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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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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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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Will Labor’s ACT election win presage the fall of the Turnbull Government? – By John Passant

John Passant 17 October 2016, 10:30am 26

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ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr was victorious (Screenshot via abc.net.au)

The ACT election result should worry the Turnbull Government, since swings against parties have traditionally presaged the fall of the party federally, says John Passant.

THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT) election result was a bit of a thunderbolt  to me at least.

According to the ABC, with 81% of the vote counted, there will be 12 Labor members, ten Liberals and two Greens, with one seat in doubt.

At this stage there is a swing of 0.4% against the Greens, leaving them on 10.3% of the vote. Labor’s vote was down 0.2% to 38.7% and the Liberals down 2.6% to 36.3%.

In the last Assembly, split 8-all between Labor and the Liberals, Labor cemented that support for a ministry with Shane Rattenbury, the one Green member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). As the ABC analysis above shows, it looks as if the election on Saturday has retained the status quo of a minority Labor Government supported by two Greens, with Rattenbury again a minister.

On the surface, all the portents suggested the Liberals would do well in this election.

Labor had been in power for 15 years and the election result extends that to 19 years. The proposed light rail from Civic to Gungahlin, which is valued at – by the Barr Government’s estimate – $970 million, is costly and will service, at best, only 10% of the population and will force public tenants out of their homes in the main entrance thoroughfare of Northbourne Avenue. It will benefit developers and real estate agents, without much impact on congestion or on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Liberals ran strongly against the light rail, saying they would tear up the contracts (signed by the Barr Government not too long before the election) and use the money for improved bus services, and better health and education. In effect, they ran on a Labor type public services programme. Labor was forced to respond with health and education promises to match – and slightly surpass – the Liberals.

The Liberals being “Labor-lite” on health and education did not work. The reactionaries have the numbers in the ACT Liberal Party. They will replace current moderate leader Jeremy Hanson with their candidate, the very conservative Alistair Coe.

On Sunday, the day after the election, Turnbull Government Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos praised light rail in Canberra as an example of the Turnbull Government’s search for balance between road and rail transport, and innovation and nation building. That is the problem. Light rail can be painted as another neoliberal building project aimed at providing benefits to capital and the already rich.

The Liberals also ran hard against rate increases. The ACT is the only jurisdiction that has adopted the Henry Tax Review recommendations to replace stamp duty with rates as an efficiency move. And if the stamp duty cuts are passed on as lower housing prices, then first home owners can benefit.

In theory, the change makes sense. However, many people like me paid full stamp duty on their home purchase and are now being hit with higher rates as well. People are upset about this double taxation and rate increases on houses as a result of the reforms of around 9% annually since 2011/12. This year, the Barr Government limited the increase to 4.5%, but next year, it will be 7%.  

Cynically, the Liberals opposed what is, for the elite and most new home buyers, a sensible tax base shift. They even sank to linking higher rates to the light rail.

So with the issues of light rail and rates seemingly running in their favour and the Liberals trying to mimic Labor on spending on public education and public health and promising improved bus services, why did they not do better?

The swing in Yerrabi, the electorate with the proposed “first stage” of light rail, was 6.3% to Labor and 5.2% against the Liberals. That swing to Labor in Yerrabi pretty much cancelled out the swing against them in three of the other four seats. On the other hand, there was also a swing against the Liberals in the non-light rail seats — except for Murrumbidgee, where the Liberal leader ran. Labor’s vote there fell 5.4%, with no well-known Labor candidates (for example, current members) standing. 

Why the swing against the Liberals?

Traditionally, the city has been a pro-Labour haunt. It did elect a Liberal Government supported by independents in 1995 — perhaps in part a response to Keating in Federal power. Back then, there was only one electorate, the ACT, with 17 members, making it much easier for smaller parties and independents to get elected.

This helps explain the move of the two major parties to three electorates and then five electorates. This increases the quota needed to get elected from just under 6% with one electorate to 16.7% for each of the five MLAs elected in each of this year’s five electorates.

The other thing about this election compared to 2012 was at the edges. Clearly, some people were looking for an outlet to the left of the so-called progressive alliance of Labor and the Greens. With 85% of the vote counted in the seat of Brindabella, for example, Steve Bailey, the Sex Party candidate, has won 8.1% of the vote. And “others” picked up 12.2% of the vote across the Territory, up 2.2% on 2012. 

There was no Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders on offer. There was no clear left wing candidate to attract substantial votes, after many years of Labor and Green managerialism and slightly softer, but more effective, neoliberalism. This lack of an electoral radical or socialist left is an expression of the massive decline in class and social struggle in Australia and the ACT over the last 33 years.

I think, too, there is something else in the results that should be worrying the Turnbull Government. Despite what appeared a fertile environment for the Liberals, there was a swing against them. That has been a consistent pattern in Territory politics. There has generally been a swing against the party in government federally in Territory elections — and that can presage the fall of that government. 

And let’s not get swept up in the hype of the re-election of the Labor Green Government. Remember that they will do very little to address the major problems of capitalism in the Territory. To do so would require a radicalisation that is not yet apparent in Australian society or its major political parties.

Recently, ACOSS released a report which showed 13.3% of the Australian population lives below the poverty line. This includes 731,000 kids, especially in single families — those devastated by Gillard Government cuts to the single parent payment in 2013.

In 2013, the Canberra Times reported:

‘The Disadvantage in the ACT report, issued by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling … found that 21,528 Canberrans were living in poverty.’ 

More than 1,700 Canberrans were homeless in 2011.

Where are the plans and the actions of this so-called progressive alliance government to do anything substantial about poverty and homelessness? Nowhere. I’ll keep my celebratory drink on ice until the Labor Green Government in the ACT eradicates poverty and homelessness.

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

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


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

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.


CLICK ON THIS LINK   =    http://theaimn.com/

America’s ‘Big Lie’ in Syria – By Joe Quinn

In his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote that the best way to manipulate public opinion en masse was to use the ‘big lie’ – a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

According to Hitler, an example of the ‘big lie’ was seen in the way in which the Jews blamed Germany’s defeat in WWI on German General Eric Ludendorff. After WWI, Ludendorff had popularized the idea that Germany had lost the war because they were ‘stabbed in the back‘ by Marxists and Bolsheviks – many of whom were Jews – who led the 1918-1919 German revolution that is credited with helping to bring an end to German involvement in the war. So the allegations against Ludendorff were a response to his allegations against the Jews.

Later, Joseph Goebbels put forth a slightly different version of the “big lie” in an article dated 12 January 1941 titled ‘From Churchill’s Lie Factory’:

“The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

While neither Hitler nor Goebbels provided hard evidence to support their claim of a conscious use of the ‘big lie’ by their enemies, the concept has endured because it reflects so well what the average human being generally and intuitively understands about the psychological make-up of other humans: that most people tell the truth, more or less, and when they lie, they do so largely by omission to excuse or protect themselves in scenarios that are understandable (if not defensible). Few people would ever expect a person to lie for no good reason or to lie so ‘big’ (in particular on a moral issue) that they completely invert the truth. Further compounding the issue is the fact that the average person assumes that people in authority are naturally more honest and principled than they are, making official ‘big lies’ even less plausible.

Thanks for the support Murika!

So the idea that a person who has spent their lives working for and loudly proclaiming their love for humanitarian and pacifist values, for example, could also be a secret warmonger who wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone if it served their interests, is alien to the average person. The problem, however, is that there is plenty of evidence that such people do exist, and that they are over-represented in positions of power and influence over the ordinary people of this world.

On the positive side, events in Syria in recent years have presented the ordinary people of this world with a relatively rare opportunity to see the ‘big lie’ on open display and to identify the individuals who promote it.

Consider the fact that, two days ago, US military jets bombed the positions of the Syrian army, which was actively engaged with ISIS terrorists at the time. Dozens of soldiers were killed. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, and thanks to the bombing, ISIS fighters moved into the position previously held by the Syrian army.

In his response to the incident, US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a characteristically hollow apology, stating that the US government “regrets” the bombing and “would never intentionally target Syrian forces”. But he also repeated the lie that Assad was “bombing people indiscriminately” and was preventing “humanitarian access” to Syria. At the emergency UN Security Council meeting that Russia called over the bombing, the US ambassador to the UN – the ever lovely Samantha Power – used the opportunity to hysterically denounce Russia for calling the meeting, depicting it as a “stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding” that was “uniquely cynical and hypocritical”.

Samantha Power: peddling the US government’s ‘big lie’

Power also parroted her boss’s ‘big lie’ that Russia and Syria had repeatedly “bombed innocent civilians” and that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons and “patented the practice of double-tap strikes”. Despite Power’s accusations, there is no evidence that either Russia or Syria have bombed innocent civilians, or that the Syrian army “bombs indiscriminately”. What does that even mean? That Assad is bombing everyone? Maybe he bombed his own army? Or maybe Kerry and Power mean that he bombs all the terrorists, even the ones that America supports? If so, tough luck! When any group takes up arms (with foreign help) to oust a democratically-elected government, that government is fully entitled to order its military to bomb the coup plotters! As for the ‘chemical weapons’ slur, the only evidence (check it for yourself) of the use of chemical weapons in Syria points to US-backed ‘rebels’.

But the prize for the most egregiously hypocritical lie has to go to Power’s claim about ‘double-tap strikes’.

The concept of a double-tap strike is the brain-child of two British police chiefs working in Shanghai during the 1930s, so the Syrian government can hardly have ‘patented’ it. In addition, the practice is most commonly associated with US drone strikes against, mostly innocent, civilians in places like Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But the real cherry on the crap cake that Power presented to the UN was the fact that, 24 hours after she made her bogus ‘double-tap’ accusation, US airstrikes in Afghanistan killed 8 policemen in a (you guessed it!) ‘double tap strike’.

An initial airstrike killed one policeman late Sunday, while a follow-up strike targeting first responders killed at least seven others, said Rahimullah Khan, commander of the reserve police unit in Uruzgan, according to Reuters.

No doubt the irony was lost on Samantha Power, a classic example of an asthenic psychopath with a messianic complex to ‘save the world’.

Regime Change by “Humanitarian Aid”

Those who remember the genesis of the Syrian conflict will know that, from day 1, the US government and its allies have made no secret of the fact that their goal was the removal of Syria’s democratically-elected Assad government. To achieve this goal, the US government has been actively training, funding and arming jihadi mercenary fighters like ISIS. So the claim by the US government that they are ‘fighting ISIS’ in Syria and are concerned about ‘humanitarian access’ is another clear example of a ‘big lie’ peddled to Western audiences. The truth is that the US government has been actively attempting to overthrow the Syrian government through the use of proxy jihadi mercenary forces, cares nothing for the plight of the people of Syria, and is only too happy to bomb the Syrian army whenever the opportunity arises.

Those who have been paying attention will also remember that it was Russia that began the process of peace talks (twice) and also initiated the delivery of aid to the people of Aleppo and other Syrian towns and cities. This was obviously done with the full approval of the Syrian government. So for Kerry to justify the bombing of Syrian troops by claiming that “Assad is preventing humanitarian aid from entering Syria” is cynical in the extreme.

In the US State Department, the term ‘humanitarian aid’ has a very different meaning than the one you’ll find in the dictionary. For decades, the US government and its affiliated intelligence agencies have used the cover of ‘humanitarian aid’ to infiltrate foreign countries with fifth-column elements tasked with overthrowing a sitting government. In a war zone, the same ruse is used to achieve by ‘peaceful’ means that which could not be achieved through violence. In this case, access to and control over large parts of Aleppo.

So don’t be distracted by the ‘humanitarian aid’ card that is now being played by the likes of John Kerry. Russia and Syria are actively attempting to broker a ceasefire with the US and its jihadi mercenaries so that real Russian and Syrian aid can be delivered to the people of Syria by their own government and its allies. The US, on the other hand, is cynically using the ruse of a ceasefire and ‘UN humanitarian aid’ to force the Syrian and Russian militaries to stop bombing the US’ jihadi terrorists who are trying to overthrow the Syrian government against the will of the majority of the Syrian people and to give control of Aleppo to the US’ jihadis.

One of the aid trucks attacked by the US’ Jihadi terrorists

Astute readers will also notice that this scenario places the UN aid agency in the role of stooge for American government regime change, especially in light of last night’s bombing of a UN aid convoy that the US immediately, and without any evidence, blamed on Russia and Syria. Coming immediately after the US attack on Syrian forces and Kerry’s claim that “Assad is bombing people indiscriminately and won’t let aid into Syria”, we can reasonably conclude that it was the US military, or its proxy jihadis, that deliberately attacked the convoy to provide ‘evidence’ that Kerry’s bogus allegation against Assad is true.

The end result, consciously engineered by the USA, is that all aid convoys to the beleaguered Syrian people have now been stopped, the Russian-brokered cease fire is destroyed and attacks on the Syrian people by America’s jihadis have resumed in earnest.

How’s that for humanitarianism? Samantha Power must be proud.

Joe Quinn

Joe Quinn is the co-author of 9/11: The Ultimate Truth (with Laura Knight-Jadczyk, 2006) and Manufactured Terror: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Sandy Hook, Aurora Shooting and Other False Flag Terror Attacks (with Niall Bradley, 2014), and the host of Sott.net’s The Sott Report Videos and co-host of the ‘Behind the Headlines’ radio show on the Sott Radio Network.

An established web-based essayist and print author, Quinn has been writing incisive editorials for Sott.net for over 10 years. His articles have appeared on many alternative news sites and he has been interviewed on several internet radio shows and has also appeared on Iranian Press TV. His articles can also be found on his personal blog JoeQuinn.net.


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ONE YEAR OF MALCOLM TURNBULL: A YEAR OF HEALTH AND MEDICARE CUTS – By Catherine King Federal Member for Ballarat Shadow Minister for Health


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Malcolm Turnbull has used his year as Prime Minister to prove he isn’t Tony Abbott – he is even worse.
Mr Turnbull has kept all of Tony Abbott’s health cuts from the 2014 Budget and added to them, ripping money out of vital blood tests, imaging scans and children’s dental services.
Malcolm Turnbull has also spent his first year trying to privatise the Medicare payments system and other parts of our universal public health insurance scheme, ignoring patients and experts and making health care even less affordable for millions of Australians.

The Prime Minister is now trying to outsource the National Cancer Screening Register to the private sector.

This would put Australians’ most sensitive health information – including their Medicare numbers and Medicare claims data – in the hands of a for-profit telecommunications corporation.

Nothing has been protected when it comes Malcolm’s year of health cuts. His record includes:

  • Extending the freeze on Medicare rebates to six years – an ice age that is already forcing out-of-pocket costs up;
  • Attempting to abolish the Child Dental Benefits Scheme, pushing five million children onto long public dental waiting lists;
  • Ripping another $650 million out of Medicare by slashing bulk billing incentives for diagnostic imaging and pathology;
  • Cutting another $182 million from crucial health programs tackling chronic and communicable diseases, drug and alcohol abuse, and rural health issues; and
  • Gutting crucial health workforce training programmes with a $595 million cut.

Malcolm Turnbull said straight after the election that he had learned his lesson, but while his cuts to health remain, it is clear he has learnt nothing at all.

Malcolm Turnbull thinks the damaging health cuts are “so far, so good” for our health care system, while ordinary Australians are facing soaring health care costs. They tell the real story of the damage he has signed his name to as Prime Minister.




Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Labor will oppose the Government’s axing of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), standing up against Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to force over five million children onto long public dental waiting lists.

In Government, Labor established the CDBS in response to alarming evidence about the oral health of Australian children. The CDBS provides eligible children with up to $1,000 in dental services every two years, with a strong focus on preventive care.

Today, Labor protects the Child Dental Benefits Scheme by removing it from the Government’s Omnibus legislation.

The Government’s own Health Department says the CDBS has been a success, with the only failure being the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s refusal to promote it.

Labor’s National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Adult Public Dental Services has also helped states and territories provide public dental services to eligible adults. As the Government admits, the NPA has funded treatment for an additional 400,000 patients.

But now, the Government wants to scrap these proven programs and establish its own Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme (caPDS).

If implemented, the caPDS would force over five million children onto long public dental waiting lists. This will prevent families from seeing the dentist of their choice, and lengthen waiting times for children and the adults who are already entitled to public dental services.

As the National Oral Health Alliance has noted, caPDS funding would allow eligible patients to be seen just once every 17 years. People in rural and remote areas would be even worse off, given a shortage of public dental clinics.

The Government’s caPDS would also allow States and Territories to charge co-payments for public dental care. This is just another attempt to shift costs onto patients by the Government that gave us the GP Tax and now the Medicare rebate freeze – a co-payment by stealth.

The Government’s plan to axe the CDBS and NPA will save $52 million over four years. Labor is prepared to work with the Government to deliver the same quantum of dental savings while protecting patients.

But Labor will not stand by while the Government axes the effective CDBS and NPA and forces children onto long dental waiting lists.



CLICK  ON THIS LINK    =   http://www.catherineking.com.au/media/








The Year that Made Me -By No Place for sheep


As I listened to Attorney-General George Brandis today unconvincingly bellow (shout loud: argument weak, as the father of my children used to say) that Malcolm Turnbull will be remembered by history as one of our great prime ministers, I reflected that while it’s sadly apparent Brandis is a fool, what is most unsettling is that he apparently believes the rest of us to be even bigger fools.

Malcolm Turnbull will be remembered by history as one of the weakest men ever to hold the nation’s highest office: I’m damned if I can think of many who’ve been more ineffective, more blustering, more incompetent and more so obviously at a total loss as to what to do next. No amount of Brandis’s maniacal talking up is going to change that situation, as we saw with failed and sacked prime minister Tony Abbott, also marketed as great and in the process of leaving a powerful legacy, as his popularity hurtled off a cliff like Sidney Nolan’s upside down horse, his death cult followers clinging to the saddle, three-word slogan at the ready: Nothing to see! Nothing to see!

There’s a pattern here. Talked up one day, compost the next.

No one can make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear, least of all the meta data-challenged Attorney-General who will himself be remembered largely for his technological ignorance, his ludicrously expensive bookshelves, and his elitist notion of what constitutes art.

Turnbull’s deplorable decision to carry on with predecessor Tony Abbott’s (the one who will be remembered for giving Prince Philip a knighthood, just one of a vast array of incomprehensible acts of wilfully destructive stupidity) ill-willed and non-binding plebiscite on marriage equality demonstrates yet again that the Prime Minister is haemorrhaging principles from every orifice, in a kind of spiritual Ebola that has afflicted him since he took office.

I am unable to think of one reason why the Australian public has a “right” to vote on the right of citizens to marry or not. This is not a question of protecting the Australian public’s rights: no member of the Australian public will suffer during the enactment of same-sex marriage. Marriage equality is a human rights issue, and it is an outstanding example of heterosexual arrogance to reframe it as an issue on which “the people” are entitled to have their say. Why are they entitled to have their say? Give me one good reason.

If “the people” are “entitled” to “have their say” in plebiscites on all matters regarded by politicians as “too important” for them to simply do their jobs, why bother having a parliament at all? We’ll use their salaries and perks to fund opinion polls instead, then all they’ll need to do is pass the legislation.

The High Court ruled that parliament already has the authority it needs to simply amend the Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage, without consulting anybody. Why are we paying the idle swine to hand the job back to us?

Trust me, said George Brandis when asked if his party would honour a *yes* vote, and that’s where I fell off my chair and rolled on the floor laughing my arse off.

It used to be that when Abbott said anything good about someone we knew they’d be in the dumpster fairly soon. It’s very hard to believe that Brandis is serious about Turnbull’s strength as a leader. I don’t think he is. He’s shouting loud because his argument is, like its subject, weak. His exaggerated praise of Turnbull is turning the corner into mockery. Brandis knows what’s coming.

Some of you may be familiar with the segment on ABC broadcaster Jonathan Green’s Sunday Extra, The Year that Made Me. A guest who has achieved chooses a year from her or his life which to them was highly formative. Malcolm Turnbull could do this gig.  He could call it The Year that Made Me lose every principle I’d ever held, and left me a dusty, creaking husk of a man, and taught mean the true meaning of the phrase, laughing-stock.

Excoriate! Excoriate!



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Have the Greens just divided the Nation? – By Trish Corry

Have the Greens just divided the Nation?


Have the Greens divided the nation? Is this what a political party should do? Is this disrespecting the people? Is this against democracy? Is this challenging the right to free speech? People need to start really expressing their views on this now. It should be a topic of conversation around every dinner table.

In an act of defiance today, the Greens turned their backs and walked out on Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in the Senate. In an email I received from Richard DiNatale tonight, he explained this was because he was called a ‘greasy wog’ at school and told to ‘go home’ and the Greens do not condone racism.

DiNatale has a personal story that so many can relate to. Whatever your individual circumstance, be it racism, or disability, or poverty; so many know the ridicule, the shame and the stigma runs deep and stays forever.  For some who can never change who they are, the hurt runs deeper. This is the shame and stigma that Hanson and her followers want to cut deep.

I listened to Pauline Hanson’s speech today and I was truly sickened listening to Hanson’s attack on almost every segment of vulnerable people in our society. The divisiveness, which underpinned her speech, shows that Hanson plans to pit group against group until we all hate each other. Her goal is to make Australians choose between ‘her’ or ‘them.’

Hanson’s speech resonated as someone who thinks they have so much reverent power amongst ‘the right’ and her ambition is to grow into a major political party. Her aim is to take every single conservative vote in Australia, to punish the Liberals who rejected her, ridiculed her and jailed her.

In her speech, she metaphorically strolled by and kicked the teeth in of homeless people, and single mothers and mothers who were single because of domestic violence. She metaphorically sat from above and spat on all those on unemployment; the young, the disadvantaged and the disabled.

Hanson’s speech was about creating fear of the disadvantaged. Her aim is to stigmatise and divide our people.

If you were ever made feel ashamed because of who you are, then Hanson is intent on making you relive that nightmare.

If you were made feel less than human because you were poor, or disabled, or recovering from an addiction then Hanson is here to make you feel less than human again.

If you were ever shunned because you were unemployed, homeless or broken, then Hanson wants you to hate those who are living this now.

This is not about Asians, or Muslims or racism, these groups are merely the start. Over the next six years we will see her use the full gamut of disadvantaged groups to create fear and divisiveness amongst us all.

Over time, Hanson will target individual groups and attack them one by one. People in disadvantaged and minority groups will be ridiculed, shamed, and labelled ‘unAustralian.’ Her mantra will be to hate all things ‘unAustralian.’  Her followers who think it is this ‘hate’ that will make Australia a great country, will actively create unrest.

If Hanson achieves her aim of a nation divided in two, what then?

Do we dare to imagine the civil unrest of the “Hanson’s Australians” attacking the bludging poor in the streets?

Do we dare to imagine “Hanson’s Australians” attacking young single mothers and calling scum and slutty whores and thieves who steal taxes?

Do we dare to imagine the intensity of racial hatred and racial violence we have never known before?

Do we dare to imagine Hanson’s Australia?  The Greens did and they turned their backs.

Did the Greens just divide the Nation? Yes, they did.

The Greens symbolically asked every Australian to divide and either stand with “Hanson’s Australians” or with all Australians.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

In six years time, don’t let there be no-one left to speak for you.

The Greens have divided the Nation.

Today is the day to decide on which side you stand.


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