What has happened to this country? – By Julian Burnside

A concerned member of the public recently sent me a letter which, in my opinion, captures a large part of the problem Australia is still wrestling with: the problem of how we respond to people who are not the same as us.  Her letter includes this:

Despite  the  challenges of nature  and distance and its relatively  small  population,  Australia has always had the opportunity to be the best and fairest nation in the world.

Resource rich and fuelled by determined folk, the country has produced ample to provide for all. Inheriting a tested system of law and growing a new expectation for fairness and democracy, the possibility that the country could mature into a relative utopia was always in reach.

 I was born in WA, grew up proudly Australian, worked in public service and as a self–employed businesswoman, married  and had children  who  I expected  would  have the  advantages  of  a generous, intelligent, compassionate and wealthy nation.

 How wrong was I? The blinkers are off and things have changed greatly over the past decade or so.

 The opportunistic swindling of funds from those who most need them, the persecution of the most vulnerable in our society and the utter torment inflicted on people seeking asylum – all perpetrated by our government in an immoral grab for votes and control and enabled by mainstream media  – have overtaken all efforts towards social conscience and benign leadership.

 What frightens me most is the sheer number of Australians   –  including members of my family, despite my efforts to enlighten  – who have fallen under the spell of disinformation.  Paranoia is rife and the ugly fear that others may be receiving ‘more’ at our expense is too easy to incite in a poorly educated (by design?) and insecure (also by design?) public.

 Im no longer proud to be Australian.   I feel personally degraded by the inhumane treatment of refugees desperately seeking our help.  I go to bed each night and wake each morning with the burden of humiliation in my mind. Not just the humiliation of those in detention, but my own. How am I to deal with having this shame forced upon me by my own leaders? This may seem selfish, but I’m seriously concerned for the welfare of those detained on the islands and I know I’m not alone. It’s depressing to the point where the emotional and psychological impact on everyday Australians is apparent.  I was sad at Christmas and find it hard to be positive going into the new year.

 No amount of propaganda or deceit by government or media will assuage the guilt in anyone with an ounce of compassion, or the good sense to see the damaging consequences to the refugees and to Australia.  Many simply don’t see that if our government is comfortable treating human beings as disposable,  it won’t stop  with refugees, ethnic and indigenous people   –   it will extend  such ruthlessness to mainstream Australians too.  Think Centrelink and Medicare. …”

It is a sad thing when an Australian citizen no longer feels proud to be Australian.  Today’s politicians betray the country in various ways:

  • they make up reasons for putting a ring of steel around the country
  • they seek to avoid the obligations we voluntarily undertook when we signed the Refugees Convention
  • They cause Australia to breach our obligations under the Convention Against Torture
  • They cause Australia to breach our obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • They cause Australia to breach our obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

No wonder Australians feel ashamed, when they cut through the political dishonesty peddled by people like Abbott, Morrison, Turnbull and Dutton.

Facing the fact that we are punishing people who have committed no offence is very painful.

Facing the fact that we are breaking our promises to the international community is very painful.

Facing the fact that we are behaving like a rogue state is very painful.

Facing the fact that we are behaving in ways which contradict our image of ourselves is very painful.

So all credit to Justine Pitcher for capturing the problem so well, and thanks to her for letting me quote her letter.  Join with her in expressing your disgust at our political “leaders” and what they are doing to trash this country’s character and reputation.


CLICK ON  =  http://www.julianburnside.com.au/

Turnbull talks tax trash – By John Passant

John Passant 21 November 2016, 6:30am 34

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Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull with BCA officials Catherine Livingstone and Grant King (image via @BCAcomau).

Turnbull’s claim that rehashed “trickle down reforms” will not be “keenly felt” in the community during the lowest wage growth on record are farcical, says John Passant.

AFTER TRUMP’S ELECTION VICTORY, multi-millionaire ex banker and Cayman Islands investor, PM Malcolm Turnbull began attacking the ABC and media “elites“.

Then the harsh reality of capitalism hit and Turnbull returned to a familiar theme.

In a speech to the Business Council of Australia, Turnbull said:

“The need to undertake reforms to deliver long-term gains for all Australians, which may create winners and losers in the near term, isn’t keenly felt in many parts of Australian society.”

With real unemployment at over 9%, with inequality continuing to increase, with wages rising at a record low rate of 1.9%, and with more than 2.9 million Australians (including more than 731,00 children) living in poverty, the real question is: who will be the losers and who will be the winners? No prizes for guessing that the billionaires will be okay but that poor people and workers won’t.

Back in May, the Turnbull-Morrison Budget announced the company tax plans costing an estimated $48 billion over ten years.

The trend in Australia for decades under both Labor and Coalition governments has been one of increasing poverty and increasing inequality. The key fact behind this has been what is happening to wages.

As Richard Dennis says in the Canberra Times:

Wages account for 44 per cent of all the income earned in Australia, down from 48 per cent about 30 years ago. But it is not just the share of national income accruing to workers that has fallen steadily in the past few decades, the share of wage income accruing to low income workers has fallen faster still.

Not only has the minimum wage risen more slowly than the average wage, but the number of people working short hours on low pay has risen rapidly as well. Of course, no one is worse off financially than the unemployed, which begs the question of why Turnbull recently tried to cut their incomes by $230 a year.

Another way of looking at it is that the share of total factor income going to labour has fallen from a high of 63% to around 52-53% today. The share of total factor income going to capital has increased from about 17% to 27% over the same period.

Tax is also an important part of increasing inequality.

With cuts to the company tax rate and to the top rates for individuals, according to the OECD:

‘ … since the mid-1980s, [Australia’s] taxes have become less redistributive. Both progressivity and average tax rates have declined.’

In essence, the income tax system has become more regressive. The goods and services tax (GST) over time has compounded that.

Last year, Malcolm Turnbull said nothing was off the tax reform table. A backbencher did his dirty work and floated the idea of extending the GST to spending on essentials like fresh food, health and education — a move which would have hit low income earners much harder than the wealthy. There was also talk of increasing the rate from 10% to 12.5,  or even 15%. After a huge backlash, Turnbull ruled out any changes to the GST.

The Turnbull Government has an agenda to cut the company tax rate from 30% to 25% over the next decade, graded from small business to big business over that time. While there is some argy bargy over timing and what constitutes a small business, essentially, in ten years time, the company tax rate for billion dollar companies will be 25% if the Government gets its way.

There are a couple of flies in the tax cut nirvana ointment. First, given the budget deficit of this government, the lost revenue will be paid for by cutting services, services which overwhelmingly help poor people and workers. In an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull back in April, 50 leading Australians warned against the government’s proposed big business company tax cut plan. They said that it would be ‘ … at the expense of services that everyday Australians rely on’. They argued for fairness, the exact opposite of what neoliberals like Turnbull and Morrison want.

Bill Shorten tapped the mood of the nation when, according to Gareth Hutchens in The Guardian, he asked:

How on earth does a $50bn tax plan help Australians battling flat wages right now?

If Mr Morrison now wants Australia to go back to the failed policies of rightwing economists from 30 years ago, cutting taxes for the top end instead of investing in jobs, education, Medicare, and protecting the vulnerable, well, we need to tell him that Australia is different to that, we’re better than that, we are a kinder, more inclusive, more equal place.


Another fly in the ointment is Donald Trump. His promise to cut U.S. company tax rates from 35% to 15%, has emboldened the Business Council of Australia and other business figures to urge the Turnbull Government to continue with its proposed company tax rate cuts. This puts pressure on the Government, in the interests of being “internationally competitive”, to go further than cutting to 25%.

Turnbull’s “winners and losers” speech to the Business Council of Australia is basically rehashing the discredited “trickle down” theory. The argument is that the more money we throw at capitalists and the rich (tax cuts, wage cuts for their workers, subsidies, unpaid overtime of their workers, sacking some of their workforce) the more jobs and higher wages there will be. It is the false argument of rich, white fakers like Trump and Turnbull.

Apologists usually argue there will be more investment if business has more money, but even if there is, the real object of business is profit, not more jobs and higher wages — and competition often forces them to invest in labour saving devices. The experience of the past 30 years shows this idea of more investment, more jobs and higher wages to be almost globally incorrect in the short, medium and long term. Economists, economics journalists and commentators have debunked the idea.

For example, the International Monetary Fund said recently:

‘… if the income share of the top 20 per cent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 per cent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth.’

There in a nutshell is part of the answer. For those on Newstart and other social welfare payments, increase them by about $140 per week to put them above the poverty line of about $400 per week for a single adult. One way of doing this might be to consider a universal basic income, where everyone is paid enough to live on.

The best way to reduce inequality is to increase wages. We can also use taxes as a tool to reduce inequality. I have set out some tax suggestions in an earlier article here.

The letter from 50 leading Australians summarised that general direction well:

‘ … serious tax reform package designed to be “fair” should address as a priority the current generous tax concessions to the top end of town, inequitable distribution of superannuation tax concessions and the capital gains tax discount … ’

As I have argued before, a net wealth tax, dealing with negative gearing and a Buffett Rule for the 36% of big business that pay no income tax – such as imposing a small tax of say 3% on their gross untaxed revenue of $458 billion – should all be part of our tax armoury as well.

It’s time to make the rich the losers, and the poor and workers winners.

Read more by John Passant on his website En Passant. You can also follow John on Twitter @JohnPassant.

Signed copies of John Passant’s first book of poetry, Songs for the Band Unformed (Ginninderra Press 2016) is available for purchase from the IA store HERE.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License


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First principles of property law: The right to exclude, including Pauline Hanson – By Ingrid Matthews

Ingrid Matthews 4 November 2016, 10:30am 20

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Murrandoo Yanner told Pauline Hanson “you’re not welcome here”.

Our message to the Hanson-Turnbull cabal should echo Murandoo Yanner’s: “You are not welcome to keep spewing your racist hate across this country,” says Ingrid Matthews.

IF YOU have not seen the footage of Murandoo Yanner banishing Pauline Hanson from the Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair, it is well worth the 26 seconds so check the video below.

The weekend this clip was posted, I was preparing my first ever property law seminar, Basic Concepts in Property Law. Serendipitously, Yanner v Eaton [1999] HCA 53 was on the reading list.

Yanner is a winner

Mr Murandoo Yanner, a Gunnamulla man “of the Gangalidda tribe,” appealed against a fine issued by Mr Eaton of the Queensland Police Force. He won in the Magistrates Court, however, Eaton won an appeal to the Queensland Supreme Court. Yanner then appealed to the High Court. Mr Eaton was joined by four Attorneys-General. The appeal was allowed, which is the mild-mannered way the High Court has of saying that Yanner won his case. 

The case amounted to recognition by the common law of Yanner’s rights under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). There was also a message for those four Attorneys General:

  1. Order that each of the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth, the Attorney-General of the State of Western Australia, the Attorney-General of the State of South Australia and the Attorney-General of the Northern Territory pay to the appellant the additional costs incurred by him by reason of the intervention of that Attorney-General, such additional costs to be taxed.

This is one of those slap-downs that nobody ever says is a punishment because the law gets to define things. Costs orders send a strong message to the parties and costs orders against four Attorneys General are as strong a message as any from the High Court. But we are not allowed to say the order is a punishment or remedy, because punishments and remedies (fines, jail terms, damages awards, injunctions) are issued under a different curial function to costs orders. This itself is determined by the High Court, by which all other courts are bound.

But in lay terms, four wrists were slapped. A fifth wrist was too, when the entire seven-judge High Court bench doubled down and ordered Eaton to pay Yanner’s costs in the Queensland Supreme Court too.

The recording cuts in as Yanner is saying “Aboriginal people” and he continues “and now you’re kicking the Muslims around. Go, go,” he says, waving Hanson and her entourage away. “You’re just a racist,” he tells her. “Disgraceful. You are a woman lacking moral fibre. You are intellectually dishonest, and you’re not welcome here.”

Hanson turns around and leaves. As she does, cheers and applause can be heard from people off-camera.

The direction to leave the premises, the reasons given and the cheers and applause, all contain important lessons in basic concepts of property law. Especially when the clip stars the man whose spectacular 1999 High Court win is also prescribed reading. And especially when there are considerable numbers of young Muslim Australians enrolled at my university.

Here it is on video:

But would it be proper to show in week one? I messaged a mate doing his PhD at Melbourne Uni, a Ngunawal man whose judgement I trust absolutely and who has also taught undergraduate law classes.

“Should I show the Yanner clip?,” I asked.

“What will it add to the lesson?,” he replied. 

“Right to exclude, moral grounds for exercising right to exclude, community consent and consensus,” I said.

“Go for it!!,” was his wise reply.

And yes, it was Ahmed who came up after class, grinning broadly, and asked:

“Is that the Yanner from the case the High Court case? Is that the same man?”  

It felt so good to smile back and say:

“Yep, that’s him. He’s a strong Aboriginal man and stands up for Muslims too.”

Contrast the current political leadership and its shadow partner Pauline Hanson with the characters in this story:

  • a strong message from our highest court to four Attorneys General and a police officer (in the form of a costs order);
  • anambiguous grounds for exercising the right to exclude a person from a specific place (you are intellectually dishonest and you’re not welcome here);
  • collegiate support from a First Nations man to gather the courage and show a radical clip like this to 160 property law students in week one (What does it add?.. Go for it!!);
  • a young Muslim man empowered by a First Nations man (is it that Yanner? The same man? Yes!)

The Dunlop analysis

The dominant political news this week is yet another ugly announcement on asylum seekers. Its point would be lost without what Tim Dunlop refers to here as Turnbull being aided and abetted by the political media.

It is worth quoting Dunlop’s bullseye prediction at length.

On Hanson, to whom Turnbull should, but like his predecessor Howard will not, say “you are intellectually dishonest and you’re not welcome here”, Dunlop notes:

‘Pauline Hanson’s One Nation can no longer in any way be considered maverick, independent, anti-establishment, anti-elitist, or in any other way marginal to the political process and the political class. They are now well and truly an establishment party, legitimised by the Turnbull Government. This will be part of Turnbull PM’s lasting legacy. The resentment and anger that has always driven Hanson’s politics is now being assuaged by this courtship and legitimisation. She has got what she has always wanted: a seat at the table, an invitation to all the best parties, and the ability to entrench her own exceptionalism.’

This prescient observation is preceded by Dunlop’s equally accurate assessment of how the Turnbull capitulation will be packaged for the punters:

‘This calming of the waters will be aided and abetted by the political media who long for a new “settlement” and the triumph of what they still insist on calling centrism. Or sensible centrism. Turnbull’s capitulation to the right and abandonment of everything he once allegedly held dear will be reinterpreted as pragmatism, sold as success, and be offered as evidence of his rising stocks. The “sensible centre” will be, as is nearly always the case, rightwing.’

Now picture any news coverage from the past two days. Any broadcast, any social media news feed, any bulletin, any hourly update, the latest headlines, any online news site, or op-ed, or analysis, or print edition. Has there been unambiguous condemnation of the racist hate and petty wedge politics gurgling from our political leadership?

Another Coalition regime, another week, another race-hate bait day

The story is that the Prime Minister and his Minister for Immigration and Border Protection are going to table a bill which, if passed, will outlaw people who have sought asylum in Australia from ever entering the country, based on one mode of transport — boat. This is the mode of transport by which Turnbull and presumably Dutton’s forebears, as well as every single person prior to the commercial aircraft industry, reached what is the largest island in the biggest ocean on earth.

Until around 60 years ago, for around 60,000 years of human occupation of this giant archipelago, there was no other way to get here. The boat obsession (as I have written before), is unreal. It is obscene. It is the right to exclude on racist steroids.

Yet Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton, like Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison before them, are choosing, for reasons of their own aggrandisement and absolutely no other cause, to disseminate yet more utterly unnecessary racist hate across the country.

Naturally, given the message makes for such compatible bedfellows, Pauline Hanson took credit for the government decision. Like Abbott and Morrison and Turnbull and Dutton, bigotry and hate-mongering are her favourite pastimes.

Oh that we could turn the tables on all of them like Murandoo Yanner did and say:

“You’re just a racist. Now you are kicking the Muslims around. Go, go… you’re not welcome here.”

The right to exclude a person from a territory

You come on my land, I sue you in trespass. Of course, there is no action in trespass if I invite you on to my land (the police are particularly sleazy and tricksy with this one. Be warned). Similarly, the law on country requires asking permission. The right to exclude is rarely needed when people have respect, and abide by the rule of asking permission.

Legal systems regulate human behaviour across a society. All cultures have rules about leaving our own place and entering neighbouring land. The English law, which is based on the English value of land as a source of wealth, emphasises the right to use and enjoyment, the right to exclude others, and the right to alienate — to transfer your interest in land to another (sale, succession).

Obviously no-one would ever accuse the English of being internally consistent — they trampled across the world with their guns and bibles, breaching their own rules with vicious abandon. This differential application of their own principles is both a source and a product of deeply racist imperial violence.

But on this continent and her islands, for 60,000 years and counting, the central value is that the land is the source of the law (Black 2011). To harm or do wrong by the land is to harm or do wrong by the society. Before crossing a border, a person with authority to speak for country must give permission. The visitors are then welcomed to country. As in many cultures, this is a public ritual which endorses or verifies individual’s actions.

This is not a complex proposition. In white law, depending on the type of land (public, private, rented etc) permission to enter is required, whether from the owner, tenant, caretaker, ranger, or other official. We might enter a park without authorisation and be issued with a notice or a fine. We might ring a doorbell, or knock on wood, bring a bottle, wait to be offered a seat. “Come in!,” we say. “Please, have a seat! Can I get you a drink?” These are host and guest norms for what we conceptualise as the private sphere; just as trespass and permits govern the wider social, or public, space. The norms and rules are shared with and taught to all members of a society.

In short, every culture on earth has systems of rules and norms for human interactions in different spaces. Australia is home to the oldest continuing culture on earth. This is one reason that Welcome to Country is not some token ritual or nod to political correctness, as many seek to portray it. A Welcome to Country is the continuation of host and guest traditions established over 60 millennia.

So who is welcome here?

It is telling, then, to see how the bad-cop-worse-cop trash talk that passes for public debate these days is playing out. Hanson took credit for the government hate-mongering on refugees, adding “refugees are not welcome here”.

Right on script, Turnbull was given all the airtime and column inches he wanted to intone gravely, in his favourite paternalistic voice, what a great country this is for resettling refugees. “The most successful multicultural nation,” he lectures us, with added erasure of First Nations people here, who have been developing multicultural protocol across 300-700 nations since megafauna roamed the earth.

Never mind the millions of words, the how many reports, including from the UN Committee Against Torture, the Senate Inquiries, the shameless bullying (and probably illegal inducement to leave) of Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, the rapes, the murders, the self-immolations, the forced birth, the staff who sexually abuse children, the billions upon billions of dollars to corporate donors which run our “off-shore detention centres”.

“Refugees are welcome here,” Turnbull lied, disgustingly and his media cheer squad cheered. He must have some special plan up his sleeve, they hinted, in their increasingly desperate delusion that Turnbull is not really like this.

First Nations, legacy media, and the political leadership

But Turnbull really is like this. He really, really is.

Our crimes – a crime scene since 1788 as First Dog On The Moon, depressingly but accurately, put it this week – can not be sprinkled with fairy dust by a Stockholm syndrome legacy media who depend on leaks and tips rather than do their job (Andrew Elder’s searing analysis of dysfunctional media dynamic here.

Some future third-country settlement will not make the list of our gross human rights violations magically disappear. Who even thinks like that?

Well, political columnists from The Guardian to Fairfax to the ABC do, for a start. Which leaves only the independents like New Matilda and Independent Australia for anyone of basic human decency to read. Thank goodness for new media, because when it comes to Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, the fourth estate – whose duties include mediating the conversation of the demos ie between the public and political leadership in the modern nation state – has been derelict indeed.

The Yanner message is a lot clearer than the Turnbull-Hanson lies:

“I have been engaging with Indigenous communities and First Australians throughout all my time in public life and before that, but particularly as Prime Minister,” Turnbull lied, disgustingly, on his Abbottesque tour of remote communities this week. And the media cheer squad cheered, creating the impression of community consent and consensus that cheering creates.

When Murandoo Yanner asserted the right to exclude Pauline Hanson from premises on grounds of racism and intellectual dishonesty, the crowd clapped and cheered, showing community consensus; and Hanson, knowing the rules, left. She then took to the media to blather about alcoholism, just as Turnbull did in Yalata, because they both know how these things operate in the media and public sphere too.

What a repulsive pair. In their castles of sand, telling their mountains of lies, exercising the right to exclude people from this Aboriginal land, people who are fleeing persecution including wars in which we participate and all to the manufactured sound of a falsely-constructed consent.

The unambiguous message to the Turnbull-Hanson cabal should mirror the one that Yanner delivered: 

“You don’t care about Aboriginal people. Now you are kicking the Muslims too. You are just a racist. Go, go. You are lacking moral fibre. You are intellectually dishonest and you are not welcome to keep spewing your racist hate across this country.”

Ingrid Matthews lectures in law at the University of Western Sydney. You can follow Ingrid on Twitter @iMusing or her blog Oecomuse.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License


CLICK ON THIS LINK   =   https://independentaustralia.net/

Day to Day Politics: A Government in a shambolic mess. – By John Lord

Wednesday 26 October 2016

1 Polls this far out from an election are never an indication of how people might vote. They do however, give us a guide to how people think they are being governed.

So yesterday’s NewsPoll tells us that the folk in the great Australian suburbia are disillusioned.

The Poll Bludger tells us that Labor leads the Coalition 52/48. Essential is the same.

The Prime Ministers popularity continues to tumble in the absence of any semblance of leadership. We are being led by a leader who is captive to the right of his party and the junior party of the Coalition whose leader seems to be pulling the strings. Ideologically speaking the so-called Liberal party has no idea where it stands and Turnbull cannot produce a narrative that explains just where we are heading as a nation.

2 Our Democracy is being usurped by the likes of Brandis. Freedom of Information is being hijacked by ultra-right wing power-hungry MPs and the Solicitor General’s Office, with the resignation of Justin Gleeson, has been turned into a branch of the Liberal Party. The position will now go to a Liberal Party stooge who will accept the pay the position demands and never question the Attorney General’s judgements.

Jim Moylan writing for this blog summed it up like this:

”The Gleeson Affair is as significant as the Dismissal. Perhaps more so”.

”Why am I so upset? In simple terms Mr Brandis has now turned the Solicitor-Generals Office into an office of the Government. At the heart of this matter is a despicable and almost treasonous direction from the Attorney-General’s office that any matter that the Solicitor-General might consider, from now on, has to be first cleared personally by Mr. Brandis”.

3 Barnaby Joyce’s integrity is once again being questioned over the sacking of Paul Grimes, the former head of the Agriculture Department.

A March 2015 letter has surfaced that clearly brings into question his conduct. Explosively so. Apparently the Government has spent a lot of money keeping it from the public’s eye.

It all started over the alleged changing of Joyce’s statements in Hansard.

The question arises: “Did Barnaby Joyce sack Paul Grimes to save himself?”

If Joyce is guilty of deliberately trying to change Hansard then of course he should be sacked and resign his position as leader of the Nationals.

4 The MYEFO Economic report due to be released in November will reveal that the Budget is still in a mess.

5 Tristian Ewins manages the ALP Socialist Left Forums Facebook page and is a regular letter writer to Main Stream Media. Here are a couple to Melbourne’s Herald Sun. The newspaper where the truth goes to die.

Refuting the Herald-Sun Again on ‘Welfare Shaming’:

”The Herald-Sun (16/10/16) reports that welfare-dependency figures are “shocking”.  But Disability pensioners, Carers and the Unemployed should not be ‘shamed’.  Carers save the public hundreds of millions of dollars by providing care and support for pittance that otherwise would cost the state a fortune. If we do not value their work just because it is not part of the ”market sector” then that itself says something disturbing about our priorities.  Meanwhile those with a mental illness – who are commonly looked upon as ‘not-really-disabled’ can expect a reduced life-expectancy of 16 years”.

”Or 25 years for those with Schizophrenia. Who would ‘choose’ to be in that position?  Finally, research shows there are roughly five job-seekers for every position.  Were the government serious it would develop an industry policy to create real long-term jobs – matched to people’s skills. (as some Nordic countries have tried)  Instead it tolerates an unemployment rate of around 6 per cent (much more if you include those who have given up the search), and also ‘massive under-employment’ for people looking for full-time, secure work.  Because ”Ideologically” it cannot bring itself to support ‘economic intervention”.

Refuting the Herald-Sun Again: Misleading Characterisations on the Unemployed:

”The Herald-Sun (19/10/16) proclaims on its front page:“70% of arrested meth users supported by your taxes” and also: “Dole Blown on Ice.”  While the apparent connection between Ice addiction and crime is alarming, the headline was irresponsible for several reasons. Firstly, for those who don’t read the article thoroughly there may be the utterly false assumption that most Newstart recipients are ice addicts. In fact there is no proof of anything like this.  .Secondly: ice addicts need help overcoming their addiction. Yes there must be compulsory rehabilitation programs. But a purely punitive approach could lead to a downward spiral of desperation and crime.  It seems more than an accident that the headline coincides  with the Liberal Government’s attempt to wind back benefits such as Newstart, the Disability Support Pension, the Carers’ Allowance, and so on.  To ‘make room’ in the Budget to accommodate corporate tax cuts.  And hence to demonise and vilify these people”.

6 The Coal Lovers are at it again. It seems that those who oppose the Carmichael mine have received funding from a US organisation with links to John Podesta who happens to be running Hillary Clintons election campaign and the Libs are not happy. Nor is India’s Power Minister Piyush Goyal.

So Turnbull might just revive some previous legislation that was aimed at curbing vexatious litigation by environmental groups.

On Tuesday he said:

”Coal is going to be an important part of our energy mix, there is no question about that, for many, many, many decades to come, on any view”.

A few years ago he would never have contemplated those words.

7 Among many other things the fast talking Treasurer Scott Morrison said:

The government will therefore also be discussing with the states the potential to remove residential land use planning regulations that unnecessarily impede housing supply and are not in the broader public interest. This will be the strong focus of my discussions at the next Council on Federal Financial Relations that I will convene in early December”.

Of course these are not the only problems the housing industry faces. Government also plays its part and there’s no sense blaming others when your own policy tax policy distorts the market because it produces increased inequality via wealth acquisition.

In other words negative gearing.

And to show just how badly the Government is governing they have allowed an enquiry initiated by Joe Hockey into housing to lapse.

7 Said the Prime Minister on Tuesday:

”The important thing for me, as prime minister, and for my government, is to get on with the job of governing and delivering, and that is what we’re doing”.

”We are delivering, we are governing, we are delivering the jobs and growth that we promised, and we will continue to do so”.

That of course is highly debatable.

My thought for the day.

”The study of free will is an important foundation of rational thinking and objective application of thoughts to actions. How many seriously take up the study of free will and the constraints of pre-determined facts that limit free will, and personal action?”


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Gleeson falls on sword sharpened by Brandis – By TESS LAWRENCE

Tess Lawrence 25 October 2016, 10:30am 60

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George Brandis and Justin Gleeson (Image via abc.net.au).

‘George Brandis has now set himself above the law, above the PM, above the Governor-General and thus above the Queen of Australia.’

~ Tess Lawrence, contributing editor-at-large

JUSTIN GLEESON SC fell upon his own sword yesterday and resigned as the Commonwealth’s tenth solicitor-general.

It was a sword gleefully sharpened in recent weeks by notorious serial liar, Attorney-General George Brandis QC.

There has been great public conflict and emnity between these two, ever since it was revealed that Brandis issued a secret – and perhaps illegal – edict that all requests for advice from the solicitor-general (SG) first be vetted by the Attorney-General (AG) — a ludicrous and intolerable impost upon the independence of the office of solicitor-general.

Revelations made during the recent Parliamentary Inquiry exacerbated the situation. 

This from the ABC’s 7.30 transcript, 14/10/16: 

SABRA LANE: The hearing became turbo-charged when Justin Gleeson confirmed he took a phone call from the Opposition’s Mark Dreyfus in June, in the middle of the election campaign.

Mr Gleeson says it was a brief chat; that the shadow attorney-general asked if he supported the directive and was he consulted. Mr Gleeson replied “no” to both questions.

The media, myself included, have not sufficiently emphasised what the “Brandis Rule” means outside of the key players. It is, by any measure, a nasty bit of work and works to the detriment of democracy and we citizens.

By issuing such a rule/direction, Brandis is clearly intimidating everyone into thinking twice before seeking apolitical advice from the solicitor-general. There is an implied threat; an implied warning in the Brandis Rule. It ain’t a good look. 

A formally signed letter of resignation will be given to Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on 7 November. Ironically, under the Brandis Rule, even the Governor General and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are barred from first seeking independent advice from the Solicitor-General. 

This means George Brandis has now set himself above the law, above the PM, above the governor-general and thus above the queen of Australia.

Disturbingly, it also means that should anyone wish to seek advice from the solicitor-general about the conduct of the Attorney-General, he or she would first have to seek permission from George Brandis himself. Preposterous. Next, Brandis will be crowning himself emperor.

What if allegations of corruption were made about an attorney-general? Under the Brandis Rule, those seeking confidential advice from the solicitor-general of the day would first have to consult the attorney-general. Stupid. One doesn’t have to have taken silk to see that. 

Independent Australia has kept a watching brief on Brandis. In a recent article, headlined Night of the generals: Gleeson and Brandis at war’we detailed some of the disturbing elements of the Brandis regime. Our country deserves better than this megalomaniacal bully. Turnbull surely has a more capable and ethical AG aspirant within his ranks. Brandis should Braxit.

Months ago, we called for his resignation or sacking. He has left irreparable damage upon both offices and, quite frankly, is seen as a dangerous and conniving buffoon by many of his peers, and certainly regarded as a lesser legal brain than Gleeson.

The Brandis Rule has ominous connotations and consequence. It is more than an affront and power grab. It is a rule designed to suppress and control our laws and legislation and arguably dictate and censure the content of those laws. 

This is untenable. The judgement and soundness of mind of the Attorney-General need to be urgently questioned and assessed — perhaps by the High Court.

Surely, some sort of challenge should be mounted against the Brandis Rule. 

In his resignation letter to Brandis yesterday, Gleeson wrote: 

I have come to this conclusion with regret, but the best interests of the Commonwealth can be served only when its first and second Law Officers enjoy each other’s complete trust and confidence within a mutually respectful relationship.

When such a relationship is irretrievably broken, as is the case here, and each Law Officer holds a term of office established by the Constitution or Statute which will not expire in the near future, there must be some resolution to the impasse.

Whilst standing down for the greater good, Gleeson refused to recant on his version of events. 

He went on to write:  

My decision does not amount to a withdrawal of any position I have taken in relation to matters of controversy between us, including before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee …

For the avoidance of any doubt, I also make perfectly plain that I reject absolutely each and every attack and insinuation that has been made in recent times upon me personally, or upon my office, by Government members of Parliament, including you, in Senate Committee processes.

The use of the phrase ‘including you’ is a categorical indictment of Brandis. 

As a nation, we are fortunate that we have had a solicitor-general who is prepared to publicly take us into his confidence and to report what is clearly a violation of the separation of powers

He has paid a high price for being a whistleblower, as whistleblowers often do.

Under the circumstances, where else was he to go? He came to us, the people. He has shown us that no matter how high one’s office we all have an obligation to speak truth to power — even when the power is one’s superior officer. 

Around the nation, citizens have been saying that “the wrong man resigned”. And not just the Opposition:

Brandis should indeed resign. Turnbull should never have reappointed this Abbott flunky – this viper in the nest and stalwart of the Monkey Pod Cell – as the attorney-general. 

He remains loyal to Abbott and IA has received information that it is Abbott himself who was behind the Brandis Rule.

Both men have wet dreams of an Abbott resurrection. 

Last night, on the ABC’s Q&A, Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek spoke for many Australians when she branded Brandis as an “incompetent minister” and said “he should have gone long ago”.

Tanya Plibersek calls for George Brandis’ resignation on Q&A.

Perhaps the legal profession could consider boycotting the position of solicitor-general and leave an “empty chair” — at least until the Brandis Rule is revoked or turfed by the Senate.

Advocacy group Liberty Victoria succinctly put it in this tweet:

Last night, an eminent group of former office holders, gathered to debate the importance of the role of solicitor-general — among them former Solicitors-General and later Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason QC and Bob Ellicott, later attorney-general.

Legal opinion aside, we are confronted with the reality that the nation’s first lawmaker may yet prove to be the nation’s most prominent lawbreaker. 


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The Gleeson Affair is as significant as the Dismissal. Perhaps more so. – by James Moylan ( AIMN )

By James Moylan.

The reporting in our press regarding the ‘Gleeson Affair’ has been woeful. Most people simply do not understand what the argument is about let alone comprehend the ramifications of this policy decision for our democracy. I am unsure if this is due to our journalists being sloppy and uninformed, partisan in their reporting, or simply exhibiting an ignorance of the law and political science. Perhaps it’s all these factors.

Everyone should be appalled. Like on the day of the Dismissal we should be out in the streets in massed protest. The actions of our current Attorney-General are not just reprehensible and dishonorable – they threaten to undermine the good function of our government and turn Australia into a banana republic.

As a legal academic I fully understand the predicament that Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson, SC, found himself in. No wonder he could not sleep at night. He notified the government of his intention to resign on Monday because he is an honorable man. He had no choice.

Many of our papers made light of his distress. He was portrayed as being weak and personally interested. Not up to the job. I was infuriated every time I encountered one of these smears. I remain ashamed. What has happened to our country? An honorable man lies awake at night fretting for the health of our democracy and he is demeaned by many commentators? The Murdoch press makes me want to vomit.

Why am I so upset? In simple terms Mr Brandis has now turned the Solicitor-Generals Office into an office of the Government. At the heart of this matter is a despicable and almost treasonous direction from the Attorney-Generals office that any matter that the Solicitor-General might consider, from now on, has to be first cleared personally by Mr Brandis.

However this is not just Mr Brandis acting alone. The Prime Minister is also responsible for this piece of bastardry if only because of his utter lack of spine. He is a lawyer and so should be as appalled and sickened by these events as are the rest of the profession. However it is becoming ever more obvious, everyday, that Mr Turnbull has sold his soul for an empty chair. As long as he can clutch to the reigns of power it is apparent that it matters not a jot what dishonorable actions need to be sanctioned. Mr Turnbull has his bauble so professional ethics and the public interest can go hang.

To understand just how appalling this policy decision is requires a quick description of what the Solicitor-Generals office does. The function of the Solicitor-General has traditionally been one in which a well respected lawyer, aided by a highly qualified legal team, provide legal advice regarding the actions of Statute or Common Law to any member of the Parliament who might wish to approach them. This advice might even be tendered confidentially if deemed appropriate. In this way all members of our parliament were assured of being provided with, and receiving, impartial and accurate legal advice which could then be advertised as being an opinion of the Solicitor-General. In this way the office has always been one which is entirely impartial. It was politically neutral. The SC would declare how the law (or a proposed amendment to the law) might operate.

The Attorney-General was responsible for generating a law and the Solicitor-General for advising on the likely legal impact or actions of a proposed amendment to the existing laws. But not now.

Now Mr Brandis has decided that the current government will no longer provide this service to the parliament. Like a banana republic, whether or not a proposed amendment to a law will even be appraised prior to its introduction to the parliament, will now be entirely at the behest of the government of the day. The very same government that generates the proposed legal changes will now be able to veto any adequate and independent appraisal of those amendments before their introduction to the House. If the government does not want a law to be appraised in an impartial manner all it need do is say ‘no’. The implications are dangerous. Moreover this new policy fails to abide by either parliamentary tradition or normal legal practice.

The relationship of the two top legal officers in Australia is often strained and almost always very formal. Which is entirely appropriate. These two offices need to work in unison however the office of the Attorney-General is a political office while the office of the Solicitor-General is an arm or the Judiciary. Yes the AG might be the highest legal officer in the land but this is a purely ceremonial designation. It has to be ceremonial due to the division between the Executive Office and the Judicial Branch, a division that is explicitly enunciated in our Constitution.

Why is this significant? Not only can the government now suppress the generation of any legal opinion regarding its own proposed laws that it thinks is likely to be unhelpful to its political cause, also any opposition or small party request for advice will now be telegraphed immediately from the Judicial Branch to the Executive. It means that the highest legal arbiter in our land has been handcuffed to whatever politician happens to sit in the AG’s chair.

No wonder the partisan hacks and our ‘opposition’ have been so circumspect regarding this matter. If most Aussies did understand these matters fully then Mr Brandis would be tarred and feathered and run out of Canberra on a rail. Turnbull we need not worry about. He is shrinking in public view and will very soon disappear entirely if not stabbed in the back by one of his colleagues first.

Poor fellow my country…


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Watch this Space: Doc Martin on the Tele’s gaffe, Pauline Pantsdown, RAAF – By Martin Hirst

Martin Hirst 24 September 2016, 8:00am 10

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Pauline Pantsdown. (Image via Pauline Pantsdown @PPantsdown/)

Doc Martin Hirst wraps up the week: Daily Tele pinged for a second time (ouch), Pauline Pantsdown’s spat with The Oz and hurried changes to the Crimes Act après botched Syrian airstrike. 

Second time unlucky? Sydney’s Daily Telegraph pinged for a silly mistake

A FEW weeks ago, Watch this Space reported that a recently-added Twitter account @Panahi_Fans had been having some fun outing colourful Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi plagiarising the work of her NewsCorpse colleagues.

Well, it seems she may have done it again. This time, the work she’s lifted is itself also subject to claims of unethical practices by the reporters involved.

Panahi’s Sydney colleagues at her sister paper, The Daily Telegraph, are in trouble for not checking a story told to them by two women they interviewed and photographed outside a western suburbs dole office.

One 17-year-old told Telegraph reporters Natasha Bita and Jack Houghton that she was on the dole and didn’t like working. Problem was, she had also told them she was working and had just finished school.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph called these young women the NEETs a new breed of unemployed

The trouble is, not a word of it was true. The young woman, Amy, had embellished her story. But she also gave the journalists her true story. It seems the reporters weren’t interested in the facts though.

As the girl’s angry father told The Guardian, Bita and Houghton just took the bits they wanted and left out uncomfortable facts:

My daughter was not totally innocent but she did say to the reporter “I work and I have just finished year 12” and he said “that’s OK we’re just going to ask you few questions.” And then she just got caught up in it.

She didn’t apply for Centrelink. The story said she is not educated but she just left year 12 a week ago. She went to a trade high school and she studied business management. She is educated and she funded herself through high school by working at night.

But they didn’t put in any of that. She just fell into the five minutes of fame and went along with the story.

Yep, there’s a sting in the tale.

Right on cue Miss Judgment used the by now discredited story of Ashleigh and Amy as a backdrop to her own whinge about dole bludgers being a burden on their families and the rest of us too.

Not the first time

It’s not the first time the Telegraph has been in trouble for scapegoating and stereotyping the youth of Mt Druitt.

In January 1997, the paper ran a front page banner screaming ‘The class we failed’ and was successfully sued for defamation by a number of Mt Druitt High School students. Their claim was that the paper made them look stupid and implied they were too dumb to pass high school.

Mt Druitt has always been an unfortunate and easy target for the tabloid media as the awful SBS documentary [ahem] Struggle Streetdemonstrated.

Some of you might also remember the “poor old Paxtons” — a working class family misrepresented and maligned on one of the notorious 1990s so-called current affairs shows. A Current Affair got roasted on Media Watch at the time.

Why do the networks and tabloid papers do this stuff? It’s not as if they can easily get away with it.

Well, perhaps because its S.O.P. for the media and for government ministers who use fake families and prop people in their election campaigns.

Let’s see if Paul Barry has anything to say on Monday about this week’s poor performance by the Daily Telegraph.

Pauline Pantsdown versus The Australian

This week saw another social media spat developing between a senior NewsCorpse writer and a popular figure in the gay and lesbian scene.

Entertainer and social critic Pauline Pantsdown was hoping to put her career on the backburner, but thanks to the “revival” of serial racist Pauline Hanson as chief denialist for the flat-earth gang, she’s back in the spotlight.

A story in the Weekend Australian purported to have uncovered a “ferocious” social media campaign to force the cancellation of a secret strategy meeting of an anti-equality group headed by the conservative Christian, Lyle Shelton of the ACL.

The Australian’s David Crowe “exclusively” reported that the hotel involved had been “forced” to shutdown its Facebook page, “amid claims” that there had been “physical threats” from “marriage equality advocates”.

The Accor Group – which runs the Mercure hotel involved – issued a brief statement that mentioned threatening phone calls. However, despite phone calls and several emails, the hotel management would not clarify for IA exactly who it is alleging made threats or whether they have been referred to police.

When I spoke to Ms Pantsdown creator Simon Hunt this week, he confirmed that Pauline’s Facebook page had urged people to let the hotel know they weren’t happy about it hosting the ACL. Hunt alo confirmed to IA that his initial campaign was about the Safe Schools issue, not marriage equality.

I checked the posts and the comments on the Mercure page. There was nothing rude or threatening about any of it.

However, that hasn’t stopped the media and the ACL from taking advantage of The Australian’s beat up.

The Australian’s Jared Owens successfully “factuialized” the unverified link between same-sex advocates and the alleged threats to the hotel into a story trapping Bill Shorten into making a negative comment about the unproven incident.

At least Owen had the decency to admit that Shorten didn’t have all the facts.

It’s a pity he won’t admit the same for himself.

Even Crikey has fallen into the trap.

In a “Tips and Rumours” column earlier this week, the usually reliable Crikey covered the Accor response confirming some type of phone threats.

But Crikey should know better than to begin the story like this:

‘Some involved in a protest against the Australian Christian Lobby’s marriage event made physical threats to Mercure hotel staff.’

Two assumptions in this statement that are not supported.

The first is that the threats were made by people involved in some form of protest against the ACL and that they are confirmed. The second is that the threat was made to Mercure staff.

Neither of these things has been confirmed by the hotel.

But Lyle Shelton has wasted no time in elevating these so-called threats and giving them “hero” status on the ACL webpages.

Shelton has shamelessly linked the allegations about threats to the Mercure to his own list of purported crimes by marriage equality advocates. His claims are far-fetched as is the allegation that the police have not properly investigated them.

However, false accusations tend to be repeated and part of the accepted narrative. I’m sure that this will happen with this incident too.

As IAs Deputy Editor Michelle Pini wrote this week, the plebiscite is looming as an embarrassing and costly mistake by the PM:

‘Turnbull’s cringeworthy lectures on why we suddenly need a plebiscite completely contradict his own so-called “beliefs” and every national opinion poll. This is the man who lectured the country on the right of everyone to marry whom they choose — where did that guy go?’

The only groups supporting the government’s plebiscite are those who oppose amending the Marriage Act. At the head of this mainly conservative Christian campaign is the Australian Christian Lobby.

The ACL is no more than a self-appointed lobby group claiming to represent tens of thousands of rank-and-file Christians. It is not. The ACL is no more than the mouthpiece of its chief front guy, Lyle Shelton.

We’ll see more of his dodgy claims about violent perverts in the coming months. Many of them will be given oxygen by The Australian and its stablemates.

Rules of Engagement

At the beginning of September, Malcolm Turnbull quietly announced in parliament that military “rules of engagement” for RAAF forces operating in Iraq and Syria would be changing to overcome a “legal risk” to troops subject to Australian law.

The publicly-announced changes would allow fighters, airborne command planes and flying tankers to participate in coalition missions against alleged ISIS operatives even though they are not taking part in direct and active” “hostilities” against coalition forces.

The legislation to restore what Turnbull offhandedly described to the House as a “legal anomaly” has been brought into sharp political focus this week by the “bungle” in Syria, which implicates RAAF aircrews in the accidental deaths of more than 70 Syrian troops.

In the Senate, Attorney-General George Brandis repeated – almost word for word – Turnbull’s address to the House.

The change gives effect to changes in the Crimes Act to allow wider targeting of individuals now protected by the current (and very secretive) “rules of engagement” in Iraq and Syria.

“We will move quickly to introduce necessary amendments to the Commonwealth Criminal Code that will bring our domestic laws into line with international norms. This means that ADF personnel will be supported by our domestic laws. They will be able to target Daesh at its core, joining with our coalition partners to target and kill a broader range of Daesh combatants, which is consistent with international law.”

~ Malcolm Turnbull, Hansard, 1 September

Opposition leader Bill Shorten in his reply was a bit more forthcoming about the changes:

“[T]he Chief of the Defence Force has briefed me about the proposals on targeting, which the Prime Minister’s statement dealt with. The view of the CDF and the ADF is that it is necessary to update domestic law to be consistent with international law. International law makes a distinction between civilians and members of terrorist organisations. The domestic law has a narrower definition, which has not been updated to deal with the developments of state-like terrorist organisations, such as Daesh.”

~ Bill Shorten, Hansard, 1 September

If you unpick the highlighted sections of this statement, it says a lot more than you might think.

What Shorten is saying, in effect, is that domestic Australian law has a broader definition of civilians in relation to what defines “members of terrorist organisations”, which imposes a stricter limit on whom and when and where and why and how the RAAF gets involved.

It lends a rather chilling echo to “commander-in-chief” Turnbull’s statement of intent:

“Let me make myself very clear to those who contemplate joining Daesh: take up arms against us and you will join the over 60 Australians and thousands of other combatants who have already been killed in the Iraq and Syria campaign.”

   … Malcolm Turnbull, Hansard, 1 September

But that shouldn’t get all the laughs. Bipartisan patriot-in-arms Bill Shorten also had some timely homilies of his own:

“Our ADF have a robust targeting policy and protocols. They have implemented their missions and they have degraded the enemy, with no civilian casualties to this point.”

Maybe, but the Syrians and the Russians might consider the “accidental” strafing and bombing of its troops a sign that “robust” targeting policies were not working.


While the bill waits its turn for a spin on the Parliamentary treadmill, Independent Nick Xenophon, the Greens, Andrew Wilkie and some of the cross-benchers have called for an inquiry into the botched bombing raid last weekend.

Greens defence spokesperson Scott Ludlam said the crossbench would also be taking a strong interest in the proposed new “rules” and he explicitly linked the changes to the botched Syria raid.

“This has all occurred at a time when the Government and Labor are seeking to expand the targeting powers of the Australian military. The Australian Greens have deep concerns about this proposal, and will be further considering its impacts in light of this incident.”

~ Greens Defence spokesperson, Scott Ludlam, 19 September 2016

For good measure, Ludlam added that a disaster such as the “botched” attack on Syrian ground troops had been foreseen, and only added to the “chaos” and “terrible violence” in the country.

Bipartisan support for the new rules will see a broader range of so-called “target” cells and individuals to be slated for attack. Given the poor track record of coalition forces, there is no reason to have confidence in the assertions it will keep civilians out of harm’s way.

Brandis has not yet brought the changes before Parliament, but the Greens, Xenophon Team and Andrew Wilkie are considering how to question the Government over the issue in coming weeks when Parliament resumes.

Watch this space…

Read more by Dr Martin Hirst on his blog Ethical Martini and follow him on Twitter @ethicalmartini.
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Malcolm’s empty slogan – By Kaye Lee

The Turnbull government would have us believe that they have been successful in job creation – it’s their mantra – but a closer look at the figures suggests otherwise.

Comparing August 2013 and August 2016, there are 8,600 more people unemployed now.  That’s thousands more struggling families.

Certainly the number of employed people has also risen, as has the aggregate monthly hours worked, but those figures also tell a story.

Over the past year, the labour force, which includes both employed and unemployed persons, increased by 148,800 persons which means, over three years (assuming a similar annual increase), we would have to be creating about 450,000 jobs just to keep up.

There are 316,800 more people employed now than in August 2013, far short of keeping pace with natural labour force increase.

Even more telling, those extra 316,800 employed people only added an average of 30 hours a month each to the aggregate monthly hours worked.

Overall, the almost 12 million people employed in August 2016 all worked an average of almost three hours less a month than their counterparts in 2013.  We have effectively lost 35 million work hours a month.

Needless to say, trend underemployment is at a series high of 8.6 per cent.

Full-time employment has fallen by 21,500 persons since December 2015. Part-time employment has increased by around 105,300 persons over this same period but, as we are two thirds of the way through the year, there would be an increase in the labour force of approximately 100,000 so, all up, we continue to go backwards.

Even if percentages remain stable, more individuals are un- and underemployed.  More people are living in poverty.

The government says that it is business, not them, who create jobs but the aim of business is to make a profit – loyalty to employees is a rare commodity nowadays and altruistic behaviour basically unheard of.  If businesses can do it cheaper with machines or outsourcing, they will.

Turnbull points to our defence industry as an area of job creation and then promptly, post-election of course, gives China the contract to make our military dress uniforms, because they could do it cheaper.  Of course they can.  Bangladesh could probably do it cheaper still.

The Textiles, Clothing and Footwear industry employed 36,364 people in 2014-15 but they are under great pressure from internet sales and cheap imports facilitated by free trade agreements.

Why would we spend reportedly an extra 30% on our subs so a couple of thousand people might get some work in about ten years’ time and then choose to not support our local clothing industry?

I guess it’s the same reason we couldn’t afford to subsidise our car industry, which employed tens of thousands of people, but we can afford to subsidise the fossil fuel industry who are sacking people hand over fist. Why did Abbott, at a crucial juncture, buy a fleet of government cars from BMW instead of a local manufacturer?

Hell, we even shipped in 20 million sheets of paper from overseas to use for ballots in the Federal election despite the domestic paper and packaging industry being under enormous competition due to the free trade agreements.

The AEC spokesman said “We have to follow the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Every government agency has to follow these rules for any procurement of goods. Under these rules the agency has to assess the value for money of the goods and weigh up the services against the cost.” (It’s a pity they don’t apply the same rigour to politicians’ expense claims.)

Do they ever include the social cost of unemployment in these assessments?

Entry level and low skilled jobs are disappearing due, not only to automation, but also due to both business and government choosing to outsource.  They ask us to support local producers, but go for cheaper offshore suppliers of goods and services themselves.

Despite overly emotional speeches about “cold-blooded lies”, the government has already begun privatising Medicare with a $220 million contract to Telstra to manage the national cancer screening register.  Will it too be sent to the Philippines to administer?

The Productivity Commission has called for the private sector to be given a greater role in providing key government services in health, housing and Indigenous affairs.  They released a draft report saying that services in six priority areas — including social housing, some public hospital services, palliative care, Indigenous affairs and dental care — could be improved if they are opened to market competition.  Because that has worked so well for us in the past – just look at airport parking.

The government seems to be actively pursuing policies that contribute to unemployment with many jobs going to 457 visa workers and backpackers, and free trade agreements destroying local industries and allowing foreign companies to bring in their own workers.

The Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List is extensive and includes many occupations that Australians could readily fill.  I find it hard to believe we need to import driving instructors, flight attendants, funeral directors, youth workers, wool buyers and real estate agents.  If we really do have skill gaps then surely we should be targeting and incentivising training to fill them.

About 20,000 public servants have been sacked by the government and funding cuts have led to many more dismissals in NGOs and NFPs.

The government’s proposed internship program sounds good if you trust employers to not exploit it by replacing entry level jobs with free labour.  Considering the many cases of abuse we have already witnessed, that trust would be misplaced, as would any hope that the government would act to address cases of exploitation that are brought to their notice.

This government mouths platitudes as it pretends concern about youth unemployment at the same time as arguing to cut benefits and increase the wait time.  They abandon needs based funding for education, give vocational training over to shonky private colleges, make university education unaffordable, demonise the unemployed as bludgers, undermine unions, and import temporary foreign workers.  All of this only exacerbates the unemployment problem.

We are continually barraged with the marketing pitch that everything the government does is about “jobs, jobs jobs”.  Their actions prove it to be yet another empty slogan.

The central character in the 2008 Man Booker winning novel The White Tiger suggests “this will be the century of the yellow and brown people”.  He is not talking about political influence or military might but the fortune to be made from outsourced call centres.

He may well be right.


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Assad tells AP: U.S. doesn’t have the will to fight terrorism, strikes on Syrian troops were intentional – BY RT

© SANA / Reuters

Syrian President Bashar Assad says that US airstrikes which killed 62 Syrian government troops were “intentional” and they lasted for an hour. He added that the US “does not have the will” to join Russia in fighting terrorists in Syria.

Speaking to the Associated Press in Damascus, the Syrian leader denied that the airstrikes carried out by the US near Deir ez-Zor on September 17 were an accident. Sixty-two Syrian soldiers were killed and over 100 were injured, according to the Syrian military. Assad said they were “intentionally” targeted.

“It was not an accident by one airplane; it was four airplanes which kept attacking the position of the Syrian troops for nearly one hour or maybe a little bit more than one hour,” Assad told AP, adding they were attacking a large area that “constituted of many hills” adjacent to where the Syrian troops were stationed.

Assad also questioned how IS was able to launch an attack so quickly after the airstrike.

“The IS troops attacked at the very same time as the American strike. How could they know that America was going to attack that position in order to gather their militants right away and attack it one hour after the strike. It was definitely intentional and not unintentional,” he added.

The Pentagon said the airstrikes on Syrian troops were an accident and that they were aimed at Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

Assad also claimed that the US is not interested in fighting terrorists in Syria, saying that Washington “lacks the will” to join Russia in trying to eliminate extremist groups.

“When you have many external factors that you don’t control, it’s going to drag on and no one in this world can tell you when,” he answered a question about when the war might end.

He also said that the conflict is likely to drag on because the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar keep supporting those opposed to Assad’s rule.

The Syrian president dismissed US claims that Russian or Syrian planes were responsible for a fatal attack on an aid convoy which killed 21 people September 19. He said the American accusations have “no credibility” and they are “just lies.”

“I would say whatever the American officials said about the conflict in Syria has no credibility. Whatever they say is just lies.”

When pressed about what happened to the aid convoys, Assad said they were passing through rebel-held areas and these “terrorists” were responsible for their security.

“We don’t have any idea about what happened. The only thing we saw was videos of burnt-out, destroyed trucks and nothing else,” Assad said.

Comment: Further reading:

Related Articles


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Image result for Russian Kalibr cruise missilesALEPPO:  I’ll bet some of my readers did not believe me when I kept telling them the SAA-MI people were intercepting chatter between British-accented terrorist enablers and the cannibals of Nusra/Alqaeda.  Well, yesterday, the Russians bore me out.  A Russian missile warship off the coast of Latakia fired 3 Kaliber cruise missiles at a site where a “massive” amount of electronic communication was monitored.  It was near Daaret ‘Izza in the shadow of Mt. Sam’aan north of Aleppo and Barakaat Mountain to the west.  It appears that the liars at the American State Department who were claiming they were in favor of a cease fire had over 70 terrorist spies operating out of caves and safe houses in the area directing terrorists in the war against the people of Syria and its great army.

I’m not going to pull any punches.  My information is that Vladimir Putin is livid over the American attack on the Syrian Army in Dayr El-Zor, an attack which, if it had continued, would have enabled the ISIS terrorists to overrun the well-protected airbase there which the SAAF uses regularly to pound terrorist positions all along the Iraqi border.  As many of you have now read, it took 3 separate Russian AF sorties to finally put an end to the murderous designs of the criminal rat in the White House.  Moreover, it appears the Russians were in direct contact with American military liaisons all throughout that episode.  Luckily, our army trounced the rodents and recovered all lost territory on Jabal Al-Tharda.

Yesterday, as evidence mounted that the United States was up to its old, and tired, tricks, the Russian Navy was ordered to take action and pulverize a command-and-control center near Mt. Sam’aan.  The Russian cruiser fired 3 Kaliber cruise missiles at the target and very accurate reports indicate 30, or more, American, Zionist, British, Saudi and Turkish rodents were fried inside their little cave.  I mean fried.  The U.S. and its confederates are trying to pick up every last finger they can find to send back so the families of these rats can beat their breasts over some charred digit with a fingernail on it.


Proof of American treachery?  Proof that Obama should return his Nobel Peace Prize?  What more do you want?  All the time, Kerry was spouting his nonsense about a cessation of hostilities as if it were policy, the Americans and their criminal allies were stuffing the pockets of their Wahhabist cannibals with Captagon, logistics and C-4.

For those following the front in Aleppo, the battles being fought today are some of the most violent of this entire war.  The Syrian Army has pulled out all the stops.  Recorded chatter from trapped rodents inside east Aleppo describe hopelessness in a way that makes our soldiers more determined than ever to continue the onslaught until all of these vermin are rendered into blackened chunks of charcoal.

You’ll be delighted to also know that the Pentagon, following the hilarious British habit of fictionalizing events, has suggested that the reason the U.S. attacked SAA forces on Jabal Al-Tharda was because the pilots flying the F-16s and the A-10s were deceived by the fact that the SAA had defectors on the mountain who were not dressed in the official uniforms of the army.  Can anybody believe that the Syrian military would house its AWOLs or deserters on a mountain like that?


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Wanna see Australia?  Here’s a great reason to go:  (Thanks, Diane Mantzaris)


Brandon exposes Samantha Powers and the Obama regime for what it really is:


Brandon lays it on with pungent reporting about American boots in Syria being spat upon by “moderate” terrorist cannibals:





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Ditto for Ziad

Read more at http://syrianperspective.com/2016/09/30-american-british-and-zionistsaudi-intel-agents-fried-in-aleppo-by-russian-kaliber-cruise-missiles.html#u6VfPcjX0AfTvHg9.99

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