Category: Informed Comment

If Abbott and Kelly want to cross the floor, let them – » The Australian Independent Media Network

One of the most important roles of government is to prioritise. They must identify the challenges facing us and the consequences of inaction. They must rank the urgency of responding to problems and decide on the most efficient use of resources to address them.

The current debate about energy policy is a prime example of a government failing to do that.

via If Abbott and Kelly want to cross the floor, let them – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Donald Trump a ‘critical threat’ to Australia’s interests as trust in US hits record low, Lowy survey reveals – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Key points:

Trust peaked under Barack Obama, hits low with Mr Trump
Mr Trump ranks low in world leader confidence
Poll shows Australians put faith in other Western allies
Political analyst says Washington will note the loss of trust

Lowy Institute annual poll results on trust in world powers.

via Donald Trump a ‘critical threat’ to Australia’s interests as trust in US hits record low, Lowy survey reveals – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Shifting sands in the Galilee Basin – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Wondering what’s happening with Adani?

Well there have been a few developments of late.

Adani’s original plan was to use the coal from the Carmichael mine in its own generators at the Mundra power plant in Gujarat, India. Except Adani Power Mundra is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Faced with mounting operational losses, they have already started scaling down generation from the Mundra plant. The average plant load factor in the January-March 2018 quarter dropped to 37%, from 73% a year ago.

Currently Adani Power has debts of about $US7.4bn, having lost $US927m last year and $US317m this year. They tried to give the government a 51% stake in the Mundra plant for a token amount of Re 1 but they weren’t interested.

via Shifting sands in the Galilee Basin – » The Australian Independent Media Network

They know it is wrong but, if it works, who cares? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

In 2011, opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate, telling the shadow cabinet meeting on December 1 at the Ryde Civic Centre that the Coalition should ramp up its questioning of “multiculturalism”.

Fierravanti-Wells says the various waves of immigrants since the early days of European settlement have all been “targeted” – from the Chinese, Irish and Germans, through the postwar cohort of Italians and Greeks, the Vietnamese and Lebanese in the 1970s and, more recently, Muslim groups – but we should not let their positive contribution to Australia be forgotten due to the actions of “a few rotten apples in our community”.

Perhaps she needs to have a word to Peter Dutton who suggested that the former prime minister Malcolm Fraser should not have let people of “Lebanese-Muslim” background into Australia back in the 70s – citing as evidence a handful of individuals of Lebanese descent who have been charged with terrorism offences.

Dutton also infamously claimed that Victorians are “scared to go out to restaurants” because of “African gang violence”.

via They know it is wrong but, if it works, who cares? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Rewarding incompetence – yet another scathing report about Dutton’s department – » The Australian Independent Media Network

“A consolidation of Australia’s border services has the potential to generate significant savings by removing duplication, better integrating and improving operational systems and practices, reducing staff, as well as consolidating back office functions and rationalising property. Savings could also come from greater efficiency in visa processing.”

However these benefits have not materialised.

A review published by the Australian National Audit Office last week into The Integration of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service highlighted significant and persistent departmental failings and no discernible benefit from the merger.

The report stated that the department “is not achieving commitments made to government in relation to additional revenue, and is not in a position to provide the government with assurance that the claimed benefits of integration have been achieved.”

Despite many previous criticisms and recommendations, “The department’s record keeping continues to be poor.”

“The audit found that the department did not maintain adequate records of the integration process. This finding repeats the outcomes of a substantial number of audits and reviews going back to 2005. The department’s own assessment is that its records and information management is in a critically poor state. The problems and their solutions are known to the department, and it has an action plan to address them, although numerous previous attempts to do so have not been successful.”

via Rewarding incompetence – yet another scathing report about Dutton’s department – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The law should not be a plaything of the government – » The Australian Independent Media Network

we had the saga of George Brandis’ refusing to fulfil a freedom of information request for his diary to see if he met with community legal aid stakeholders before making controversial cuts to the sector in the Coalition’s 2014 budget despite a Productivity Commission report that found it needed a huge boost in funds to meet growing demand.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal subsequently ruled Senator Brandis should process the request.  He again refused, taking it to the Federal Court who also ruled he must hand it over.  Eventually, after 1039 days and over $50,000 of public money wasted, Brandis finally handed over a heavily redacted copy of his diary.

Michaelia Cash is waging a similar battle to avoid answering questions regarding tipping off the media about an AFP raid on union headquarters.  The Federal Court has issued a subpoena requiring her to give evidence but she has instructed her lawyers to fight it.

via The law should not be a plaything of the government – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Top 8 Ways Iran Deal was Way Better than Trump’s North Korea Commitment

“Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global nuclear watchdog, continuously monitor Iran’s declared nuclear sites and also verify that no fissile material is moved covertly to a secret location to build a bomb. Iran also agreed to implement the Additional Protocol to their IAEA Safeguards Agreement, which allows inspectors to access any site anywhere in the country they deem suspicious. Until 2031, Iran will have 24 days to comply with any IAEA access request. If it refuses, an eight-member Joint Commission – including Iran – will rule on the issue. It can decide on punitive steps, including the reimposition of sanctions. A majority vote by the commission suffices.”

via Top 8 Ways Iran Deal was Way Better than Trump’s North Korea Commitment

Day to Day Politics: ‘Electricity Bill’ was electrifying with a very bright spark. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Speaking to a captive audience of roughly evenly divided people who had firm opinions about him when they walked in I wondered how many might have changed their view after hearing him talk about basic wages, unemployment, apprenticeships, housing affordability, negative gearing, aged care, and power bills, and using economic fairness to make his points. Then he turned on the Turnbull Government’s association with big business and the big banks.

“This is more fair dinkum to me than half the rubbish we carry on with in Parliament,” he uttered as the curtain fell on a very revealing Q&A.

via Day to Day Politics: ‘Electricity Bill’ was electrifying with a very bright spark. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Kim Trump Summit

Kim-Trump Summit: A step in the right direction?. 62536.jpeg

Recent history has taught us two things – that the United States of America and its sickening clique of yapping chihuahuas are serial warmongers – one look at the countries they have interfered in leaves no doubt; the second being that a Treaty, for Washington at least, is meaningless.

So whatever President Trump says to Leader Kim Jong-un’s face, let time tell whether his platitudes are sincere or just another round of empty lies. One thing the USA and its yapping chihuahuas are good at – very good – is appearing credible and trustworthy, claiming the moral high ground and using the media to deride anything different as dark, dangerous and threatening.

But let us take a close look at their track record.

 

via The Kim Trump Summit

US-North Korea summit agreement is most revealing for what it leaves out

 

My take-home message from the omission of CVID from the joint statement is confirmation that North Korea under Kim Jong-un is never going to willingly denuclearise.

In “working toward complete denuclearisation,” North Korea may agree to a nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing moratorium, decommission obsolete nuclear facilities, or even promise to freeze production of new nuclear weapons, without ever having to compromise its nuclear weapons capability.

via US-North Korea summit agreement is most revealing for what it leaves out

We have forgotten what is important let alone how to fight for it – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The result of this headlong pursuit of continuous growth is a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few while the vast majority are mired in poverty. At the same time, environmental degradation in the pursuit of profit, and the waste produced by billions of consumers, is destroying the planet.Neoliberalism purports to reward individual effort, completely ignoring the fact that we don’t all start from the same place.

Source: We have forgotten what is important let alone how to fight for it – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Scapegoating Iran

 

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

NEW YORK—Seventeen years of war in the Middle East and what do we have to show for it? Iraq after our 2003 invasion and occupation is no longer a unified country. Its once modern infrastructure is largely destroyed, and the nation has fractured into warring enclaves. We have lost the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban is resurgent and has a presence in over 70 percent of the country. Libya is a failed state. Yemen after three years of relentless airstrikes and a blockade is enduring one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The 500 “moderate” rebels we funded and armed in Syria at a cost of $500 million are in retreat after instigating a lawless reign of terror. The military adventurism has cost a staggering $5.6 trillion as our infrastructure crumbles, austerity guts basic services and half the population of the United States lives at or near poverty levels. The endless wars in the Middle East are the biggest strategic blunder in American history and herald the death of the empire.

via Scapegoating Iran

The Merchants of Venality – » The Australian Independent Media Network

venality

So let’s finish by describing the venality of our political system. For all political parties, winning is all that counts. With it comes power, privileges, influence, prestige, and of course, money!

Time and again we have seen our leaders propose measures that serve their aims, or promote their entrenched ideologies, rather than the common good. Whenever a leader looks generous, whenever a politician offers something that seems too good to be true, you can be sure it is. Look behind the show of generosity and goodwill and you will see what’s in it for them. You’ll always find the reward they expect. Political parties are open to bribery – they are venal. They accept donations that are nothing more than bribes to gain an advantage, no matter whom it disadvantages.

The vengeful Tony Abbott habitually exhibited venality. He instituted inquiries and a Royal Commission hoping to nail Julia Gillard, Bill Shorten, and the unions. The courts have thrown out all charges arising out of these witch-hunts. Millions were wasted. Abbott failed ingloriously. His successor is not much better. His most recent venality is the deliberate timing of the upcoming by-elections to advantage the Coalition and disadvantage Labor.

Politicians are merchants of venality, and everyone knows they are, even the millennials, as this Deloitte study shows.

via The Merchants of Venality – » The Australian Independent Media Network

With Abbott and Joyce gone we have an opportunity for a reset – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The boys from St Ignatious College

For almost a decade, Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce have been hugely instrumental in the destruction of bipartisan support for action on climate change (and a lot of other things). They have both now had their power stripped from them by their own parties for showing a stellar lack of judgement.

This presents an opportunity for a reset that should be grasped.

But will they?

via With Abbott and Joyce gone we have an opportunity for a reset – » The Australian Independent Media Network

We are mired in the gutter of character assassination for political purposes – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Coalition has spent all of its time attacking unions, attacking Labor, attacking individuals who question their policy, and fostering division by ‘othering’ various groups in our community. Five years in and they still are looking for others to blame. The rich have got richer but the vast majority of the population are feeling disappointed and uneasy, concerned about the future. It doesn’t need to be this way. The Coalition election strategy is, once again, to go for character assassination of the Labor leader – “Kill Bill” and “Unbelieva-Bill” and other such puerile nonsense It is up to the public to reject this inadequate attempt at deflection and to demand a genuine debate of important policy.

Source: We are mired in the gutter of character assassination for political purposes – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Is capitalism stuffed? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

In Australia, a similar situation is developing. Wages growth is at an all-time low and the government seems intent on keeping them so. The problem though is that without wages growth consumers don’t have expendable income sufficient to meet consumer demand for goods and services. America has found that out. Conservatives don’t seem to comprehend that you may be able to obtain growth on the back of low wages but if the low wages prevent people from buying what you produce, you have defeated your purpose.

Of course inequality is not just confined to the United States. It is truly universal. The two countries with the highest populations have chosen to improve the quality of life of their citizens with greedy economic capitalism, which is the same system that has caused inequality in the advanced economies. The advances in China, particularly over the past forty years have been spectacular. And at the same time, it is breeding billionaires like confetti. And all on the back of a low wage work force. In 50 years or so, if they continue on the same path, they will face the same problems that the west faces now.

Robert Reich outlines a plan to resolve the issue which is sound in economic rationale.

In the absence of another economic system, capitalism is what we have. The problem with it is its inherent greed and misuse. It is a system that could be moulded and shaped for good. However, the conservative forces of the right of politics seem determined to enshrine the existing hungry evil greed of unregulated capitalism on us.

Revolutionised morally regulated capitalism could if legislated and controlled enable everyone an equitable opportunity for economic success. With equality of opportunity being the benchmark of all economic aspiration and legislation.

via Day to Day Politics: Is capitalism stuffed? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Cash must be hiding something. What did she know? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

cash

  1. So why would Senator Cash, if she has nothing to hide, instruct her lawyer to have the subpoena set aside so that she is not forced to give evidence?
  2. If one is looking for reasons to justify a Royal Commission into banking here is a small but significant one. The cash rate is 2%. The bank card rate on credit is 21% or thereabouts. A 19% differential.Here is another. Why is it, if you try to get a $10k personal loan unsecured at around 8% you have a 50/50 chance of being knocked back, but banks can’t give you a $10k credit card at 20% quick enough?

     

 

Day to Day Politics: Cash must be hiding something. What did she know? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: The Murdoch machine has started its right wing crusade – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Murdoch

Of course, The Australian is Rupert Murdoch’s favourite broadsheet. It loses around $20 million every year but Murdoch refuses to give it a decent burial, instead, using it as a feeder publication for the likes of Jones, Bolt and Hadley and other shock jocks of dubious accountability.

Shock jocks who shout the most outrageous lies and vilify people’s character with impunity and in the process do nothing to promote decent democratic illumination.

The Australian online edition is full of anti-ALP headlines that at times beggar belief. One example is their support for the Government’s massive tax cuts for the top end of town. One day recently I counted 10 headlines either supporting the government or attacking Labor.

In every publication, derogatory names for the Leader of the Opposition are used more often than “stop the boats.” Because of there juvenile nature none have captured the imagination of the public. Now they are having another go with “Unbelieva-Bill.” Unbelievable isn’t it.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

Of course, these days Murdoch and his majority-owned newspapers; with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary, he has damaged it, perhaps irreparably. His only interest seems to be the elimination of the ABC and the superiority of right wing conservatism.

via Day to Day Politics: The Murdoch machine has started its right wing crusade – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Why do governments find it so hard to say we were wrrrr………. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

OUR PM IS THE HIGHEST PAID IN THE OECD & INCOMPETANT

Another example is the government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Labor government introduced a carbon price which was achieving the goal of reducing emissions. The Coalition chose Direct Action instead and, ever since, emissions have been rising.

We have always had the goal to provide affordable, reliable energy. The thing that has changed is the urgent need to minimise global warming. But somehow that imperative has been discarded.

Privatisation of the electricity sector has proven a disaster. The NSW government, against the advice of the ACCC but with the encouragement of the Federal government, sold off Bayswater and Liddell power stations and now the Coalition want to prosecute the company they sold them to if they don’t give it back. They want them to keep using coal rather than implement their plans to use gas and renewables.

Then there’s our asylum seeker and refugee policy. Supposedly, the draconian offshore detention was to save lives. Peter Dutton keeps telling us about the deaths at sea. But he refuses to talk about the deaths in custody or the sexual abuse or the mental health issues or the cruelty and illegality of indefinite detention of people whose only crime was to come by boat instead of plane to ask for our help.

Or we could talk about how we let the car industry die but are now going into the armaments industry. Apparently giving billions to foreign arms manufacturers is preferable to giving foreign aid which has been slashed to record lows.

via Why do governments find it so hard to say we were wrrrr………. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Significance of Karl Marx

He was certainly an inspiration in the latter respect, but it is his writings that are timeless. The fanatical and violent hatred they’ve always elicited from the enemies of human progress, the spokesmen of a power-loving, money-worshipping misanthropy, is the most eloquent proof of their value.

The owner of the means of production, i.e., the capitalist, has control over more resources than the person who owns only his labor-power, which means he is better able to influence the political process (for example by bribing politicians) and to propagate ideas and values that legitimate his dominant position and justify the subordination of others. These two broad categories of owners and workers have opposing interests, most obviously in the inverse relation between wages and profits. This antagonism of interests is the “class struggle,” a struggle that need not always be explicit or conscious but is constantly present on an implicit level, indeed is constitutive of the relationship between capitalist and worker. The class struggle—that is, the structure and functioning of economic institutions—can be called the foundation of society, the dynamic around which society tends to revolve, because, again, it is through class that institutions and actors acquire the means to influence social life.

. The powerful in particular love to clothe themselves in the garb of moral grandeur. They insist that they’re invading a country in order to protect human rights or spread democracy and freedom; that they’re expanding prisons to keep communities safer, and deporting immigrants to keep the country safe; that by cutting social welfare programs they’re trying honestly to reduce the budget deficit, and by cutting taxes on the rich they only want to stimulate the economy. When journalists and intellectuals take seriously such threadbare, predictable rhetoric, they’re disregarding the lesson of Marxism that individuals aren’t even the main actors here in the first place; institutions are. The individuals can tell themselves whatever stories they want about their own behavior, but the primary causes of the design and implementation of political policies are institutional dynamics, power dynamics. Political and economic actors represent certain interests, and they act in accordance with those interests. That’s all.

via The Significance of Karl Marx

Dodgy dealings – » The Australian Independent Media Network

government who seems to view Treasury as their private piggy bank to use as they see fit, a government that showers largesse on their supporters at our expense, a government who thinks we have no right to know what they are doing as they strip away our privacy rights in the name of national security.

The latest example is the gifting of almost half a billion dollars to ‘save the reef’ to a charity who, last year, spent (or promised to spend) $5.9 million on “science investments” whilst spending $1.44 million on “employee benefits” and another $1.7 million on various administrative expenses. They have six full-time employees and a further five part-time employees who have “roles relating to science, marketing, communications and accounting.”

This gift was made without any tender process or any consultation with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority who have 206 full-time equivalent employees.

via Dodgy dealings – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Coming Collapse

As a foreign correspondent I covered collapsed societies, including the former Yugoslavia. It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion. All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000 people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique; censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in illusions. We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning signs. All I can say is get ready.

via The Coming Collapse

Day to Day Politics: Liberal Party’s “women problem” and other stuff. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

My thought for the day. (John Lord)

”Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.”

PS: “Its is a pity that the written word cannot convey the tone of the spoken one. It has to rely on the skill of the writer.”

via Day to Day Politics: Liberal Party’s “women problem” and other stuff. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Israel, USA, & Middle East on the road to Armageddon

immorality neoliberalism

The Immorality of Neoliberalism. 62457.jpeg

If we speak of liberalism, or neoliberalism, in today’s society, it’s usually in a negative sense. And that is remarkable, because liberalism was originally intended to ‘liberalize’ the citizen, that is, to free him from the ruling elite. How then did modern liberalism become a new instrument of oppression? And why is it time to take a new look at this prevailing system?

via immorality neoliberalism

Budget 2018: This budget is too good to be true

Much of this rapid return to “the old normal” rests on the government’s forecast that the past four or five years of exceptionally weak growth in wages will end next month. Wage rises will be a lot higher in 2018-19, higher again the following year and still higher, at 3.5 per cent a year, in the following two years and for the remaining years out to 2028-29.

I think this is the basic explanation for the budget’s forecasts and projections, prepared by that well-known Italian economist, Rosie Scenario.

via Budget 2018: This budget is too good to be true

Day to Day Politics: A different perspective. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

 

politics

Unemployment in Australia

1 “A Roy Morgan survey shows that 11,962,000 Australians were employed in April 2018 – an increase of 46,000 over the last year. The increase was driven by part-time employment, which rose 154,000 to a record 4,454,000; full-time employment was down 108,000 to 7,508,000. The figures also show that 1,196,000 million Australians were unemployed (9.1% of the workforce) in April, a decrease of 88,000 (down 0.7%) on a year ago. In addition, 1,349,000 Australians (10.2% of the workforce) are now under-employed, working part-time and looking for more work, a rise of 259,000 in a year (up 1.9%). Roy Morgan’s real unemployment figure of 9.1% for April is substantially higher than the current ABS estimate for March of 5.5%. Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the continuing strength in part-time employment is causing under-employment levels to spike from already high levels, and it is imperative that the May 2018 Federal Budget seriously considers the continuing high levels of unemployment and under-employment” [full text]

via Day to Day Politics: A different perspective. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Coalition religious values are increasingly unrepresentative of most Australians – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Has anyone notified George there are 150 Anglican churches up for sale?(ODT)

The sooner we separate religion and state completely, the better. That will entail getting rid of a Coalition who is so far out of touch with mainstream Australian values that they have become an irrelevant anachronism who should have no place in the halls of power.

via Coalition religious values are increasingly unrepresentative of most Australians – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Liberal Party’s list of “key achievements” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

 

For those of us who wonder what this government has actually achieved, the Liberal Party have provided a handy list of “key achievements”.

via The Liberal Party’s list of “key achievements” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Wow. What a bloody week that was. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Comment of the Week

Goes to Mr Denmore for his reply to Kaye Lee’s post; It takes a certain type of woman to join the Liberal Party.

I’m not sure it’s about gender. The Liberal Party has been overtaken by a nasty, greedy, vindictive ideology that attracts nasty, greedy, vindictive human beings devoid of charm or compassion. Perhaps some of the women seem particularly vile because, like women in many other walks of life, they have to exhibit the group values and attitudes more intensely than the average male politician to win acceptance and promotion. For instance, it seems pretty clear that O’Dwyer was thrown under a bus by Turnbull and Morrison to do that Insiders interview with a set of talking points that even the most astute political spinner would have struggled to sell. Cash, like Turnbull, seems to have no functioning political radar. Like many in the Liberal Party caucus now, the game is all about appeasing a dying and unrepresentative base of reactionary old white men. Mirabella, on the other hand, seems to be just a rotten human being, pure and simple. The Libs weren’t always like this. Judi Moylan, who retired from parliament in 2013 and who like Cash is a West Australian, was a moderate and progressive voice in the party during the Howard years, as was Judith Troeth, a Victorian. So I think the real issue is the takeover of the Liberal Party and its Coalition partner by a nasty, reactionary right-wing strain of US-style culture war politics. If you are a woman of political ambition in the Liberal Party, you are going to be tempted to exhibit the behaviours rewarded by that political tribe.

via Day to Day Politics: Wow. What a bloody week that was. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The dishonesty of the company tax cut debate – » The Australian Independent Media Network

In March, the Business Council of Australia released a letter signed by 10 senior executives saying the tax plan was “urgent and vital” for keeping Australia competitive.

The irony is that five of the companies who were represented in the letter paid no tax in 2015-16. Legally.

Whilst a rate of 30% is at the higher end of the scale, the average rate of corporate tax in Australia is much lower at 17% and the effective rate (ie the average rate at which pre-tax profits are actually taxed) is lower again at 10.4%.

The real problem facing this country is not company profits – they are at record highs.  The issues holding us back are wage stagnation and inadequate welfare.  Households have dangerously high debt levels, energy prices continue to soar, and housing is unaffordable where the jobs are.

In a speech to the National Press Club, even Deloitte economist Chris Richardson, a man the government often quotes, said that fixing “unnecessarily cruel” dole payments is a more urgent priority than budget repair.

The BCA agrees, or at least they used to.  In May 2013, Jennifer Westacott called for an urgent review of the Newstart payment, arguing the payments must be increased to avoid trapping jobseekers in entrenched disadvantage.

via The dishonesty of the company tax cut debate – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Day to Day Politics: Conservatives in a class of their own – » The Australian Independent Media Network

class

When you have an inequitable distribution of the country’s wealth it is obvious that people will be divided by income if nothing else. In 2013, the then Treasurer Wayne Swan wrote an essay about the ever-increasing inequality that had invaded our society.

The right-wing Murdoch press and conservative politicians immediately attacked his piece as class warfare.

So what the hell is this class warfare everyone talks about? I would have thought that there was less class distinction in Australia than in most countries. At least on the surface.

We do however have an attitude known as “them and us” syndrome. This phrase speaks of the wealthy who are privileged beyond conscience and then, well there’s us.

Those we refer to as them have all the wealth but “us” collectively spend more than “them.” Consequently, we pay more tax.

via Day to Day Politics: Conservatives in a class of their own – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Coalition cha cha – » The Australian Independent Media Network

When Labor raised the debt ceiling to $300 billion, the Coalition were outraged – until they won office and abolished it altogether. The debt incurred to keep the economy growing and people working during the global financial crisis was ‘bad’ debt whereas the debt raised to pay foreign arms manufacturers is ‘good’ debt.

There was similar outrage when Labor took a one-off dividend from the RBA in 2012-13. The Coalition have been ripping billions out in dividends ever since.

via The Coalition cha cha – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Capitalism is doomed to collapse unless it learns to share – » The Australian Independent Media Network

”Poverty is the fault of the victim but wealth comes from virtue and both are the natural order of things.” John Lord

In preparation for the election, the Coalition have reverted to their safe space of “class warfare” and “the politics of envy” where they try to convince us that making the rich richer is good for us all and any questioning of rising inequality is just jealousy from lazy people.

 

via Capitalism is doomed to collapse unless it learns to share – » The Australian Independent Media Network

It takes a certain type of woman to join the Liberal Party – » The Australian Independent Media Network

I looked for news about Michaelia Cash and the court case about the televised AWU raid but she appears to still be in the ministerial protection program.

It seems Liberal women, like their male colleagues, suffer from a sense of entitlement that precludes accountability.

via It takes a certain type of woman to join the Liberal Party – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Small government, like communism, might sound like a good idea but they are lambs for slaughter on the altar of greed – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Deregulation, self-regulation, red tape, green tape, nanny state, small government, privatisation, asset recycling, compliance costs, free market, one-stop shop – these are some of the phrases religiously chanted by big business, and echoed by conservative think tanks and governments, with a certainty that smacks of zealotry.

We are told that the private sector is more efficient so we outsource service provision to them. We sell off valuable assets and profitable government-owned enterprises. We remove regulatory oversight and streamline approval processes.

We sack public servants, urge wage restraint, remove penalty rates, freeze the superannuation guarantee and hobble collective bargaining.

We provide so many concessions for the owners of capital and assets that they end up paying little to no tax. We encourage exports whilst enduring shortages at home. We provide a guarantee for the banks to protect them from the financial turmoil afflicting the rest of the world. We have a whole government department dedicated to making sure the private sector does not face unfair competition from the public sector.

And still, even as companies continue to announce record profits, it’s not enough – they want more.

via Small government, like communism, might sound like a good idea but they are lambs for slaughter on the altar of greed – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Banking royal commission: Misbehaviour shows power of KPI’s

 

Amid all the reluctant truth-telling at the banking royal commission, one big lie has yet to be apprehended: shame-faced witnesses keep admitting they put their shareholders’ interests ahead of their customers’. Don’t believe it.

via Banking royal commission: Misbehaviour shows power of KPI’s

Tony Shepherd is well paid to tell the government what it wants to hear – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Tony Shepherd has been paid $55,000 for 17 days work producing a report which recommended that the rules governing the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund be changed to allow the government to pretty much do what it likes with its five billion dollar slush fund.

That’s the same Tony Shepherd who was paid $85,000 for a few weeks work as head of the Commission of Audit that was the basis for Abbott’s 2014 budget from hell.

via Tony Shepherd is well paid to tell the government what it wants to hear – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Richard Flanagan: ‘Our politics is a dreadful black comedy’ – press club speech in full | Australia news | The Guardian

Richard Flanagan

I told a friend the other day I was to be speaking here in Canberra today and she told me a joke. A man is doubled over at the front of Parliament House throwing up. A stranger comes up and puts an arm around the vomiting man. I know how you feel, the stranger says.

It’s not a bad joke. But it felt familiar. I went searching my book shelves, and finally found a variation of it in Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, set in communist Czechoslovakia in the dark years after the Prague Spring. In Kundera’s version the two men are standing in Wenceslas Square.

 Richard Flanagan: ‘Our politics is a dreadful black comedy’ – press club speech in full | Australia news | The Guardian

Canberra public servant’s sacking over asylum seeker policy tweets found to be ‘unlawful’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Canberra public servant Michaela Banerji

A Canberra public servant sacked for expressing her views on asylum seeker policy, has won her case for compensation after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia found she was unlawfully dismissed.

In September 2013, Michaela Banerji was fired from the Federal Department of Immigration after it was revealed she had been using the anonymous Twitter name @LaLegale to criticise the then-government, the minister and department policies — particularly over the handling of refugees.

In one tweet Ms Banerji wrote:

“Think of the deaths we are responsible for in Iraq! Think of the refugees we have created by our invasion of Iraq!”

via Canberra public servant’s sacking over asylum seeker policy tweets found to be ‘unlawful’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

“He’s the closest to a statesman we have” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

If any statement has shown how much trouble the Liberal Party is in, it’s that one.

Peter Dutton? A statesman?

via “He’s the closest to a statesman we have” – » The Australian Independent Media Network

A rising tide is great if you own a boat – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Coalition works on the theory that “a rising tide lifts all boats”, which is all very well if you happen to own a boat. The majority of the population is either bailing hard to stay afloat, treading water or drowning.

In the last five years, the world’s economies have made a strong recovery. Investment has returned, GDP is growing, profits are up and jobs are being created.

The problem is that all this extra wealth is going to the people who already own boats.

In 2017, the top ten percent owned 50.3 per cent of all wealth in Australia. The top one per cent’s share was 22.9 per cent while the bottom 60 per cent’s share was 15.3 per cent.

A rising tide is great if you own a boat – » The Australian Independent Media Network

America’s Forever Wars as Spectator Sport

Any war failing to yield peace is purposeless and, if purposeless, both wrong and stupid.

War is evil. Large-scale, state-sanctioned violence is justified only when all other means of achieving genuinely essential objectives have been exhausted or are otherwise unavailable. A nation should go to war only when it has to — and even then, ending the conflict as expeditiously as possible should be an imperative.

via America’s Forever Wars as Spectator Sport

The Campaign to Exterminate Muslims

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

The Israeli army’s wanton slaughter of unarmed Palestinians trapped behind the security barriers in Gaza evokes little outrage and condemnation within the United States because we have been indoctrinated into dehumanizing Muslims. Islam is condemned as barbaric and equated with terrorism. The resistance struggle against foreign occupation, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Gaza, sees Muslims demonized as the enemy. Muslims are branded as irrational and inclined to violence and terrorism by their religious beliefs. We attack them not for what they do but because we see them as being different from us. We must eradicate them to save ourselves. And thus we perpetuate the very hatred and counterviolence, or terrorism, that we fear.

via The Campaign to Exterminate Muslims

AEMO confirms that AGL’s plan for Liddell will eliminate energy shortfall – » The Australian Independent Media Network

In March 2018, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) sent Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg their assessment of whether AGL’s plan would meet our future energy needs.

AEMO’s analysis shows that an additional 850 MWs of resource capability are required to ensure reliability in NSW following the closure of Liddell. If all three stages of the AGL plan are completed, the resource gap will be eliminated.

In its current state, Liddell is more likely to be the cause of a power emergency because of what AEMO describes as the potential for ageing coal generators to fail in the heat – during the 2016-17 summer heatwave, Liddell was missing 1,000MW of its capacity due to problems with boiler tube leaks.

–– AD

via AEMO confirms that AGL’s plan for Liddell will eliminate energy shortfall – » The Australian Independent Media Network