Google+ Followers

Monday, 26 January 2015

Australia Has A Lot Of Growing Up To Do

Australia Has A Lot Of Growing Up To Do

Australia Has A Lot Of Growing Up To Do

By Amy McQuire

McQuire doesn't celebrate 'Australia Day'. She does, however, hope one
day for a mature conversation about changing the date.

year on January 26th, Australians are given a license to act like
immature children, as if to mirror the illusion that Australia really is
a “young country” and not an ancient land with 70,000 years of history
written over its surface.

If you step out to beaches and parks across the country, ‘Australia
Day’ is about booze and bikinis, and being “proud” to be “Australian”.

But if you fall outside the narrow margin of Australian ‘values’, and
refuse to accept this historical amnesia, Australia Day becomes one of

I remember a few years ago, a flag-wielding young patriot drunkenly
shouting in my face “Aussie Aussie Aussie” only to be confounded when I
stared back at him blankly.

“What?! How do you not know it? Are you even Australian?” was his response.

This isn’t an uncommon experience for those who don’t subscribe to
the national jingoism of January 26, but it’s one that sticks in my mind
because of the comically confused look on his face.

There was a complete inability to understand how anyone could feel
marginalised by this date, and a damning ignorance of the deep pain and
disgust felt by many, even by a growing section of non-Indigenous

Whilst it is still a minority, there is a building chorus that agrees
we should not celebrate a date that for generations of Aboriginal
people has been one of mourning.

Blackfellas have mourned January 26th for decades because the arrival
of the First Fleet not only announced the invasion of the British, but
also heralded the massacres of entire tribes, poisoned waterholes and
flour sacks, stolen children and stolen land, the dispossession of
thousands of Aboriginal people onto missions and reserves, the deaths in
custodies, the rising incarceration of men, women and children, and the
attempted destruction of an ancient culture and the endangered

If Aboriginal people are to be included in ‘Australia Day
celebrations’ why is this unpleasant history washed away by a sickening
sea of jingoism encased in cheap Reject Store trinkets?

The refusal to even consider starting a national conversation about
changing the date, as suggested by former Australian of the Year Mick
Dodson, was met with aversion by the public, who acted like whinging
children threatened with the possibility of one less public holiday.

But the refusal to open up a dialogue about changing the date shows
Australians would much rather stay stunted in this phase than progress
towards puberty.

An example of just how far we have to go in our race relations can be
seen in the year endured by Aboriginal footballer Adam Goodes as
Australian of the Year.

Despite being a member of a league worshipped as religion in many
states of this country, Goodes has had to field a barrage of criticism
whenever he dares state a truth about the current situation for
Aboriginal Australia.

It was only last November when Goodes drew an angry response from
3AW’s Neil Mitchell for mentioning Australia’s atrocious history of
racism on British Radio.

Goodes’ comments were in no way radical. In fact, they were
optimistic about the ability of Australians to change, stating he felt
education about Australia’s black history would help Australia move

But any mature conversation about Goodes’ comments was completely
pushed off the table by Mitchell, who said he was “sick” of the
“continued sniping”.

“Goodes seems not to like Australia. He’s trying to change the
country. Yes parts of our history are not decent but we have moved on
from that”.

The fact is, of course, we haven’t moved on, and to begin to even
suggest this to Aboriginal nations across the country is as offensive as
the day itself.

How can you move on without justice? How can you heal when every year on January 26th your history is deemed unimportant and marginal?

The weight of history burdens every Aboriginal community, because the
denial of this past creates a false diagnosis of the deep pain felt
across the breadth of Aboriginal Australia.

It misleads Australians about the intergenerational trauma that has
left many blackfellas mired in bad statistics. If you don’t have the
correct diagnosis, how can you begin to medicate and heal?

How can you expect black and white Australia to unite when the power
is overwhelmingly weighted on one side? You can’t wash away a black
history so easily.

Australia Day is, and always will be, a day of shame, regardless of
the marketing and press releases pumped out by the National Australia
Day Council. 

It does nothing to represent ‘fairness’. Instead it represents
compounding pain and the inequalities that stem from a history that is
continually denied.

To celebrate this denial means you are complicit in the current
suffering of Aboriginal Australia. And to not even consider a
conversation about changing this date means Australia still has a lot of
growing up to do.


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Shorten WTF are you doing?

Shorten WTF are you doing?

Shorten WTF are you doing?

Shorten WTF are you doing?

Bill Shorten, Mr 40%
Bill Shorten, Mr 40%

When the ALP announced that they were going to change the criteria
and allow the R&F to have more of a say, I thought that might be a
good start and a new direction for a factional mishmash that was slowly
but surely killing itself.

Little did I know!

Albo, Mr 60%
Albo, Mr 60%

The fact is, that with around 60% of the R&F voting for Albo, and
only 40% for Shorten, the members made it perfectly clear who they
wanted, and yet the factions, once again stepped in to make sure their
bloke got over the line.

Now at the time, I made my feelings clear, along with a large
majority of the R&F, that Albo was the man to rebuild the party and
take us to the next election.

I said that Shorten had too much baggage from the last two terms,
that he doesn’t inspire, that he’s from the right of the party, and they
desperately need to return to their roots and core values.

I have to say I was pissed off that once again the powerful factions
got their way, over the membership, but many said  “Wait and see” and
“At least give him a go”

Well I waited, albeit somewhat sceptically, and I saw!

And what I saw, was not a Labor leader, but what looks more like a
right wing plant, who’s softly softly approach is seeing this once great
nation relegated to the last century, where all the gains we’ve worked
so hard to achieve, are being either seriously eroded, or completely
wiped out on the back of  rabid right wing ideology!

Make no mistake, if Abbott as LOTO could have mustered the numbers in
the senate,, during the Gillard term, he would have happily blocked
supply to bring down the government, but he didn’t have either a valid
reason, or the numbers.

When Hockey brought down his horror fudge-it, it was, to use Abbott’s
own expression, CRYSTAL clear, that he lied to the public, to gain
office and was, as such, a perfectly legitimate reason to use those
numbers to block supply and force a DD.

Billy, Billy, Billy… WTF are you doing?
Billy, Billy, Billy… WTF are you doing?

But what did Shorten do?… NOTHING?

In fact, he did worse than nothing   :shock:    he guaranteed supply, leaving the door wide open for Abbott to do deals with the new senators and Palmer

He  has sold out Labor, and Gillard’s legacy, but worse than that
he’s sold out Australia to the rabid right wing ideologies, and voted to
take us back to war, on the say so of a man (?) who is a proven, and
some would say pathological liar, and  who’s only goal is to maintain
power at any cost.

Their dishonesty and hypocrisy are astounding, and over the last
couple of days, we’ve seen yet another example, as Morrison signs up for
an asylum seeker deal to resettle genuine refugees in Cambodia, one of
the poorest and most corrupt countries on the planet, handing over a
cool $40 mill, for a commitment to take only 4-5 refugees on a trial
basis, and that’s not including the resettlement costs, which works out
at 8 – 10 + million $’s each?   W…T…F???

And yet we all remember when they rejected Gillard’s Malaysian
solution, because Malaysia wasn’t a signatory to the UNHCR convention, a
decision that resulted in some 300 more deaths at sea?

Coincidentally a convention that these hypocrites, effectively tore
up at the same time as they signed up with Cambodia, and committed us to
a war in which even more people are becoming refugees!

We are now witnessing our hard fought for rights and freedoms being
taken away and shoved in a cupboard to “protect them”… WTF?        And
the most incompetent, and arguably corrupt government in our history,
stirring up hysteria and fear, for the sake of their own political

And all the while, Shorten’s opposition is not only MIA for much of the time, but complicit in many of these decisions… W…T…F???

The thing is that I along with many others, tried to warn Australia of how Abbott would destroy this great country   :roll:    and he has more than lived up to our expectations!   :shock:

And likewise with Shorten   :mad:

In his first year, Abbott has done damage that will take decades to
fix, if in fact it can be fixed, and all for the sake of his own twisted
ambitions and ideologies.

And in his first year as LOTO, Shorten has basically made the ALP irrelevant.

I did hope hope he would prove me wrong… He didn’t!

I did try to give him the benefit of the doubt… But he just confirmed all my fears at every turn!

But I’m still prepared to give him a go   :shock:

So Billy boy, If you do genuinely care for this country and the once great Labor party, the only Go that I can still give you is… GO AWAY!

Do the decent thing and resign your position as LOTO, and let the will of the R&F prevail!

We need a LOTO that will reform the party, whilst taking the fight up
to Abbott and his mendacious mob of mistits, hitting him with both
barrels, not a limp lettuce leaf!

Cos too many times over the last year, too many of us have asked the question:

Shorten, WTF are you doing?

Abbott's mini me
Abbott’s mini me

Friday, 16 January 2015

It's time to get on with it - The AIM Network

It's time to get on with it - The AIM Network

It’s time to get on with it

To Bill Shorten and the Labor Party,

You are no doubt aware of the growing concern amongst progressive
voters about your performance.  And by performance, I don’t mean pithy
one-liners delivered at Question Time or the meal you cooked for Annabel

I mean your failure to hold the Coalition to account, your silence
when we should hear outrage, and your refusal to offer a better

I understand that you have countless strategists planning your moves
but they are also failing in their job.  We need to hear from you.  You
need to prepare the road for the way ahead.

Stop beginning every sentence with “Tony Abbott”.  The phrase “Tony
Abbott’s unfair budget” has become as grating as “Labor’s debt and
deficit disaster”.

What you should be saying is “We do not support the Government’s proposal because……Our plan is to……”

You need to delineate clear differences between the Labor Party and
the Coalition because at the moment you are being referred to as the
lesser of two evils, and not by much, which is a damning indictment
considering how badly this government is performing.

You don’t have to pay millions for advertising to tell us how bad
this government is – we already know – just go back through the quotes
from the Coalition and show their hypocrisy and lies.

You don’t have to pay consultants to come up with ideas – the
internet is full of them, many with the accompanying research already
done for you.  You could do worse than reading the articles and comments
here and on other independent sites to get you started.

You don’t have to conduct polls and focus groups to find out what
people think – it’s all there on blogs and social media, in letters to
the editor and phone calls to radio hosts.

The latest Roy Morgan poll shows Australian electors are not
convinced how well Bill Shorten’s handling his job as Opposition Leader;
40% (down 2%) disapprove and 37% (unchanged) approve although a much
higher 23% (up 2%) still can’t say how they view the Opposition Leader.
After more than a year in the job, almost a quarter of the electorate
don’t have a view on how Mr Shorten is going.  That’s a telling figure.

It’s time to get on with it – tell us your thoughts.  Give us some
choices.  You don’t have to commit to a detailed plan, just throw up
some alternatives.  Get the conversation started.

Share this:

Friday, 26 December 2014

Inside Tony Abbott's new menistry

Inside Tony Abbott's new menistry


Tony Abbott's new ministry after being sworn (Image screenshot ABC 7.30)

Sarah Brasch takes some time out from refining her household budget to analyse Tony Abbott's new ministerial line-up.

SORRY, but I have just got to stop bothering about the all-consuming household budget — but only for a few minutes, mind you, because that is all I can spare from the search for $550 in carbon tax savings.

Tony Abbott’s third ministry
deserves closer examination. There has been far too much store placed
on the so-called “winners and losers” so far framed around the celebrity
personalities, such as they are.

There are other ways to skin this cat.
Rather, it is horses for courses so the best runners in wet conditions
get to be in the right jobs. That is the theory anyway.

There is not a lot to see in the new Abbott line-up and certainly no
breathtaking moves in portfolio rankings. It is more some fiddling down
the back-end of the list, where the bottom-feeders scrap.

The top seven portfolios were untouched
other than a new face or two in the junior jobs while the next two down,
Pyne and Macfarlane, got changes of title to add words like “Training”
and “Science, thereby dealing with two of the smallest barnacles.

All this means is that there will be
some public servants reporting to new big bosses and some different
ministers, or the same ministers talking about new topics, popping up by
the end of January — other than Scott Morrison fast out of the blocks
on the case of his new enemies from Day One.

Machinery of government changes, as they
are called, get bedded down very quickly in Canberra, even if they
occur four days before Christmas and more than a few people are not
going to get much of a holiday. The public workforce is flexible and
very good at this sort of thing, contrary to the myths pedalled about

Shame on Abbott for spruiking Senator David Johnston in Defence as capable, trusted, on Team Australia
and so on, and then moving him out. Loyalty and that first rule of
being a minister: “cause no trouble, ruffle no feathers and do as you
are told” obviously counts for much with the PM and, no doubt, Peta Credlin.

We know this because Arthur Sinodinos
was retained on the books for nearly a year when he should have been
dropped immediately. Abbott also held open a place in Cabinet for his
special chum going back to republic referendum days, Sophie Mirabella, in the hope she could scrape into her seat, long after it was prudent to do so.

Four things about the portfolio rankings in Abbott’s new ministry stand out.

Firstly, the important health portfolio
is in last place at number 16, with a brand new minister from the
National Party, of all places. In fact, both Sussan Ley and Fiona Nash – “the Nationals’ girls” – however capable, are languishing at the end of the table.

What do they say: “Put women in jobs where there are unpopular
decisions to be made”? Thought so. Ley, of course, has copped the
unforgiving assault on Medicare and co-payment debacle.

We won’t see much of her on TV as the frontbench seating is also
dictated by Cabinet ranking. Only the first among equals get to sit
behind the Prime Minister in Question Time.

When the chips are down, there is not much money to throw around and
the finance minister is hovering, you want to be as high up on the
ministry list as possible. That is when your ranking in the Cabinet
pecking order really counts. Good luck to health and sport.

Secondly, environment remains stuck at 14. This job is much too
important to be left cellar-dwelling but, yes, we’ve got the drill and
it is Direct Action. If there was ever an economically important
portfolio, it is this one. Greg Hunt should be on Expenditure Review Committee (ERC).

But Scott Morrison now in social services at number nine got the nod
for ERC and will have a finger in the pie of every decision about the
budget. Looks like he’s being groomed for the top job if you asked me,
but no one will because I am fittingly consumed by the homefront finances.

If Julie Bishop is going to be able to seriously challenge Abbott for
the PM’s job, she would have wanted a move like the one Morrison got.
It is hard to be taken as a serious player in Cabinet and have a high
domestic profile if you are hardly ever around.

What is new is to have the social services minister as a permanent
member of ERC. To have a junior minister in Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also a member is unheard of. That move is clearly a warning shot across Joe Hockey’s bows.

Frydenberg may have the gift of the glib and is said to be on Team Morrison but is mostly an ideology-driven motormouth.

They have a smart answer for everything, don’t listen and talk too fast. Kelly O’Dwyer also needs to watch this habit.

Lastly, the important communications job headed two places south from
Number 11 to 13, taking Malcolm Turnbull with it. This tells us
something is on the slide ... Malcolm, probably.

For all the talk about Scott Morrison’s “promotion”, the social
services portfolio has only moved from up one place from 10 to 9,
swopping spots with industry and science.

Peter Dutton must be an Abbott favourite. He moved from health at
number 12 to immigration and border protection at 11 — work that one
out. Dutton’s elevation to the National Security Committee should be setting off alarm bells. We need smart brains and cool heads on there.

Finance creeps off last spot from 16 to 15, also moving Matthias Cormann up one place. As finance minister, Labor’s Lindsay Tanner was number four in the Rudd ministry. How things change.

While it was notable that the Cabinet representation of women doubled from
one to two and we now have a permanent female presence at the table to
cover Julie Bishop’s absences, it is equally notable that no women but
two men were made assistant ministers, the stepping stones to Cabinet.

The two new women, Kelly O’Dwyer and Karen Andrews, only got to
Parliamentary Secretary so will be stuck answering correspondence and
doing little, low profile tasks that the real Ministers cannot be
bothered with. There is not much chance to shine in one of these jobs
that have little input to policy direction and decisions.

Simon Birmingham,
a senator from South Australia, moved to assistant minister in
education and training. He is a republican, being one of only two
ministerial appointees not to pledge allegiance to the Queen of
Australia in Abbott’s first ministry, preferring the oath of allegiance
to Australia, as did Human Services Minister Marise Payne.

Two out of 42 thus far was not much of a show for the country to put
it mildly. At time of writing, it is not clear which option the two
newbies chose at the 23 December swearing-in but, whichever way they went, it is not going to make much difference to advancing our government.

That brings me to the subject of the representatives for women, still
the Prime Minister himself and sidekick, Minister Assisting Senator Michaelia Cash — not in Cabinet and who has had little impact in this role. Publicly, she’s well-tethered.

Abbott could have followed his “bro” Stephen Harper in Canada and appointed women to nearly one third of an impressive cross-section of a ministry
[.] But no, not enough merit can be found. Antennae should start
jangling as soon as any (conservative) man starts talking about women
and merit in the same breath.

In fact, the best thing that the PM could have done for women this
year, given no sweeping gestures Harper-style could ever have been
contemplated, would have been to command all his male Ministers to wear
ties of any colour other than blue, follow his own diktat and then get
rid of the speedos. Peta Credlin really needs to do a good throw-out of
all the polyester horrors Abbott routinely turns out in.

Still defying Gillard, in her face and ours, after all this time. It is a pathetic badge of honour.

Sarah Brasch is the National Convenor of Women for an Australian Republic.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

En Passant » At a time of hope Abbott gives us fear

En Passant » At a time of hope Abbott gives us fear

At a time of hope Abbott gives us fear

Christmas and the New Year is a time of hope. Yet all this Abbott
government and its media spruikers offers is fear – fear of terorism;
fear of asylum seekers and fear of the unemployed are its current

Thus Abbott tells us about terrorism ‘chatterings’, fitting well
into his initial narrative of the Sydney siege as our ‘ brush with
terrorism’ and the Daily Telegraph lyingly painting the hostage crisis
as being carried out by the IS death cult.

Now two men have been arrested as part of the show trials of
Australian justice, one of whom, shock horror, breached his bail
conditions by making a phone call from a pay phone.

This government has no jobs to offer the unemployed, no real wage
increases for workers, nothing for the homeless, and cuts for health and
education. Its only recourse is scaremongering about security and the
treats Islam, refugees and ‘dole bludgers’ pose to normal, so called
peaceful, society.

It hopes its climate of fear will distract from the increasing
unemployment lines, the cuts to real wages, and the engineeered decline
in social welfare and public services. It hopes in this climate its
ruling class unfairness, as exposed so well by its rotten Budget and its
attacks on the poor and working class, will disappear into the

At times of job insecurity like today, scaremongering can working class supporters.

Normally this type of fear is the enemy of resistance. Yet such is
the depth of anger against this government of the 1% that the
anti-Muslim rhetoric didn’t catch on and so now Abbott is shifting to
the threat of terrorism, seemingly as a cover for Islam, nudge, nudge,
wink, wink.

It is possible that some alienated individuals could undertake
violent actions, perhaps superficially cloaked in the flag of IS or
similar (Monis comes to mind) but to date the terrorist scare campaign
seems based more on vague suggestions or misleading interpretations (for
example of Monis, of plastic swords) than hard evidence.

Meanwhile, the government 3 days before Christmas announced massive
cuts to funding for homeless organisations. As unemployment grows the
number of homelss will increase and all this government can offer is
scare campaigns.

The appointment of Scott Morrison as Minister for screwing the
unemployed will see the targetting of the 780,000 unemployed when only
150000 jobs are available. His mate, the Daily Telegraph, led with a ‘
Stop the bludgers’ headline. The real bludgers of course are the ruling
class, those who live off our labour, and the politicians, Liberal and
Labor, doing their work.

The best way to counter the ruling class climate of fear is to
resist their attacks, not fall for their racist, xenophobic and
anti-working class rantings and actions. As Orwell said: ‘If there is lies in the proles.’

Monday, 22 December 2014

Three not so wise men - The AIM Network

Three not so wise men - The AIM Network

Three not so wise men

Firstly, Tony Abbott. As if he had not
embarrassed himself enough during this year, the latest but not
necessarily the last effort was his astonishing suggestion that removing
the carbon tax was his greatest achievement in 2014.

“Well, you know, it is very important to do the right thing by families and households,” Abbott said. “As
many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget
and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550 a year benefit for the
average family.”

What a comment bereft of inspiration!

Then, when questioned about the number of women in cabinet he said, “The
challenge for all of us is to get more women into public life, more
women into the parliament, once we have got more women in the parliament
we will have more women in the ministry and more women in the cabinet.”

is it a challenge? Does he mean that there is no one of sufficient
competence or that the challenge is for him to overcome his own
difficulties relating to women? One would think that there are plenty to
pick from already; many of whom would clearly outshine some of the male
deadwood he has there now. So, do we conclude that he is the problem,
not the women?  Or should we just let Anthony Albanese have the last
word? “There is no issue too big for Tony Abbott to show how small he is as a thinker,” Mr Albanese told Fairfax Media.

Now let’s look at Joe Hockey. If ever we needed
proof that his budget measures and his actions since were creating a
defence line for his elite, excessively wealthy neo liberal support
base, we have it with what we read on page 117 of his MYEFO statement.

In short, his broken promise to impose new tax avoidance rules to stop multinational companies from loading debt on their Australian subsidiaries, says it all.

It was the Gillard government that planned legislation to abolish
section 25/90 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 that enabled tax
minimisation deductions for global corporations.

November 2013, Joe Hockey announced that the government would not
proceed with the package but instead would introduce a targeted
anti-avoidance option after consultation with the participants involved.

In this month’s MYEFO statement we find hidden way back on page 117 the following announcement: “The
government will not proceed with a targeted anti-avoidance provision to
address certain conduit arrangements involving foreign multinational
enterprises, first announced in the 2013-14 MYEFO.”

The reason? That it would cause, “unreasonable compliance costs on Australian companies” with subsidiaries offshore. “That means more revenue flowing out the door to multinationals, which means worse services and higher taxes for Australians,” according to Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Treasurer.

What a pathetic cop-out by Hockey. How hard would it be to exempt Australian owned companies from the legislation?

On his Facebook page, Wayne Swan says, “This decision leaves open
a huge loophole that will bleed our tax revenue for years and is yet
another example of how this Government is reneging on essential
structural reforms required to make our budget sustainable.”

Swan concludes by saying, “Joe Hockey’s deceptive rhetoric about
all Australians needing to pay their fair share is yet again exposed by
this decision to give further tax breaks to large multinational

Then there is Scott Morrison whose actions as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection betray his self-professed Christian principles
of standing up for the truth, standing up for justice, standing on the
side of the poor and the hungry, the homeless and the naked.

Contrast this with the circumstances on Manus Island that led to the
death of Reza Berati, with the recent transfer of Sri Lankans at sea,
with blackmailing the Senate cross benches promising to release children
in detention on Christmas Island in return for the reintroduction of
Temporary Protection Visas.

politicians cloak themselves with so-called Christian principles when
describing themselves publicly, so in that sense Morrison is not alone.
And it is easy to recall such obvious contradictions in one’s words with
one’s actions as we can with most of them. So we should not be
surprised when so-called Christian principles employed to win votes are
quickly dispensed with in favour of pragmatism.

Now he had been given the Social Services Ministry as a reward for
stopping the boats, as if stopping the boats was an achievement; as if
engaging a nation’s Navy to stop a handful of desperate people trying to
find a safe haven was considered clever.

However, he may well find treating Australian citizens similarly is a
different kettle of fish. We shall see if his belief in standing up for
the truth, standing up for justice, standing on the side of the poor
and the hungry, the homeless and the naked continue to conflict with
pragmatism. If it does, he might well find himself and his government in
a different kind of struggle.

So, what is left to say about 2014 that hasn’t been said? The ongoing
incompetence and absurdity of the Abbott government has provided a rich
canvas for political commentators. We can only hope they keep providing
us with similar material in 2015. I certainly expect they will.

constant harping on about removal of the carbon tax, the mining tax and
stopping the boats only serves to highlight the absence of any vision
for the future. They represent an ideas vacuum; a government that won by
default, that was never prepared for what lay ahead and doesn’t know
how to move forward.

Meanwhile the world will face some pretty ominous challenges in 2015
and there’s not a lot of confidence that those who lead us will manage
those challenges well.