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October 2015

Read in 147 Countries

30 October 2015
by James Dunn

Commercial investors flocking to Australia

The flood of capital across borders looking for commercial property shows no sign of abating, with $US407 billion ($561.4 billion) of deals struck worldwide during the first half of 2015, up 14 per cent, property agency CBRE says.

That made the first-half the strongest since 2007. And Australia was in the thick of it, as the fifth-most-popular market, with offshore investors snapping up $US10.3 billion worth of sales. CBRE says Sydney ranked fourth on the list of targeted cities behind London, New York and Paris, while Melbourne ranked sixth. [Read More...]

30 October 2015

'Piss poor management': ABC blasted for axing regional radio programs

ABC's regional radio programming will undergo a shakeup in 2016.

The ABC has infuriated Coalition MPs by axing its regional flagship 'Mornings' programs from next year's radio schedule and rejigging its local news broadcasts.

The ABC will instead extend the 'Breakfast' programs and introduce a new feature-based program, with the working title Local Life, to run from 10am to 11am. More local news bulletins will also be produced externally. [Read More...]

30 October 2015
by Lisa Murray

China warns Australia over naval standoff

A senior officer and military expert in the People's Liberation Army has warned Australia not to escalate tensions in the South China Sea by following the lead of the United States and beginning naval operations close to reefs claimed by Beijing.

Senior Colonel Li Jie, a military expert at the PLA, said Australia's involvement would "only bring trouble," and Canberra should not become involved. [Read More...]

29 October 2015
by Giles Parkinson

Wind and solar: Does Australia have a blind spot?

On Tuesday, in a press conference with Malcolm Turnbull to announce his appointment, the new chief scientist of Australia, Alan Finkel, said something very interesting.

“With enough storage we could do it in this country with solar and wind,”

By “doing it”, he meant making Australia’s energy system zero emissions. In other words, 100 per cent renewable. [Read More...]

29 October 2015
by BWB

Basics Card Parody

Centrelink's Basics Card, is income management by force. It is detested by all Newstart recipients. Here's a parody of the DVD given by Centrelink to all new basic card recipients. Warning: Strong Language

29 October 2015
by David Donovan

Coal comfort: The atomic emasculation of Malcolm Turnbull

Watching so-called "small el" Liberal Malcolm Turnbull pander to the antedeluvians in his own Party on the same progressive issues he previously championed is excruciating to watch.

Watching new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is excruciating — and I'm not just talking about his smug persona, ingratiating manner, or endless, oily condescension. [Read More...]

29 October 2015
by Latika Bourke

Australia to trial cloud passports in world-first move

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop with InnovationXchange staff.

Australia is looking at trialling passport-less travel in a move Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop predicts will go global.

The idea of cloud passports is the result of a hipster-style-hackathon held at the Department of Foreign Affairs, which culminated in an X-Factor style audition before the secretary Peter Varghese, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, Assistant Minister Steve Ciobo and Chris Vein from the World Bank. [Read More...]

28 October 2015
by Kaye Lee

Cheap-labour conservatives

Several years ago, US blogger Conceptual Guerilla coined a three word slogan that explains right wing ideology very succinctly – “cheap-labour conservatives”.

He agrees with Karl Marx that the fortunes of the corporate/capitalist elite depend on keeping the workers “over a barrel”.

Marx saw the conflict between those that own the means of production and those who sell their labour as crucial to the maintenance of capitalism. Its function is to create an obedient, docile, uncritical workforce who will work to support the upper-class’s lifestyle and the economy. [Read More...]

28 October 2015
by Tony Walker

Australia on board as US ups ante in China dispute

"Australia is not involved in the current US activity in the South China Sea," defence minister Marise Payne said in a statement.

Australia has responded judiciously to news the US navy has engaged in what is described as a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea to assert America's right to patrol in waters claimed by China as its sovereign territory. [Read More...]

23 October 2015
by ANR

ASIC destroys plans for modern 21st century style city in North West Australia

Australia was possibly set to have a new modern 21st century style city built in North Western Australia, but because of ASIC the billions planned for investment may now be lost to other countries.

The 21st Century Group was recently planning to announce plans for the building of a new modern 21st century city in North Western Australia.

The idea was first suggested in 2013 when one of Australia’s newest political parties announced the need for a new Dubai style city to be built in North Western Australia. It was featured in the political party’s blueprint of the top 25 policy ideas to move Australia into the 21st century. [Read More...]

23 October 2015
by Giles Parkinson

Fossil fuel giants still betting trillions on nothing changing

The multi-trillion dollar global fossil fuel industry continues to believe that nothing much will change, despite the push to lock in ambitious climate policies in Paris next month, and the emergence of new technologies that completely change the energy market.

A new report “Lost in Transition, How the energy sector is missing potential demand destruction” from the London-based Carbon Tracker Initiative points out that Big Oil, and Big Coal, want investors to back their multi-billion dollar projects on the basis of a false hope: that nothing will change. [Read More...]

23 October 2015
by James Massola

Richard Di Natale eyes cabinet post in future Labor-Greens government as Malcolm Turnbull brings him in from the cold

Potential minister in a Labor government? Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale at Parliament House on Thursday.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has declared he would "relish" the chance to serve as health minister in a future Labor-Greens coalition government, and suggested colleagues such as Larissa Waters could also serve in cabinet in charge of portfolios such as environment.

The ambition, revealed in an exclusive interview to mark Senator Di Natale's impending six month anniversary as leader, came as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met the Greens leader for the first time on Thursday, in a clear sign of the new Liberal Prime Minister's determination to reach out to the crossbench and advance his government's agenda. [Read More...]

23 October 2015
by John Passant

Turnbull on transparency: Shielding the rich and shrouding gulags in secrecy

PM Turnbull says he's keen on transparency but shields the rich from transparency on tax, shrouds our gulags in secrecy about atrocities in detention and tells us zip about his tax haven investments. Not good enough, says former Assistant Commissioner of Taxation John Passant.

Apparently, the Federal Government is keen on transparency. Malcolm Turnbull said so. However it is a funny type of government transparency that shrouds our gulags on Manus Island and Nauru in secrecy and threatens doctors and nurses with jail for revealing the truth about them. [Read More...]

23 October 2015
by Laura Tingle

Leaving with dignity but a legacy of which they will not speak

The prime minister warmly farewelled Joe Hockey from the House of Representatives on Wednesday in just 788 words, not one of which related to Hockey's time as treasurer.

Hockey's successor, Scott Morrison, warmly farewelled Hockey using 1068 words which included just two sentences about Hockey's time as treasurer, and these only related to things that happened overseas. [Read More...]

21 October 2015
by Jane Lee

Liberal senator Bill Heffernan says former prime minister a suspected paedophile

Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan.

Senator Heffernan used a Senate estimates committee hearing on Tuesday to discuss the list of 28 people, which he said formed part of police documents that had been "signed off" by Gary Crooke, QC, the former senior counsel assisting NSW's Wood royal commission into police corruption in the 1990s.

Many of the people on the list and otherwise named in the documents were "prominent", including a former prime minister, he said: "They were delivered to me by a police agency some time ago because no one seems to want to deal with them." [Read More...]

21 October 2015
by John Kehoe

Canada election result to be felt in Australia

Canadians voted a new centrist government to power and dispatched Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives after almost a decade of rule, in a transformation that will knock on to Australian politics and business.

The leader of the new Liberal government in waiting, Justin Trudeau, has pledged to take more aggressive action against climate change, scrutinise the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and terminate Canada's air bombing mission against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. [Read More...]

21 October 2015
by Tim Dodd

College gets $46m in government money for 5pc pass rate

A private college group which received $46 million last year from the federal government's student loan scheme, but whose students completed less than five units of study, is under investigation by the regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Data on the VET FEE-HELP loan scheme, released on Tuesday, shows that Cornerstone Investment Australia which operates two colleges, the Australian Institute of Commerce and Language and the Empower Institute, had enrolled 4262 students in 2014 who were assisted by VET FEE-HELP loans. But only 51 units of study were undertaken by students with a pass rate of 5 per cent. [Read More...]

20 October 2015
by Mike.B

Understanding Death

Jacky Sutton. (Photo: Hassan al-Ghezzi)

Jacky Sutton, the 'broke' woman who was found dead in a toilet at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on October 17 did not commit suicide because she had missed her connecting flight, as reported by Australian MSM. She was more than likely murdered for something she knew.

To understand this, one only has to look at her employment, why she was where she was at that time, and where she was heading. [Read More...]

20 October 2015
by John Kelly

Morrison’s Dilemma

Within a comparatively short space of time, we are starting to see our new Treasurer’s ‘modus operandi’ toward economic reform.

Scott Morrison’s recent claim that eight out of ten income tax payers fund our total welfare payments, is a poor attempt at shock therapy, not well thought through and in that horrible world of political comparisons, a dumb way to get the community onside. [Read More...]

20 October 2015
by Marl Ludlow

Rinehart mine would devastate groundwater, court told

A mine in central Queensland proposed by Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart would cause significant damage to groundwater and should not proceed, a court has heard.

After Indian energy giant Adani's $16.5 billion Carmichael mine was granted environmental approval by the federal government last week, environmental activists have now moved their focus to Adani's rivals, Indian company GVK and Hancock Coal. [Read More...]

20 October 2015
by RT

How the World is reporting Australian Refugee Detention

'He cut his stomach open to prove it's empty': Iraqi refugee fears death in Aussie detention center

Mohammad Albederee. © Facebook

An Iraqi migrant at Australia’s Manus Island refugee detention center who "cut his stomach open to prove there's nothing inside" says he may soon die of starvation.

Australian immigration officials stress Mohammad Albederee receives all the medical care he needs to get through the malnutrition he assigned himself. [Read More...]

19 October 2015
by Gary Morgan

Overwhelming majority of Australians support the right to strike

An overwhelming majority of Australians (83%) believe it should be legal for workers in private industry to strike – up a large 28% since June 1971. Now only 12% (down 21%) of Australians say it should not be legal for workers in private industry to strike and 5% (down 7%) can’t say according to a special telephone Morgan Poll conducted over three nights with 647 Australians aged 14+. [Read More...]

19 October 2015
by Gabriela Motroc

Vaccines and GMOs should be treated equally

Anti-vaccine and anti-GMO activists have one thing in common: they believe that people should embrace the natural and stay healthy without the “help” of vaccines or GMOs.

American writer Keith Kloor wrote in a 2014 article in Discover that it’s easy to find bad information about the safety of both GMOs and vaccines on the internet, but people tend to accept more the idea that vaccines are bad than the reality that there is no significant difference between the two. [Read More...]

19 October 2015
by John Passant

Close down Australia’s cities to save Abyan?

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have sent Abyan, the Somali woman raped on Nauru and now 14 weeks pregnant, back to the concentration camp there without any access to a counsellor, interpreter or solicitor, let alone a doctor while here in Australia.

Dutton and Turnbull claim she decided against an abortion. That is not what her solicitor or refugee advocates say. According to Tom Allard in the Sydney Morning Herald it is not what Abyan says. [Read More...]

18 October 2015
by Jane Goodall

Poverty in parliament

Three-word slogans flowed freely during question time this week.

The Turnbull government’s first full parliamentary week coincided with National Anti-Poverty week, and the synchronicities didn’t end there. On Monday, when Australia’s richest-ever prime minister took his seat at the despatch box, the Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Princeton’s Angus Deaton “for his analysis of consumption, poverty and welfare.”

By the end of the week, Labor was engaged in a misfired campaign against the offshore processing of Turnbull’s millions in the Cayman Islands, while new figures from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre in Perth showed that some 2.3 million households are living in poverty and more than 800,000 in severe financial stress. [Read More...]

18 October 2015
by John Passant

The PM is no ordinary taxpayer, which is why clarification is neeed

Two of the funds in which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has some of his million-dollar investments are incorporated in the Cayman Islands. They have their registered offices [ie, addresses] in Ugland House, George Town, Grand Cayman. This is a building with almost 19,000 other registered businesses and funds. As US President Barack Obama said in 2008, that must be one big building. Or one big scam.

Every tax avoider says the real reason they invest in these tax haven countries is for the good return, not the lack of tax. My guess is that the headquartering of the hedge funds in the Cayman Islands means that in fact it is other countries' tax that is avoided and this increases Turnbull's already high return. [Read More...]

18 October 2015
by Giles Parkinson

In Australia, both Coalition and Labor remain wedded to fossil fuels

The response to Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval of the massive Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin was as swift as it was damming.

The decision has appalled environmentalists and academics, and attracted the attention of international media, particularly in the context of the Paris climate talks, just weeks ago. [Read More...]

17 October 2015
by Phillip Coorey

Privatisation of government services an option, says Treasurer Scott Morrison

The Turnbull government is planning a new era of federal incentive payments designed to encourage the states to open up their social services to competition and help boost economic growth as the mining boom fades.

During Friday's meeting between federal and state Treasurers, the federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, as promised, put on the table recommendations from the Harper review into competition that suggests the states should open up the delivery of health and other human and social services to the private sector. [Read More...]

17 October 2015
by Lucille Keen

CFMEU and MUA to merge

A planned merger of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the Maritime Union of Australia merge, creating what is likely to be the most powerful and militant union in Australia, is a threat to jobs, productivity and the economy, the federal government said.

The deal between CFMEU national secretary Michael O'Connor and MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin was made public on Friday and will lead to all branches of the construction union being incorporated into the new left-wing entity covering about 100,000 workers. [Read More...]

16 October 2015
by Giles Parkinson

Solar fuels could be Australia’s biggest energy export

Australian developers are hoping to tap into the voracious demand for clean energy from the big north Asian economies, and create a “solar fuels” export industry at a scale many would have thought unimaginable.

Proponents such as Renewable Hydrogen’s Andrew Want are talking of the prospect of developing massive solar arrays in the Australian outback at a scale of “multiple tens” of gigawatts. [Read More...]

16 October 2015
by Ross Elliott

Old, poor and lonely: the other side of the ageing story

Much is being made of opportunities for retirement living and aged care due to our ageing population. For those who retire with a healthy balance sheet there are increasing choices within a fast evolving 'for profit' industry. But the reality for a majority will be ongoing dependence on the aged pension and insufficient government or non-profit places to accommodate them. [Read More...]

16 October 2015
by Suzanne Carbone

How a man born in Australia lost his citizenship and fears deportation to Ireland

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton may hold Daniel Smyth's future in his hands.

A man born in Australia who has a criminal history fears being deported and separated from his children after losing his citizenship because of an obscure provision in the Australian Citizenship Act.

Daniel Smyth, 44, a separated father of two children, aged 11 and 13, is fighting to win back his citizenship from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, headed by Minister Peter Dutton. [Read More...]

16 October 2015
by David Ramli

NBN plans to wire 9.5 million buildings by 2019

The national broadband network wants to start or complete internet upgrades for 9.5 million homes and businesses across Australia by the end of 2018 in a move that could force a future Labor government to complete the Coalition's version. [Read More...]

16 October 2015
by RT

US, China brace for stand-off over disputed islands sail-by as Aussies fence-sit

South China Sea

China may use force if the US proceeds with its plan to sail within 12 miles of a reclaimed island in the South China Sea. Australia, which previously supported the American plan, said it wouldn’t be part of it. “We wouldn’t participate in any surveillance or whatever other activities the United States might have talked about,” Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said on Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg. He was commenting on the Pentagon’s plan to test China’s resolve to protect the waters around its artificial islands. [Read More...]

15 October 2015
by Laura Tingle

Charting a new course on the submarine deal of the century

Whatever might have been happening within the upper echelons of the Abbott government in its dying days, down at Aussie's – the Parliament House coffee shop – there was a clear sign that it had reached some point of no return: you could get a table. Like the proverbial rats, the lobbyists had all disappeared.

During sitting weeks at Parliament House, lobbyists spruiking their wares are wont to occupy a table at Aussie's and stay for the rest of the day, using the spot as their Canberra office.

With the Turnbull team getting itself organised, the lobbyists were back with a vengeance this week. Waves of them. [Read More...]

15 October 2015
by Nicole Hasham

Adani Carmichael: Australia's largest coal mine free to proceed after Greg Hunt gives approval

Environment Minister Greg Hunt, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, announced on Thursday the mine would proceed.

The nation's largest coal mine has passed a significant hurdle after Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved it with "the strictest conditions in Australian history", in a decision environment groups have declared "a disaster". [Read More...]

12 October 2015
by David Leyonhjelm

Don't penalise the job opportunities

For some time the government has been talking about jobs, in the process claiming that 335,000 new jobs were created in the two years of this government. However, unemployment officially remains at 6.2 per cent, higher than the USA and UK. Youth unemployment is much higher, especially in some areas.

Greater focus is needed on policies that will result in larger numbers of jobs being created. [Read More...]

12 October 2015
by John Garnaut

PNG chiefs talk of civil unrest over unpopular Australian bank deal

A 2009 meeting of the PNG landowners before the deal was struck.

Until now, the tribal chiefs in Papua New Guinea have been happy to host a hugely profitable natural gas project on the slopes of their mountainous land.

It might have disrupted hunting grounds, ruined waterways and uprooted fruit and vegetables, but the money flowing from it also promised progress and development for the people.
So they stuck with a 2009 agreement to provide access and security to a $US19 billion ExxonMobil PNG liquid natural gas project, which has given Australia's nearest neighbour one of the highest GDP growth rates on earth. [Read More...]

12 October 2015
by Michael Smith

'Messy' policy makes Australia risky: CLP's Richard Lancaster

Hong Kong-based power generation giant CLP Group says Australia is a riskier country to invest in than China or India because of its constantly-changing energy policy which has been held hostage to bipartisan politics and a revolving-door prime ministership.

In a blunt assessment of Australia's sovereign risk record, CLP's Australian-born chief executive Richard Lancaster said China and India were more attractive places to invest for the long-term because of their stable and transparent energy policies. [Read More...]

12 October 2015
by Jacob Greber

Big banks grab $10b in super fees, industry funds say

The big four big banks are snaffling an outsized share of fees generated by the $2 trillion superannuation industry, according to research commissioned by Industry Super Australia (ISA) as it steps up a fight against government moves to overhaul the not-for-profit sector's governance structure.

An estimated $30 billion in fees were pulled from savers' pockets in 2014-15, 91 per cent of which flowed to commercial wealth management groups, which includes managers, platform providers, advice groups, insurers, consultants and custodians. [Read More...]

11 October 2015
by Gabriela Motroc

Education system failing the next generation of entrepreneurs, SMEs say

The current education system is failing to teach the next generation of entrepreneurs the skills they need to transform their businesses into powerhouses, according to a new survey of small and medium enterprises by MYOB.

The business solutions provider quizzed over 400 of their SME clients around education and its connection to the success of domestic small businesses. MYOB discovered that some 58 per cent of the respondents believe the education system does not help shape the business leaders of tomorrow. Two-thirds of those surveys concluded that the education system fails to teach students the ABC of how to run a business. Plus, 43 per cent felt that the education they received did not help them understand how to run their small businesses. [Read More...]

10 October 2015
by Bob Ellis


I accuse the editorial columnists of our country of not criticizing Dutton and Morrison for assisting rape, kidnap and murder. Though it is criminal to do this, no editorial in a major daily has said so.

This cowardice resembles that which attended the Birthday Ballot in the Vietnam years. No editorialist said it was wrong for the responsible Minister, Malcolm Fraser, to impose it, and thousands of conscripts to be infected by Agent Orange and then sire mutant children and, in some cases, suucide. It is as vile and cowardly as that. [Read More...]

10 October 2015
by Heath Aston

Did Robb Sell Everything But The Farm?

The TPP joins Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam in a major new free trade zone.

Experts cautious of Robb's trade deals exuberance as they anticipate trade-offs

Reports of the last-minute victory wouldn't have been out of place on the back pages of the newspapers.

Except this wasn't a Johnathan Thurston-inspired Cowboys team snatching the NRL premiership in extra time, or Hawthorn's "three-peat". It was the signing of a 12-country trade pact among suited officials in a hotel in Atlanta.

Specifically, she says Robb has focused on delivering for farmers over other sectors of the economy, including the one million-odd people who still work in manufacturing in Australia.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb did little to douse the impression that a bare knuckle fight for Australia's economic future had been won at the former site of the Atlanta Olympics early on Tuesday. [Read More...]

10 October 2015
by Prof. Paddy Dewan

The real victims of bullying in health care are the patients

Paediatric surgeon Professor Paddy Dewan has been hounded by the Australian Medical Board since 2006 over a patient procedure that had no negative outcomes — and has now finally been dropped. Here he relates the saga of three boys which he says is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to disregard for families and good governance.

Bullying in health care has received a lot of media attention lately, but not the sort of attention the subject really needs. The real victims of the inappropriate workplace behaviour in healthcare are the patients.

In recent years, I have dealt with three boys who have a similar problem; each of the families have had to tolerate behaviour towards them that would not withstand public scrutiny; each boy has had a problem with severe constipation; and two of the boys are old enough to have a major problem with soiling despite medication. [Read More...]

09 October 2015
by Kaye Lee

Libertarian loony or Tea Party turkey?

It is time that people started paying more attention to the harm that Senator David Leyonhjelm is doing to our country.
As gun deaths in the US rapidly approach 10,000 in 2015 alone, our libertarian wheeler dealer wants to send us down the same path. [Read More...]

08 October 2015
by David Wroe

Marise Payne: Australia will oppose 'intimidation' and 'aggression', in veiled warning to China

Defence Minister Marise Payne

Defence Minister Marise Payne has delivered a blunt message that the Turnbull government will not take a softer line than its predecessor on Chinese provocations over flashpoint maritime disputes.

Senator Payne told a high-powered naval audience that included one of China's most senior admirals on Wednesday that Australia continued to oppose "intimidation" and "aggression" on competing territorial claims – a clear reference to Beijing's recent behaviour. [Read More...]

08 October 2015
by Yolanda Redrup

Microsoft unveils laptop to rival MacBook Pro

"Ounce for ounce, pound for pound, this is the fastest 13-inch laptop ever made, anywhere, on any planet," Surface Computing vice-president Panos Panay said.

Microsoft has thrown down the gauntlet to Apple at its Windows 10 devices event in New York, announcing not only a range of new Microsoft Lumia smartphones, but the first laptop in the company's history.

Microsoft's Surface Book came as a surprise to audience members, many of whom gave a standing ovation after its demonstration.

The laptop is a direct challenger to Apple's MacBook Pro and is two times faster and has six million pixels. [Read More...]

08 October 2015
by Joanna Mather

ATO won't name and shame multinationals

The Tax Office will target about 80 multinational companies when new anti-avoidance laws take hold, but commissioner Chris Jordan is promising not to name and shame tax cheats.

Mr Jordan said some multinationals had already started dismantling the sorts of profit-shifting company structures that would be banned under the proposed new rules. [Read More...]

07 October 2015
by Eric Ruder

Why is Russia dropping bombs in Syria?

Wreckage from air strikes believed to be carried out by Russian forces

With Vladimir Putin's Russia carrying out air strikes in Syria, the backdrop to the conflict and the consequences of this new stage in the violence are explained.

Russia's intervention in the civil war in Syria marks the beginning of an ominous new chapter in a conflict that has already cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and scattered more than 10 million people within and beyond Syria's borders. [Read More...]

07 October 2015
by Dr. Anthony Horton

The dark side of diesel

It’s fair to say that the Volkswagen diesel emissions revelations have captured the world’s attention. As a scientist with a background in air pollution monitoring and management I must admit that the amount of attention the issue has received intrigues me – from the perspectives of both the media reporting of the issue and of course the public reaction. [Read More...]

07 October 2015
by Peter Wicks

Jeremy Stoljar's HSU submission to tainted TURC trips up Team Turnbull

The embattled Royal Commission into Trade Unions has seen its Counsel Assisting Jeremy Stoljar QC release his submission into the HSU, reviving questions around the Commissions bias and integrity

The coalition's inquisition into trade unions – otherwise known as the Trade Union Royal Commission (TURC), Liberal Party witch hunt, or legal fat-cat feeding frenzy – has now seen its counsel assisting, Jeremy Stoljar, finally release his much-anticipated submission regarding the HSU.

For a Royal Commission that has seen its integrity questioned more times than Christopher Pyne’s sexuality, this was to be one important submission. [Read More...]

06 October 2015
by Tracie Aylmer

Is the Australian government linked to atrocities overseas?

My name is Tracie Aylmer. I am an international criminal lawyer specialising in the International Criminal Court.

It has come to my attention that a number of Australian government officials may have enabled and caused corruption that directly affects the UN Security Council. Any application towards obtaining a placement on the Security Council should therefore be rejected. [Read More...]

06 October 2015
by John Kehoe

How Robb stared down the US on big pharma

At 3am Sunday in a negotiating room on the 14th floor of the Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Andrew Robb and Mike Froman finally shook hands on a deal ending a standoff that had become the major hurdle to the biggest regional trade deal in more than 20 years.

Trade Minister Robb refused to cede to pressure from President Barack Obama's trade point man to increase intellectual property protection for cutting edge medicines known as biologics. [Read More...]

05 October 2015
by Victoria Rollison

The terrier has fangs

Malcolm Turnbull would love voters to think he’s a fluffy white dog who wouldn’t hurt a fly. How can a man who adorably blogs on behalf of his dogs be anything but a harmless, gentle, kind Prime Minister? How can a man who wears a leather jacket on Qanda not be a man of the people? How can a man who wants to stay living in his multimillion dollar mansion on Sydney Harbour to be close to his grandson be anything but compassionate, socially progressive and committed to quality education and healthcare for the whole community? I’m sorry to disappoint the hopeful progressives who really want to believe Turnbull is the messiah. But isn’t it best I tell you now before you give him a chance to do a whole new term of harm? Turnbull definitely is NOT the messiah. Turnbull is a very naughty boy. [Read More...]

05 October 2015
by Giles Parkinson

Coalition to accelerate battery storage in Australian households

The Australian government has announced that it wants to accelerate the deployment of battery storage in Australian households, chiefly as a means to reduce huge peaks in demand and reduce costs for consumers, but also to cut emissions.

Environment minister Greg Hunt says he wants the two institutions that have been brought within his department – the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – to bring forward the widespread deployment of battery storage. [Read More...]

05 October 2015
by John Kerin

Julie Bishop concedes Syria air clash risk with Russia

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop conceded having Russian and Allied warplanes operating over war-torn Syria raises the risk of a clash, but insisted Moscow and Washington are holding high-level talks to avoid confrontation.

Ms Bishop was commenting on the dangers of a miscalculation as Russia entered another day of bombing raids to prop up the Assad government while Coalition forces continued to target Islamic State positions. [Read More...]

03 October 2015
by Ben Potter

Uber takes big bite out of taxi licence plate valuations

The value of capital city taxi licence plates has fallen more more than $600 million since January under the onslaught from competitive ride-sharing services such as Uber.

Sydney's 5,500 metro taxi licences have seen their value fall from an average $375,000 in January to about $300,000 in September, a combined loss of just over $400 million. [Read More...]

03 October 2015
by Matthew Smith

Tesla's electric car highway on the road to Gundagai

Futuristic-looking Tesla "superchargers", the electric car recharging stations, have landed in semi-outback highway towns Goulburn and Wadonga.

They have come from the mind of Elon Musk, the futurist and founder of Tesla, via the Tesla factory in Fremont in California where the heavily-hyped car company produces its vehicles. [Read More...]

03 October 2015
by Craig Murray

British State Viciously Abuses Child Fantasist

An update, and converse perspective to yesterday's article: 'Anzac Day it is'

The sentencing of a 15 year old Blackburn boy – 14 at the time he committed his thought crimes – to life imprisonment is grossly inhuman. It is not quite as evil as the decision of the appalling Saudi regime to crucify and behead a child dissident, but it is recognisably a product of the same world view. History books will look back on this era as one of astonishing state cruelty. [Read More...]

02 October 2015
by Nick Miller

'Anzac Day it is': court hears how English boy planned Melbourne terror attack

Proposed target ... The British teenager had allegedly been planning a terrorist attack on the Anzac Day parade in Melbourne.

Manchester: A 14-year-old boy in Blackburn in northern England, radicalised by an Australian ISIS recruiter, plotted an attack on an Anzac Day Parade in Melbourne from the bedroom of his parents' home, a court has heard.

"It is clear that the purpose of this proposed attack was to promote the ideology and agenda of ISIS,"

prosecutor Paul Greaney QC told Manchester's Crown Court.

"Their plot was developed over the Internet and the intention was that police officers should be murdered by beheading." [Read More...]

02 October 2015
by Gareth Hutchens

Trans-Pacific Partnership: the surprise offer that could kill court challenges by tobacco giants

Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

Atlanta, Georgia: The Obama administration has done something that will cheer public health groups worldwide but anger tobacco giants.

In a surprise announcement, it has formally proposed language for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that will make it impossible for tobacco companies to weaken or overturn laws designed to curb tobacco use. [Read More...]

02 October 2015
by John Pilger

The revolutionary act of telling the truth

The following address was delivered by journalist, John Pilger, at the London launch of The WikiLeaks Files, with an introduction by Julian Assange.

George Orwell said:

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

These are dark times, in which the propaganda of deceit touches all our lives. It is as if political reality has been privatised and illusion legitimised. The information age is a media age. We have politics by media; censorship by media; war by media; retribution by media; diversion by media - a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions. [Read More...]

01 October 2015
by John Passant

Australia does not have a spending problem

New Treasurer Scott (who to knife next?) Morrison is arguing that Australia has a spending problem. This is the prelude to further savage cuts to government spending on workers and the poor. The man who successfully demonised and attacked asylum seekers will now use his ‘skills’ on working Australians.

Australia does not have a spending problem. Commonwealth Government spending is 26% of GDP. This is within normal variations on budget expenditure. It is well below the OECD average. In other words Australia is a low spending country. It is also a low taxing country, again well below the OECD average. [Read More...]

01 October 2015
by James Supple

China deal: the issue is exploitation, not immigration

The debate over the Liberals’ China-Australia free trade deal (ChAFTA) has taken centre stage in federal politics. The problems with the deal are real. But there is no excuse for rhetoric blaming foreign workers for unemployment or taking jobs.

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has called for changes to the deal’s enabling legislation to address union concerns.

Tony Abbott has dug in to defend it, accusing the unions of launching a “campaign of xenophobic lies” and insisting it will boost the economy and jobs. The government has even put aside $25 million for an ad campaign. [Read More...]

01 October 2015
by ANR

The ASX200 lost almost $60 billion

Nearly $60 billion AUD in value were lost on the ASX 200 on Tuesday with a resources-led sell-off causing a 3.8 per cent drop.

The session closed at the lowest level since July 10, 2013 and suffered the 18th biggest one-day percentage fall in its 15-year history. Australian mining stocks were squashed, but all ten sectors on the ASX were in the red. According to Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress, the local bourse was a bloodbath on Tuesday, with selling across all sectors, Australian Associated Press reported. [Read More...]