Previously published 7 March 2023 on Consortium News and on 4 March 2023 at Declasified Australia: At the Belmarsh Tribunal for Julian Assange, held at Sydney University’s Great Hall on Saturday 4 March, Kellie Tranter (@KellieTranter), a lawyer, researcher, and human rights advocate, in a 7:40 minute speech, reported that despite private and public requests for diplomatic assistance for the WikiLeaks publisher, Canberra’s policy — shown by FOI documents — has been one of complicit inactivity in the face of his persecution:
On Friday 5 April 2019, as revealed by John Pilger on Twitter from a high level source within the Ecuadorian Government, Julian Assange would shortly be expelled from the London Ecuadorian Embassy. Once evicted, he stands to be arrested by the UK police, extradited to the United States where he faces a secret trial based on a secret indictment. He may face many years behind bars - even the death penalty can't be excluded - all for just publishing, through Wikleaks, facts about world events that the public would be entitled to know in a fair and just world.
In 2010 then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, before Julian Assange was forced to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in October 2012, had ordered the Australian Federal Police to investigate Assange in the hope that they would find he had committed a crime. They found none.
In February 2016, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) stated that his detention was unlawful. This was reaffirmed by the Working Group in November 2015
An Australian government - if it was committed to the rule of law, free speech, human rights and democracy - could could act now to end the British government's illegal detention of Julian Assange in a matter of hours. It could send to London a contingent of Federal Police to escort Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian Embassy back to Heathrow Airport and thence to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne.
Were the British government to dare attempt to interfere with Australian Federal Police escorting Julian Assange back to Australia, the outcry would be enormous - from within Britain, Australia and the rest of the world.
However, not one Australian government, that of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, nor any of the subsequent governments- those of Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull have enacted this basic duty of care towards Julian Assange. They have not even shown any sympathy for him, or interest.
Not one of the political parties with representation in parliament - The Liberals, the Nationals, Labor, the Greens, nor any of the Independent members have spoken up for Julian Assange. This seems an appalling failure of our parliamentary system and those members of Parliament who supposedly represent us. (One exception to this is the now demonised One Nation Party.)
What You Can Do
Give your first preference to candidates who promise to act for Julian Assange. With a federal election looming, it should now be possible to hold to account those elected members of Parliament who have behaved so shamefully towards Julian Assange. Where you are asked to vote for a sitting candidate from one of the major parties, ask him/her should vote for a candidate who has been silent - or worse - about Julian Assange. Where any other candidate asks for your vote ask him/her what he she intends to do for Julian Assange. Give your first and subsequent references to those who give the best responses and put the major parties last.
Attend protests for Julian Assange.
Post comments in support of Julian Assange on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Write articles in support of Julian Assange on any web-site on which you have an account.
See also: Be Ready To Act: WikiLeaks Source Says They’re Coming For Assange (5/4/19) by Caitlin Johnstone, The Gestapo Is Coming for Julian Assange (4/4/19) by Paul Craig Roberts.
Julian Assange, the courageous innovative publisher of Wikileaks, who told the world the truth about US army torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib has been found by the united Nations to have been illegally held in indefinite detention since he was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012, due to the British and Swedish governments complicity with the United States. Now Australia has lost this citizen of global courage and action in defence of human rights, to Ecuador, which has just recently granted him citizenship. See "Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian citizenship to provide 'another layer of protection'".
The whole Assange case could have been resolved years ago, had the Swedish government given Assange a guarantee that he would not be extradited to the United States, should he go to Sweden to face charges (now dropped) of rape. The fact that no such undertaking was made by the Swedish government (supposedly neutral, but in reality an ally of the United States) clearly demonstrates that the charges of rape were no more than a ploy to arrest Assange and deliver him to the United States deep state.
Throughout this long detention and shameful denial of Julian Assange's human rights, Australian parliament has received letters and petitions asking for the government to help Julian Assange, as an Australian citizen and Victorian resident. To our knowledge, only Greens MPs, notably Scott Ludlum, and, at least once, Adam Bandt, have spoken up on the subject, especially in relation to Bills restricting Australian freedoms and expanding state surveillance. Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard have been passive in their responses to questions about Assange's welfare, with Gillard actually making the public error of saying that Wikileaks was illegal. Basically no Australian government has stood up for Assange, even though they have occasionally protested that he has received the same rights as any Australian citizen. This has been denied by Assange and his mother. See, "Fed Govt defends its consular assistance to Assange," at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2012/s3515562.htm. [See note for why we haven't actively linked to this ABC site.] Most tellingly, the fact that the Australian government never denounced Assange as a criminal shows that they must have known he was not guilty of the charges against him. See our excerpts below from Hansard.
Hansard Documentation of how Australia handled Assange's detention and threats to his safety
Julie Bishop, Monday, 19 June 2017, responding to letter: Page: 6766,
"Dear Mr Vasta
Thank you for your letter of 20 March 2017 regarding the petition (PN0054) submitted by the Concerned Citizens of Australia to the Standing Committee on Petitions.
The petition refers to Opinion No.54/2015 of the UN Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention adopted on 4 December 2015, in which it considered that Mr Julian Assange was arbitrarily detained by the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In that opinion, the Working Group expressed the view that Mr Assange is 'entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation'. The petition requests that the House of Representatives do all within its power to end Julian Assange's detention.
I received legal advice on the implications of the findings of the Working Group in February 2016. It is important for the Standing Committee on Petitions to appreciate that the Working Group's opinion is directed at the United Kingdom and Sweden; not Australia. Australia cannot intervene in the legal processes of another country, just as we would not countenance other states intervening in Australian legal processes. I also note that the opinions of the Working Group are not legally binding on states.
Mr Assange has been afforded due process by authorities in the United Kingdom, and has avoided lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Mr Assange will need to address his situation through legal processes in the United Kingdom and Sweden, with the assistance of his legal advisers.
However, the Australian Government stands ready to provide Mr Assange with the same consular assistance it would give to any other Australian in these circumstances should he request it, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter. I enclose a copy for the Standing Committee's consideration.
I trust this information is of assistance.
from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Bishop." Monday, 19 June 2017
Senator Ludlam, West Australia, 4 July 2011
"Under existing law, the collection of foreign intelligence is confined to the collection of intelligence concerning the activities of foreign governments, organisations they control or foreign political organisations for the purpose of the defence of Australia or the conduct of international affairs. That is how ASIO have been doing the work that they have been doing in tracking al-Qaeda and tracking terrorist organisations that are much closer to home operating in our neighbourhood. They have these powers. They use them extensively. It is the sole justification that has been given to us for why their staffing and their budget quadrupled in the last decade. It is precisely because they have the range of powers that they need to track non-state actors who mean Australians harm or mean to pursue violent political activities in other countries. They have the powers that they need. When we asked what exactly this was all about, nobody was able to tell us.
What it does do is that it permits ASIO much wider scope to investigate the activities of Australians who are overseas and who do not necessarily pose a threat but perhaps do have implications for foreign relations, such as Julian Assange and other people working in the WikiLeaks organisation. WikiLeaks and Mr Assange obviously have implications for Australia's foreign relations. Things falling out of the document drop were on the front page of every newspaper in the country day after day after day six months ago, and even now those shock waves continue to reverberate through the diplomatic community. So there is no way that you can say that there are no implications there for Australia's foreign relations. But should that entity be spied on by ASIO? Should our clandestine Cold War era spy agency be tracking down Mr Assange, maybe his family if they travel abroad, people working for that organisation, journalists, or people he is talking to or that that organisation is involved with? It appears that the reason that this bill has been known as the 'WikiLeaks amendment' in the Attorney's department is that that is precisely what is intended. The committee simply did not address that issue, and neither did the officer at the table when we asked during the inquiry. This is one example of how a person or organisation outside Australia, combined with the notion of Australia's foreign relations, very considerably expands the scope of ASIO's activities. Australians working overseas for firms that are major rivals to key Australian industries would also be covered. They would be caught by the economic wellbeing argument. If the government has a counterargument to this, it would be delightful to hear it." Senator Ludlam, West Australia, 4 July 2011, BILLS - Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 - Second Reading,
Senator Ludlam, Petitions Wikileaks, 9 February 2011
"To the Honourable President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled:
The Petition of the undersigned shows:
1. That Mr Julian Assange is an Australian Citizen.
2. That on 2nd December 2010 the Prime Minister stated that the publishing of certain information on the Wikileaks website by Mr Assange was “An Illegal thing to do”.
3. That the Attorney-General of Australia has stated that he has considered the cancellation of the Australian Passport held by Mr Assange.
4. United States Politician, Ms Sarah Palin, has called for Mr Assange to be “hunted down”.
5. Mr Tom Flanagan, Senior Advisor to the Canadian Prime Minister has, on public television, called for Mr Assange’s assassination.
Your petitioner requests that the Senate:
1. Call upon the Prime Minister to explain to the Senate the basis for her allegation against a fellow Australian citizen that he is a criminal.
2. Call upon the Attorney-General to state to the Senate whether he received any request for the cancellation of Mr Assange’s Australian Passport pursuant to the Australian Passports Act.
3. Call upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs to summon the Ambassador for from the United States of America to Australia and demarche condemning the comments of Ms Patin. [sic - meant Palin.]
4. Call upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs to summon the Canadian High Commissioner to Australia and demarche condemning the comments of Mr Flanagan.
5. Call upon the Governor-General of Australia to provide such protection and assistance to Mr Assange as to which he may stand in need. "
Senator Ludlam, West Australia, 3 March, 2014
"I wonder whether the Attorney-General might rise to the occasion, as it were, and provide us with some information as to why he will not back up on the public record, neither here in this chamber nor even at an estimates committee last week, how he is able to accuse Mr Edward Snowden the whistleblower of being a traitor when he has been neither charged nor convicted of any crime in the United States, when senior US administration figures have been careful not to use that phrase and when he cannot prove or show any evidence whatsoever that Australians have been put in harm's way? Similar claims were put about publisher Julian Assange when the WikiLeaks documents were first put into the public domain. And unless Senator Brandis is about to prove me wrong, we are about to see debate in here closed down." Senator Ludlam, West Australia, 3 March, 2014, National Security - Order for the Production of Documents,
Senator Ludlam, W.A. Australian Greens, 7 February, 2017
"We let Australian citizen Julian Assange and his courageous colleagues hang out to dry for disclosing war crimes in Iraq and more conventional crimes revealed in the state department cables. When the United States government says jump, then, if we are lucky, our Intelligence and Security Committee will do a rapid bipartisan inquiry into how high. But inevitably, we jump." Senator Ludlam, W.A. Australian Greens, 7 February, 2017, "ADJOURNMENT - Australia-United States Relationship,"
Michael Danby, MP, Melbourne Ports, 1 December 2014, Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill, (No.1) 2014
"I want to end with this discordant note. It is not surprising to see the Greens political party lead the charge against this proposed legislation. In my view, the Greens seem to have an automatic Pavlovian kind of reaction to undermining the intelligence capabilities of our country. People like the Greens political party's Senator Ludlam have publicly supported self-appointed protectors of privacy and trust—stalwarts of moral standing like Julian Assange. Of course, the Greens' backing of Julian Assange and his ideological stablemate Edward Snowden has not exposed a single piece of evidence of the abuse of privacy or citizens' rights in authoritarian countries like Russia. Mr. Assange, the Greens' hero, used to host a program on the Russian disinformation network RT. To give you a flavour for his content and his policies, his first interview gave an armchair ride to Hezbollah's feared terrorist leader, Sheikh Hussein Nasrallah.
Indeed, it is delicious irony that the Greens' other hero, Edward Snowden, preaches excessive oversight and accountability but chooses to reside in Russia, of all places. He destroyed his credibility when popping up on Russian TV a few months ago to give another soft-serve Dorothy Dixer to the new Russian tsar, Vladimir Putin. Perhaps the Greens believe Russia is actually a bastion of human rights. Certainly, Senator Rhiannon used to believe that. I am honoured with the fact that Senator Ludlum has put a fatwa on the Greens speaking to me because I pointed out Senator Rhiannon's political similarity to the wife of the Romanian dictator, Elena Ceausescu. But the main point I make about her is she has never dissociated herself from her membership and participation in the pro-Soviet Communist political party in Australia. It was a seamless transition to the Greens.
Of course, the serious people in this parliament can smirk about Snowden's choice of patrons and about Assange's presence on RT. But it is hard to believe that here, in this House, we have parliamentarians that oppose legislation and seek to foil the efforts of our Defence forces and cooperation with our security services overseas. It occurs to me that the Greens political party ought to be more concerned about people losing their heads than about the people holding the swords. We had the appeasers in the 1930s. Eighty years later we have the Greens." Michael Danby, MP, Melbourne Ports, 1 December 2014, Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill, (No.1) 2014,
See also, Greg Barns, "Now is the time for Australia to finally stick up for Julian Assange," The Drum, 12 May, 2015. :
Prime Minister Gillard responds to question from Adam Bandt, MP, Greens in House of Representatives, Australian Parliament, Questions without Notice, 13 May 2015:
"Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (14:34): My question is to the Prime Minister. Senior figures in the United States have called for Julian Assange to be hunted down and in the US courts he may face the death penalty. Has the government sought an assurance from the United States that he will not be prosecuted. What steps has the government taken, or will the government take, to prevent Julian Assange being taken to the United States? Will the government put the interests of Washington ahead of the liberty of an Australian citizen and the freedom of the press?"
"Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:35): I thank the member for Melbourne for his question. I know that he is raising an issue that is on the minds of many Australians as result of the recent news about the decision in the UK on the extradition matter involving Mr Assange. Can I assure the House of the following: the Australian government is providing full consular assistance to Mr Assange, as it does for all Australian citizens. I am advised that Australian consular officials visited Mr Assange on a number of occasions during his period of detention in London and raised several matters of concern with prison authorities on his behalf. Australian consular officials have attended all of Mr Assange's court appearances, including yesterday's hearing.
Since Mr Assange was released on bail, Australian officials have repeatedly conveyed offers of consular assistance through his lawyers, with whom they were most recently in contact yesterday. Swedish authorities have confirmed that any legal action against Mr Assange will be conducted in accordance with due process. As the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said today, at this stage we do not have any advice from the United States that there is an indictment against Mr Assange or that the United States has decided to seek his extradition. If at any stage in the future Mr Assange faces legal proceedings from the United States we would, for Mr Assange—as we would for any other Australian citizen—seek assurances from the United States in relation to due process. The Australian government cannot interfere in the judicial processes of other countries, but of course we will continue to closely monitor proceedings against Mr Assange and continue to provide full consular assistance to him." 13 May, 2015,
See also: "Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been left floundering after she labelled the actions of the WikiLeaks 'illegal', but couldn't say how" (24 February 2015) | SBS
Mr Rudd responding to a letter re Assange, 4 July 2011
Dear Mr Murphy,
I refer to your letter of 16 March 2011. regarding a petition about Mr Julian Assange, submitted for the consideration of the Standing Committee on Petitions. I note the Committee's referral under Standing Order 209(b) of items 3 and 4 of the petition. My response follows.
Item 3 called upon me to summon the Ambassador for the United States of America to Australia and demarche him condemning the comments of American politician Ms Sarah Palin on Mr Assange. Item 4 called upon me to summon the Canadian High Commissioner to Australia and demarche him condemning the comments of Mr Tom Flanagan, former Senior Advisor to the Canadian Prime Minister, on Mr Assange.
The Australian Government deplores and condemns all calls to violence against any Australian citizen wherever and by whomever they are made. However, neither of the individuals in the petition cited are holders of public office in their respective countries so it would not be appropriate to demarche their governments through their diplomatic representatives on statements they are reported to have made. Both the United States of America and Canada have laws protecting the rights of individuals against threats to their person. under which any concerns about these reported statements could be pursued.
 The reason we have not linked to the Assange article on the ABC is because the ABC does not have an SSL certificate for this article. That means that if we link to it, oversensitive browsers will say that candobetter.net is linking to unsafe links. SSL certificates are security certificates. Just because the ABC does not have an SSL certificate, it does not mean the site isn't safe; it just means that it hasn't paid its protection money to issuers of SSL certificates. But your browser may tell you that it is unsafe - so we don't actively link.
The Age newspaper, owned by Fairfax Media limited, reported on 4 September that Roger Corbett, 4 chairman of Fairfax Media said that Julia Gillard should have remained Prime Minister in preference to the "discredited" Kevin Rudd.
Mr Corbett said, "His colleagues sacked [Kevin Rudd] because they judged him to be incapable as Prime Minister."
The article continued:
'Referring to the damaging cabinet leaks that so badly derailed Ms Gillard's 2010 election campaign, Mr Corbett said: "[Mr Rudd], it's alleged, was active against the government during the elections. May be true, may not be.
'"I think that had a terrible effect upon Labor."
'The leaks led to a collapse in Labor's vote, which led to a hung parliament and forced Labor to enter into coalition with the Greens to form power. The Labor-Greens alliance has been a "very limiting factor" in the past three years, Mr Corbett said.
'And while this was going on, Mr Rudd himself had "destabilised" the Gillard government behind the scenes.'
Mr Corbett also praised Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. "[Mr Abbott's] a very sincere, nice type of human being, and I think he'll be very dedicated, focused in the job," he said.
Tony Abbott, whom Roger Corbett considers "a very sincere, nice type of human being", with less three days before polling begins and 10 hours before the pre-election media news blackout began at midnight on Wednesday, had still not released the costings for his policies, #fnSubj1" id="txtSubj1">1 plans to sack 7,000 Federal public servants. He also plans to give approval to the horrifically destructive East West Link project. #fnSubj2" id="txtSubj2">2
Candobetter and a number of other credible commentators can only agree with Roger Corbett's praise for Julia Gillard (if not with his praise for Tony Abbott).
June 2013: The now 'discredited' Kevin Rudd ousts Julia Gillard in Age-orchestrated putsch
But didn't the same Fairfax Age newspaper of 22 June 2013, editorialise "For the sake of the nation, Ms Gillard should stand aside"? :
"It is time for Julia Gillard to stand aside as leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party, as Prime Minister of Australia, so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again. Ms Gillard should do so in the interests of the Labor Party, in the interests of the nation and, most importantly, in the interests of democracy. The Age's overriding concern is that, under Ms Gillard's leadership, the Labor Party's message about its future policies and vision for Australia is not getting through to the electorate. Our fear is that if there is no change in Labor leadership before the September 14 election, voters will be denied a proper contest of ideas and policies - and that would be a travesty for the democratic process.
"The Age does not advocate this lightly. We do so with all respect to Ms Gillard, ..."
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Holden, who wrote the editorial, also appeared in a short broadcast video (2:33) on the same page. He made the curious claim, with no supporting evidence. that it is necessary for Julia Gillard to stand aside "so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again."
Evidently, Andrew Holden does not wish for the debate to embrace the support given by Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr and the Age newspaper to the United States' proxy terrorist war against Syria, which has cost, according to one estimate reported #fnSubj3" id="txtSubj3">3 in the Age, 100,000 Syrian lives since March 2011.
Why the Age newspaper itself could not have enabled the debate it claimed to have wanted, without meddling in the internal politics of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Caucus, was not explained.
The above argument was repeated in different guises:
"... [We are saying] Ms Gillard should stand aside ... because she has been unable to lift the party out of a desperately difficult political position. ...
"A big majority of the electorate appears to have stopped listening to Ms Gillard. Voters have been so distracted by internal and external speculation about Labor's leadership that efforts by the Prime Minister and her ministers to enunciate a narrative, a strategic vision, for the nation's future beyond this year have failed. ..."
Much of the editorial, in contrast to the self-fulfilling prophetic value judgements above, provided compelling reasons why Gillard should have remained Prime Minister and not been cast aside for Kevin Rudd :
'We ... [recognise] that in the three years she has occupied the office of Prime Minister - most of it under the vexing circumstances of a hung Parliament - Labor has implemented landmark reforms ...
'The polls in mid-2010 had indicated Labor was in danger of losing an election under Mr Rudd, and inside the party there was concern about his increasingly autocratic style. Ms Gillard said she challenged "because I believed that a good government was losing its way … I love this country, and I was not going to sit idly by and watch an incoming opposition cut education, cut health and smash rights at work". ...'
As Age Editor-in-chief Andrew Holden had demanded, Julia Gillard was subsequently ousted on 26 June and replaced by Kevin Rudd, but the promised improvement in Labor's approval rating never eventuated.
Age readers still to be given explanation
The Age is entitled to change its views, and is even entitled to promote views which may, through the course of events, prove to be mistaken. However, the public is entitled to be informed that what Roger Corbett said less than 3 days before the forthcoming Federal election is contrary to what the Age said on 22 June and why.
Unless this explanation is forthcoming, voters are entitled to assume that Roger Corbett's statements, ostensibly in support of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, so late in the election campaign, are no more than a ploy to harm Labor's electoral prospects.
#update_5sep13" id="update_5sep13">Update, 8:36AM, Thur 5 Sep: Hockey to give costings today
The Age reports, "Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey will unveil the Coalition's election costings on Thursday, leaving voters just hours to digest the numbers while also refusing to say when the budget would be back in the black under his management."
As noted in the Australian Financial Review :
"The timing of the Coalition's costings announcement comes after the electronic media blackout starting at midnight on Wednesday, which applies to all election campaigns. Labor will not be allowed to broadcast any television or radio commercials attacking cuts that may be contained in the documents." (emphasis added)
A poll in the Age article Hockey's 11th-hour costings asked "Should the Coalition have given voters more time to digest its costings?". The results of 5188 votes taken at 9:05AM were:
Not sure: 4%
#fnSubj1" id="fnSubj1">1. #txtSubj1">↑ The Herald Sun reported at 12:46PM on Wednesday, 4 September 2013, "The federal coalition is releasing its final policies on Wednesday (today) and will reveal its full costings 'very, very soon', Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says." Voters won't have sufficient time to digest the information and understand how it will affect them before they cast their vote on Saturday. (See also: #update_5sep13">Update of 9:10AM, Thursday 5 September, above.)
#fnSubj2" id="fnSubj2">2. #txtSubj2">↑ The construction of the East West Link would require the destruction of much of what remains of Melbourne's iconic Royal Park as well as many surrounding homes and will make Melbourne commuters even more dependent on private vehicles than they already are. It is not possible for the broader public to see the business case for the East West Link and compare it with the known business case for additional public transport because of "commercial in confidence" provisions in the East West Link contract.
#fnSubj3" id="fnSubj3">3. #txtSubj3">↑ As shown in Media Lies Used to Provide a Pretext for Another "Humanitarian War": Protest in Syria: Who Counts the Dead? of 25 Nov 2011 by Julie Lévesque in Global Research, the Western news media may have been exaggerating the number of dead for its own propaganda purposes. But, surely those opposed to war need to be able to accurately convey to the public, how many have been killed as a result of the support provided to the terrorists by Western nations? Nowhere on Global research could I find this figure. It certainly was not included in Professor Michel Chossudovsy's otherwise excellent Online interactive I-book Syria: NATO's Next "Humanitarian" War? of 11 Feb 2012. Given that death toll of the Iraq wars since 1990 is certainly at least many hundreds of thousands and, according to one estimate could be a many as 3,300,000, including 750,000 children, the figure of 100,000 dead may not be such a great exaggeration, after all. Certainly should Barack Obama and John Kerry achieve their goals, the eventual death toll will be much higher than 100,000.
Julia Gillard, almost uniquely amongst leaders of either the Labor or Coalition parties, tried to make it possible for the voting public to properly hold to account all candidates contesting the forthcoming Federal elections.
Update, 12 July 2013: The Stalking of Julia Gillard by Kerry-Anne Walsh published by Allen and Unwin has already been reprinted 3 times, such is its public reception! Kindle edition (AU$9.99) also available. See also comment of 30 June by Barry Tucker of the Truth in Media Resource Centre.
Julia Gillard, almost uniquely amongst leaders of either the Labor or Coalition parties, tried to make it possible for the voting public to properly hold to account all candidates contesting the forthcoming Federal elections. That is why the ruling elites, its newsmedia and its glove puppets in the Federal Parliamentary Labor caucus felt threatened by her and removed her from office. (Article was originally published on 28 June 2013.)
See also: PM of great value discarded of 5 July 2013 - comment in response to poem Julia Gillard through the mass media looking-glass by brolga-brolga, Kevin Rudd's Press Club speech: full transcript of 12 July 2013 by PostGrowthEra.
Early announcement of election date to enable thorough scrutiny of candidates by voters
Reports of 30 January 2013 of Prime Minister Julia Gillard announcing the election date a full eight and a half months in advance, provide a clue for the motives for the recent coup against her.
Julia Gillard's statements announcing the election so far in advance show, that, almost uniquely amongst leaders from all the major parties in recent decades, Julia Gillard was motivated by a sincere wish to allow proper informed discussion of the policies on offer by the different candidates contesting the federal elections.
The Guardian reported in the article Julia Gillard: Australian election will be held on 14 September of 30 January 2013:
Gillard said the election date allowed for the year to be one "not of fevered campaigning but of cool and reasoned deliberation". She said no surprises about the election date should mean "no excuses", a clear barb at the conservative opposition leader, Tony Abbott, whom she has criticised as announcing "platitudes not policies" and giving few costings for his promises.
"Australians are not interested in campaigns without content, [in] platitudes devoid of purpose," she said.
Gillard said she had made the announcement to allow all parties to have the chance to properly cost their policies.
The Australian article Julia Gillard sets September 14 election date of the same date reported:
Ms Gillard said Australians weren't interested in campaigns without content, or platitudes devoid of purpose.
"There is now clearly the time and certainty necessary for the people and parties contesting the election to lay out their fully detailed, costed plans for the timely consideration of voters," she added.
Further along, the Prime Minister expanded upon her reasons:
Ms Gillard said by announcing the date so far in advance, the opposition no longer had an excuse not to provide detailed costings ahead of the poll.
"They have two things that an opposition has never had before to enable them to do that," she said.
"One, they've got the benefit of a fixed election date now with several months notice.
"Two, because of what we've done with the Parliamentary Budget Office they've got more resources available to them than an opposition has ever had before in the history of the nation to produce proper costings."
Gillard's announcement was welcomed by Federal independent Parliamentarians Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeschott, independent Senator Nick Xenophon and the ABC election analyst Antony Green.
Three year fixed term parliaments would remove unfair electoral advantage to incumbents
The Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne also welcomed the announcement and called upon the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, to agree henceforth to have fixed three-year terms. Christine continued:
"Wouldn't that be a great thing for the Australian people so we didn't have all the game playing that has gone on in the past?"
Senator Milne was alluding to the established practice of the ruling party in the Federal Parliament using its incumbency to gain unfair advantage over its opponents by being able to suddenly announce election campaigns at a time that gives it the greatest advantage.
As an example, former Prime Minister John Howard was only able to win the election of 1998, thereby gaining what he claimed to be a mandate to subsequently implement his "never ever" Goods and Services Tax (GST) by abusing his position of incumbency. He did this by announcing a phony inquiry into "tax reform". The inquiry was really a vehicle to push his GST into Parliament as Liberal Parliamentarian Paul Zammitt, who resigned from the inquiry committee, complained.
As Howard had planned, the "inquiry" recommended adoption of the GST. He Immediately called an election before Parliament could scrutinise the report and just scraped back into power with a bare majority in the House of Representatives and only a minority in the Senate, having lost the poplar vote 51% to 49%.#fn1">1
John Howard's subsequent election victories of 2001 and 2004 were also helped by his further abuse of incumbency in setting the election date.
Had there been fixed term elections, John Howard almost certainly would have been voted out after his first term.
Julia Gillard has shown, by her actions, integrity not shown by Labor leaders, with the possible exception of Mark Latham, since Gough Whitlam and like-minded people lost control of the Federal Labor Party in the late 1970's.
The Age newspaper's editorial of last Saturday 22 July claimed that only by removing Julia Gillard would a more thorough debate of policy occur - as if the Age did not already have sufficient profile to make that happen should it have wished to do so.
Another justification given by the Labor Caucus and the Age newspaper is that the opinion polls showed that Labor could only win if the former failed Prime minister Kevin Rudd was leader. If this were the case then it is surely evidence that the public has been misinformed by the newsmedia.
Much, but not quite all, of what Julia Gillard gave the Australian public has been lost. There may still be time, for those with access to the Internet, to scrutinise and hold to account candidates from the major parties and minor parties and independent candidates. However, if Kevin Rudd were to give in to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's demands to hold the election earlier than 14 September, that would be much harder to achieve.
Examples of reporting, misreporting and arm-twisting in the Australian newsmedia
Kevin Rudd produces fresh uncertainty over federal election date in Question Time, Abbott wants Rudd to name election date of 27 June, Kevin Rudd produces fresh uncertainty over federal election date in Question Time of 27 June
#update_5jul13" id="update_5jul13">Update, 5 July: Victorian Women's Trust condemns sexist treatment of former PM by mass media.
The ABC reported: A women's rights group has accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of treachery for his treatment of predecessor Julia Gillard.
The Victorian Women's Trust has placed full-page advertisements in four Australian newspapers praising Ms Gillard's achievements and slamming both Labor and the Liberal parties for their actions over the past three years.
The statement says Mr Rudd orchestrated a treacherous "seek-and-destroy" mission against Ms Gillard, while Tony Abbott made opportunistic appeals to people's prejudices.
The trust's Mary Crooks [said]:
"We just want to put on the public record early in the piece the fact that this was a successful minority government, led by her (Gillard)," Ms Crooks said.
The advertisement also accuses seasoned reporters of becoming players in an aggressive campaign of sexist and chauvinistic abuse.
Ms Crooks says the mainstream media failed to engage in dispassionate reporting.
"I think there's been a hostile media, by and large, over the last three years, which I also argue has given licence to a lot of people across the community to speak very destructively and disrespectfully towards Julia Gillard and the minority government," she said.
The trust says the seams of contempt and sexism should be cause for reflection on what is needed to restore respect and "a fair go" for women.
#fn1" id="fn1">1. #fntxt1">↑ However, as a result of backsliding by a number of Australian Democrats Senators, who could have helped Labor block the GST legislation as most of the Australian public and most rank-and-file Australian Democrats party members wanted, John Howard was able to get his "never ever" GST legislation approved by the Senate and thereby made law.
On 7 March 2013, Kevin Rudd was a lead speaker at a pro-population growth meeting held by the "Urban Development Institute of Australia", which is a property developer body that lobbies continually for higher immigration to grow Australia's population. Now Mr Rudd is our Prime Minister, but he still sounds as if he is working for a bunch of property developers.
It's sustainable if you say it is
"I believe in a sustainable Australia," Mr Rudd said. "If you've got the sustainability settings right, on land use, on water use and on infrastructure provision, then of course the country can grow, so I believe in a sustainable Australia."Source: http://www.theage.com.au/national/rudd-poll-bounce-boosts-labor-20130628-2p366.html#ixzz2XYX4kOhx
Rudd and Murdoch: one setting only
Mr. Rudd is in favour of a Big Australia. I believe (after much reading on the subject) that it will be unsustainable and will put our population in real peril. Australia is a desert continent with very poor soils. Because of fossil fuels we have been able to produce more food than ever before from this continent, but this will come to an end. 2 reasons 1. fossil fuels are finite and there are strong indications that global oil production has already peaked 2. Unless scientists are wrong about GGEs and climate change, we must stop using Fossil Fuels or we won’t have an environment as we know it.
Population policy under Julia Gillard
Mr. Rudd is glib and fanciful in what he says. Julia made a good start when she said she was in favour of a “sustainable Australia” rather than a “Big Australia” but then the whole issue was buried in Tony Burke’s report which recommended population be regionalized – thus sweeping the problem of population numbers into another realm and the government went on to preside over a huge migration program which is more than our natural increase and thus more than double our population growth rate.
Rudd’s intention to continue “ Big Australia” is contained in the quote “ then of course the country can grow”.
Population growth doesn't pay for itself: we do
A sign that our existence in Melbourne is going down hill is that Victorians are already paying more and more for water because of the desalination plant which would not have been necessary had the government not anticipated high population growth and that Melbourne will be a megalopolis. I can see a time when people won’t be able to pay for the water they need.
WA uses almost exclusively desalinated water and ground water. This is a recipe for collapse. Perth has the highest population growth rate of any capital city and comparable to many 3rd world countries.
The Victorian State of the environment Report 2008 showed that all environmental indicators in Victoria were declining because of human activity and population pressures. Since then the population has kept on growing. I understand all reports from other states have shown the same.
A national tragedy
We are already in environmental decline. The country is so delicate, so immensely biodiverse and intricate but since the European invasion we have been stomping all over it with hob nail boots.
What really drove the so-called leadership crisis in the Federal Government, which has gone on for about three years? Tonight, as Julia Gillard steps down, who really benefits, and how?
Tonight many of us have been watching, with some horror, the latest awful changes in the Federal Government.
So, what was the policy agenda that supposedly drove Rudd's challenge to Gillard? In fact, no policies were mentioned, as many media commentators have just acknowledged.
There may, however, have been a barely iterated agenda - that of the mainstream press - to have an earlier election.
How would that advantage the power elites? Well, in these days where real debate is possible on the internet, a long election lead-up might just have led to some real democracy - obviously the last thing that the corporate press, which also leads the ABC, want.
Julia Gillard just showed herself to be as capable a leader as any male politician I have seen in over a decade of federal politics.
To make a woman seem to all,
A shadow and not very tall,
In fact to make her very small
And push her right against the wall
All it takes is lots of press,
To make her life seem but a mess
And everything that she achieves
Is tucked away so none believes.
Word gets around that she has failed,
But no-one knows quite what was hailed
To be her undeniable transgress
Seems no-one’s sure but “‘twas in the press”!
Much fun was made of our PM’s dress,
As with Joan Kirner by whom we were blest,
We recall the dots but were they true?
Now it’s stripes. Why can’t they see through?
These women on our TV screens,
Are normal or so it seems to me,
But made out to be by mainstream tools,
Clumsy, absent minded fools.
Despite all this we see and hear,
(They cannot hide it ‘tho much they fear,)
The woman’s real authentic class,
And if that shines through, she’s sure to pass.
"The utterly biased and relentless Murdoch press in Melbourne, Sydney and nationally through The Australian has played a big role in destroying Julia Gillard's standing with the electorate, such that Tony Abbott is well placed to win control of both houses in the coming September 14 Federal election."
This article is an extract from Stephen Mayne's newsletter, The Mayne Report, Monday, April 22, 2013, 11:13am
Sure, there have been plenty of own goals and the government's anti-business, union-driven, big spending philosophy doesn't lend itself to long-term success.
And with Tony Abbott positively fawning over Rupert Murdoch at the recent IPA 70th birthday dinner, it is clear the Murdoch press will have substantial influence over an Abbott government, just like the way New York-based News Corp effectively forced John Howard to blindly back the folly of George W Bush's Iraq invasion.
This would be fine if News Corp used its unprecedented media reach in Australia to argue for good policy prescriptions, but too often they use this position of power to become partisan political players who turn a blind eye to bad policy.
For instance, News Corp has never really done anything to improve Australia's campaign finance disclosure laws which are still the weakest in the western world after John Howard's disgraceful changes.
Another classic example was Tony Abbott's refusal to get behind funding urban rail infrastructure when he recently declared that the Commonwealth has ''no history of funding urban rail and I think it's important that we stick to our knitting''.
The Age suitably demolished this position in a strong editorial but the Herald Sun has been silent, not even reporting the comments in a meaningful way.
State Liberal governments all over Australia are hanging out for federal funding of urban rail projects. Tony Abbott's road bias is utterly ridiculous and unsustainable and it should be consigned to the dust bin of history by a short sharp News Ltd campaign.
Bizarrely, the Herald Sun launched a page 1 campaign for infrastructure funding today but still haven't made the point that their man Tony Abbott is the biggest problem.
Without Federal funding for the all important Metro 1 rail tunnel between South Kensington and South Yarra, we won't get the network benefits that would allow subsequent rail additions to Doncaster, the airport and Rowville.
Both Infrastructure Australia and the Victorian Government have Metro 1 listed as their top project for Melbourne.
Abbott should untie his $1.5 billion promise for the East-West road tunnel and leave it up to the Victorian government to decide where to spend this Federal grant.
How the Herald Sun can run an advertising campaign saying "We're for Victoria" and not hold this Sydney-based politician to account on his rail funding ban is just extraordinary.
To Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston and his boss Peter Blunden, please stop this madness and get your man Tony Abbott on the Metro 1 train before it is too late.
More than 100 protesters rallied against live animal exports during a Federal community cabinet meeting in the marginal Melbourne Labor seat of Deakin.
Animals Australia organised the event with plans to greet Prime Minister Julia Gillard on her arrival at the Norwood Secondary College venue in Ringwood. There was a heavy police presence.
Ms Gillard managed to avoid the animal activists and instead he chose to face a "safe" audience of a mainly welcoming crowd of 300 who showered her with compliments. There were questions on the National Disability Insurance scheme, gay marriage, 457 visa workers, Gonski reforms and Labor's image problem.
The protesters held up signs saying "no ban no vote" and "say no to live exports" as a heavy police presence stood guard at the school in the marginal seat of Deakin.
The PM was greeted with cheers as she entered the school, accompanied by 10 ministers including Treasurer Wayne Swan, Employment Minister Bill Shorten and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. However, the animal activists were avoided - they must have gone through another entrance!
Animals Australia spokeswoman Lisa Chalk said the protesters wanted the federal government to ban all live animal exports.
To date, the live trade has sent over 160 million animals to be slaughtered in over a dozen countries where there are no laws to protect them from cruelty. Millions have died on ships. Every investigation and subsequent campaign has delivered results for animals — but the members of Animals Australia will not stop until this trade does.
A vote for animals has never been more important as animal welfare standards continue to drop to abysmal global levels. That's why the Animal Justice Party has formed.
The Animal Justice Party (AJP) opposes in the strongest possible terms the export of live animals, to any other country, of all species, for profit, for whatever purpose, particularly for slaughter, on welfare, humanitarian, economic and societal grounds. This is a grubby industry, lacking any real accountability, or transparency, supported by all Australian governments, in which a few private individuals and corporations make money from the misery of millions of sentient creatures.
Tens of thousands of emails hit the inboxes of the Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture within days of Four Corners. However, the Julia Gillard continues to turn her cold, hard heart against ending the trade due to heavy government support for the livestock industries. It's easier to face supporters than the nitty-gritty uncomfortable topic of animal abuse and cruelty. Blood and pain inflicted onto animals is an uncomfortable topic, best avoided!
New Zealand has already stopped exporting live animals for slaughter on the basis of unacceptable cruelty.
New rules made exporting harder, more expensive, and fewer animals today endure this journey. But the cruelty continues. These rules still allow the fully conscious slaughter of millions of animals exported from our shores every year, condemning them to a painful and prolonged death.
Tell Julia Gillard to end live export
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was playing politics when she used a speech to the Energy Policy Institute of Australia on Tuesday to blame state governments for soaring power prices.
Queensland has had a 80 per cent hike in household electricity prices in the past five years. Mr Newman and every other Premier will seize every opportunity he can to blame his predecessors for financial and policy mismanagement. Editorial - shedding light on power prices. Victoria is a good example of soaring electricity prices due to privatization.small>(Republished from comment posted at http://candobetter.net/node/2834#comment-8672)
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was playing politics when she used a speech to the Energy Policy Institute of Australia on Tuesday to blame state governments for soaring power prices.
Queensland has had a 80 per cent hike in household electricity prices in the past five years. Mr Newman and every other Premier will seize every opportunity he can to blame his predecessors for financial and policy mismanagement.
Queenslanders are also paying the price for meeting growing demand, both from an increasing population and, in the southeast in particular, a rapid take-up of air conditioners, which places big strains on the system on the hottest days of the year. High rise living means being captive to powered appliances such as air conditioning, clothes drying and heating even in the more southern states too.
Privatising the Government's electricity businesses to put them in the hands of efficiency and profit -focused private companies. Ostensibly this gives consumers a "greater choice" and "more competition" but also frees governments from the public responsibility for announcements of electricity price increase for the next 12 months. It also free governments from trade unions and industrial relations.
Ms Gillard was "trying to force privatisation" on state-owned utilities "because they can be regulated through corporation's power", Premier Campbell Newman said.
Prior to Kennett’s election, the government-owned State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) was responsible for the supply of electricity in Victoria. Despite being accused of being unproductive, an Electricity Supply Association study of 1000 utilities around the world found that SECV was in the top ten for efficiency of resource use and that it was also highly efficient in terms of technical efficiency of distribution. The SECV in fact delivered affordable electricity to consumers whilst making a healthy profit. Project Victoria nonetheless called for the privatisation, deregulation and corporatisation of the State’s electricity demonstrates its ideologically driven nature.
Victoria's State Electricity Commission (SEC) generated and sold power to Victorian consumers from 1926 to 1998. In every single year it reduced the real price of power to customers. This meant that for ordinary households buying electricity took a smaller part of their earnings in each successive year. The SEC also trained thousands of apprentices in electricity and other workplace skills. Eventually, many of these highly skilled tradesmen found their way into the wider workforce. Now, “skills shortages” are being used to justify increasing permanent immigration to Australia.
In a similar manner, the SEC also trained engineers and other skilled workers, not all of whom chose to remain in the commission's employ. Either way, the community got the benefit of skills-training provided by the SEC. This is the same scenario with public transport, Gas and Fuel, and Board of Works (public water supplies) being privatised.
In 2000-1 the price of electricity in the National Electricity Market increased by 60%. When retail deregulation was introduced in Victoria, price caps continued with ‘safety net’ prices being set by the government to avoid the political implications of these large price increases. Privatisation of electricity in Victoria had failed to deliver any increased generating capacity and generator breakdowns were threatening blackouts.
A new report, Victoria in Future 2012, shows that the state's population is expected to grow from 5.6 million to 7.3 million over the next 20 years, an average annual growth rate of 1.3 per cent.
Melbourne's population is expected to grow at the same speed, from 4.1 million to 5.4 million, while regional Victoria's growth rate will be slightly slower, at 1.2 per cent.
Make room state population set to soar
Reduced reliability a possible cost-saver
According to a new report, about $2.5 billion over 15 years could be saved if electricity distribution reliability was slightly reduced, according to the Australian Energy Market Commission's (AEMC) review of rule changes for the state government.
More than $11 billion is poured into power infrastructure to stop "blackouts" occurring in peak periods, totalling about four days every year. Reducing reliability is an assault on productivity, on our lifestyles, and on our energy bills.
Now, we could be forced to compromise electricity reliability to contain the costs of power.
The real costs of supplying energy are in distribution rather than generation. The "poles and wires" must be replaced, maintained, and also expanded to cope with population growth. Thus, reliability will be compromised to pay for economic growth.
While Julia Gillard blames the States for the surging costs of power even before the introduction of the carbon tax, it is Federal policies that drives our population growth.
Julia Gillard will pledge to act on soaring electricity prices that add billions of dollars to household costs. She is blaming state governments for adding at least $7 billion to electricity costs over the next four years. Ms Gillard will cite the dividend payments to state governments as a key reason for the price shock being felt by ordinary households, as they help cover the cost of the state dividends.
NSW households have seen their electricity prices rise by 18 per cent both this year and last. Other states have seen comparable increases.
Half of this year's increase was due to the carbon tax and renewable energy requirements, some of which were introduced by former state ALP governments. The other causes were those identified by the Prime Minister: increased charges for the price-regulated poles and wires networks. With 30 more years of “sustainable growth”, the poles and wires network will keep rolling out!
Julia Gillard's conversion to privatisation might be self-serving in seeking to draw attention away from the carbon tax, but it also offers the prospect of bipartisan support for full privatisation of the electricity supply industry.
Victoria's Planning Minister Matthew Guy recently announced the creation of 6 new suburbs. All these new consumers, over 60,000 per year, will need either upgraded, or new, "poles and wires". In Victoria, retail prices are totally unregulated.
The costs and impacts of a growth-based economy are passed onto the people, whose hip pockets will be raided to pay for basic utilities. The constraints to growth are becoming clearer, and economic growth is becoming more uneconomic.
Most objections to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Carbon Tax are founded on the apparent belief that it is possible for human society to continue its wasteful consumption of non-renewable natural resources and destruction of our natural environment without posing any risk to the life support system which exists in this tiny corner of a Universe, mostly barren of life.
However, compared to what can be done and what must be done if human civilisation is to hope to further endure for a period which even remotely approaches the 32,000 years since our ancestors left evidence of intelligence probably equaling our own in the in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave of the Ardèche department of southern France, the proposed Carbon Tax is a joke in extremely poor taste..
At best, the Carbon Tax is token gesture by Government and its corporate masters to be acting to protect our future. At worst, it is another paper economy scam that will allow wealth to be gouged from the rest of us by unproductive members of society whilst weighing us down with yet more more red tape.
This article was adapted from a #comment-159465">comment I made in response to A long time coming … an article by Professor John Quiggin written on 13 October. It has yet to draw a response there. If any visitors to candobetter.net decide that this article is more worthy of a response than visitors to johnquiggin.com have so far indicated, comments, whether critical or supportive, are most welcome.
I have sympathy with very few of those who are so stridently denouncing Julia Gillard's Carbon Tax.
True, the way she went about introducing it is questionable from the standpoint of democratic principles, but those who are against the Carbon Tax seem to want us to believe that Earth is not facing an environmental crisis which could well threaten threaten the life support system that sustains human life.
Without getting into the scientific argument, when the conditions which support life are so rare in the Universe and those which support the sort of complex life forms which exist on Earth are rarer still, it defies common sense to think we can materially change our planet as much as we have done in the last three centuries and continue to do so at an an even faster rate without putting at risk the very conditions which sustain life.
We have substantially altered the concentration of the Earth's atmosphere by having dug up and burnt much humankind's nonrenewable endowment of fossil fuels that took at least tens of millions of years of sunlight and terrestrial biological and geological to produce.
How anyone can know for a fact that these changes to Earth's protective atmospheric blanket won't cause runaway global warming is beyond me. Given that our very future and the future of our children and descendants is at stake, it is surely most imprudent to assume that we can continue to quarry and export coal iron and other non-renewable natural resources at the accelerating rate that the likes of Qld Premier Anna Bligh and our leading 'free market' economic ideologues would have us do.
My own problem with the Carbon Tax is that it is, at best, a small fraction of what needs to be done to make human civilization truly sustainable.
If the Carbon Tax were to be adopted, even if comprehensively at the international level, does anyone seriously imagine that it will somehow induce the market to reduce, to any worthwhile extent, activities that are now consuming non-renewable resources?
Just go to the rubbish tip and ask for how many more decades they believe we can continue to extract the resources necessary to manufacture all the artifacts -- thrown out hi-fis, computers, TVs, fridges, cars, furniture, toys, etc. --- and packaging that has ended up there?
How is this going to stop manufacturers continuing to manufacture and sell, at an enormous cost to our natural capital, so many artifacts that are designed to fail after only a few years and which become inoperable when parts and batteries are lost because they refuse to make these compatible with similar artifacts?
Does anyone imagine that we could go on the way we are for more than a hundred more years?
David Montgomery's "Dirt - the Erosion of Civilisations" of 2007 shows how past civilisations -- Mesopotamia, ancient Greek civilisations, Rome, the Chaco Anasazi of North America. etc., which did not dig up dug up coal, oil and metals still only lasted hundreds of years, so could not be considered sustainable.
If they had dug up and wasted coal, oil and metals and deforested at the same rate as 21st century human civilisation does they could not have even lasted that long.
Any Government which does not attempt to make human civilisation at least as sustainable as those past failed rural civilisations once were is not serious about sustainabilty.
Gillard's Carbon Tax is only a token pretence of an attempt to achieve sustainability and nothing more.
Any serious sustainability policy would comprise at least:
- Reuse of food and drink containers rather than the phony recycling schemes that our council rates are wasted to pay for.
- Inducements, possibly including laws, to force manufacturers to cease planned obsolescence and the deliberate manufacture of artifacts with incompatible parts, particularly cables and batteries. If cars and motorcycled built at the start of the 20th century can still be run today, why, with the improvements in science and technology can't cars be built to last centuries? Why can't cars and motorcycles be handed down to our children and grandchildren instead of being consigned to the tip or scrap metal?
- Real town planning so that it is not necessary for so many to spend as much of their days and waste so much petroleum traveling to and from work, educational institutions and amenities.
- Proper planned public transport so that we don't have to own our own car to commute. End the Taxi license plate speculation scam so that taxis can be affordable to ordinary people and taxi drivers can earn a livable income in a 40 hour week and not a 72 hour week.
- Outlawing the destruction of native forests to manufacture paper.
- Preservation of bio-diversity. Stop destroying forests and other natural habitats, which other species need for their survival.
- End the population growth/mass immigration Ponzi scheme. It is a lie that Australia's prosperity needs more people. Any honest measure of people's wellbeing would show that our prosperity, on average, as well as our sustainability, decrease as we add more people. Only a small minority, including property speculators and landlords, gain through population growth and they gain at everyone else's expense.
"Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Bob Brown are in a position to change the political, social and cultural landscape in Australia once and for all. They find themselves in the unique position of having the community support they need to stop the parliamentary puppet masters dictating parliamentary policy. They find themselves in the position to uproot the few stunted perennials that blight political, social and cultural debate in this community and let a thousand flowers bloom by passing parliamentary legislation that forces media monopolies to limit their media holdings to 10% of the privately owned media outlets in a community. They are also in a position to pass parliamentary legislation that alters the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s guidelines so that a variety of opinions, not just the major political parties’ opinions, are brought to the fore in Australia in the publicly funded media sphere." Joe Toscano Anarchist Age Weekly, Number 940, 18th July – 24th July 2011 So, what's stopping them from doing the right thing by Australia?"Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Bob Brown are in a position to change the political, social and cultural landscape in Australia once and for all. They find themselves in the unique position of having the community support they need to stop the parliamentary puppet masters dictating parliamentary policy. They find themselves in the position to uproot the few stunted perennials that blight political, social and cultural debate in this community and let a thousand flowers bloom by passing parliamentary legislation that forces media monopolies to limit their media holdings to 10% of the privately owned media outlets in a community. They are also in a position to pass parliamentary legislation that alters the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s guidelines so that a variety of opinions, not just the major political parties’ opinions, are brought to the fore in Australia in the publicly funded media sphere." Joe Toscano Anarchist Age Weekly, Number 940, 18th July – 24th July 2011 So, what's stopping them from doing the right thing by Australia?
Ed. Sheila Newman: This article is based on my transcription from Joe Toscano's seminal podcast about the Australian media and government, to which I have added headings. I have removed some 'you knows' and small repetitions and elisions for clarity. Any mistakes in transcription are my own. You can listen to the original by podcast anytime. It is actually an hour long. The transcribed part is just the media inquiry part.
Power, Wealth, Parliament and the Mass Media - Joe Toscano:
"It's about power and wealth. What's the point in having all the power in the world if you don't have the wealth to make the decisions you've made a reality? And that's what we have in a parliamentary democracy. We go through the ritual every four years to elect representatives to make decisions fo us. Unfortunately what the representatives can and cannot do is determined by the parliamentary puppetmasters. That's all sections of society that owns the means of production, distribution, communication and exchange.
Now it's quite interesting how the Gillard government, facing oblivion at the next election by media sharks who are tearing pieces off its lifeless carcass, can continue wallowing in its own blood until what little credibility it enjoys is completely gone. Or it can bite back.
And those regular listeners in the Anarchist World this week will know that for some time I have been pushing the idea of holding a Royal Commission into the role the Murdoch Empire plays in this country. A royal commission into how the Murdoch media empire actually subverts the will of the people by subverting parliament.
Proposed Inquiry: What Gillard wants and what the Greens want
And I have noticed that now that Ms Gillard's little tête a tête with the Murdoch senior editors has kind of come asunder that she is once again looking at the possibility of holding a media inquiry - a general, nice, little, media inquiry that looks at privacy issues. Yes, you may as well pack it up, put it back in the drawer and forget about it.
Now I notice that, obviously the Greens, who have been one of the major victims of the Murdoch monopoly in this country - I mean, before every election we have huge headlines about the drug addicts running the Greens - how they'are going to subvert the country. You know, it just goes on day in day out. They [the Greens] would like something a little bit wider. They would like a media inquiry into the ownership.
Are newspapers growing too irrelevant to pose much of a threat?
Now people say to me, "Why worry about newspapers, Joe, they're irrelevant."
I'm afraid they're not. Newspapers are not irrelevant in this country. And when you've got some major capital cities with only one
newspaper, and that's a Murdoch newspaper, and you've got other capital cities where you've got two newspapers, it's not irrelevant.
Because, although there may be a decreasing number of people actually reading newspapers, there are more people reading the same papers on the Net. And, more importantly, what newspapers do is they actually set the political agenda for the day. Because, if you think television and radio set the political agenda, they don't.
Television and radio are very, very, very understaffed pieces of technology and they take their running every day from what's printed in the newspapers that morning. And if you want to know what's going to be on you local radio stations that morning or television station that day and that evening, just pick up a newspaper and you will see that, as far as political commentary is concerned, and social and cultural commentary is concerned, that 95% of commentary that occurs on television and radio is directly purloined from the major issues raised by newspapers, and the same major issues are then aised in parliament at the state and federal level. So newspapers still play, although there may be fewer people actually buying the oadsheets and the tabloids, it still plays a significant role in setting the social and political agenda in this country.
So, faced with that dilemma, when one player owns 70% of the newspapers, you can actually see the significant impact it actually has on peoples' thinking and the way issues are approached. And the thing about the Murdoch empire is, as far as I'm concerned, is it's a cancer on civil society. Because it is so huge, all-encompassing, all-powerful. And anybody who thinks holding an inquiry into privacy issues in the media, or even holding a parliamentary inquiry, into media ownership in this country is going to break the back of this monster, they should think again.
We need a royal commission
What we need, and what the Liberal and the Labor Party and the cross-benchers and the Greens should be discussing and negotiating on, is holding a royal commission into the impact that the Murdoch empire has on debate, has on discussion, has on political decisions in this country. Now, you'll see over the next few weeks, the media crying about the fact that there's some Clayton's media inquiry's been set up into privacy issues in the media.
Well, the reality is they're the first ones who jump up and down about holding inquiries into this and into that. I mean, it's about time
the fourth estate  was dissected and we had the opportunity to ensure that a thousand voices are able to be heard in this country. Not the same, stunted, old, pathetic arguments, which we hear day in and day out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Arguments, you know, which support capitalism as the be-all and end-all of economic activity. Activities which media outlets, which actually promote division within this country, which act as a cheer squad for that small section of society that owns the means of production, distribution, exchange and communication, which continues to act as the parliamentary puppetmasters in this country.
I mean, facing political oblivion if the government continues to square dance with the parliamentary puppetmasters, it is time that they turned off the music, isn't it? Isn't it time that they turned off the music and launched a direct legislative assault on the corporate world?
Corporate world really unpopular with Australians
If there is one group that's more unpopular than the Gillard government, it's the corporate world. Australians are beginning to realise the abysmal state of public health, public education, is due to the domination of the economy by a shrinking number of powerful corporations.
Any government, any political movement that is willing to wrest power back from the parliamentary puppetmasters, especially one that currently has a snowflake's chance in hell of being reelected, if it continues on its current political projectory, will earn the respect of an electorate that is becoming increasingly tired of seeing its institutions and its children's future sacrificed on Mammon's altar. And that's what it's about. That's the bottom line that we all forget! That's what the fourth estate is about! It's about creating profits built on other peoples' suffering. It's about creating ever-increasing profits, irrespective of the human, social and environmental costs.
And when you have the fourth estate singing the praises of the corporate world because they are owned by the very same people that dominate economic and political activity in this country, you begin to realise why there is such a lack of debate in this country about any issue, except the very superficial issues that have no bearing on the power of that small section of society that owns the means of production, distribution, exchange and communication is able to exercise.
Obviously we have 'stop presses' and 'exposees' on things which are of little importance to most people, but when it comes to actually looking at the foundations of the society, when it comes to actually questioning the assumptions this society is based on, when it comes to the idea of tackling the major problems that we face as individuals, and as communities within this country, well then, there is no debate, there is no discussion, and those people who put their heads above the parapet and attempt to raise issues that go beyond issues that are currently broached, find themselves being shunned, or worse still, being lampooned, or, worse still, being branded as 'un-Australian', 'terrorists'.
Let's create the momentum to break down the media plutocracy
So, media inquries ... forget about an inquiry!
Let's have a royal commission. Let's watch them squirm. Let's see what happens. Let's create the momentum to break down the media monopolies that exist in this country, whether they'are Murdoch or Fairfax or any other media monopoly that exists in this country. Let's break them down. Let's have legislation passed through parliament that ensures that no one group of people, or an individual, can own more than 10% of the media outlets in one city. And then, maybe we will see those thousand flowers bloom in that stony garden that needs to be fertilised by a range of ideas.
Now, let's move on to the ABC. Because, we've concentrated on the media today, and the reason I've concentrated on the media is very simple, because the thing about living in a technologically savvy society is everybody is exposed to the same set of opinions minute by minute by minute by minute by minute. And we're told in this country that we have the private corporations running the media, well the government gelded the ABC.
The ABC has become a commercial clone
And people say to me, "Well, Joe, what are you complaining about? I mean, forget about it. The ABC gives us an alternative viewpoint."
The ABC is there to do these things but people have forgotten what happened to the ABC during the Howard era, what happened to the ABC during the Hawke/Keating era. They've forgotten that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has basically become a commercial clone.
Obviously there are a number of programs which continue to exist - not for very long - which provide alanced analysis. But as far as the majority of the information, debate, analysis programs which occur in the government-gelded ABC you find that most of them you can actually find in the commercial setting.
Now, I know this is old news, but you may find it a bit interesting, because I want to draw an analogy here. I remember in 1999 when I had a weekly spot on ABC local radio that examined the week's news from a radical perspective, it didn't take long for the presenter to be asked to get a conservative voice on the half-hour segment. Within two months of one of the most conservative politicians in this country, the former Senator Julia McGorren had been appointed to cross swords with your's truly. The segment, and the presenter, who conducted an overnight show on-air for the ABC for over a decade was also taken off-air. This is during the Howard era. She was never offered an on-air position again and continues to work in the dungeons of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation because she wasn't on a short-term contract.
Australia's Arts Community
It's no surprise that the Arts community now finds itself in the very same position. The Hoard Government succeeded in destroying the independence of the ABC by ensuring senior managers were appointed that reflected its world view. And the Howard Government openly stacked the ABC Board with some of the most conservative and reactionary figures in Australia, including Mr Windshuttle.
These changes transformed the ABC from a source that provided independent information analysis to an entertainment-focused organisation that needs to focus on ratings. It's all about entertainment. If we want entertainment, there are a million areas we can look for entertainment.
Why did Rudd and Gillard leave Howard's appointees in place?
The Gillard and Rudd Government found themselves in a difficult position because they left all of Howard's appointments in their jobs when elected. They left them all. And that's the tragedy of the 2007 Rudd victory, that all the senior bureaucrats, whether it's the department of immigration and refugees as we are seeing now, whether it was the taxation department, whether it was Human Services, whether it was the ABC. Everyone of those political appointments which were made during the decade that Howard was in powe were left in positions of authority. Left in positions of authority!
So, instead of cleaning out the ABC's Augean stable, they left everything in place. It's one thing having your hands on the levers of
government, it's another thing being forced to use the coordinates of a bureaucracy appointed y Howard and his cronies to steer the ship.
And that's the dilemma! Although the government may have a different agenda, as fa as the senior political appointments that were made by the Howard Regime, they continue to set the coordinates that determine government policy. It's no accident the Gillard Government is faced with a neverending litany of disasters, despite overseeing the 'best economy in the western capitalist world'. I mean, leaving your political enemies in positions of power when you own a position to exercise power is a recipe for disaster. And this is what we've seen in the ABC - although the government changed, senior political appointments, both on the board and the managerial area, didn't change. They continued to push the conservative reactionary agenda. And what we are seeing is even the arts programs are now coming under the axe. We are seeing the ABC lose what little independence it has.
Hardly any local content produced by the ABC
No wonder the ABC has been transformed into a commercial clone that has put people on short-term contracts, turned the ABC into an entertainment-focused organisation that actually relies on outside contracts to provide content - even local content. There is hardly any local content being produced at the ABC. It is produced by privately-owned outside companies that are given contracts to provide content.
And the few ABC in-house programs that have managed to survive over the past two decades are now on the chopping block, because the ABC has been transformed into a paper tiger, into an entertainment-focused organisation that Removes from its programming line-up any program that doesn't meet its board and managers' one-dimensional conservative social and political agenda. And that's the key.
So if you have a private corporate media which acts as a cheer-squad for its owners, promoting corporatisation, deregulation,
globalisation, the corporate sector, and you have a government-gelded ABC, where do people obtain independent analysis and information?
Not everybody has the time to spend hours and hours and hours surfing the net. People like their information in little packages. And what we find is the same, seedy, reactionaries continue to dominate the political agenda in this country - to dominate the social agenda in this country, to dominate the cultural agenda in this country - while the rest of us are expected, you know, to gratefully accept the crumbs that are occasionally pushed our way to stop people from protesting about what's actually happening, not only within the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but within a corporate-controlled media network which sets the political, social and cultural agenda in this country."
 Joe Toscano speaks for the Anarchist society and each week, on his show at 3CR he demystifies anarchist principles with this useful definition: "Anarchist society is a voluntary non-hierarchical society which is ased on political and social structures which are based on direct democratic principles. The people involved in decision strong>make that decision and then elect or appoint delegates to coordinate decisions at local, regional and national levels of society. Wealth is held in common and used for the common good."
See, for instance, what passes for intellectual commentary in the Australian Financial Review (owned by Fairfax)in the editorial for the weekend of 17-18 December 2011. The editorial suggests that the basis of the inquiry is exclusively political with the Greens and the Government trying to neutralise criticism. "Any attempt to rein in freedom of the press should be vigorously resisted. Politicians have many avenues to redress perceived bias, not least through Parliament, the wider media and websites. Instead the government would have been far wiser to invest its limited political energy and capital in an inquiry into the much more pressing national economic issue of lagging productivity." Yes, well, if we tried to have an inquiry into how Australia's production is kept uncompetitive on the world market due to the cost of land, as boosted by the Murdoch and Fairfax owned property dot coms and their media-generated mass immigration fueled-demand, those papers would use every weapon they had to suppress, distort and punish debate. They suppress, distort and punish all other debates except the most destructive and puerile. That is why we need to break the media monopoly, so that we can actually have a free media rather than a corporatised commercial media which promotes its own investments against the common interest.
For a good example of suppressing, distorting and punishing debate, see ABC's Media Watch Episode 31, 12 September 2011. Media Watch generally goes after rabbits when it could take down elephants (metaphorically speaking) but this episode was very relevant to central problems of media interference, for corporate commercial reasons, in public debate:
Here is the transcript of Episode 31, 12 September 2011
Biting the hand that feeds
Over in the commercial media, times are tough. Especially in newspapers.
Here's an excerpt from an email sent out by a News Ltd executive in Western Australia.
"Last Sunday we published an article in our real estate section that failed Journalism 101 ... As the Managing Director of The Sunday Times I unreservedly apologise for the article.
— Jason Scott, Managing Director, The Sunday Times, 24th August, 2011"
Goodness! The managing director, no less - it's usually the editor who worries about editorial content. Managing directors of newspapers worry about money. And usually, that means advertisers.
And to whom was this grovel addressed to?
"To our valued real estate clients
— Jason Scott, Managing Director, The Sunday Times, 24th August, 2011"
That's right. Real estate agents. Who, thanks to those endless house for sale ads, account for a sizeable chunk of the Sunday Times's revenue ...
Not to mention what they contribute to realestate.com.au, by far the leading property website in Australia, which is 60% owned by News Ltd.
So what was this abysmal journalism that Mr Scott was apologising for? It was a double-page spread in the Sunday Times's
— Sunday Times Weekend, Property, 21-27 August, 2011"
It can cost more than $20,000 to sell your home through a real estate agent. We speak to two vendors who decided to go it alone.
— Sunday Times Weekend, Property, 21-27 August, 2011"
No! Without an agent? And look at them ... They're positively beaming ...
"Being able to talk directly with the buyers ensured queries could be answered quickly and efficiently
— Sunday Times Weekend, Property, 21-27 August, 2011"
"We saved about $17,000 and put in about 19 hours work in five weeks.
— Sunday Times Weekend, Property, 21-27 August, 2011"
Well, you can imagine how the Sunday Times's 'valued real estate clients' reacted to that piece.
Actually, you don't have to imagine it, because we can show you.
It was kicked off by investment property specialist Mark Hay, with an email addressed to pretty much every real estate agent west of the Nullarbor. It was, as they say, heavy with irony ...
For those of you who use the Murdoch-backed Sunday Times you will have no doubt noted the huge push they gave us as agents in their wonderful article on page four and five this weekend!
— Mark Hay, Investment property specialist, 23rd August, 2011"
Mr Hay didn't mess about.
"Can I encourage you to boycott the paper in light of this, or better still this is a perfect reason why we as agents should build our own web site to challenge realestate.com.au and the others who keep putting the squeeze on us. Anyone interested?
— Mark Hay, Investment property specialist, 23rd August, 2011"
Lots of people were ...
"I am interested in a change from this
— David Whiteman, Ray White, 24th August, 2011"
"It is heartening to see ... the discussion around creating a new industry owned and controlled website.
— Geoff Baldwin, RE/MAX WA, 25th August, 2011"
"The Davey Group would be behind a move to advertise through REIWA.com only.
— Andrew Davey, Davey Group, 24th August, 2011"
Mark Hay was over the moon ...
"Wow, the response has been overwhelming! ... By far the huge majority confirm we should crank up REIWA ...
— Mark Hay, Investment property specialist, 24th August, 2011"
REIWA is the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, which has long had its own property ad website ...
"Feature Properties for sale
And has recently teamed up with the Sunday Times's rival, The West Australian, to produce
The West is spruiking its new website for all its worth ...
This exciting new site is offering vendors a free listing when their agent is a current REIWA subscriber ...
— The West Australian, 25th August, 2011"
No wonder the Managing Director of the Sunday Times was freaking out at the thought of all those 'valued real estate clients' jumping ship. Hence his crawling email ...
"I give you my personal guarantee that The Sunday Times will work hard to restore our relationship to the mutual good health and prosperity that we have achieved together over many years.
— Jason Scott, Managing Director, 24th August, 2011"
The problem was, wrote Jason Scott, that the Home Alone piece was unbalanced, because it ...
"... did not contain any response from agents or real estate industry groups and nor did it look at vendors who had tried to sell their houses privately who had then appointed an agent and got the right result.
— Jason Scott, Managing Director, 24th August, 2011"
Well, that's true. And it was a bit of a puff job for one particular do-it-yourself consultancy.
But some of the offended agents weren't going to be fobbed off with a private apology.
Glenn Buckley of Think Pink Realty - yes, that's its name - wrote back to Mr Scott, in a nice pink font ...
"Your apology is noted. However, what is clearly required here is a full rebuttle (sic) in this weeks issue of your newspaper...
— Glenn Buckley, Think Pink Realty, 24th August, 2011"
Well, he didn't get that. But what he did get, in that Sunday's Weekend Property, was a full, double page puff job for real estate agents ...
Why are agents worth the money? Following last week's article on private selling, we look at the other side ...
— Sunday Times, Weekend Property, 28th August, 2011"
Three happy clients, and no fewer than seven deeply sincere real estate agents. And why was that published, we asked the acting editor ... well, naturally,
"To balance the one-sided feature that appeared on August 21.
— Bill Rule, Deputy Editor, Sunday Times, 2nd September, 2011"
Balance. The essence of sound journalism. No mention of that other principle of newspaper management: safeguarding editorial from advertiser pressure.
The term, "the fourth estate refers to the media and mass media. It comes from the French Revolution, where the first estate was the nobles, the second estate was the clergy and the third estate was the common people.
With the revelation that the recently released carbon tax would exclude petrol, there was much protest and disappointment from climate change activists. But once again everyone missed the elephant in the room as far as meeting Australia’s emissions targets – the immigration rate.
With the revelation that the recently released carbon tax would exclude petrol, there was much protest and disappointment from climate change activists. But once again everyone missed the elephant in the room as far as meeting Australia’s emissions targets – the immigration rate. In the recently published online book Sleepwalking to Catastrophe first-time gen Y author Fiona Heinrichs argues in the same vein as Dick Smith’s Population Crisis. There are two sections in Fiona’s book which particularly highlight the elephant in the room: the hypocrisy of liberals in denying population impacts by focusing on consumption and modeling which verifies the ineffectiveness of the carbon tax without immigration reform. The former point is made in the following excerpt from Chapter 2:
environmental groups have had a mixed attitude towards population. Often they have a tendency to regard population growth as not a significant factor affecting environmental degradation, with resource use and consumption being more important. Global social justice issues typically come before local environmental sustainability.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) was relatively inactive on the immigration and population issue; however, this was within the context that questioning such issues threatened one’s career. As Ian Lowe, president of the ACF and Australia 2020 Summit participant experienced first hand:
[Lowe] explicitly rejects the per capita consumption argument and has stated that reducing per capita consumption won’t solve environmental problems unless we also stabilise population.
Yet even with Lowe the media rarely reports his concern over population. When Mark O’Connor wrote to him in 2006 asking why this was so, he replied, at length, with many examples of how his frequent references to population were ignored or excised by journalists. He also described how he was sacked as a columnist from one paper for insisting on it. He found that the most biased media were the grossly pro-growthist Murdoch papers.
Recently though, the ACF has done good work in filing a formal nomination of population growth as a ‘key threatening process’ to Australia’s biodiversity under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). Interestingly enough, this action opens up the idea of suing the Federal government for the social and ecological damage done by its mass immigration policy, as has been attempted against governments in this on other jurisdictions in relation to climate change.
Ecosocialists Ian Angus and Simon Butler, after making the standard argument that to be critical of immigration is to be a ‘racist’, then argue that emissions from ‘carbon dirty’ industries in Canada, such as oil extraction from the Alberta Tar Sands are perhaps more worrying sources of greenhouse gas emissions than population growth. Despite this claim, it does not follow that ‘the relationship between population growth and environmental destruction is shaped by how we use our resources, not by the number of people who use them’. Population growth, along with affluence/resource use and technology, determine the environmental impact. As Sara Parkin, former politician for the Green Party of England and Wales notes in the Foreword to the Forum for the Future publication, Growing Pains: Population and Sustainability in the UK:
As advisors to Barack Obama have pointed out, the future for everyone will be dominated by scarcity – of resources, of land, of airspace (for CO2 emissions) … The more people there are the harder that will be. The maths of sustainability is simple – the equation requires fewer people, consuming less – yet we find it difficult to talk about either.
A Joint Statement by Fifty-Eight of the World’s Scientific Academics, Population Summit of the World’s Scientific Academies said:
‘The magnitude of the threat to the ecosystem is linked to human population size and resource use per person.’ Also: ‘There are warnings that the earth is finite and that natural systems are being pushed even closer to their limits.’
The Australian Academy of Science, Population 2040: Australia’s Choice agreed and concluded that Australia should aim for a stable population of no more than 23 million by 2040.
Penny Wong, Climate Change Minister in the government of Kevin Rudd and now Finance Minister, was asked: ‘Australia’s population is projected to increase by 65% … by 2050. During the same period, the government is committed to cutting our carbon emissions by 60%. Aren’t those goals or facts mutually exclusive?’
‘Absolutely not…Whereas the last few hundred years…growth in our carbon pollution has essentially tracked our population and economic growth … The key issue here is breaking that link, not trying to reduce population.’
Wong’s style of thinking is replicated in South Australia; the driest state in the driest continent on Earth by fellow South Australian Labor Party politician Premier Mike Rann, who on the one hand tries to be seen as doing something about climate change, while on the other seeks to double South Australia’s population by 2050, with no limit in sight. Professor Emeritus, Albert Bartlett, Physics, University of Colorado at Bounder, has shown the mathematical absurdity of claims such as Wong’s:
The average growth rate needed to increase Australia’s population 65% by the year 2050 is only 1.252 percent per year. The average annual reduction of emissions needed to reduce emissions 60% by 2050 is 2.291 percent per year. Add these two rates (1.252 + 2.291) and you will find that to accommodate the projection population growth AND to reduce overall annual emissions by 60% would require an annual rate of decrease of per capita emissions of polluting greenhouse gases of 3.543 percent per year over the next forty years. The per capita annual emissions would have to be cut in half every 19.6 years! What is the base for Minister Wong’s belief that this enormous reduction can be achieved, year after year for forty years? What progress towards this goal has Australia made during Ms. Wong’s leadership in her present position of Climate Change Minister? Does Minister Wong really believe this can be done? Or is she basing her policy recommendations on Walt Disney’s First Law:
‘Wishing will make it so.’
Let’s look a little farther. The present rate of growth Australia’s population is quoted as being 1.8 percent per year which is significantly higher than the 1.252 percent per year assumed above. If this current higher rate continues, Australia’s population will double by 2050 and would reach a density of one person per square metre over the whole continent in just over 700 years! Surely the Minister will admit that population growth in Australia will stop itself through starvation, pollution, warfare and the lack of resources long before the population density reaches one person per square metre. The critical question for the Minister then is,
‘Should Australia encourage continued population growth or should the people of Australia act to stop the growth before Nature stops it?’
If the Minister feels that Australians should act to stop population growth before Nature stops the growth, then why not stop it now while there are still some resources and some open spaces? It would be very helpful for the people of Australia if Climate Change Minister Wong would give these facts and options some serious consideration and then report the results of her considerations promptly to the people of Australia.
However, with the recent portfolio shuffle following Julia Gillard’s election to government, such revelations now lie with the new Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet. As to whether or not Minister Combet will come any closer to answering such pressing questions, only time will tell.
In the following excerpt from Chapter 4, Fiona makes the second notable point that a carbon tax implemented without stabilising population cannot reduce total emissions:
Prime Minister Gillard was told by her own Department, in a confidential briefing given in September 2010 that the quality of life in Australian big cities, measured by declining indexes of livability, is falling and could get worse. A National Institute of Labour Studies report concluded that a high level of net overseas migration would have substantial adverse impacts on the quality of Australia’s natural and built environments. Unless high levels of migration are cut, Sydney and Melbourne will require over 430,000 ha of new housing land and the loss in agricultural land will result in the need for imported key food stuffs, including dairy, lamb and vegetables, by 2050. Even if immigration ceased altogether, Australian capital cities will still grow by around 50 per cent within two decades, with a cost to each resident for congestion of $ 1,000 per year. For the present immigration level, capital cities will grow by 1.5 times within 50 years. At a net overseas migration level of 260,000 per annum, demand for oil will double by 2050 and greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion will increase by 200 percent from present levels. Australian Treasury modeling accepts that greenhouse gas emissions grow, other things being equal, when population numbers grow. Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy did a disaggregation of Treasury forecasts to obtain an estimation of the contribution of population to greenhouse gas production and concluded that ‘83 percent of the forecast increase in greenhouse emissions to 2020 will be attributable to population growth’. Further, Jorgenson and Clark examined data from 1960 to 2005 and found a large and positive association between national-level population growth and anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions for both developed and developing countries, an association which has been so for at least the past 50 years. So the pivotal question is:
What is the point of introducing an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax or any such policy on already struggling Australian working families, when Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions will continue to surge into the future anyway under the federal government’s unreformed surging immigration rate?
Any reduction in emissions made through a cap or tax would be cancelled out by the subsequent increase in emissions of aggravated population expansion. Targets for reducing emissions cannot be reached without targets for reducing population growth. With population growth expected to contribute to 83 percent of increases in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to 2020, surely any passionate climate change activist would tackle this environmental problem through immigration reform first? The much publicised battle everyday Australian working families currently face struggling to pay their power bills, reduced quality of life from restricted water and power usage and genuine environmental conservation efforts are made a mockery of when the federal government sabotages these efforts through its unsustainable immigration policy. Mark O’Connor and William Lines make the same observation in Overloading Australia: How Governments and Media Dither and Deny on Population and subsequently suggest Australians should waste water as:
our analysis shows that until we get restraint in population there is no point in citizens saving water. If they do, this will not mean that their neighbours get more water for their gardens, or that tougher restrictions will be postponed. Rather, it means that politicians will be able to continue their irresponsible dream of putting over a million extra people in each of our three biggest cities over the next 25 years (and proportionately even more into Perth). So long as we have such misguided leaders, any water-restraint shown by the individual citizen will only allow our politicians to persist longer in their folly, and will lead – quite soon – to even worse shortages of water, plus many other environmental disasters.
Certainly, the currently planned carbon tax should at the very least be postponed until after the government implements immigration reform first, and then reassessed on its capacity to reduce emissions.
Certainly indeed. Interestingly, Fiona’s book was published in May, so politicians, journalists, climate change activists and various public figures had plenty of time to digest her ideas before the current carbon tax was released. If only they’d listened to a gen Y female and Dick Smith for that matter.
See also: My submission to the Human Rights Consultation on National Security with links to my submission to the National Human Rights Consultation and the concerning page from which the submission is linked.
... we need to continue the fight against terrorism and particularly to deny Afghanistan as a place for terrorists to train.
What we know is that al Qaeda was facilitated for training in Afghanistan, that’s well known, we’ve seen the consequences of that training, tragically in violent incidents in our world that have taken thousands of lives, including the lives of Australians. So we are there on the same mission of strategic denial. ...
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you said that Australia would be asking questions today. What are the compelling answers that you have for them for staying the course?
PM: Well, the same answer I gave you last week is the same answer I would give today – in the hardest of circumstances, we need to be determined to stay the course in Afghanistan.
We’re in Afghanistan because we don’t want it to be a safe haven for terrorists. It has been in the past, and if we left a security vacuum in Afghanistan it would be filled by terrorist groups from around the world. We’ve seen that happen in the past. We would see it happen again.
In order to ensure that Afghanistan doesn’t become a safe haven for terrorists, we need to see the mission through. ...
Bin Laden waged war on innocent civilians. Under his command, al Qaeda planned and executed the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York and Washington in which nearly 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered.
Bin Laden’s al Qaeda also conducted, inspired or had links to numerous other terrorist atrocities in which Australians were killed and wounded.
Today, above all, we remember those who lost their lives in these attacks. These include:
Whatever you think about 9 11, this story is so revealing of the contempt our public media and our Primeminister have for public opinion and free expression and for that reason needs to be promoted. (Ed.) The interview by Jon Faine of Kevin Bracken about 9/11 on 20 October 2010 was "possibly the most biased ever heard in Australia on radio broadcast by the tax payer funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This attack by Faine of Bracken's questioning the 9/11 events included a torrent of ad hominem slurs and an absolute refusal to discuss any evidence that the events were anything but what we have been told by our governments. Interesting to note that John Faine is now complaining that the ABC has been swamped by 9/11 activists and it may take the ABC many weeks to deal with the massive amount of complaints and comments they have received. Many of these I know to be formal as I have received many courtesy copies of the complaints to the ABC accusing them of breeching their charter and broadcast policy."
Whatever you think about 9 11, this story is so revealing of the contempt our public media and our Primeminister have for public opinion and free expression and for that reason needs to be promoted. (Ed.).The interview by Jon Faine of Kevin Bracken about 9/11 on 20 October 2010 was "possibly the most biased ever heard in Australia on radio broadcast by the tax payer funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This attack by Faine of Bracken's questioning the 9/11 events included a torrent of ad hominem slurs and an absolute refusal to discuss any evidence that the events were anything but what we have been told by our governments. Interesting to note that John Faine is now complaining that the ABC has been swamped by 9/11 activists and it may take the ABC many weeks to deal with the massive amount of complaints and comments they have received. Many of these I know to be formal as I have received many courtesy copies of the complaints to the ABC accusing them of breeching their charter and broadcast policy."
The particularly good report that follows on the Faine/Bracken interview is by John Bursill, of 9/11 Truth Australia, and was originally published as Visibility 9-11 Welcomes Australian Union President, Kevin Bracken – A True Working Class Hero!
Listen here: http://visibility911.com/blog/?p=1785
To many the name Kevin Bracken is a new one in regards 9/11 Truth. The reality is that Kevin has been a champion of the 9/11 Truth cause since 2006 by disseminating information throughout the Victorian Union Movement and the Maritime Workers Union of Australia. He has distributed DVD's, shown films and shared information regularly with his associates and the people of Melbourne and he achieved motions calling for a new investigation from both the Victorian Trades Hall Council where he is the President and the Victorian branch of the Maritime Union of Australia of which he heads as Secretary. Kevin has also attended numerous conferences on 9/11 and has been the facilitator of such in Melbourne, Australia. Over the years Kevin and I have developed a close working relationship, both striving for the truth 9/11 to come out to bring end to the wars and to get our rights back that have been eroded since 9/11!
This is the motion passed on the 28th of March of 2008 at the VTHC;
"That this meeting of VTHC Executive Council calls for a thorough, independent enquiry into the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11.
The events of that day have been used to start pre-emptive wars "that will not end in our lifetime". They have been used to attack civil liberties and legal principles that have been the cornerstone of civilized communities.
There is an urgent need to reassess the way we view the world after September 11 and we call for proper investigation into the events around that day."
On the 20th of October 2010 Kevin was asked to ring into ABC 774 Mornings with John Faine although Faine disputes this. This was following an email that was sent to Faine by Kevin questioning 9/11 in the context of Australia's ongoing support of the Afghanistan occupation. After the recent Australian Election it was demanded by the Australian Greens in a "balance of power" deal that the Australian involvement in the Afghan War be debated in parliament in it's first sitting. This debate had been going on this week and it was the first time any such debate had happened since 9/11, which is simply outrageous.
This interview by Faine was possibly the most biased ever heard in Australia on radio broadcast by the tax payer funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This attack by Faine of Bracken's questioning the 9/11 events included a torrent of ad hominem slurs and an absolute refusal to discuss any evidence that the events were anything but what we have been told by our governments. A reasonable explanation of what happened and also with attached audio can be found here. This story titled "Trades Hall president Kevin Bracken Stands by his 9/11 Conspiracy" has been reported all around the world and included a poll which started off running at around 50/50 asking if Kevin's questions about 9/11 were "reasonable" but has continued to move in his favour ending up at the time of writing these notes at 75% in favour of Bracken.
Kevin has received literally thousands of thank you's from around the world for his brave stance for 9/11 Truth! Standing his ground even after being directly verbally bashed by the Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard saying he was "stupid and wrong" and having his own leadership comrades buckle at the knees if the face of unfounded ridicule. Rather than running for cover Kevin with his chin in the air has reiterated his position defying any to debate him on the issue! As usual all media presstitutes have refused, as there is obviously "no debate to have". It seems that the vast majority of the public disagree and would like to see such a debate but none of the so called "journalists" dare to tread such a path.
Interesting to note that John Faine is now complaining that the ABC has been swamped by 9/11 activists and it may take the ABC many weeks to deal with the massive amount of complaints and comments they have received. Many of these I know to be formal as I have received many courtesy copies of the complaints to the ABC accusing them of breeching their charter and broadcast policy.
The battle for 9/11 Truth is far from over and as long as the fools in power maintain their policy of occupation of Afghanistan they will remain exposed and at risk of criminal prosecution due to the lies of 9/11. Lets hope it comes soon or they realize and stop the bloodshed.
#appendix1" id="appendix1">Appendix: YouTube presentation of 'your' ABC's Jon Faine's persecution of of Kevin Bracken for speaking the truth
YouTube broadcast, originally created by A Lawson (alawson911) can be found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE3pMPObcGU). For your convenience, we have reprinted A Lawson's accompanying comments below.
Listen to an overbearing gatekeeper, Jon Faine, attempt to rubbish the genuine concerns of an Australian trades unionist, Kevin Bracken, in an attempt to stifle any debate about the many anomalies in the official 9/11 story.
Seldom have I heard anyone, who obviously wants the issue to go away, do more to attract attention to it. He did this during a phone-in on the publicly-owned Australian Broadcasting Commission's 774 ABC Melbourne radio station.
A small amount of sound editing was necessary, but the integrity of the conversation was retained. The unedited sound file of the conversation can be found on this Internet page.
The following web page has more background.
Trades Hall president Kevin Bracken stands by his 9/11 conspiracy
In spite of much having been done by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that we should be rightly critical of, I still hold hope that there may be an outside chance that a person who has risen to the political top in her country, may have greatness and a streak of decency in her. Knowledge of past history, particularly that of the United States shows that a corrupt elite don't, on every occasion, succeed in corrupting those who rise to the top of their country's political system. This article was originally a comment..
In spite of much having been done by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that we should be rightly critical of, I still hold hope that there may be an outside chance that a person who has risen to the political top in her country, may have greatness and a streak of decency in her. Knowledge of past history, particularly that of the United States shows that a corrupt elite don't, on every occasion, succeed in corrupting those who rise to the top of their country's political system.
This article was originally a comment..
In spite of much having been done by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that we should be rightly critical of, I still hold hope that there may be an outside chance that Julia Gillard, who has risen to the political top in her country, may have greatness and a streak of decency in her.
What gives me this hope is the courage she showed in toppling her indescribably bad predecessor, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, instead of remaining meekly subordinate to him as nearly every other Labor politician in recent decades, would have done. What also gives me hope is knowledge of the history of the United States of America. In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, people of indisputable greatness and good will, who showed that they were determined to challenge, rather than make compromises with, the corrupt vested interests in the USA, made it to the highest office in the land (or almost certainly would have if they had lived). These figures include, in the 20th century, Presidents John F Kennedy, his brother Robert, President Roosevelt and Martin Luther King. In the 19th century, they include President Lincoln, who waged the Civil War to abolish slavery and challenged the power of private banks, and in the 18th century, they include Presidents, Washington and Jefferson and many of the other founding fathers of the United States.
Of course, it is far more likely that anyone who makes it to the top of a political system in a society under the domination of a corrupt elite will either have been corrupt at the outset or will have been corrupted in the process.
The above examples show that there can be exceptions to that rule.
President John F Kennedy tried to end his country's military intervention in Vietnam (and would have, had he lived) and stopped the military industrial complex from invading Cuba and waging nuclear war. Domestically he stood up to the banks and the steel companies.
President Roosevelt stated in 1944 that he intended to introduce a second part the the US Declaration of Human Rights that would have guaranteed every American citizen the right to paid remuneration that would have met his/her needs for sustenance and shelter. If he had not died in 1945, America could not have become the extremely unjust society that it has since become, as shown in Michael Moore's film of 2009 "Capitalism: A Love Story".
Humanity's unacknowledged debt to Robert Bowman
Another, so far, largely unsung hero (and, astonishingly, unsung by even the supposedly anti-war and anti-racist 'left') is Vietnam War veteran Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bowman. He used his influence to stop Ronald Reagan from launching global nuclear war in the 1980's with his Pershing and Cruise missiles and Star Wars program. He made roughly 5,000 public speeches (I think that is the count) against Reagan's plans for war and in doing so, probably made the greatest individual contribution towards stopping him. For this reason alone the debt humanity owes Bob Bowman may even be greater than that owed to the late President Kennedy.
In Kennedy's case, critics can point to actions of his which seem to have been unprincipled, as we can with Julia Gillard. A number of these actions can however be shown to have been necessary compromises to make possible the eventual achievement of far greater good. If, in spite of human fallibility and the corrupting influence of most other politicians and the political system, such wonderful people were able to use their positions of power to achieve the great good that they have, we should not completely exclude the possibility that decent people can also rise to the top in Australia.
(I apologise that I can't give examples from Australia that are as concrete. I don't know enough to be able to say if certain famous past Australian leaders were as great (considering their more limited context) and as well-intentioned as those in the USA mentioned above.)
Title of article was originally "All who rise to the top of politics aren't necessarily corrupted ".
For decades our elected leaders have used the hackneyed phrase 'governing for the country and not for opinion polls' as a way of excusing their autocratic decisions and impositions. Claiming to serve what they said was the "national interest," they have ignored public opinion and even election promises.
The implied justification is that only those at the levers of power with expert advice available to them can hope to understand the necessary choices to best serve the public interest. Ordinary members of the public, on the other hand, are supposedly incapable of arriving at the correct choices.
Elite view historically not in public interest
History shows that this elite view of political reality is wrong.
In fact in the last three decades, public opinion, as expressed through public opinion polls (as limited and imperfect as polling has been in general), has been far more correct about what is in the public interest than the opinions of the politicians who have ignored it. The most clear and obvious example is privatisation. Almost never has a government been elected because of its privatisation policies (Jeff Kennett's re-election in the 1990's in preference to the discredited Victorian Labor Party could arguably be held to be an exception to the rule). Never has any privatisation enjoyed majority public support and polls have usually shown emphatic opposition.
Every privatisation, without exception, has harmed the public interest. Yet governments, supposedly governing for the "national interest" continue to sell off publicly owned assets in defiance of public opinion.
Other unpopular policies purportedly in the national interest
Other unpopular policies implemented by governments "in the national interest" include slashing of public spending, deregulation of our finances, removal of protection of Australian manufacturing from slave-wage economies, the privatisation of retirement income, etc.
Will Abbott discover a Gillard Abyss like Howard discovered the Beazley Black Hole?
Upon the election of an Abbott Liberal Government it is almost guaranteed that Tony Abbott will 'discover' the national finances to be in a far worse state than he now claims he realises they are. An immediate Liberal precedent to this, was where, after his election in 1996, Liberal Prime Minister John Howard 'discovered' that the country's finances were in a far worse state than he claimed to have realised during the election.
Because of the so-called "Beazley Black hole" Howard assumed a right to massively cut social spending, never knowingly given to him by Australian electors in 1996.
Our best guarantee against such unmandated and harmful expenditure cuts being foisted upon us is the re-election of the current Labor Government, for all of its flaws.
At least this Government has the virtue of being led by a leader, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has stood up to the previous leader, Kevin Rudd. Rudd's policies, not Julia's, may have created excuses for an incoming Liberal Government to 'slash and burn' in the style of John Howard in 1996.
A Gillard return would be a #winlose" id="winlose">Win-lose rather than a Lose-Lose
Looking at our less-than-perfect election choices pragmatically, it is far less likely that a re-elected Gillard Government will 'discover' a necessity to savagely cut Government spending than a newly elected Abbott government is likely to.
For this reason, if no other, Australians should vote Gillard back in.
If Gillard is not a rehash of the hollow Rudd, who hoodwinked us into the false hope of the 2007 pork barrelling and spun that hollow 2020 Summit; Gillard's absence of maxims and deadlines for Australia's population/immigration targets only confirms voters ought to realistically presume more of the same.
Tony only wants to stop the boats. He is quite happy for the other 99% arriving by plane to keep coming.
Ordinary voters need to detox from this election bender. Only the political parties, their advertisers and their media allies stand to benefit. Like the pubs and clubs that own the pokies, they control the outcome and the punters lose.
Voters need to stop hoping things will improve under either LibLab party. After 21st August, we won't enter a new era. It will be more of the same. The media phasing will run to formula. First they'll flog reality TV labelled as 'Decision 2010', then there'll be celebration and paralysis by analysis, followed by a month of new government honeymoon hope, before inevitable criticism returns and the eggs start flying again. [I wish that bloke waiting in the Canberra café had been a better shot!]
If only voters for once would accept that after the election things do not improve either way. If voters vote non-LibLab for genuine change, there is a slither of hope that voters may get what they wish for - 'change'.
But who else is out there? With such a political vacuum, why are there so few choices, so few alternatives, so few leaders? The LibLab's have their oliogarchic system sown up with their donated millions providing campaign supremacy, their safe seats, their gerrymanders, the electoral system's prejudice against newcomers and small players, and the mainstream media bias allowing only the LibLabs their time in the sun.
So we cop the same old LibLab pendulous crap. In living memory is has been Holt > Gorton >McMahon> Whitlam > Fraser > Hawke > Keating > Howard > Rudd > Gillard... All LibLab. All like tired re-runs of M*A*S*H* once the ratings finish.
According to some of Australia's most widely published journalists and many opinion polls, the Liberal and National Parties were thrown out of office largely because of voter objections to their policies, notably their anti-union "Work Choices" laws.
Despite this, less than three years since Australians repudiated the ruling Federal Liberal and National Parties' policies and laws, the same polls and commentators say that they may soon become the government again. There are issues behind the issues which the mainstream doesn't cover.
According to some of Australia's most widely published journalists and many opinion polls, the Liberal and National Parties were thrown out of office largely because of voter objections to their policies, notably their anti-union "Work Choices" laws.
Despite this, less than three years since Australians repudiated the ruling Federal Liberal and National Parties' policies and laws, the same pollsters and commentators say that they may soon become the government again. There are issues behind the issues which the mainstream doesn't cover.
According to some of Australia's most widely published journalists and many opinion polls, the Liberal and National Parties were thrown out of office largely because of voter objections to their policies, notably their anti-union "Work Choices"laws.
Despite this, less than three years since Australians repudiated the ruling Federal Liberal and National Parties' policies and laws, the same pollsters and commentators say that they may soon become the government again.
If media 'prediction' comes true, Labor will have turned into a one-term government party and the Liberal and National Coalition will have effectively become the natural parties of Government.
The mainstream media are like obedient cattle-dogs barking at the heels of the public, herding us en masse one way, then sending us wheeling in the opposite direction, yet somehow we always end up back in the same dull paddock with lousy feed and the same old farmer Brown.
Julia Gillard has incurred the farmer's wrath because she has publicly rejected former Prime Minster Kevin Rudd's "Big Australia" policy to hugely swell Australia's population, mostly through immigration. The press have called her 'populist' (oddly, their greatest insult) , insinuated that she is racist, and trotted out article after article saying how terrible it would be if our population stopped growing. They have also tried to condemn her on the pretext of her allegedly ruthless deposing of Rudd. The unfavourable treatment of Gillard over this and other issues may be the reason why opinion polls and some widely published journalists are predicting that Labor is now more likely to lose than to win the election.
Manufactured media dramas overshadow major democratic and environmental issues
This swaying of an election by emphasisizing in a negative way such aspects of the campaign is an illustration of just how the media can unfairly decide the outcome of elections. Those, who have been persuaded to vote against Labor through exposure to this repeated narrowly focused media-disapproval, may not have based their decision on far more critical policy issues, including the need to strengthen and preserve democracy and our long-term sustainability as a civilised and prosperous society, which are both issues at stake. Mainstream media focus virtually ignores democracy and ecological sustainability.
Julia Gillard's ousting of Kevin Rudd could provide a way for the Labor Government to much better govern in the interests of ordinary Australians than under Kevin Rudd's leadership. Under Kevin Rudd's leadership, a lot of policies which were harmful to the interests of ordinary Australians and which had never obtained their informed support, were being imposed dictatorially. The most resented, we are learning as the population debate explodes, was Kevin Rudd's decision to unhealthily bloat Australia's population to suit some vested commercial interests. Successive recent governments,
including John Howard's, had been ramping up population growth, but Rudd opened up the throttle to a rate where the harm to existing Australians and the environment was plain for all to see.
Ruddbank and Building the Education Revolution
In addition, the Rudd Government was criticised for crudely implementing major programs of Government expenditure.
The most widely criticised of these crude schemes was in relation to the squandering of money on school infrastructure, which has been blamed on Julia Gillard, because she oversaw the grandiosely named $16.2 billion "Building the Education Revolution" scheme. The main basis of this criticism was that projects which could have delivered to many schools, simply through through repairs of or the extension of existing buildings, using local firms and labour, were scrapped in favour of arbitrarily selected new buildings delivered by large, remote construction companies.
This program should really have been criticised within a larger policy, as a mutation of Rudd and Swann's
Ruddbank bill, which was thrown out of Parliament at the last moment. Ruddbank was Rudd's first reaction to the global financial crisis. He saw banks pulling out of financing more property development, and thus the pins being pulled from under the construction and development bubble which Australia has been dangerously reliant on now for years. Rudd and Swann rose to power from humble political beginnings in 1986 when they worked in Wayne Goss's office in Queensland. There they traded ALP investments until they had built a huge ALP self-financing tradition on land-speculation and finance largely in property, banking, and insurance. Rudd and Swann are wed to that kind of economy; so was the ALP under them. Those financial attachments have driven laws in parliament to privilege development and infrastructure finance with public money, and to exclude democratic rights to oppose unwanted development.
If the mainstream media hates Gillard so much, can she be all that bad?
It is hard to believe that Gillard's government will not remain bound by those financial ties, however the fact that Gillard has piped up about not being a big population person makes her government unusual. Many of us wonder if she is sincere and if she is able to deliver democratically on this.
Perhaps the biggest indicator that she may be able to is that the mainstream media are so consistently opposed to her. Going by their disapproval of her population statements this is because they truly believe she may cut down on population growth and the huge immigration program they have been responsible for marketing on behalf of the corporate sector and their own corporate investments.
Indeed, her object may actually be less a democratic one than to avoid incurring more public debt through more taxpayer funding of shortfalls in infrastructure finance at a time when no private institution wants to invest in infrastructure expansion. She may be responding to ALP corporate advice that the so-called Global Financial Crisis is only just beginning.
So, should we trust our instincts which tell us that to vote for the people the mainstream media most objects to, and therefore vote Gillard back in?
Would the Libs carry on Rudd's infrastructure investment policies and exploit Labor's bad state laws?
On the other hand, What would happen if the Liberal National Coalition regained majority in Federal Parliament?
The question this article raises is, could we be better off with a Liberal government? Or would a Liberal government simply do the same thing as the Labor governments, relying on the suppression of democracy at law which has been accomplished at parliamentary level by Labor State Governments in their efforts to promote infrastructure expansion in tandem with international immigration?
To our knowledge, the only Liberal opposition which has actually criticised the way that Labor has gone about financing infrastructure expansion and population growth with tax-payer money and suppressing democratic objection by changing laws and abolishing local government power, has been the Queensland Liberal-National Party. See "John-Paul Langbroek and why the Liberal National Party won't survive unless Labor Governments reform." This article, whilst supporting Queensland Liberal-National Party leader, John-Paul Langbroek's condemnation of the structural corruption of government in Queensland, and proposing useful ways to combat this corruption, also acknowledges that it is perhaps only the Liberal-National Party's need to survive which drives these reform attempts. Despite these doubts, what else do we have to begin to deconstruct the diabolical machine that the Labor Party has constructed against democracy?
Langebroek's bills need to be repeated in every state and Federal parliament and supported by all parties. Yet we hear almost no discussion of them.
Role of Media and of Internet Censorship in Australian politics
The ability of the public to monitor what is going on and to act to make the government and opposition politicians represent them better lies in the quality of the mainstream media. Much hope in this regard lies in internet-based alternative media and our ability to harnass this for public benefit.
An important related issue is Gillard's decision to delay internet censorship and the Liberal Government's policy platform of cancelling it, with the support of the Greens.
Even though the Liberals opposition to #filtering">mandatory internet filtering is a welcome development in Australian democracy, many voters will still have to weigh this against the likelihood that a re-elected liberal government will act similarly to the last Liberal government of which most current Liberal members of Parliament were members. That government behaved undemocratically and in many instances against the interests of most Australians, particularly poor Australians. The most striking example was its anti-union "Work Choices" legislation.
In fact the issue of mandatory internet filtering is bigger than just the question of censorship; it is really about government-monitoring and control over every Australian's behaviour on the internet and goes to the heart of intellectual and personal privacy. As James Sinnamon said, "If a government really wanted to outlaw child pornography over the internet, it would do much better to make it a criminal offense to consult certain sites, and publish the addresses of those sites and its reasons for outlawing them. In that way it could avoid the extraordinary financial, bureaucratic, hard and software outlay required to monitor every click made by 22 million plus Australians on the internet, whilst achieving the same objective."
This needs more discussion.
Two weeks out from a federal election and the range and depth and vision on the two major parties - the LibLabs is woefully simplistic and shortsighted.
Both Lib Lab economic rationalist factions are selfishly limited to an 'ends justifies the means' approach purely to get elected. Both are indulging in election-term economics, lobbying marginal seats, pork barreling the swinging voter and trying to differentiate themselves from each other. Neither are relevant to the future governance of Australia.
They are not about the many departmental portfolios they take responsibility for. They are simplistically about two personalities - Tony and Julia.
Tony thinks it is simply about 'ending the waste, repaying the debt, stopping the big new taxes and stopping the boats'. [Tony Abbott website, 28th July 2010].
Julia thinks it is simply about 'moving Australia forward', and motherhood statements like 'securing our future with responsible economic management', 'delivering fairness for working families', an education revolution, and 'tackling climate change' (somehow). [Labor Platform].
It's dumbing down the issues as if the Australian electorate is a crowd watching a football match.
Have a read:
These policies are on the fly, tokenistic pork-barrelling for media sound grabs. They lack robust research and are reactionary. They are outputs of overpaid consultants advising the major parties to focus only on the key 'push-button' re-election issues. They are only about getting re-elected and getting the pollsters to push them a few percentage points ahead of the other.
The offerings are hollow. The LibLabs are short-sighted simpletons. They reveal the lack of ideological vision once characteristic an inspiring of politics over 30 years ago. One has to return to the Whitlam era to recall ideological vision in Australian politics. These days the LibLabs have created a political vacuum in Australia.
No wonder many Australians just tune out. We've heard it all before. We've seen the promises become conveniently forgotten and dishonoured. We've seen successive LibLabs grow on the nose four years down the track.
Where are the long term strategic visions, direction and investment plans for this great nation?
Where's the badly needed long term investment into the big picture issues?
Here are some of Australia's big picture issues that demand longterm political vision:
* TRANSPORT: Public transport infrastructure - a national fast rail network for both freight and passengers;
* ENERGY: Transition strategy into clean and renewable energy;
* POLLUTION: Carrot and stick strategies to reduce pollution particularly in industry and private transport. (climate change and greenhouse gas emissions pare just fancy words or 'pollution');
* DOMESTIC INDUSTRY: Strengthen Australia's domestic industries to restore international competitiveness, stem the flow of industrial entrepreneurship and investment offshore and to curb the unfair market controls by big business over small business;
* EDUCATION: Vocational education (TAFE) aligned to industry needs for the next 20 years, where industry is made to financial contribute and play a key role, to realign the local skills shortage epidemic;
* Public schools to bring the educational standards up to private school standards so as to address the Dickensian class inequity across Australian schools;
* University funding so Australian universities are not beholded to international student fees for their financial survival;
* HEALTH: New major hospitals to fill the chronic bed shortages in all capital cities, and nationalise health with training and infrastructure to stay one step ahead of demand, and to address the inequity of rural health.
* INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS: Fair financial compensation for the stolen generations and the stolen wages to redress the 20th Century government treatment of Aborigines as slaves;
* Strategies and resources to address the indigenous inequity of access to essential public services and to address the shortcomings in life expectancy and living standards
* Constitutional recognition of the prior occupation and sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their rights and obligations as owners and custodians
and to self determination, political representation and equity in developing and implementing public policies, programs and services that affect them. (Refer The Greens policy)
* SUSTAINABLE AND ACCOUNTABLE IMMIGRATION: Not a population policy, but a sustainable immigration policy - one that is accountable to the full social costs (costs of living, public infrastructure supply, homelessness and unemployment), one that is aligned to our Australian value system, one that is accountable to the full environmental costs, and one that is accountable to the complete immigration lifecycle - where new arrivals become self-sufficient and integrated into the broader community;
* ENVIRONMENT: Strategies for sustainable crop selection, sustainable agricultural practices (irrigation, fertilizer, land clearing, salinity, runoff), Murray-Darling irrigation buy back and local community transition support, new national parks, sustainable forestry that makes the AFS certification a national minimal standard, sustainable fishing initiatives.
* THE ARTS: Arts and culture policy to provide opportunities and encouragement of Australian home-grown talent
* DEFENCE: A defence policy that is wholly about defence of Australia aligned to the interests of our immediate regional security and peace in the Oceania region, not the current offence policy that is wrongly aligned to the militarist interests of the United States - Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan.
* EMERGENCY SERVICES: Overhaul underfunded volunteer emergency services national-wide (ambulance, fire and those dealing with bushfire emergencies, storm emergencies, and other natural disaster emergencies) to give Australians a 21st Century chance of survival and recovery
* POVERTY: Addressing the causes of Australia's growing underclass - homelessness, unemployment, record incarceration and recidivism, those affected by mental health issues and substance abuse, family breakdown and domestic violence;
* ELECTORAL CONTRACT: An electoral contract to make electoral promises accountable to the people
I am sure there are others.
At least the Greens offer alternatives, but they have many shortcomings with their policies too, such as where is the economic case to show that The Greens could run the economy?
This uncertainty is why the Greens don't get a leg in.
A vote for any other party offers the hope of change.
A vote for Lib or Lab, promises more of the same crap.
'A people who are sheep get a government of wolves.'
Gillard's car fuel-efficiency 'reforms' will hurt the poor and cost natural capital
Prime Minister Julia Gillard's stated intention to remove from our roads vehicles made prior to 1995," which guzzle a lot of petrol and they spew out a lot of pollution," is naive. Instead of reducing our carbon guzzling, it will increase humankind's consumption of non-renewable materials, contrary to its stated purpose.
Touted fuel consumption savings of more modern vehicles will be cancelled out by the carbon and other natural non-renewable resources which the new vehicles will require for their manufacture. Consigned to the scrap-heap as 'old cars' the valuable and non-renewable materials and fuel embodied in the older supposedly less fuel-efficient vehicles will represent a regrettably permanent deficit in our energy and materials accounting for what is known as natural capital.
Cars don't use non-renewable petroleum and spew out carbon gases only when we drive them. To manufacture a car requires the mining, production and processing of masses of steel, iron-ore, coal for smelting metals, petroleum for driving car-manufacturing factory vehicles and engines, petroleum for plastics used for paints and fittings, plus aluminum, glass, rubber, and copper.
Embodied energy in automobiles
Treloar, et al. have estimated the embodied energy in an average automobile in Australia as 0.27 terajoules as one component in an overall analysis of the energy involved in road transportation." ('Embodied energy' simply refers to the amount of fuel and materials used to produce a car.)
In 2007, for example, the average car contained 2,400 pounds (1,090 kilograms) of steel, and the average pickup truck or SUV used nearly 3,000 pounds (1,360 kilograms) [source: Sherefkin]. Consider that most cars now weigh around 3,000 pounds, and most SUVs weigh around 4,000 pounds (1,810 kilograms) -- that's a lot of steel! (Source: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/auto-manufacturing/5-materials-used-in-auto-manufacturing1.htm
Trashing thousands of long-lasting cars creates the need to manufacture more cars
The savings in fuel consumption of more modern makes of vehicles are unlikely to be less than the carbon and other natural non-renewable resources used to manufacture the new vehicles, whilst the natural capital used to make the older supposedly less fuel-efficient vehicles will be permanently lost once they are consigned to the scrap heap.
To accomplish their stated (but impossible) goal, the Government intends to give a $2000 rebate to anyone who scraps a pre-1995 car. After receiving this one-off subsidy, second hand buyers are then expected to buy from a pool of retail cars, new and used, minus the scrapped pre-1995 models.
Obviously this situation, if it is allowed to be created, will inflate the price of new and used cars for Australians, in a country where automobiles are notoriously heavily taxed prior to retail.
If the government were really thinking about the future, then they would be trying to conserve fuel and materials for the long run. They are doing the very opposite. We live at a time when fuel and materials are becoming increasingly precious due to the demands of population and consumerism on natural capital, which should be conserved, instead of being mined and smelted for new cars.
Over time, the poorer owners of the older motor vehicles have faced greater difficulty getting them registered due to ever more restrictive vehicle registration regulations. These regulations will make it ever harder for poor people to register their vehicles. It can be harder to have older vehicles meet acceptable standards of roadworthiness as higher standards are imposed and as it becomes harder to replace broken fixtures or engine parts.
 (Cited in Wikipedia Treloar, Graham J.; Love, Peter E. D.; Crawford, Robert H. (January/February 2004). "Hybrid Life-Cycle Inventory for Road Construction and Use". Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 130 (1): 43-49. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2004)130:1(43). http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/refs/lca/Treloar.pdf. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
The Australian Growth Lobby has only a couple of primitive weapons - calling the PM a racist and misrepresenting the figures. The other side has all the good arguments, as well as truth on its side. This article analyses the childish statistical misrepresentation and social innuendo in the Australian Financial Review editorial, "PM's own goal on population," 5 July 2010, p.54.
Who's afraid of Julia Gillard?
Fears about what Gillard's population policy statements mean are coming from the commercial growth lobby and, to a lesser extent, from the NGO sustainable population lobby. The first fears that Gillard is serious about not wanting a big Australia and beyond their control. The second fears that Gillard, too, will let democracy down and fall in line with the depraved agenda of the growth lobbyists, like so many Australian prime ministers. Using the commercial media, the Growth Lobby has prevailed over this country since Captain Cook brought over the first political prisoners, known then as convicts, later as colonists, never really as citizens with rights.
The apparent fear in the hearts (do they have them?) ... well, minds ... what about small, reptilian brains? (Oh, dang it, that's disrespectful to snakes)... of the growth lobbyists is therefore encouraging, because unless they are playing a truly elaborate farce, they really are worried that they have lost control of the P.M.
A few more intelligent ones may realise that it is the economic situation over which they have lost control, but the multitude are dimmer witted fundamentalists who still believe they can control the economic situation by controlling the P.M.
They only have a couple of primitive weapons to do this with - calling the PM a racist and misrepresenting the immigration and economic figures. All the good arguments are on their opponents' side. However the Growth Lobby does control the mainstream media still.
"PM's own goal on population" (Australian Financial Review, Editorial, p. 5 July 2010, p. 54) misrepresents the immigration figures by presenting them as percentiles of population growth. By stretching an average over 40 years between 1971 and a projected 2011 they manage to get a figure of 0.6% risk of being an immigrant per 100 people in Australia. What they don't say is that that percentage steadily declined over that time because the actual numbers of immigrants stayed the same at around 80,000 per annum. What changed was the total population numbers, as immigration and natural increase added to them.
See, if you start out with 13,177,000 people in 1972, 80,000 represents about 0.6%. Added to the baby-boom, that 0.6% grew the population at quite a clip, until, in 2000, Australia had a total population of 19,169,083. The actual number of immigrants, averaging around 80,000, now only represented 0.41% of the total population.  By the time the population reached 21,180,632 in 2007, 80,000 would only have represented 0.3% and the growth rate would have have been slowing continually (on average, although there were spikes, notably around the time of Tianamen Square under Bob Hawke and a negative number under Gough Whitlam, during the first oil shock).
But, as the anonymous author of the Australian Financial Review editorial says, in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the numbers of immigrants did not stay around the average. They more than doubled, to about 180,000. He or she also does not say that 180,000 represented 0.85% of the total population in 2007 instead of 0.3%. That's quite a leap.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which really is where the expert demographers are, doesn't talk in terms of immigration as a percentage of the total population because it is actually far more usual and more relevant to say what per cent of the total annual increase immigration represents.
This more usual measurement of immigration, however, wouldn't help The Australian's anonymous writer to fudge the facts.
In fact, in 2007 the ABS sent out media releases to tell Australians that the population had just increased by the most people ever and that net immigration had contributed 54% of that increase. This was the first time that immigrants minus emigrants had outnumbered births minus deaths in Australia.
"Largest population increase ever: ABS
"Australia recorded its largest annual population increase ever, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Australia grew by an estimated 307,100 people for the year ended March 2007, the largest increase since record keeping began in 1789. The increase gave Australia an annual growth rate of 1.5% (the highest rate since 1990), and brings the population to an estimated 20.9 million.
Net overseas migration contributed 54% (162,600 people) to this growth, which was more than the natural increase of 46% (138,100 people or 273,500 births minus 135,400 deaths).
Queensland again recorded the highest growth rate of all the states and territories, at 2.3%, followed by Western Australia at 2.2%, the Northern Territory 2%, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory 1.5 %, South Australia and New South Wales 1% and Tasmania 0.6%. "
On 30 June 2010, the ABS put out another headline, which said that immigration was now contributing to two thirds of the annual population increase!
There were 22.2 million people resident in Australia in December 2009, with 432,600 people added in the year to December 2009. Despite recent increases in the fertility rate, nearly two-thirds of the gain was from net overseas migration. In the year to June 2008, there was a doubling in the net gain of people on student visas (to 109,000). ABS projections show, depending on assumptions about migration and fertility, that Australia's population may be between 34 and 40 million in 2051."
The editorial in the Australian Financial Review also describes the intakes as if they had occurred accidentally or naturally, when in fact the growth lobby organs played a role in forcing those figures up.
Growth Lobby scapegoats PM to avoid its own responsibility
But the Growth Lobby doesn't want to be identified with its actions, let alone take responsibility for them. It would rather imply that the Prime Minister - an immigrant - is a racist or an immigrant turn-coat, in as contrived a manner as it has used in its 'explanation' of immigration statistics.
See what you make of this concluding statement in the anonymous editorial:
"Ms Gillard is Australia's first foreign-born prime minister since Billy Hughes. It will be a sad irony if the first word of her premiership becomes the final word of historians on her time in office: the leader who diverted the country from a future open to the ideas, creativity and effort of tomorrow's equivalents of her own parents, into a cul de sac of stagnation, insularity and rapid ageing."
Rather than a 'sad irony', many Australians would see Gillard's attitude as comforting in its loyalty to her new country and a sign of courage. Courage in the face of a low kind of blackmail which has seen fainter-hearted immigrants shut up about the dangers of over population simply because they are afraid of being accused of shutting the door behind them. Such immigrants are a liability in a time when the growth lobby has forced us to pay through the nose for desalination plants, when the supply of cheap oil upon which the unprecedented population numbers of the 20th and 21st century rely upon, is dwindling, and food and water are looming as scarcities.
These costs of population growth are never weighed up against the paltry gains of those who directly invest in it, in the narrow and false economic arguments which are the final weak links in the Growth Lobby's chain that binds us.
Just to complicate things, that meant that the population growth rate was slowing. Because the population was so much bigger, however, the smaller rate of increase still represented a much greater number of people.
For those who follow the stock exchange, building materials share values are the key to the boom and bust cycle of Australian (and similar systems) property, infrastructure and construction booms. When building materials values go down we know that overall market demand decline has settled in. It means that the developers and engineers have reduced their forward orders for bricks and mortar. At the same time Australian state governments have been told to reduce their own little-known immigrant-sponsorship programs.
Are business forecasts another key to Julia Gillard's apparent sea-change in population policy and Rudd's disappearance?
The ALP doesn't rely on mere donations from developers; it has its own huge investments in finance, insurance, mining, development and property, which act as a barometer for the benefits of growth. Could ALP investments and other big business now be warning the Labor Government that construction will no longer be able to soak up immigrants? Sure, pumping up population pumps up demand, but only if there is money to invest. Problem is that the money seems to be drying up.
Boral pulling up sticks
Building materials giant, Boral, long a veteran investor in Australian population growth and an early vocal member of the 20th century Australian population growth lobby, is downsizing some of its Australian and US operations and heading north, presumably scavenging the last inertias of scale in the post-colonial malignant growth of China, India and South East Asian regions.
The Australian Financial Review reported that Boral made a $49 million loss before interest and taxation in the first half of 2010.
The most tasteless era of ostentatious spending on multi-management layers wining and dining big projects and buyers since the one preceding the Great Depression may be on its last legs. The US housing market has gone phutt. The Australian market will follow.
And Boral shares, running at around $10 in 2006, are now about half that.
"Deutsche Bank believes that although Boral's Australian construction materials arm has been one of its strongest-performing divisions, with earnings before interest and taxation up 12 per cent to $107 million in the first half, it could easily cut some $14 million in costs by eliminating several layers of management." 
This will be a relief for less exalted workers and managers in the sector. Survival is possible in such industries if they follow the post 1970s oil-shock European model of maintaining infrastructure and housing stock instead of investing in population and construction growth. However, there won't be room for wedding-cake management tiers.
States told to cut their 'secret' immigration programs
Another sign of terminal decline in bricks and mortar bubbles is the new Federal Government's request to the states to cut back their semi-secret immigration programs, including the 176 visas. The states control land and derive income from its sale, notably through stamp duty. To generate land and housing sales they have been engineering population growth, in tandem with property developers and financiers. The associated state-sponsored immigration programs seem to have started in Victoria and are the most excessive there. Introduced by the Kennett government, one of their ploys was to make a low profile category of 'regional immigration' (once designed to assist low-population rural areas by facilitating skilled immigration and loosening definitions of family reunion) into one that applied everywhere, designating dense urban areas as in need of immigration. Long and short-term immigration in numbers previously unimagined has generated a demand for housing and jobs in construction. The same immigration probably supplies many of those non-English speaking construction-workers one sees moving like ants on roadways and tragically moon-scaped once green patches in Australian suburbs, carrying out orders at which most locals would bawk, if in control of the process.
State government spokespeople, including growth-corridor spruikers, have repeatedly claimed that immigration numbers were outside of their control, yet the states advertised aggressively for immigrants. See these articles, for instance: "Premier Bligh pretends Queenslanders cannot cap population growth although 60% want to" and "Melbourne 2008, Life in a destruction zone" and "Julianne Bell delivers resolutions to Planning Minister Madden in late impromptu meeting."
Yet the State Premiers continue to try to mislead the public on this, even subsequent to Gillard's new policies:
"We can't control who comes over our state borders, but the federal government can control who comes into Australia," (Anna Bligh) 
Tragically and wastefully the tendency of state governments to deny reality may see green wedges rezoned and destroyed even at this stage of construction detumescence by parliamentary rogues. See for instance, http://candobetter.org/node/2058 and http://candobetter.org/node/2067 Yet it may all be for nothing; those wedges might be sold at a financial loss in the end.
Women in power
We may gauge the panic of big business to the idea of a real debate on population through its mainstream media mouthpieces' hopeful perseveration with tying that rusty and irrelevant old racist can to the idea of sustainable population and Julia Gillard, reflected for instance, in this glowing chestnut where Gillard's red hair provides a cliched motif:
"Who can forget the last redhead to talk tough on immigration and protecting Australian values?
and "This isn't just about talking to voters in western Sydney but also in Queensland, which gave rise to Hansonism. Maintaining seats there is shaping as a major challenge in the federal election."
The comments above evoke the medieval European stigmatisation of red-heads, not to mention witch-hunting. Starting with the new Primeminister, women in Australia may be in for an interesting time as the boys start fighting over the scraps, in the property sector and government.
 Jeremy Wiggins, "Boral set to offload dead wood," Australian Financial Review, 28 June, 2010, page 1.
 Sophie Morris, "States' visas blunt skills thrust: Migration," Australian Financial Review, 28 June, 2010, page 8.
 Marcus Priest, "Values, being sustainable are the keys: Population,"Australian Financial Review, 28 June, 2010, page 8.
Marcus Priest, "Lurching to the right on boat people: Comment," Australian Financial Review, page 8.
"Inevitably when a Prime Minister or a Government says or does something there is a political analysis – Why are they doing this? What are they up to? While this is pretty much unavoidable, I think the explanation here is a pretty simple conjunction of the Prime Minister’s own convictions with the views of the vast majority of Australians." (Kelvin Thomson)
Received today from Kelvin Thomson's office were these remarks about the new P.M's opinions on population policy, plus Kelvin's earlier remarks on population at P.M. Rudd's 2050 summit.
"And finally, to yesterday’s dramatic announcement by Prime Minister Gillard that she does not support what has become known as a big Australia – a population of 36 or even 40 million by 2050.
Inevitably when a Prime Minister or a Government says or does something there is a political analysis – Why are they doing this? What are they up to? While this is pretty much unavoidable, I think the explanation here is a pretty simple conjunction of the Prime Minister’s own convictions with the views of the vast majority of Australians.
I have been very anxious to ensure that the debate we have to have about population did not descend into the gutter with allegations of racism and the like, and I have been very pleased that it has not. I have been very clear about my own position on such matters – I have no designs on the non-discriminatory migration policy, I support an increase in our refugee intake, and I support an increase in Australia’s overseas aid to the world’s poorest people to meet the United Nations target of 0.7% of Gross National Income.
I have worked very hard to stay out of the debate concerning refugee and asylum seeker policies during the past year, because the number of people involved is just a fraction of Australia’s migration intake and it should not derail the larger debate. There are some people who want to talk incessantly about boat people and say nothing about the skyrocketing of visas in the skilled migration category, for overseas students who have been able to stay on indefinitely, and the temporary entry visas.
So I will enter the debate about refugee and asylum seekers today to make two points only. The tail has been wagging the dog; we should focus on the debate on the total migration program, not a small component of it. Secondly, I believe there is a large reservoir of goodwill and compassion within the Australian community towards asylum seekers, but one of the things that drains that reservoir of goodwill is the difficulties people experience – cost of living pressures, housing affordability, loss of open space, traffic congestion – caused by migration-fuelled population growth. If we get that under control, then we will find that reservoir of goodwill replenishing itself, and find the policy questions surrounding asylum seekers less emotive and fraught than they are at present.
So I am really pleased by the announcement by the Prime Minister that she intends to take a new direction in population policy, and to chart a course away from growth towards sustainability.
It shows the Prime Minister is on the wavelength of ordinary Australians. 70% of Australians don’t want our population to reach 36 million. When Treasury released its projections of a 36 million population for Australia in September last year, I said this would be too many, and I called for a national debate on this issue.
We have been having this debate. Australians have expressed their concern about the impact of rising population on our food and water supplies, on housing affordability, on traffic congestion, on the quality of life in our cities, on our carbon emissions and on our endangered wildlife.
The Prime Minister has recognized this concern, and I am very encouraged by what this means for the kind of Australia we are going to leave as a legacy for future generations of Australians."
Preceding the above in the original communication via email were the following remarks:
The Inaugural Population Australia 2050 Summit –
Conclusion by Kelvin Thomson, MHR for Wills
I want to conclude my remarks this afternoon by commenting on three areas – the population threat to Australia’s unique wildlife, the issue of urban sprawl, and yesterday’s dramatic announcement by Prime Minister Gillard.
First, the population threat to Australia’s unique wildlife. Eight years ago the signatories to the Convention on Biodiversity, including Australia, made a bold and ambitious commitment to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. We are now in 2010. It is the International Year of Biodiversity. But the rate at which are species are declining shows no sign of slowing down. Let me observe here in Sydney that the greatest bird declines have occurred in the temperate south-eastern regions of Australia, which is of course where most population growth has occurred. A lot of birds are mobile and nomadic, and the destruction of habitat for housing, agriculture, roads, mining and other infrastructure to support an expanding population is destructive of their prospects.
Species like the Swift Parrot and the Regent Honeyeater are now nationally endangered. These birds are highly mobile nectar feeders. The Regent Honeyeater range and numbers have contracted greatly as a result of loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat, with old trees dying in paddocks and the clearing of native vegetation robbing them of crucial links in the nomadic chain.
If we look at the beaches, we find a species like the Hooded Plover taking a battering due to urban sprawl along our coastlines. People’s intensive use of beaches means the Hooded Plover eggs get stepped on, or fry in the sun when adult birds are drawn away from the nest when disturbed by people or their dogs. Hooded Plovers have almost disappeared from New South Wales.
But it’s not just rare species under the pump. Some of Australia’s best known wildlife – Kookaburras, Emus, Koalas, Lyrebirds, and Platypus – are also taking big hits to their numbers, declining by 30%, or even 50 and 60%, in significant parts of their former range. It would be a disgrace if we were to allow our iconic wildlife to disappear from view in our watch.
Second, urban sprawl. I am more familiar with Melbourne than I am with Sydney, but I suspect the issues at stake are likely to be similar. Recently the Victorian Government, unfortunately with Opposition support, moved to expand Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary, paving the way for another 24,000 hectares of urban sprawl for Melbourne. I believe this is a mistake.
Melbourne is becoming an obese, hardened-artery parody of its former self. Extending the Urban Growth Boundary is like a man rapidly gaining weight who thinks he can solve the problem by loosening his belt.
Expanding the Urban Growth Boundary has five strikes:
1. It allows the destruction of nearly 7,000 hectares of volcanic plains grassland, and nearly 1,000 hectares of grassy woodland. Since European settlement over 95% of Victoria’s original native grassland has been destroyed. We should be protecting the less than 5% we still have.
2. The 284,000 households projected in this expansion will, at the present rate of car possession, add another 400,000 cars to Melbourne, many of them trying to get to and from the CBD each day to work. We already have 2 million cars in Melbourne and massive traffic congestion, which urban sprawl will only worsen.
3. The cost of meeting the infrastructure needs of these new suburbs is massive, and new schools, public transport, health services and the rest come at the cost of meeting the needs of existing communities, such as providing a High School for Coburg.
4. Extending the Urban Growth Boundary represents a further breach into Melbourne’s promised Green Wedges. In 2002 Melbourne 2030 went into areas such as Epping North which had previously been set aside as Green Wedges. It promised the non-urban area outside the Urban Growth Boundary would be better protected. In 2005 the Urban Growth Boundary was again extended, removing 11,500 hectares from Green Wedges. This was said to be enough for the next 25 years. Apparently not. Green Wedges should be permanent wedges between growth corridors, not potential urban land supply that is bulldozed as soon as there is a demand for it.
5. Expanding the Urban Growth Boundary contradicts the Melbourne 2030 Plan. Melbourne 2030 was justified in the name of stopping urban sprawl. It hasn’t. Suburbs continue to march out onto the horizon. Property developers are having their cake and eating it too. We’re growing both upwards and outwards.
Five years ago Melbourne’s population was increasing at 55,000 per annum. Now it is increasing at the rate of 110,000 per annum. We are on the way to five million, then six million, then seven million. In my view this will not give us a better Melbourne than the one we have now, it will give us a poorer one.
Kelvin Thomson MP
Now that people have finally accepted that gender is and should be irrelevant in politics (at least in civilised societies like Australia) we can get down to the agenda and actions of Acting PM Gillard's new leadership team.
Sensibly new Acting PM Gillard is distinguishing herself from the unpopular agenda priorities and Rudd's unsuccessful arrogant autocratic style. Gillard's professed consultative style and modest tone signal a quick decisive break from Ruddism. Though still early days since Gillard Coup Date 24th June 2010, just four days ago; Gillard has been lightning quick to announce 'refocusing', 'new directions', 'new focal points', 'new initiatives' and 'shutting down some issues' [Digital Journal]...almost as if it has been planned for some time, perhaps?
What was Labor Right up to and for how long?
De-Rudding seems to be a fast way to work the pollsters to gain quick public relations wins, necessary for any new replacement PM. Rudd's major policy defeats most obviously have been his Mining Super Tax impost, his 'Howard-esk' rejection of asylum seekers and his backdown from his Emissions Trading Scheme. Rudd had many election promises and then he had his 2020 Summit with even more obligations.
The Rudd era is over, so what of all Rudd Labor's election promises?
Where is the electorate at now in its expectations of government?
Gillard has quickly withdrawn the government ads supporting the tax, but has not rejected the tax nor its 40% rate. On the ETS and asylum seekers Gillard remains silent so far.
But good leaders must first get their leadership team in order. Today that happened. Minimal reshuffle, steady as she goes and few changes which reflect internal promotions to senior capable people, sparked by the need to fill Gillard's previous role in the crucial Education portfolio. Simon Crean is a safe choice and if an election is in the air, no need to unsettle the team in the short term pre-election.
Now what about Gillard fulfilling Rudd's electoral promises? These comprise Labor's electoral moral contract and on such basis Labor has an electoral mandate. But if all the electoral promises have gone with Rudd, then Gillard has no electoral mandate.
Gillard's approach of 'coordinated media releases' sounds good for public communication of Government. Headlines need substance otherwise it won't be long before electoral cynicism emerges.
But Gillard's personal credibility is undermined by the fact that she has been Rudd's deputy and part of Rudd's 'gang of four' and so presumed by most to be complicit in Rudd's choice of government priorities, agenda and decision making, and at all times loyal and supportive. Gillard's credibility is also undermined by that fact she back-stabbed the elected leader through the factional influence of the Labor Right, which we know is backed by massive financial donations from unions, developers and big business.
Acting PM Gillard is not an elected representative of the people of Australia outside the safe Labor seat of Lalor in Melbourne's outer south-western suburbs; that is until she calls a general election. These days Lalor, encompassing outer urban centres of Melton, Altona, Werribee and Hoppers Crossing is in the grip of Melbourne's urban sprawl, with any 1970s 'green belt' notion bought out by housing property developers and their ilk.
So on what issues and promises did Rudd Labor win the last election and so comprise unfinished obligations to the Australian electorate? These are what Labor is accountable to the electorate to deliver, but when?
On 27th June, Gillard publicly rejected Rudd's 'Big Australia' quest by maximising population growth. So what has Gillard actually said?
"Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population," she told Fairfax. "I don't support the idea of a big Australia with arbitrary targets of, say, a 40 million-strong Australia or a 36 million-strong Australia. We need to stop, take a breath and develop policies for a sustainable Australia. I support a population that our environment, our water, our soil, our roads and freeways, our busses, our trains and our services can sustain."
But Ms Gillard says that does not mean putting a stop to immigration all together. "I don't want business to be held back because they couldn't find the right workers," she said. "That's why skilled migration is so important. But also I don't want areas of Australia with 25 per cent youth unemployment because there are no jobs."
[Gillard shuts door on 'big Australia', ABC 27-6-10.]
Is Gillard playing more politics and having a bet each way - sustainable immigration without denying businesses ready workers? But then what is the Education Revolution all about? Addressing Australia's 25% youth unemployment? Matching workplace skill demand with local vocational education for Australians?
But renaming Tony Burke from Minister for Population to Minister for Sustainable Population is hollow.
Meanwhile how much developer donations are flowing from members and sympathisers of the powerful Urban Taskforce Australia, which consistently lobbies on a national scale for a larger population for Australia. The disingenuous spin touted to government is that a larger population "increases the tax base to fund improvements to infrastructure and welfare services." Can Gillard see through this developer self-centred profit propaganda?
If Gillard is to be credible on curbing Australia's population growth without harming its economy, the tests for the Gillard Government are:
1. End the Baby Bonus
2. End the Subclass 457 – Business (Long Stay) Visa Scheme
3. Restrict all work visas to Employer Nomination Scheme Occupation List (ENSOL), which requires each applicant to be nominated by an Australian employer to fill a position in an occupation that appears in the ENSOL and for the applicant to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills (including conversational English skills).
4. Match vocational training of local Australians to industry demand cycles and focus on the under 25s, and lower-socio-economic groups including Australia's indigenous and rural communities. This would be a real education revolution for Australia.
Bring on a general election!
Today, in a press release titled, 'Change of direction on 'Big Australia', Kelvin Thomson wrote: "I am really pleased by the announcement by the Prime Minister that she intends to take a new direction in population policy, and to chart a course away from growth towards sustainability." At candobetter.org we are delighted to be gob-smacked. Here's a pod-cast of the recent Insiders (ABC) program on the change of P.M. for those who are keen to hear more.
KELVIN THOMSON MP
Federal Member for Wills
Sunday 27th June 2010
Change of direction on “Big Australia”
I am really pleased by the announcement by the Prime Minister that she intends to take a new direction in population policy, and to chart a course away from growth towards sustainability.
It shows the Prime Minister is on the wavelength of ordinary Australians. 70% of Australians don’t want our population to reach 36 million. When Treasury released its projections of a 36 million population for Australia in September last year, I said 36
million would be too many, and I called for a national debate on this issue.
We have been having this debate. Australians have expressed their concern about the impact of rising population on our food and water supplies, on housing affordability, on traffic congestion, on the quality of life in our cities, on our carbon emissions and on our endangered wildlife.
The Prime Minister has recognised this concern, and I am very encouraged by what this means for the kind of Australia we are going to leave as a legacy for future generations of Australians.