying confusion all over what is a tender, what is an evaluation, was there a promise for a vote, or wasn’t there.[Read More...]

13 February 2015

Abbott government senators prepared to cross floor over Racial Discrimination Act

Half a dozen of the Prime Minister's own senators are indicating they could cross the floor over proposed softening of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a rebellion in the Senate, with up to half a dozen of his own senators indicating they could cross the floor in favour of changing race hate laws.[Read More...]

13 February 2015

Counting the political numbers

This week the Abbott Government looked exactly like the Rudd-Gillard Labor Government. Leadership issues overtook all other domestic and foreign policy problems. The leadership of Tony Abbott was left fatally wounded after months of poor polling on the back of poor policy. While federal Liberal Party MPs and Senators focused on the spill numbers – as did all of the Australian media – few would have paused to think about how poor public policy got them in this mess. The 'captain's pick' problems were not at the heart of the Abbott Government's problems. Instead it has been 500 days of poor policy and even poorer communication about major policy shifts occurring in Australia. So for the Liberal Party this week it was all about the numbers, for voters for the last 500 days it is all about policy. This is the fundamental disconnect that is occurring in Australia today.[Read More...]

13 February 2015

Waiting for Malcolm

The Australian public is waiting for Malcolm, and so are a lot of serious problems.

Tony Abbott has been given a bit longer to prove even more conclusively he is simply not capable of being Prime Minister. Meanwhile the political world drifts along as we wait for Malcolm and the real game to begin. The ALP geniuses cheered at Abbott's survival but it would be in their interests to get Malcolm up as soon as possible so as to have the maximum time and this coming budget for their attacks.[Read More...]

13 February 2015

Abbott government rocked as unemployment hits highest rate since 2002

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament the jump in the jobless rate was "disappointing".

Australia's highest unemployment rate in over a decade has jolted the Australian economy, rocked the Abbott government, and increased the pressure on the Reserve Bank to orderyet another interest rate cut when it meets in coming months.

Australia's jobless rate jumped from 6.1 to 6.4 per cent in January making it the highest unemployment rate since 2002 and, with 800,000 people now officially out of work, the highest aggregate jobless number since 1994.[Read More...]

12 February 2015

Bill Shorten's leadership ballot under scrutiny after Sam Dastyari's office redirected papers

Senator Sam Dastyari's former employee Michael Buckland asked for ALP members' addresses to be altered.

The integrity of the vote that installed Bill Shorten as federal Labor leader is under scrutiny after an ALP tribunal found the mailing addresses for dozens of ballot papers were altered at the request of a staff member of senator Sam Dastyari.
The mailing addresses of at least 20 ALP members were changed to the home address or post office box of disgraced Auburn councillor Hicham Zraika, who has been suspended from the Labor party for six months after branch stacking charges were brought against him.[Read More...]

12 February 2015

US think tank asks 'Is Tony Abbott the most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy?'

Abbott 'a strikingly poor politician'
Tony Abbott seems to be the least competent leader of any rich democracy and appears unaware of how poorly he comes across at world events says Joshua Kurlantzick from US think tank Council on Foreign Relations.

A leading United States think tank has published a piece posing the question, "Is Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott the most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy?" and answering, quite comprehensively, in the affirmative.[Read More...]

12 February 2015

The rise and fall of Tony Abbott: The man from yesterday

So, Tony Abbott has survived the spill — but even having a spill seems to have truly mystified the PM, so how did it get so bad so quickly?

Well it all really started with the prime minister and his party completely misunderstanding why they were elected in the first place.[Read More...]

11 February 2015

Budget may never get back to surplus, says Joe Hockey

Treasurer Joe Hockey confesses that the Government's first budget may have been too ambitious and defends his performance amid claims he should be replaced.
So big is the hit to the budget from commodity prices and the measures held up in the Senate it may "never get back to surplus", Treasurer Joe Hockey has told the Coalition party room.

The embattled minister made the claim as an independent assessment of the damage to the budget since May put it at $46 billion to $56 billion.[Read More...]

11 February 2015

Anti-halal campaigner sued over claims Islamic certification supports terrorism

Kirralie Smith, who runs the website HalalChoices

New South Wales supreme court to hear case brought by head of Halal Certification Authority against Q Society and activist Kirralie Smith

A prominent anti-halal campaigner and the “Islam-critical” Q Society are being sued for defamation over their claims the Islamic certification industry is corrupt and funds “the push for sharia law in Australia”.[Read More...]

11 February 2015

Has privatisation passed its use-by date?

On Q&A last Monday, RBA board member Heather Ridout expressed her disappointment at the decision by the voters of Queensland to reject the Newman government’s privatisation plans.

Whether it has been noticed or not, that election result coupled with the recent elections in Victoria and Greece share a common denominator that may have far reaching ramifications for future governments all over the OECD world.[Read More...]

11 February 2015

Senator Sean Edwards gives bizarre interview about Tony Abbott's submarine promise

Senator Sean Edwards

South Australian senator Sean Edwards struggled to give a clear definition of changes to the submarine building contracts in an interview on Sky News.

The South Australian senator who said he had secured a commitment for an "open tender" to allow Australian ship builders to bid for work building the next fleet of submarines has deepened the confusion over what he was promised by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.[Read More...]

11 February 2015

LNP faces corruption inquiry call to gain Katter’s Australian party support

Rob Katter

Party’s demand comes after legal figures say Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission has been sidelined by the Newman government

Queensland’s Liberal National party, which has been accused of rendering the state’s anti-corruption watchdog toothless, may have to agree to an inquiry into government corruption to retain office.[Read More...]

10 February 2015
by John Kelly

What about the debt now?

The Government’s leadership question has been decided for the time being. The result of the spill motion to declare the leadership positions vacant failed 39 votes to 61.

Interesting result that. The 39 who voted for the spill were likely those who will lose their seats at the next election. When the rest of them see no improvement in the polls in the months ahead, this little wave will likely grow to something much larger as it crashes in to shore.[Read More...]

10 February 2015
by Peter Gibilisco

How is the peak body for people with disabilities to be funded?

According to the Liberal-National Government in Canberra, Australia is in such a bad economic position that we must question the affordability of just about everything and even reduce much needed Government services for Australia's most vulnerable citizens. They may say this is necessary but this Coalition seems never to have questioned whether they could afford the electoral cost of knighting Prince Phillip. Jokes aside, the Abbott Government has, in this mean Grinch-style action, just before the Christmas holidays, cuts $1.5 million in funding from Australia's national peak disability bodies that provide advocacy ahd other support.[Read More...]

10 February 2015

Tax Office knew about Australians channelling money into Swiss accounts

Elle Macpherson, one of several prominent Australians named as having held Swiss bank accounts.

The Tax Office has revealed it has investigated hundreds of Australians with Swiss bank accounts as a massive international data leak named prominent Australians, including late media baron Kerry Packer, model Elle Macpherson and former ANZ chairman Charles Goode, as having held accounts in the famous haven.

An International Consortium of Investigative Journalists investigation found that the Swiss arm of HSBC had almost 500 clients linked to Australia, with 856 accounts, and total combined holdings of about $US959.2 million ($1.24 billion).[Read More...]

09 February 2015

Prime Minister Tony Abbott avoids leadership spill

Tony Abbott has survived an attempt to remove him as Prime Minister, with Liberal MPs rejecting a push by rebel MPs to oust him by 61 votes to 39, which he likened to a "near death experience".

The result was announced by the government's Chief Whip Philip Ruddock, who told reporters gathered outside the Liberal party room that the Prime Minister was addressing his MPs after the vote.[Read More...]

09 February 2015

Who will build our submarines? The highest bidder, or the highest voter?

Collins Class submarine

Just who is going to build our submarines?

The Coalition entered the 2013 election committed to the Defence White Paper’s recommendation that 12 new submarines be built in South Australia.
The Defence White Paper, release
d by the former Labor government on May 3, 2013, said Australia’s existing Collins Class submarine fleet would be replaced with an expanded fleet of 12 conventional submarines. “The future submarines will be assembled in South Australia,” it said.[Read More...]

09 February 2015

The TPP: The dirtiest, most dangerous trade deal you've probably never heard of

The secretive Trans Pacific Partnership is reportedly close to being finalised, which is bad news for people who don't want to give away their rights and freedoms to multinational corporations.

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS from around the world have been meeting in New York to negotiate the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). It's a deal, so shrouded in secrecy, even our own Parliament doesn't know the details.[Read More...]

08 February 2015
by Andrew Darby

Tasmania to open south-west wilderness to tourists, logging

Lake Pedder from Mt Eliza, Southwest National Park, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

Tasmania's famous wilderness is up for grabs under a new contentious state government proposal for the south-west.

What part of the state are we talking about?
Shaped by past glaciers, home to amazing plants and animals and tracked only by foot, Tasmania's south-west quarter is one of Australia's wildest places. Tasmania's parks service claims the area it manages is "one of the last true wilderness regions on Earth and encompasses a greater range of natural and cultural values than any other region on Earth". Environmental campaigning led to it first being inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1982, and it has been extended in size four times since.[Read More...]

07 February 2015
by David Donovan

Australia: The Upside Down Land

It is not for nothing that Australia is called the Land Down Under, because the way we run things here ‒ in politics and the media ‒ is always contrary to expectations, done backwards, reversed, or turned upside down and put back on its head.

I had a vivid personal demonstration of this recently, when I went to interview a senior Queensland politician, Shakin' Ray Stevens, outside a polling booth about a potentially serious conflict of interest.

Instead of answering my reasonable questions, he decided to remain mute, yet wave his arms around, make "duck quack hands" in my face and mime slapping me. It seems he thought he wasn’t being filmed (as if that would be any excuse) even though I had stood in front of him openly filming interviews with his fellow candidates for five minutes before I went to speak to him[Read More...]

07 February 2015

Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan to be executed this month

Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan will be executed this month, Indonesia's foreign affairs spokesman has confirmed.

"Yesterday afternoon we received notification from the Bali prosecutor's office that the execution of the two Australian males will be held in February," Arrmanatha Nasir told Fairfax Media. "We forwarded this to the Australian embassy."[Read More...]

07 February 2015
by Sophie Morris

Malcolm Turnbull awaits the leadership

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull is in pole position to replace the prime minister. But how has he overcome doubts within the Coalition?

It was only last week, after months of disciplined teamwork, that Turnbull strayed from the script. Deep in a 5000-word speech on the future of the Asia-Pacific, delivered in the United States, he embedded his reflections on leadership.[Read More...]

06 February 2015

Shenhua coal project may undermine Baird's electoral chances

Traditionally conservative voters, Liverpool Plains farmers are rebelling against Baird Liberal Government's moves to mine one of Australia's most fertile areas of farmland. Approval of the Shenhua coal mine in the verdant farmland of NSW's Liverpool Plains may be the last fatal miscalculation of the Baird Government.

IN THE north-west of NSW another mining versus everyone else storm is growing. The Baird Government has approved a new, large, coal mine, to be built in the centre of NSW’s most productive farmland, on the fabulously rich black soil of the Liverpool Plains.[Read More...]

06 February 2015

Abbott, Murdoch, Credlin and the point of no return

Tony Abbott is on the ropes

Tony Abbott crossed the line last week and his brief reign as Australia's prime minister is about to end.
Until now if anybody asked who was the worst prime minister Australia ever had, most would say Billy McMahon.

Now Abbott's name will appear in Australia's history as the leader who could not lead; a man who is untrustworthy, unreliable and dishonest; who shamed himself and the country he should never have been allowed to lead because he was totally unqualified by birth and by incompetence.[Read More...]

06 February 2015

Malcolm Turnbull confronts Tony Abbott in secret meeting

Turnbull answers questions at The Dam Hotel in Warnervale on the central coast.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull directly confronted Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a crunch meeting about the government's woes before Wednesday's cabinet meeting.[Read More...]

06 February 2015

Eddie Obeid forced to surrender passport by Supreme Court

Passport surrendered: Eddie Obeid arrives at the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday.

Corrupt former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid has been ordered to surrender his passport and not to contact the Crown's star witness after a Supreme Court judge overturned an earlier decision.

Justice David Davies said on Thursday that the "only way" to mitigate concerns Mr Obeid may travel to Lebanon and not return was to order that he hand over his passport to the Director of Public Prosecutions.[Read More...]

05 February 2015
by Sean Stinson

#LibSpill and the shifting middle ground of aussie politics.

Politics is by nature adversarial. For all the noble talk of compromise, it is not about consensus, but conflict. It’s not about finding a point of balance, rather a push toward ideological extremes. In a two party system such as ours you can think of this dynamic as being something like a see-saw. After reading Paul Dellit’s excellent synopsis of the last 20 years in Australian politics, I got to thinking about the tendency of political parties to assume antipodal positions, and how they construct each other as they dance around a slippery middle ground. It is this idea of the middle ground which I’d like to further explore here.[Read More...]

05 February 2015
by Peter Coates

Australia: Submarines and the future junior ally of Japan

As the political reputation of our Prime Minister, currently Tony Abbott, plummets, some of his more outlandish foreign policy ideas are being seen for what they are. This article doesn't raise the bright ideas of rushing Australian troops to Ukraine, to hold back Russian tanks, or to the Middle East, to wait for an invitation for the first two months, but the policy of buying into an alliance with Japan.[Read More...]

05 February 2015

Joe Hockey breaches Charter of Budget Honesty

Treasurer Joe Hockey has breached the Charter of Budget Honesty by failing to publish the latest Intergenerational Report on time.

In a further sign the government is distracted by internal chaos, the Treasurer has not met the timeframe to publish the report within five years of the last one, despite a legislated requirement to do so.[Read More...]

05 February 2015
by Peter Mares

Scott Morrison’s unfinished business

As immigration minister, Scott Morrison set in train three major legislative amendments that increase ministerial discretion and reduce transparency and accountability. The impact on individual lives could be profound, but many of the changes have already become law with little public debate

Just after midnight on Friday 5 December, during the final parliamentary sitting of 2014, the Senate passed a bill that takes us back to the future. At a stroke, refugees who arrive in Australia by boat will once again be given Howard-style three-year temporary protection visas.[Read More...]

04 February 2015

File-sharing site The Pirate Bay back online with reports of 'staff' rifts

A collective sigh of relief could be heard among pirates across the seas as the world's most notorious file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay, began functioning again on Saturday after nearly two months of down-time.

Swedish authorities shut down the site, which allows users to search for torrent files to access content such as movies and music through peer-to-peer platform BitTorrent, on December 9 during a raid on its servers on the outskirts of Stockholm.[Read More...]

04 February 2015
by Richard Denniss

Why was Newman handing out billions to an Indian coal mining company that didn't need it?

The Newman government was handing an Indian billionaire billions of dollars of taxpayer money for literally – literally – no reason.

During the recent state election, both the LNP and Labor in Queensland broadly supported the Carmichael coal project by Indian mining giant Adani. The key difference was whether they were expecting the taxpayer to support it as well.[Read More...]

03 February 2015
by Graham Young

Accidents do happen, if you let them

If Annastacia Palaszczuk becomes premier of Queensland, it will be a colossal accident, but one engineered by the ALP and facilitated by the LNP.
It's also a result the federal Liberals ought to study closely.[Read More...]

03 February 2015
by Syd Hickman

Why Australian politics has become so bad

The decline of Tony Abbott should not be a surprise. But the fact that leadership change within major parties is now an annual event shows the entire political establishment to be out of touch with the Australian public. The simple reason for the horrors of current politics is that so few smart people want to play the game any more.[Read More...]

03 February 2015
by Hannah Paine

The new Frank Gehry UTS building is breathtaking, but it was a Christopher Pyne remark at its opening that drew audible gasps

'The most beautiful squashed brown paper bag ever seen'

The Education Minister drew audible gasps at the opening of the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at UTS when he launched a spirited defence of his government's embattled higher education reform.

"The wonderful thing about this building is that it shouts out that the University of Technology Sydney is in the race for higher education - that it is a real competitor and that it is not content to sit back and receive large government support," he said.[Read More...]

02 February 2015
by James Corbett

Meet the BRICS “New Development Bank”

Last week we attempted to dispel some of the confusion surrounding the World Bank and the IMF, how the two are differentiated, and what the World Bank actually does. (see: So What Does The World Bank Do Exactly?)[Read More...]

02 February 2015
by Leong Ng

Skeletons galore: some victims of health regulation dysfunction

With the opaque changes in Medicare reimbursement regulations being suddenly redacted, another co-payment plan looming for July and a furphy being exposed, Dr Leong Ng calls for a Royal Commission on behalf of Australian doctors who have suffered human rights abuses.[Read More...]

02 February 2015
by Thom Mitchell and Chris Graham

National Disgrace: CFMEU Forces Govt To Investigate $4 An Hour Foreign Workers

The Bomaderry Ethanol Plant, part of the Manildra Group of companies

And you thought Workchoices was bad. Be grateful you’re not a foreign worker doing construction for a company run by a BRW 200 Rich Lister.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has forced the federal government to investigate claims foreign workers at an ethanol plant on the NSW South Coast have been working up to seven days a week for as little as $4 an hour, while living in “cramped and degrading conditions”.[Read More...]

02 February 2015
by Chris Graham

10 Reasons Why Mal Brough Will Never Be Prime Minister

The rise and fall of Campbell Newman has been punctuated by the ambition of Mal Brough. Quelle surprise.
Last week, First Dog On The Moon declared that cartooning was dead. Tony Abbott had somehow done the impossible – he’d, gasp, transcended satire.
Hold the phone First Dog – satire may be dead under Tony Abbott, but if Mal Brough, the Member for Fisher, has his way it will come rocketing back into the charts.[Read More...]

01 February 2015
by Michael Gordon

Tony Abbott becoming Liberal wrecking ball

Tony Abbott has a new title and it sure ain't a knighthood. He is now the Liberal Party's wrecking ball, leaving a trail of destruction across the nation.[Read More...]

01 February 2015
by Eamonn Duff

Undercover sex spy sacked for protecting illegal worker

"I'm not as young as I used to be": A middle-aged private investigator hired to gather evidence against illegal brothels.

A private investigator who gets paid by councils to have undercover sex inside illegal brothels has been fired after withholding information about a prostitute whom he met on a job.[Read More...]