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September 2015

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30 September 2015
by Victoria Rollison

The Right Wing Horror Story

The Abbott government really was just like this: a horror story

Before, during and after the implosion of the Abbott government, commentators have blamed this political failure on a ‘lack of narrative’. The media’s narrative of this ‘lack of narrative’ is a story about a good government who has many great ideas, but just can’t sell them to the untrusting, fickle, inattentive electorate. As someone who is studying political narrative, I can assure you these commentators have got it all wrong. The Abbott government, and the right-wing political class including the right-wing media, have a very obvious narrative to those who know what they’re looking for. Their narrative clearly describes their policies. Their narrative has been consistent across many generations of right-wingers. The snake-oil-salesmen in the Liberal Party are coherently telling this story. The problem is not, therefore, a missing narrative. The problem for the government is that voters, in the majority, do not like the story they are trying to sell. Turnbull is now trying to polish the same story, covering it in glitter. But we all know turds can’t be polished, and under eye-catching-glitter they’re still stinky turds. [Read More...]

30 September 2015
by u/k

New Zealand PM John Key's 'blunt' message for Australia

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has a 'blunt' message for Australia.

Wellington: Prime Minister John Key says he's been "pretty blunt" with the Australian government over the way New Zealanders are being detained and deported.

Mr Key met Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in New York on Tuesday to raise the issue that's causing increasing concern across the Tasman. [Read More...]

30 September 2015
by Latika Bourke

Why was Julie Bishop's boyfriend on the floor of the United Nations, asks Labor

David Panton sits alongside Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as Pope Francis speaks at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

Labor is accusing Julie Bishop of not taking her job as chief diplomat seriously enough, after her boyfriend was photographed sitting next to her in the official Australian section at the UN General Assembly in New York.

But the Foreign Minister defended her decision, saying it was within her discretion to allow her partner, David Panton, to attend the UN session alongside her. Ms Bishop also said, through a spokeswoman, that she regularly invites "friends" and constituents onto the floor of the United Nations. [Read More...]

29 September 2015
by Giles Parkinson

VW kills the diesel engine, and opens path for electric vehicles

The sort of controls that VW was avoiding cost around $US8,000 a car. And Tesla makes a valid point in this opportunistic ad.

Of all the questions that have been asked about the scandal surrounding Volkswagen’s cheating on vehicle emissions tests in the US – Who, what, when, how, and why – there is one that no one has come even close to answering. Why?

The facts of what happened seem pretty clear. VW deliberately installed what is known as a “defeat device” that would switch on when the software recognised it was being tested by authorities.

The purpose was to give the impression that the vehicles were a lot cleaner and more efficient than they were in reality. It happened over a period of at least five years. It disguised emissions that were up to 40 times above the legal limit. It was a fraud of massive proportions, but no one has been able to explain the reasons for it. [Read More...]

29 September 2015
by Giles Parkinson

No more excuses: Heat is now on Hunt

For the past two years, Greg Hunt has protested that he has been doing the best he can possibly do under the circumstances – being an environment minister in a government that downplays climate change, and is actively opposed to wind energy.

Hunt insists that he has been pushing for ambitious and effective policies as much as he can, and as much as he dared in a government dominated by the far right, and its ideological war against green policies. Did anyone understand the difficulties involved? [Read More...]

29 September 2015
by David Leyonhjelm

True meaning of the Nanny State

Over the last few weeks I have learnt two things. First, a lot of people dislike the nanny state. The incredible popularity of the Senate Inquiry into it – both in the media and among the general public – is testimony to that.

However, it is also clear that lots of people are confused what the term 'nanny state' means, even among those who ought to know.

At its core, nanny-statism involves enacting laws and enforcing policies that interfere with or manage personal choices, when the only consideration is the individual's own good. [Read More...]

28 September 2015
by Bob Ellis

The Turnbull Government’s first week

Events have conspired against Malcolm Turnbull in his first week in power in a way that may be irredeemable.

Turnbull's luck was never enormous (he lost the leadership by one vote while two of his votes were circling, in bad weather, over Canberra) and events have conspired against his Government’s first week in a way that may be irreparable.

Morrison has proved to be a rabid innumerate, declaring you attack a debt and deficit disaster by reducing revenue. Abbott has not gone quietly, calling Malcolm "the commentariat’s choice" and himself "the people’s choice". Credlin has proved herself arrogant and stupid. Brough a sworn foe of democracy whom the cross-bench is now at war with. China has brought on an emissions trading scheme a week after Turnbull uneasily joined Abbott in repudiating that always sensible idea. [Read More...]

28 September 2015
by Tim Dick

Tony Abbott should stop playing the sore loser and retreat gracefully

A post-spill surf: Tony Abbott.

When deposed as prime minister, Tony Abbott pledged: "There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping." We all knew what he meant: he would be no Kevin Rudd.

His pledge lasted all of a week before the wrecking, undermining and sniping began. It's continued this weekend. L'esprit de Rudd is back in the air.

In two interviews with News Corp since his demise – the first brief, the next long and considered – Abbott has shown an embarrassing determination to play the sore loser in spite of his promise that he would not. [Read More...]

28 September 2015
by Ben Potter

Geelong wheel maker takes on world

Wheel maker Carbon Revolution plans $100m IPO

Carbon Revolution, a pioneering maker of carbon fibre auto wheels, is planning a $100 million initial public offer in the next two years to fund an ambitious assault on the $40 billion global wheels market.

The company has a fledgling auto wheels business and has just signed an agreement with a top North American aircraft landing gear manufacturer to develop lightweight carbon fibre wheels for use in aerospace. [Read More...]

26 September 2015
by Sean Roche

Helping you get justice: By crowdfunding the law!

In response to legal aid funding cuts by the former Abbott Government, a team of young law students has created a free, law-specific crowdfunding platform for use by the public and community legal centres. Founder of, Sean Roche, explains how it works.

Over 150,000 vulnerable Australians are turned away from legal aid each year and that number is set to get worse. Over half of those people live in Queensland. But help is now at hand. A team of young law students has tackled the issue by creating a law specific crowdfunding platform, free to use by the public and community legal centres. [Read More...]

26 September 2015
by Bronwyn Adcock

Indigenous fishing rights caught in the net

Rocky beach near Bingie Bingie Point, NSW.

Coastal Aborigines claim they are being harassed by police and fisheries officers for harvesting seafood that is their cultural entitlement, with prosecutions then dropped to avoid a native title precedent.

In late winter, when the coastal wattle blooms yellow, Wayne Carberry knows it’s time to collect lobster. His education in the ways of the sea began as a boy. Camping on the coast with his extended family from the Walbunga clan, the elders taught the young the indicator plants for individual fish species and the bays and estuaries where they were to be found. [Read More...]

26 September 2015
by Mike Seccombe

Leadership change sparks civil war at News Corp

The commentators who thought Tony Abbott was their champion are desperately looking for relevance after the coup.

Andrew Bolt, Australia’s most active right-wing tabloid columnist, broadcaster and blogger was absolutely right, if a little imprecise.

Malcolm Turnbull’s overthrow of Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indeed “set off a civil war within News Corp” this week. But there are different kinds of civil war, and we need to define more clearly what type this is. [Read More...]

25 September 2015
by Peter West

Culture shock: Jarryd Hayne's adventures in America

Jarryd Hayne

We are getting reports every day about Jarryd Hayne's adventures in the USA. Apparently he is already earning thirty seven thousand a week Australian. That's just for starters. And if all goes well, he will earn millions more in endorsements.

Great news for the little Aussie battler (as the media love to call such people). What cultural differences will he find? [Read More...]

25 September 2015
by Bianca Hall

Most oppose denying environmental groups charity status, says poll

Tony Abbott was scathing of legal wrangling by environment groups to delay a proposal for a huge expansion of coal exports through the Great Barrier Reef.

Voters have overwhelmingly rebuffed the government's so-called "vendetta" on green groups, with new polling showing 70 per cent oppose any move to deny charity status to environment groups. [Read More...]

25 September 2015
by Sophie Vorrath

Frydenberg signals $5 billion taxpayer frolic with Adani's unwanted fossil flop

Abbot Point coal expansion

In a shock interview yesterday, the Turnbull Government’s new energy and resources minister, Josh Frydenberg, signalled that taxpayers would be stumping up funds for Adani’s unpopular Carmichael coal mine.

If Australia's new Prime Minister and refreshed front bench are showing signs of being more progressive about renewable energy investment and R&D, it looks like they are also going to be far more candid about coal, and their plans to invest heavily there, too. [Read More...]

24 September 2015
by John Kelly

Morrison heading down the wrong path.

Watching Scott Morrison’s interview with Leigh Sales, on 7.30 Wednesday night I was hoping to hear something…anything that indicated that he possessed a better grasp of the economy than his predecessor. Sadly, all I heard was a lot of waffle, a collection of weasel words, the usual spin and a refusal to look at what is 50% of a balanced economy, I.e. revenues.

Raising taxes, he said, was code for increased spending. He did not agree that the economy has worsened despite Leigh Sales listing the comparison figures on unemployment, the exchange rate, GDP growth, the deficit and the debt, all of which clearly identified a worsening position since Labor left office [Read More...]

24 September 2015
by u/k

Tesla prioritises Australia for home battery Powerwall

Tesla announced in mid-September it would be releasing its home battery system Powerwall in Australia in late 2015.

Although Tesla has not released any information about availability and pricing, it said the Powerwall will be sold via “a growing list of Tesla Energy partners.” One of them appears to be SunEdison Australia –the firm announced that it will be one of the first companies not only in Australia, but also in the world to take delivery of the Tesla Powerwall. SunEdison Australia revealed it will celebrate the arrival of Powerwall with a competition in which the battery will be the main prize. Those interested in the competition, pricing of Powerwall and other pre-release updates are invited to register on Energy Matters. [Read More...]

24 September 2015
by Phillip Coorey

Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to unlock retirees' home wealth

Treasurer Scott Morrison confirmed the government was proceeding with the tax white paper process inherited from his predecessor.

New Treasurer Scott Morrison will ditch all international commitments and dedicate himself towards convincing ordinary people of the need for tax reform, which will include incentives to encourage retirees to unlock and spend the billions of dollars locked up in their homes and other assets.

In an interview, Mr Morrison indicated the government under Tony Abbott had failed to explain to voters why changes to the tax system were needed. He said the reform cause now needed retail politics not another expert tax report. [Read More...]

23 September 2015
by Ross C. Hamilton

And now the courts also think Scott Morrison is a dodgy operator

After winning the Division of Cook in 2007, a particular new politician fronted up to the Governor General and made his Oath of Office.

Scott MorrissonI, Scott John Morrison, do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law, in the office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Commonwealth of Australia, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God!

Now let us jump forward a few years. [Read More...]

23 September 2015
by u/k

Australian professor awarded Ig Nobel Prize for ‘unboiling’ egg

Flinders University chemistry professor Colin Raston has been recognized in the Ig Nobel Prizes, a humorous parody of the world-renowned Nobel Prizes.

Professor Raston won an Ig Nobel Prize for creating the vortex fluidic device, which can ‘unboil’ an egg. During their first test, researchers managed to pull apart the egg’s tangled proteins and return the egg white to its previous consistency. While the VFD has broad application in the pharmaceutical and biochemistry industries, it had the unexpected and unintended application of unfolding the proteins in egg whites back to their natural state. According to a report in the journal Scientific Reports, published a few months ago by Nature, the device can also be used to help in the delivery of chemotherapy drugs. [Read More...]

23 September 2015
by David Ramli

TPG founder David Teoh has warned he will keep building his NBN rival network

The company makes more money off its fibre to the basement and ADSL services than the NBN.

Newly crowned as Australia's second-largest internet service provider TPG Telecom will plough on with construction of its rival to the federal government's $56 billion national broadband network and may even start offering access through its booming retail brands.

TPG executive chair David Teoh has vowed to keep building his company's own fibre-to-the-basement network to deliver broadband services that can match or exceed those offered by NBN. [Read More...]

23 September 2015
by Neil Chenoweth

Australia does not tax foreign investment as 'it's all debt'

Professor Richard Vann, Greg Smith and Peter Nash at the tax summit.

The government has declined to close a loophole that allows foreign investors to use "equity described as debt" to ensure they are taxed at zero or at most 10 per cent tax Sydney University Challis law professor Richard Vann told the AFR Tax Reform Summit in Sydney on Tuesday.

In a spirited exchange on tax rates, the chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, Greg Smith, said Australians owned more investments in the rest of the world than the rest of the world owned in Australia. [Read More...]

22 September 2015

Aussie company Swisse sold to Hong Kong firm for nearly$1.7 billion

Melbourne-grown vitamin producer Swisse has been sold to Hong Kong interests for nearly $1.7 billion AUD.

The $1.67 billion AUD sale of the business to baby care formula group Biostime was finalised on Thursday, September 17. Although the Australian company would not reveal the shareholding of the majority owners, it is believed that founder Kevin Ring’s family held about 60 per cent of Swisse, with the remaining percentage reportedly divided among existing and former management. [Read More...]

22 September 2015
by Giles Parkinson

Turnbull appoints a nuclear fan to head energy policy

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has appointed a strong advocate of nuclear energy in the key resources and energy portfolio as part of sweeping changes to his cabinet and ministry.

Josh Frydenberg, an ally of Tony Abbott who was previously assistant Treasurer, has been named as minister for resources, energy and northern Australia, as part of a reshuffle that sees the portfolio split from industry, innovation and science, which goes to former eduation minister Chris Pyne. [Read More...]

22 September 2015
by TurnLeft2016

The day governing stopped and the soap opera began

In life sometimes we never know when one thing becomes another – when does youth become middle age, when does curvy become overweight, when does like become love – but for Australians we know the exact moment that the pretense of Governing stopped and the ‘Australian Politics Soap Opera’ began. In a 4PM speech, Monday 14 September, Malcolm Turnbull announced he would be challenging the Prime Minister for Liberal party leadership, and in doing so the era of Governing was over and the latest season of Leadership was beginning. [Read More...]

21 September 2015
by Ross Jones

Sending F18s to Syrian battlezone a dumb idea

After pressuring Obama to "invite" Australia to join U.S. air strikes in Syria in time for the khaki by-election in Canning, concerns continue to be raised about the legal, moral and practical grounds. Dispatching F18 Hornets is a dumb idea.

Liberals do not change their spots — they are always prepared to sacrifice the best. Just look at the so-called Syrian airstrikes. They are sending F18 Hornets to the Syrian battle zone, which is a really dumb idea. Let me give you a bit of history to explain why.

During the Korean war, MiG alley was a swathe of territory between North Korea and China. It was called MiG alley because it was heavily populated by the innovative Russian MiG-15, a true fighter aircraft — fast, unstable and lethal. The latest iteration of the U.S. built F-86 Sabre struggled to keep up and all too often didn’t. [Read More...]

21 September 2015
by John Kehoe

Washington watching Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over China, regional security

Washington and Wall Street are watching the new Prime Minister closely, with the possibility of shifts in policy affecting relations with China, regional security, trade and foreign investment.

In the United States capital there is an open question about whether Malcolm Turnbull will operate a foreign policy more independent of the US and tilt Australia closer to China.

Behind the scenes in intelligence and security circles, Turnbull's close ties to China through years of business, family and political dealings are a point of chatter.

The new Prime Minister was warmly welcomed to office by US President Barack Obama via telephone last week. They discussed "mutual-interest" issues, including regional security, concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord and the fight against Islamic State. [Read More...]

21 September 2015
by Laura Tingle

Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet: Talking about a revolution

Malcolm Turnbull has put a long overdue bomb under the Coalition, not just clearing out dead wood or Abbott loyalists but repositioning the government on key policy areas and, as a result, stealing the future from Labor.

The sheer scale of Turnbull's renovations is breathtaking. There is no sense of the constraint of sentiment in the number of careers that have been brought to an abrupt end, or Turnbull's preparedness to rocket rising stars straight into the cabinet. There is no time to lose, it seems, in letting people get more experience in junior ministries. [Read More...]

19 September 2015
by Peter Jones

Is the Australian economy facing recession?

Stockmarket gyrations and slowing growth figures have raised renewed questions about the health of the Australian and world economy.

At the height of the mining boom Australia’s elite came up with a range of ambitious perspectives for China’s growth. The consulting firm McKinsey reckoned China’s urban population would hit one billion by 2025. On that basis BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto decided China would be producing a billion tonnes of steel between 2025 and 2030, and they would supply the bulk of the iron ore. [Read More...]

19 September 2015
by Jemima White

Blowing the whistle: how the CSIRO's gamble paid off

Johnathan Thurston gets relief from the 'green whistle'.

The green whistle, an emergency pain relief device developed in Australia and used by surf clubs, ambulances, defence forces and sporting clubs for 30 years, is heading to Europe.

The CSIRO-developed Penthrox green whistle is manufactured and licensed by ASX-listed Medical Developments International, which this week signed a deal to distribute the product in 39 European countries including France, Germany, Italy and Spain with Mundipharma. [Read More...]

19 September 2015
by James Boyce

David Walsh's MONA casino a political gamble

David Walsh at MONA.

With MONA, David Walsh reinvigorated Tasmania’s economy and culture. A decision to take on the family who owns the state’s poker machines could see him remake it politically as well.

In Tasmania, the power of the Farrell family is more pervasive than that of the infamous Gunns Limited at the height of the woodchipping mania. They were given the first casino licence in Australia, at Wrest Point, and for nearly 20 years have owned every single poker machine in the state. So intertwined is the family with the political establishment that it has been generally assumed they would enjoy this monopoly for life. [Read More...]

18 September 2015
by Max Wallace

Are politicians public servants?

It is frequently said that politicians are public servants. Are they?

It would appear that while we elect politicians as supposedly our representatives in the legislature, we do not employ them.
Legally speaking, politicians receive their salaries through decisions made by state and federal statutory independent Remuneration Tribunals, creatures of the parliaments, not by way of the legislation that determines the pay and conditions of public servants.

In effect, I suggest, this means politicians are not public servants. [Read More...]

18 September 2015
by Waleed Aly

Malcolm Turnbull’s first task: soothe the angry beast in the Liberal Party

The Liberals have lost touch with mainstream Australia, and now conservatives could drag the new PM down before he starts.

There's every chance you haven't heard of Zed Seselja. For the record, he's the Liberal senator for the ACT who this week warned his new boss, Malcolm Turnbull, that the Liberal Party is "a predominantly conservative party", and that this must be reflected in his first ministry. This, quite pointedly, sits at odds with Turnbull's own promise in the immediate afterglow of victory to lead a "thoroughly liberal government".

It is true that with Turnbull's ascent we might be witnessing the rescue of this Coalition government's political fortunes. But we're also now seeing its first civil war. Turnbull's success depends on how bloody that conflict becomes and how many wounds he suffers, and not on anything Labor can muster. [Read More...]

18 September 2015
by Peter Wicks

When will Turnbull remove Michael Lawler?

When will the new Malcolm Turnbull Government act Kathy Jackson's partner, the disgraced Tony Abbott appointed vice president of the Fair Work Commission, Michael Lawler.

I HAVE SPENT a lot of time looking at Kathy Jackson, her behavior and rapid accumulation of wealth, while the union she ran appeared to be bleeding funds at a rapid rate.
However, right from the very start of the Jacksonville series of articles, I have also emphasised the importance of one of the key players in this saga, who may not have received as much attention as Jackson, but who is, arguably, just as important.
That man is Michael Lawler.

While Michael Lawler is indeed Jackson’s partner — although whether he is her fiancé or a husband is presently unclear. However, it is what he has been a partner in that should be of greatest concern to the general public. [Read More...]

18 September 2015
by Phillip Coorey

Liberal leadership: the faceless men who stalked Abbott and made Turnbull king

Flying from Adelaide to Canberra early Monday morning aboard the VIP jet, Tony Abbott had no idea it would be his last day as prime minister.

Neither was he aware he could have been gone already. Sources have confirmed to The Australian Financial Review that the plot to remove Abbott had been ready for several days. Indeed, it was intended to be sprung on Wednesday last week. [Read More...]

17 September 2015
by Paula Matthewson

Malcolm, welcome to the job. Here’s your to-do list

Having won the face-off with Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull now has two more pressing tests to deal with.
The PM must immediately turn his mind to the election.
One challenge down, two to go... [Read More...]

17 September 2015
by Jeffrey Feynman

The uncharted hazards of the Timor Sea dispute

In the course of the Timor Sea maritime boundary quarrel, the recent declarations made by the main Australian opposition party in support of East Timorese territorial claims have the serious potential of irreversibly upsetting the territorial status quo, with adverse consequences for both East Timor and Australia, the only potential beneficiary being third party Indonesia.

At the heart of the quarrel are two large oil and gas fields, Sunrise and Troubadour, 80% of which lie under Australian seabed and Indonesian water, while 20% is in the Australian-East Timorese Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA), where East Timor commands 90% of all revenue and Australia 10%. Although this situation would result in Australia receiving 82% of revenue from the fields and East Timor 18% only, the two countries agreed in 2006 to share the revenue from Sunrise and Troubadour equally, 50% - 50%. Nevertheless, the development of the fields has ever since been stymied by East Timor, whose new avowed position since the agreement was signed is that boundaries need to be redrawn so as to give her 100% of the fields. [Read More...]

17 September 2015
by Allison Worrall

PM accused of 'mansplaining' ... but what does it mean?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was accused of "mansplaining" in Question Time on Wednesday - which clearly baffled a number of government ministers.

Press gallery reporters noted a few raised eyebrows and confused looks after Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek told the parliament Mr Turnbull was not answering her question, but was instead "mansplaining". [Read More...]

16 September 2015
by Geoffry Barker

Three-way contest for submarine program

And then there were three. The federal government has reduced the choice of Australia's next-generation submarines to a three-way contest in an ad hoc defence department "competitive evaluation process" (CEP).

The names of the contenders are now well-known, although little is known about them or about the CEP which will report to cabinet next year. The contenders are the Japanese Soryu, the French "short-fin" Barracuda, and the German Type-216 submarines. [Read More...]

16 September 2015
by Oliver Milman

World’s longest continental volcano chain discovered in Australia

The 2000km-long chain, which started forming 33m years ago, runs along the country’s east from the Whitsundays in Queensland to near Melbourne

The northernmost volcano in the newly discovered chain was created at Cape Hillsborough in Queensland some 33m years ago.

Scientists have discovered the world’s longest chain of continental volcanoes, stretching 2,000km along eastern Australia.
The volcanic chain, which started its formation 33m years ago, runs from near the Whitsundays in Queensland to near Melbourne. It is nearly three times the length of the Yellowstone volcanic track in the US. [Read More...]

16 September 2015
by Will Glasgow

The fall out: Who wins and who loses in the Malcolm Turnbull era

Peta Credlin

Across the political, business and media worlds, there will be a mountain of losers following Malcolm Turnbull's recent initiative – even if our new Prime Minister has the best intentions in the world. There will be a few winners too.

Let's begin in the Prime Minister's Office and work our way out... [Read More...]

16 September 2015
by John Kerrin

New communications contract attracting bidders

Australian troops will get better real-time battlefield communications information through enhanced access to a high-tech US military satellite system.

The Australian Department of Defence has released a tender for the construction of an east coast satellite ground station to support the Wideband Global Combat Satellite System.
It is to be built at Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga, in NSW.
The WGS, as it is known, is a constellation of the most advanced US military communications satellites in fixed orbit over sections of the world. [Read More...]

15 September 2015
by John Passant

And Now For Something Different

The Liberals have tossed out Tony Abbott. The vote was 54 to 44 for Turnbull over Abbott.

This is a victory for all those who fought the Abbott government, for example the students, unionists, pensioners, nurses, teachers, Aborigines and all those who said No to the rotten 2014 Budget … Now to do the same to Turnbull and their alter neoliberal ego Bill Shorten. These magnificent campaigners gave the lead to the millions who turned against the Abbott government. [Read More...]

15 September 2015
by Victoria Rollison

The Blip

I have waited a long time to write this post. I have so looked forward to this moment. I know, I know. Turnbull will be a harder opponent for Labor to beat at the next election, etc. etc. etc. But let’s just pause before we fight that battle and celebrate the end of the Abbott war. We never have to worry about the #OneTermTony campaign ever again, because Abbott never made it to one term. He is now officially just a blip on the landscape. He’s gone. His putrid ideological war is over. Happy dance! [Read More...]

15 September 2015
by Laura Tingle

Tony Abbott Has No-one But Himself To Blame

Tony Abbott has no-one but himself to blame for the collapse of his prime ministership, a collapse so comprehensive and spectacular that it left open the return of Malcolm Turnbull – despite the hostility of the Coalition's conservative wing.

It is a collapse so comprehensive that is likely to see a major reshaping of the cabinet, and of the Coalition's agenda between now and the election.

It is also a collapse of a corrosive style of politics that has dominated Canberra, but delivered very little to the electorate, for the past six years. [Read More...]

15 September 2015
by Phillip Coorey

Liberal leadership: Malcolm Turnbull defeats Tony Abbott

Malcolm Turnbull will become Australia's fifth prime minster in five years after toppling Tony Abbott in a leadership coup by 54 votes to 44.

In a coup, which has torn the party apart and will lead to an upheaval in the ministry, Joe Hockey is also set to be dumped as Treasurer unless he quits first.
He will most likely be replaced by Social Services Minister Scott Morrison. Mr Morrison voted for Mr Abbott but declined to run as his deputy.
Julie Bishop, who tapped Mr Abbott on the shoulder at noon on Monday, was re-elected deputy leader, she beat Abbott loyalist Kevin Andrews by 70 votes to 30 votes.
She has held the position since 2007 and has now survived four leadership changes. [Read More...]

15 September 2015
by Jacob Greber

Liberal leadership: Bill Shorten counts on Coalition tearing itself apart

​Opposition leader Bill Shorten is banking on two things to weather any potential Coalition poll resurgence under Malcolm Turnbull.

The first will be to continue preparing and releasing policies to build momentum for a change of government, adding to already-announced pledges on superannuation concessions, international tax avoidance, boat turn backs and climate change.

The second thing? Bank on the Coalition tearing itself apart the way Labor did after Kevin Rudd's ouster in 2010. [Read More...]

14 September 2015
by Chris Wallace

Joe Hockey's a dead treasurer walking

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s fast-weakening position, as well as that of the economy he presides over, was camouflaged this week by overwhelming attention on the Syrian refugee crisis. It was palpable in Parliament House, however, and the conviction is widespread, that Hockey will be the fall guy in the event of a big swing against the government in next Saturday’s Canning byelection. [Read More...]

14 September 2015
by Viv Forbes

The return of the hungry horses

When I was young we lived on a small family farm at Wheatvale on the Darling Downs in Queensland.
We lived close to the self-sufficient sustainable life style that today's green zealots babble about – we produced much of what we needed and needed much of what we produced. But life was no picnic.

Our farm supported our family of four, plus one or two farm-hands (young trustees from Palen Creek Prison Farm), 30 dairy cows, eight draught horses, two stock horses, two ponies, plus a few pigs and chooks. The farm grew native pasture, wheat, oats, sorghum, corn and made hay. Most of what we harvested was used to feed horses, cows, pigs and chooks. Draught horses are huge eaters – they were big Clydesdales, tall and heavy, and need large quantities of fodder whether they are working or not. They are not ruminants like cattle and thus extract less energy from their fodder and need to process more of it. After everyone on the farm was fed, there was little surplus for others. We sold small quantities of milk and occasionally some grain, pigs and calves. [Read More...]

14 September 2015
by Sophie Love

Another stab in the back for rural Australia. Thanks Mr Abbott!

Happy WWoofers >>>

Changes to Australia's working holiday visa scheme by the Abbott Government may see the end of WWOOF program — a lifeline to struggling farmers. Sophie Love, says not only will farmers be denied a helping hand but students on visas will lose what has been a valuable life-changing experience.

All over the first world a food revolution is in progress as people reject the over-processed food that has overtaken our high streets and chainstores since the 1950's in the name of “convenience”. Slowly people are beginning to realise that fast food might be low cost but it comes at a high price. Sometimes the ultimate price — our health.

More and more people are seeking organic, biodynamic or chemical free produce from suppliers they can trust. They want to reconnect with farmers and the animals and soil that sustains them. They want to know exactly where their food comes from. [Read More...]

14 September 2015
by Chris Niesche

What's Australia's weirdest franchise?

Geoff Reid, Dean Reid, employee Peter Schulz, and Casey Reid (L to R) run the Leather Doctor, one of Australia's more unusual franchises.

At first glance, the market for a leather repair franchise might appear limited.

Yet the Leather Doctor, which repairs leather and vinyl on furniture, cars, boats and the like, is a growing business, with 55 franchises around the country, each turning over an average of $120,000. [Read More...]

13 September 2015
by Harry Richardson

Our Constitution Foresaw Even This Anomaly

It was the torque screws that should have told me. My compressor’s cut-off switch was leaking. It wasn’t a big deal but like a fool I decided to try and fix it. They could have used Philips head screws to seal it but they didn’t.

When my compressor was built, clowns like me didn’t have torque head screwdrivers. That was the point, they meant “Keep Out”. Today however, five dollars and a trip to Supercheap had me ready to go.

Bad move. 15 desperate attempts followed. I tried to hold all the springs and bits in place while screwing it back together but it was a fool’s errand. Finally, I admitted my stupidity and threw the darned switch in the bin. That was why they put torque screws in there, DOH!

The bios on a computer is a bit like that. In the normal part of windows, it is possible to wipe out the odd file. If you get into the bios however, one wrong step and you can crash the whole system. [Read More...]

13 September 2015
by John Passant

Football Federation Australia – double the Matildas’ pay!

David Gallop, head of Football Federation Australia, reportedly earns more than $1m a year.

The Matildas, Australia’s women soccer players, are paid $10,500 for a six month contract or $21,000 annually. So David Gallop earns fifty times more than a Matilda.

It says a lot about the role of women in Australian society that the Matildas, one of the most successful, if not most successful, international sporting team in Australia at the moment, is paid $21,000 a year. [Read More...]

13 September 2015
by Phillip Coorey

If you listen to Tony Abbott's frontbench, his leadership is back in danger

Politicians can be dangerous when they congregate.
And thus it was that Liberal MPs left Parliament Thursday night after four days in each other's company once more muttering about mutiny.
[Read More...]

10 September 2015
by Craig Murray

Exclusive: I Can Reveal the Legal Advice on Air Strikes, and How the Establishment Works

Editor: I always wondered how Tony Abbott could construe Australia's air strikes in Iraq and Syria as self defence. I also wondered why he needed to ASK the US to send us a request to help in those missions. The answers lay in the following article, it is an expose on how governments circumnavigate true international law. A most interesting read...

This may be the most important article I ever post, because it reveals perfectly how the Establishment works and how the Red Tories and Blue Tories contrive to give a false impression of democracy. It is information I can only give you because of my experience as an insider. [Read More...]

09 September 2015
by Rod Tucker

The NBN: why it's slow, expensive and obsolete

We didn't get a good deal from Malcolm Turnbull's NBN

The Abbott Coalition government came to power two years ago this week with a promise to change Labor’s fibre to the premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network (NBN) to one using less-expensive fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technologies, spruiking its network with the three-word slogan: "Fast. Affordable. Sooner."

But with the release in August of the 2016 NBN corporate plan and in the light of overseas developments, it is clear that the Coalition's broadband network will not provide adequate bandwidth, will be no more affordable than Labor's FTTP network and will take almost as long to roll out. [Read More...]

09 September 2015
by Phillip Coorey

Australia to take 12,000 refugees, boost aid and bomb Syria

Australia will take a one-off increase of 12,000 refugees from Syria, provide $44 million in extra funding to aid the United Nations, and launch airstrikes inside the war-torn country within a week, the federal government has agreed.

After being initially reluctant to take any more refugees above Australia's annual humanitarian intake of 13,750, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has agreed on the one-off intake of 12,000 refugees, who will be accepted in addition to the overall annual intake and expected increases. [Read More...]

08 September 2015
by Angus Grigg

China defies Abbott showing "coal not good for humanity"

Prime Minister Tony Abbott may believe coal is "good for humanity", but China is taking the opposite view.

Official figures released on Tuesday showed the volume of coal imports fell 31.3 per cent over the first eight months of the year, as China's overall trade for August decline more than expected.

China's historical decline in coal imports and usage is being partly driven by the slowing economy, but equally by a switch to cleaner fuels. [Read More...]

08 September 2015
by Jacob Greber

Parliamentary Budget Office finds budget gap slashed by $30b

A burst of co-operation by Labor in recent months has improved the federal budget by almost $30 billion over the next decade but the decision by the Coalition last week to scrap a proposed bank tax means gains could have been larger.

The Parliamentary Budget Office's latest running tally of the value of decisions announced in the budget but not yet passed by the Senate, has fallen to $74.1 billion from $102.3 billion at the end of May. [Read More...]

08 September 2015
by Mel Mac

What Does The CHAFTA Mean For Aussie Jobs?

The Chinese-Australia fair trade agreement (ChAFTA) began negotiations in May 2005 with the agreement formally signed on the 17th July 2015, by Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb and the Chinese Commerce Minister, Gao Hucheng. The ceremony was witnessed by Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott who described the signing as a “momentous day” for the Australian-China relationship. “It will change our countries for the better, it will change our region for the better, it will change our world for the better,” Mr Abbott said. He paid tribute to Chinese President, Xi Jinping whom he described as a “shrewd” negotiator and “friend of Australia”. He further toasted the deal saying “I trust that today our Chinese friends will enjoy the fine beef and the good wine that will soon be more readily enjoyed by their countrymen.” [Read More...]

08 September 2015
by Syd Hickman

Parties without members

The almost universal abdication of ordinary people from any active role in political parties has resulted in a very weird political landscape.

The Liberal Party is engaged in a civil war between the dominant religious hard right conservative faction of Tony Abbott and the more rational, truly liberal faction of Malcolm Turnbull.

A steady stream of internal leaks continues to destabilise the government, with the main aim of driving down Abbott's poll numbers so that wavering MPs will join the revolution and remove him. Hockey's pro-republican stance, along with Christopher Pyne's gay marriage and pro-republican statements, could signal that they have signed on for Malcolm. [Read More...]

08 September 2015
by Peter McCloy

What is environmentally sustainable is up for debate

Despite our political differences, Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale and I have a lot in common...

In 1997 my wife and I left the big smoke to live in the bush. We purchased a block of land that we loved and built our house – a house that was ecologically sensitive and fitted well into the environment.

We had the choice of connecting to the grid or going offline, both choices cost about the same. But connecting to the grid would involve cutting a swathe through the trees on our property, and that was unacceptable, so we went solar. [Read More...]

06 September 2015
by Thom Mitchell

Hunt Outfoxed: How To Build A Huge Sea Port On A Pristine Island With No Green Approvals

When the Abbott Government bungled its Carmichael mine approval, it blamed its defeat in the federal court a fortnight ago on ‘vigilante lawfare’. It’s anyone’s guess who they’ll blame for this monumental stuff-up.

The federal department responsible for the recent ‘vigilante lawfare’ bungle is once again under fire, with documents obtained by New Matilda revealing it stood by while a major offshore oil and gas supply base was built in a pristine Top End waterway with no environmental oversight. [Read More...]

06 September 2015
by Giles Parkinson

Victoria cracks down on discrimination against solar households

The Labor government in the state of Victoria has announced new legislation that will prevent electricity retailers from refusing discounts to households with rooftop solar arrays.

There has been increasing anecdotal evidence that solar households – not just in Victoria – have been deprived access to power discounts, have been offered lower discounts because of their connection, or are charged higher tariffs because of their solar arrays. [Read More...]

06 September 2015
by Michelle Grattan

Two years on, pugilist Abbott leads divisive and divided government

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks at the launch of the Cumberland Woodlands Round 20 Million Trees Programme in Sydney on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015.

At a Liberal function in his Warringah electorate last Friday night Tony Abbott, just back from his indigenous trip, was in full campaign mode. “Geed up, determined, positive,” said one party attendee, adding “he’ll fight to the last breath to be re-elected”.

Fight is what Abbott does best – but this penchant for pugilism is his great weakness as well as a strength. [Read More...]

06 September 2015
by Gina McColl

Unions lash Chinese dairy investors as plans to import workers exposed

A glimpse of the future? an employee at a dairy farm in Shandong Province, China

A plan by a Chinese-owned dairy in Gippsland to import workers has been condemned by federal opposition and union figures.

Newly exposed details that Ningbo Dairy, which trades in Australia as YoYou, was actively recruiting dairy farm workers two years ago threaten to stoke fears over the Chinese-Australian Free Trade Agreement.

The FTA's impact on local jobs was the subject of bitter political point-scoring between the federal government and opposition last week. [Read More...]

05 September 2015
by Bob Ellis

Managing the stench of the growing Abbottaroma

The Liberals have liked to wreath their political enemies in the odour of criminality but now the same aroma is coming after them. Will the Canning by-election result show how foul that stench is.

For a long, long time the Liberals have wreathed their enemies in the odour of criminality. Boat people have been called “illegals”, ”union corruption” is almost a single word, and “the friends of Eddie Obeid” a definition of Labor in New South Wales.

The initials “CFMEU” seem now, in themselves, defamatory. Shorten is routinely called a “two-time assassin” though he did no more than Abbott did, in 2008 and 2009, to Nelson and then Turnbull. Craig Thomson’s vote in the House was “tainted”, Abbott told us, and should not be accepted by the Government or the Speaker, and his constituents disfranchised. Because of one word in a private communication to a friend, Peter Slipper was said to be “unfit to be Speaker”, and was overthrown by Abbott on account of it. [Read More...]

05 September 2015
by Tony Windsor

Abbott's war on governance

It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows politics that Tony Abbott’s natural territory is as a fighter and brawler. The question on many minds is whether he would rather fight than govern. We might also wonder about his capacity to govern without the cover of one “war” or another.

The militaristic theme has come to the fore again recently with the so-called “lawfare” changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act in relation to third party appeals to environmental law. It’s there again in the prospect of military involvement in Syria and the recent developments with the Australian Border Force. [Read More...]

05 September 2015
by Sophie Morris

Chinese Whispers

Tony Abbott (standing, centre) looks on as China’s Gao Hucheng and Australia’s Andrew Robb sign the free trade agreement between the two countries.

As unions attempt to discredit the trade deal with China, Bill Shorten must carefully weigh its post-byelection benefits.

It was an advertisement in the Mandurah Mail this week that distilled the political potency of Labor’s attacks on the China trade deal. [Read More...]

04 September 2015
by John Passant

Join my ‘jihad’ against this rotten Australian government

Another day, another idiot Minister. On Tuesday it was the turn of Peter Dutton, the Immigration Minister in charge of torturing children, women and men on Nauru and Manus Island.

As an aside do Ministers have a competition going to see who can stuff things up the best each day? After the border farce that was operation fartitude, I would have thought Dutton was the Brownlow medal favourite for the year. There was no need for him to go for a second attempt. But he did. [Read More...]

04 September 2015
by Nicole Hasham

New York Times attacks Prime Minister Tony Abbott over 'stop the boats' policy

Asylum seekers inside the compound on Nauru.

The New York Times has launched a blistering attack on the Abbott government's asylum seeker policies, suggesting they are "unconscionable" and urging European nations struggling with a tide of migrants not to follow suit. [Read More...]

04 September 2015
by John Kerin

Indo-Pacific nuclear sub threat to rival Cold War

The Indian and Pacific Oceans are becoming increasingly crowded with nuclear armed and conventional submarines increasing the risk of collision and nuclear conflict.

The warning is contained in a new Lowy Institute of International Affairs paper to be released on Friday which argues the region faces the greatest threat of a miscalculation involving nuclear armed submarines since the Cold War era. [Read More...]

04 September 2015
by Fleur Anderson

Shipping plan to 'jeopardise' $100m investment

On Thursday, a Broome-based cruise ship operator offered to testify under oath that senior federal bureaucrats suggested the company sack its Australian staff and register its vessel overseas to save money.

Another shipping executive has criticised the federal government's proposed coastal shipping laws, saying the plan to dump industry tax breaks jeopardises a $100 million investment in two cargo ships. [Read More...]

04 September 2015
by Giles Parkinson

Abbott’s climate plan: the non-delivery of an invisible policy

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott once infamously described carbon trading as “a market, a so-called market, in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one.” On international permits he went further, saying it was ”money that shouldn’t be going offshore into dodgy carbon farms in Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan.”

Now, it seems, the Abbott government is to allow Australian firms to buy these “dodgy” and “invisible” credits to help solve a problem many within and close to this government claims does not exist – reducing emissions to combat climate change. [Read More...]

03 September 2015
by ANR

Australian Media Attempts to Initiate Water Fluoridation

Australian mainstream media is planning a protest campaign launch to push the federal and state government for the fluoridation of water supply. Murdoch owned The Daily Telegraph has expressed strong support for this agenda in one of its articles.

Fluoridation of water isn’t as safe as the media is trying to deliberately substantiate. There is growing evidence that indicates fluoride in water can trigger several health concerns in the long run. But the media seems to rule out every scientifically proven fact in order to accentuate their agenda. [Read More...]

03 September 2015
by James Massola

Nuclear waste dumps: Abbott government close to releasing shortlist of possible sites

The new nuclear waste dump will store low and intermediate-level radioactive waste.

The Abbott government is close to releasing a shortlist of possible sites to host a nuclear waste dump, but has missed a self-imposed August deadline.

At least four locations — two in South Australia's Kimba shire, one in Leonora in Western Australia and one in Yalgoo, WA — are among those in the running to be on the shortlist of sites that will host the "national radioactive waste management facility", though a final decision on the location is not due until 2017. [Read More...]

03 September 2015
by Jacob Greber

Economy Hits The Brakes

Income squeeze worsens as economic decay continues

The economy narrowly missed shrinking for the first time in more than four years last quarter after a spike in government spending - including on defence - helped cushion the most sustained slump in national income since the early 1990s recession.

Fewer exports, weak investment and falling profits cut gross domestic product growth to an anaemic 0.2 per cent in the June quarter from 0.9 per cent three months prior. The 2 per cent annual growth rate was the 12th straight quarter of below-average performance, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed on Wednesday. [Read More...]

03 September 2015
by Craig Murray

The Great Wealth Transfer to Landlords

Paddington NSW

Editor: Although this article is set in London UK, the problem persists in most developed Western Countries.

The Guardian has a fascinating piece on house prices which deserves to be read and studied in detail. In London in 2013 the median house price had reached 300,000 while the median salary was 24,600. House prices are 12.2 x salary. That means it is in practice impossible for working people, without inherited wealth, to buy a house.

But the point is, that it should be equally impossible to rent a house. Landlords look for a rental return of approximately 6% of rental value. So that would put median rent in London at around 18,000 pa, which is a realistic figure. But nobody on a salary of 24,600 before tax can pay 18,000 pa in rent. So we should be at a stage where it is impossible for Londoners who have not inherited homes to live there at all [Read More...]

02 September 2015
by Willow Aliento

Aboriginal-owned energy company one-upping Tesla

The renewable energy storage game is about to be disrupted, with Australian Aboriginal-owned company AllGrid Energy announcing the launch of WattGrid, a new 10kWh solar energy storage system it says is around 30 per cent cheaper than the Tesla Powerwall. Customers also don’t have to wait until 2016. Spokeswoman for AllGrid, Deborah Oberon, said the company expected to be making its first deliveries in the next two to three months. The $11,999 WattGrid unit comprises an aluminium cabinet containing tubular lead acid gel batteries, and a hybrid 5kW solar inverter with battery management system that has load share capability with the grid and uninterrupted power supply capability. [Read More...]

02 September 2015
by Kaye Lee

Transfield shares go up and so does the debt

Tony Shepherd


October 12, 2012

Joint Media Statement: Andrew Robb and Joe Hockey
The Gillard Government has driven up Australia’s credit card to a record $256.4 billion according to latest Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) figures.

The previous debt ceiling of $250 billion was raised by Labor to $300 billion in the May budget further confirming its inability to curb its debt addiction.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, in a Liberal Party eNewsletter 27 July 2013, comments on the ALP’s “debt” TV commercial:

Kevin Rudd and Labor have increased Australia’s debt limit from $75 billion, to $200 billion, to $250 billion and now to $300 billion. The Treasury has told us that debt will hit $290 billion by Christmas, just $10 billion shy of the current legislated limit.

Only the Coalition will get the Budget back into the black, start to pay down Labor’s debt, and implement our economic Plan to grow the economy and create jobs.

Australians can’t afford another three years of Labor’s reckless spending.

Debt is certain to exceed $425 billion by Christmas

As at last Friday, 28 August 2015, gross government debt was $384.7 billion. [Read More...]

01 September 2015
by Kaye Lee

Less shovels and more reading

Many have expressed surprise that no-one in Peter Dutton’s department bothered reading a press release that stated there would be random identity checks in Melbourne.

But it really is no surprise at all. [Read More...]

01 September 2015
by Amy Remeikis

Clive Palmer launches $10 billion lawsuit against estranged Chinese partner

Clive Palmer is again taking legal action against his unhappy bedfellow Citic Limited.

The legal war between Fairfax MP Clive Palmer and his estranged business partner Citic Limited has gone to another level, with Mr Palmer's company Mineralogy seeking $10 billion in damages from the Chinese giant.

In the latest of many lawsuits between the two companies over the past three years, Mineralogy is suing Citic over what it claims to be a lack of royalty payments from Citic's Sino Iron magnetite project in WA, which was built on Mr Palmer's leases. [Read More...]

01 September 2015
by Janelle Fawk

Australian Border Force raid massage parlours

A mass protest in Melbourne stopped Border Force harassing people in the streets over their visas, so why don't people care that the same laws are being used to raid and harass sex industry businesses and workers?

The Melbourne protest leading to a backdown on what was effectively a plan to conduct racial profiling in the streets was massively important and a win. However, I can't help but reflect upon the racial profiling practices and punitive approaches that are the precursors to this point, and about which few people are protesting. The powers the Australian Border Force intended to use in Victoria are also those that allow them to enter and check visas in sex industry businesses. [Read More...]