May articles have moved to the Archives
Click here to see them

June 2015

Read in 143 Countries

29 June 2015

Is Bill Shorten The Man?

As much as Tony Abbott deserves to lose the next election, are we sure that Bill Shorten is the person to replace him as PM? This video points out a few facts... [Watch Video Here...]

19 June 2015
by Bem Eltham

Winter Is Coming; For Bill Shorten

As the polies and journalists celebrated in Canberra last night, Bill Shorten was putting on a brave face. Yet if he fails to shift the national conversation, his last dance as party leader won't be far off.

The Midwinter Ball was held in Parliament’s Great Hall last night.
The event raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity and allowed some hard-working politicians and staffers a rare chance to let their hair down and dance the night away. Jessica Mauboy provided the entertainment. [Read More...]

16 June 2015
by Peter Wicks

Welcome To The Terrordome – Terror not an issue as armed men in balaclavas roam Victoria

We live in a country with a government that claims to be tough on terror. Laws are being toughened up, our border protection set to DEFCON 4, and debate rages over whether government should have access to our META Data (if only we could find a politician to explain what it is).

Millions maybe Billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on surveillance based on concerns of the next Man Monis strolling in somewhere with a shotgun and seeking to strike fear into the hearts of our nation.

Whether or not this spend is justified, and how many of our freedoms we are willing to give up to protect those freedoms is a debate that will no doubt rage for years to come.

However are we really safer for any of it?
Is our security level really beefed up to a level we should be comfortable with? [Read More...]

16 June 2015
by David Leyonhjelm

Wind turbines and infrasound

Late last year a group of rural residents met me to discuss their concerns over wind farms in their communities. They came from several different areas and presented as sensible, down to earth people who you would be pleased to have as neighbours.

What I heard from them was a litany of planning ineptitude, government and industry indifference, and people becoming sick in homes they had lived in for decades.

I was so disturbed by this that I moved a motion in the Senate to establish a committee to inquire into the regulation and governance of wind farms. All Government and most crossbench senators supported my motion. [Read More...]

16 June 2015
by Kaye Lee

Take heed Mr Abbott

According to political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four key elements:

On that definition, we no longer live in a democracy. [Read More...]

15 June 2015

Voters drift away from Tony Abbott

Voters are again drifting away from Tony Abbott after a brief post-budget pause amid a worsening housing affordability crisis and the government's refusal to bend on popular social reforms such as same-sex marriage equality.

The Coalition's denial of the two issues in recent weeks has headlined a poll slump which if continued would feed tensions within the Liberal Party over policy and presentation, and could even see the leadership question revisited. [Read More...]

15 June 2015
by Sophie Vorrath

Abbott says RET policies designed to reduce 'visually awful' wind farms

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has launched an extraordinary attack on wind farms in Australia, accusing them of having health impacts and describing them as “visually awful” — echoing similar comments by his Treasurer a year ago.

In an interview with Radio 2GB’s Alan Jones, himself a vocal critic of wind farms, Abbott also directly contradicted the Coalition party line on the amendment to the renewable energy target — namely, that the new 33,000GWh number was not a reduction on the original 20 per cent by 2020 target, but an increase. [Read More...]

14 June 2015

Abbott's tax review process is 'infected' Federal Court judge says

A Federal Court judge has slammed the Abbott government for ruling out changes to negative gearing, superannuation concessions and GST as part of its tax review, saying the entire debate is politically infected and "handcuffed" from being able to achieve any useful reform.

Justice Richard Edmonds, who was appointed to the Federal Court under the Howard government in May 2005 and has previously been critical of the lack of political will by leaders to carry out tax reform, said the Abbott government's review will turn out to be just as useless as the former Labor government's attempts back in 2009. [Read More...]

14 June 2015

Veil of secrecy descending over foreign aid, experts warn

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Australia's multibillion-dollar foreign aid program is becoming increasingly secretive under the Abbott government, with experts warning it's getting harder to tell how taxpayers' money is being spent and what's being cut.

The government has cut $11.3 billion from the aid program since coming to office in 2013, slashing assistance to some of the world's poorest countries and leaving many long-running and successful programs in doubt.
And now it appears to be taking the axe to transparency too. [Read More...]

13 June 2015

Abbott's green light to people smugglers

By refusing to deny that his government paid people smugglers to take intercepted asylum seekers back to Indonesia, Tony Abbott has given a green light to the deadly trade he rightly despises.

The explanation for neither confirming nor denying this week's reports in Fairfax Media is that he doesn't want to give information "to our enemies" by commenting on operational matters. [Read More...]

13 June 2015
by Paul Bongiorno

Wagging The Watchdog

Governments never like to get bad news. In that, the Abbott government is no different to any of its predecessors. It excels in the old political sport of shooting the messenger. But it is one thing to target and even bully sections of the media; it is another altogether to undermine the safeguards and liberties that Australia rejoices in as a free nation.

A stark case in point is the unrelenting and vicious attacks on the president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs. Her initial crime was holding off an inquiry into the treatment of children in detention until after the September 2013 federal election. Even mild-mannered Liberals believe her failure to begin the investigation soon after the Gillard government appointed her in July 2012 betrays a Labor bias. They, like Prime Minister Tony Abbott, point out that the number of children in detention reached its peak of 2000 under the previous government. There has been a steady decline since, to about 200, although some suspect the incoming government sat on the commission’s report while the then minister, Scott Morrison, expedited the extraction of juveniles from behind the wire. [Read More...]

10 June 2015

Revealed: How the UN told Abbott government to back off on Gillian Triggs

President of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs.

The United Nations formally urged the Abbott government to stop attacking Gillian Triggs before Immigration Minister Peter Dutton branded her a "disgrace" and urged her to consider stepping down as president of the Human Rights Commission.

The UN's special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, issued the government with a "please explain" after Professor Triggs was subject to sustained criticism and a request to step down this year. [Read More...]

09 June 2015
by Alfred McCoy

The Geopolitics of American Global Decline:
Washington Versus China in the Twenty-First Century

For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are in the process of undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades. [Read More...]

09 June 2015
by Bob Ellis

The Liberals (cont...)

Abbott gave no knighthoods to anyone, having been advised by his masseuse Credlin not to give one to Pell, his confessor, until his many crimes against suicidal children had been ‘sorted by the courts’, nor to his friend Hollingworth, the paedophile protector, as ‘he had one already’. [Read More...]

09 June 2015
by John Passant

Gillian Triggs and the political criminals in Canberra

It says much about Australian politics that the Abbott government is attacking, yet again, Gillian Triggs, the head of Australia’s Human Rights Commission, for the ‘crime’ of doing her job.

Triggs pointed out that turning back asylum seeker boats to Indonesia might make it difficult to negotiate with the Indonesians about, for example, the abolition of the death penalty. This was part of a wider analysis about the erosion of human rights in Australia and the attempts to concentrate non-reviewable power (or only partially reviewable power) in the hands of Ministers. [Read More...]

09 June 2015
by Rayner Thwaites

Abbott Government misleads public over citizenship

The Abbott Government's discussion paper on citizenship misleads Australians about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT'S discussion paper on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship calls for a 'national conversation' on the issue. Unfortunately, the paper is akin to a push-polling exercise. It is both tendentious and misleading. [Read More...]

05 June 2015
by Sean Stinson

The Canberra Challenge: Is Abbott playing the long game?

What I find more curious than how a blundering twerp like Tony Abbott ever got to be prime minister of Australia is how anyone so clearly intellectually impoverished could score themselves a Rhodes scholarship in the first place.
He’s probably not the sharpest tool in the shed, but was it ever the case? One tinfoil hat theory purports that during the now infamous channel 7 interview which gave us the famous 28 seconds of awkward silence. [Read More...]

04 June 2015
by Renny Carter


If Australia was a business (it is) - it would be in receivership right now. No self respecting accountant type would let it trade while insolvent for another day. When everything that is coming in only covers the debt interest bill, it would be all over bar the shouting. I stood in one of the vast halls of a giant Australian motor vehicle manufacturing plant last week. A huge company that employed thousands and had done so for generations - well over 100 years. [Read More...]

04 June 2015
by Bob Ellis

The Liberals (cont...)

It has been pointed out that any Vietnam card-burner would lose his citizenship if the Dutton Law came in, even now.

Any anti-Vietnam demonstrator, in fact, and there were hundreds of thousands of them, showed that he or she was on the side of the Viet Cong ‘terrowrists’ and against ‘Australian values’ when those values included birthday-balloted conscripts coming home suffused with Agent Orange and having mutant children contentedly in the suburbs, like patriots. [Read More...]

03 June 2015

With Government Support, This Could Be NBN:
NewSat saga nears ending with satellite fire sale

NewSat is set to sell to a foreign player by early June as part of a $US200 million ($260 million) to $US250 million fire sale.

NewSat, the embattled Australia company that attempted to launch its own satellite, is set to see its assets sold to a foreign player by early June as part of a $US200 million ($260 million) to $US250 million fire sale. [Read More...]

02 June 2015
by Sarah Whyte

Children Kept in Detention for 5 Years

Ombudsman slams government for long detention rates

Asylum seekers, including mothers and their children, are spending nearly five years in Australian immigration detention facilities, as the time in detention has soared to one of the longest rates in the world.

The Commonwealth and Immigration Ombudsman has slammed the government for its prolonged detention of asylum seekers after finding children are being born, and remain, in detention facilities waiting for their families' claims of protection to be processed or for their security assessments to be cleared. [Read More...]

01 June 2015
by Bob Ellis

Abbott’s ‘Caligula Moment’

Thirty-seven backbenchers are openly in favour of Abbott revoking the citizenship of anyone he or Dutton declares is a friend of terrorists, and about four Ministers: Dutton, Abbott, Morrison, Cormann. The total, forty-one, argues fifty-three or fifty-five, a majority of the caucus, want Abbott gone. This figure is likely to expand.

Revoking someone’s citizenship, without a trial, a jury, a lawyer, a day in court, is like the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld process of ‘rendition’, sending problem citizens overseas and letting foreigners treat them as badly as they choose to, out of sight, out of mind, in Guantanamo, or Syria, or Kazakhstan. It is the exact opposite of what Julie Bishop did for Peter Greste, and for Chan and Sukumaran: try to rescue them from trouble overseas. Instead of rescuing them from trouble overseas, this policy pitches them directly into it. Anyone who is a ‘friend of terrorists’ can be treated in this way. In the past it could have been a supporter of Gerry Adams, or of Nelson Mandela, or Menachem Begin, or Brendan Behan. Applied retrospectively, it still could be. [Read More...]

01 June 2015
by Alan Austin

Professions end guilty silence on Abbott Government failures

Damage done to Australia’s resilient economy by the current inept prime minister and treasurer is now being exposed by corporations and the professions.

Business and the Professions remained mute through the first 18 months of incompetence and indecision by Tony Abbott’s Coalition regime. They are now openly expressing dismay and despair.

The latest shock to Australia’s once-lauded economy arrived in Thursday’s disastrous figures on capital expenditure – abbreviated to "capex" – from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Industry economists are now talking recession — unthinkable just a year ago. [Read More...]

01 June 2015
by David Donovan

Tony Abbott is almost certainly a British dual citizen — and so he can't be our PM

Tony Abbott is a dual citizen of Britain and Australia and thus ineligible to sit in Federal Parliament under s44 of the Australian Constitution. Almost certainly.
Let me explain why I finally reached this conclusion — just yesterday. [Read More...]

01 June 2015

Illegal sports piracy networks undercutting TV networks

Piracy is hitting legitimate TV sports operators hard.

International pirates are aiming to undercut Australia's local pay TV monopoly, Foxtel, and Sky Racing by tens of thousands of dollars a year through an elaborate global operation.

For the first time, rogue operators are ripping off the digital feeds for Sky Racing and Foxtel's channels – including Fox Footy – and selling them back to Australians for $17.99 a month.

This compares with Fox Footy and Sky Racing packages costing pubs and clubs almost $50,000 a year, while Foxtel's basic sports package costs general consumers $50 per month month. [Read More...]