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Friday, 15 September


Were not just here to learn we can lead too: young women human rights defenders speak out "IndyWatch Feed"

Young activists from four continents talk about their local struggles and what motivates them.

Madeline Wells (right). Madeline Wells (right) at a march supporting Aboriginal and Islander rights in Burnie, Tasmania, 2015. Photo: Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation. All rights reserved.Millennials often get a bad rap, accused of being politically apathetic and selfie-obsessed. But around the world, young people who are sick of government inaction are stepping up to speak passionately on behalf of their communities.

These four young women live in different continents and have had diverse experiences. Each is involved in Amnesty International campaigns, fighting for human rights from Australia to Peru. Here they talk about their local struggles, and what motivates them.

Madeline Wells, indigenous rights activist in Tasmania.

Madeline Wells. Madeline Wells. Photo: Lara Van Raay. All rights reserved. Wells represented Australia at last years UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. As a First Nations person, I have always felt I have a duty to fight for the rights of my people, a feeling of being part of something much bigger than me, she said.

Activism can come in many different forms. It doesnt have to be rallies or marches."

Climate change disproportionately impacts indigenous communities, and indigenous...


Roundup 15 Sept Catallaxy Files

The media watchdog. The cost, supply and use of power across the states. Check out the Coal Tracker especially Units Planned and Under Construction. China 583, India 217, Indonesia 145, Turkey 71, Vietnam 84, Japan 43, Australia 0. To a total exceeding 1500. Numbers subject to change.

Ideas at the Centre for Independent Studies. Fiddling the numbers for spending on education, Australias most expensive building (guess which state).

Books and Art. The fine art of business. Education. Accuracy in Academia, Berkeley faculty vs free speech. The university that has proudly proclaimed itself to be the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement may also become its graveyard.

Libertyworks. Further erosion of free speech and Finkels defective economics. Culture. Intellectual Takeout: Odds and ends of interest.

For nerds. How George Orwell become the prophet of our times. A Roundup from the past. Still of interest, see the piece on multiculturalism and the one on global warming.


Wilson Security: Working hand-in-hand with and protected by Government Independent Australia

Wilson Security: Working hand-in-hand with and protected by GovernmentApparently, writing WILSON: Human Rights Abusers in chalk on a glass window is seen by the courts as 'offensive defacement' and will cost you $500. read now...


Venezaustraliaesque Catallaxy Files

Thank you John Comnenus for the title.

Under the existing s.232, the legal duty of a councillor was perfectly satisfactorily defined as being to represent the interests of the residents and ratepayers. The new clause redefines that duty as to uphold and represent accurately the policies and decisions of the governing body. In other words, the current NSW Liberal government has just removed the right to free speech from any elected local government representative who does not agree with a majority decision of their council.

This flowed from an Act passed by the NSW Parliament in 2016.

Its clearly a good thing that Australians have the right to freedom of speech and expression.

Oh wait.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus


Ten million tonnes of fish wasted every year despite declining fish stocks "IndyWatch Feed"

Industrial fishing fleets dump nearly 10 million tonnes of good fish back into the ocean every year, according to new research. The study by researchers with the Sea Around Us Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia, and the Sea Around Us, an initiative at the University of British Columbia, reveals that almost []


In which the pond has a light Friday snack with simplistic Sharri ... loon pond

On a Friday the pond has taken to light snacking on a Sharri ... a nutrient-free treat before the crocodile steaks lumber into view on a lizard Oz Saturday ...

The pond is a firm believer in "The truth doesn't matter anymore ...Max Markson", and there's nothing like a Sharri for a dose of that alternative reality ...

Of course it would be better if the hagiographic scribbler wasn't quite so dumb, but the pond long ago learned that we can't have everything ...

Typically eloquent?

It's true that she didn't call Sharri a lickspittle idling shyster, a kulak parasite, a bourgeois traitor to the proletariat, a capitalist running dog, a tool to the Bonapartist Chairman Rupert, and a Trotsky fascist hyena (more insults here), but "crap" has a melodious sound to it ... though no doubt stern devotees of Anglo-Saxon culture and western civilisation might argue for the more basic "shit", which has a long and honourable Iberian Celtic heritage (well, as the pond noted not so long ago, that's Belloc's preferred term, none of that Judeo-Christian crap for him)...

Middle English shitten, probably from Old English -sciten (as in besciten, covered with excrement), past participle of *sctan, to defecate; see skei- in Indo-European roots (here)

'Crap' apparently has a faint whiff of the French about it, making it suspect for freedom fry lovers ...



For Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, life is attack, attack, attack The AIM Network

In the mid-1970s, Malcolm Turnbull, then 21, told future radio broadcaster David Dale that he wanted to be Prime Minister by the time he was 40. For which party? asked Dale. It doesnt matter, responded Malcolm. And therein lies the real problem with Turnbull.  He isnt in the job because of a driving passion for

The post For Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, life is attack, attack, attack appeared first on The AIM Network.


The Postal Survey: What are you so scared of? The AIM Network

By John Haly The debate The starter gun has officially legally fired on the governments campaign for the alternative postal survey formerly known as the plebiscite. The all too predictable debate surrounding the question of Marriage Equality in Australia has finally begun in earnest. Initial salvos have already been shot across the bow by the

The post The Postal Survey: What are you so scared of? appeared first on The AIM Network.


What is going on in academia? Catallaxy Files

But what is going on?

In the last 24 odd hours, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University offered a visiting fellowship to Chelsea Manning:

the former military intelligence analyst who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified government secrets.

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convict and jailed under the US Espionage Act after leaking a quarter of a million documents.  Manning was sentenced to 35 years, but was released after around 5 years following a sentance commutation by President Obama.

Any other convicted criminals to be offered academic fellowships?  What is Manning expected to teach or advance knowledge in?

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus


'Baseless attacks' by NBN Co cronies see resignations at Internet Australia Independent Australia

'Baseless attacks' by NBN Co cronies see resignations at Internet AustraliaOutgoing Internet Australia chair Anne Hurley has grown tired of defending herself and Internet Australia against baseless attacks from people with questionable agendas. Laurie Patton, who is also stepping down, reports. read now...


National: climate freeloaders No Right Turn

Climate change is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. Globally, it promises famine, disease, death, and war. Within New Zealand, it promises to destroy our agricultural industry and drown our coastal communities. Labour and the Greens are taking this threat seriously, promising to set a target of carbon neutrality by 2050 to push us down the pathway towards a greener economy. National, OTOH, doesn't care:

Both Labour and Greens, likely coalition partners, have committed to a carbon-neutral country by 2050 - but National won't commit to one of its own - and the party doesn't think it's possible within the next century.

"It certainly won't happen by 2050, it might happen by 2100," he said in the Young Voters' Debate hosted by 1 News.


"We don't have a stated policy goal of carbon neutrality. Our goal is to meet our international commitments, take climate change seriously, invest in the stuff that actually makes a difference which is the science around agricultural emissions reductions," Mr Bishop said.

"This might not be a popular view, but whether or not New Zealand becomes carbon neutral by 2050, will not stop hurricanes and sea level rise in New Zealand. We are 0.16 percent of global emissions."

And yet National somehow expect other, poorer, countries to make sacrifices that they are unwilling to make, to save their dirty farmer cronies from being driven off the land. Faced with the biggest crisis the world has ever seen, National's policy is simply to freeload off the efforts of others, while doing nothing ourselves, so that their cronies can make money for a little while longer.

That's not the kiwi way. We can and must do better than National's pathetic inaction.


The opportunity cost of the Melbourne Grand Prix John Quiggin

Last Sunday, my wife Nancy and I had a great weekend in Mooloolaba, where I took part in the Ironman 70.3 event, along with a thousand or so other competitors from around Australia and the world as well as hundreds of spectators. As Nancy said, even though the Sunshine Coast isnt far from Brisbane, wed never get around to going if there werent an event like this, but the beautiful setting makes us keen to return.

While I was there, a friend mentioned that the Melbourne Ironman event had been cancelled because the date of the Grand Prix had changed, producing a clash. That got my mind away from transition times and back to economic policy.

The Grand Prix is subsidised to the tune of $60 million a year, a payment justified by the supposed benefits of tourism, estimated at 35 000 interstate and international visitors. Every serious economic analysis Ive seen suggests that the net benefits are nothing like $60 million.

But, although Im always banging on about opportunity cost, this particular example hadnt occurred to me. In addition to the subsidy cost, the Grand Prix costs Melbourne events that would otherwise attract visitors without any subsidy**. The last Melbourne Ironman attracted over 2000 entrants, of whom a large share would have been visitors with accompanying family. Its probably not the only event lost to Melbourne because of the Grand Prix. Add to that the potential visitors who choose an alternative destination to avoid the noise and congestion of the race, and youve cancelled much of the tourism benefit attributed to the Grand Prix.

* There are also nebulous benefits said to be gained from global TV viewers, who are supposed to be attracted to Melbourne by hours spent on the couch watching fast cars doing laps of Albert Park, interspersed with a promo clips/coffee break opportunities. Im dubious.

** Various tourist bodies are listed as event partners for Ironman, but as far as I can tell, the monetary value of their support is trivial.


Breaking down the Inner West Council results The Tally Room

Ive been paying quite a bit of attention to the Inner West Council results. Its my former council area, but its also one of the most interesting councils. The Labor, Liberal and Greens parties all feature prominently, along with a wide variety of independents.

Ive also written a piece for the Parramatta Sun about the Parramatta and Cumberland council results which Ill share here when its posted.

The overall result in Inner West is not quite clear. Labor and Greens have each won at least five seats, along with progressive independent Pauline Lockie and two Liberals. Two other seats are in play.

Conservative independent Vic Macri is 171 votes ahead of progressive independent Victoria Pye in Marrickville ward. Second Labor candidate Linda Kelly, Liberal candidate Stephen Meates and independent John Stamolis are only separated by 54 votes one of them will be knocked out first, and their preferences will decide the race between the other two.

Labor in the inner west has a history of forming governing alliances with the Liberal Party and conservative independents like Vic Macri. The Greens, meanwhile, have a better relationship with a string of independents who contested four of the five wards, and cooperated with each other in a variety of ways.

If Stamolis and Pye win their seats, theres a plausible path to a working majority for the Greens and the independents they have been able to cooperate with. If Macri, Kelly or Meates win, that wont be the case, and Labor will have the option to work with the Liberals, and possibly Macri. If Macri and Kelly both win, its plausible that Labor could form an alliance with the two independents and without the Liberals, but that will be hard to pull off. Of course, its also possible that Labor and the Greens would cooperate and share the mayoralty between the two bigger parties, as they have done recently in Leichhardt.

Ive been looking at the swings at a ward level, and its very interesting.

Ashfield 34.7 33.4 19.9 12.1 0.0 13.4 -5.3
Balmain 42.7


A bribe predicated on a fantasy No Right Turn

When Murray McCully wanted to bribe a pair of corrupt Saudi businessmen, he got it past Cabinet by telling them that the money would prevent a lawsuit. He then told the New Zealand public during a TV interview that he had been advised by MFAT that there was a real threat of such a suit. Naturally, he lied: MFAT never gave him any such advice:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not provide legal advice to the government on the risk of being sued by a disgruntled Saudi Arabian businessman, documents reveal.

The admission that no legal advice on the lawsuit threat ever existed directly contradicts comments in 2015 by then-Foreign Minister Murray McCully that the ministry had taken advice on the issue.

McCully lied to the public and he lied to Cabinet in order to corruptly spend millions of dollars of our money. If he was still a Minister, he should be sacked. Sadly, his retirement means he will escape any accountability for this. But at least he's out of politics for good.


Damaging Damages: Rebel Wilsons Defamation Case The AIM Network

There is very little to be gained pondering whether celebrity journalism should be protected with the zeal that some of its advocates do. A person with the dirt-directed fanaticism of a Piers Morgan is not to be treasured and his court losses in defamation actions have, at times, warranted jubilation. But nor do the victors

The post Damaging Damages: Rebel Wilsons Defamation Case appeared first on The AIM Network.


Marriage equality: Understanding the arguments of the 'No' case Independent Australia

Marriage equality: Understanding the arguments of the 'No' caseThe arguments of the 'No' are all exceedingly weak, says John Haly apart, perhaps, for one... read now...


In which the pond once again attends nattering "Ned" acting as medium for a war criminal ... loon pond

It's been a Trabant sort of week at the pond - thanks to FrankD for the image link - and while in Berlin and heading off to Checkpoint Charlie, who could resist being tempted by Berlin's infamous Trabi Museum ...

Well as a student in the school of Uncle Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws - by golly the pond loves its parritch - the pond flinched and blinked - the current tariff is five euros - and besides, it was possible to spot for free devotees at the wheel of classic examples still trundling around the streets ...

The pond reckons it could sell one of those Trabants to Nick X.

The pond's got nothing against sluts - a label it was rather proud of in its day - but there's really no excuse for being such a stupid and cheap slut, and if Nick X thinks he's helped fix the media's problems in Australia for a $60 mill fob off, he's even sillier than the pond thought he was ...

Before the dirty and pathetically useless deal, the pond thought he was merely a parochial lawyer out of his depth in the big league.

Now he's a clear step below Pauline Hanson, who at least got what she wanted and scored the chance to sink the slipper into the ABC in a fine way ...

Fair and balanced? Wasn't that Fox News until they decided it was too silly and too obviously wrong, and adopted their new slogan?

As for the strugglers trying to provide a little actual diversity, here's one response ...



Philippa Martyr: Potential Greatness Day 15 September 2017 Catallaxy Files

Its here at last. The Turnbull government has had exactly as long as the Abbott government did to deliver its promised Potential Greatness.

14 September 2015 seems like a long time ago, doesnt it?  There I was in London, waking up surprisingly unsurprised to learn that Tony Abbott had been rolled as Prime Minister. Who knew that Malcolm Turnbull could be such a sneaky, underhanded, white-anting, all-mouth-and-no-trousers narcissist? I asked rhetorically.

But in the wake of the defenestration, a lot of people said publicly that they didnt think Turnbull was that bad. They spoke highly of his sex appeal, his suits, his business acumen, and his ability to poll. Above all, we were told, he is really One of Us on some Key Issues. Hes just waiting to make his move.

Thus the myth of Malcolm Turnbull, Closet Libertarian, was born. And what a persistent myth it was, to the point where heretics those silly people who believe that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour were branded del-cons and Abbottistas. Del-cons were little better than Pauline Hanson voters; crusty and barnacled dead weights holding back the agile and innovative Turnbull Coalition Team (or TURNCOAT for short).

We saw some shameful public discourse from people who should have known better: Miranda Devine, Janet Albrechtsen, Nikki Savva, and our own Doomlord (most of whom are now humming a little tune and looking fixedly in the other direction). No matter how many times we said that Abbott had let us down, and that we didnt want him back as Prime Minister, we were told over and over again that we did. We were also told that Malcolm was the way of the future, so put up and shut up.

Yet aside from his personality issues, Malcolm Turnbull came to the role of Prime Minister on a very obvious record of under-achievement. He was beclowned by Godwin Grech, took away our lightbulbs, never laid a hand on Stephen Conroy or Greg Combet during the NBN debacle, bedded the ABC like Don Juan, and generally signalled in capital letters that he was a leftist inner-city trendy to his (non-existent) core.

Anyone who pointed this out was told to shush. Malcolm was different now. He was One of Us. He alone could save the Liberal Party from electoral annihilation. Turnbulls subsequent fingernail parliamentary majority was frantically apologised away by his now over-invested cheer squad, who told us that Abbotts leadership would have led to human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria.

The TURNCOAT government has certainly produced some amazing achievements, ranging from regular and vindictive Cabinet purges to a lemonade-stand festival fe...


ABS view on including 16 and 17 year olds in the Marriage Law Postal Survey Requests or responses matching your saved search

Request to Australian Bureau of Statistics by Chris Gentle. Annotated by Chris Gentle on September 15, 2017.
Partially successful.
Still waiting for Treasury to return information from their delegated FOI request.


Day to Day Politics: Scotts on top of everything. The AIM Network

Friday 15 September 2017 1 One of the more bewildering aspects of Mondays IPOS Poll was the overwhelming endorsement of Scott Morrison. One would have thought that the economy was chugging along at a remarkable rate. Respected writer Alan Austin took exception to this assumption and has written an excellent piece titled Think Scott Morrison is

The post Day to Day Politics: Scotts on top of everything. appeared first on The AIM Network.


What can Australia do to help with elections in PNG? "IndyWatch Feed"

For decades Australia has been at the centre of international efforts to improve elections in Papua New Guinea. Australia has spent almost US$60 million since 2002. Despite this, the 2017 elections were blighted by a frightening pack of problems. Given PNGs electoral woes it is tempting to conclude aid hasnt helped. Tempting, but mistaken. Elections may not be good in PNG but good is not the right yardstick for aid success in this area. The appropriate yardstick is vis--vis a counterfactual of no international help. As I described in my first post, Papua New Guineas domestic political economy produces forces that are at odds with well-run elections. As I discuss in this paper, international engagement has served as a countervailing force against these. Because of this, it is very likely that elections in PNG would be worse still without Australian involvement.

This doesnt mean that Australian efforts cant be improved though. Here are some suggestions. Because this is a blog post they are, by necessity, broad. I hope many others will offer a lot more in coming months; for now, treat these ideas as a start.

First up, recognise the road to the next elections starts today. Improving them will be an ongoing effort. It will require engagement, pressure and assistance, every year from now to 2022. The chart below shows my estimates of Australian aid spending devoted to elections in PNG since 2002 (data and sources here). As you can see, the post-2012 effort was inconsistent and less than previous elections. This isnt the aid programs fault. In between aid cuts and the death of AusAID, it was a tumultuous time. Even so, theres still a lesson from 2017: improving elections requires substantial, sustained engagement. It requires staff devoted to the task and it requires the steady accumulation of contextual knowledge.

Estimated Australian aid for elections 2002-2017



Australian governments continue to trip over their own hypocrisy North Coast Voices, 4 September 2017:

The forests of the Amazon basin are often referred to as the lungs of the Earth, nurturing life through rich, tropical biodiversity. Although often overlooked, its equally fitting to consider the jungles of the Asia-Pacific as the Earths heart. After all, they contain 20% of the worlds plant and animal species, and by some measurements make up six of the worlds 25 biodiversity hotspots. Australia adds to the variety, with its wealth of native vegetation. Each one of these areas is unique and plays an integral part in the worlds interrelated ecological systems.

The positive news is that the international community recognises them as such. Last month marks the one-year anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit in Brunei-Darussalam, an initiative set up in 2014 to discuss the...

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Thursday, 14 September


NSW council elections results rolling in The Tally Room

After a week of counting, we are starting to get final ward results declared in some of the fifteen big councils Ive been covering. Im going to use this post to update as we get waves of results over the next few days.

Thursday evening

Four of five wards have been declared in Bayside, including the only uncertain race. The Botany Bay and Rockdale wards each produced a result of one Labor, one Liberal and one independent (James Macdonald in Botany Bay and Andrew Tsounis in Rockdale). Mascot and Port Botany wards produced a result of two Labor and one Liberal. The second Labor candidate in Mascot defeated Greens candidate Greta Werner by only 119 votes. The Bexley ward has not yet been declared, but Labor, Liberal and independent Liz Barlow are all on track to win one seat each. This would produce a result of seven Labor, five Liberal and two independents.

Labors Glen Richardson defeated Our Local Communitys Eddy Sarkis by just fifteen votes in the Greystanes ward of Cumberland council, in addition to another Labor councillor and a Liberal councillor. This puts Labor on track for at least six, and possibly as many as nine seats, on the council.

Labor, Liberal and independent Nancy Liu were elected in the Hurstville ward of Georges River council. Labor has won at least five seats, with a chance of winning as many as seven seats, but the chance of either party forming a majority appears to have faded.

Labor has won two seats, and independent Allan Robinson one, in the fourth ward of Newcastle council. The mayoral election and the other three wards appear to be locked in, producing a result of seven Labor, four independents, one Green and one Liberal.

Independent Lorraine Wearne, Labor and Liberal have each won one seat in the Epping ward of Parramatta council. The council appears to be on track for six Liberals, five Labor councillors, Lorraine Wearne and three others yet to be decided. Two of those seats could go to the Greens, and two local parties are also in the race for those three seats.

Labor, Liberal and Anthony Andrews have each won a seat in the Central ward of Randwick council. The other four wards appear to be clear, leading to a result of five Labor, four Liberals, three Greens and three independents.


Stripper Wanted I have this great idea for a short film The AIM Network

Ok, I suddenly realised that my title sounded a bit sexist. Perhaps I should clarify that I want a male stripper. Although I guess thats definitely sexist Anyway, while trying to explain the whole Lionel Murphy thing to someone, I started talking about the nature of politics and how when you do something as incompetent

The post Stripper Wanted I have this great idea for a short film appeared first on The AIM Network.


Marawi a metaphor for Islamic extremism in Asia Independent Australia

Marawi a metaphor for Islamic extremism in AsiaFormer diplomat Bruce Haigh has just returned from Mindanao, where he has been investigating the ISIS insurgency and the Australian response. read now...


Im fine, Tonys here Catallaxy Files

Possibly the most misunderstood person in politics today: Hunter Valley Bushfire: Hunter Valley homes at risk, Tony Abbott joins fire fight.

Tony Abbott has been hailed as a hero after saving a house from ember attack while battling a bushfire burning near his Sydney northern beaches electorate of Warringah.

This afternoon embers from the Beacon Hill bushfire ignited local resident Barry Cafes fence.

Mr Cafe told local paper the Manly Daily that it wasnt every day that a former prime minister saves your home.

I told everybody, Im fine, Tonys here, he said.

Hes a top bloke We couldnt do without them (the Rural Fire Service).


ABS view on including 16 and 17 year olds in the Marriage Law Postal Survey Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Australian Bureau of Statistics to Chris Gentle on September 14, 2017.
Partially successful.
Dear Mr Gentle, In response to your Freedom of Information request received on 15 August 2017, please find attached the formal response from the ABS...


The Economist published my letter! Catallaxy Files

In the letters section of this weeks Economist

You dont Say

The term Says Law, (Economics brief, August 12th) was invented by the American economist, Fred Taylor, and popularised in his introductory text, published in 1921. Moreover, the phrase supply creates its own demand is not classical in origin, but was first used in print by another American economist, Harlan McCracken, in a text that John Maynard Keynes is known to have read while he was writing the General Theory. Jean-Baptiste Say neither invented the concept nor was he its most staunch defender.

Associate Professor
School of Economics, Finance and Marketing
RMIT University
Melbourne, Australia


In which the bromancer helps nuke the pond's lunch ... loon pond

That NY subway spoof has been doing the rounds of late, and as the pond prefers the subtlety of a pickaxe or an ice pick to the neck, against the nuance of a chain saw to the torso, running the jokes seemed a good way to lighten the burden of keeping company with the bromancer as the pond's nuclear lunch time treat...

Truth to tell, the pond is long over the SSM and energy debates.

The pond recalls back in the day in Tamworth power supply was an intermittent thing. The giant 'roos used to nibble on the lines, when the overweight wombats weren't pushing down the poles, and so everyone kept candles and torches handy for the expected blackouts. 

Of course there were other likely reasons - for some reason, the local coal-fired station wasn't a reliable beast, though the pond remembers playing on the slag heap in a bid to produce cancer later in life, and when it closed, the grid was subject to the whims of nature ...

Glory days ... and so tempting to tell Malware and the young ones to just harden the fuck up and keep a candle handy, but as usual the pond has meandered away from the topic at hand...

What's needed this day is the bromancer to sort out that NK nut by hitting the sweet spot...



Vote Yes to bring down the wall The AIM Network

Why Im looking forward to my first gay marriage By David Ayliffe   Im a celebrant and I love performing weddings. You meet people at such wonderful and exciting times. Performing their wedding is always a privilege and a joy for me. Often the couples I marry remain friends on Facebook where I keep up

The post Vote Yes to bring down the wall appeared first on The AIM Network.


Second class citizens: More consequential citizenship issues Independent Australia

Second class citizens: More consequential citizenship issuesIf Australian Governments feel free to treat citizen minorities as lesser than others, what kind of privilege does Australian citizenship really represent? read now...


The party is over The AIM Network

As a baby-boomer heading at breakneck speed toward my seventieth birthday (though still 3 years away) I have just recently come to the heartbreaking conclusion that it is all over for me. No, not life, but the party the metaphorical party that sustained me for these last forty years on a roller-coaster of self-sustaining

The post The party is over appeared first on The AIM Network.


The Adani Factor in the Queensland Elections: Changing to a More Sustainable Coal Export Model The AIM Network

Denis Bright seeks discussion on the implications of the Adani Carmichael Coal Project on the forthcoming state elections. The electoral impact zone of the Adani project will be in the marginal regional state coastal electorates between Townsville and Rockhampton as well as some leafy suburbs of Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast. The latter attracted

The post The Adani Factor in the Queensland Elections: Changing to a More Sustainable Coal Export Model appeared first on The AIM Network.


Labour's tax back-down No Right Turn

So, faced with a campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt from National, Labour has backed away from any plans to introduce a capital gains tax if elected, and instead punted such decisions until 2020:

Labour will wait until a second term before any tax changes from their working group will be introduced.

It made the u-turn after sustained attacks from the National Party over the vagueness of its tax plans.

Other than their already announced polices - such as cancelling National's planned tax cuts, extending the bright line test to five years, and introducing water and tourist levies - no new taxes or changes will kick in before the next election, Labour said on Thursday.

Its Labour in a nutshell. Promise change, do nothing to make it happen. Talk big about benefitting the many, not the few, then promise to preserve the status quo. And by doing so, rob themselves of any ability to actually effect meaningful change.

And this is why I can never support Labour: they have no courage of their convictions, and stand for nothing beyond their own Ministerial salaries. All they offer is the same old shit, with a different bunch of arseholes at the top. As someone who thinks the status quo is rotten to the core, why would I vote for someone who promises not to fix it?


This should have happened a long time ago No Right Turn

In 2010 the National Party suspended Cantabrians' democratic right to elect their local government, and imposed a dictatorship to give their water away to farmers. Now, the people of Canterbury are symbolicly taking their democracy back:

Around 100 water activists have stormed the offices of Environment Canterbury (Ecan) in Christchurch on Thursday morning.

The group is demanding that local democracy be returned to the people of Canterbury so they can get on with saving the region's ailing rivers.

"We are standing up for our rivers and we are taking our democracy back," says Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop.

"We will not to be silenced and we will not stand aside and let our rivers continue to be destroyed by too many cows."

This should have happened a long time ago. National's dictatorship in Canterbury has allowed farmers to continue to suck the rivers dry and fill them with shit. This isn't just bad for the environment - it threatens to poison Christchurch's water supply and poses a widespread threat to public health. And it happens because the voters of Canterbury are prevented by the government from electing a regional council which will protect them from farmers.

The Canterbury dictatorship has to go. Full elections now!


Turnbull Government's Australian Building and Construction Commissioner resigns ahead of court sentancing contravening the Fair Work Act North Coast Voices

It appears that the Abbott and Turnbull federal governments chosen anti-union attack dog has feet of clay.
This is what the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has to say about its agency head as late as 12 September 2017:
Nigel Hadgkiss, APM, became the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner on 2 December 2016 with the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).  Nigel has held a number of high-profile roles in both state and federal government agencies with a focus on both law enforcement and construction industry regulation, including:
Director Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC);
Director, Construction Code Compliance, Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance;
Executive Director, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions NSW;
Deputy Commissioner, ABCC;
Director, Building Industry Taskforce;
National Director of Intelligence, Australian Crime Commission; and


The ABCC debacle The AIM Network

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the operation of the ABCC under Nigel Hadgkiss. In April last year, a case brought by Nigel Hadgkiss against the CFMEU was labelled an abuse of process by the judge who ruled the director of Fair Work was being unjustifiably vexatious and was seeking to relitigate matters that had

The post The ABCC debacle appeared first on The AIM Network.


Lionel Murphy: an innocent man The AIM Network

Remembering Lionel Keith Murphy 30.08.1922 21.10.1986   Lionel Keith Murphy, of William an Irish immigrant and Lily born Murphy, Sydney 1922.   Outstanding student, budding larrikin  early scholastic achievements encouraged his questioning, sharpened his tools for the liberation of the spirit.   An oddity? an early resister? a Jew-lover? Or simply a man destined

The post Lionel Murphy: an innocent man appeared first on The AIM Network.


Turnbull and Morrison: Conservative incumbency 101 Independent Australia

Turnbull and Morrison: Conservative incumbency 101Why it is almost impossible to dislodge the false assumption a man in an expensive suit is a competent leader. read now...


In which the pond goes on the run with the savvy Savva ... loon pond

The pond can only rely on a Moorice once a week or thereabouts - you really only get one Moorice in a lifetime - and so in quieter times on a Thursday, the pond always turns away from Redfern street art to the savvy Savva, transcribing thoughts directly from Malware's desk ...

Ah, it's a philosophical outing, and typically for the teetering hypocrisy of Malware, it's all about balance ... just watch out for the butcher's finger on the scales.

For a nanosecond there, the pond thought it might have been about the glories of Soviet intervention and Soviet power ...

Say what? Has Uren gone mad? Is he endorsing Malware's bid to be the new Lenin? 

Deeply disturbed at the sight of Soviet glories at the top of the reptile opinion page, the pond returned to the savvy Savva ...



Day to Day Politics: As governments go, they are the worst ever. The AIM Network

Thursday 14 September It only seems like yesterday that I wrote what follows. Indeed, It was Tuesday 13 September in the year 2016, one year ago. Tony Abbott had started the defence of his legacy and a bit of shit stirring. As I read what I had written twelve months ago It occurred to me

The post Day to Day Politics: As governments go, they are the worst ever. appeared first on The AIM Network.


A wrap up of the 48th Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting "IndyWatch Feed"

Last week the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting was held in Apia, Samoa. The meetings theme, the Blue Pacific, was unsurprising given this years focus on oceans. But it was interesting nonetheless, given the increasing use of terms like the blue economy (PIDF) or blue Pacific (PIFS) to define Pacific regionalism much as the Pacific Way was used in the past.

This year was the first since the establishment of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism not to include a process through which the public are invited to make submissions on what leaders should discuss. That process, which sees proposals assessed by a Specialist Sub Committee on Regionalism (the SSCR), was never intended to occur every year. Its absence this year might therefore be explained in terms of needing to take stock of issues raised previously. Except, many issues identified through the process previously, and which we would expect to see followed up, have seemingly been set aside. They are cervical cancer, ICT, and improved business processes for the private sector.

Another likely explanation for the absence of a public submission process is political. The public consultation process in previous years has raised contentious issues time and time again. Last year, 13 of 48 submissions concerned West Papua much to the dissatisfaction of the Australian, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinean governments. This year, in contrast, discussion of West Papua was limited to one un-critical line in the Forum Communiqu.

Climate change was still prominent, but in terms agreeable to all. Well, almost all. The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, vented his frustration after the Forum both at its failure to endorse Tuvalus proposal for climate change insurance, and at its focus on issues not directly relevant to the Forum members, such as North Korea: The Forum is supposed to discuss issues from its members and small island states Why should they come to a Forum that only supports political wishes of the big countries?

Notwithstanding this outburst, the Forum Leaders meeting this year did f...


John Tamny: Bringing Back Manufacturing Jobs Would Mean Economic Stagnation Catallaxy Files

The British fought three wars in Afghanistan over an 80-year period. They finally left this graveyard for empires in 1919, only to eventually be replaced by the Soviet Union in the late 70s, and the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11.

A lack of change in the kind of work we do, is a sign of economic decline.

Very interesting about Afghanistan is its evolution, or lack thereof. In a recent snapshot of the dysfunctional country, New York Times reporter Rod Nordland noted that It is striking how little the rural Afghan landscape has changed between the early 19th and 21st centuries. The mud-walled fortifications of those days can still be seen throughout the country, and some of them are still in use as military facilities today.

The picture painted by Nordland brings to mind the roughly 30-year gap in visits to the former Soviet Union by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. In his 2006 autobiography, The Age of Turbulence, Greenspan recalled how the equipment used by laborers in the country hadnt changed a bit in the decades in between.

Greenspans point was that a lack of change in how we do work, and the kind of work we do, is a sign of economic decline.

The New York Example

Which brings us to New York City. Interesting about it is that right before the Civil War began, New York was a city of factories. 11 percent of its jobs were in manufacturing. Right through the first 3rd of the twentieth century, New York City was the #1 manufacturing locale in the United States.

But its decidedly not a manufacturing city today. Not in the least. Who knows what the number is, assuming there is one, but the number of manufacturing jobs in New York City is likely close to zero. Its too expensive to manufacture on land thats so valuable, plus manufacturing jobs would be a waste of the skills of NYCs inhabitants. As Ken Auletta long ago put it about New York, For those with talent, this city is the final test.

The alleged loss of a certain form of work would never signal a citys deterioration.

While it will be by some, the above shouldnt be construed as an elitist comment. Its an economic statement. That manufacturing long ago departed New York is a sign of the citys immense wealth. The average worker in New York City is too valuable and too talented to waste on assembly inside a factory. The latter is similarly true for nearly every American worker, and its merely an expression of what market signals regularly communicate to us: low factory pay around the world is the markets way of telling us that the human element of assembly is no longer as crucial as it once was. Translated, Americans are too productive to work in factories.

Politicians, economists, and pundits like to rationalize the decline of cities through the loss of manufacturing jobs, but thats like saying that Br...


Are banks and insurance companies misusing personal health information and medical files? North Coast Voices

After an insured has made a claim against their policy, the insurer obtains access to and reviews the insureds medical records. PIAC has seen instances of insurers obtaining an insureds complete medical history, including from doctors that treated the insured during childhood, before deciding a claim.

PIAC has found that insurers often rely on matters discovered during the review of the insureds medical records to allege that the insured has breached their duty of disclosure.

Often the conclusions drawn by the insurer from the insureds medical record about their experiences of mental health are inconsistent with the insureds medical record and the opinions of their treating medical practitioners.

PIAC has represented individuals who have had a policy avoided because the insurer has relied on medical records to impute a medical condition that either did not exist or that the insured did not know existed at the time of applying for insurance.

In PIACs experience, it appears that consumers are being disadvantaged by the reforms to the remedies available to insurers (as set out above), or at the very least, are not seeing any benefits flowing from the increased flexibility. [Public Interest Advocacy Centre, 18 November 2016]

On 14 September 2016, the Senate referred an inquiry into the life insurance industry to the Joint...

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Wednesday, 13 September


Why become a TIA Member? Transparency International Australia

Corruption is one of the greatest challenges of the contemporary world. It drives economic inequality and is a major barrier in poverty eradication. Corruption undermines good government, distorts public policy, leads to the misallocation of resources, harms private and public sector development, and particularly hurts the poor. Tackling corruption is only possible with the cooperation of a wide range of stakeholders. Engagement with the private sector to strengthen integrity systems and business practice is vital.

Transparency International Australia aims to eradicate corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society. To do this we engage with the private sector, government and civil society to build coalitions against corruption. Coalitions against corruption will help shape a world in which government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.

TI Australia offers you the opportunity to join our corporate membership program to promote and champion transparency, accountability and integrity.

Why become a TI Australia Member? Download our Corporate Engagement brochure for more information.

The post Why become a TIA Member? appeared first on Transparency International Australia.


Excluding 16 and 17 year olds from the Marriage Law Postal Survey Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Australian Electoral Commission to Chris Gentle on September 13, 2017.
Dear Mr Gentle   Your FOI request LS6217 Decision record and reasons for decision   I refer to your email received Tuesday 15 August 2015, se...

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Thursday, 07 September


Corruption Prevention and Integrity Conference Transparency International Australia

IBAC is partnering with the Victorian Ombudsman (VO), Victorian Auditor-Generals Office (VAGO) and the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Victoria to convene an engaging conference to help prevent public sector corruption and strengthen integrity. The conference will also include a special focus on police oversight and integrity issues.

The Corruption Prevention and Integrity Conference will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, over two days, on 3 4 October 2017. Details here.

The post Corruption Prevention and Integrity Conference appeared first on Transparency International Australia.

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Tuesday, 05 September


ABS view on including 16 and 17 year olds in the Marriage Law Postal Survey Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Australian Bureau of Statistics to Chris Gentle on September 05, 2017.
Partially successful.
Dear Mr Gentle I refer to your request for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) regarding: o Correspondence, ad...

Monday, 04 September


ABS view on including 16 and 17 year olds in the Marriage Law Postal Survey Requests or responses matching your saved search

Follow up sent to Australian Bureau of Statistics by Chris Gentle on September 04, 2017.
Partially successful.
Thank you for your reply. You are correct in assuming that I do not require staff names and contact details. Yours sincerely, Chris Gentle


ABS view on including 16 and 17 year olds in the Marriage Law Postal Survey Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Australian Bureau of Statistics to Chris Gentle on September 04, 2017.
Partially successful.
Dear Mr Gentle On 30 August 2017, the Department of the Treasury (the department) accepted a partial transfer of your request to the Australian Bure...

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