Roy Morgan’s survey of trust in Australia’s professions rates bank managers at 33 per cent. This is pretty poor compared to public trust in nurses, who, at the top of the scale, enjoy a well-deserved 94 per cent. But federal MPs score half that, a mere 16.
The banks abused the people’s trust and took Australians’ money. The political parties abused the people’s trust and took their democracy. Yet the political leaders managed to spend the week damning the banks without any evident self-reflection.
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
Australia’s key institutions – government, business and not-for-profit organisations – are among the least trusted in the world. Our trust in the media is now the second lowest in the world, behind only Turkey, at 31 per cent.
When what was once an excercise in service became and excercise in servicing you( Old Dog)
the word “trust” was redundant in the entity described as a trustee company. I have had more than 50 years’ experience with a prominent trustee company; at the beginning the trust manager was experienced and knowledgeable in investment and property management and was able to reconcile his responsibilities to the deceased and to the beneficiaries. By the final years the trust managers were less experienced, constantly changing, sometimes entry-level employees who had to refer matters of investment and property management elsewhere in the company. By the end the company had become one-size-fits-all aimed to maximise the return to the company, the level of experience in property management was minimal and engagement with beneficiaries dismissive.
For example, Perpetual (which swallowed The Trust Company in 2013 which, in turn, had taken over Permanent Trustees in 2002) has a minimum upfront fee to administer a testamentary trust of $3125 or 1.1 per cent of gross assets, plus a minimum annual fee of $4125 or 1.375 per cent of assets. Thus a testamentary trust with $3 million in assets has an upfront fee of $33,000 and an annual fee of $41,250. That is merely for accounting
In the crazy cross-currents of the first weeks of the Trump administration, it is an absence that is most striking – trust is missing in action.
Every time I hear party mouthpieces like Dutton and Morrison tell me what Australian people want, what we “know”, I have to fight an overwhelming urge to scream. What the Australian people know is that the body politic is rotten. In December 2012, retired judge and anti-corruption campaigner, Tony Fitzgerald, wrote a scathing article in…
Abbott says we’re on the right path, but the numbers paint a different picture. Such exaggerated claims have eaten away at the public’s trust.
Here’s what’s missing: trust. Not just between Abbott and his backbenchers, but also between Abbott and us. If anything, the leadership contest has made things worse.
As Abbott brought forward the timing of the leadership vote on Sunday, his supporter and finance minister Mathias Cormann told the ABC the economy was “heading in the right direction”. He wanted “to build on the achievements we made in 2014”.
Without trust we lack confidence. We are neither spending nor investing what we should.
Take a moment to consider the achievements and the direction in which things are heading. That year began with a quarterly rate of economic growth of 1 per cent. After the budget, it slid to 0.5 per cent, and then to 0.3 per cent. It’s falling, rather than rising. The direction is down. (Ignore the through-the-year figures Cormann quoted. They make the budget look good by including the very strong economic growth that preceded it.)
Illustration: Andrew Dyson
Illustration: Andrew Dyson
The Reserve Bank made its view about economic growth clear on Tuesday. Here’s what it said when it cut rates an hour or two before its governor briefed Cormann and others in cabinet: “In Australia the available information suggests that growth is continuing at a below-trend pace, with domestic demand growth overall quite weak.”
It’s weak and it’s bleak. It isn’t heading “in the right direction”.
Looking ahead, the Reserve Bank expects growth to remain “a little below trend for somewhat longer, and the rate of unemployment peak a little higher, than earlier expected.” Unemployment has climbed from a quarterly rate of 5.3 per cent at the end of 2012 to 5.8 per cent at the end of 2013 to 6.2 per cent at the end of 2014. We get the first figures for 2015 on Thursday.
Unemployment is worse than it was at the peak of the global financial crisis. The Reserve Bank expects it to get worse still.
Hockey and Cormann will tell you that while unemployment is growing, employment is too. But it’s not, really. The number of hours worked per month grew barely at all throughout 2014. More people may have been employed at the end of the year than the start but on average they’ve been working less, some shifting to part-time work and others to fewer hours of full-time work. Disturbingly, the Reserve Bank says the number of hours worked per month has scarcely changed since December 2011 despite three years of population growth.
None of these facts would surprise anyone in business or anyone looking for a job. What would surprise them would be to hear from the team at the top that things are “heading in the right direction”. It would make them think they were being lied to.
When trust vanishes, it’s awfully hard to restore. That’s because it vanishes slowly. Joe Hockey’s first budget was far worse than it seemed on the night in part because he didn’t tell us the truth about it on the night. The usual calculations showing the households that won or lost were missing. The Treasury had prepared them as usual, but the Treasurer withheld them.
And he made up stuff. He said Treasury had told him that fuel excise was “a progressive tax”. It hadn’t. He said the poorest Australians “either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases,” something many of them know to be untrue. Petrol takes up a much bigger share of a low-income budgets than high-income budgets.
He said his own wealthy electorate of North Sydney had “one of the highest bulk-billing rates in Australia”. It had one of the very lowest in all of Sydney. He said “higher income households pay half their income in tax”. They pay nothing like half. Even those on $200,000 pay just 36 per cent. Back from his holidays this January, he revived the claim and went further saying typical Australians pay nearly half their income in tax.
“When Australians spend the first six months of the year working for the government with tax rates nearly 50c in the dollar it is a disincentive. You’re working July, August, September, October, November, December just for the government and then you start working for yourself and your own household income after that for another six months, he said.
But Australia’s tax-to-GDP ratio is about 30 per cent, including all taxes, state and federal. It simply can’t be the case that typical Australians pay nearly half their income in tax. They don’t.
And exaggerated claims have eaten away at trust. Hockey said Australia was on track to run out of money to pay for its health, welfare and education systems. The figures put forward by his then health minister suggested otherwise. In ten years the cost of Medicare had climbed 124 per cent, the cost of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme 90 per cent and the cost of public hospitals 83 per cent. But Australia’s gross domestic product – the money we would use to pay for these things – climbed 94 per cent.
The government tells us it’s concerned about future generations, but won’t release the Treasury’s intergenerational report. It tells us it wants a discussion about tax, but won’t release the tax discussion paper finalised late last year.
Without trust we lack confidence. We are neither spending nor investing what we should. Business and consumer confidence has been sliding since September.
Specific businesses are at a standstill. Universities don’t know what fees they will be allowed to charge, students enrolling don’t know what fees they will eventually be asked to pay, doctors don’t know what will happen to their incomes, big businesses don’t know whether they will be hit with the 1.5 per cent paid parental leave levy and what it will be used for.
If they applied themselves, Abbott and his ministers could methodically work through each of these issues. But they wouldn’t be trusted.
The government itself has become an impediment to economic growth. It had the ability to make a fresh start. On Monday it didn’t take it.
Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age. Twitter: @1petermartin
Hockey told ABC radio this morning that the Coalition would not have secured its recent free trade agreements if the government hadn’t presided over the demise of local car manufacturing. (He’s quite correct on that point, but I doubt Australian car workers currently in the process of being retrenched will appreciate the fact they have been sacrificed in order for Australia to lock down an FTA with China and Korea.) The treasurer was quite clear this morning that was the transaction – there would have been no free trade agreements if we hadn’t made the hard decisions on industry assistance at the beginning of the year.
People stare. Sometimes, on the tube, they cross the carriage to create a space between us. There is something about me some people don’t like, or it makes them uneasy. It’s my beard.
My beard is about three and a half to four inches long now. I started growing it nearly a year ago; the result of a number of things coming together. One – if I am honest – was laziness. It also began not long after an incident at my university, King’s College London. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was guest of honour at a reception. I went along in traditional dress, thinking: “This is Desmond Tutu. He fought against discrimination and oppression. I can be myself because everyone will be welcoming and open.” Then I was stopped by security and they demanded to know it I had actually been invited. From then I just thought: “Why not?”
Slowly, I became more and more fascinated with having a beard. I can only liken it to the experience of black women who relax their hair and then one day stop relaxing their hair and find it opens up a brand new world to them. There are all these beard products, oils, shampoos, combs. People even blog about them.
Once I grew my beard, there was an immediate effect. Muslims are more open to me; others with beards notice me because they understand what I’m experiencing.
Of course, there is also the other issue that beards are big in mainstream popular culture. People started coming up to me and saying “Great beard”. Within my own community, it gives me a sense of solidarity; outside, there is a feeling of specialness. Some people ask: “Are you growing that for religious reasons or because it is fashionable?” At first, I would feel I had to justify it. I would say it was fashionable and then religious. But then I stopped doing that. If I was a white guy with a ginger beard, no one would ask those questions of me.
My mum is keen that I get rid of it. My dad thinks I should shorten it. Mum worries in the current climate about how people will perceive it. But for me it is quite empowering. I love it when another Muslim sees me and comes and says “Salam” on the street. It is a subculture I am tapping into; a sense of pride in my identity as a Muslim. Beards play a massive role as a key identifier of whether you are a Muslim or not. It gives a sense of community.
As someone who has a bit of a public profile because of the role I play at university, a beard can also help to normalise the presence of a visible Muslim. It helps me to demonstrate to people “If I can do it, you can do it; you can be yourself.” They see a Muslim outwardly practising.
There is an assumption in our communities that if you are in the public sphere, you sell out a little and lose the things that make you who you are. By growing my beard, I debunk that a bit. My face has been everywhere because of freshers week and the fact that so many Muslims have been coming up to me and talking about issues they were facing was really a milestone for me.
I think the benefits of having my beard – not least that it covers up my eczema – outweigh the disadvantages. Some people grow them for religious reasons, others because it is comfortable, others because they are hipsters. Who cares?
An opinion piece after 54:47 poll disaster for Abbott, Hockey is done and dusted Turnbull is not liked by the Right so Scott Morrison has to be dealt with.
IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison is on the prowl. He wants new portfolio responsibilities, and his colleagues are none too impressed with his agitating for carve-outs from their ministerial duties.
On September 30, The Australian revealed that Morrison might be hoping to secure extra duties in a beefed-up Homeland Security-type portfolio. The proposal would have seen Australian Federal Police, Customs and intelligence services, as well as some other agencies, brought under Morrison’s watch. The cabinet has not endorsed the idea, which had been examined separately by a bureaucratic review of our security services.
The new portfolio would have seen deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop give up responsibilities, but she was having none of it. Bishop issued a sharp rebuke to Morrison when The Australian broke the story.
Attorney-General George Brandis also would have lost responsibilities under the Morrison push. Brandis used an address to the National Press Club to repel the idea. And he chose not to be diplomatic about it when doing so. Brandis’s junior minister, Justice Minister Michael Keenan, also would have been forced to shed powers to Morrison under the Immigration Minister’s ambitions. Keenan already lost border protection from his ambit of duties when the Coalition came into government.
This week we have seen reports that Morrison now wants to take over biosecurity responsibilities from Nationals deputy leader and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, who was surprisingly diplomatic in question time on Wednesday when opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon pressed him on the issue.
Biosecurity has long been a tightly held responsibility of Nationals ministers when the Coalition holds office. “You should hear what he says privately about Scott’s power grab,” a Nationals MP told me. “It would be fair to say he wasn’t nearly as calm.” We know Joyce pushed back hard against Morrison internally, airing his displeasure to the Prime Minister’s Office.
But Morrison’s desire to secure more powers doesn’t stop with needling at the portfolios of Bishop, Brandis, Keenan and Joyce. He’s also after responsibilities that are the preserve of Health Minister Peter Dutton. Wrapped up with biosecurity are the healthcare responsibilities of managing Australia’s response to the Ebola crisis. Morrison thinks he is the best man for that job, too.
The Immigration Minister has been successful at “stopping the boats”, whether opponents of his harsh approach (such as me) like it or not. Morrison therefore carries significant political capital wherever he goes. And judging by his efforts to nudge colleagues out of the way, he has become rather confident in his capacity to deliver pretty much anything.
The push for a super portfolio, dismissed publicly as “speculation”, is reminiscent of Julia Gillard’s super portfolio of education and industrial relations, which ensured that while she didn’t damage the uneasy truce between Kevin Rudd and Treasury spokesman Wayne Swan at the time, she remained a cut above other frontbench colleagues.
The difference now is that Morrison isn’t the deputy, which Gillard was. He has no rights to seek further responsibilities so soon after entering government, and the tensions and destabilisation such pushing creates risks getting Tony Abbott off-side. Which would be an unnecessary aggravation by Morrison, as Abbott the conservative would probably like to see the religious conservative Morrison overtake the likes of Bishop, Joe Hockey and Malcolm Turnbull as the natural leadership successor.
It is hard to fathom why Morrison is in such a rush. Some politicians can’t help but stay in perpetual motion. That was always Rudd’s problem.
Morrison needs to be careful because his senior colleagues are growing tired of what they privately describe as Morrison’s “I’m always right” approach to any discussion. One cabinet minister told me: “He’s great to deal with until he disagrees with you about something. Then you see the real Scott, and it’s not pleasant.”
That’s a character assessment that Labor MPs started to make about Rudd soon after he became PM. While Morrison has shown a competence in his portfolio that Rudd rarely did, ministerial successes can’t paper over personal animosities caused by impolite interactions with colleagues. Managing up doesn’t always work in a democratic party structure.
We already knew before the Coalition won office that Morrison was keen on a change of portfolio as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Now, however, with the broad issue of national security likely to be front and centre alongside the economy for the remainder of this term, it is perhaps understandable that Morrison would like more of the same power rather than a switch.
At first glance there doesn’t appear to be anywhere else senior enough for him to move to. Foreign affairs is taken and that won’t change. Abbott wouldn’t dare shift Hockey out of Treasury, knowing that would unleash internal instability. Besides, Hockey works well with Mathias Cormann, who is in finance. Shifting Cormann and pairing Morrison up with Hockey would be a recipe for disaster, so that won’t happen either.
Defence was always talked about as a portfolio Morrison might like to shift into, but that is more problematic now. David Johnston is considered a weak fit, but he is close to West Australian colleague Bishop, who would likely use her authority to protect him in any reshuffle. Besides, Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert is a close ally of Morrison. He no doubt has cabinet ambitions in that portfolio space. And the PM knows defence can be a graveyard for senior ministers, which might tempt him to send Turnbull there one day to distract the member for Wentworth from ambitions beyond communications.
If Morrison isn’t happy staying where he is, and a new homeland security portfolio is out of the question, Abbott could give him the social security ministry.
Kevin Andrews then replaces Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop takes up a diplomatic post in a location other than the Middle East, and Morrison can get to work on fixing, expanding and selling the all-important welfare reforms.
Success at such a task would broaden his image, carry economic (and reforming) credibility and significantly help the government. Implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme would give Morrison a chance to display a softer side.
The only loser in this scenario is Assistant Social Security Minister Mitch Fifield, who would have to work with Morrison — assuming those who complain that Morrison is hard to work with are right, of course.
While at one level it suits the PM to have rivalry among future leadership aspirants because it means they eye each other off rather than him, it also causes unrest. The leak to me out of cabinet in February that Morrison argued (unsuccessfully) for subsidising SPC Ardmona caused the Immigration Minister to complain at the following cabinet meeting that colleagues were backgrounding against him. Since that time a longer line of Morrison’s colleagues have started to leak against him as well.
The Immigration Minister needs to do more than stop the boats. He must stop agitating for promotion and rebuild his relationship with colleagues
An inconvenient truth countered by a blatant liar: Hockey denies Australia is dirtiest greenhouse gas emitter in OECD
The newly awarded Nobel Prize for economics challenges Joe Hockey’s voodoo economics prescription for Australian economic growth, writes Alan Austin.
THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR ECONOMICS announced yesterday bolsters the campaign for better industry regulation in Australia.
The prestigious award – officially, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences – went to Professor Jean Tirole of the Toulouse School of Economics in France. It recognises his work on how poorly regulated corporations operate to the community’s detriment. And how the problems can be fixed.
Drawing attention to industry regulation is timely for Australia as the Abbott Government strives to wind back regulation brought in by previous administrations, but with little success.
Tirole’s analysis of corporate market power has shown how big companies damage the communities in which they operate. And also how they may be regulated to everyone’s advantage. He believes different industries require quite different regulation.
The Academy noted that Tirole’s work not only described the negative outcomes of regulation failure, but recommended specific responses:
‘The best regulation or competition policy should therefore be carefully adapted to every industry’s specific conditions. In a series of articles and books, Jean Tirole has presented a general framework for designing such policies and applied it to a number of industries, ranging from telecommunications to banking. Drawing on these new insights, governments can better encourage powerful firms to become more productive and, at the same time, prevent them from harming competitors and customers.’
The French Government, however, is delighted.
Spokesman Stéphane Le Foll said:
‘The Nobel Academy making this award is also a reflection of the absolute necessity in today’s crisis that we have regulation and mechanisms for stability. We must not just leave management of the economy to the free market.’
Will the global discussion this award is generating engage hapless Treasurer Joe Hockey and the Abbott Government?
Clearly, the mindless mantras he mouthed before the 2013 election have not materialised into benefits for Australia’s businesses or people.
Hockey promised this:
‘Reducing the burden of taxes and regulation, ensuring fair and competitive markets, and reducing the size of government will boost business investment and spending. And from investment and spending will come growth and jobs.’
The Abbott Government then undertook a highly visible exercise in deregulation with its Autumn Repeal Day last March — the first of two promised every year. The Government boasted that 10,000 regulations and acts would be removed from the statute books.
So what has been the result? How much better is the economy now performing?
It is, in fact, performing much worse. In the 13 months since Hockey became treasurer, business confidence has slumped, the value of the all ordinaries on the Australian Stock Exchange has fallen, consumer confidence has collapsed, the Aussie dollar is at the lowest level since 2010, inflation is up from 2.4% to 3.0% and rising, unemployment is at the highest level in a decade and government debt has blown out by $39 billion – up 22%.
The failure to regulate appropriately, Tirole shows, risks not just weaker company profits and a poorer community, but another financial crisis:
‘The gradual lowering of regulatory standards predated the recent crisis. To be sure, other developments such as “irrational exuberance,” loose monetary policy, and global macroeconomic imbalances also contributed to the crisis. But underregulation or ineffective regulation is rightly blamed for playing a central role in the crisis.’
Much of the world is now listening to Jean Tirole. Which is just as well.
But is Joe Hockey?
Self-belief is a powerful tool in achieving success and there is no question that Tony Abbott has it in spades. But does he have the substance to justify it?
After average results at university and an uninspiring football career, with the help of the Jesuit network, Tony headed off to Oxford to take up his Rhodes Scholarship. It only took a couple of games for him to be dropped from the rugby team with suggestions that his prowess had been somewhat exaggerated. Tony was strong on physicality but short on speed or finesse.
Student politics at Sydney University saw Tony, a callow youth straight from a Catholic boys’ school, given a platform to preach loud and long in his opposition to homosexuality and feminism. Further, he denounced contraception, labelling it part of the “me now” mentality. Ironically, whilst eschewing the use of contraception, Tony was an avid partaker of “me now” activities, if not the responsibility that went with them.
Tony has displayed this absolute certainty that he is right all his life so, when he was elected leader of the Liberal Party in return for becoming a climate change denier, I started getting concerned. When he became Prime Minister I felt alarmed. Twelve months in and I am horrified. I am afraid for the present and for the future.
Tony Abbott is only one man, but this man’s unwavering belief in his own judgemnt has seen him surround himself with advisers who tell him what he wants to hear. Experts are sacked, independent advisory panels disbanded, oversight and freedom of information curtailed, journalists and the National Broadcaster threatened.
In the space of a year we have gone from world leaders in action on climate change to being called the “Saudi Arabia of the Pacific”.
‘In the year since they took office, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Liberal-led coalition have already dismantled the country’s key environmental policies. Now they’ve begun systematically ransacking its natural resources. In the process, they’ve transformed Australia from an international innovator on environmental issues into quite possibly the dirtiest country in the developed world.’
Instead of looking forward to every home being connected to the NBN and school funding bridging the gap of disadvantage and inequity, we have record numbers of new coal mines to enjoy. Instead of universal healthcare and unemployment benefits, we see people on pensions feeling very afraid about their future. Instead of affordable tertiary education and housing, we see places being sold to the highest bidder.
We have moved from bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, to a war in Iraq and Syria that will inevitably lead to civilian casualties and destruction of homes and infrastructure, a move that has seen us specifically named for revenge attacks. The “humanitarian mission” line has been exposed for the lie it always was.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who formerly worked in intelligence, has accused the federal government of exploiting fears about terrorism to rush through new national security laws that push Australia towards a “police state“.
“It is clearly overreach by the security services who have basically been invited to write an open cheque. And the government, which wants to beat its chest and look tough on national security, said, ‘We’ll sign that’.”
The laws include jail terms of up to 10 years for journalists who disclose details of ASIO “special intelligence operations” and provide immunity from criminal prosecution for intelligence officers who commit a crime in the course of their duties.
“The government of a democracy is accountable to the people. It must fulfil its end of the social contract. And, in a practical sense, government must be accountable because of the severe consequences that may result from its failure. As the outcomes of fighting unjust wars and inadequately responding to critical threats such as global warming illustrate, great power implies great responsibility.”
Tony has great power but no sense of responsibility. He has confidence but no conscience. He has determination but no commitment. He is willing but lacks the skills. He attacks and blames but resents oversight and has never accepted accountability, and this is what scares me most.
The consequences of being wrong could/will be catastrophic and I don’t share Tony’s confidence that he, Maurice Newman and Cardinal Pell have all the answers.
“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”
― Thomas Paine
Daniel Flitton for the Age writes that tracking money when coming from various sources is exceptionally difficult. Charities were particularly vulnerable to exploitation by terrorist supporters.
“Money raised legitimately can be commingled with fund raise specifically to finance terrorism”
It might be used for family support of terrorists who died. In other words for compassionate reasons. Very few have been discovered in Australia. A more common form of money transfer was known as “hawala” where payments are made across the globe with little documentation but a lot of trust. This form of money transfer was exceptionally common place and not used only by Muslims. Money, is transferred around the world by Indian business men on trust unregulated yet guaranteed to reach the other end. A system that would collapse in western hands.
AUS-TRAC and ASIO would be simple minded to believe terrorist organizations used simple bank to bank transfers even via third parties to terrorists. Bitcoin is a headache for them as is TOR encryption so all they seem to be doing is catching minnows Maybe that explains why it took 100 police to arrest one suspect.
The government says that 60 Australians are suspected of being in Syria/Iraq. It’s not known if they are fighters some are believed to be in the refugee camps. It’s why the government has put the burden of proof on them when they come home or cancelling their passports before they do. Again this young man from Seabrook may not have been supporting a US terrorist fighter at all it all. It remains ‘alleged’ or ‘suspected’.
These terrorist groups have been established for over 10 years certainly wouldn’t consider crowd sourcing as the primary means of funding these sorts operations are more likely to be state criminally funded and the source of those funds has always been difficult to stop.
Detention orders obtained before anti-terrorism raids were carried out
This may be the first time that Australian anti-terrorism powers have been used in detention of suspects without charge
A spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Greg Barns, said Australia’s anti-terrorism laws had draconian provisions that allowed people to be detained without charge.
“The AFP and the government have been very happy to feed the media sensational claims, which are simply claims at this point.
“They need now to be accountable to be able to care for the people they are holding.
“The conditions under which people can be detained are pretty outrageous. They don’t get access to lawyers like a traditional suspect. It’s basically psychological pressure they’re put under,” he said.
Asio torture warning: fears new powers will allow suspects to be harmed
Senator says he has legal advice legislation will allow Asio to inflict physical and psychological harm on terrorism suspects
A NSW senator, David Leyonhjelm, said he had received legal advice that the national security legislation amendment bill would allow intelligence officials to inflict physical and psychological harm on terrorism suspects.
Police are desperately trying to identify a middle-aged white male who has been showing up at parties in southern California and spiking food and drinks with some form of high-powered blotter acid. Law enforcement officials have so far been stymied because the individual always shows up dressed as Shakes the Clown.
Known in Los Angeles as “Mr. Happy” or “Zarathustra” by more enlightened members of the community, the man refers to himself as “Flashback The Clown,” and tells party goers that he has been hired as entertainment by the homeowner. He then proceeds to clandestinely dump copious quantities of hallucinogens into any available foodstuffs or liquids offered by the host.
“Mr. Happy” then just sits on the sidelines and smiles as chaos ensues.
Victim Claire Cueball related her story to Fox News after being dosed at a quiet get-together over the weekend.
“It was terrifying! One minute we’re all just sitting there having fun discussing politics and Justin Bieber, and then the next minute I’m seeing velociraptors scurry around in the scrub behind the house,” said Cueball. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. My husband still has scales and gives off a pale green aura if I look at him too long.”
LAPD public relations officer Edith “Kill the Poor” Adams told reporters that it was vital that the prankster be stopped before he does some real damage.
“We have not experienced this level of fear in the community since the Illinois Enema Bandit made an appearance here in the late 70’s. I mean, it’s all well and good for folks to start disrobing and playing Europe 72 over and over again until dawn, but we’re scared to death that some of these people will get in their cars and start roaming the interstates. This dude has to be stopped!”
I am starting to think that when Mr Abbott promised us a “grown up” government, instead of “responsible adult” government he actually meant he would treat us citizens like children, responding to unwanted scrutiny with that most hated parent refrain, “because I said so…” that will drive a kid to their bedroom in fury and frustration, normally with bonus door slamming.
That is just not good enough. It is not “ridiculous” to want proof and be assured that our Prime Minister – be it this one or any MP in future who aspires to the top job in our nation while Article 44(i) of the Constitution is on the books – is a “law-abiding” citizen who legally deserves to be in the position of Prime Minister of this nation.
I might be only a punter but I try to teach my kids that Rulz is Rulz! — whether you are Joe Blow, Jill Dill or Prime Minister of Australia.
What’s the most useful thing Australians can do in response to any increased terrorism alert?
The first thing is to recognize that Australia in a good place in terms of security because of the high degree of community solidarity that exists here. That means anything we do – especially any loose talk that rashly demonize entire communities based on their faiths or ethnicity – is a threat to our national security.
Shut 2GB and Newscorp down. Recharge Andrew Bolt for religious, ethnic and racial vilification again
Trust between different ethnic and religious groups across Australia and with our security authorities is the bedrock of our security, it is of vital importance. As above threaten Andrew Bolt with incitement of terrorist activity and radicalization
In making this announcement about possibly increasing the terrorism threat level, the hope would be to encourage more people to speak up, rather than keep their concerns to themselves. And if you do speak up and report those concerns, you will get a more receptive response from the authorities at the moment..This is tantamount to dob in a friend. One needs to trust communities and empower them not go over their heads
It might be something you see on your social networks, or in the community: if your gut reaction is that something isn’t quite right, then speak up.This is fair enough
That’s not asking people to peek through their venetians and spy on their neighbours. It’s just asking people to be thoughtful and observant; for instance, if you see a truck on your street for a couple of days that looks out-of-place, you can get someone to check it out.Talk to your neighbours first. You may offend
Or if you’re worried about your brother, or your son, or your friend who hasn’t seemed themselves lately – maybe they’ve broken off old friendships or suddenly changed their views. Be family know who your kids mix with even after they have left home
People speaking up about their loved ones and friends has been the front line of defence, saving those young people – especially young men – from going overseas and likely harming themselves and possibly others. In many cases where passports have been withheld in Australia, the tip-offs have come through the community.
When it comes to terrorism, prevention is far better than cure.
Address youth unemployment, hope & opportunity it might go a longer way in prevention than policing. Most of the radicalized have already experienced enough policing and are looking for better. Hope and opportunity would help. We could learn a lot from Punchbowl High
On the 29th August 1976, Queensland police raided Cedar Bay with the help of a naval vessel, and destroyed houses and rainwater tanks before taking those arrested to Cairns…Queensland police said they had done this raid in support of the NSW police
Cedar Bay is about 100 miles North of Cairns. The commune is a series of gardens and huts with communal kitchens built behind the beach along the three mile stretch of sand.
At the North End, the huts stretch along a track which leads from the glistening sand to the towering North Queensland rain forest.
The police began their raid several hours before dawn on August 29, 1976, by taking over a farm with an airstrip some distance inland. They brought in a helicopter to attack the commune from the air, while a naval boat came from the sea and a land party moved in along the land track.
Twelve of the inhabitants were captured. Some were handcuffed with their hands behind their backs around trees. Others were tied up with fishing nets. Others the women were whisked away by helicopter.
While the inhabitants were helpless, the huts were set alight with baby clothes used as kindling. The vegetable gardens were trampled, the water tank shot up, the paw-paw and banana trees slashed.
The charges brought against these people living 40 miles from Cooktown on private property were mainly of vagrancy. Eight were charged with vagrancy, three with possession, one with growing marijuana.
The magistrate from Cooktown was on leave so was the Clerk of Courts so the next clerk down the line found the 12 guilty and fined or gaoled them.
When it was decided he had no power to do so, the gaoled were freed and then re arrested on the same charges.
The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties has set up a fund not only to give legal defence but to give legal aid to civil action against those who burnt and destroyed the communes property.
Killer Hunt In Hippie Commune
The Sun Herald
Sunday December 13, 1992
ON August 29, 1976, police and customs agents, wearing paramilitary gear, swooped on an isolated hippie commune in thick scrub between Cairns and Cooktown.
The raid cost more than $50,000 and involved a helicopter, light aircraft and a Navy vessel.
The result was the arrest of 12 young people on drug and vagrancy charges.
But some police involved in the operation were later accused of taking part in an orgy of wanton destruction, which led to 25 charges, including arson, being laid against four officers.
The allegations opened a can of worms within the police force and thrust the then Queensland Premier, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, into a slanging match with Church groups, civil libertarians, the State Opposition and even his own police commissioner.
The public began to wonder why such military-style planning, enormous expense and considerable State and Federal police manpower had gone into a small-time drug raid.
Queensland’s Federal Member for Leichhardt, John Gayler, who represented the Cedar Bay residents during the inquiry, claims hippies were arrested on”trumped-up” drug and vagrancy charges to cover up a blunder by Cairns police
Mr Gayler, breaking 16 years of silence, said the real target of the raid was a murderer who had escaped from Cairns watch house earlier that month.
Bernard Wilton, in his early 30s, was facing drug charges when he escaped from the lock-up through a hole in the roof.
A furore erupted within police circles when, hours later, Interpol revealed Wilton was also wanted for drug-related murders overseas.
“The police went ape when they found out they had an international murderer in their grasp – and let him escape,” Mr Gayler said.
“When police received information that Wilton was being looked after by hippies at Cedar Bay they planned the raid with Federal Police and the Navy.
“The raid had nothing to do with cannabis but the police were not going to admit their blunder.
“When they found Wilton wasn’t at the camp at all, they needed to justify such time, effort and expense.” Wilton, who was believed to have been involved in a drug-smuggling operation from Indonesia, is still wanted by Queensland police.
Former Queensland Chief Superintendent Don Becker said his investigations with Inspector Syd Atkinson into allegations of police arson and destruction of property at Cedar Bay led him to believe the raid was intended to snare drug smugglers.
“It’s possible the raid was solely intended to capture Wilton but, if so, it would make it one of the biggest fiascos I’ve ever heard of,” Mr Becker said.
“To try to capture one man – a very cunning criminal – from a helicopter is absurd. Whichever way you look at it, whether to capture Wilton or break a drug-smuggling ring, the entire operation was a fiasco.”
HIPPIES involved in the raid, and former Queensland Police Commissioner Ray Whitrod, who insisted on an inquiry into police conduct during the blitz, remember the bitter Cedar Bay affair with regret.
Former hippie Charles Gifford, who was a key witness at the Cedar Bay inquiry into police misconduct in 1977, describes the time as an “intense period of frustration and anger”.
Mr Whitrod, now living in South Australia, was then fighting for police reforms and said he was sorry the controversy “didn’t do more to raise public awareness” of the extent of police corruption during the Sir Joh era.
At the Cedar Bay inquiry, police were accused of burning huts, smashing personal belongings, destroying clothing, chopping down fruit plantations and, ironically, consuming alcohol at the site following the drug raid.
Police, in their defence, tendered evidence of squalid living conditions and described the commune’s inhabitants as “filthy, criminal hippies”.
They maintained they had done the right thing because it was “in the public interest” to burn the settlement to the ground.
Mr Gifford, however, believes the anarchic streak police displayed during the raid was fuelled by an “intense fear of people who chose to adopt an alternative lifestyle”.
He now lives with his family at Bloomfield, 10km south of Cedar Bay, and says his occasional visits to the site spark bitter feelings over the incident, the inquiry into police conduct, and the acquittal of the four police officers who faced arson charges.
“We were just harmless people living the way we wanted to,” he said.
“The raid started with a helicopter buzzing our camp, then came a troop of about 20 guys wearing paramilitary gear jogging up the beach, taking cover, then jogging up again.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes; it was just so weird. I dashed into the bush, hid, and watched.”
Mr Gifford said police trashed the camp, shot coconuts out of trees with their service revolvers and ripped out fruit and vegetable plots.
He said the most frustrating aspect, as a witness at the inquiry, was”knowing what really happened but not being able to do anything about it”.
“The police had done a great injustice and we just watched in amazement as they got away with everything,” he said.
“The stories and lies they told about us during that trial were absolute rubbish; they made it up as they went along, and they got away with it. I keep in touch with people who were involved with the raid and I think they feel pretty much the same way.”
Mr Gifford said he was living at Cedar Bay with friends in a “bush camp”arrangement at the time.
He said there “may have been a bit of smoke” (marijuana) at the camp but he had never envisaged a full-scale drug raid involving the armed forces.
“It’s pretty scary when people become so angry and resentful of others who choose to live differently. Perhaps they see it as a threat to their own way of life,” he said.
Mr Whitrod, 78, said the Cedar Bay episode was one of the most traumatic experiences of his life.
He said a great source of his angst lay in his terse relationship with the Premier, Sir Joh.
“My relationship with Joh at the time was severely strained because he felt he was acting as a perfectly reasonable person who was doing the right thing. I disagreed,” Mr Whitrod said.
“I insisted on an inquiry into the affair because I felt that police had acted improperly in destroying dwellings.
“I knew there had to be something more to the Cedar Bay business than just a drug raid but at the time I was in the dark about it.
“To my utter frustration, all police who were charged were acquitted – but then it was very difficult to get a conviction against a policeman in those days.”
Mr Whitrod said he believed Sir Joh “wasn’t acting in the best interests of Queensland” when he tried to stifle the inquiry.
“But he (Sir Joh) steadfastly believed he was acting in the best interests of the public and probably still does,” Mr Whitrod said.
“The potential for an incident like that to happen again in Queensland is certainly there. It will be only a matter of time before history repeats itself.”
The pivot of the Middle East, No!!!!! Asia Pacific Asia Pacifc You Fool.
Australia’s voice in the Pacific has gone after 40 years. It fostered a sense of regional community. But it’s gone because Abbott cut $223mill from the ABC budget. All talk about Abbott being the pivot of Asia/Pacific and being a bulwark to the movement of increased Chinese influence in the area is little more than political advertising by Abbott. In reality Abbott has handed Pacific nations communications to the Chinese free of charge. The ABC under it’s charter is obliged to have an international broadcasting service it has been reduced to 60% of it’s previous budget. Local Pacific content has been sacrificed and withdrawn from the region and replaced with Australian parochial content.
China’s official news agency Xinhua is in Fiji and has this year signed a deal in Vanuatu to supply news in English French & Chinese with it’s 171 foreign bureaus it’s influence is steadily growing across the region. So what is the Abbott pivot’s job description, Consierge ? “All talk no action Abbott” Meetings of leaders where Australia and NZ once had a voice will now fall even more under Chinese influence. These territories also acted as eyes and ears for Australian security against drugs, illegal arms and boats.
The ABC’s Sean Dorney provided us with understanding how PNG developed as a country he did the same for South Pacific Regionalism and gave newly formed independant Island states a collective South Pacific identity across the airwaves. He was their news across their region. When Abbott talks about National Security it’s merely the sound of his own voice and short term political gain just another sound byte coupled with his personal vendetta against the national broadcaster. The pivot has no interest in a region essential to our security. The Chinese love this doorman. The Maitre’D
The world’s 4th most influential macro economists and Nobel prize winner Professor Joseph Stiglitz has declared the deregulation of our universities to be a ” crime ” and the introduction of co-payments for medical services ” absurd ” The adoption of the American path is this governments two biggest mistakes that will ensure a widening of inequality and an increase in economic stagnation. “Countries that imitate America are kidding themselves”
The system that Pyne openly admires so much Tertiary Education is the worst functioning part of the US market and in effect closes off opportunity. While the US now is trying to regulate it we are about to deregulate and freeboot it. which according to Siglitz tantamount to a crime. That’s a strong statement coming from someone who believes in a market economy and has more international awards than all the economic advisers put together in this country.
“Robust higher education, with healthy public support, was once the linchpin in a system that promised opportunity for dedicated students of any means. We now have a pay-to-play, winner-take-all game where the wealthiest are assured a spot, and the rest are compelled to take a gamble on huge debts, with no guarantee of a payoff.” Students that don’t have the social network to support their climb. Is a statement from an expert examining the history of unintended consequences of past decisions.
We admire the US so much Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee a billionaire with a multi-million dollar income only paid 14% income tax and complained called 47% of Americans freeloaders” Doesn’t that remind you of Hockey & Abbott’s “Leaners and Lifters” description?
General Electric the symbol for multinational corporations have their headquarters in the United States & pay almost no taxes 2% average annually over the past 10 years. We have Glencore our top coal miner pays zero tax on a profit of 15 billion and those earning over $180,000 a 2% temporary levy for 3 years. However the indirect costs being put in place for ordinary Aus are going to stay. The income of the wealthy is far more easily manipulated downward and hidden than that of the average Australian worker. Hockey & Abbott are spitting in the face of Australia Fair.
Government plays an important role not just in social protection, but in making investments in infrastructure, technology, education and health. These are pillars of trust. Without such investments, our economy will be weaker, and our economic growth slower.
This government want’s to deregulate the financial sector. Financial planners wont be obliged to work in the best interests of their clients. What do these people do? They are paper shufflers people who shuffle paper, sorry our money for a commission. They don’t produce or create anything other than ideas on how to shuffle more paper the more they churn the more commission they make and they are very creative at creating churning product. Look at what created the GFC and more recently look at the CBA planners. Up close and personal they will all tell you they have a “passion” for making you money, sorry, taking your money, servicing you no no giving you service. With the aid of CBA’s trusted reputation they talked client’s up to buy more. Trust them and robo- sign yourself into debt. The bank did this with farmers and foreign exchange years ago and then foreclosed on them.This government calls it freeing up opportunity. Stiglitz describes it as stagnant “rent collecting” When trust is eroded the economy stagnates. What are they doing now to rebuild trust of other than the 1%ers?
Abbott & Hockey have cut research funding, cut tertiary funding & indirectly cut health funding areas essential for confidence & growth. They believe in the honesty of the 1% they say drive the economy forward. However studies have shown that the upper classes are more likely to engage in what has traditionally been considered unethical behavior. Perhaps this is the only way for some to reconcile their worldview with their outlandish financial success, often achieved through actions that reveal a kind of moral deprivation. Behind every knighthood in this country lies some blood on the tracks of people injured in the encounter.
Corman ,Brandis all say we don’t need regulation we all have access to the law as if that access was an equal playing field. What access did SMSF retirees have after the CBA ripped them off? 10% compensation for signing a non disclosure agreement. When trust is eroded and the government panders to the 1%ers over and above the general public growth stagnates. When our media no longer print news only commentary were do we get information. The public broadcaster is about to be savaged. When anything that comes close to reporting facts or information it’s declared left wing not just center left or center right. When government incumbant members are hounded as 5th columnists because they are reasonable or trying to find bipartisan courses of action this country can agree on it’s time for some plain speaking. We are losing our enthusiasm for politics and democracy is being raped.