Miscellaneous comments from 25 March 2011

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by Michael Chossudovsky of Global Research 20 Mar 2011 :

Outright lies by the international media: Bombs and missiles are presented as an instrument of peace and democratization...
This is not a humanitarian operation. The war on Libya opens up a new regional war theater.
There are three distinct war theaters in the Middle East Central Asian region. Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
What is unfolding is a fourth US-NATO War Theater in North Africa, with the risk of escalation.
These four war theaters are functionally related, they are part of an integrated US-NATO military agenda.

by Manlio Dinucci also of 28 Feb 11 :

Benghazi captured, the rebels have lowered the green flag of the Republic of Libya, hoisting in its place the red, black and green banner with crescent and star: the flag of the monarchy of King Idris. The same flag was hoisted by protesters (including those of the Partito democratico and the Rifondazione comunista) on the gate of the Libyan embassy in Rome, raising the cry: "Here's the flag of democratic Libya, that of King Idris." It was a symbolic act, rich in history and burning current events.

If Ghadaffi's alleged brutality against opponents is justification for the , then why won't they impose a similar "No Fly Zone" against the Canadian Government for its brutal suppression of protestors against the financial wreckers at the G20 Summit in Toronto? View BrassCheckTV video at .

See of 25 Mar 11 by Seven ways state-owned banks could help states overcome budget deficits and boost their local economies. Cut spending, raise taxes, sell off public assets—these are the across the nation, but the budget crises that nearly all the states are now suffering did not arise from too much spending or too little taxation. The crises arose from a In the wake of the 2009 financial market collapse, banks curtailed their lending more sharply than in any year since 1942, driving massive unemployment and causing local tax revenues to plummet. The logical solution, then, is to . But how? The Federal Reserve could provide the capital and liquidity necessary to create bank credit, in the same way that it provided in liquidity and short-term loans to the large money center banks. But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke declared in January 2011 that the Fed had no intention of doing that—not because it would be too costly (the total deficit of all the states comes to less than two percent of the credit advanced for the bank bailout) but because it is not part of the Fed’s mandate. If Congress wants the Fed to advance credit to local governments,, it will have to change the law.

Anyone who may be under the illusion that former Prime Mister Paul Keating was or is in any way driven by respect for popular will or for Labor principles and the interests of ordinary people, should read the transcript of his interview by Leigh Sales, of the ABC's , Tuesday 29 March. In it former 'Labor' Prime Minster Paul Keating provided further confirmation of his opposition to democracy. Essentially, Keating was pouring mud over John Robertson, the new leader of the NSW state Labor Opposition and other figures in the NSW Trade Union movement, particularly branch Secretary for their outspoken opposition to privatisation. Paul Keating brushed aside Leigh Sale's point that the NSW public, as well as the NSW trade union movement and NSW Labor party rank and file, overwhelmingly oppose privatisation. Keating argued that a good effective and effective government should not be "looking over their shoulder" with any concern about how the public might view its actions. Rather it should act like the "Road Runner" cartoon character and run so fast down the highway ahead of public opinion that it literally tore up the highway and bridges and prevented anyone else catching up with it. If a government showed any concern for public opinion it stood to be run over by the public. Whilst the Federal Labor Governments from 1983 until 1996, in which Keating served as Treasurer and then Prime Minister, certainly implemented policies in "Road Runner" fashion, too far ahead of the of the public to be knocked over by public, it can hardly be argued that their policies served the public interest. Policies implemented by Keating and Hawke in "Road Runner" fashion include:
  • The floating of the Australian dollar and financial deregulation.
  • Privatisation of retirement income (a.k.a "Superannuation") as first implemented by the bloody Chilean military rulers in the 1970's which even former US President George W Bush could not get US Congress to pass;
  • The extension of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser's "wages freeze" until 12 months had past, ensuring that all workers' wages were reduced by 9.1%
  • The privatisation of the Commonwealth Bank
  • The privatisation of QANTAS
  • The privatisation of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories
  • Participation in the first Iraq War of 1990-1991;

A Brisbane woman is suing a luxury United Arab Emirates resort after she was jailed for adultery when she complained of being The Age 28th March. Ms Gali was drugged and raped by three co-workers in a United Arab Emirates resort, was jailed for "adultery" and served eight months before being "pardoned". Her employer failed to obey the laws and to give her proper induction. Understandably, she is suffering from trauma and a host of psychological pains. Magnanimously, she stated she did not want the incident to be manipulated into an anti-Muslim or anti-Arab attack. Even though the perpetrators weren't from the Middle East, they were collaborators in a system that makes women victims into criminals, to be vilified, imprisoned and punished. Another victim, who was 19 at the time and whose name has not been released, was raped in 2006 in Qatif, a city in the Eastern Province. A Saudi court more than doubled the number of lashes that a female rape victim was sentenced to last year, to 200, after her lawyer appealed against the original sentence. The woman's offence was meeting a former boyfriend, who she had asked to return pictures he had of her because she was about to marry another man. The couple were sitting in a car when a group of seven men kidnapped them and raped them both, lawyers in the case told the Arab News. Shariah law punishes victims of rape, because when a victim reports rape, she admits to sexual intercourse with the accused. Sheik Faiz Mohamad, a graduate of Islamic law and lecturer at an Islamic centre in south-western Sydney. He said in 2005 that women largely bear responsibility for rape if they make themselves an object of sexual desire. He upset many in a religious community still haunted by images and stories of Bosnian refugees being gang-raped during the recent war. There has been little significant response from Muslim community leaders, when condemnation of Faiz's comments should have been swift. Such archaic cultural misogynous laws still exist today, and are completely incompatible with today's human rights, women's equality, and democratic principles. This is why multiculturalism has its limits.

This comment was moved from , which is the second page of the discussion of 18 Jul 09, because a problem with our web content management system prevents browsers from being able to follow the link from the left hand column of this page. - Ed.

I feel so very sorry for the humans in Tasmania that have to rely on a self serving city council that does not have laws that protect humans from noise pollution. In the United States the owners of those dogs would be fined and or in jail or both. It is recognized world wide that dog barking per the World Health Organization is noise pollution that is hazardous to human health. I would look at a class action law suit against your city and or the owners of the pets to mitigate the noise, seeking damages and restitution for pain, suffering and loss of useful right of your property which includes the right to quiet in your own residence.

How dare any of them take your right to quiet for granted. To allow and animal more rights than a human is disgusting.

Editorial Comment:This comment and the  s referred to by the contributor, raise an issue which can and does gravely affect the psychological and physical well-being of a sizable proportion of the Australian population, including myself. The indifference or outright hostility that many dog owners and those who are unaffected by incessant dog barking show towards victims of dog barking can seem quite cruel or downright malevolent. In my experience, this is sometimes a misguided consequence of a justified concern for the welfare of dogs and other animals, many of whom, suffer unfairly at the hands of humans. I believe that, only if those on both sides of this contentious issue show concern for the well-being of those on the other side, can a compromise be arrived at which is tolerable to all parties. For my own part, I am able to endure dog barking if it is of relatively limited duration and does not occur too frequently. If dog owners, who feel that their dogs need to bark, could ensure that the barking does not occur too frequently and, when it does, does not go on indefinitely, then I think many who are affected by dog barking may find that they are able to cope.

I think a better longer term solution may be for people who prefer peace and quiet be able to live together in designated reduced noise areas and those, who don't mind loud noise including dog barking, be required to live elsewhere if they choose not to prevent the imposition of excessive noise on people around them.

Of course, the plans of Australia's greedy elite to crowd more and more people together in this country so they can enrich themselves, from their population growth Ponzi scheme, at the expense of the rest of us and our children, will make this harder to achieve.

For further information, see .

The following is adapted from some e-mail correspondence I was recently engaged in:

E-mail to me

Yesterday I heard you lecturing Patrick on electricity pricing, on how they are soaring and increasing costs at home.

Today I saw in Andrew Bolt's blog:

A new report by Victoria’s utilities regulator shows power costs for some small businesses have fallen by more than 20 per cent since former premier Jeff Kennett sold off the industry in the mid-1990s....

The Essential Services Commission report [1] found households in Victoria are paying between 3.1per cent and 6.2 per cent less for power than before privatisation, depending on the level of usage. For example, last year the average bill for a family consuming 6500kwh of electricity was $955, compared with $1018 in 1994-95, adjusted for inflation… .

My response

It would be worth putting this report under the microscope. I heard on the last night that electricity prices had rocketed up 37% since privatisation.

If prices actually FELL as a consequence of selling this state's electricity generators and giving a private operator the right to enrich himself/herself at everyone else's expense, I would be amazed.

To some extent, I think 'feather-bedding', to the extent that it may have existed before privatisation, may not have been an altogether bad thing if it allowed a civilised pace of work for ordinary workers, on-the-job trainig and a decent career structure. I think, as long as others in society enjoy similar conditions, then they should hardly object to paying a little extra so that public sector workers having those conditions.

Privatisation has not removed 'feather-bedding'. It has just shifted the 'feather-bedding' that existed away from ordinary workers and added it that already enjoyed by the rich and I think the evidence will show that it has not reduced waste but, added to it.


1. Where is the report? I can't find it .

I attempted to post this to a discussion forum on .

Australia is a country in which politicians can flagrantly act in ways which harm the public interest (but not the interest of those powerful vested interests pulling the strings from behind the scenes). Australia cannot be said to be governed by "by the people for the people."

Both Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser kept from the Queensland public their plans to sell off more publicly owned assets even though I repeatedly and specifically asked both of them to state their intentions in regard to privatisation.

They were assisted by the ABC, in particular, by Madonna King, in keeping the Queensland public in the dark about these privatisation plans. Madonna King refused my request to put to either Andrew Fraser or Anna Bligh, the question that I had put to them which they had ignored. , Labor crept back into power without either having to either tell the Queensland public of its fire sale plans or having to make a firm commitment against privatisation.

Professor Quiggin wrote:

"The most effective opposition has come from the Electrical Trades Union, whose secretary, Pete Simpson, is currently facing expulsion for supporting the official policy of the party, on which (as with Iemma in 2007) it ran in the last election."

Whilst it is true that the Electrical Trades Union is one of the very few groups to have raised its voice against privatisation, I have yet to see any action on the part of the ETU or any Union in Queensland that I would call "effective".

For further information, see of 30 Apr 2010 of 4 May 2010.

(Unfortunately, an injury I received in a road accident on 18 May, shortly after I wrote the second article prevented me from following up on what I had written.)

James Sinnamon (former independent candidate against both Andrew Fraser and Campbell Newman.)

The following comment was to ABC Radio National's National Interest in respose to their story NSW electorate hands out electoral drubbing to ALPof 27 Mar 11. It was also one of the listeners' comments (mpeg, 2.6 MB) at the end of their of Friday, 1 April.

I would have thought that if the Greens were, in any way, capable they would have years ago become the viable second party that Australia so badly needs.

Why, for example did they perform so abysmally in the 2004 and 2007 Federal elections when decent Australians were crying out for a viable alternative to the truly appalling Liberal and Labor parties?

Why have the Greens performed so abysmally in all but very few recent state elections? Why did the Greens achieve such an abysmal result in the Victorian state elections when people all over Victoria were fighting to save their environments and communities from the state 'Labor' government?

Lets hope that, for a change, the elected Greens in the New South Wales and Tasmanian state parliaments show some inspired leadership and apply imagination. If they were to do that there is no way that their support could not grow by leaps and bounds in the coming months and years, given the alternatives on offer by mainstream parties.

Two other readers' comments about the Greens were read out. My comment above was a response to the following:

It may be that the Greens are the new second party.

Their vote is growing and their 'failure' (according to the media) to gain seats sees them scoring about the same proportion of the vote as the 'majors' in seats like Marrickville and Balmain.

My guess is that lots of people (especially the younger ones) now see the Greens as the progressive party and are choosing between Lib and Green.

The were formed 19 years ago in 1992. I would have thought that nineteen years would have been plenty of time for any party with the following of Greens to have made a noticible and positive impact on Australian politics. However, since that date, very little has been has been achieved, considering the huge amount of time, money and energy that large numbers of Australians have poured into it, particularly at election time.

It is hard to know how a lot more could not have been achieved if those energies had been applied elsewhere since 1992. The Greens, like most other alternative, 'soft left', 'hard left' and 'pro-environmental' parties in Australia, only seem to divert energy away from where it could be put to truly effective use.

But, as I wrote in my above comment, on the ABC National Interest web site, we may still hold out hope that the Greens recently elected to the NSW and Tasmanian Parliaments may, for a change, help bring about a worthwhile change for the better.

Appendix: Comment apparently in response to mine

The following comment was formatted on the as if it were in response to mine, although it doesn't address the issue I raised. It was also read out on the program.

Those who news come exclusively from the ABC and hear interviews of Bob Brown in which he is treated as a Dalai Lama, "tell me how wonderful your policies are" and without having a developed a critical faculty will have a rose-coloured glasses view of the Greens. They are politicians just like the others. The only difference is that, as they will never form government, their policies are not realistic and are not subject to rigorous scrutiny.

Those who weren't reading fairy tales at the time will recall then Australian Democrats leader Janine Haines having a tilt at a lower house seat. The media looked at their policies more closely and she was roundly defeated.

The reason for the result was that Labor was seriously on the nose and the voters wanted an alternative government that could turn things around. The Greens clearly didn't fit the bill.

Another disgrace of a ruling by VCAT

When will they be reined in?

We will soon have no heritage left and the poorer for it. The Melbourne University could have built their research building anywhere, why wreck a heritage building - SHAME ON THEM ALL.


See of 30 Mar 11 at http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/demolition-of-key-hotel-approved-20110329-1ceub.html

Mary D,

My apologies, but I have accidentally deleted your comment. If you have kept your own local copy, would you kindly consider posting it again? - Editor, 3 Apr 11

See in the Moonee Valley Leader of 4 Apr 11.

A FEDERAL MP has claimed Moonee Valley Racing Club’s proposal to build four 20-storey apartment towers at its racecourse would be like “Melbourne turning into Mumbai’’.

, the Wills federal Labor MP, claimed the $1.4 billion, 200-plus apartment development would bring 6000 extra residents to the area, creating traffic chaos.

“Proposals for 20 storey towers at the Moonee Valley racecourse will damage the quality of life for neighbouring residents in Moonee Ponds, Essendon and Brunswick, increase traffic congestion at Moonee Ponds Junction, and on Mt Alexander Road, City Link and Melville Road, and take Melbourne down the road of the high-rise concrete jungles of Asia, and Latin America,’’ Mr Thomson said.


But Mr Thomson said, ... “It would be wrong to shove this development down the local community’s throat on the grounds that Melbourne’s population has to grow by 1500 people a week.’’

“Melbourne’s population growth is not inevitable. Local communities and residents should be allowed to decide, through being allowed to determine planning matters in their own community, whether and at what pace Melbourne continues to grow.

Mr Thomson also made the claim that children who grow up in an apartment were worse off than those who have a backyard.

“There is something intangible but important about the personal space of a backyard,’’ he said.

“I believe the children who grow up in concrete jungle suburbs are subject to more bullying and harassment and are more vulnerable to traps such as crime and drugs.

“A child with a backyard is known as a free range kid. I think free range kids have a better time of it than battery kids.’’


The extravagance of Victoria's massive and expensive mulit-billion desalination plant has been deemed unnecessary. Other solutions, such as rainwater collection and recycling are available. Academic and engineer Professor Peter Coombes told that, as leverage with the desal builder/operator, the government should make use of the heavy penalties that apply if the consortium misses deadlines for completion. This should save some public money. John Brumby has the luxury of being able to retire while still in his 50s, to "spend time with his family" and still have access to a parliamentary salary. Once we are in ecological overshoot, it's time to stop growing! The public are victims of reckless decisions, and doubtless we will continue to be forced to pay for this monstrosity of a desal-plant. Our ecological life-support system should set the limits and parameters of our growth. Providing for Nature's bounty artificially is costly, environmentally and financially. He imagined that despite a 13 year drought, Melbourne could still have perpetual and limitless growth. Brumby should be held responsible and be sued! Author Rebecca Gill explained households should pay more when dam levels were low and less when they were high. We should be slugged more for water to accommodate population growth, he study says. Ms Gill said the nation's population was estimated (read "targeted") to reach 35 million by 2050, but even with dramatic immigration cuts numbers would still climb in the coming decades. (However, most of our growth comes from immigration. The baby bonus should be limited). She says The way forward is not to cut population growth, which is inevitable, but to consider a range of water sources to meet the growing demand... Our population growth is anything BUT inevitable. Water is not a luxury commodity. It's one of life's basic essentials. The public should not be forced to pay for population growth that is contrary to their interests! Rebecca Gill is a Research Assistant at The Centre for Independent Studies. She is in her fourth year of B.Com (Liberal Studies) at the University of Sydney. She is not an environmentalist but obviously deeply entrenched in the academic ideal of perpetual and ongoing growth worship! Households represent only 13% of total consumption and agriculture 50 per cent. Nevertheless, prominent demographer believes our cities will have to be ‘completely redesigned’ to cope with a growing demand for water. Our population growth is not a reality that requires a drastic overhaul of water and urban infrastructure. It's time to abandon Liberal, Labour and the Greens and vote for people that are really serious about stabilising the population - Stable Population Party of Australia!

According to the (in A bigger country is inevitable by Jessica Brown in The Australian of 4 Aug 10), "The best way to cut migration is to cut economic growth and no government wants to do that." So without immigration, we will not grow economically? Maybe our governments should stop allowing themselves to be servants of a great consuming and destructive Economic model and start government for the people they represent, the voting public! "Short of introducing a China–style one–child policy, governments can’t do much to control how many babies we have, either". There could be free vasectomy and fertility clinics, and family planning made more available. Limiting the baby bonus to only 2 children would also help. We should avoid China's draconian one-child-per-family by encouraging alternatives. The parameters of growth are ecological and environmental. Economic theories and models are infinite and without finite limits. Not the real world!

Only psychopaths would justify making water a commodity by over-ruling citizens' natural rights. They are putting lives at risk. No government can guarantee always having the funds and the fuels to maintain an artificial production and distribution of water. We are increasing risks in this society at a fundamental and unsustainable level. Our leaders must be aware of this and should be made to be more responsible and democratic, with criminal sanctions for placing citizens at risk. Nothing justifies these commercial values and activities at the expense of the majority of people, who have no say at all in this most important of matters. People should keep records with names of public servants, politicians and private persons who support these dangerous and antisocial policies. At some future date it may become possible to bring these people to justice.

France is the home to Europe's largest Muslim population. This will be the first country to risk stirring social tensions by putting the ban on the burqa into practice. They total between four and six million people. French officials estimate that around 2,000 women wear a niqab or a burqa - full-face veils that are traditional in parts of Arabia and South Asia. Understandably, they are more than an anti-fashion, anti-Western and feminist garb. They are symbols of extremism and of using women in the front line of a cultural "war". Hiding the face and mouth is not acceptable in societies that are democratic and presumably transparent. There is a security aspect too. Anyone refusing to lift his or her veil to submit to an identity check can be taken to a police station. There, officers must try to persuade them to remove the garment, and can threaten fines. Identity hiding means wasting police time on potential crime or terror suspects. Sarkozy declared the full-face veil was "not welcome" in France and branding it a symbol of "servitude" rather than one religious observance. Religions must serve the people and be human "friendly" or else they have hidden political-social agendas. Surely faith communities that fail to transcend human weaknesses and ephemeral concerns cannot find a path to eternity or comprehend any concept of "god"? Belgium's parliament has approved a similar law, but has yet to enforce it, and other European countries are considering following France.

The Minister for the Interior announced on 12 April 2011 that several women have been called in for questioning or charged with offences under the law prohibiting the wearing of total veils in public in Paris, France.

The federal opposition has backed a West Australian minister's controversial comments on the burka, saying the dress goes against Australian culture and should not be worn. WA Minister for Women's Interests Robyn McSweeney sparked heated debate when she spoke out against the burka at the weekend, labelling it "alien" to Australia's way of life. Australian women (except Aboriginal women) were enfranchised for the new Commonwealth Parliament in 1901. Women first voted in second Federal election in 1903. Suffragists attempted to speak for themselves and argue for full legal and civil equality, and for the personal freedom. Women battled for reproductive rights such as contraception and abortion, family allowances, equal employment opportunities, education, respect for women's domestic labour in the public sphere. No woman was elected to an Australian parliament until 1921. The first federal female parliamentarians were not elected until 1943. It was generally accepted that women's roles were as nurturers and home-makers. It was considered their destiny to get married, have children and devote their lives to the needs of their husbands and offspring. This was reinforced by beliefs that women were incapable of leading any other sort of life. Times have changed, and women now demand equal rights to careers, representation, education, political representation and freedom of expression. The struggle has been long, and anything less is confrontational. The covering of women, and confinement to domestic duties, and the draconian dress and oppression of women under Sharia law and muslim codes are not appropriate in Australia. Neither is speaking with the face covered! Some countries and territories have drawn up bans on the burqa and the niqab, however France -- home to Europe's largest Muslim population -- will be the first to risk stirring social tensions by putting one into practice. As the host nation to introduced cultures and ethnic immigrants, they (and we) surely have the right to set the standards of what is the expected dress-code and values that are to be enshrined - historically and culturally? Multiculturalism and "diversity" are the default result of high immigration rates, not some humanitarian ideal that all peoples are a great unified melting-pot, that all cultural practices are acceptable.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the process of water reform in Australia entails the de-facto privatisation of water. With the support of the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at the University of South Australia, the Water Action Coalition, of which is a member organisation, is holding a landmark forum in Adelaide on the 18th May 2011, to allow discussion of the social and environmental consequences of water reform. Supporters of Fair Water Use are encouraged to attend. Admission is free, but tickets are limited - so be sure to book early. Full details can be accessed at

Australians could soon be drinking recycled waste water with a national productivity commission recommending the process be allowed. One way to get around water shortages while maintaining efficiency would be to allow used water to be pumped back into supplies, it says. It also condemned the desalination plant as a waste of money. The Productivity Commission called for an urgent overhaul of the urban water sector, declaring consumers were paying more than necessary for their water as a result of poor government decision-making. The productivity commission is no doubt deeply committed to and deeply entrenched in the economic concept of perpetual and ongoing growth - which includes population growth. The lack of water means we must resort to recycled water to ensure enough supplies. The Economy should be our servant, to support our lifestyles for our benefit - Not the contrary! What about "sustainability"? We are all prepared to be sustainable but not the economic model being forced onto us? It is possible to remove solids and excrement from waste water, but what they have been finding in the United States increasingly in recycled waste water are pharmaceuticals - from all the medications people are taking. There is a limit to the number of dams we can build. Many ecologies depend on flooding, and already a number of native fish are endangered. Choking more rivers is not sustainable. It's simply assumed that our population will, naturally, keep growing. Nothing is said about limiting consumers and having a sustainable population. It's assumed that this would be "racist".

Addiction to growth and short-term economic "fixes": More people! A $1 billion housing development near Werribee will cater to Melbourne's future growth. There is no station though and little infrastructure. Delfin Lend Lease will build a billion-dollar urban community for up to 12,000 people on 438 hectares about three kilometres west of Werribee, west of Melbourne. Another new residential development, Toolern just south of Melton, is expected to ultimately expand in population to the size of Mildura. At the same time, TOYOTA will halve production at Altona affecting 3300 workers, as Ford axes 240 jobs from its Victorian plants. However, less jobs but more people, which means as production and manufacturing are going overseas, there will be more people distributing and consuming mostly imported goods! Our trade deficit will simply blow out more, and we will owe more to China. Wyndham mayor John Menegazzo said the suburb's swift growth was causing significant road congestion, exacerbated by inadequate public transport. Population growth is continually outstripping infrastructure and funding. What we have is an addiction to growth. Population growth doesn't pay for itself, but only gives a short-term injection of funds to big businesses and State government. The long term needs keep getting exacerbated, and blowing out economies of scale. The solution to funding shortfall?- bring in more people! Thus we have an addiction cycle of need, a boost and so on. An economy based on limitless and perpetual growth is fatalistic and misanthropic and not sustainable. It's pushing us to our limits - environmentally, socially and financially. Our economic growth dependent on population growth is severely time-limited. When will our politician start to think in the long-term impacts, and that this dependency is basically fatalistic? This frenzy of growth must stop. A vote for the Stable Population Party of Australia is the solution.

Julia Gillard said this week that with 4.9 per cent unemployment and strong demand for labour, made this a good time to make an assault on welfare dependency. Gillard has indicated welfare reforms will be at the centre of the budget. The overhaul of welfare is likely to be accompanied by initiatives to help people to be job-ready and to cope with personal hurdles such as health and family responsibilities. The Grattan Institute's Saul Eslake defines a ''tough'' budget as ''one which risks offending people [whose votes] the government actually needs''. Surely we the public should not be subservient to an Economy that drives down our standards of living? One based on perpetual population growth? While are are being told we have crippling "skills shortages", more industries are being closed down. Ministers are coming under pressure from lobby groups, most notably the campaign to prevent or minimise cuts in medical research! Aren't we meant to be a nation advertising our educational system to the rest of the world as one of the best places to study? Less research will mean less opportunities for research scientists. This is ironical considering that we in Victoria are accumulating more of our share of new people, and at the same time losing employment opportunities. What sort of work will these people be able to find? Of course, some will be self-servicing, such as police, teachers, distribution, customer service, health and other industries, but what about serving our trade deficit? According to the Victorian government, exports of goods and services fell 2.4 % including large declines in metal ores and gold exports. These decreases were partly offset by growth in exports of meat and metals. Coal exports rose slightly but this followed a large fall in January due to the Queensland floods. Monthly imports rose 4.9 %, including a large increase in fuel imports. Population growth - importing people - is a short-term economic stimulus with long-term inbuilt fatalism.

I transcribed the following dialogue from the movie made in 1981 starring as , a founder of the modern American Communist Movement and author of , the bestselling work that popularised the 1917 Russian Revolution amongst English readers.

John Reed:[Edmund Borscht (spelling ?)] is going to do nothing but alienate himself from any potential broad base of suport. He's sociologically isolated and programatically impossible to deal with.

Louise Bryant: You, mean, he's a foreigner?

John Reed: Don't be like that, Louise. ... These people barely speak English. They don't want to be integrated into America. The foreign language federations aren't going to create Bolshevism in America any more than Eddie Borscht will. Being Russian doesn't make a revolution. Do you think the American workers are going to be led by the Russian Language Federation or an insular Italian like Louis Frayna? [1] He has no possibility of leading a revolution in his country. The revolution in this country is not ...

Louise Bryant: Unlike you?

John Reed: I'm just saying, the revolution in this country is not going to be lead by immigrants.

This dialogue only deals with how Reed believed that having leaders of the American Communist movement, who were not being integrated into the culture of the United States, would prove to be an insurmountable barrier to winning the American workers across to communism. It does not address the kind of mass immigration that is being faced today by workers in the United States, Canada, Australia and The United Kingdom. However, it seems unlikely that Reed and his followers back in 1918 would have excused or defended similar levels of high immigration into the United States in the same way that supposed socialists, bleeding heart liberals as well as those claiming to have drawn their political inspiration from the likes of John Reed, have excused or defended high immigration into anglophone countries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Footnote: 1. In spite of being highly critical of Louis Frayna in this scene, John Reed found more common cause with Rayna later on in the film.

This was posted to The National Interest in response to a on the high number of informal votes cast in Australian elections

The easiest way to reduce the informal vote would be, as Peter Mares suggested, to adopt Queensland's optional preferential voting system, where no valid vote need have more than a first preference or an 'X'.

Personally, I think that every voter should make full use of the preferential voting system. Use of the preferential system ensures that if a voter's most preferred candidate does not win, then, his/her preferences will be used to help decide who, amongst candidates that are not that voter's first choice, will win. Without preferential voting, it is possible for a candidate, who is opposed by most voters, to defeat a candidate who is supported by more voters.

The lack of preferential voting makes elections in the UK, the United States and Canada particularly undemocratic. If the US had preferential voting in 2000, even the rorting of the Miami ballot would not have prevented Al Gore from defeating George W Bush.[1] Instead, preferences from votes for Ralph Nader, most of which would have flowed to Gore, went into the bin.

Whilst voters should not be forced to allocate preferences, if they don't wish to, it is a waste of their vote not to. Those who advocate that voters only vote '1', and not make use of preferential voting, as many independent and small party candidates do, do democracy a grave dis-service.

Above-the line voting in Australian Senate elections is a rort. This is because the preference deals made between the parties behind closed doors are not revealed to the voting public.

In the 2007 federal ections, I could not obtain, from electoral officials, how my the preferences of my Senate vote would have been distributed if I had voted "above the line". (I was recovering from a serious injury, so did not make similar inquiries when I voted in 2010). If deals are made between parties to distribute preferences and the Australian Electoral Commission distributes those preferences according to those deals, then why won't the Australian Electoral Commission let voters know how they are going to distribute their "above the line" votes on their behalf?.

However there is a far greater deficiency in our electoral system than those described above. This is the lack of choice offered to electors by all but a small handful of candidates. Why, for example, during the 2009 Queensland elections, whilst Queenslanders were enduring the disastrous consequences of the privatisation of the retail arm of Queensland's power generation utility by former Premier Beattie, was opposition to privatisation not put to voters, except by a single candidate (myself)? The Bligh Governenment's plans to privatise coal loaders, the Port of Brisbane and much of Queensland Rail announced only afetr the 2009 elections, have been consistently opposed by the order of 80% of Queenslanders yet none of the Parties in Queensland --- not even the Greens --- raised this as an election issue.


1. Consequently, the world was made to endure the horrors that President Bush and his controllers inflicted upon the world - the Afghan War, supposedly necessitated by , the Iraq War of 2003 (shown to be illegal by the movie ), the global financial crisis, etc,. etc.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has insisted he is "not concerned" about our whaling case against Japan. He sounds very confident of their legality, and totally arrogant. We in Australia have shown condolences and friendship after their tragedy and devastation, yet their Prime Minister just dismisses the mass slaughter of whales in an international conservation zone as a triviality, not to "worry" about! They have shown flagrant disregard for foreign treaties and territories, and total disrespect for our diplomatic pressure to stop the slaughter. Friendship should not be interpreted as weakness, or as accepting criminal activities. There are limits to friendly relations, but they should be based on respect. Their war on whales is more than just a mere "dispute"! We all know their whale killings are not "research", and they need to be exposed. Sometimes disaster makes people more humble, more compassionate, but obviously not Kan!

In Syria human rights organization say at least 90 civilians had been killed by security forces during the biggest demonstrations so far against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Syria on Friday to call for current president Bashar al-Assad to step down. Food prices in Syria continue to rise faster than wages. During the last two years, the prices of meat, vegetables and even beans increased while salaries stayed the same. Syria continues to host the largest population of refugees from Iraq, and it is the only neighbouring country of Iraq that continues to provide relatively easy access to Iraqi refugees. Due to prolonged drought and an increase in fuel prices, the affected rural population of northeast Syria has almost exhausted all coping strategies and has become extremely vulnerable. Since June 2010, an additional 44 million people fell below the $1.25 poverty line as a result of higher food prices. This issue shows up in double-digit food price inflation in Iran, Egypt and Syria, with more moderate levels in other parts of the region. Prominent among the challenges in the Middle East are rapid population growth, spreading water shortages, and growing food insecurity. Saudi Arabia's growing food insecurity has led it to buy or lease land in several developing countries, including two of the world's hungriest, Ethiopia and Sudan. For ordinary citizens, a 20% rise in the cost of basic food stuff is a nightmare in suppressed countries. They therefore ask questions ...."if we have all this mineral wealth how comes we're so poor..?" Overpopulation is now a worldwide problem and shortages of food and water are coming to us all.

I was disgusted to read about how the US Government has allowed a gas station to display a rare tiger in a small, unenriched cage day in day out, subjected to fumes from trucks and taunts from passers-by. I do not understand how that country can pretend to be any better than the worst countries in the world or pretend to teach other people how to live. America needs to be taught decency. Someone should invade them and teach them a lesson. How can anyone who could afford a tiger treat it this way. What kind of IDIOT runs that truck stop? Whoever it is should be locked up in that tiny cage himself and the key thrown away. "Tony the TigerJoin the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows Michael Sandlin to display Tony, a ten-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, where he has lived with no other tiger companions since 2003. In addition to being subjected to noise and diesel fumes 24-hours a day, Tony is also frequently harassed and taunted by visitors at the truck stop. His enclosure is devoid of adequate enrichment, such as logs, trees, or complex vegetation that would allow him to engage in natural tiger behaviors. He has no pool of water large enough to allow him to submerge himself to cool off in the blazing heat of the summer. As a result of the stress of his confinement, Tony constantly paces on the hard concrete surface of his enclosure, putting him at risk for dangerous and painful veterinary conditions. Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tony and the truck stop, has been cited by the USDA due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a lack of proper sanitation and improper feeding practices. On April 11, 2011, ALDF filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and its secretary Robert Barham, arguing that he violated state law in granting a permit allowing Sandlin to exhibit Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop. Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the state of Louisiana to revoke the permit that allows Tony to be kept at the Tiger Truck Stop—a permit that violates both state and local ordinances designed to protect people and wild animals like Tony. Sign the to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (on the same web page) now!"

Canada has the disgrace of their annual baby seal clubbing atrocities, but we in Australia have the dishonour of the biggest terrestrial wildlife slaughter in the world - of kangaroos! Baby joeys, about one million a year, and clubbed to death and other are left to die lonely and slow deaths. Our environment Minister Hon Tony Burke gave the sum of $400,000 of public funds to subsidise our commercial kangaroo killing industry. He is to be congratulated for his stance against cattle in our Alpine National parks, with his statement that cattle are not "native animals". Yes, quite rightly, cattle are introduced species and have no place in national parks, and the so-called "scientific research" on fire reduction is a scam to allow free/cheap agistment. Now, it is time he actually did something for our real and genuine native animals - our wonderful and iconic native kangaroos! They are our mascots, and the most well recognised symbol of Australia in the world. How sad it is that they are so little honoured and recognised as actual living animals rather than just tokens! The rationale for this slaughter is covered with words such as "sustainable", "harvest", "well managed" and "humane", but the reality is quite contrary. These animals are hunted at night, and the lights themselves are a threat to their safety. Shooters cannot possibly shoot directly at their brains in such conditions, and mis-shots are very regular. Kangaroos are hop away and die slowly in agony. This is how we treat our wildlife? Indigenous people hunted single roos, but not on an industrial scale and not with such ongoing massacres. There are so many challenges to our kangaroos, and wildlife in general. We have floods, bushfires, urbanisation, agricultural land, roads, introduced animals and climate change impacting on their survival, and the list of threats can only get worse. Numbers have plummeted in the last few years, but still the relentless shooting continues? Farmers and the public still have historical-colonial attitudes to kangaroos, and treat them as "pests" when we know now that they do not thrive on crops, do not compete with livestock except in extreme conditions, and are frugal in their grazing and actually help in grassland management. This cruel and shameful industry must stop, and our government must protect all wildlife, and encourage farmers to live harmoniously with native animals on their land - a have a holistic approach to farming. This is in light with modern research results. Fixing fences should be a normal part of farm maintenance, and there are kangaroo-enabled fencing where it is needed. Propping up a disreputable and ugly industry for Australia with public funding is contrary to our interests! Tourists come here and expect to see kangaroos in the wild, but they and many other species are disappearing before our eyes.

The Opposition has slammed a proposal that would allow some violent asylum seekers to remain in Australia on temporary protection visas. Also, changes to immigration laws will make it easier to send criminals back to their country of origin or, at least, prevent them applying for permanent protection visas. The minister says the Migration Act already permits him to issue temporary visas, although he stresses that refugees will not be returned to countries where they'd be in danger of persecution. The Liberal Party wants to reinstate temporary protection visas because it says there use acts as a disincentive to people smugglers and is one way of stopping asylum seeker boats. The changes proposed would be backdated to today, meaning those involved in recent uprisings at detention centres, but who are yet to be charged, would face the new character test. The 1951 UN refugee convention is not appropriate today. The world has changed. It was formed after the second world war, and our allies were displaced and Australia has a small population. It is now predicted that by 2050, there will be millions of asylum seekers fleeing wars, famine, natural disasters, overpopulation and climate change. Our human carrying capacity is already at the brim! Our economic immigration is crippling our ability to manage immigration numbers, and priorities. The government is not representing the interests of the people of Australia. It shows how our "democracy" is an illusion. We are allowed to vote on peripheral issues, but the main decisions made by governments are outside our control, and they don't listen! Humanitarian immigration intake should happen off-shore, and replace economic immigration and family reunions. Anyone arriving without documents and visas should be sent back to their homeland, or where they came. There's too much political correctness, and not enough patriotism for Australia. Why don't any members of parliament have enough courage to uphold our sovereignty?

A three-year-old girl was savaged by dingoes after wandering into bushes on Fraser Island (called a "tourist island" by the media ?), according to witnesses. The dingoes were out of sight in nearby bushes and when the child was away from the adults, and they "came in and attacked the child," said Terry Harper, head of the Queensland environment department. Both of the wild dogs were later captured and destroyed by park rangers. A TV report said April 25th 2011 that NO Rangers were working over the weekend at Fraser Island! After the sudden death of Clinton Gage at Fraser Island on Monday 30th April 2001 the Queensland Government instantly ordered for "culling" of the dingoes to begin. Nowhere did they say that Clinton Gage was tormenting and teasing the dingo by throwing stones at it prior to his attack and ultimate death. Where were the parents? The Queensland government is clearly more interested in tourist dollars than protecting the last remaining pure dingoes in their sanctuary. Would these parents leave their children unattended in a lion park? Dingoes are predators, and hungry dogs are more likely to attack. They should have food drops! But no, they must be "sustainable" and live on their own resources - something that humans haven't achieved ourselves! Any visitors entering wildlife territory should take responsibility for the risks, and stay together with any children. Tourists should be fully informed. But restricting tourists might mean less of them, so the dingoes must be "put down"! We in Australia are the biggest extinguishers of mammals in the world in the last 220 years. There needs to be more balance in managing Fraser Island, and greater protection for our remaining iconic dingoes.