Before the coronavirus, property market pundits were tipping their usual, regulation, 10% rise in house prices. They have been quiet in recent days. Callum Foote reports on the impact of the virus on an already weak economy, racking up the present crisis against the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Australians are unprepared. The ratio of household debt to household disposable income is now at an all-time high, suggesting the risk to property is also at an all time high.
Since 2002, Quinn showed, the most productive Australian firms (the top 5 per cent) had not kept pace with the most productive firms globally. In fact, Australia’s ‘productivity frontier’ has slipped back by about one-third. The best of ‘Made in Australia’ hasn’t kept pace with the best of ‘Made in Germany’, ‘Made in the Netherlands’ or even ‘Made in America’.”
And then there’s the other 95 per cent. In the past two decades, their output per hour worked has barely risen. So 19 out of 20 Australian firms don’t produce much more per hour than they did when Sydney hosted the Olympics.
A Productivity Commission study has found that half the slowdown in productivity improvement in the market economy in recent years is accounted for by manufacturing. A separate survey of management practices in manufacturing firms found that Australia’s managers rank below those in Canada, Sweden, Japan, Germany and the US.
The drop we’ve experienced is “not the fault of employees: there are simply fewer good opportunities available. According to Treasury’s analysis, much of the drop in job-switching is because workers are less likely to transition from mature firms to young firms. With fewer start-up firms, it stands to reason that there are fewer start-up jobs.”
The Government meanwhile deregulates (ODT)
Australian Detention Centers are sold as Holiday Resorts by Murdoch Media’s Chris Kenny, They are places however where detainees resort to rape, suicide, and mental collapse, children included. Where doctors nurses and staff are threatened jail if they inform. (ODT)
China regards intellectual property as just another factor of production and wants to lower its price to a minimum. By contrast, high-tech American firms often derive their profits by obtaining higher and higher prices for intellectual property.
US diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks in 2010 reveal the high priority American diplomats give to the surveillance and defence of intellectual property regimes around the world. Thousands of cables and millions of words are devoted to this subject.
Australia, as a net importer of intellectual property, has good reasons to side with the developing world, which has been calling for a “development agenda” that facilitates technology transfer as a key enabler of development. Instead, Australia sides with the “patent agenda” of the US, the EU and Japan even though it comes with a high price.
There can be no reconciliation until politicians acknowledge the harmful impacts of race baiting
Business and Banking call for CALMNESS. Workers beg for FAIRNESS (ODT)
Union members will stand together, whether it’s against a bullying local manager, or an entire wages system that profits only the very few, but there’s one issue that always receives unanimous and overwhelming support from the people I meet – that everyone needs to pay their fair share of tax.
Australia’s unionists may not all know the complexities of how tax avoidance operates, and they may not be across the ins and outs of each tax-minimising loophole and rort, but the reluctance of Australia’s rich to make taxation contributions that are in any way proportional to their wealth is as well known as it is enraging. When I explain to meetings of our members that there are 62 Australians who each earned $1 million last year and paid not one cent in tax – not even the Medicare levy – it is pitchfork time.
As in the 1930s we have been witnessing for some time now in Australia how easy is it for these forces to normalise brutality towards vulnerable people, and how those same forces are deliberately creating a society of increasing inequality, distrust and fear of ‘otherness’, through racist dog-whistling about immigration and multiculturalism.
Just as in the 1930s Australian conservatives are again ideologically aligned with fascism. We need to remember the story of Lt-Col Scott of Gull Force, for his contemptuous and contemptible attitude to the fate of his own men is ultimately a classic example of the character and values of fascism in practice.
They failed badly in Victoria (ODT)
How does a small handful of commentators such as Alan Jones and Ray Hadley wield political power?
Our side of politics spends their whole time in their offices with Sky News playing in the background.
Last year, the Canadian government set an ambitious target of admitting 1 million total immigrants from 2018-2020. The target for next year is 330,000 immigrants, of which about 190,000 will be economic migrants. The remainder will enter under the family reunification category and the refugee, humanitarian and protected category.
Behind the scenes at Westminster and the teetering fate of the British government lies an even more profound change in British politics: the very real possibility of the break-up of the United Kingdom. In this situation Australia needs to tread carefully and maintain its good relations with what has emerged as its more stable European partner, the European Union, while offering silent support for whatever governments or countries could emerge from Brexit. Is the UK headed for dissolution?
Instead of accepting free tickets to attend sporting and cultural events, instead of posing for photographs, instead of marketing your family, instead of calling yourself by a nickname and putting your arm around anyone you are standing next to, how about you get back to the office and do the job you are being paid to do.
So, there we have it, the UN the IPCC and the scientists who have prepared 6,000 research papers, on the subject, are urging action on climate change. We have been told that we need to remove extreme right-wing governments to be replaced by more progressive thinking governments prepared to take up the challenge.
The solution then for this new government and, mechanism to gain across the board public support, would be a positive response. This aims at atmospheric Co2 management including, in particular, carbon capture at point of emission, removing Co2 from the atmosphere, reforestation, incentive-based emission reduction guidelines, electricity storage and support for alternative energy.
This has been promised by the Labor if they win the next election. Both government and big business need to take affirmative action on behalf of each and every one of us. If the fossil fuel industry wishes to survive they need to participate and work towards reducing or eliminating their carbon footprint.
News Corp Australia follows are we now no longer going to shirtfront Putin?(ODT)
On Sept. 26, 2018, President Donald Trump made an extraordinary accusation against China during his remarks to the United Nations Security Council, saying, “Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election coming up in November against my administration.” He made the claim without offering any evidence, but he did speculate about China’s motivation: “They do not want me, or us, to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade.”
Murdoch Media tells Australia it’s too difficult too expensive too painful. It seems we are being scammed. (ODT)
Since California if it were a country would have the world’s fifth largest economy, and since so many other states are economically integrated with it, this plan, if signed by governor Jerry Brown, could help transform the entire country.
The goal is less difficult than it seems on the surface. California had already committed to getting one third of its electricity from renewables by 2020, and reached that goal in 2017. It committed to getting 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, and in fact will likely reach that goal 10 years early, in 2020.
Europe just reached a milestone of one million electric vehicles on the road. Chinese bought 600,000 or so just last year. California is set to become a leader in this area, as well.
California is showing us where the whole country is going, even if some states will take longer to get there. But likely it also will be a big influencer for the whole Pacific Rim. Can Japan really continue its natural gas + nuclear electricity mix once California has shown how easily renewables can supply all our needs? Moreover, California’s efforts will synch with those of China, in ways that will create synergies and thwart Trump’s fossil fuel obsession.
California will save enormous amounts of money by going to green energy, but more importantly, it will rapidly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and show others how to do it, putting a brake on the runaway greenhouse gases that threaten the stability of our natural ecosystems on earth. California is one of the more vulnerable states to the climate crisis.
The income survey data show an even more mixed record. The Our World in Data database shows that by 2003 the real income of the median Australian household was only about 5% higher in real terms than in 1989, while the second and third decile households – mainly headed by those on low wages and some on social security – were actually no better-off than in 1989, largely due to the effects of the early 1990s recession.
Despite the way it’s been spun, the Commission’s main message is that in the decades ahead we will need both policies that generate economic growth and policies that ensure it’s well spread. One without the other could leave many of us worse off.
In the book he describes a movement “fed by the rivulets of hate mongering and disinformation-fuelled propaganda flowing out of rightwing media for at least a decade and the hospitable dark environment provided by a virtual blackout in mainstream media concerning the growth of rightwing extremism”t
The savagery of US conservative media, he says, is one of the key differences between the United States and New Zealand.
“I don’t think we can escape the fact that in the US we have a cable TV station that at least 22 hours a day and seven days a week is devoted to coaching half of America to hate the other half,” Neiwert says. “That’s been going on for 20 years or more, and it’s had a profoundly toxic effect on our discourse, our social contract, our view of each other.
Soutphommasane accorded that Australia’s success as a multicultural society is under threat. This threat is not from extreme factional groups or mask-wearing fascists, it is from the mainstream of Australian public life.
The real danger, he argued, comes from “dog-whistling politicians” and “race-baiting commentators” eager to harness populist attention through the careless “mixing of race and politics”. Just about a week later, Senator Fraser Anning proved how devastatingly true that was when he called for a “final solution” to “ethnocultural diversity” in Australia in his maiden speech.
And as I indicated in the Facebook post, “The Road to Anning” has not surfaced overnight. Along the way to getting to that piece of unmitigated and unfettered racism that was his maiden speech, we have had a Parliament that has:
- continued to treat refugees abhorrently;
- continued to preside and perpetuate discrimination against people of Aboriginal heritage and ancestry in a systemic fashion;
- given voice to such people as Pauline Hanson and others who continue their campaigns of hatred towards anything non-Anglo-Celtic; and
- allowed racism to exist in its various manifestations along the way.
Anning is not a new phenomenon. He is but a by-product of a society that places little or no value on diversity.
Equality for Australian women has worsened dramatically since the beginning of this decade, with high levels of sexual harassment in the workplace, the former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, recently warned.
Fifteen classrooms, 17 toilets, three urinals, 32 rubbish bins, 12 drinking fountains and 40 windows.
That’s what Lisa Berryman is expected to clean during her four-hour shift at a Melbourne primary school.
Then there are the less frequent tasks: mopping the gym and art room, wiping down 600 chairs, scrubbing the classroom sinks and cleaning the staff room and offices.
Ms Berryman used to have an extra hour and 20 minutes a day to complete these tasks.
But in the wake of a state government overhaul of school cleaning, she’s been stripped of seven hours of work a week and her pay has dropped from $25.65 per hour to $23.49.
This amounts to more than a $200 weekly pay cut
“How can they do this to people?” she said. “They have given us worse working conditions.”
While the changes were aimed at stamping out the underpayment of workers, cleaners like Ms Berryman say their pay and conditions have deteriorated.
In this context, paying CEOs massive bonuses when the average Australian worker is doing it tough is disappointing and out of step with the community expectations of business.
Cutting the ABC and Concentration of Private MSM spells the era of Fake News is growing, Australia needs teh ABC more than ever (ODT)
“This proposed merger means it is about to get even more concentrated,” Ms Rowland said, declaring it “beyond belief” for Senator Fifield to proclaim his government supported media diversity.
“Democracy suffers if you have too few media voices, workers suffer when mergers inevitably lead to job losses and citizens, consumers and communities get less diversity, less coverage and less choice.”
Like many other countries, Australian business and consumers have left their political leaders behind, opting for renewables backed up by gas, hydro and, to a smaller but growing extent, batteries.
Tony Abbott Closed Radio Australia and opened the door to China in the region. Now the LNP are trying to correct that threatening an economic backlash. A rolling stone gathers moss and it started with Abbott the Pillock of the Pacific the Europhile (ODT)
The security pact, known as Biketawa Plus, is being considered by members of the Pacific Islands Forum and builds on the Biketawa Declaration signed in 2000 that has guided the forum’s collective response to crises such as natural disasters and civil unrest.
The Global Times warned it would be a “strategic mistake” if the new security agreement was aimed at China.
“Instead of being overly cautious about China’s rise, Australia and New Zealand should avoid misleading the region on China’s role, and other regional countries should be clear about the consequences of being misled,” its editorial said.
“The region will only suffer more losses from containing China.”
The New Zealand Government has also copped criticism after it released its Strategic Defence Policy Statement last week which said China was challenging the existing international rules-based order.
At a press conference in Beijing on Monday China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged New Zealand to “correct its wrong words and deeds and contribute more to the mutual trust and cooperation between our two countries”.
DETERRING AND IMPRISONING asylum seekers is gaining popularity in the western world. Punishment by separation of children from parents now has occurred in both Australia and America historically and currently, invoking community backlash. America forthwith will follow Australia’s indefinite detention practices, even as Trump repudiates his policy on separation of children from parents. These practices contravene the Refugee Convention to which both America and Australia were signatories. Dutton emphasised the desire to be rid of this troublesome convention, saying:
“I think there is a need for like-minded countries to look at whether a convention designed decades ago is relevant today.”
Let us examine that which underpins our history of refugee conventions versus “deterrence” against refugees and their smugglers.
via Do unto refugees
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
What does all this mean? Over two years have passed without any further comment about the WGAD’s findings by the Turnbull Government. Now the Government is paying lip service to the existence and role of the WGAD – as it must as a conscientious member of the United Nations – but refusing publicly to accept or even acknowledge its findings in relation to Mr Assange’s detention, let alone in any way trying to address them.
Given our Government’s demonstrated capacity, when it puts its mind to it, to effect the early release of Australian citizens from curial processes and prisons in other countries – and given that the foundational proceedings against Assange by Sweden have now evaporated – it surely has an obligation to act on the findings of the WGAD and negotiate the safe repatriation of Mr Assange from England back to Australia.
Then, the former firefighter was sleeping rough. A family breakdown and worsening mental health condition had catapulted him from his community and his only possessions were was some loose change in his pocket and the clothes on his back.
“People assume all homeless people are drug users. Or that we’ve all got our hands out for help. They’re wrong,” he says.
This week, for the first time, a group of Victorian police officers spent the morning walking with Russell through the streets of Fitzroy and Carlton to find out first-hand what life is like for someone who is homeless. It was followed by a session where police could ask any question of people who had experienced homelessness.
Tony Abbott is not an original thinker
Indeed, it has become undeniable that Trump’s overriding goal on immigration is to reduce the number of immigrants in the US to the greatest degree possible.
As Eric Levitz notes on nymag.com, Trump moved to end Temporary Protected Status for various groups with no credible rationale for doing so and even though US diplomats have warned that it is dangerously bad policy. And as Trump’s “shithole countries” comment confirmed, his main driving impulse on immigration is white nationalism – rolling back the current racial and ethnic mix of the country at all costs – and that this is shaping policy.
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.