Twenty-four years ago I thought oral contraceptives should be cheaper and more available to reduce the pain and suffering of 100,000 abortions per year. ("Public hospital abortions and cheaper contraceptives needed, inquiry finds", Age 26/5). My wife had an expensive Little Collins St abortion with a previous boyfriend.
Early this year, as the COVID-19 virus gained a toehold in Australia, the message from governments, via the media, was that the aim was to "flatten the curve" so that case numbers would be such that our hospital systems would not be overwhelmed. It was not to eliminate the virus altogether.
Why would governments not want to flatten the curve right down to the x axis and eliminate the virus from our population?
After the first National Cabinet of Premiers and the Prime Minister in mid March this year, the State Premiers, it seemed, comprehended the danger of the virus to their populations and immediately acted to protect them by introducing lock-down measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Tasmania and the Australian mainland are both islands!
Tasmania locked its sea border by not allowing people in from the mainland without quarantine. The conversation on the ABC was that Tasmania was lucky, as it is an island. My immediate thought was that the mainland of Australia is also an island! We have a chance here to stop this virus in its tracks, and safeguard our population - all 25. 5 million of them!
But it was never the aim of governments to eliminate this virus, newly introduced to our shores. They had to protect the economy and say the appropriate things to be reported in the media. Eliminating the virus would mean an inconvenient slowing down or stopping of migration long-term, with off-putting lengthy quarantine measures, which would dissuade any overseas tourism at all. Imagine if all overseas skilled workers (previously arriving in their hundreds of thousands) had to self isolate in hotels for two weeks before starting work. Who would pay for this? It would actually be economically irrational!
Governments opting to risk people for Big Business?
Instead, governments have opted to run the risk of continuous virus outbreaks, and second and third waves, in order to appease the voracious appetites of Big Business. This is not stated overtly, but when a leader waves a white flag and says that elimination is not possible in a country, which this time last year was completely free of this virus, then it seems clear to me that their hands are tied. Note that Tasmania has not had a new case of COVID-19 for over 60 days. In other words, it seems that elimination is possible, and that this has been demonstrated.
Using the island principle within Australia: West Australia and Queensland
The Premier of Western Australia closed the WA border to the rest of the country and so that it behaved like an island. This has worked. Cases of COVID-19 there are now only present in returning citizens in quarantine. Queensland's border was closed to all other states, which has ensured the health of that population. It has also earned Queensland the honour and responsibility of becoming home to, and host of, Melbourne AFL football teams and their families. This will be quite good for their economy, as the Queensland government salivates over the possibility of hosting the AFL grand final, an event previously firmly associated with the Melbourne's MCG.
With Victoria in a parlous state of lock-down, grappling with increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases every day, this football history-making break with tradition seems very likely to happen for that very reason.
Why is Victoria different?
Victoria is the basket-case in all this - but why? At the beginning, the Premier sent largely the right messages, with respect to the severity of the situation, as we went into the first lockdown. I was surprised and pleased that he seemed to get it and to give it the priority it deserved. The first lock-down was put in place. For many weeks, unless people lived in the same house, or could meet outside at a distance, they did not see their friends and families. Every night on the ABC, we would see grand parents and grand children greeting one another via this medium, highlighting the sadness felt and the sacrifices made. Childhood is fleeting, as is old age, and the lost times together cannot be regained. This is only one example of the broken ties that the first lockdown entailed.
But it did not work in controlling the virus in Victoria.
How did Victoria become the basket case?
Eventually, the first lock-down eased and Victorians regained a degree of normality and freedom. Last month we Victorians could visit one another, as long as there were no more than five people in the one house. I dined one night with three other people, in a friend's house. Our places at the large table were judiciously distanced, but it was pleasantly reminiscent of pre-COVID times.
Unfortunately this relaxation of isolation was short-lived. In recent weeks, increasing numbers of new cases of COVID-19 were being identified in Melbourne, and it came to light that there had been breaches of the hotel quarantine system for people returning from overseas. This debacle is the subject of an enquiry, but rumours abound of security guards getting into bed with the returnees, ad hoc staffing with SMS messages to friends, offering them a gig at a hotel, guards "moonlighting" and doing two jobs at once (actually absent from their posts.) Although these are rumours, it is clear that this important job was not taken seriously by those who organised it, by those assigned the task, nor by the returnees, who had they any respect for their fellow citizens, would have acted in a more trustworthy manner.
As a result of this and other breaches, including reported large family celebrations, Victoria now has a daily rising number of cases. Yesterday, July 17th, 425 new cases were reported, and Melbourne is back in lockdown, the rules of which are somewhat vague around the edges, with punitive fines seemingly at the discretion of police.
Still not aiming at eliminating the virus from Australia
Yet we are still not aiming at eliminating the virus in our population. If Victorians knew that the aim was to eliminate the virus from the population, it might maintain their motivation. It could also be successful but a series of relapses, accompanied by disturbing news of our hospitals struggling to cope, is ultra dispiriting. If our health system collapses what do we have?
What's in store for New South Wales?
New cases of the virus have escaped across the border between Victoria and New South Wales, but the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, is resisting lock down, along with Australian Primeminister Scott Morrison. Fortunately other voices, from the health sector, are contradicting them, including Norman Swan, Bill Bowtell, Gregory Dore, and Melbourne University epidemiologist Tony Blakely.
Australia must adopt an elimination strategy for COVID-19
Australia must adopt an elimination strategy and send this message clearly to its population. if we don't eliminate COVID-19, we will never be free again. We have a large, beautiful country, but we can't move around in it. Soon, in Melbourne, we may not be able to move from our own post code. This would be bearable if we knew we were aiming to be free again but, at present, all we can see, is a recurring and chronic situation of restrictions, which are eased and then reimposed, but never lifted.
Paternalism: When dominant big business make secret comments to governments – there is a problem. 25-Sep COSBOA has expressed deep concern at the existence of a confidential briefing letter provided to the Federal Cabinet from the Business Council of Australia (BCA), arguing against an effects test in competition regulation.
The fact that this letter is confidential and unavailable to the public and other industry groups is highly concerning and COSBOA calls on the BCA to immediately release this letter for scrutiny and comment from other interest groups.
Paul Nielsen, Chairman of COSBOA said today, “We note, as reported in the AFR (24 Sept 15), that the Chairman of the BCA, Catherine Livingstone has provided a confidential eight page briefing letter on 25 August to the Federal Cabinet that spells out the BCA’s case against an effects test, including an attachment containing their views on unintended consequences.
“Whilst we understand the need for secret inter-governmental briefings from departments such as Defence on security matters, the BCA and its members are public companies and competition policy affects the whole business community – not just the big businesses that make up the BCA,” said Mr Nielsen.
Mr Nielsen further questioned whether the clandestine document was provided at the behest of the Government. “If that is the case, has the Government requested a similar briefing letter from organisations with a different view? So far all anyone has seen from the BCA are assumptions to ‘protect their patch’ and fly in the face of organisations and regulators like the ACCC, who are chartered with protecting and preserving the rights of the whole community, not just big business.
“Given that Competition Policy and the proposed changes to the effects test by the Government’s own Harper Review will affect all businesses in Australia, we are dismayed that the BCA should try and unduly influence Government policy under a sinister cloak of secrecy. What do they have to hide?” asked Mr Nielsen.
Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA added: “The only comment that we have seen from the confidential briefing from the BCA is that an effects test will ‘put at risk developments such as the iPhone’. The iPhone was developed in a country that has an effects test, the USA. There is an argument that it was because of the effects test that innovators were able to prosper and grow in that country. What other pieces of misinformation are in the BCA’s submission?
“COSBOA, and its members, as well as many regulators, noted economists and the broader community, know the power and influence held by this small number of big businesses is having a hugely negative effect on innovation and productivity in Australia. An effects test will aid the ACCC to make informed assessment of competition and ensure any dominance is good for the economy and not just for a few big businesses,” said Mr Strong.
1. The Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) was founded in 1979 and was incorporated in 1985.
2. COSBOA is Australia’s peak body exclusively representing the interests of small businesses.
3. For more information on COSBOA visit: http://www.cosboa.org.au/
4. Connect through social media channels:
5. COSBOA is a long-time advocate of small business on issues from taxation and workplace relations, through to competition law and retail tenancy.
6. The goals of COSBOA are to promote and support the development of small businesses in Australia and the council recognises that it is a national imperative for Australia that the needs of small business are on the national policy agenda.
Article by Sheila Newman and James Sinnamon.
Absence of choice hallmark of Big Population
The tone is dictatorial: You will have a Big Australia. It will be perhaps 48.3m in 45 years. Nowhere in the article is anyone saying who decided to allow such high immigration or questioning the events leading up to this - certainly not the current Australians or those of 20 to 40 years ago. It is as if the author, who is the Melbourne Bureau Chief for the Australian Financial Review knows about some change afoot that the rest of us don't suspect; perhaps something violent that will stop dead any revolt as more and more Australians realise what they are being herded towards.
Aztec-like, the article harbingers the elites' desired crammed Australia with a symbolic child sacrifice, Alexander Marshall of Malvern East. As with the best traditional victims, Alexander, who looks about 5 years old, has no say in his fate. Innocence is what the gods and the elites require. Alex's appearance as a star on the elite-media altar that is the Australian Financial Review will be all too brief. Soon, through the aging process, he will look different from his photograph here. If the elites who drive the big financial markets and Australia's distant governments have their way, Alexander will gradually fade into an ever growing crowd of Australians suffering shortages of vital resources and competing with a stream of foreign born students and workers who will, by that time, have completely overwhelmed Alex's contemporaries. With immigration 60 per cent of Australia's population growth now and if the anticipated population of 48.3 (or more) actually happens, most of those people will be a foreign born selection-weighted for their ability to out-compete the natives in housing, income, position and status.
The infill process
Alex's suburb, Malvern East, will be unrecognisable, well before he reaches fifty, for Malvern East is doomed by planners to 'high densification', part of the plan to cram in that 48.3m and the next 48.3m and the ones after those. This old suburb, with its spacious and ornate wooden houses (all that is left of once vast forests nearby), its broad-leafed plane trees on every street, is already pocked with moonscaped sites and notices announcing twelve new units for a single block.
Scapegoating the elderly
The article pretends, "That people can expect to live longer than any other period in history is a main driver of this population increase." In reality it is out-of-proportion mass immigration that is clearly driving Australia's overpopulation. Ironically, that immigration, far from keeping the population youthful, is actually increasing the rate of aging. The article uses the old fallacy that we need many migrants to care for our hugely aging population, without ever admitting - does the writer even realise? that past immigration contributes more aged to our population than the native-born? See "Immigration speeds up Australia's rate of aging - FECCA" and High post-war immigration blamed for today's economic problems.
For a completely different way to manage the needs of our population and economy, see: "Discussing Australia's Dependency ratio 2009 with graph by Dr Katharine Betts".
Scapegoating outer-suburbanites and the disabled
Another hallmark of this typically growthist article is its scapegoating of certain classes. Scapegoats include those who live at a distance from the CBD away from major transport routes. They are portrayed as costing the rest of us for infrastructure, however elsewhere, the article acknowledges that population growth is driving housing unaffordability and thus pushing people outwards to cheaper lots. (High density inner suburbs also need lots of infrastructure - consider the proposed and already hated East-West Link. High-rise use more fuel to run than houses.) The aged, of course, are accused of being the reason that we must all submit to our 'demographic destiny'.
The AFR beats the ageist drum, beginning the article by evoking how a tram has to wait while a 70 year old man with a prosthetic leg slowly mounts it. "Getting drivers to wait for passengers to reach their seats is just one example of the changes we will have to make in the way we live and work if we are to cope with the massive population changes experts predict." The problems with this image and its conclusion are multiple. Firstly, people have long lived to 70 plus and had prosthetic limbs. (Remember Long John Silver?). Secondly, we are in a society that promotes independence for the disabled. Thirdly, and much more relevantly, has the author not noticed that women with prams and toddlers usually also cannot mount moving trams at a run. This is an example of the absurd lengths to which journalists, high and low, are expected to go to market the growthist message in Australia. They might as well be writing for real-estate agencies, but in fact they are. Both the Fairfax and Murdoch press are heavily invested in global marketing of Australian real-estate among their many other corporate interests. More and more of the pages of the Australian Financial Review these days are taken up with real-estate, property development, land-marketing, land-use planning arguments, and industries associated with immigration. This article by Dunckley is just one more example, a double-pager one, signifying that someone there thinks they have to step up the pace of propaganda.
Demographic mythology of the Growth Lobby
I have been reading articles like this one in the Australian press since the early 1990s, when I began to understand what was driving Australia's population growth in the face of manifest democratic disquiet. See The Growth Lobby in Australia and its Absence in France, which first identified what it is about our system and other Anglophone systems that makes it so hard to stop population growth when elites are driving it. For a short explanation of what the "Growth Lobby" is, see "How the growth lobby threatens Australia's future". I recently wrote a book, the result of ten years of independent work on population and economic theories, (S.M. Newman, Demography Territory and Law: The Rules of Animal and Human populations, Countershock Press, 2013.) I honestly know quite a lot about population and I can tell you that this article is a compendium of demographic mythology, thrown together to prop up a failing economy in the short-term, and throwing the rest of us to the wolves. The scale of population growth that this article is advocating is nothing short of an invasion.
Why it all makes sense
My attention was first drawn to Mathew Dunckley's article in the Financial Review by a number of people who are concerned about the consequences of overpopulation in Australia. A frequent remark was that it did not make economic sense to advocate a situation where democracy would be frankly reduced by crowding of electorates and an increasing number of people would face malnutrition, homelessness and disease. Why would anyone advocate such a situation? The answer seems to be that this situation benefits a few corporations and their investors. The banks want it, the property developers want it, the miners and building materials producers want it, and the newspapers want it. They want it because there is global economic decline and they have important investments in resources and commodities that benefit from increased demand. They know that increasing demand by driving up population growth will cause poverty and social dysfunction. But they don't care. Unlike the Australian, the Age, the Herald Sun, the Sydney Morning Herald or the Courier Mail etc., which all have the same agenda , the Australian Financial Review does not even pretend to care about 'democracy' or the 'people'.
Tourism vs Big Business - an example of the paradigm
Many people in Australia are worried about the effect of human population growth and infrastructure expansion on Australian wildlife and habitat. They often seek economic arguments to defend other creatures and the beauty of nature against people and forces that appear completely uninterested in anything but money. So these conservationists wonder why, for instance, koalas are being driven extinct through the rapid removal of their remaining patchy habitat. Why, they wonder, would the government damage local tourist industries by removing the very things that attract so many people to this country? This conundrum arises repeatedly. Indeed the native animal and wild spaces tourism is a huge and valuable source of income for many people in Australia, and particularly for those in rural areas. So, why would government policy be so much more inclined to destroy than to protect it? The answer is obvious to anyone except those who still believe that Australia's governments try to promote what is best for most Australians. Our governments are only interested in what is good for banks, property developers, and allied corporations. Our elites and their parliamentary servants have become quite distant from nature and reality. They have no feeling for their compatriots, only for their financial and political peers. They are not interested in local economies; they are probably against local self-sufficiency, cooperation and self-government. So, the senseless makes sense, in a way, if you are blinded by greed.
This Friday, 7 December, the Federal Government plans to give away environmental assessment authority to the states. Candobetter readers should take any opportunity they can to avoid this devolution of our already semi-toothless legislation. Here is an opportunity to add your signature to a petition. There is also a Get-up campaign. Readers are invited to let us know of any other actions they are taking.Links to petitions etc inside.
What is the EPBC Act and why is it such a big deal?
Virtually the only functioning piece of environmental legislation in Australia is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999), or the EPBC Act. It is the only law that individual citizens can bring a complaint under. The state environmental laws require you to find an officer in a government department or some other rare organisation with 'standing' who will bring a complaint for you. If you have tried to do this you will realise how this is almost impossible. Wildlife organisations and carers see grotesque crimes daily and cannot interest state bodies.
Under the federal EPBC legislation, the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has responsibility for assessing and approving (or rejecting) major development that will impact our nationally important places and wildlife, such as our World Heritage areas, threatened species and nuclear actions like uranium mines or nuclear waste dumps.
Apparently, due to industry lobbying (notably from the Business Council of Australia) and without consulting the Australian public, the government is gutting these laws and handing over most, if not all, of these federal responsibilities over to the States.
This means that Premiers like Campbell Newman, Collin Barnet, Ted Bailieu, Barry O'Farrell, etc., will be left solely in charge of protecting our Environment and World Heritage areas like the Great Barrier Reef. Since power over land and water resides in the states and they make much of their money out of buying, selling and regulating these for profit, they have a vested interest in developing land. The states are notorious for ignoring environmental law in favour of big money and development.
December 7, 2012 is D-Day for Environment
On December 7th, the Prime Minister and Tony Burke intend to hand over their environment responsibilities to the states through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). Recent hard-won environmental protection in Australia has only been possible when the Federal Government stepped in to overrule bad state government decisions. See, most recently, Tony Burke shows courage in giving NSW and QLD koalas threatened status As the Australian Greens note, "If the States were in charge of the environment, they would have damned the Franklin River, put oil rigs in the Great Barrier Reef and let Traveston Dam go ahead."
Make no mistake; fracking, massive open-cut coal mining, huge housing developments, desecration of the Kimberlies, cattle on the highlands, fragmenting, farming and selling off of national and regional parks - will all be on state agendas.
Environment groups and scientific bodies like the Wentworth Group all agree – this change, being rushed through by COAG at the behest of big business - is the worst thing to happen for environmental protection in Australia for thirty years.
Petition to sign
The Australian Greens have put out a petition to sign http://greensmps.org.au/content/petition/minister-burke-dont-hand-your-powers-states and share with your networks.
http://www.getup.org.au/keep-federal-govt-enviro-powers Also asking for donations at Get-up and for a lot of information about you.
Disclaimer from Editor at Candobetter.net: Note, the petition is from the Australian Greens, some of whom have shamefully ignored population pressure from high immigration and have caused debate to focus on asylum seekers. They are now - oh so belatedly - calling on people to use them to support environmental laws. Despite these failings, the Australian public need to use this opportunity to try and defend their environmental legislation (which still needs to be much much stronger) as well as to use any other opportunities that may arise. So please consider signing. And similar for Get-up, which also ignores population and insists on getting a lot of information out of you which is no doubt useful to on-sell.
Source: Press release from the Australian Greens and the Humane Society International, and independent research. Contact was also attempted with the federal office of Environment Minister Tony Burke by phone and by email, but no-one was available to comment on the day that this article was written. If we receive a response to our email we will take it into consideration.
I mean, why exactly do we have self-serve checkouts? Can anyone think of 1 good reason for them? They don’t increase efficiency because as my Kmart experience demonstrates, self-serve machines don’t create more service providers as the stores simply hire less staff.
I felt compelled to write this article after a recent eye-opening experience I had at Kmart. During the busy late afternoon shift the store had one attendant on checkout – that’s right, one. I specifically joined the attendant’s queue instead of the 5 self-serve checkout machines as my item was discounted and may have required further assistance. As I joined the queue the customer being served was experiencing difficulties with her credit card so there was a considerable hold-up. While this problem was slowly being resolved the self-serve checkout supervisor indicated for me to join the aforementioned queue instead. I gestured that it was fine; I would remain in the queue for the attendant. As another 5 minutes went past with no further progress in the queue because the credit card issue was still unresolved, the self-serve checkout supervisor once again advised me to change queues. Once again I explained, this time at length, that I couldn’t use the self-serve machines as my purchase specifically required an attendant. Don’t get the wrong impression – the supervisor meant no harm, he genuinely thought he was assisting me by recommending the self-serve, sparing me the time and boredom of waiting in the long queue for the attendant. Eventually I was served by the attendant and the sale was processed without a problem but the whole experience left a lasting impact on me in questioning the role and function of self-serve checkout machines.
Creepy Self-service machines
I mean, why exactly do we have self-serve checkouts? Can anyone think of 1 good reason for them? They don’t increase efficiency because as my Kmart experience demonstrates, self-serve machines don’t create more service providers as the stores simply hire less staff. In fact, self-serve machines are responsible for even greater delays as they are more likely to malfunction and customers are slower completing their transactions than a qualified checkout operator. It is almost as if the people are warring against the machines for employment, like some sort of James Cameron sci-fi epic.
On top of these issues there’s something quite creepy about self-serve checkouts. Is anyone else unsettled by the booming computerised voice?
‘WELCOME TO [INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE]!’
‘PLEASE SELECT YOUR PAYMENT METHOD!!’
Is this supposed to constitute for a conversation? Some may sneer at this point, but a lot of shoppers genuinely value the polite ‘Hi, how are you?’ checkout operators are required to ask customers. At least it’s not a one-sided exchange. Companies invest millions of dollars in their customer service training programs for the very reason that customer loyalty is largely influenced by employee behaviour. Hence human servers are required for checkouts not only in the case of potential transaction problems like my Kmart experience but also in compliance with the friendly, helpful image of the company central to customer satisfaction.
Cheap mechanical slaves but purchase prices stay high
The widespread implementation of self-serve checkouts has significantly increased company profits. Although initially expensive to buy and install, in the long run a heavy duty self-serve machine is much cheaper to maintain than a checkout operator’s salary which comes with additional costs such as holiday and sick leave, workers’ compensation and time-and-a-half. A self-serve machine does not stop working over Christmas. It does not need time off because it caught the flu. Cemented to the ground means it can not slip on a wet floor and claim compensation. It does not demand extra pay for working on Australia Day.
Yet this reduction in service has not equaled a reduction in purchase costs. Australia has the most expensive groceries world wide. One wonders how much further consumers can be passed on the costs the store once provided. Customers aren’t even entitled to free plastic bags anymore and although this initiative has helped reduce waste, it hasn’t been without the additional store profit resultant from charging for canvas bags.
Unreasonable corporate profits
So what is the purpose of self-serve machines besides increasing the profit margins of already thriving multibillion dollar companies? Evidently, not much. However the ramifications have been significant for part-time employment, affecting the livelihood of university students and low skilled workers. Tertiary students rely on checkout work because of its flexible shifts. Balancing around different timetables from one semester to another means students need accommodating part-time work, something difficult to find in office jobs. Low-skilled workers rely on checkout for the different reason that it’s within their limited skills capacity. This condition serves a particularly important function as it provides work for disadvantaged employees who would otherwise likely be on welfare.
Call to boycott self-serve machines
Unfortunately for most customers it’s a ‘if you can’t beat em join em’ attitude on account that if self-serve checkouts aren’t used, queues for staff would be longer and after a hard day’s work or busy weekend few people are prepared to wait more than they have to and fair enough. However this situation unreprimanded will only get worse in the future as far as decreasing customer service, employment opportunity and workers’ rights. So I publicly call now for a boycott of self-serve check out machines because ultimately if no one uses them stores will be forced to remove them and employ more staff. This action would exclude self-serves that don’t reduce the total number of staff like at libraries. I am confident that if enough people take part in this stand we can make a difference.
Apologist for growthism and global capitalism
Linsay Tanner has long been an apologist for growthism and nothing has changed recently. "We have always taken the position that whatever is required to sustain jobs, to sustain economic growth, will be done." (Source:Mark Metherell, "Budget deficit could reach $100b: Tanner," April 6, 2009)
He is an advocate for globalised capitalism. “Lindsay Tanner has chosen instead to be an advocate for globalised capitalism, to persuade us that There Is No Alternative, and that what is good for business is good for government, good for unions and good for everyone.” (Source)
“to […]challege that the Government's in the pocket of big polluters is just juvenile name-calling. It's an easy sledge from someone who doesn't have to get legislation through the Senate, manage the impact on the economy, and ensure community opinion remains onside.”
He therefore seems to admit that the government is in the pocket of big polluters, but rejects criticism about this as juvenile. He then rolls on to justify being in the pockets of big business with:
“Big polluters employ hundreds of thousands of Australians. Their activities are woven throughout our entire economic framework.”
Top down government keeps us on the treadmill
I wouldn't agree with the remark about 'ensuring community opinion remains onside', because how would the government or the community know what its opinion was? It doesn't get any chance to voice it. All we hear is the corporate media's opinion of what community opinion is, and it never asks us either.
The fact is that the government is so dependent on taxes from wage-earners that it cannot allow those wage-earners any freedom to reduce carbon emissions by, for instance, supplementing their incomes through relocalised production of essentials (home gardens) and to reduce of their own volition working hours and consumption in favour of a more sociable lifestyles (local democracy and production minimises travel and fuel consumption). If people simply slowed down production, this would take away from the government’s income and power as well as that of big business. (Slowing down production slows down carbon emissions and gives us more time with less emissions.) And the government’s overspending to continuously pump up economic growth relies on the constant import of more and more paying immigrants, in order to add to the numbers of tax-payers.
Rome did the same thing to avoid its own fall. Eventually it was selling citizenship and land just like Australia in order to get more tax-payers. This did not stop it from falling apart though.
The government’s policies are driving all costs up, along with the price of land, water and electricity, and its own debt.
Lindsay accuses the other side of ‘cheap rhetorical flourish’ about big polluters, but then he subjects us to his own cheap rhetoric about how “in the difficult real world of politics you don't always get everything you want.”
Well, in Australia, it seems like big business does.
ACF and Climate Institute government friendly
Tanner follows up with,
“Key sections of the environment movement, such as the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Climate Institute, have accepted that the Government's proposals are reasonable.”
Well, thank you for fingering the culprits, Lindsay. In fact most of us in the Environment ‘movement’ gave up on the Australian Conservation Foundation years ago, and came to terms with the fact that it takes peoples’ money and represents the government position, forming a kind of road-block to any true engagement between the government and the environmentally concerned and informed public. As for the Climate Institute, so far, it just sounds like some kind of advertisement for itself. It’s not too obvious what it does besides issue press releases and solicit funds.
Greens make Lindsay and his mates uncomfortable
Towards his conclusion, Lindsay knocks the Greens for disagreeing with Labor and failing to “build coalitions with others who have different views”. Lindsay says this helps prevent any action occurring. But if you know Labor, ‘action’ means more of the same: more population growth, more debt and more deals with the big polluters – property development and infrastructure expansion. Lindsay should know: the ALP owns two big property investment companies of its own – Labor Holdings Propriety Limited and Labor Resources Propriety Limited. Wholly owned by the Queensland Branch of the Australian Labor Party. Both were built up by Kenneth Rudd and Wayne Swann. In fact I can’t really tell the difference between the ALP, ALP governments and commercial property development companies. (Source: Expert discusses 'deliberately confusing' labor donations.)
Lindsay also says he believes that the only reason the Greens join other non-Labor representatives to vote down Labor’s policies on climate change is to take votes from Labor.
Short lesson in power of small parties and independents in parliament
In fact, another reason could just be that the Greens are only doing what they can to stop the ALP from expanding the problem of increasing pollution. Here is a good video about the Greens and the role that small parties play in politics:
The tragedy below is not unique to India or to elephants. In Australia exactly the same thing is happening to kangaroos, wombats, quolls, and all the other animals and their forests - as you can read most days on candobetter.org
In Viewpoint, Amirtharaj Christy Williams, in “Where should the elephants go?” writes,
“The country, the people, the language or the retribution are different, but the cause for elephant-human conflict remains the same - humans displacing elephants from their natural habitat. …”
She says that, “In India, Nepal and Bangladesh, humans encroach on elephant habitats, which are further fragmented by roads, canals, dams, mines.”
She explains that elephants need about 200 sq km of ‘forest home range’, and that it is when, ‘… humans move into forested habitats, elephant-human conflicts are born.”
She describes how those invading elephant habitat use the cruelest of methods, such as “throwing burning tyres, shooting at the beasts with sharpened nails, even by laying out foods laced with killer pesticides.”
Infrastructure moguls and their government minions cause inexcusable cruelty
But those examples of human depravity are only symptoms of the cause, which is the destruction of the elephants’ homelands, often with the help of “short-sighted government officials who encourage large areas to be set aside for monoculture cash-crop plantations or infrastructural and development projects.”
Corrupt officials and academics, politicians, industrialists, and contractors
Williams' comments indicate that governments are responsible for the failure to protect these animals’ habitats, due to their foolish and naïve decisions made in response to big-business propaganda.
“In India, we have seen this with the collusion of corrupt officials and academics writing fake Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) designed to serve the interest of a small group of politicians, industrialists or contractors who profit from the untruths.”
She adds that many apparently expert plans to manage development are drawn up by people who do not have knowledge of elephant behaviour and ecology. (We see the same in Australia with people 'managing' kangaroos.)
"The brunt of the resulting conflict is borne by local communities and the beleaguered giants who stand no chance against the destructive power of humans."
The real monsters
"Our power to transform things is so much greater than our power to understand them. In this way we are the same as the cattle that unknowingly destroy the banks of rivers with their hard hoofs."
(Jill Quirk, Victorian President of Sustainable Population Australia)
There is more to Williams' article but I have cut it out in order to report the news of the elephants without, for once, making people choose between people and elephants in their imaginations. This is no choice. The growth-economics system is what forces people off their land where they used to grow food for free and into a spiral of population growth simply to survive on tiny wages so that employers might profit from industries built on stolen land.
We have to stand up for the elephants and we have to stand up for the people so that their land may not be ceded by their governments to big business in India, Australia, the US, Canada, or anywhere else.
India or Australia; different places, same sh**
As I said in the beginning of this article about Williams's article, the tragedy below is not unique to India or to elephants. In Australia (a supposedly scientifically and ecologically sophisticated first world country), exactly the same thing is happening to kangaroos, wombats, quolls, and all the other animals and their forests. In Australia, if the engineered rapid population growth fuels demands for land used by kangaroos, the kangaroos will be shot or simply forced out with no provision made and if no critic notices then the perpetrators get away with this. The government and even the developers may talk about poor people who need houses, but it is the government and the developers who are driving up the cost of land for housing. And they know it. That is why it is a crime worthy of trial and punishment.
Forests are clear felled without even requisite studies of the areas to ascertain the numbers, rarity or range of resident wild life. No provision is made for the future of the wild life whose forest falls around them- if they're not killed outright by the operation, they die soon after retreating to another animal's territory
Yet Australians are not yet as densely populated as Indians - not in humans and not in other fauna. They never will be. Australia is biophysically much poorer than India. That is the reason that humans and other animal populations here are less dense in most parts of Australia, but very dense where there is comparative fertility.
The problem of cruelty and depravity against nature's many beautiful and contrasting faces is caused by overpopulation and development in both cases, and it is politically induced by big business lobbying. Both Indians and Australians have lost effective self-government to global corporations.
Colonialism and economic growthism
The problem is a product of colonialism and economic growthism, in India and Australia. Rural commodities industries, property developers and other corporate interests which have ownership of physical assets want to earn more than is reasonable or fair in a finite system. A malignant global media is their mouthpiece. They therefore convince governments to break-down local self-government, then to force up population growth. This drives up the cost of land and water, hence the cost of living. Only big business profits. "Jobs, jobs!" you will hear. Yet nomadic big business constantly finds excuses to downsize employment. In good times and in bad times. Growth, smart or foolish somehow amounts to the same thing; the earth is always poorer; the rich are always richer; and democracy is always more unreachable.
This modis operandi is common to all colonised countries which have inherited the British land-tenure system and growth economics. It happens in Australia, it happens in India.
I urge readers (people) not to be confused by the question of rights of disempowered poor people and wild life at the jungle's edge, but to rise up against the real monsters, the corporations and the shareholder system, and the governments and media which promote and portray this exploitative, sick system as inevitable. We must do battle against the merchants of growth instead of the other creatures who share our planet. The growth-merchants should be put on trial for crimes against nature and locked away in zoos.
Today Jill Quirk, President of Sustainable Population Victoria, deplored the Victorian government's irresponsible growth policies.
The Victorian Government plans to extend Melbourne's growth boundaries, benefit major property developers whose profits may well have fallen with the global economic crash, as speculation on housing met with predictable limits.
Brumby pushing people envelope to breaking point
But the Brumby government is again pushing the envelope by pushing the boundaries of common sense and democracy to keep the illusion of profitable growth going.
As Mervac, Delfin Lend Lease, MAB Corporation, the Dennis family and Villawood queue up to a development-mad Premier for dispensations from only recently extended boundaries, Victorians are reeling at their government's extremism, the Labor Party's supine acceptance of a dictator at the helm, and the tragic impact on our social and natural environment.
Victoria is running out of water. Public transport is stressed beyond any prior experience. Sparse and disconnected native flora and fauna reserves and bitterly defended "Green Wedges" of open space are being criss-crossed and dissected with a rash of extremely expensive multi-lane toll-ways and housing estates. Although population growth is out of control, along with transport and water, the Premier's way of dealing with these terrible problems -- which his government caused and continues to make worse -- when they are raised in Parliament, is to reconstruct them as if they were great triumphs, simply steam-rolling every objection.
Road-makers part of the problem
The spread of housing depends on the rolling out of roads. Railways aren't quite so popular because you cannot just keep adding to them in order to supply new suburbs. With roads it is a lot easier. Nonetheless, Peter Newman is famous for pushing new railways, the better to connect them with light rail and new roads - and more houses and more people.
Huge corporate developers stand to gain from Melbourne people's distress
Pointing to headlines in the Age, Ms Quirk said, "Look who's happy about the extension of the urban growth boundary-BIG-NAME property speculators!" They were celebrating yesterday, with the proposed stretching of Melbourne's city limits, which brings despair to the actual electorate. The stretching is, according to the Royce Millar article, "set to deliver windfalls of many millions to some of Australia's largest developers". Shaking her head in disbelief, Ms Quirk quoted the title:"Property giants pop cork over city stretch."
Ms Quirk reminds us that, "In case anyone had not noticed who is likely to benefit for population growth while the average person is struggling to cram himself into the morning train to get to work- it's the big end of town who do not have to catch peak hour trains! Neither do these people have to worry about the cost of water as it inevitably becomes a scarce and expensive commodity into the future."
Government catering to anti-social forces
President Quirk says, "The property developers are self serving and the government is reprehensible in catering to their greed by pushing for greater and greater population growth. They thumb their noses at the rest of us and treat wildlife whose habitat gets destroyed with total disdain."
"Melbourne will never be better than it is today as it is on a rapid downhill journey to greater overpopulation with no end in sight and the loss of all amenities that made it a unique liveable city."
To contact Ms Quirk email the author of this article.
Property giants pop cork over city stretch - article by Royce Millar, December 3, 2008
Questions without notice, Tuesday, 2 December 2008 ASSEMBLY PROOF 3, "Population Growth".
Translated from an old cartoon by Pessin from Le Monde
For years Australians have had their elections run by a commercial media over which they have less and less control. That media also decided what the public got to hear and what it didn't. With the invention of the Internet, although the commercial media is still very strong, for the first time in human history, everyone in the world who is not part of a totalitarian State, like China, Burma, Saudi Arabia or India, for instance, has the possibility of finding out real news, real politics, of creating politics, of reporting politics, and of championing truth and justice.
This web site (candobetter.org) exists to report politics and promote political ideas and actors who the mainstream press would never report - like the Greens raising concerns about population growth in Parliament, or how there are real reasons to worry that Australia's natural resources departments aren't doing their job to protect Australian animals.
We exist to expose where politics profit big business at the expense of democracy.
We exist because the editors and writers think this kind of website is essential. You may not like it, but at least you can have a look and choose not to come here again.
But, obviously a lot of what goes up on candobetter.org also gets up politicians' noses. These new proposals to have a secret list of 'undesirable' internet sites, which might have nothing to do with sex or crime, scare us.
The reason should be obvious. If a government can have a secret list of 'undesirable' netsites, we might be on it, yet no-one would ever know. We would have no defense and our readers would have no defense. It would be just like having nothing but the Murdoch, Fairfax and CNN media to rely on again.
And maybe something like that is behind this idea of Internet censorship. I would like to know who will benefit from this, especially since, apart from controlling access to media, the proposal seems almost certain to fail in its stated objectives of controlling crime, for technical reasons which Senator Ludlam begins to explore in Detailed Questions to Conroy on Government's Big Brother Internet proposal.
The Big Brother Internet proposal will probably fail in controlling crime, but it could make it easier for you and me to look at the sites government wants us to watch, and instill fear in us so that we won't stray away from those government-friendly big-business benefiting URLs. The old commercial media chains and the big telecommunications providers are dying to be able to 'offer' services where you and I will pay a certain amount to watch their choice of the internet, but, if we want to look somewhere else - and it could just be at internet in another language from another provider - we will have to pay extra and maybe our browsers just won't find what we want.
Having the Australian Government put the fear of ... um... God ... into us about casually surfing the net without a Big Provider's toolbar guiding our journey, could be all it takes to send Australia's much bossed-around "Mums and Dads" scurrying back to the Big Name providers, to avoid being arrested for inadvertantly opening one of those netsites on the Secret list.
Yes, the internet isn't just about truth and justice. It is also possible to use the Internet to communicate evil, to spy and to lie. Yes, it is possible to steal over the internet and it is possible to make money through marketing pornography resulting from sex-slavery, child-exploitation and terminal violence.
But the problem of pornography and exploitation doesn't explain why the Government wants to be able to peer over your shoulder, tell you what you may or may not view, and make your internet provider enforce this, or else.
We already can access Internet filters for children and adults.
We already have laws to deal with pornography. The police already have powers to investigate crimes. They can already seize material and take you away to prison if you are engaged in downloading child-pornography. So what is this "Mandatory Internet Filter" really for?
#WhatYouCanDo" id="WhatYouCanDo">What you can do
Attend protests against Mandatory Internet Filtering in your capital city on Saturday 13 December. The following list has been provided by wearechange.org.au:
Melbourne: 12pm-5pm, State Library
Brisbane: 11am-3pm,Brisbane Square
Sydney: 11am-4pm, Town Hall
Check www.nocensorship.info forums for Sydney updates
Adelaide: 12pm - 4pm, Parliament
Hobart: 11am - 1.30pm, Parliament Lawns
Contact your Federal Parliamentary representatives and let them know where you stand on this issue. If they indicate that they will be voting against the legislations, give them your heartfelt congratulations. If they indicate that they intend to support censorship, then demand an explanation. In particular, demand answers to questions such as those put by Greens Senator Scott Ludlum.
Sign the GetUp on-line petition. So far, 74,304 have signed.
Participate in Online Forums such as on Getup Filtering at Odds with Broadband Revolution by Colin Jacobs
Online Opinion: Clive Hamilton the Net Nanny, Winning the war against Internet censorship, internet censorship.
I am so sick of buying printers. Each new series has more bugs and expenses than the last. Every time Windows comes out with new software or I upgrade my computer I run into problems. At the moment my HP Photosmart 3100 series refuses to print all black, despite a brand new cartridge (ridiculously expensive and small) until I replace the magenta cartridge. My friend, who uses Linux, has an ancient little printer which prints without special programs, without fuss, without self cleaning... it just does the job. It can be filled with generic inks and the cartriges manually refilled. It does not waste my time. HP Photosmart 3100 series WASTES my time. I hate it. I resent the several hundred AUD I spent on it. And I have another printer - a Canon laser. It simply refused to collaborate with my new computer. So now that my HP Photosmart 3100 series is holding me to ransome (and another member of the family has a car so I can't go down and blow some more money on a magenta cartridge in order to print in black and white) I tried printing with my other computer (you need a few; they are so damn jinxed by windows XP [I certainly won't be buying Vista]) using the Canon, but, wouldn't you know, there is a big blaze of white down the centre, so I will have to fill out the missing words in biro so I can take the article to read at my radio show. I think I may mention the problems with printers there. We customers are simply being hung out to dry by big business which is commercially all in league to herd us to less and less useful, more and more complex, resource intensive 'solutions'. I guess it keeps us out of politics a little more than we otherwise might be.