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trishcorry

I love to discuss Australian Politics. My key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. I am pro-worker and anti-conservativism/Liberalism. You will find my blog posts written from a Laborist / Progressive Slant.
trishcorry has written 199 posts for The Red Window

Last Push for 500,000 votes! Be a part of History!

If you have missed it already, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has a petition for a Royal Commission to ensure a strong, diverse Australian news media. The petition is now in it’s last day and you can be a part of history by getting this petition to 500,000 votes.

You can watch Kevin talk about the petition here

You can watch the live count here: aph-leaderboard.korynunn.com

You can be a part of history by either clicking on the Petition link from the live count link above, or click directly on the link below.

Royal Commission to ensure a strong, diverse Australian news media

The petition closes at midnight tonight (4th November, 2020) so please take a moment to share this petition with your family and friends!

How I’m Dealing with 2020 (From this Point Forward)

Excellent article. I’m sure this will resonate with so many people who are struggling through COVID restrictions.

My Rhiidiculous Life

I am sure my absence has highlighted the fact that I have been far from inspired lately. The truth is, I went into this year thinking it was going to be full of long awaited achievements and amazing opportunities and, well…you know the rest.

I originally started this blog because I felt inspired to share my story, and how I had completely turned my life around. With some hard work, a change of perspective and just a bit of self-love, I was feeling more positive than ever. If I could help one person who felt as low as I have for majority of my life, feel as high as I was feeling, that would make my ‘oversharing’ well worth it.

I had reflected on my life, I forgave myself and I moved on. I was feeling more free than ever. I had always longed to feel this content, and I…

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Will They Linger with Hope or Contempt?

The black summer smolders in his veins
There are those who won’t forget his reign
The resilient fought on as he soaked up the rays
Desperate people are still without homes…. but he prays

He sighs in relief….the anger’s all gone
But the global pandemic now lingers on
With doors shut hard in our faces
Poverty is now winning all of the races

The quiet ones he said he adores
Apathy voted like a zombied Horde
Will they linger with hope or contempt?
That sea of pained faces of the JobKeeper exempt?

The broken hearts of crushed lifelong careers
The precarious abandoned, newly jobless in tears
Will he pray away the pain?
Or sing us his songbook of smirks and refrains

The walls caving in on the class paying rent
Staples so bland in palettes are spent
Will they linger in hope or contempt?
Shoulder to Shoulder with those Jobkeeper exempt?

Has the Murdoch Press got their tongue?
Melting their thoughts to a silent stun
Do they still think of lives taken by flames?
Will they survive their own hunger games?

At the crossroads, Oh Toto which way
Discombobulated. Fight, pray or stay.
A Yellow Brick Road paved with corruption
Good Job Angus, Well done Son

Scared Jobless and Workers flipped off as Marxist voices
Johnny took all of our rights away by Choices
Musos and Artists cry out in traumatised dread
Scott killed the Arts – we are already dead

Gough’s Grandies hock it for Education
Howard’s children controlling the nation
The IPA’s invading their classroom
Hey! Scomo – leave them kids alone!

Social distance borne a cleaner climate
But donors and barons they have decided
No Covid Climate Renewal of minds and hearts
No new regional industry. No leadership smarts.

Will they linger with hope or hunger for change?
Do they see Covid helped Houdini escape disdain?
Will they linger with eyes wide open or shut?
Will they praise him for jobs lost and wages cut?

Will they linger instructed by polls?
Caring nought for those on the dole?
Will they take his IR changes on the chin
Stare at their empty pay packets with a compliant grin?

The black summer still bubbles away under that smirk
Will they linger in hope or remember that Hawaii jerk?
Will they linger for a handshake or call him harsh names?
If HE lingers, we must ALL take the blame.


Left Behind: The Emotional Impact of Life’s Hardships

A very moving article and relatable for so many of us.
By @RhidiculousLife

Have you ever felt like you are ‘behind’ in life? Not quite reaching your goals, watching those around you ‘succeed,’ facing countless setbacks all while the clock is ticking?

When I reached my mid-twenties, I felt like I was going backwards in life. I was settled into my hometown in a small apartment from the age of 19. I had a stable job, independent financial stability and a long term-relationship. To all who knew me I had it all, but behind closed doors there were many reasons I needed to change. I started by ending my relationship. It was then that I started to hear the things people were saying about me. The impact of other people’s words and the rejection and alienation from people who I thought were my friends lead to my already diagnosed depression spiralling out of control. [Read More]

My Rhiidiculous Life

Have you ever felt like you are ‘behind’ in life? Not quite reaching your goals, watching those around you ‘succeed,’ facing countless setbacks all while the clock is ticking?

When I reached my mid-twenties, I felt like I was going backwards in life. I was settled into my hometown in a small apartment from the age of 19. I had a stable job, independent financial stability and a long term-relationship. To all who knew me I had it all, but behind closed doors there were many reasons I needed to change. I started by ending my relationship. It was then that I started to hear the things people were saying about me. The impact of other people’s words and the rejection and alienation from people who I thought were my friends lead to my already diagnosed depression spiralling out of control.

I had the excruciating feeling like I was in…

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Who Is Australia`s Biggest Climate Criminal?

An excellent background on our climate action history. By @Biggy1883

Discombobulation Free

Australia Burns has taught the public much,it`s re-opened the Climate Change debate on steroids

We need to know how the fuck we actually got here,why has the Climate Change debate become so toxic?

Generally the public in Australia blames the LNP government`s since 2013 & the repeal of the Carbon Tax for this,but the story is much deeper

In the search for Australia`s worst climate criminal one needs to really look at the facts & they are a low point no matter how one judges them

We Need A Beginning

That beginning was Kevin 07,he had so many think tanks on the go that any intellectual drought was surely broken [yes hes`s a nerd} but a nerd with vision & capability

This piece is about Climate Change and the ramifications not only caused to Australia but globally

What did Kevin tell us?,well this >

RuddClimateChange

He also spoke of the security…

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Resilience

By Trish Corry. A poem about the Prime Minister’s unnecessary celebration of our resilience.

Your pseudo pain
Stares at an empty crowd
You can’t know the feelings
That you say out loud

Your babble of noises
Excitedly empty
You can’t know this wall
Built with fake empathy

Struggles and hardship
You prescribe us Resilience
A politician’s pulpit
A lunchbox of brilliance

No resilience
No fighters
No storage for liars
No flashbacks
This movie
No jarring reminders

Big cash for sporties
No contrition in writing
Just rampant desire
To keep us all fighting

Thumbs up for cameras
Your face animated
You’re looking right at us
Concern over rated

Battles to overcome
You prescribe us resilience
A politician’s promise
Yet you give us a pittance

No resilience
No fighters
No storage for liars
No flashbacks
This movie
No jarring reminders

The power is yours
Yet poverty’s historic
The sound of your name
Makes you almost euphoric

Do something, be someone
Prevention not cure
This pain is not ours
We seek to endure

Tear down the walls
Don’t prescribe us resilience
Mitigate the harm
Just make a damn difference

No resilience
No fighters
No storage for liars
No flashbacks
This movie
No jarring reminders

Indue kids starving
First People oppressed
You love yourself dearly
But you’re out of your depth

A nation that’s burning
Such mourning and tears
You don’t know this struggle
Just chug footy beers

The Rules are all broken
Stuff your resilience
Disabled are dying
Meet your resistance

No resilience
No fighters
No storage for liars
No flashbacks
This movie
No jarring reminders

Don’t Forget Me. Inside I Scream.

A poem about the impact of natural disasters on mental health and a plea to us all to be there for the long haul.

Don’t Forget Me. Inside I Scream.

By Trish Corry

When the last ember dies in a wet embrace.
Don’t forget me. See my face.
As the smoke wisps away to kiss Venus and Mars.
Don’t forget me. For I am scarred.

When you no longer smell burnt earth and hollow bough.
Don’t forget me. My heart, it races now.
As the flames stop burning as hot as the sun.
Don’t forget me. In my mind I run.

When the blades of grass breathe green new life.
Don’t forget me. My anxiety runs rife.
As the sky smears away lipstick of scarlet red.
Don’t forget me. I’m drowning in dread.

When the cool air gently plays upon your ear.
Don’t forget me. Closed spaces I fear.
As the stars dance around a moonbeam so bright.
Don’t forget me. I’m flight, flight, flight.

When my life is no longer a tweet and a meme.
Don’t forget me. Inside I scream.
As the rain washes away the soot in my hair.
Don’t forget me. I’m deep in despair.

When the happiness returns of a brand new day.
Don’t forget me. I push everyone away.
When the birds sing, creatures nestle, and furry eyes peep.
Don’t forget me. I’m in a hole oh so deep.

When my story fades behind other lives on screen.
Don’t forget me. My anger causes a scene.
As my resilience is treasured for the fight I gave.
Don’t forget me. I don’t feel so brave.

When the dew drops fall onto luscious ground.
Don’t forget me. Even my fingertips pound.
As you see new leaves upon sunlight’s kiss.
Don’t forget me. Why am I like this?

When you fly high above me and see colour, not grey.
Don’t forget me. Why won’t these feelings go away?
As the perfume of the bush is a sensory delight.
Don’t forget me. My eyes snap wide open three times a night.

When the fire roared all around me and stole my breath.
You were there when I faced uncertain death.
I have inner scars like tentacles that twist and bend.
I need you for the long haul. Just be my friend.

Help and Recovery – Natural Disasters

“Natural disasters like bushfires, floods, cyclones, drought and other traumatic ‘natural’ events are extremely challenging for the people directly affected. The stress caused following a natural disaster can lead to ‘burnout’ and physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Some people will be able to manage the stress but for others it may be difficult to cope. Most people eventually heal and recover and go on to rebuild their lives.” (Lifeline)

Please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or see toolkits information and and helplines here –

Recovering After a Natural Disaster

Must Watch FriendlyJordies #DearYourMajesty. Morrison MUST GO!

For years Jordan aka FriendlyJordies has pulled no punches exposing the Oafamamy Fail Clowns that are the Liberal National Coalition. This video is a must watch! Get #DearYourMajesty trending.

Your Majesty, you fired Gough Whitlam for less than that. After you dismissed him, you made Malcolm Fraser Caretaker Prime Minister. And seeing as Anthony Albanese is already acting as such, can we just make it official? Can we get more people looking at these comparative images by getting the hashtag trending #DearYourMajesty? Because if Gough Whitlam was sacked for not getting the supply bill through Senate, surely Scott Morrison should be sacked for not supplying the fire fighters. Get this hashtag trending, so that any quiet Australians in the periphery of your life might stumble across these pictures. See if they think his support of the Sharkies still outweighs his complete and utter lack of support for the firies. And if Scott Morrison ever tries to shake your hand; please, allow this man (Fire Fighter refusing to shake Morrison’s hand), who is a true leader, to lead you by example. Call for his sacking now by contacting the Royal Family and donate generously to the Animal Rescue Collective (FriendlyJordies 05.01.2020 )

Hugs, Handshakes and That Smirk! Warning Signs of Low EQ and Failed Leadership

Forced awkward hugs, aggressive invasion of personal space, and forcing a handshake on people in distress, are all warnings about Scott Morrison’s Emotional Intelligence and Inauthentic Leadership style.

I Want to Wipe that Smirk Off His Face!

We collectively cringed as Scott Morrison forced a hug on New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. We watched in awkward trepidation as Morrison took up more and more of Shorten’s personal space in the Leader’s Debate. Shorten aptly nicknamed him “The Space Invader.”

There are generations of mother’s out there collectively internally screaming, that they ‘just want to wipe that smirk off his face‘ every single time he displays this bizarre, inappropriate emotion.

Anger and disbelief summed up our response this week as Scott Morrison forced a handshake on a Fire Fighter who had just lost his home. We were further angered when he forced another handshake on a 20 year old pregnant mother, who had just lost her home. Gobsmacked, we watched, as she pleaded to him for help and he turned and walked away. Our arms extended, shaking and closed fisted, rose as the metaphorical pitchforks they rightly were.

The Warning Signs were Clear. Morrison would be a Poor Leader

Most importantly, the forced awkward hug on Jacinda Arden, the space invading of Shorten’s personal space and Morrison’s constant discordant smirking, alone, are warning signs.

The high focus on self, refusing to acknowledge fault, dismissing criticism, the inability to reflect on his own actions, the constant deflection to sports, refusing to acknowledge facts, a focus on him (or him and Jen) instead of ‘us’ (the people), refusal to acknowledge reality, blatant lies (even with video evidence!), a history of ruthless incivility, history of lack of empathy, his self-identity as a saviour, nicknaming himself and a lack of judgement are also warning signs.

Moreover, these are warning signs of a leader displaying low emotional intelligence and poor leadership skills. Clearly, Walkley award winning journalists should have examined this more closely; before the election.

What Political Historian Norman Abjorensen wrote about Morrison in The Canberra Times today, shows that Morrison is not struggling as a new Prime Minister. This is the latest excuse, inexperience and the challenge of a new Prime Minister; but clearly, this is who he has always been. The warning signs were all there from those who know him; but yet also voted for him as the Leader of the Liberal Party. (No wonder Julie Bishop quit!)

In a number of interviews with current and former colleagues, what emerged was a picture of a complex and secretive figure, both ambitious and ruthless, and with little capacity for empathy or care about anyone who stood in his way.

Norman Abjoresen, The Canberra Times 04.01.2020

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is touted as more important than IQ for leadership. You can be great at transactional tasks; but unless you can drive emotions and bring people along and feel the appropriate feelings and display the appropriate emotions – genuinely; nothing will work as well as it should. For example, if a Prime Minister smirks when he should be displaying empathy; he is exposed as inauthentic and out of touch.

There are five dimensions to emotional intelligence. I will discuss four of these dimensions as they apply to Scott Morrison. These are: Self-Regulation, Self-Awareness, Empathy and Social Skills. I have omitted Motivation for brevity.

Morrison and Emotional Self-Regulation

What Self-Regulation of emotions warns us about Scott Morrison; is he is more likely to push us into unsafe, and unfair environments. Leaders with High EQ keep us safe and environments fair.

Self-Regulation isn’t about with-holding emotion. Nor is it showing regular dramatic outbursts of anger and shouting (In fact, that is aligned with low EQ). It is about regulating emotion and applying the right emotion at the right time. This means a person must have the ability to understand the context and the situation at hand to respond. As a Prime Minister, Scott Morrison fails at doing this at a National level as well as when he communicates to each of us as individuals.

Reflection

A leader high in emotional intelligence is able to reflect on a situation and be thoughtful about it.

Morrison’s holiday in Hawaii, his secrecy around his holiday, his incompetence of clear deputy leadership at that time, his downplay of the natural bushfire disaster unfolding, are all signs of low emotional intelligence and being unable to reflect and act in a time of crisis.

Uncertainty and Change

If Morrison had the level of high emotional intelligence required of a Leader of high office, he would be able to be accept uncertainty and change and lead us through change with integrity.

There is not a starker contrast, than the entire world – the actual entire world actively working on strategies to reduce carbon emissions and act on climate change and a Prime Minister who carries a lump of coal into Parliament like a Life Like Baby Doll, he must lovingly look after all day for motherhood class.

A Global Pariah

Leaders with Low EQ will be judged by other leaders, due to the disconnect of genuine feelings about an issue and the emotions displayed about an issue. Morrison’s feelings and displayed emotions about Climate Change, and his flippancy towards action, is out of kilter with the global leadership community. The way leaders act has a ripple effect. Due to this, Morrison is already ridiculed globally. He will become increasingly isolated and become a global pariah in the community of international leaders passionate about climate change. This in-turn, will affect Australia’s standing in the global community, which could cause us significant damage to our reputation and trade options.

Morrison’s Self-Awareness is on Permanent Holiday

As a Pentecostal who participates in prayer, Morrison gives off the persona of one who is very emotionally self-aware. Furthermore, his first major speech as Prime Minister directed people to look inside his heart. Self-Awareness is about being in touch with your own emotions and feelings. Morrison paints himself as a man who is comfortable with his emotions and be level-headed enough to not get swept away by them.

Daniel Goleman, the leading expert on Emotional Intelligence, defines Self-Awareness as the most important dimension of leadership. Regardless of how Morrison paints himself as self-aware, his behaviour demonstrates otherwise. To be succinct, Morrison’s self-awareness is on permanent holiday.

Leaders with High Self-Awareness are in Tune with Emotion

Leaders with high self-awareness constantly reflect and challenge their own feelings, beliefs and emotions. They have constant goals about how to respond and behave in all situations. They actively seek feedback to improve their responses. They question why they feel a certain way about issues and events.

Most importantly, leaders with high EQ are able to develop their emotional responses in line with societal feeling rules and emotional display rules. These are the feelings and emotions we display, acceptable within our society. In short, a leader high in self-awareness should be in tune with how we are feeling and express genuine emotion to reflect back at us.

Leaders with high self-awareness, do not just reflect the same emotion we feel back at us. Their level of awareness is such, that even if they are feeling upset and distressed, they identify that others are feeling the same. They have a deep understanding of why they are feeling this way. Therefore, they display the emotions needed for others to feel safe and secure. They provide leadership and strength in dark times. Morrison fails demonstrably in this area.

It is Not About Me. (Oh Yes it is!)

Scott Morrison is facing increasing criticism about his responses and behaviour. Even those on his own side of politics are speaking out. NSW Liberal MP, Andrew Constance also echoing public sentiment that Morrison got the welcome he deserved, when when asked about Morrison’s visit to his fire ravaged community.

Morrison’s response to anger towards him, is He doesn’t take it personally and it’s not about him.” Just by looking at this one response, we can examine how Morrison has a low level of self-awareness. Notably, he is missing a key leadership trait.

Leaders with low self-awareness are incapable of examining their own emotional responses. In addition, they focus more on self, than others. They also project a sense of being a victim, where they can. They deflect and are uncomfortable talking about negative events. They also downplay situations.

When Morrison indicates, ‘he doesn’t let it (the anger) bother him’, he positions himself as a victim. A victim that is ‘strong’ and is not bothered by the anger of others towards him. In addition, he makes the event about himself and not about the fact that others are angry at his behaviours and actions. He deflects by saying, that it is not about him. When the anger is indeed about him.

There have been numerous other examples. The deflection of a poor choice of holiday time, to satisfying the wishes of his children. His beliefs about volunteer pay and his inability to reflect on these feelings dismissing them as heroes ‘wanting to be there.’ His “it can wait” attitude about emergency COAG, meetings with fire chiefs. His deep feeling of sporting camaraderie that we can take comfort in the hero worship of the cricket in times of a country on fire and so forth.

Morrison demonstrates Low Self-Awareness

If Scott Morrison had a high level of Self-Awareness, he would be able to reflect and understand why he has the feelings he has about certain issues. He would be able to identify that these feelings are incongruent with the feelings of Australians. Feedback would be crucial to him, that his emotions are coming across as callous and dismissive. He would take heed of feedback that his words and actions are making people feel insecure, angry and frightened. He would challenge himself to find the right emotion and words to comfort us and to lead us through this dark time. He does not.

Empathy – Jacinda Ardern He is Not!

If there is an example of a leader with perfect high level empathy as a construct of Emotional Intelligence, it is Jacinda Ardern. The empathy Prime Minister Ardern displays is high level in all three categories of empathy, that make up the EQ Empathy dimension. These are: Cognitive Empathy, Emotional Empathy and Compassionate Empathy.

Leaders with high level empathy are able to know and understand how others are feeling (cognitive empathy). They feel the same feelings as them at a deep level (emotional empathy) and they act with delicate compassion, but with lightning speed to move to help, when needed (Compassionate Empathy). Morrison is a total abject failure at this level.

Hurricane Morrison

Similar to the failed response to Hurricane Katrina in USA, Morrison has displayed a puzzling lackadaisical response to emergency co-ordination and urgency. In discussions about Leaders’ response to Hurricane Katrina, Daniel Goleman (Leading EQ Expert) highlights the importance of the poor response. He notes that victims were further victimised due to the indifference that the leadership showed. The abundance of TV Screens reflecting this, changed nothing.

Similarly, we watched in distress, upset, anger, tears, so many emotions as we witnessed yesterday, victims of the monstrous bush-fire, being further victimised by the indifference of a Prime Minister. A Prime Minister whose only concern was to pose as someone who cared, by literally grabbing victims’ hands and forcing them to shake his. Satisfied that he had his screen grab moment, he walked off, as he was being asked to provide more assistance.

Morrison has taken us down the dark spiral and we have crossed into the Abyss. A place beyond the netherworld, more sinister than a Prime Minister eating raw onions, or nodding for three minutes without saying anything in an interview.

Cognition, Emotion and Compassion

As a Prime Minister, it is crucial that Scott Morrison has a high level of empathy. Not only is he presiding over increasing poverty and joblessness, but now unprecedented catastrophic bush-fires that will go on for months. Bush-fires that have taken everything from people, including their lives and their loved ones.

A leader with high-level empathy, would act as Jacinda Ardern has acted in times of crisis in New Zealand. Sadly, the contrast could not be more stark. There are so many examples to give, but briefly, he would have shown cognitive empathy towards the concerns of fire chiefs, trying to meet with him for months. In addition, he would have had emotional empathy and displayed that he felt genuine emotion and empathy for fire victims and exhausted fire fighters and most importantly, he would have demonstrated compassionate empathy and acted with dedication and timely precision to do everything he could to prevent such a catastrophic event, but also respond to the needs of those affected, in abundance. He would have called urgent review and action of all climate action policies. He has failed on all levels.

However, it is not inarguable that Morrison and those around him are quite aware that he has poor empathy skills. We taxpayers just paid $190,000 for an empathy coach for him.

He Doesn’t Play Well With Others

It is every parent’s nightmare to have another parent call and say Johnny can’t come to the party because he doesn’t play well with others. In a nutshell, this sums up the necessity for leaders to have high level social skills.

Successful Leaders need high level social skills. In basic terms within EQ this is about being friendly, but with purpose. It is not just friendly banter, or being the biggest skulling bonehead dolt at the footy. Nor is it asking the open ended question repeatedly, “How good is…” with no meaning. High level social skills inspire and influence people.

Social skills in EQ are high level interpersonal skills required to bring people together for a purpose, high level negotiation, effective communication skills and change management skills, to name a few. Leaders with high level social skills also take ownership of responsibility seriously. Once again, Morrison fails at this level with great magnitude.

How the Popular Party Animal Got Fleas

Some may argue that Morrison was just elected as the Prime Minister of Australia and this means that he has great social skills. It is true that we see him at the footy and cricket with happy mobs. He delves into our blokey culture of beer drinking with more photo ops. Let’s not forget that awful attempt at Fatman Scoop’s Be faithful (Hands Up) song in Parliament! We see him in thumbs up photos with adoring fans. So how did the popular party animal end up with fleas?

Daniel Goleman explains that we often mistake leaders who display aggression (such as invading Shorten’s space in the leader’s debate), the blokey tough guy stance (footy, drinking, thumbs up), and archetypal leaders, ie. the mongrel leader archetype, (shouty and demeaning to opposition) or hero archetypes (everyone’s mate – Scomo) for great leaders. Goleman says that we often mistake these traits for brilliance in a leader.

However, the test is when they make it to the top. For Morrison, this is what is playing out now and he is not doing well at all. The answer of popularity is that perception of a leader’s ability in times of crisis is not judged in manufactured situations. It is judged when the leader has to apply his or her skills. In fact, it stands to reason that when a large majority of people put their faith in a leader and that leader fails them in a time of desperation and crisis, he will be sent to the dog house. And that is how he got fleas.

High Level Social Skills

If Scott Morrison had high level social skills, he would be right now effectively managing the biggest change since the industrial revolution we have faced. In a country where mining is a key industry and the shift that is required to address climate change; he is failing every single worker and every single community that needs jobs investment right now. This is an urgent requirement, not only to act on climate change; but to ensure mining regions are not left behind in poverty and joblessness when the market makes up his mind for him.

In addition, he would have demonstrated the social skills required to negotiate, direct, lead and co-ordinate the necessary prevention of and response to the more destructive natural disaster in our history.

He would not have gone off to Hawaii, or played cricket at Kirribilli House, or watched the Fire Works from his comfortable surroundings as people were fleeing terrified for their lives. He would have made himself available and communicated effectively his heartfelt support. He would be providing constant updates around the clock. He would give strength to those who must keep going in their delegated tasks. Importantly, he would display genuine empathy in his interpersonal encounters with victims and emergency workers.

Scott Morrison has failed dismally at every level. No. he doesn’t play well with others. He shouldn’t be at the party, let alone lead it!

Insecurity, Danger and Failure

The current crisis has exposed Scott Morrison as a failed leader. Using the concept of Emotional Intelligence, we can examine more closely why he has failed.

The terrifying aspect of seeking to understand Morrison from this angle, is that leaders with low emotional intelligence fail not just themselves, but us.

Everything about emotional intelligence underpins how safe we feel, how fair and equitable we are, how our paths to our own individual success is paved, the skills to develop the nation’s industry to name a few. Crucially, how we survive a time of crisis. The question on everyone’s lips should be – this is a natural disaster – what happens if there is a war?

It is two and half years to the next election and there are no jokes anymore. We are in for dangerous times ahead. The only hope we have is if the Liberal Party tests their new rule and he has a two thirds majority of the party to over-throw him. Otherwise, the cross bench could join together as a show of no confidence and refuse to pass any legislation and bring down parliament to an election.

Sadly, I think the only thing we can do is hang on. It will be a very dangerous and unpleasant ride ahead. Let’s hope we survive it. More importantly, let’s hope we survive him!

Two Things to Think About

I will leave you with a little food for thought. Goleman warns that there is a dark side to high cognitive empathy. In Narcissist, Sociopaths and Machiavellian Leaders, they are acutely aware of the pain and suffering caused; but have no sympathy for the victims to do anything about it.

I think the most fitting ending to a piece about a man who is all about himself, is to use a quote from the man’s Maiden Speech in Parliament. At the time, Morrison was talking about Africa, but it is remarkably fitting for Australia today: As Scott Morrison once warned back in 2008:

When the history books are written, our age will be remembered for … what we did—or did not do to put the fire out ..

Scott Morrison, Maiden Speech, 2008

Climate Bullying – A Deviant Behaviour

During and after every cyclone, flood and fire, the main push is to tell us that we are resilient. I’m sick and tired of being resilient when the Government, as perpetrators enable natural disasters and devastation to wreak havoc on us! I seek to introduce a new concept of climate bullying for discussion.

Climate Bullying

We often speak in terms of climate denial and climate activists, in doing so we merely point out a difference of opinion. Importantly, we fail to frame the problem in human terms, as one of perpetrators and victims. However, using concepts from Workplace Bullying literature, we can see there are antecedents and consequences of climate bullying.

Climate bullying similar to workplace bullying can be defined as:

Repeated and persistent negative acts towards communities and individuals, which involve a perceived power imbalance between Government and targets and create an environment conducive to natural disasters of which the negative consequences are felt by the target.

Adapted from Salin, 2003 and Einarsen, Hoel and Cooper, 2000

For many years, research has shown us that climate change will have a significant impact on the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. For each community, disasters have devastating impacts of lost homes, lost infrastructure, isolated communities and economic and business losses.

For the victims of natural disasters, the personal impacts are mild to severe psychosomatic disorders. These include, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and suicide. In addition, economic loss, homelessness, poverty, hunger and death as a direct impact of natural disasters. In addition, direct health impacts that may result in severe discomfort, disease and death.

Climate Bullying is the act of intentionally enabling an environment that is conducive to natural disasters.

Climate Bullying is a Deviant Behaviour

Deviant Behaviour is just one construct of workplace bullying. This is because deviant behaviour may also attack an organisation and not just a victim or target.

Similarly, the Government does not intentionally cause harm to the Government with this behaviour. They have a set of mechanisms and structural supports via the media to excuse such deviant behaviour.

However, Climate Bullying by the Government does share similar factors with Workplace Deviance:

It is voluntary behaviour

It violates the norms and beliefs of the country

Threatens the well-being of the country and its citizens

Dimensions of Climate Bullying

Climate Bullying as a form of deviant behaviour, also shares the same dimensions as workplace deviant behaviour (Sharma, 2019). These are:

Perpetrator/s

Intention

Target/s

Action

Consequence

Inside and Outside Perpetrators

Perpetrators of Workplace Deviance are both insider and outsider perpetrators. That is people who work for the organisation and those who are outside of the organisation.

Similarly, the deviant behaviour of Climate Bullying has inside perpetrators of Government. These are the leaders, speakers, policy developers. The outside perpetrators are other political parties, the media and those with vested interest in energy resources.

Intentional and Unintentional Harm

Intention may be to cause harm intentionally or unintentionally. An intentional motive is for any political party or independent to willingly reject legislation that will have a positive impact on reducing climate change. This is because they do not believe that climate change is real and there is no need to act on climate change.

An unintentional consequence of harm may be for any political party or Independent to willingly reject action on climate, for either a political motive to gain relevance or sustain power. This may be to insist on changes and demands that are perceived as stronger action, but are not practical, or will not be accepted by the public, because of the perceived hardship caused by the perceived stronger policy. It is an unintentional consequence of harm, if the political party who sustains power by popular vote, is the party who does not believe action is needed, because the public reject the hard-line demands of alternative parties.

Community, Political and Individual Targets

Targets are both Organisational and Interpersonal in Workplace Deviance. In Climate Bullying, Targets are communities, political rivals, individual citizens, individual activists, the science community and anyone advocating climate action. The aim is twofold. To discredit the notion that climate change is real and requires action and secondly, to discredit those who seek action.

Action

Action is the process of participation. Action may be active or passive. An example of Active Action is a rejection of climate action. Passive Action impacts on quality of life. An example is Liberals removing Labor’s qualifications for disaster recovery funding. Another is refusing to meet with the Fire Chiefs or call an emergency COAG meeting.

Action may be direct or indirect. Direct Action intends to cause harm to a target. This is normally interpersonal. An example is the campaign to discredit action on climate change by the Liberal Party and media trying to discredit the then Labor Government by creating a ‘Carbon Tax’ scare campaign, when it was not a tax at all. Another example is the attacks on youth climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Outside perpetrators also use direct action to create scare campaigns to discredit political opponents, with similar deceitful campaigns. Such as the Greens political party and media promoting Stop Adani and the Climate Convoy to regional Queensland. That is, despite the fact that such parties were knowledgeable that one mine is not the panacea to climate action, and that there are significant and complex challenges to ‘stopping Adani.’

Indirect Action has an unintended consequence on others. An example of indirect action is one region suffering the consequence of a natural disaster, due to climate inaction. This is although their geographic boundaries do not have necessarily high carbon emissions (i.e. a rural community).

An example of an external perpetrator indirect action is former Labor Leader Bill Shorten, unable to lead action on climate change by assuring blue-collar workers of security, among the fear of job losses, political opponents were inciting and the competing demands of city progressives; resulting in the election of a climate denialist Government.

Consequences

Consequences can be both constructive and destructive. Constructive deviance may be a politician crossing the floor or a traditionally supportive cross bench rejecting support to the Government and breaking with norms and behaviours that exist. Another example is compliant media organisations that have traditionally provided free campaigning for climate denial parties, criticizing the Government’s inaction. This type of constructive deviance may push the Government into action.

Destructive Deviance is any actions that results in harm to the country and citizens, as a negative consequence of climate inaction.

Enabling Climate Bullying

The enabling factors of climate bullying are adapted from Salin’s (2003) Enabling Factors and Processes of Workplace Bullying. The enabling factors for climate bullying are motivating structures, precipitating processes and enabling structures and processes.

Enabling Factors of Climate Bullying (Adapted from Salin, 2003)

Enabling Factors of Climate Bullying, as you can see from the framework above, are complex. I will briefly outline each area. However, each individual factor requires much deeper discussion.

Motivating Structures

The motivating structures for enabling an environment of climate bullying essentially revolve around power. The desire for political power. The bowing to the powerful media moguls who deny climate change, that can make or break a Prime Minister. The power of the financial benefits of corporate donations.

The rewards and benefits of appeasing climate denialist media moguls and corporate donors is of course the ultimate power of Government.

With a supportive structure of a compliant media, a climate denialist Government can effectively campaign using propaganda about the negatives of climate change to using voter complexity as the basis to divide and rule. On the flipside, outside perpetrators can also use climate change to divide and rule, as we have seen at the last election with the noted regional / city divide between blue-collar workers and progressives. More on that later.

Precipitating Processes

The decision to not act on climate change is underpinned by a number of events or existing structures. The existing structure of coal mining is one factor. Coal mining is heavily concentrated in multiple regions. Australia is the largest exporter of coal mining in the world. Local communities and entire regions are heavily impacted by the existence of mining. Coal communities are targeted to wear the entire burden of climate change. This then creates another event where competing political interests compete over the approach to change.

Due to a high concentration of mining jobs in multiple regions and the national and local economic impacts; moving away from coal, creates fears of joblessness and poverty and economic instability.

Politicians and compliant media enable a jobs versus climate action argument. This is where the argument for a complex scenario is reduced to black and white. The Liberal Government’s argument is that we must not act as it will kill jobs.

The climate activist side is that must kill existing jobs and destabilize communities and transition them to something else. The first idea is idiotic and dangerous, and the second idea is privileged. As Labor leader, Shorten tried to straddle both idiotic and privileged arguments. If we return to indirect action discussed earlier, this straddling just caused confusion by angering progressives and leaving blue-collar workers feeling insecure.

It appears that Labor now has taken the pathway that is aimed to unite the interests of both blue-collar workers and progressives. This proposal uses our strengths in regional communities and utilises our blue-collar workers to transform communities and tackle climate change domestically and also globally. How that is received is yet to be seen. As I have written about previously, it will be a hard sell to progressives.

Enabling Structures and Processes

Climate Bullying exists due to the perceived power imbalance between Government and people. The Government also supported by compliant, climate denialist media moguls creates a further power imbalance. Opposing opinion is barely given the light of day. In addition, the Government, media and other vested interests can use social media to further ingrain climate inaction. On the flip-side, external perpetrators of activist groups and supportive mainstream and social media, can inflame the need for radical action and workers are ‘just a consequence’ or climate denialists can inflame fears about joblessness.

The cost to a climate denialist Government, so far, has been a low cost. Through simple slogans and the support of the media, the Liberal Party has won office in 2013, 2016 and 2019. This has further legitimised for the Liberal Party, that they have a ‘mandate’ to not take any urgent action on climate change.

Dissatisfaction and frustration relate to the environment that victims of bullying exist in. In comparison to workplace bullying literature, this can be summed up as the competing interests between economic stability and climate action.

Climate action policy instability, unclear goals, and a complete lack of worker centric climate action debate, has fostered an anxious and aggressive environment within this policy area.

Mining regions rejected the Labor Government at the last election. This has now created an environment where some are now calling for the Labor party to abandon blue collar workers in regional communities. This will just reinforce both motivating and precipitating structures discussed above and further enable a culture of climate bullying.

Prevention of Climate Bullying

With the greatest natural disaster in our history burning around us; it is of the very positive assumption that we must do all we can to prevent climate bullying. To do this, it is important to bear in mind the dimensions of deviant behaviour and also the factors and actors within these frameworks, that enable a culture of Climate Bullying to occur.

I have adapted Einarsen et. al.’s (2018) workplace bullying model of systems we can use to prevent Climate Bullying and enable Climate Action.

Ethical Infrastructure

It is a reasonable argument that climate bullying is an unethical practice. Ethical infrastructure are systems and processes designed to stamp out unethical practices. Essentially, this framework details how we, as the people, can use resources and systems to destroy the culture that enables climate bullying and the perpetrators who inflict it upon us.

The resources available to us are a Government majority, Financial Resources (including in-kind) and the level of commitment we have. This includes a shared vision.

Systems

The systems we can use are:

Climate Action Legislation

Insist every single day for climate action legislation. Labor’s Anthony Albanese has delivered a policy direction speech that will act on climate and mitigate joblessness and poverty and create security for blue collar workers. This will unite blue-collar workers and city progressives.

Regardless of whether you have points of difference, it is essential to support Labor’s plan as the major party, so the left can unite, instead of fight on this issue.

The Greens Party must cease combating Labor as their major threat and seek unity in the way forward on legislation, well prior to an election. The fight can occur in Parliament once the Liberal Party are removed from power.

Climate Action Education

Climate action education must be ongoing. However, as I have tried to implore people for the last four years to do so; climate action education must be worker centric.

We can no longer to afford to allow ignorance of the impacts of the structural changes to coal regions to continue unopposed. Every single person must make a commitment to educate themselves on the impacts of structural change in regional communities.

We do not have the time to insist on perfectionist policies. We are too desperate for change to insist on our idea of perfect policy. We must look to the most likely Left party to form Government and absolutely insist that Labor policy is promoted and not rejected as imperfect.

We no longer have the luxury or privilege of denying regions targeted to carry the entire burden of change, agency as participants of change. We must actively listen to regional workers and work with them to find solutions.

Climate Action Education should be inclusive of regional, city and rural communities. It should unite farmer and worker, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, the wealthy and homeless. We can no longer tolerate the narrative of pitting worker against worker and community against community, as has been the narrative now from climate activists for so long.

Climate Action Education must also share the burden across the entire country, instead of just on regional Australia. Education about reducing impacts in cities and structural changes required in cities, is urgently required.

Unified Communication

With the outcome of the last federal election where regional communities voted strongly against ‘the Left’ and re-elected a Morrison Government. It is essential for ALL Climate action communication to be unified with the worker central. If Party Leaders and Activists are unable to find a way to unify workers at risk of joblessness and action on climate change; they should hand the conch to someone else.

Sanctions

I cannot reiterate enough how imperative it is to heal the divide between regions and cities to stamp out climate bullying. Parties and Organisations must impose sanctions on any leader or speaker who is unable to unify blue-collar workers and the communities of coal regions and action on climate change. They must formalise a strict penalty and replace leaders who exacerbate and thrive on division.

Voters must impose sanctions on any political party who attacks Labor as the main opposition party, who is in the most likely position to implement climate action. We must speak out loudly and clearly against any party who focuses their activism and campaigns on the party who can replace the climate denialists, and who are not focusing every last bit of energy on the climate denialists in power. We must no longer tolerate division on the left of politics. We must recognise that it is Labor as the major Left party who will implement action on climate change; and the points of difference can be debated, once Labor is in Government.

There must be sanctions within the Media. High-profile journalists must unify and rebel against pressures to conform to promoting political parties not committed to climate action. They must call out amongst their own cohort any journalist who promotes inaction on climate change, or who makes apologies for ineffective leaders.

The ultimate sanction is against the Government. A commitment from voters to formalise the removal of the Liberal National Party Climate Denying Coalition, who perpetrate Climate Bullying.

Resources

A Government of climate denialists is the major barrier to overcome. We must commit today to elect a Government that has the power to implement climate action. We must aim to wipe out the Liberal Party, National Party, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, The Katter Party and any other minor or Independent supporting a climate denialist Government. This needs to be done at every level of Government.

We must continue to build financial resources. So, this means a commitment of personal donations to any party or Independent that supports action on climate change.

In-kind donations are also priceless. Make a commitment today to join a political party. My personal preference is the Australian Labor Party who can make a real difference as the major party. Issues based activism is fine; but it is Government that implement legislation, not activist groups. Volunteering in campaigns is crucial for success.

As we know, the election is two and a half years away. That means that there is plenty of time for the Government and the compliant media to implement scare campaigns on every other topic to divert our attention away from the disaster that is burning around us and taking precious lives.

The commitment must be made today, that you will never waver. That you will remain resilient to campaigns and propaganda from the right. That even if you are a generational voter of the Liberal or National Parties, that you will commit today to remove them.

Put the Liberals and Nationals Last. It’s where they put You

To stamp out climate bullying that prevents action on climate change, which then results in the most devastating consequences, every single person in the country must make the commitment today that they will put the Liberal and National Parties LAST on their ballot.

Our future depends on it.

References

Einarsen, Kari et al., (2019). Antecedents of ethical infrastructures against workplace bullying: The role of organizational size, perceived financial resources and level of high-quality HRM practices. Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 3, pp. 672–690.

Salin, Denise. (2003). Ways of Explaining Workplace Bullying: A Review of Enabling, Motivating, and Precipitating Structures and Processes in the Work Environment. Human Relations, Vol. 56 No. 10, pp. 1213-1232.

Sharma, Naman. (2019). Analyzing Workplace Deviance in Modern Organizations. IGI-Global, Pennsylvania, USA.

2020 How to Kill Propaganda with Three Blows

One word can describe the last decade  – Division. It is creeping into every corner of our countries, of our communities and even our Christmas dinners. We have the power to change the next decade by doing three simple things.

And So This Is Christmas

A number of tweets on Christmas Day summed up the culture of division that has now seeped so insidiously it has manifested around our Christmas tables. Tweets about the uncomfortable division of political discussions at Christmas. A Trump loving  uncle took pleasure in mocking  his niece. He called her sensitive Sally. In addition, her own father warned she could leave if she wanted to express her views about Trump.

Christmas dinner tables should be full of togetherness and happiness. However, political division is now shunning the very people we love dearly at that table.

Our small discussion was about if people will forget about Morrison’s actions during the fires and just vote for him anyway. There was not a lot of confidence from young people at my house, that voters will hold him to account next election. These last few weeks and the weeks or months ahead, will just be forgotten.

Propaganda and Division

Voters in Regional and rural areas will vote National anyway. The propaganda from the right can also kill the left. They target just one policy people don’t like, (or can be convinced not to like). This can erase all the positives the Left may bring. Therefore, shunned by a risk averse voting public.

Anyway, who would want to risk change with the cacophony of the superficial politically-woke-show-pony “Labor is just as bad” fan club, feeding their fears like Milo out of the tin on a spoon of sugary comfort?

The fear driven risk averse and perfectionist risk averse now permeate our political culture. Both groups believe they are “Doing what’s right”. As a result, everyone outside of this group is labelled “Sheep.” 

Fear Driven Risk Averse

The Fear Driven Risk Averse see through the lens of right wing propaganda. They do not like what is going on around them. Undecided voters prefer paternalism over change. Protected from the evils of the opposition, from losing their jobs, from great big taxes, from foreigners, from terrorists and any assortment of manufactured monsters. As we consume more and more propaganda, newspapers are now more overt and bold. They layer this with television and radio repeating the key message of protection from (manufactured) monsters. Millions of dollars was poured into online advertising and television advertisements, just by one mining magnate turned politician – Clive Palmer.

Fear Driven Risk Averse voters believe that, changing to Labor might be bad. It sounds scary, so it doesn’t matter how bad the right is. If they doubt themselves, they are pulled back by layers of ‘monsters’ and scary situations that jeopardise their very existence. We don’t want to risk it. Don’t vote Labor!”

Perfection Driven Risk Averse

The Perfection Driven Risk Averse see through a lense lens of left wing propaganda. The drivers of the Perfection Driven Risk Averse are perfect policy over flexible pragmatism. This is best summed up by a description of the policy seeking organisation in Shaun Crowe’s (@ShaunCrowe) excellent book, “Whitlam’s Children: Labor and The Greens in Australia.

“(Policy Seeking Organisations) give greater priority to the articulation and defence of their policies than either the maximisation of votes or the securing of office”

In short, the perfectionist quest is simply have a perfect policy. This is the driver, rather than the act of implementing the policy itself. The Perfectionist Risk Averse, come from a perspective of ethical egoism and consequentialism (Wall, 2019). In turn, chasing the perfect model of society via stated aims, there will be unequal consequences throughout society. Some sections of society will feel a more detrimental consequence than others in the achievement of that aim.

(This is where I struggle with the Greens and other ‘non-aligned’ movement organisations who attack Labor. This approach aligns with the Australian Liberals who accept negative consequences for some sectors of society, for a ‘wider aim.’ Where the Labor party work hard to be flexible to mitigate negative consequences across all sectors of society. To achieve this, it is impossible to be perfect.)

Pragmatism is Weak and Tainted

The Perfection Risk Averse reject any non-alignment with perfectionist politics. As a result, this group sees pragmatism as weak and tainted.  Although some people may share a common goal, it is this aspect that sees them turn away from Labor and actively fight against them.

Chants from this group are: Labor are not good enough, Labor are just as bad as the Liberals, Labor supports *insert horrible thing here*, Labor can’t win with that leader, we want a better leader, just find a cross between Gough and Abbott! How hard is it! How little talent they have! Labor wants to take away our rights, Labor needs to do better, Labor isn’t doing enough, Labor doesn’t stand up enough, Labor isn’t aggressive enough, Labor is weak, Labor doesn’t really care about workers, unemployed, the environment, Asylum Seekers, Pensioners, Indigenous rights, the homeless aaarrrrggghhh. If you want REAL change don’t vote Labor! (WTF??? How did Labor lose?)

The Rise of Propaganda

This political culture is generational in some rural and regional communities. This guarantees “the right” an automatic advantage of seats. In addition, this lens of left and right propaganda now sees many people in regional towns and cities voting “against their own interests” in droves.

This video Sally McManus posted yesterday, hits the nail on the head. I agree with George Monbiot that there is a formula to combat propaganda. However, to move forward with solutions, I think it’s important to recognise two types of propaganda that target major left parties. These are the Oligarchs who target the fear driven risk averse and the movement parties who target the perfectionist driven risk averse.

In Australia, hard working Australian voters were convinced by propaganda that Labor were anti-worker. As Monbiot states, the Oligarchs have discovered the formula of convincing the poor to vote for the very rich. It is imperative to also consider and discuss the impact that movement parties have on the election of a majority left Government, such as the Australian Labor Party.

Movement Party Propaganda

Like all Propaganda, Movement party Propaganda has a political aim. Crowe’s book, discusses that this is to expose any gaps created by major parties. That is because major parties need to be flexible. Specifically, these are usually post-materialism aims and also to try to disrupt the very system itself.

There is significant discussion within Whitlam’s Children from both Labor and Greens’ interviewed about motive. Brown says that the Greens do not want to “Keep the Bastards honest, we want to replace them.” Bowen agrees this is the Green’s aim, along with numerous others interviewed. Interestingly, there are various discussions about gaining enough seats to form minority power of up to 25 seats (DiNatale). DiNatale also said that he would also consider a coalition with the Liberals. However, he added this was not likely, but he would not disregard it. Milne advocates for disruption to achieve a a multi-party system.

So all attacks on Labor are not from some innocent place of policy concern. There is a real political drive to gain power, even if that (in the unlikely event) means forming a coalition with the Liberals.

The Left Targeting The Left

Movement Organisations and Movement parties express propaganda though grassroots via symbols, visual and vocal, social media and via disruption. In addition, they do not seek to clarify broader aims or policy operationalisation; but allow others to interpret meaning via symbols and slogans (symbolic interactionism).

This does come in various forms and various movements. Movement organisations and parties do attack right wing Government’s via this method and in many instances such as Unions, there is a lot of truth in the movement’s activism. However, In the instance of application to oppose a major left party, with a political motivation to replace the major party for political power, the approach should be seriously considered.

Movement Party Propaganda in Action

I speak directly about Queensland. Specifically about my experience in one regional electorate. However, the examples below were coordinated. Here are three examples:

1. The Greens campaigned in the last Queensland Election that the Labor Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk was corrupt. However, the spectre of Newman kept this at bay. Unfortunately, Labor lost a seat to PHON (Mirani). At the booths some people definitely retorted about “not voting for that corrupt bitch.” Queensland Labor may not be so lucky to win government in 2020 if the same campaign tactics are repeated.

2. The Stop Adani campaign. The Bob Brown convoy. Targeting Labor threads and suffocating the comments in Stop Adani (even on posts about cancer care). Importantly, attacking regional QLD every day for four years. Every day for four years, if that wasn’t clear. The announcement Greens would cease coal and bragging they would force Shorten to shut down coal three weeks before the election (see above for non-clarification of specifics and interpretivism). This was very vocal in areas of high concentration of mining, with nothing else in place required to make mine workers and non-mine workers feel confident or secure, as these areas already experience high unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. 

3. Greens members attending Labor functions and “Bird Dogging” the event. This occurred at Andrew Leigh’s Banking Royal Commission community forum in Capricornia. The local Greens hijacked the forum. They pushed Stop Adani. They insisted on taking the floor. Painfully, they yelled out in the audience how Greens were the “original unionists”. They loudly made bold claims and how “Labor had destroyed the Fair Work Act to disadvantage workers.” As well, at “Change the Rules” events, Greens approached people and said “how awful Labor is and how the Greens are the only ones fully committed to changing the rules.”

Purists to the Left of Me – Tories to the Right

So, not only is the propaganda machine pumping out bullets from the right, hitting the major left, the minority left are throwing smoke bombs at the major left. Both have a political motivation for power and both motivations are about undermining Labor and preventing Labor from gaining power. One on a grand scale and one enough to try to “disrupt the system.”

To people who are not politically aligned, thinking about their vote, it does have an impact. It is layers and layers from both sides that the major left party cannot be trusted. Emotional contagion is a powerful thing.

This is not unique to Australia. We saw it with Fox News in USA firing Propaganda bullets at Hilary and Bernie Bros throwing smoke bombs at Hilary. In the UK we saw the right wing propaganda firing propaganda bullets at Corbyn and the Lib-Dems throwing smoke bombs at Corbyn. In fact, Smoke bombs were thrown internally within UKLabour itself!

This is the world we created. We read it and believe it unchallenged. We participate in it.

A Leader Alone is Not Enough

The difficulty is, I don’t believe that even the most perfect, charismatic major Left leader in the world can conquer this alone. Monbiot also refers to this in his video.

A very wise older Labor member, who is very active in volunteering in the community described politicians to me once. He simply said, there are anti-community politicians and pro-community politicians. Monbiot, proposed a similar community based view via grassroots to fight propaganda.

Three Simple Things

In the decade ahead, each and everyone of us has the power to end the politics that has divided us. We must insist that our respective parties do the same. We can do this by doing three simple things.

1. Be Pro-Community – Grasp a positive idea and write to local leaders and ask them to support it. Start a petition for that idea specific to your community. Ask people in your community to support your idea.

2. Become digitally aware – Start a Google doc, Web page or a free WordPress blog, and seriously combat propaganda from both the Ogliarchs and the movement organisations and parties. Detail the claim and research your heart out and provide information and facts from Hansard, Senate Committees, official documents. Seek clarification from the source and the target where possible, read widely, including the processes of Parliament. Take into consideration, the disparate aims of achieving perfect policy and if flexibility is required to achieve power to make any progress at all.

Challenge your own findings for rigour. Ensure they are defensible. Challenge all media, mainstream media, Independent Media, Blogs, Facebook posts, Facebook Groups, Tweets gaining traction and memes. Share your findings. Talk openly about your findings to real life friends and family.

3. Challenge and be prepared to be challenged – Stand up to propagandists on both the Left and the Right. Famous not so famous and wanna-be famous. Blue Ticks to Fred the 9 digit troll. Friend, Family or Foe. Armed with facts from item 2, you can do this with confidence. Be prepared for backlash. Be prepared to disagree with people you always just agree with or agree with to keep the peace. If you lose friendships because of truth telling, just remind them your aim is to kill propaganda and you will fight it, with or without them. Ask them if they are helping the right, or hindering the left?

Control of All Spaces

Monbiot believes we need a concentrated effort against right wing propaganda. The spaces they can control are in the mainstream media. Although the right wing propaganda co-ordinators use social media to advantage the right wing of politics, globally; on the other hand they are also against it. That is because they cannot control it. We have seen members of the Liberals condemn Twitter frequently in recent times. The Prime Minister even claiming that Policy won’t be decided by those on Twitter.

Victoria Rollinson (@Vic_Rollinson), also has frequent Tweet threads about the weaknesses of mainstream journalism, including concerns about ‘insiders’ and objective fact telling. Ronni Salt (@RonniSalt) and Jommy Tee (@Jommy_Tee) are increasingly exposing issues that require serious investigation. They have been first to expose issues such as Grassgate and Watergate that lead to mainstream media following up and claiming the credit. There are also others on Social Media, including blogs who do some great work, exposing falsehoods, hypocrisy, largesse, greed, lies, impacts of political systems and departments on the disadvantaged and corruption.

Carl Stevens sums the above up nicely here:

What Political Parties Can Do

For a concentrated effort to kill Right Wing Propaganda, Movement Party Propaganda against the major left also must cease. Importantly, if they are really “Gough’s Children’ as they claim to be; they would respect that IT’S TIME.

It’s Time for Greens, Movement Organisations and ad-hoc movement groups on social media to decide if their pursuit of perfect policy or disrupting the system is more important than getting rid of the Evangelical-worker-hating-poverty-creating-economy-destroying-lazy-ineffective-climate-denying-privatisation-seeking-gluttony of Conservatism that is in power right now.

They need to stop the propaganda of fear and division, and the idea that flexibility and pragmatism are a weakness to progress. Crucially, fierce debates need to occur amongst themselves if perfect policy is indeed perfect if it has no chance at all.

They need to unite against the inaction of the right and support Labor’s way forward with regional jobs, climate action, national rail and other worker-centric announcements that may be yet to come. There is no joy for anyone living in poverty or without a job, in the game of who can wedge Labor the hardest.

The Labor Party unfortunately, does need to work within the system. They need to make themselves available to every single major news organisation and speak to all potential voters via all mediums.

Worker-Centric Policy is paramount in this time of impending global change with threats of climate and automation. They need to lead us solidly and very clearly, with no complicated aims, through to gain power to steer us through these challenging times.

Digital Literacy

All Left Parties in opposition or in State Power, must make it a priority to encourage or fund digital literacy programs. If they can do neither, the Federal Leadership must be proactive in promoting this via their own channels.

The Labor Party has the power and the technology to create tools to counter claims from all types of propaganda. Speak loud and speak often, via text and video. Importantly, be bold enough to respond to claims made via comments on Social Media. Make it known that truth telling in Democracy is paramount and false claims and misrepresentations will no longer be tolerated by the voting public.

Bye Bye – The Decade the Fake News Died

In a concentrated effort from every single person on the Left side of politics, it is possible to have 2020 as the decade where propaganda and fake news has gone to die.

It is possible. We created the world of enabling the culture of propaganda by buying into it and participating in it. Creating a new world where propaganda is unable to thrive should be an ultimate goal.

We cannot survive the impending global changes and threats under austerity and increasingly authoritarian type rule. Stay Strong.

References

Crowe, Shaun & Gallop, Geoff. 2018, Whitlam’s Children : Labor and the Greens in Australia Melbourne University Publishing, Victoria

Wall, Steven, (2029) “Perfectionism in Moral and Political Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Scott Morrison – These People Need Kindness More than YOU

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has truly united the country. Every single person with a beating heart and a working brain in Australia is united in their absolute anger towards him. United. Undivided. Shoulder to Shoulder. In anger. Australians have felt Morrison’s true contempt for us and have returned it with unwavering precision.

Kindness. That is Morrison’s answer. His response to abandoning the country as Leader during one of the biggest crises we have ever faced is, that “It is time for the discussion about his holiday to be over and that we should be kinder to each other.”

Kinder!!!! He wants US to be KINDER?? The arrogance just falls right out of his mouth every single time he speaks.

Here are five groups of people who need Morrison to be kind to them, RIGHT NOW. Then we might be kinder to him. (I said Might! OK!)

Our Children

Morrison needs to be kind to our children. Our kids are absolutely terrified. They are terrified of having no future. They discuss with seriousness about whether to have children or not when they grow up. They are terrified of having no clean drinking water and the planet existing in a constant cycle of death and destruction.

Dad’s don’t just promise holidays. They also promise to stand by their kids, protect them always and fight for their future.

Instead of being an actual Dad, Morrison doubled down on his absolute bone headed, mind numbing drivel that we cannot act on climate without harming jobs. Labor has a plan to act on climate change AND protect jobs. Morrison needs to listen to that plan. NOW.

Be Kinder to Our Children, Scott!

To show kindness to our Children – Morrison MUST commit to serious action on Climate Change TODAY.

He could also be kinder by holding a fully televised Youth Summit with two representatives from every single Primary and High School in the country.

Emergency Response Workers and Volunteers

Every single person in the country is emotionally exhausted watching helplessly. We watch as firefighters die, are injured, don’t have proper breathing equipment. We feel helpless as they are pushed beyond all human limits, as they try to save us.

Meanwhile, Morrison was doing bloody tequila shots at a bar in Hawaii. His clown posse back home were literally telling us exploding horse shit is the reason the country is on fire. I know where the horseshit is exploding from and it’s certainly not from the horses!

These incredible, incredible emergency workers have worked tirelessly and some without any compensation whatsoever. Workers and volunteers work in extremely dangerous conditions. Instead of showing true humility, contrition and leadership; Morrison used his arrival as a series of poor taste photo ops. These photos featured his smug face, with hard working emergency responders as the insignificant background. Once again. The arrogance!

Be Kinder to Our Emergency Workers, Scott!

Morrison needs to be kinder to Emergency Response Workers and Volunteers. He needs to treat the impact the climate is having on our country, as serious as he treats security and defense. He needs to fund the absolute hell out of Emergency Planning and Prevention. Mother Nature is at WAR with us. He needs to compensate volunteers for time, expertise and lost wages.

People and Communities Devastated by Fire and Other Disasters

The worst bush fires in our history have the country in mourning. People have died, homes have been lost, businesses destroyed. Children no longer have fathers, husbands and wives no longer have the love of their life and parents grieve the loss of their children.

Amongst all this, is the tight-fisted surplus chasing driven excuse the Government calls “Disaster Relief funding.”

Be Kinder to People and Communities, Scott!

The people do not need Morrison’s faux kindness; nor his thoughts and prayers. He can be much kinder by reinstating Labor’s criteria for disaster relief funding, not punishing communities who have not had the funding for mitigation; admit that the current take on mitigation will not stop events such as massive bushfires or other disasters; but a serious commitment and action on climate change will.

As the Government has been so unkind to ENABLE disasters to occur, he should make a commitment to be kind right now. Anyone who loses their life should have a Government funded funeral and massive compensation to families. We cannot get these people back. He should commit to this immediately.

Workers, Jobless and the Poor

The jobless and underemployed are living in POVERTY, in a first world country. The callousness and punitive set up of the social security system has and is driving people to suicide. People who are loved very much by their families are experiencing self loathing, hunger, homelessness, depression, anxiety, hopelessness and helplessness. This is NOT Kind.

The Morrison Government has shirked all responsibility for job creation. They use joblessness in regions as a sickening plaything to not act on Climate Change. They push back against climate activists who want to shut down jobs without thinking or blinking; by fueling that and insisting there is no other way. It’s Jobs or Climate Action.

Morrison, a known show pony and lazy thinker, finds it absolutely impossible to develop a solution to reinvent communities that are now reliant on coal jobs. He finds it an absurd notion, that as leader of the country he can create new industry and job competition in regions, so coal is not the major employer and stops affecting absolutely everything.

Climate Change Impacts on the Poor

In addition, climate change affects the poorest communities unfairly. Policy direction from all parties is directed at more able and wealthier home owners able to reduce their energy costs, rather than a national plan for ALL homes. We have treated the roll-out of our internet connection with more dedication than reducing energy costs for the poor in this country.

Also, the communities impacted the most by fires, drought, floods and cyclones are the regional, rural and remote communities, that are already so often ignored across ALL policy areas, including climate change.

Be Kinder to Workers, the Jobless and the Poor, Scott!

If Morrison wanted to be truly kind he would create a consortium immediately consisting of State Leaders, Regional Mayors, Unions and Industry affected by the necessary industrial change to forge ahead with climate action. This consortium should not be directed by the energy sector, but a genuine commitment, working with various experts to reinvent and invest in regional communities to truly diversify local economies and create true job competition in regions across energy and non-energy sectors.

Scott Morrison should be so kind as to tell Matt Canavan to stop sitting on NAIF funding and actually spend it.

It would be so unkind to leave these communities behind as global markets decline in demand for thermal coal. It would be so unkind as to agree to environmentalists demands to cease the coal industry NOW and just simply push everyone in to poverty with nothing in its place. It would be unkind to refuse to sit down with Anthony Albanese and not work with Labor on Labor’s plan of action.

Indigenous Communities

Climate change is not just a human rights issue for all of us, but it is a significant human rights issue for Indigenous People. Not just in Australia, but all over the world.

Indigenous people have a deeply inherent and emotional connection to country. It is something, non-indigenous people will never feel. We must accept it is not a part of us and give full respect to those who have this wonderful gift to feel that connection.

Enabling destruction of their country through the politics of division, is arrogant and ignorant. Ignoring the expertise of Indigenous people to care for and respect the land and wildlife, is just plain stupid and endangers all of us.

In addition, climate change impacts on poorer communities which often have a high Indigenous Population. Climate Action policy also has an impact on Indigenous communities. We simply cannot just believe that solutions that do not include Indigenous input, regardless of how well intentioned, are the best solutions for all.

Be Kinder to Indigenous Communities, Scott!

If Scott Morrison believes we need to be kinder to each other, he can also be much kinder and much more respectful to Indigenous Communities and place a specific focus on climate change and climate action policy and how this affects Indigenous Communities. But most of all, actually listen and implement solutions via their concerns and expertise.

If Being Kind is Too Hard, Scott – Call an Election Now

So, Scott Morrison says that it is time for us to be kinder to one another. It is fairly obvious from the above, that there are huge cohorts of people that he does not bestow the same kindness upon. Yet he calls for us to be kind, when he is facing personal criticism for choosing to go on holiday in Hawaii and abandoning the country, in a time of serious crisis.

The main criticisms of Scott Morrison at this time of national crisis, is his lack of leadership. Scott Morrison wants US to be kind to one another. However, he has shown an absolute void of Authentic Leadership. Authentic Leadership requires self awareness, a genuine self, fairness and equality and significant to this time, a moral perspective.

If this challenge of being kind to just five groups of people is too hard for Scott Morrison, he needs to be kind enough to step down.

If he does not have the inherent qualities to be an Authentic Leader, he should be so kind to go directly to the Governor General. Morrison should advise the Governor General that the task of Prime Minister is too difficult for him, request that Parliament is dissolved and call another election, immediately.

Yes, we can be kinder to each other. Let’s start with the level of kindness we need from Scott Morrison, right now.

Scomo of the Hash #Smoko

I had written him a letter which I had for want of better,
Knowledge sent to where I met him down at Maccas years ago.
He was knifing when I knew him,
So I sent a letter to him,
Just on spec, addressed as follows,
“Scomo of the Hash #Smoko”

And an answer came directed,
In a writing unexpected
(and I think the same was written in potato wet with starch)
‘Twas his numbers man who wrote it
and verbatim I will quote it
“I still can’t count to forty, and we don’t know we’er he’s Marched

In my commitment to all God-Bros,
Visions came to me of Scomo,
Hopping off on a some big jet plane as the fires burned down below.
As the troops are fiercely sprayin’,
Scomo flies above ‘em Prayin’’
For a PM’s life has pleasures,
That the townsfolk never know.

And Trump has friends to meet him
And their kindly voices greet him,
In the murmur of the beaches and the luau under stars.
And he sees the vision splendid,
Of the Rapture now extended,
To Oz, the wondrous glory of great fires now seen from Mars.

I am sitting in my dingy – little office,
Where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly,
Down between the plumes so tall,
And the fetid air and gritty, of the fiery ravaged city,
Through the open windows floating,
Spreads the foulness over all

And in the place of lowing cattle,
I can hear the fiendish rattle,
Of the fire trucks and their hoses making hungry down the street,
And the language uninviting
Of the Twitter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and loudly through the thunderous click of Tweets.

And the screaming people daunt me
And their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in,
Saving koalas in their haste.
With their eager eyes now bleedin’,
And their stunted forms now heavin’
For townsfolk have no time to go,
Taking Shelter, no time to waste.

And I somehow rather do know,
That I’d like to change with Scomo,
Like to take a turn at hiding,
As the crises come and go,
While he avoids Questions eternal,
From the Walkleys and their Journals,
Cos he knows he don’t suit The Office,
Scomo of the Hash #Smoko.

An adaptation of Clancy of the Overflow by A.B. (Banjo) Paterson.

Labor, Coal and Climate Action

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Anthony Albanese backed coal exports. I just want to raise some points before someone cues the pile on, on Labor… again… as usual.

Industrial Revolution and Impacts

Australia has relied on one main commodity for a very long time. We are the leading exporter of coal in the world. Many regions have a high concentration of heavy industry.

Therefore, the push away from coal globally coupled with automation means we are facing the biggest change since the Industrial revolution. Importantly, this means we need to stop the division as we are facing mass jobs displacement if not done right.

Mass joblessness, as we know has severe psychological affects on humans. From lack of self worth, to suicide. Mass joblessness equals mass poverty. Here is one video to watch on the impacts of willingly causing job displacement via automation on Truck Drivers in USA.

The main approach to combat climate change is to shut down coal. Coal is used globally for energy and production of other goods like steel. We are the leading supplier of coal to many countries, including China. This is $47 BILLION of export.

States benefit from the export of this major commodity. It helps build and fund schools, roads and hospitals, in the form of coal royalties and other taxes.

The call for mass jobs displacement along with loss of major revenue will have severe economic impacts. It’s important to think of severe economic impacts scenarios handled by conservatives are in charge. They always target the poor, which will be many of us.

Option One – Cease Coal Production

We have two alternatives. The first is the main push to cease coal production in Australia. The argument is this will raise the price of coal and put pressure on other countries to go renewable.

We are the leading exporter and there are many other export countries. Therefore, we do not know how long we cripple our economy, navigate joblessness, poverty, while other countries decide to cease importing coal. If you could predict markets & commodities you’d be very rich. (Albanese also covers this in the SMH article linked in the opening paragraph).

The Abbott and Thatcher Transactional Approach

The current push from environmentalists is to cease coal exports now. That is shut down an industry, with nothing in it’s place. Despite cries from activists, that people can just go ‘retrain’ for something else, there is not the structure, investment or opportunities currently for this to occur. A growing number of activists are also now very adamant, we no longer have time for a ‘transition’ and we just ‘have to shut down coal now’.

The current climate action push by Greens and other activists to shut down coal is the ideology of Abbott and Thatcher.

1 – Displace workers for an aim. That is – Political (Thatcher), Economic (Abbott) or Environmental (current preferred option of Greens and climate activists)

2 – Respond in a curative unemployment framework by placing the onus on the worker for joblessness with token assistance

3 – Punish joblessness

4 – Reactively respond to the fall out of joblessness and poverty

NOT Democratic Socialism

The above is not democratic socialism. It is not worker centric. It is transactional, treating workers as a commodity, ignoring the human aspects of change. If the Liberals were not invested in coal barons, they’d support this. It’s the Liberal way. As Abbott and Thatcher have already demonstrated. Or as Abbott put it “Liberating the workers’ when he shut down the car industry.

This response is a reactive response, not a proactive response. It is ignorant of the complexity of coal regions. It is ignorant of how the highly concentrated industry of coal affects everything from jobs, business, population growth, what funding councils get, house prices, housing, future investment, employment and importantly the resultant psychological negative affects that joblessness and poverty brings.

Agency is Crucial for Change

Despite the throwing around of empty concepts of transition. Those pushing transition haven’t consulted with these regions, nor understand them. Agency is important in change. Climate change activists & Greens deny regional workers & communities self agency as participants in change.

The above scenario, is why those who have come across me before on Twitter or have read my blog, have seen me take on climate change activists and Greens.

In short, I am NOT pro coal, but pro jobs, anti poverty and support self agency & inclusion in change. To not do so, is very privileged. My stance would be the same for any major displacement of workers in any industry. Coal is currently that industry.

Alternative Two – Leading Supplier of Renewables Using Our Resources

The other scenario Anthony Albanese outlined in his policy speech, is to become the leading supplier of renewables to the world, by using our coal and other mineral resources and the benefits of our industrial make up and skilled workforce.

By supplying other countries with renewables and associated infrastructure, including developing countries through direct assistance trade programs, we would enter the market as a leading, manufacturer, supplier, innovator and maintainer of renewables products. Albanese also talks up Lithium mining as significant.

As in scenario one, this too would place pressure on other countries to go renewable and as opposed to the preferred scenario pushed by activists, would expedite the take up rate globally by countries. This then places pressure on coal supply, by reducing the demand.

Some coal is still required for coal made products (metallurgical) and also some thermal, but thermal (energy would decrease, as it is naturally expected to globally via the market). Albanese states that just coal supply for wind turbines alone is significant.

For example, it takes more than 200 tonnes of metallurgical coal to produce one wind turbine. According to forecasts of global growth in wind power capacity to 2030, Australia could be exporting 15.5 million tonnes of coking coal to build these turbines. This is the equivalent of three years output from the Moranbah North coking coal mine in Queensland. (Jobs and Future of Work – Anthony Albanese)

This approach also will assist developing nations gain access to electricity. Many people in ASEAN nations have no access to cooking or heating. This impacts on poverty and disease. To deny this is sickening privilege.

Transformational – NOT Transactional

This approach opposite to the preferred approach is transformational, not a transactional approach. This approach is in a preventative unemployment framework, not a curative unemployment framework. This is a Democratic Socialist approach. Labor is a Democratic Socialist Party.

This approach will see us use our resources to develop the world in renewables, reducing the demand for thermal coal supply and create a new export industry. This will naturally create more job competition and if targeted to set up in regions, will diversify local economies.

Self-Agency and Human Elements of Change

By developing regions in this way, we give communities agency in change. We give workers self agency of career change, we recognise and take great care in recognising the human elements of change. We are proactive and not reactive. It’s the opposite of the Abbott & Thatcher approach advocated by Greens.

The market will decide coal use globally. It is how we decide to respond and engage in that, that will renew us or kill us as a nation that enjoys relatively good quality of life.

The Abbott Way or the Albo Way – Your Choice

Politically the Greens party have targeted Labor, rather than the Liberals for the last four years by attacking coal regions and workers. This has developed into a huge division between city & regions. People fearing for their own livelihoods voted against the left in droves. A move the LNP in QLD brag about and how much they love the Greens.

The first option (ceasing coal and coal exports) and activism around it, has seen huge division, the working class left, lumped in with the job cancelling enviro left, mainly through the media lens of propaganda and social media climate activism of intentionally suffocating Labor’s election platform online.

Those attacking Albanese and others (including me) for being “right wing” as we talk about coal jobs, are supporting an Abbott & Thatcher approach, detailed in option 1. I’m glad I take a vocal stance to oppose that view.

This current preferred approach is, transactional, reactive in a Curative unemployment framework and ignores the human element of change and denies affected workers and communities agency as participants in change. This is driven by absolutism fueled by the Greens and Climate Activists, including self-identified intelligentsia on Twitter and also some Journalists. This is NOT democratic socialism. It is not inclusive.

Support Labor’s Vision for Jobs and the Future

All I ask is you think about and consider the alternative from Albanese’s Jobs and the Future of Work Policy Direction Speech as detailed in Option 2.

This approach to change is Transformational, proactive in a Preventative unemployment framework, recognising the human elements of change and includes and enables agency for workers and affected communities.

This alternative approach by Labor needs people to support Labor. It does not help progress to feed the divisiveness and keep participating in anti jobs and anti coal rhetoric, stigmatising workers and regions and keep fueling the division enabled by the current absolutism of Greens demands and political game play of attacking Labor and not the Liberals. As demonstrated at the last election, this just enables the Liberals. Enabling a Liberal Government through blind absolutism is no solution at all.

Support Labor’s Vision

The Greens have taken the strategic approach to attack Labor for the last four years; concentrating on attacking Queensland and Queenslanders, fueling city and regional division. They have led the way in convincing that the Thatcher/Abbott approach of ceasing coal and ceasing coal exports is the ONLY option.

Labor’s option 2, of using our resources and skills to enable global change will be a hard sell to climate activists, as it includes the use of our coal. This is up to the Labor Leadership. The Labor Leadership needs to actively counter Greens, LNP and PHON and lead proactive and respectful discussion about why we should use our coal resources to assist the entire world transform to renewable energy.

Attack, Attack, Attack

Labor needs to attack the Liberals for having no policy of change, which will only see the market blindside us, if nothing is done and there will be mass joblessness and poverty, regardless.

Most of all, Labor needs to start placing massive pressure on the Liberals, for the Government to start investing massively in regional areas to create manufacturing hubs for renewable projects and a massive investment in Research and Development, including course development, research and other projects at University, TAFE and in business.

Supporting Labor with Option 2, is the ONLY way to achieve progress in this area. It is the only option that is inclusive of all stakeholders. It is the only option that is worker centric.

Supporting Labor’s approach will mean a change for many very loud climate activists on social media. The people who are “stars of the climate action debate on Twitter” will need to do away with the ego thumping, self adulation, adulation via their fan-girling base, sickening and aggressive pile-ons and over-reactionary rhetoric and blind hatred of Coal communities and Labor above all else, as they bow to invisible Twitter applause.

If you are passionate about Climate change. Support Labor. The Planet depends on it.

Cashless Welfare. A MUST Watch personal experience

A personal message to Keith Pitt and the LNP Government about the cashless welfare card. From Kerryn Griffis a mum of four in Hinkler QLD. If this doesn’t make you cry, you are not human.

Strong but necessary language.

Follow Kerryn on Twitter @Kerryn47811350

Social Media: A Self-Torture Addiction

An excellent self reflection about the negative aspects of social media and some helpful tips about how to rid your life of soul destroying negativity from these platforms.

My Rhiidiculous Life

After such an overwhelming and unexpected response to my last post, it is clear that many of us are feeling the negative impacts of social media. In my first blog, I touched briefly on how social media increases anxiety and worsens our desire to receive external validations such as likes, comments and messages. Many readers reached out to me to agree that when these are lacking, we can experience an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. But there is so much more to realise when it comes to a space that is potentially so toxic for our mental health.

A WORLD AT OUR FINGERTIPS

In the age of the smart phone, it’s no wonder that many of us are suffering from a social media addiction. With the world at our fingertips, why would we not expect the World Wide Web to keep our brains occupied in times of boredom, loneliness and…

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REJECTION DOES NOT = LONELINESS

REJECTION DOES NOT = LONELINESS

REJECTION DOES NOT = LONELINESS
— Read on myrhiidiculouslife.home.blog/2019/11/22/rejection-does-not-loneliness/

An insightful and relevant article for a first blog post. Well done Rhi.

Agri-Corp’ Screwing the Murray / Darling Basin Plan.

Excellent idea for regional agriculture and water by Joe Carli.

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Image result for Small farm produce growers pics."

In light of the current concern about water rights in the Murray Darling Basin, I would like to offer this piece I wrote several years ago on our community Local Action Planning blog about the “perfect storm” existing amongst the smaller “generational farms” along this section where I live on the River. The cause of this concern is because of the creation of mega “Agri-corp’ Managed Investment Schemes” that have sprung up using massive water purchased licences irrigation to grow huge crops of veggies and nuts and fruits.

Many of you would remember the collapse of “Great Southern” and “Timbercorp”, two mega Hedge-Fund / Managed Investment Schemes that bought up huge amounts of water licences along the Murray River. These and other schemes have dominated the water market and by sheer weight of numbers, have corrupted the cycle of produce markets and pricing…and have bumped up the cost of water…

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The predatory grooming of the working-class base.

A passionate spot on article by Joe Carli.

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Image result for George Grosz. Let Those Swim Who Can - The Heavy May Sink! pics"

Sketch by George Grosz..: “Let those swim who can..the heavy may sink.”

We have to admit it..particularly to ourselves…WE have been groomed…over a long period of time..we have been groomed by predators to trust and defer political strategy and judgement to a more “higher educated” middle-class…We have been conned by a more cunning and predatory middle-class..and not just from the conservative right-wing of politics, but more damagingly, from our own side of politics..: “The Left”…or I would call it the “so-called Left”…for in reality, like the “House Negro” described so well by Malcolm X, ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf7rsCAfQCo ) who would come behind any radical speaker and “hose-down” the more extreme elements of talk and persuade the “Field Negro” that their best option was to return to work and await better days…HIS preferred option, like the “Middle-class Leftie” of  today’s world, was to maintain a comfortable – to him – status quo….I…

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Monster Morrison: A Nation in Collective Depression

This Halloween, the only monster we need to worry about is Scott Morrison. Monster Morrison with his hands symbolically around the necks of the poor, the vulnerable, the jobless and the worker; slowly choking away every last drop of personal agency. Morrison is a monster with a hunger to leave us in an apocalyptic world of collective depression, begging for mercy.

Personal Agency – an Unequal Power

Personal agency is something many people have never thought they would lose. Until now. That is, the individual power used to influence and act upon in our daily lives. This power and agency in a civilised society is expected to be common place and a power shared accessed by us all.

It is the power to access housing. The power to afford a variety of basic nutritious foods, access to suitable clothing for all climates. It is the power and autonomy to make personal decisions about purchases, who you engage with, where you would like to go and the freedom to decide and access an avenue to your chosen life’s path, without constraints imposed upon you by another.

Personal agency is an unequal power. Many individuals within minority groups and in many instances as a collective do not have equal access to personal agency. Racism, Able-ism, Sexism, Homophobia and Transphobia are all enabled in society, by those who believe these derisions are justified and create an enabling environment for them thrive and create an unjust society for many.

Scott Morrison is legislating his way to enable an environment of an unfair and unjust society for many.

Monster Morrison Suffocating Personal Agency

Throughout various Parliament’s, Australian Governments have attempted to legislate away this unequal power of personal agency. Previous Governments have, with the good intention attempted to stamp out an enabling society for inequality, discrimination and harassment at least on a macro level. However, inequality, discrimination and harassment exist as a daily occurrence at the micro level; in overt and covert forms and it goes unpunished.

The intent of previous Governments who legislated against inequality, was essentially to allow people to just breathe. To allow people to just to be who they are and to be accepted as a whole person as afforded to others who belong to the mainstream groups in society.

In stark contrast to Government’s who have attempted to tackle inequality, Scott Morrison is leading a Government to to use its power to suffocate the personal agency of the poor, the vulnerable, the jobless and the working class. He is doing this by legislating to enable inequality, discrimination, and harassment at the macro level. In turn, this creates an enabling environment for these derisions to occur.

The Smothering

The suffocating of personal agency has become so wide reaching it is almost a smothering of collective agency.

Robodebt: With no rhyme or reason or evidence produced for the claims of debts owed; Monster Morrison is smashing personal agency to smithereens so that people feel completely trapped and helpless and it is driving vulnerable people to suicide.

Cuts to aged care: Monster Morrison is not only destroying the personal agency of those who are still able to enact it; but aged and vulnerable people are suffering this loss of autonomy without dignity or compassion and are suffering cruelty every, single day.

Cashless Welfare – By taking away one of the very basics of personal agency – the choice to consume and where to consume, Monster Morrison is targeting the jobless (and possibly soon pensioners) and forcing them to carry a visual symbol to push them out of the ‘Normals’ and into the ‘Stigmatized’ group by default (to use Goffman’s social stigma).

Newstart: By refusing to raise Newstart above the poverty line, Monster Morrison is suffocating personal agency and autonomy, by forcing already vulnerable people, to literally starve. To not have the personal means to access a variety of basic, nutritious food. He is taking away their autonomy by forcing them to live in in precarious and unsafe situations as these are the only types of accommodation they can access. He is not affording the jobless on Newstart the dignity to be able to afford personal hygiene items and in doing so is suffocating their personal power and self efficacy. His personal judgement that the jobless are passively welfare dependent, is a cause of unnecessary depression, anxiety, suicide and other associated harm.

Mutual Obligation: Through Monster Morrison’s ingrained belief that the jobless do not want to work; he passes a judgment that they require supervision by way of compulsory attendance in exchange for a safety net. Morrison destroys the personal agency of the jobless through breaching when his inadequate Newstart payment prevents a jobless person access to transport to attend a compliance interview. He destroys their autonomy, so they cannot be unwell, have a cold, or other illness, to take a day off, or they lose their payment.

Registered Organisations Ensuring Integrity Bill: The Unions are the major kill for Monster Morrison in this Halloween themed take on his destruction. If he can terminate the hero of this plot – the Unions, he can asphyxiate the personal agency, autonomy, dignity, personal value, personal power, locus of control and personal safety of every single worker in the country.

Monster Morrison’s Weapon of Choice – Paternalism

Like all things scary on Halloween, be they hockey masks, clowns in sewer drains, flesh eating dolls, or people dressing up as John Howard – Monster Morrison uses Paternalism like a sharp knife to stab and slash at the safety net that holds the most vulnerable in society.

A Government governing for all of society ensures there is a safety net. A safety net catches a person falling and that person is usually able to bounce back up and land on their feet. They can then walk off freely into a life they have the autonomy to build. This is not the safety net of the Morrison Government. The safety net built by Monster Morrison is woven together by paternalism.

In his book, New Paternalism, Supervisory approaches to poverty, Lawrence Mead describes Paternalism as: “The close supervision of the poor.” For this to emerge as an idea, a judgement that poor people do not have the capacity to be responsible with their own personal agency, personal power and autonomy, must have been made first. Morrison makes that judgement in spades.

Judgement is the basis of paternalism. The powerful inflicting paternalism onto others have a set of values or beliefs they believe are the preferred basic foundations of society. A judgement is formed about those who do not align with that set of values or belief. The powerful then set up measures of intervention and supervision for those people in society whom they deem do not measure up to their expectations. The separation of ‘Normals’ and ‘Stigmatised’ is now engaged.

Monster Morrison tries to justify his gigantic knife of Paternalism by wrapping it up in the Harm Principal. He argues that the poor must be supervised and controlled to prevent harm to themselves and others. However, Monster Morrison is the one inflicting all the harm.

A Nation in Collective Depression

Monster Morrison’s paternalistic and punitive interventions to control those who do not meet his values and belief standards, are now wide reaching.

There are so many jobless across all ages and genders, so many people in precarious and insecure work, so many young people unable to get a start in life by way of training or apprenticeships, so many workers underemployed, so many workers facing an increase in dangerous work conditions, so many vulnerable in poor quality care, so many disabled and frail persons, forced onto job search instead of pensions, so many homeless people, so many with letters of demands for money with no proof of debt raised and so many people income managed and unable to enable their basic right of personal power of purchase choice.

Monster Morrison’s destruction of personal agency is now impacting on so many individuals. This is now resulting in a marked increase of personal recounts of the negative affects such as anxiety and depression and heart wrenching personal recounts of parents or spouses losing children or loved ones to paternalism induced suicide.

Whether directly a victim of Morrison’s paternalism, or indirectly through emotional contagion supporting and listening to the voices of the vulnerable, we have entered an era of collective depression.

How do we Slay a Monster like Morrison?

Demand a serious safety net

Demand and insist on the narrative that people want to work

Demand financial penalties cease within Social Security

Demand work for the Dole and PATH cease immediately

Demand Private Job Active Agencies are abolished. Outcome Based Funding is abolished and replaced with block funding

Demand Newstart is lifted above the poverty line

Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation.

Demand people with a disability, the sick and those with terminal illness are afforded the dignity of a pension

Demand the eradication of harsher punitive measures for areas with high Indigenous populations

Demand that Cashless Welfare Card ceases immediately and is voluntary only

Demand the funding of preventative programs

Demand RoboDebt is dismantled immediately

Demand Aged Care is fully funded and in abundance in the Public system

Demand the rights and autonomy of Unions in all workplaces

Finally, put the Liberals, Nationals and One Nation LAST. Always.

An Open Letter to “The Left”

I am writing this letter to anyone who considers themselves as part of the left movement. Excuse my lack of salutation. I was going to address everyone with Dear Comrades; however, that only poses my first problem. I don’t know if comrades is even a fitting greeting anymore. I don’t even know where I fit in anymore.

I am almost 50 years old and since I was a young girl of about 12 years of age, through the words of the great Bob Hawke, I have felt a belonging and an affiliation with the labour movement. Through the greatness of Hawke and many other great Labor leaders, be they Prime Ministers, Party Leaders, Union Leaders, MPs or Senators, I have felt seen and understood by the labour movement. My whole life, regardless of paid membership, I have always identified as a member of Labor. Therefore, I have always considered myself as a member of “The Left”.

Until recent times, the majority of people on the left of politics, shared an affiliation and predominantly that affiliation was the heart felt desire to protect and progress the workers in this great country. Yes, there are variations of ‘the left’ however, the dominant strand of leftism in Australia has always been grounded in Marxist thought. That is, that a worker’s labour has value and progress was centered around the advancement of workers and anyone who could not work for whatever reason. Progressive ideas were and are still centered around egalitarianism and fairness. Progress has always been made for the worker-centric left through democratic socialism and pragmatism.

The reason I am writing this letter is that I see comments all the time that the Labor party has abandoned them. However, I hold a growing fear that people are abandoning the worker centric left. There appears to be an increasing demand that Labor also abandons the worker centric left and focus on major issues from a radical perspective, with no consideration for workers.

A few years ago, I started penning articles regarding the anti-worker approach of the Stop Adani movement. As someone who is very grounded in Marxist thought that labour has value and workers should have agency in the means of their work; I very wrongly assumed that these articles would be well received. I thought that there were more people who were like-minded and they too would raise their voices and insist workers be the focus of this looming urgent change. Sadly, not so.

The opposite of my intent occurred. Instead of being seen as someone standing up for workers in regional Australia, I have been frankly, targeted, abused, ridiculed, you name it for years now, by those on ‘the left.’ The spaces where this has occurred has been on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and also up close and personal. I am not talking about a one off instance, it has been constant for years.

Even today, someone who I don’t engage with that often, randomly tagged me in something about Adani and why there will be no jobs at all in coal. Because you know, I’m obviously the first person some people think of on Twitter when they feel relief that they have found something that really shoves the point back to me that coal workers no longer matter in the whole scheme of things, probably three months after the original discussion.

The sad thing is, this vindication they feel is not being vindicated for a left wing ideal at all. It is something that John Howard would be proud of. To increase profit with no human labour input costs at all. People are literally welcoming and rejoicing in automation that puts workers out of work, because it suits their key political issue of climate change.

At first, these attacks were highly distressing and very, very confusing. Because all my life I found where workers issues were raised, there was camaraderie, support and an engagement of how to ‘win that battle.’ I am writing this letter because in my view, that has died. It no longer exists. If workers are an inconvenience in addressing a challenge, the advocates are fine with workers being the negative consequence of action they demand. I have for about a year now, really tried to clarify that what I interpret is what is meant by really pushing people to clarify on Twitter.

Responses go from anything to the environmental leftists praising Margaret Thatcher for shutting down the mines and insisting that that didn’t cause any problems. Or that coal workers will just have to move to where jobs are. Or the most common, the stance that coal workers need to ‘have the guts’ to give up their jobs for the greater good.

Other comments centre around the ‘greed’ of coal workers for not giving up their jobs, or the laziness of coal workers for not pulling themselves up and thinking ahead and retraining themselves. And then of course the indignant ‘there are no jobs in this dying industry anyway and everything will be automated.’

And for others, the fact that Abbott shut down Car Manufacturing and ‘it didn’t affect anything and we all survived’ is a point made that coal can shut down and ‘coal workers will find other jobs, just like Holden workers did.’

By far the most damaging impact by the left on the left, is their top down authoritarian approach of demanding change. That is, targeting a particular region in Australia and then without any consultation or understanding of what that area is about, demanding that they close down their industry and give up their jobs. This movement is literally denying affected people the agency to be participants of change. Instead they take the approach that ‘they know what is best for them.’ I don’t know about others, but this is new to me. I’ve never known or understood the wider left movement in years gone by to deny affected people the agency to be participants in change. It goes against the grain of democratic socialism. And that is a huge fear and a driver for me writing this letter.

Not only are so many of these beliefs simply so ill informed, it is a very dangerous ideological territory that people are venturing into and embracing.

Every single example above is not a worker-centric left wing narrative. It is the language of John Howard and Tony Abbott. These ideas resonate with the ideology of the Australian Liberal party, that workers are a disposable commodity. It also centres on the Liberals key ideology of Individualism or ‘anti-socialism.’ The key ideology since Menzies, that it is the Individual’s responsibility for himself and the rejection of socialist intervention to assist those who can’t fend for themselves.

The examples above are also anti-community and are far from egalitarian. This movement is not advocating for everyone to do their fair share and abolish a range of practices and industries that may impact on climate change. They are placing the entire burden on regional Australians. When this burden was rejected the environmental left were shocked! Instead of understanding why this burden was rejected, they vilified regional QLDers as bogan, as a disgrace and a demand for a ‘Qexit’. Simply because these people still wanted food on their table, as no tangible, solution they can see, exists.

When there are thousands and thousands of people online everyday and thousands marching in the streets demanding to shut down jobs, this opens up the political opportunism of the right to take over this space. The right wing parties, took over this space and campaigned that they would protect jobs and workers. There is nowhere to go for Labor when that type of opportunity is allowed to occur and is in a context as such that it is believed. At the last election, that is what the left allowed to happen. Including the people with the decision making powers within the Labor party itself.

The key working class issues of the Change the Rules movement, around precarious employment, labour hire, dodgy contracting, unfair wages, penalty rates, protections for workers locked out or mine companies shutting down and opening and hiring more ‘compliant’ staff, and worker safety etc., etc., etc., were suffocated with Stop Adani and the convoy in QLD. These issues simply were not heard and were not given the respect and interest they would have been given in years gone by because they were simply drowned out – by ‘the left’.

In fact, within the Change the Rules movement with the Greens heavily involved, I felt awkward and out of place, listening to people in that movement sprout their hatred for the Labor party. I also felt it strange with not having the inclusiveness of unions and Labor at the booths. This is because it was seen as a ‘separate’ movement to the Labor party – that is separate to the only party who was able to legislate any of these demands being fought for. I’m not sure if this was nationwide, or just in my area of Capricornia, where our Labor candidate was a coal miner and the CFMEU were insisting upon protection of jobs and this made the Greens uncomfortable.

In addition to the above, further divisiveness and moving away from worker centric left, is the demands of radical action, over pragmatism. Also the demands and the ‘wedging’ of Labor on issues, by very vocal champions of the environmental left, that are impossible to act upon in opposition. Issues that require power, pragmatism and democratic leadership, giving affected people actual agency as participants in change.

The purist demands of radical action over pragmatism, are on the increase and fly in the face of how the left has overcome struggle for over a century. Labor has always led the way with great national reforms and have always either achieved progress through incremental change, or through the democratic leadership style of inclusiveness and listening to all voices.

However, in the modern day, affected individuals (i.e. coal workers and people in regional communities) are being increasingly voiced as a problem, rather than hearing or even wanting to hear their voices, because many on ‘the left’ don’t want to confront the ugly truths of what some of their demands mean to real people. These advocates, in abundance are applying great pressure to Labor to do the same.

When Labor finally after the election, came out and said they will stand by coal workers (remembering workers are a traditional ingrained reason for being Labor) this stance has been largely ridiculed online as ‘Right Wing!’ and ‘abandoning the base!”

When people like me who raise concerns about the affect on workers in the midst of great challenges and change are repeatedly attacked by a great number of people, there is a serious issue with the survival of ‘the left’.

When the Labor party stands by workers and this is shunned as being right wing, there is an even greater serious issue with survival of ‘the left’.

I’m not sure who ‘the left’ think the base is now, but the idea that you attack one worker you attack us all, is obviously also dead.

When standing up for workers is seen as ‘shifting to the right and bowing to the right’ I don’t just fear for the death of the left movement, I grieve the loss of our history, our common sense and most of all our compassion.

To me, these are the greatest challenges for the survival of the left of politics in Australia.

The rise of the environmental left is a key concern and a challenge for the left movement as a whole. Climate change is a major challenge for every single country and every individual on this planet. However, it is not the only issue.

People still live out their everyday lives on a daily basis. A challenge as great as climate change is a complex issue and approaches to address climate change, must respect the here and now of individuals and communities. To achieve progress and balance, a worker centric approach to climate change, must be taken. A fair and equal view of everyone sharing the burden, not just a few regional communities, also must be taken.

The current demands of the environmental left, are suffocating the issues of the working class left and every single vulnerable person in society. When workers perceive the choice of no job, or precarious employment, the chants of the union movement against precarious employment are insignificant and ‘the left’ is seen as the enemy.

This is the enabling environment we are currently building for the political opportunism on the right of politics and that means an enabling environment is built for them to win elections and hold power.

In a democracy, people will voice their opinions and we have great platforms now to do so. People will also be very passionate about their key issues. However, in a democracy it is also up to people to voice concerns and challenge others where approaches to change – climate or otherwise – place the worker second, vilify workers, or see workers as an inconvenient consequence and any negative impacts should just be accepted.

The Labor party also has a huge challenge in this democracy. They need to find a way to put forward very strong worker centric arguments and enable workable solutions to change that are acceptable to all. They need to find a way to rise above the purist demands and convince thousands of radical and unhappy voices that incremental change and democratic leadership, and the protection of all workers and is what has built this country in the face of some monumental challenges in the past. They need to find the right words and the right approach that Labor, will continue to do so in the future.

The Labor party are currently reviewing their policies and approach from the last election. I feel very strongly, that we no longer just need to counter the right wing of politics, but there are equal challenges on the left of politics to address. Labor needs to come up with innovative ways to ensure people feel included in decisions about change. The town halls were great, but there is an overwhelming amount of technology that bring people together and these are not being utilized. A new approach using modern technology could be used to make landmark changes to democratic action and progressive policy ideas. I urge Labor to think hard about this.

The result of the the divisiveness of ‘the left’ and pushing the workers secondary, we are living everyday. A paternalistic, degrading regime, with a hatred of unions and workers and a mass dehumanisation of the jobless. The fight against that is why Labor exists and we have three more years to watch this contempt on society by the Liberals from the sidelines.

The left of politics created the enabling environment for this to happen. It is time people looked at themselves and how they engage in politics and seriously ask themselves if their approach is actually helpful or harmful.

So thanks for reading. This is why, at almost 50 years old and a political awakening instigated by Hawke, I no longer know where I fit and I no longer feel a camaraderie with ‘the left.’ I am hoping that people will give me some hope after reading this, rather than reinforce my fears.

Trish.

p.s. Please do not respond with any but, but, buts about a just transition. Thousands of people day in day out targeting regional communities, angry contorted faces all over the internet demanding to shut down industry, gluing themselves to the footpath or chaining themselves to railway tracks, devising ways to ‘birddog’ Labor, creating a campaign that QLD Labor is corrupt, and taking a convoy to a small country town to protest their very existence, announcing a policy in an election to shut down all coal, causing a huge amount of fear in regional communities – is not a just transition. The intent has certainly not been displayed in the behaviour and when people vote, that is what counts.

Bring Back the Labor Herald

Until 2016, Australian Labor had an online blog site The Labor Herald. There is a case to bring back the Labor Herald. This is due to the recent events of the past election, negative messaging about Labor and various debates developing from negative messaging on Facebook and Twitter.

The Election

Various debates have ensued about why Labor did not win the federal election. There are many good points to listen to and many not so good points to reject. Many people have put a lot of time and effort into formal responses. Some I have read online and some Labor friends have sent me their thoughts and submissions direct.

So much feedback shows there are many people passionate about Labor and despite the rhetoric of the right wing media and many Greens supporters sticking it to Labor on Twitter; at our core, we are a bunch of very passionate people who care deeply about workers rights, equality and fairness.

The other huge point I want to make and counter, is the election isn’t a personal blow for us. What is reflected in every feedback I have read or listened to, is a passion for other people and how losing the election will impact on other people. As a whole, we don’t worry about how the election impacts on us as individuals, but the workers, the poor and the disadvantaged. In a nutshell, that is who Labor is. We are greater than the sum of all our parts.

Negative Messaging

However, at the crux of all of these debates is “Labor’s intent” or “What Labor stood for” or “What Labor does or doesn’t believe in”. In short, a whole range of misinformation ensued from not only the right wing parties, but from many on “the left.” That is the Greens and their supporters, left leaning swinging voters and “Left Leaning Independent voters” (or so they think IND are left!). This is not a new problem. There are many news articles, social media posts, tweets, blogs, “independent’ news, all misrepresenting Labor and really pushing a negative rhetoric about Labor.

Over the years this has culminated like an insidious contagion and for many non-politically aligned people this resonates as Labor cannot be trusted. This suits the Liberals to a T. In Queensland when people believe they can’t trust Labor and don’t really vote LNP, they vote PHON. All this does is harm a progressive Industrial Relations agenda and that is all politics boils down to.

The problem is Labor did nothing to stop it. They are still doing nothing to stop it. I don’t know about you, but I find this incredibly frustrating. Especially when there is an abundance of tools to do so in modern society.

The Problem

There are a lot of people on social media and blogs who are forever countering claims by the Media, right wing politicians and in particular, sadly, increasingly so, by the other “left” party the Greens. These claims are almost always misrepresenting what Labor has said or ignores the context of which something was done or said by Labor. This has become increasingly worse since the election.

The problem is, Labor should have a clear and concise messaging strategy to not just attack the LNP, but to really take note of the narratives going on, on social media as well, and counter what is being said. They need to pay equal attention to negative messaging about Labor from Liberals, Nats, LNP, PHON, Greens and Independents. They need to observe general conversations and respond to these in a concise way that is easily shared.

There are some really great MP’s like Murray Watt and Martin Pakula and Peter Khalil who do engage with people on Twitter and who do clarify issues and they do this very well. However, there needs to be more than this. Twitter and Facebook are not set and forget advertising platforms.

Mainstream Media

The Australian Labor Party is the party of the working class. The Labor party was borne of the working class. History cannot be changed. Unions have direct representation in the Labor party and put forward ideas and debate directly to the Labor policy platform. Unions support candidates.

However, there is no working class friendly voice in the mainstream media. Particularly in regional Queensland, where almost all newspapers are owned by the Murdoch Press. Newspapers, Talk back radio, Television shows do not tell any stories from a working class perspective. They highlight the right wing perspective. Where a worker perspective is written, it always ends with the last word from the LNP. At best, we get a panel member and then three right wing panel members for “balance”. The Guardian, could be described as ‘left friendly’ but as a whole, it is friendly to the environmental left, not the working class left, nor Labor.

Regardless of income, regardless of sector, regardless of collar colour, we are ALL working class if we have an employer, including the new contractors who contract to an employer, where they should be employees instead. We are ALL working class and at the mercy of employers when the Liberals implement laws to unfairly dismiss us, to casualise us, contract our labour or to replace us with foreign labour. We are ALL working class when we have to deal with an unfair, poverty based, punitive Social Security system.

There are some very good Independent News sites, such as the Monthly and Saturday Paper, however these are subscriber based and many do not see these articles.

The stories of these people are missing like a huge black hole in mainstream media.

Social Media

Social media is rife with misinformation about Labor. Facebook is usually the medium used by right wing parties to spread misinformation and fear mongering about Labor. Twitter and blogs (including “Independent News sites”) are used by the Greens and their supporters and some Independent’s to spread and try to really reinforce the message that “Labor has lost their way.” There are right wing bloggers or “Independent journalists” who also have significant followings who spread this message.

We have the right wing saying that Labor is beholden to the Unions, as if that is a negative thing.

We have the Greens saying that Labor rejects the unions, are distancing themselves from the unions and that the Greens are the original Unionists.

We have Independents saying not to trust major parties, knowing they will support the Liberals in power anyway.

There is a growing stigma on social media about ‘partisan politics.’ There are very vocal Independent supporters, ‘left leaning I don’t support any party’ supporters and many greens supporters with significant followings online. They will really hammer that is is shameful to politically align yourself with Labor. Those on “the left’ who say it is shameful to support the party of the workers, see Marx rolling in his grave.

Regardless, the Greens, Independents, Liberals, Nationals, LNP and PHON are all singing the same chorus to really try to reinforce to voters that “Labor cannot be trusted and Labor does not care about YOU!” That is the central narrative from all of them.

Political Agendas

Absolutely everything about politics boils down to the “Capitalist Class” (Liberals) to achieve an agenda where the “Working Class” (Labor) is used as the cheapest disposable commodity that money can buy (or engage it for free), or if many can’t buy it, they will make a law to make it so.

The current Liberal agenda for Social Security of poverty payments and RoboDebt, is an agenda where desperate people will start fighting to work for very low wages, in any conditions and unions will be positioned as a group who are stopping them from getting food on the table.

Everything else is white noise. Everything else is a distraction.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

The agenda of PHON – a close ally of the Liberals, is to make as much noise about social issues in a negative way as much as they can. They intentionally are perpetrators of racist debate and other negative messaging around social issues, to take the focus off what the Liberals are doing and intend to do with Industrial Relations and Work Rights.

PHON also creates outrage by saying that Labor doesn’t stand up for ‘battlers’ when Labor’s entire agenda is to do so. Whereby Hanson supports the Liberals and does everything to harm the working class and the poor. Pauline has the advantage of the concentrated attention of followers who do not seek out to read views from other parties. Pauline Hanson has been able to achieve this as she has successfully ingrained the distrust of “the left.” More on that at the end of the article.

Labor needs to address negative social issues sharply and shift the focus back to a Labor agenda. Labor needs to be forceful in explaining how voting for Pauline Hanson works against the workers and the poor. Not by attacking her, but by highlighting what she supports by supporting the Liberals and not Labor.

PHON seek to not take Liberal or LNP seats as they have deals to support each other. They have an agenda to deplete Labor seats to weaken the stance against the right. Usually, this is by attracting voters who PHON does not assist by siding with the Liberals and Labor definitely would.

Labor needs to challenge media creating “them or us outrage” and directly respond to journalists Labor’s response to this and direct the issue back to Labor’s agenda. They need to call out the reason for the outrage, and that is to shift the focus away from the Liberals Industrial Relations, Social Security and Economic management, whilst still giving voice and support to the group being attacked.

To do this, Labor needs to go on as many right wing talk back shows as possible.

The Australian Greens

The Greens’ agenda is more complex. The Greens see themselves as having the absolute right to hold the place of Labor in Parliament, without having to do any of the hard work, or achieve progress by way of concession and often painful decisions as Labor has over 100 years.

Labor has had to over many years, often give away some of their agenda, to achieve progress little by little via compromise. I guarantee the poorest amongst us understand this, because that is a way of life and a small gain is better than nothing at all. However, those who have never lived this, not so much.

This has been the way of the unions too. Work rights didn’t come wrapped up in a pink bow and handed to workers. Union workers have died, gone to jail and have been injured to make even the smallest gain in Industrial relations over time. All because of laws created by the Liberal Party.

The Greens want what Labor has achieved through hard work handed to them in that little box tied with a pink bow. They think they can just untie the pink bow and they can claim all the hard work Labor has fought for and claim that they did it. They sell that they can achieve everything without concession or compromise and that everything is easy and Labor just hates us.

The Greens primarily attack Labor because they want to secure Labor seats. Some Greens believe that one day they will deplete Labor enough to be the major opposition and some Greens have voiced how they want to secure balance of power. They are not fussed if the right holds power, as long as they have ‘balance of power.’

The Greens agenda is to, like PHON, suffocate Labor’s agenda, but not with creating outrage about Racism, but by creating outrage through climate change.

Labor has very effective policies on both of these issues. Labor needs to sharply counter the outrage and in a direct and personal way possible, by speaking directly to people using the media available today.

Other Campaigns and the Federal Election

In the Federal election, we saw the political practice of creating outrage from both sides of the political spectrum. For me, it is a huge lesson to be learnt. It did not matter what Labor said, in regional Queensland “Stop Adani” suffocated everything. Adam Bandt announcing the Greens would force Shorten to close all mines in ten years, three weeks before election day; was frankly, idiotic and all that was heard.

This created mass fear, because mining in QLD affects almost everything north of Gympie. Absolutely everything. Jobs, supply businesses, small businesses, population and what services we will get, including schools and hospitals, what funding we will get, house prices, etc., etc., etc., It is not a simple problem with a simple solution.

All LNP, PHON and Palmer had to do was take that fear and build messages around it by tying Labor to the Greens about Job losses and add some more negative scary lies about taxes. They would have been rolling on the floor laughing in their campaign meetings. What gold on a silver platter that was!

Immediate Demand and Culture of Fear

The PHON and Greens in particular have embraced the current culture of ‘immediate demand’ where people want everything now and that everything is easy to get now. Even if you don’t have the numbers in parliament. They have also embraced the culture of fear campaigning.

PHON strongly campaigns that we will all have our rights taken away from us by Labor and this affects our lives and it is urgent to get rid of Labor.

The Greens campaign that we will literally die because of Labor’s inaction on climate change and this affects our very existence and it is urgent to get rid of Labor.

Whilst the worker hating Liberals are lapping up all the power. Both of these parties and their messages against the workers party enable that to happen. Both of these parties’ campaign tactics result in preventing a progressive and fair industrial relations agenda. They prevent a progressive and fair Social Security and a progressive and fair system of equality for all. Regardless of their ‘academic’ or ‘conceptual’ arguments about what they stand for. That is the result.

Not everyone is engaged in politics and constant negative messaging about Labor does and has had an impact at the ballot box. Labor needs to counter this on a daily basis.

Bring Back The Labor Herald

In the times of modern media, it is essential to bring back the Labor Herald, as just one medium to communicate the Labor message.

When issues are raised in the mainstream media or social media from either the right wing cluster or by the Greens, Labor needs to dedicate itself to posting frank discussion pieces on the Labor Herald. This does not have to be time intensive. With the number of Labor MPs, state and federal as well as Senators, the workload could be easily shared around.

These pieces should not be clinical political speak pieces, but story driven emotive pieces that speak to the people. They should explain very clearly the complexities in parliament and why Labor makes certain decisions.

Many people are simply not aware of the complexities of power in parliament and because of the negative narrative, particularly by the Greens, people are truly believing Labor could have prevented X when there is absolutely no way to do so.

These pieces should directly address why certain amendments were made and what was the alternative option. If the alternative option was to leave a raw bill for two racists, a Christian conservative, two Liberal friendly ‘centrists’ and a Nationalist to negotiate on, then say so and explain what Labor’s concerns were.

In short, speak to us. Otherwise, Labor through silence, enables the negative messaging to flourish.

Other Social Media Tools

Everyday there is negativity about Labor online. If Labor wants to win office, it is essential that every social media tool and traditional media tool possible is used.

By resurrecting the Labor Herald, Labor supporters can easily share articles on social media, including other blogs, that counter the negative messaging from the right wing cluster and the Greens.

It can be used to expose tricks and deception used, particularly by the Greens by highlighting the rules of parliament, when the Greens try to say Labor doesn’t support X, when the Greens have literally pulled a stunt by creating a motion in the wrong bill.

Facebook & Twitter

People who are distrusting of Labor and are looking to PHON and the Greens will not care to take in the views or ‘Like” a Labor Facebook Page or join a Labor Facebook Group.

Labor needs to copy the right wing cluster and make a range of issue based Facebook pages and Groups and address these issues from a Labor perspective. This will enable Labor to directly communicate with the group who are concentrated in PHON and who do not seek out other party Facebook groups or pages.

The over 40’s group predominantly use Facebook. Many of these people play games on Facebook. I am one of them. I had an onslaught of LNP and Palmer ads during Facebook games and online game apps. This is all messaging.

Labor politicians need to directly engage with people online on Facebook and Twitter. Many times, these are regular people who simply have questions they want answered. The mainstream media depicting everyone as an online troll, is simply not true. This engagement should be treated no different than face to face engagement.

Message of the Day

A message of the day via a short video could be done in a few minutes via live feed from a car, an office or home. Labor should take note of the daily concerns and negative messaging on Twitter and Facebook and use short videos every day to counter these negative messages and reinforce the Labor message.

Traditional Media

In regional Towns, traditional newspapers are still a respected source of news. Labor needs to send regular articles and in particular a letter to the Editor on at least a weekly basis, countering negative messaging and reinforcing the Labor message. Once again, using frank language and not political speak. Take note as to why Hanson is so successful.

We Can Do This

I think we can all agree that there are a number of factors that contributed to the Labor loss. However, I am a person who sees narrative and the impact narrative has on society and politics. This article and proposed solutions are driven by that.

I would like to think that the Liberals will put the country in such a bad state by the end of this term, that people will return to Labor in droves. However, that is not what I want to see.

I want people to return to Labor in droves, because they fully understand that Labor is a positive, progressive party, who places the worker and disadvantaged at it’s core.

I want people to return to Labor in droves, because negative messaging by the right wing cluster and the Greens has not been able to flourish and people are constantly talking about the Labor agenda and why we need it.

We can do this! Let’s resurrect the Labor Herald.

Hey Hey Ho Ho! Bothism has got to Go!

An emboldened Morrison Government means that Labor under an Albanese Leadership will respond very differently to what we are used to. How we respond to Labor under Albo’s leadership is something we should discuss. For one, Bothism has got to go!

It’s About the Long Game

In an interview with the Guardian this week, Labor leader, Anthony Albanese gave us an insight into how Labor will respond in the current political environment. Our response to that is crucial. What he put forward and the space we are in at the moment, impacts on how this will play out for Labor. Our response to Labor, as they navigate the worker hating evangelist gobshite with no visible agenda, is crucial.

Firstly, despite plenty of doubts, particularly on Twitter, Albanese firmly plants his feet as a progressive with a progressive history.

“I’m a progressive. I’ve been active for a very long period of time, and I’m determined to get a positive outcome in 2022 … because I passionately believe that only Labor governments make a positive difference to people’s lives in a long-term way and in a transformative way. (Anthony Albanese)

Albanese said it’s about the long game. About kicking with the wind in the last quarter. For soccer fans like me, it’s about slowing the game in the first half and deploying tactical in second half when the other side is tired. The point is by the second half the other team will be chasing the ball and our team will be scoring goals.

Another area fairly hyped up on Twitter, and aided by apparent “left friendly newspapers” such as the Guardian who proudly publish their inside jokes in their articles such as calling Labor’s decision making in opposition to a Government with right wing power in both houses as, “bitch and fold” is Labor’s decision making around various bills. In addition, this isn’t helped by the ongoing and tiresome campaign from the Greens deceitfully depicting Labor as voting against something, when that something is a stunt and they know 100% Labor will not break Senate procedure.

Albanese’s response to this is:

“There will be a whole range of things that we do from time to time that people will wonder why we are doing them. We can’t focus on the day or the week, we have to focus on the term, and at the end of the day if you are not in government then you can’t change things in a progressive way.” (Anthony Albanese)

One reason why there has been so much anger on ‘the left of political punters on social media; is for years now, the agenda of ‘Bothism’ has been allowed to manifest. Labor has a responsibility to slay this beast and we also (as leftists) have a responsibility to not feed it.

The Bothism Agenda

One reason we are in this mess is because a lot of people who sit on the left want a Labor Government, but they think they deserve better than the Labor party. This is a Party they have judged from opposition. Or despite now two changes of leadership, will judge on the basis of a hung parliament six years ago. A Party that doesn’t have the power to be judged on their implemented platform. A party who has not had the luxury of having power in both houses as democracy has wished upon us for the conservative agenda to be implemented right now.

The hung parliament of Gillard and the internal conflict of Rudd/Gillard Rudd, was a real antecedent for the Bothism agenda to grow. Seeing this opportunity, since Rudd/Gillard the agenda to fracture the left has become quite prominent. This is a right wing agenda to encourage people to “not vote majors” knowing most minor & Independents preference the Liberals.

We have seen in action, particularly in Queensland, where I felt my Senate ticket might catch fire, which overflowed with right wing evil filling the page. Besides Labor and the Greens, there were absolutely no other progressive choices. The other parties or individuals ranged from conservative to the absolute fruitcake variety ego maniac right wing nationalist who want a good old fashioned gun totin’ shoot up in towns.

The Right Wing Agenda Enabled by The Left

The problem is there are many on the left of politics who believe the Bothism agenda is a positive thing to ‘strengthen the left’ by holding the major left party to account. When in fact, it is a right wing agenda to split the left and it is working out quite fine for the conservatives who hate us.

Ask yourself why it is also the preferred approach of Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer, if it ‘strengthens the left.’

Therefore, there are major players on “the left” of politics who have embraced the Bothism agenda. In the space of social media….really, who can blame some people? On Twitter and Blogs, it is a very easy way to gather thousands of followers and gain prominence in the #Auspol space.

In the anti-Liberal sections of Facebook groups and pages, the Bothism agenda attacking Labor has become so entrenched, particularly by Greens, non-party aligned Socialists, Climate Change activists, Sustainability activists and various Welfare and general Left Politics groups, that many Labor people are retreating away from these groups and forming closed Labor groups.

Unfortunately, sharing Labor memes and stories with Labor members or staunch Labor voters on Facebook is not helpful. It is up to Labor to come up with significant change around Social Media strategy to actually, sadly, counter ‘the left’ political punters on Social media.

The Social Media Bothism Narrative

These individuals and groups have enabled the “Bothism agenda” by feeding it. When it all boils down to it, politics is always, always about Capital vs Labour (and you sure as hell will feel this the next 3 years). Trying to find absolutely everything wrong with Labor and at times, hoping Labor is as bad as you want them to be (because you have other vested political interests), hurts a hell of a lot of vulnerable people who ‘the left’ is supposed to be there for in the long run.

There are prominent Twitter accounts who “Support Labor winning” but day in day out they promote Labor is no different to the Liberals. Ideologically and a study of our history, shows this view is ingrained in ignorance. It is an ignorance that has infected the collective trust in politics. Which once again, only helps the paternalistic Liberals.

Then we have Jan Fran, First Dog and Juice Media who enable this ignorance, particularly with new and young voters. Their formula to spread their Bothism message is always, “Liberals are shit but hey gotta say Labor is pretty shit too.” Well Bothism is also pretty shit. A Morrison Government is even more shit. How is the Morrison Government turning out for you so far?

Blogs or Flogs?

Then we have the Independent Media. The “media” we expect to give us the stories that Murdoch doesn’t. However a lot of bloggers (not pointing to anyone in particular, because there are a lot of you) repeatedly publish articles completely misrepresenting Labor’s position and just harp on how crap Labor is. Again, who can blame them? The reader attraction is there and how easy is it to just scan some comments on Twitter, pick up on some reacts and do a big Hanson type rant about how shit Labor is, with no support for arguments, truth or substance. The pat on the backs come and its rinse and repeat.

The nunber of bloggers who have ingrained in people’s minds that Labor is anti-Welfare, anti-Climate Change and pro-Capitalist are not only helping the Liberals, but write from a place of pure ignorance, are outright lying and play into the bothism agenda of distrust and apathy. The problem with this, is unless a person knows where they fit ideologically, they end up putting their faith in a right wing Independent, Katter, Hanson or Palmer to name a few. They aren’t conservative, but they get the message via these articles, Facebook blogs etc (which are 2000 word rants) etc., that Labor doesn’t stand up for them either. Stop being part of the problem.

In saying that, Labor also needs to keep abreast of blogs and Independent ‘news’ sites and call them out as blogs or flogs. They should respond with shareable information if the content of these blogs is incorrect. Some articles reach thousands and thousands of people.

If I have upset any bloggers who constantly write from a bothism perspective and never have anything positive to say about Labor, bite me. I don’t care. Someone needs to say it.

I had a heated exchange on Twitter the other day with another writer and I was accused on not being critical enough of the Labor Party. This person expressed contempt towards me, told me basically my writing was shit and wouldn’t know where to start picking it apart and also, that I am not an “Independent Blogger.”

Independent blogger to me, is I do not have anyone else control what I write about. I conduct independent research. I write from my own perspective. A blog is an opinion platform. I am an opinion writer and I am also an experienced researcher, when I do not want to write opinion.

I am also not controlled by a writing agenda. I don’t ‘plan’ my writing, I am compelled to write. It isn’t something I can explain well. It just gets to the stage where I have to put thoughts on paper. It is why you are reading quite a long post right now!

I do not and never will masquerade as a journalist, like some writers do.

Journalism is a Higher Education qualification. Whether you are a great journalist or not is irrelevant. It is a skill, a craft and it is a lot harder than me just sitting here behind my keyboard. I would not be so disrespectful to people who have earned a qualification to call myself a ‘journalist.’

As my site clearly states, I write with a Laborist slant. It is not a secret. The fact that a fellow writer and promoter from a major Independent Site castigated me for not attacking Labor enough, is surely part of the F’ing problem! Shunning and ridiculing pro-Labor opinion writers because you think pushing ignorant bothism is some high value, especially when Labor is in opposition, helps no one. You don’t see Bolt attacking Credlin for being too pro-Liberal.

Hell, even I read Andrew Bolt and watch Credlin, because it is important to understand the conservative argument. Sorry, but sitting on the fence flogging both majors is a cop out, enables bothism, ignorance and apathy and it helps no one.

Sites such as The Saturday Paper and The Monthly are actual journalistic sites. These are not blog sites. (PS Paddy Manning is the BEST!)

Breaking Bothism

To break Bothism, start questioning Independent blog articles. Many independent articles are written from the position that Labor is inherently bad. They are writers like me, sitting at home behind a keyboard with no journalistic qualifications, and they have political leanings to minor left or Independents.

Question if it’s the whole story. Ask in comments for a link to Hansard. A good blogger will comply. This includes the ‘new style of blog’ that is a 2000 word rant from an anti-Labor leftist in Facebook groups.

You will find by reading Hansard, it’s almost always never the full story. Do this with memes and tweets you see as well. Stop just accepting Labor are bastards. Not once have I researched an issue and found that to be the case. It’s normally due to political power in Parliament or the necessity to follow a particular parliamentary procedure. An example of mendacious claims about Labor can be found here.

Hell, if you see something you are not sure of, pick up a phone and phone a Labor MP or Senator. If you see anything you find doubtful, even contact me if you like and I will get the information for you.

You can see by the above, that there are those on the left who feed the Bothism agenda and that reaches an audience Murdoch does not use and that only benefits the Liberals.

I’m not saying don’t be critical of Labor. But at least try to find facts and speak up in comments if you think it’s political opportunism and not the full story. Real criticism and real solutions adds to progress. Faux anger based on political opportunism or harvesting likes, divides us and regresses us.

Bothism a Negative Emotional Contagion

The Bothism agenda is an insidious negative emotional contagion. We need to bear in mind that not everyone is politically engaged. One example is The Greens in the last QLD state election campaigned that the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was corrupt resulted in people not voting “for that corrupt bitch” and voted Hanson. This campaign was fully endorsed by the Greens to run, when Pauline Hanson is an actual real threat in Queensland. We need more people who do not want Pauline Hanson or the LNP in power to stand up to the Greens and insist they explain why they would run such a campaign when Pauline Hanson is actually a threat and the LNP are just slightly less worse.

Federally, we have seen a three year campaign by the Greens and other climate activist groups (who mind you, the QLD LNP and the Hanson candidates here absolutely LOVE YOU so much it makes me ill), who have predominantly attacked Labor over the Adani issue. Stop Adani was a campaign created by a Green for the last QLD state election to win three seats in inner city Brisbane, including Labor’s Jackie Trad. (Who is a complete Goddess BTW!). One candidate said to me how they were so impressed how well it took off. So we had to cop three years of it, see our towns invaded upsetting people, just to get a Morrison Government who they never held to account in the first place.

Many think I detest the Greens because I am some type of psycho rusted on Labor bitch (and there is nothing wrong with that for others out there 🙂 !) I detest the Greens because their constant attacks on Labor help the Liberals and we end up with the Liberals which sees vulnerable people pushed down further and further. They don’t get that one day can be a very long time for disadvantaged people, let alone three bloody years of a Liberal Government making life harder for them.

Labor’s position on Adani was always that they could only work within the law; which is all the Greens would be able to do if they held office. Now after this has caused a tremendous amount of mass fear in QLD and parts of NSW over mass job losses and they played out a campaign for change that goes against every single change management theory in the book; Adani may still fall over. The Greens could have supported Labor knowing that when Labor was in office, that Labor would act on Climate Change. But hey, what is another three years of destructive conservative Government, and screwing over every Labor candidate north or Gympie, if it just might mean you win Melbourne Ports off Labor?

As we can see from the above, the anti-Labor messages got through, but people don’t always put all pieces of the puzzle together in their busy lives. A headline or a meme is absorbed as people scroll and they don’t take a blind bit of notice who posted it. But the message sticks. It sticks all the way to the ballot box. Labor has to do something about this urgently.

Don’t Allow Bothism to Divide Us

The reason I wrote this article is after reading Albo’s words in the Guardian the Bothism bandwagon will be clapping with glee & go full turbo. Expect the Greens to ramp up the “Labor voted with the Liberals” and other assorted mendacious attacks on the only party that can replace the Liberals.

I wanted to speak up because when it all boils down to it, it is always about Capital vs Labour. Bothism is the ignorance that only helps capital.

The Bothism bandwagon breeds ignorance & apathy. It promotes distrust in good Labor politicians who, since the dawn of time have delivered every single national reform we take for granted. The Liberals formed with the purpose to stand against the workers parties. That’s important.

So let’s not just sit back and watch the Bothism agenda divide the left anymore. It’s been going on far too long. Sure a lot of people enjoy big followers from bagging both majors, but after May 18 that needs a huge rethink. It’s time for more serious, in-depth discussions.

We will get rid of Morrison by not having a meltdown every time Labor supports something with amendments. In the current set up they literally have little power. Ignore the Greens who hand all power to right wing nutters on XBench. More on that here:

It’s Time to Pick a Side Warts & All

What we are faced with right now is critical. The days of entertaining the idea that some minor party will form Government is over. The Morrison Government will be more destructive than Howard. It’s time to actually pick a side, warts and all. Because it’s always, always about Capital vs labour.

It’s good to see Labor speak out against the Greens political opportunism via Murray Watt.

and Albo absolutely gives the Liberals a hiding in his speech about drought funding. It’s up to all of us, including Labor to find ways to share these videos or the points made.

Solidarity and Patience

The reason we need to pick a side of either major warts and all is the grumbling by those involved in the Bothism agenda has helped re-elect the Liberals and in Queensland increased the Hanson vote. The campaigns by the Greens targeting Labor, have helped re-elect the Liberals.

Labor should not have to fight “the Left”.

This has resulted in an emboldened agenda by the Liberals to come down hard on workers’ rights, workers’ pay and conditions and destroying safety nets such as aged pension and Medicare. Bothism destroys the positive emotional contagion needed to build a true Left movement.

A true Left movement in real solidarity is needed because sometimes a small opportunity, an education, a traineeship, a secure job, a living wage, a union defending your rights, access to a doctor, and the security of not going hungry or without heating or housing, changes lives. The Liberals make life extremely hard for the vulnerable and those who feel they can’t speak up, or have agency taken away by the Liberals to do so. Protecting the vulnerable is a key leftist value. Campaigning against the Labor party, the only party that can replace the Liberals; is not a leftist value. It absolutely works against the left.

Pushing Labor in Government is a completely different story. (I don’t mean lie about, I mean push) They have no constraints then.

True Progressive Reform

To change lives and to protect the vulnerable we need to get behind a leader who understands the worker and the vulnerable. And even you blokes working for the mines who voted Hanson & LNP that means you. The biggest threat to Blue collar wages & safety are the Liberals.

Anthony Albanese will deliver a true progressive platform. Albo understands because he is a housing commission kid like me. One thing I know about Housing Commission kids is no matter how successful we become, that housing commission kid pipes up and reminds us who we are every day.

That housing commission kid, a kid who has benefited in life from Gough and Hawke reforms, and values these reforms, has stood for years in public office to protect everything the Liberals seek to destroy. He has used that lived experience to speak up for others. He understands us, because he connects with a life most of us live or have lived.

That is why we should fight every single day for Anthony Albanese to be our next Prime Minister.

Solidarity & Patience my friends.

Cover pic courtesy of Young Labor

The Independent site mentioned in my article is NOT AIMN where I sometimes publish.

Choose! Or the Left May Die

The Left has eaten itself for the past few weeks. The anger on Social Media regarding the decision making of Labor, will have dire consequences. One consequence is the Liberals in Government for six, nine or twelve more years, or Armageddon; whichever comes sooner. For the Left to stop eating themselves alive; the Left have to make a choice about what type of opposition they support and Labor has to listen.

This Is It for the Next Three Years

For the next three years the construction of the lower house is that The Coalition holds power and the Opposition Labor Party does not have the numbers to prevent any Bill passing in the lower house.

For Bills to pass in the Senate the Liberals can pass Bills by securing the support of three of the six right wing individuals from the Cross bench.

In the Senate the Liberals hold power, with Labor and Greens parties on the left and a six person cross bench. the Six person Cross Bench are all Right Wing parties or Individuals. With one posing as a Centre party. The Cross Bench all hold right wing ideologies. These ideologies span from Christian Conservatism, Nationalism and Centrism.

Political Risks for The Left

The risk for the Left, with the Right wing Cross Bench holding balance of power, is they hold the power to trade anything they want in exchange for their support to the Government. The Right Wing Cross Bench ONLY hold no power if Labor or the Greens side with the Government.

Have a think about this. Go Wild! Have a good hard think about what trade offs the Cross Bench will make. Especially with Christian Conservatism and Nationalism, It could be anything from cuts to social security, defence spending, racist legislation, abhorrent Asylum Seeker (yes even worse) legislation, criminalisation of abortion – anything.

The Left has two choices.

We must decide right now; which type of opposition we prefer, by framing the long term consequences in the context of the left’s power and position in parliament. This is a very serious issue. Power exists in the construct of the environment and that environment’s rules enables who holds power and when. To get through the next three years, we really need to think hard about this.

But first of all we need to settle some myths.

Labor Opposition Myths

Labor is the Opposition. They do not have the Power to implement their policies, strategies or ideas. The only party who can do that is the party of Government.

Labor does not have the numbers in either house to block any Bills or Legislation.

If Labor and the Greens join together, they do not have the numbers in either house to Block any Government Bills or Legislation. (So when the Greens tell you this. They are lying).

ALL Bills are written by the Government. ALL Bills debated and considered are written by the Government, unless the Government allows a Private Members Bill.

No Bills put before Parliament will be written by Labor, unless Labor secures passage to do so from the Government or via the Senate.

The content of the Bills by the Government are the Bills that need to be debated, and they are not based on the ideological position of the Labor Party; even if they pass with amendments. The amendments are from the ideological position of the Labor party only.

The Lower house holds no power for the Left. To hold power bills must be passed and progressed to the Upper House for Debate. This is the only house where a small amount of power, may be held under the right conditions and strategy for the left.

When the Greens make an amendment or put forward a motion and Labor does not support it; history almost always shows that this is not because Labor is against the “idea” per se; but because of a variety of reasons, including raising the motion in the wrong Bill, or using the wrong procedure in the Senate etc., This is an often used tactic by the Greens (power construct again here folks!) to position themselves as the Left Power. However, if you boil it down, they really are just treating us like idiots, because they know only the nerdy political freaks read the daily Senate Journals.

Choose or the Left Dies

At the rate of how fast the left is eating itself over the last few weeks, those on the Left who seek to divide us, will see the left divisive and dead. I have watched a lot of friendships disintegrate on social media the last few weeks. We have a choice presented by the two major left parties below:

Greens most used option: Concede ALL power to the right wing Cross Bench nutters by blindly protesting. Shame Labor for not conceding all power to the right wing cross bench and misrepresent this to the voting public as “Labor voted against xyz” and flailing about fawning over words like ‘capitulation’. This option is to satisfy ego and create a false construct of power. It is not an option used that can protect the people in the current construction of this parliament. Conceding Power to the right, is the exact opposite of solidarity.

This is the short term thinkers option. This is normally intrinsically motivated to satisfy ego and power.

Labor’s most used Option: Work with the Government to try to implement amendments. This secures support for a Bill, with sufficient amendments to provide protections to society, that is better than the raw Bill put up by the Liberals. This is based on the understanding that if amendments are not secured by the Labor party, without holding balance of power, the amendments will be insisted upon by the Right Wing Cross bench of Christian Conservatives, Nationalists and Centrists. This choice prevents the right wing nutter trade off.

This is the long term thinkers option. This is normally extrinsically motivated as considerations are about preventing the worst possible outcome for the people.

Scenario Based Risk Management

The above choices can be explained via scenario based strategic planning. Within this type of strategic planning the focus is Best Outcome Scenario, Expected Outcome Scenario and Worst Outcome Scenario.

The Worst Outcome Scenario in the make up of this Parliament, is the Right Wing Cross Bench holding the power to negotiate and trade off with the Government for support. To prevent the worst outcome a contingency plan needs to be put in place.

In the case of this parliament, the contingency of the Greens Choice by conceding power and blindly protesting fails; as it allows the worst case scenario outcome. All it does, it make people “Feel” like someone has stood up for them, but in reality, they have done the opposite by handing power to most extreme and radical of those in power who seek to harm them.

In the case of this parliament, the contingency of the Labor Choice by negotiating amendments is the only choice to gain any power. This is either via Government agreement, or convincing the Cross Bench to support the amendments.

Accepting the Ugly

With the make up of this parliament, where the right wing hold power, as the Left, we must accept the ugly choices in this scenario. We must question ourselves upon every single debate of every single Bill:

Q1) Did Labor do all they can to secure amendments to provide protections in that Bill?

Q2) If Labor blindly protests, or votes down a Bill, do we accept the consequences of conceding the power to the Cross Bench to negotiate all wishes, desires and trade offs to secure their support for the passage of that Bill? Do we concede power as the Greens do always to Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Roberts, Jacqui Lambie, Corey Bernardi, Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff to decide on our behalf?

The Left Holds No Legitimate Power

For every single scenario in Parliament for the next three years, the above choices are our choices for what type of opposition we want for every single Bill and every single debate. This is because the Left holds no legitimate power in this parliament. The Government also holds no legitimate power on their own due to the make up of the current Senate. However, based on the ideological leanings of the Cross Bench the legitimate power is more likely for the Right wing Government than the Left.

The only way for the Left to gain legitimate power is to via amendments and negotiations with the Government and Cross Bench to support this power. They have no power via protest or stamping their feet and saying NO! alone.

Short Term vs Long Term

Currently, the left is eating itself because of the strong desire to see the opposition just say NO! to the Government on everything. As argued above, the constraints of power in parliament, this is not as straight forward as it seems. As in Paddy Manning’s article in The Monthly; he speaks to the fact how the Greens will use this to their advantage. My argument in this article, is that whilst I agree, with most of Paddy’s arguments, it is also up to us to decide if we want to ignore the parameters and constraints of opposition in the current parliament, and insist on protest and concede all power to the right wing cross bench. Or we take the complexities into consideration.

We MUST decide if we want to allow the constructs of power in this parliament to divide us, or if we want to get behind Labor by thinking about the questions above. Dividing us, as the Greens always, always seek to do, only gives more power to the Right. (As we have seen as a result of their anti-Labor campaign in the last election via Stop Adani – it suffocated every other single important issue like work rights and healthcare and divided us all).

We MUST decide if we want Labor to be a protest party and adopt the Greens Choice of political strategy and concede power to the Right wing Cross Bench or do we want them to stand up for us and fight via amendments. There is no in-between. Blindly protesting does not enable negotiation power for amendment agreement making. Voting down bills in the lower house, does not create the avenue for negotiation in good faith in the upper house. Sadly, decorum is stiff and boring and procedural, but it is still a thing.

Why Labor Needs to Combat Greens as Well as the Government

I know which choice is in the long term interest of all of us, and it is not misrepresenting using the only avenue to gain power via amendments as capitulation.

As socialists (well I am) we should be looking at the worst possible outcome for the most vulnerable. Protecting the most vulnerable in the make up of this parliament does not include playing games and conceding all power to the Cross Bench nutters via the Greens Choice.

It is trying to gain the only skerrick of power available to protect us by trying to amend bad legislation and eradicate the power of the right wing Cross bench nuttery.

The improvement that Labor could make is to start hammering and keep hammering the power constructs of the current parliament. Stop using political words and speak to the people straight. We can take it.

Labor needs to sit the Greens on their backsides, by pushing them to explain their reasoning via the choices available right now and remind voters that the Greens hold no power and by blindly protesting they give ALL power to people like Pauline Hanson.

Labor needs to really push the Greens and be very vocal about WHY the Greens are too lazy to do any of the hard work in convincing the Cross Bench to oppose the Liberal Bill or support Labor’s amendments. They need to insist that the Greens explain themselves to voters on this.

If Labor supports a Bill without securing amendments, they need to really explain loud and clear to the public, what the alternative risks the cross bench posed by allowing the cross bench to negotiate the Bill without Labor’s support and why Labor could not accept that risk. Once again, we can take it.

Getting a bit angry sometimes would also bloody well help. People out here are starving for real emotion. They need to feel protected and stood up for, and Labor needs to do that WELL with the cards and choices dealt by the voting public.

I choose Labor.

PS: I hope now I have (hopefully) demonstrated the choices and construction of this parliament in terms of power, how the three year campaign by the Greens against Labor via Stop Adani, was never in our long term interest, but always, always in the short term interest of the Greens. And now we are suffering for it.

This is what John Setka Said

There is so much debate around what John Setka actually said. No-one can undo these words. No-one. This is what John Setka actually said. These words should never be forgotten. No-one should forget he said this.

The industrial manslaughter laws are going to be a massive deterrent. I think employers are going to think twice before they send people into an unsafe worksite and make a few more bucks.  The NBA is critical of it.  Are they saying that it is alright to kill people? We are all human beings we go to work and want to come home to our families. We don’t go to work to die and never come home again.  (May 2018)

Constructions workers and people working in cafes and the hospitality industry are second class citizens. That is what they have made this country at the moment. They are making us lawless. They are making us look like thugs and look like criminals. They call us everything under the sun. And all we are trying to do is protect workers’ rights. 330 workers got killed under the last ABCC in the construction industry.  It’s like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank  – and that is exactly what they are doing. (10 March 2017)

When the unions protested about OH&S last year, outside Grocon; Robert Clarke the Attorney General was saying he was going to use the full force of the law against constructions unions. You know what happens, four people get killed in a matter of not even two months and you know what happens? Nothing! Nothing at all.  Then in the last few days the despicable politicians that get up who want to condemn us for showing a minutes silence and respect for the people who have died. I will tell you what they want to have a good look in the mirror. They want to be ashamed of themselves. (1 May 2013)

When people are ripped off and not getting paid and stand to lose their houses, where does everyone end up? Who do they all come to in the end to help them out? And who is the only organisation who can help them out? The CFMEU. We are the only ones to follow through and get them everything they are entitled to. Not Michaelia Cash the Employment Minister or Malcolm Turnbull. They were catching up with Lend Lease management at the Barangaroo site in Sydney yesterday, having a cup of coffee. I bet you they weren’t talking about how to get all these workers paid.  We have workers who have not been paid for nine weeks.  These are vulnerable workers who have no one else to go except the union and we are the only ones who are helping. (6 April 2016)

We recently had a tragic fatality on site. The well-respected father and lifelong construction worker died in the arms of one of our organisers. When the ABCC arrived, they did nothing to address site safety or show concern for the workers and friends of the deceased. All they did was interrogate the traumatised workers about why the CFMEU was on site. This pattern has been repeated across the country. (23 June 2017)

This decision is a major victory for all workers in this country. It is difficult to see this case as anything other than a conspiracy among those with vested interests in ensuring workers in this country are not adequately represented. This case was the culmination of a political witch-hunt against unions driven by Liberal Governments for over four years. The CFMEU’s campaign was about saving lives. And our penalty for that is to be targeted, prosecuted and fined by government agencies and the regulators.  (16 May 2018)

The Turnbull Government has worked itself up into an ideological frenzy. They’re more focused on attempting to destroy the CFMEU than running the country. They don’t care about local jobs; they don’t care about apprentices or getting more women and Indigenous Australians into higher paying industries; they only care about fighting ideological battles from the last century.

Mark my words, if Turnbull and his mates in big business are successful, not only will productivity in construction plunge, but more workers will be killed or seriously injured. The blame will lie squarely at the feet of the Turnbull Government.

The introduction of the Building Code and the ABCC has occurred in the context of the Turnbull Government’s war on workers and local jobs, which included the recent cuts to weekend penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers. Support for the national day of action has gained momentum in the last three weeks as anger in the community grows over cuts to workers’ wages and conditions. (9 March 2017)

At what point will the Government’s political police force prioritise the lives of workers over their campaign to destroy the union movement? Their decision to appeal demonstrates that the ABCC will spare no amount of tax payers’ dollars, or continue risking the lives of workers, to pursue their extreme ant-union crusade. At some point, the community has to say enough is enough. (2 June 2017)

After the sackings of 2 ABCC bosses 4 breaking laws & corrupt practices, & Minister Cash who’s still under a criminal investigation re illegal union raids.The new ABCC boss is pursuing workers with $42K fines for attending #ChangeTheRules rallies. Merry Xmas Australia! (24 Dec 2018)

(To Michaelia Cash) Increase in construction deaths because of you! Increase in casualisation & insecure work because of you! Increase in attacks on penalty rates because of you! Increase in illegal raids & departmental corruption because of you! Increase on forgetting your 4th house because of you! (Jan 19, 2018)

While deaths soar in the construction industry, ABCC bosses get pay rises 7 times more than wage growth & inflation! (Feb 19, 2018)

165 workplace deaths this year & 165 times the Workplace Relations Minister has said absolutely nothing. Far too busy drowning in her own corruption! (Dec 16, 2017)

And every single time a worker is injured or is killed on site, it is John Setka, every single time, who makes sure that worker is not just a statistic. He makes a public statement. So we know. So we never forget. So we remember them.

No man is infallible. But men who do good, and fall, should have the opportunity of contrition and change and the chance to do good again. When people have the opportunity to right a wrong (if this is the case) then the opportunity for a powerful leader to champion and share a powerful story of contrition and change will have a positive impact on the many who revere him.

That is truly transformational.

And that is something we should really think hard about.

“Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.” 
― Bob Marley

Change the Rules – Casual and Insecure Work

Luke Hilakari, Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council, tweeted on Budget Night, “I want the right to bargain for a fair pay rise. I’m not asking for a tax cut or a handout from Government. I want rights, not bribes.” As we move into the campaign period of the election, it is important to stay focused on why so many people are doing it tough and why a Government election bribe won’t fix it. This article looks at one aspect of why – casual and insecure work.

A War on Words – Casual Employment

In Australia, we accept the term ‘casual work’ as synonymous with work that is not full-time permanent or part-time permanent. That means, that the worker has no control over hours they work, they get no entitlements such as sick leave, carers/family leave, holiday pay or public holiday pay.

One of the key identifiers for people who use the term casual work is that it means to them that the worker does not have job security. An employer can dismiss workers at any time. They may work at a per job rate, that then an hourly rate. They do not have the security of a permanent job. Their job is either irregular or the worker is not there for the long term.

Most Australians don’t use the following terms to differentiate from casual employment; precarious, gig worker, seasonal worker, fixed term contract or labour hire worker.

Do the semantics matter? To stats lovers, yes. To the regular person on the street? No.

However, the Government has already started the War on Words. They are being very pedantic about what the term “casual means’ to try to make themselves look good.

Liberals Harking Back – Nothing Unusual About That!

The Liberal Party are harking back to the times of leg warmers, fingerless gloves and big hair to hold on to their definition of casual. Their definition only speaks to casual as a subset of insecure work. It does not include zero hours contracts, labour hire, outsourcing. The Liberals are merely bracketing this group who receive loading on their hourly pay and do not receive sick leave or holiday pay.

The Liberal party will insist that ‘Casual has remained steady” over the last 20 years. However, that is open to debate. It is up to each and every one of us to question the semantics of the Liberal Party every day – but especially heading into an election.

The Fact Check article linked below explains there is no formal definition or complete data sets of insecure work and it is open to interpretation.

The Liberals use the term interchangeably with ‘insecure work’ where the ACTU says that casual work is a subset of insecure work and is work
 “that which provides workers with little social and economic security, and little control over their working lives”.

Unlike the Liberals, the ACTU live in the modern day era of Uber and Labour Hire along with all of us. Casual work in today’s terms has risen to approximately 40%. Importantly, more than half the workforce will soon be in insecure work if we do not vote the Liberal’s out.

One in four workers in Australia is in casual employment.

Here is @FriendlyJordies take on why it is hard to find a good job in  Australia.

Casual Work in Australia

The Parliamentary report into the Characteristics and use of casual employees in Australia provides analysis on the state of casual work in Australia.

One interesting statistic to note is the change of casual work share by gender. This is particularly important to note because of the semantics used by the Liberal party.

The Liberal party likes to paint casual work as something that women need to balance their home-work life and to help hubby pay the bills. Maybe even to afford to buy herself a nice soft dressing gown to wear as she merrily participates as one of the housewives of Australia doing the ironing.

And like everything they hark back to, it is true. Well that is, if you are still walking around singing “I’m too Sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts” and it is 1992!

Casualisation of Work by Gender

However, what is quite unsexy is the rise of insecure work for men from 1992 to 2016. If the story of the Liberals is believed to be true and women are the secondary wage earner and men the primary wage earners, then the following also must be true. The erosion of our Industrial Relations system in Australia is an insidious contagion that now attacks the Primary worker regardless of gender.

Is this the attack on Men’s Rights some of the ragged dinosaurs in the Liberals and associated nutjobbery are always carrying on about? If so, the Liberals are the ones carrying the pitchforks.

This leaves both parties of a relationship in a vulnerable position and also, regardless of gender, if you are single. When you have to budget to pay bills, to plan ahead for anything in life, to apply for a car loan, house loan, white goods, save to fix the car and even to save for birthday and Christmas.

WorkChoices – Never Ever Forget

My mantra has been for years – WorkChoices – Never, Ever Forget! I mean, how could we forget when we now have WorkChoices by stealth. We got rid of Howard and we have allowed Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison to implement by stealth what Rudd killed.

The core of WorkChoices was to tip the balance of power back to the employer. One of the biggest aims was to turn hard working Australian people into disposable commodities at the lowest possible price.

The next biggest aim was to destroy the union movement by forcing everyone to sign up to Individual Agreements. They even tried threatening University workers with pulling University funding if workers chose the collective agreement over an AWA. In the same way, they attacked Universities, they also attacked Health workers.

WorkChoices by Stealth

What we have now is WorkChoices by Stealth. Above all, casualisation and insecure work is a systemic issue. The Liberals have brought this about intentionally. This is no accident. The current Liberal Government, enabling casual and insecure employment means employers hold all the power. Employers can dispose of workers at any time and they can be used as a disposable commodity at the lowest cost.

Casualisation and insecure work is a systemic issue. It is one that is brought about by the Liberals on purpose. This is no accident. With the current Liberal Government, enabling casual and insecure employment means employers hold all the power. Employers can dispose of workers at any time and they can be used as a disposable commodity at the lowest cost.

The forced implementation of AWA’s and tying AWA’s to Government funding was my first real protest. I was worried I would lose my job but I damn well ticked “Collective Agreement.” I was absolutely elated when Rudd won for this reason.

I will never ever forget the worry every single day. Would we have no protection from dismissal? Perhaps we would lose permanency and we would be casual workers tomorrow. Would our jobs be reclassified to lower paid work? John Howard made sure we could do nothing about it because he created new rules. He created rules that should be broken.

This is not a new tactic. The same tactic was used in the great shearer’s strike of 1891 and it will be used by Liberals if they are in power until the end of time.

Then if Nordenfelt and Gatling won’t bring you to your knees, 
We’ll find a law,” the squatters said, “that’s made for times like these.” (The Ballad of 1891)

Howard’s Anti-Worker Dream is the New Normal

The thing is, it was such a scary time for me, because I know the feeling of secure employment. It is something I expected. Something I relied on. That was until the spectre of Howard loomed large and terrified our days and made us all sleep uneasy.

There are thousands and thousands of workers who have never, ever known the feeling of secure full time work. Howard’s anti-worker dream is now a young worker’s ‘normal’ under Scott Morrison. That is why the Change the Rules campaign is vital to our social cohesion and standard of living in Australia.

Never knowing the feeling of a secure full time job is absolutely unacceptable in Australia. Absolutely unacceptable.

I am really angry that we are still fighting the same battle more than a decade later
for us and for our children because of Howard’s anti-worker ‘children’ – Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

Change The Rules – Stop Forced Casual Work

The Change The Rules Campaign details two important rule changes to give casualised workers a better future.

Stopping Workers Being Forced into Casual Work

Employers will no longer be able to call someone a casual if the job is not genuinely casual. Too many employers have been converting permanent jobs into casual jobs. Labor has committed to stopping this.

Give on-going casuals the choice of becoming permanent

If someone has worked regularly for over 12 months and would like to convert to permanent work with the rights that go along with it, they would have the right to do so. It would be their choice.

Change the Rules for Secure Work

Too many of us are in casual or fixed term work. Australia has one of the highest rates of insecure work in the world. But the Morrison Government doesn’t even believe that insecure work is a problem. Other political parties have instead signed up to change the rules. They have committed to stopping jobs being casualised and giving casual workers better rights, as well as stopping employers bypassing local workers to use and abuse visa workers. (changetherules.org.au)

Change The Rules Campaign

Join the biggest movement for workers in Australia right now. Join the Change The Rules Campaign. Don’t forget to join your union. If you want to fight the Liberals, do the one thing they hate and one thing they can’t break – stand in solidarity.

I will leave you with my favourite Change the Rules Tweet today. This tweet has an important heartfelt message and it goes to the heart of this article.

Green-Groups Bird-Dogging Labor is a Dog Act

This is one of the most important elections in our history. Bird-Dogging the alternative, progressive Government as a political strategy is a dog act. It risks punishing us with another term of conservative rule. Pushing a single issue agenda with the aim to suffocate the message of the Australian Labor Party is dangerous, classist, selfish idiocy. This is not good for the less privileged.

Bird-Dogging

Bird-Dogging is the political activist form of heckling. The intent of Bird-Dogging is to absolutely suffocate the message of the politician or party holding the event. Bird-Dogging is covert and coordinated. The idea is to get as many people as possible, sympathetic to your cause. The aim is to hijack a politician or a candidate speaking to the media or hijack a party event.

The idea is to covertly plant as many activists as possible in attendance at an event and push to ask as many questions as possible or make as many statements as possible about the activist issue. Activists achieve success if the politician spends a lot of time answering activists’ questions. This means the Bird-Dogging activists have suffocated the candidate’s message. They have drawn all the attention to the Bird-Dogger’s message.

It has come to light that Labor is the target.  Greens aligned groups, such as the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Stop Adani will participate in Bird-Dogging. They are not targeting the Liberals or One Nation. Their aim is to attack Labor using Bird-Dogging.

There is even a detailed Bird-Dogging Labor guide. This outlines the questions, responses and behaviour for Greens-aligned activists to attack Labor. (More on the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 guidelines later).

Bird-Dogging up Close is Pretty Horrid

I witnessed Bird-Dogging in person from the Greens last year, before I knew what Bird-Dogging was. This was at a Labor held Banking Inquiry Information session event, held by Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh.

The behaviour of the Greens in attendance that night was verbally aggressive, demanding the floor and interrupting questions and answers. For example, they would scream out that the Labor Party has destroyed Industrial Relations. Flailing about yelling how the Greens were “The Original Unionists”. (I know right *rolls eyes).

The Greens’ demanded attention to ask questions. When answering, they wasted time making very long winded statements about the Adani mine, other Greens driven issues, or taking credit for things Labor had done over the last 100 years. It was seriously bizarre.

Many people that night did not get to ask a question on a serious issue, because of the Greens Bird-Dogging strategy. Many in attendance were most likely very concerned about being ripped off by Banks – or had been ripped off by banks. Andrew Leigh did stay after the event and spoke to people one to one, but the benefit of the entire room hearing the question and the answer was lost. Some, may not have had the self-efficacy to go up to a politician and ask a question or may have thought they were a bother. That is not good for our democracy.

The night ended up with a couple of men having to intervene when one of the Greens men was arguing inches away from a woman union delegate’s face screaming about how terrible Labor is. It was very upsetting and I started shaking, even watching it.

Bird-Dogging Labor 2019

Last week, I came across the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 Guidelines posted on Twitter. The person who posted the guide appears to be involved in various activism groups. However, they obviously think that this particular tactic targeting Labor is dangerous and stupid, considering we have had five years of conservative rule and the country is going down the toilet.

Activists received the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 guidelines at a Stop Adani meeting in Brisbane. The Australian Youth Climate Coalition developed the guide. These guidelines detail questions and responses and behaviour towards Labor Politicians and candidates, working hard to try to win seats off the LNP in Queensland.

We can predict what some of Labor’s responses will be to bird-dogging and want to be prepared with factual & sassy answers ready to go! The way this is written is to have a few responses to predictable answers so we can keep MPs or candidates on point & answering our questions when we go bird-dogging! (Bird-Dogging Labor Guidelines AYCC).

A Slap in the Face by a Privileged Hand

The AYCC and Stop Adani intend to do everything they can to suffocate Labor’s key messages for this crucial election campaign. The ONLY other result if Labor does not win, is another term of the Liberal-National Coalition Government. These groups campaign for the Greens.

This campaign strategy is a slap in the face to the workers and the disadvantaged who deserve to have the courtesy of hearing about crucial progressive policy which will affect them. Not just affect them, but there are some policies Labor will be discussing, that will literally change people’s lives. This is a slap in the face to the working class, by a very privileged hand.

However, the AYCC states in their guidelines, that Labor (as detailed by Tony Burke) has a valid point in why Labor can’t stop Adani.

“Why is this our ask?
Labor actually has a valid point when they say they can’t commit to stopping Adani for legal reasons. This is because if Labor gets into government and then stops Adani by revoking their approval to build the mine (having committed to stopping it prior to the election), Adani could
then sue the Labor Govt claiming that a genuine review did not happen and therefore it was wrongfully revoked. Therefore, while we are still pushing them to Stop Adani, the specific ask (for bird dogging, MP meetings and conversations) is for them to commit to reviewing Adani’s approval and act.” (Bird Dogging Labor Guidelines – AYCC)

Bird Dogging Guidelines

The AYCC state in their document that:

“This document is created in reference to the principal objects of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition as stated in the constitution (p.3).”

The Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 – Messages and Response Guide details:

“We can predict what some of Labor’s responses will be to bird-dogging and want to be prepared with factual & sassy answers ready to go! The way this is written is to have a few responses to predictable answers so we can keep MPs or candidates on point & answering our questions when we go bird-dogging!”

The guidelines detail answers as well as suggested behaviour. Some examples are below:

Sassy

“Our position is clear” + “we’re committed to Adani not receiving any public money”

(sassy) Which position is that?

So in the above example, not only do the guidelines state what to say, but the behaviour to deliver it. Which is to be Sassy – which is defined as “Rude with no Respect”. This shows that they are not interested in a serious answer, but their own ‘show’.

Leave Brittany The Liberals Alone!

“Why aren’t you going after the Government?”

If you want to be the next Government, you need to be serious about climate action which means stopping Adani. When will you commit to a review of Adani’s approval?

So in the example above, Stop Adani, Greens members (and possibly candidates or politicians) and the AYCC who will all be active “Bird-Doggers” already agree that Labor is being truthful that there are legal implications of why they cannot stop Adani. However, their excuse for not attacking the Liberal Party, or One Nation, is that the Labor Party wants to be the next Government. Well, heads up purists wreckers! The Liberal Party and One Nation also want to be the next Government too!

According to this failed logic of these dangerous ideological purists, it is best to attack and suffocate the message of the Progressive Labor Party, than to hold the Liberal, National and One Nation Parties to account. It is also best to do their very best to derail the Labor Party’s campaign, so Labor does not get heard and do not win the election, when Labor is the Party most likely to work with and not against Greens Groups.

Vomit on them

“We’re not in the business of ripping up contracts”

Vomit on them***

In the example above, the AYCC is instructing Bird-Doggers to what? Vomit on the Labor politician or candidate? Disgraceful behaviour aside, once again, the contradiction is that the AYCC has already accepted and detailed in the guidelines. They agree that Labor has a valid point regarding legal implications with regards to Stopping Adani. Bird-Doggers agree that Labor is reasonable here. However, vomiting on the candidate is the solution?

Is Richard DiNatale going to accept campaign assistance from Stop Adani and the AYCC, when this type of abhorrent behaviour is a suggested behaviour towards candidates or politicians in the Labor Party? Maybe he could file it in his “To Do List” right under, “Do something about sexism and misogyny in the Greens”

Yell This at Bill Shorten!

When Bill Shorten tries to run away- yell this at him

(if they require shaming for inaction) Is your personal political ambition is more important than a safe climate future for young Australians?

When Bill Shorten tries to run away- yell this at him

(if they get angry/unreasonable with you) All I’m asking for is for you to review Adani’s environmental approval.

I find this suggestion quite bizarre. Its almost as if these Greens groups only read the Greens Newsletter and swallow whole every low-base Bandt Rant about how awful Bill Shorten is. They appear to have absolutely no idea about the politician that they are planning to attack.

I think readers will agree with me that Shorten does not run away from questions. He has hosted 75 town halls across Australia. Bill Shorten fields many questions from the general public. He always asks the media if they have any other questions. The only time we see Bill Shorten running is long distance running, because well…..it’s basically his sport!

They also appear very confused about who is who. Bill Shorten does not display anger or unreasonable behaviour. That is Richard DiNatale when confronted about the sexist behaviour towards women by men in the Greens and asked what will he do about it. Sorry, my bad. That’s not right, the behaviour from Richard is more passive and indifferent on that issue. But the Liberals and Nationals and PHON, the parties who are exempt from Bird-Dogging…well they have lots of angry and unreasonable people.

An Assault on the Working Class

This election is one of the most important elections in our history. There are absolutely critical Industrial Relations reforms that need a Labor Government so they become an actual reality. Only a Labor Government can change the rules and give workers back, fairness, safety, protection and dignity.

These Greens groups will respond and say how innocent, cute and sassy, Bird-Dogging is and it isn’t aggressive at all. However, I have witnessed Bird-Dogging first hand. The rest of the country has witnessed Greens groups crashing Labor events en-masse. They are far from protesting respectfully.

Attacking the Proles while the Bourgeoisie are literally pushing people to suicide through Robo-Debt and literally pushing workers to their deaths with the ABCC, is a privileged, classist attack on the working class.

As Daniel Andrews (SMH 2012) said:

According to the Greens, everyone must compromise except them. They would rather protect their ideals than search for the common ground that might just protect the most vulnerable. Even with the purest of motives, a refusal to bend while launching endless criticism at those who are prepared to work for real outcomes is arrogant and self-indulgent.

An Insidious, Cancerous Parasite in Our Social Fabric

With all the debate this week about who is more dangerous, PHON or the Greens, the question should be for whom? I think we can all agree that a party that pushes a racist and divisive agenda such as One Nation is an insidious, cancerous parasite in our social fabric.

However, if the purism of the Greens and their associated activist groups, are successful in their aims to suffocate the message of Labor on every issue and the only issue people hear about is about a mine that has not been able to start for six years and signed off by the LNP Newman Government; then there is a very good chance the consequence will be that Labor will not win Government. Another consequence could be an increased presence of Liberals, Nationals, PHON and other right wing Independents in the chamber.

I think we can all agree that the behaviour of Greens purists, which may result in the return of the worst Government and worst Prime Minister in our history, plus a few extra nutters like PHON winning seats, through “Greens-aligned Groups’ successful activism against Labor” is also an insidious, cancerous parasite in our social fabric.

Dead Kids Are Not Sophisticated Scott. Put Hanson Last.

One Nation flew to a foreign country to ask for millions. One Nation asked USA gun lobbyists to interfere in our politics on social media. One Nation got pointers from NRA for political strategy. One Nation is gutter trash. They are clearly UNAUSTRALIAN. They have no place in our society. This is no longer just opinion, or left or right banter. Last night, Al-Jazeera broke an undercover news story of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, negotiating with the USA NRA gun lobby to change gun laws and to try to change our voting system. This is an assault on our people and our democracy.

This is not Australia

If there is one thing that sets us apart from other countries, it is our strict gun laws. When our kids go to school, sure we worry. We worry they might get picked on, or the teacher is giving them a hard time, or they aren’t learning enough, or they might fall off the monkey bars…. We don’t worry that a deranged person with a grudge against society is going to walk into your kids school and shoot them dead. That is not Australia, but that is what One Nation wants you to worry about every single day. Not just worry about, but to actually create a society where kids in school lay dying by gunshot wound is a reality. What excuse will Pauline Hanson make as we bury our dead kids? What excuse will Scott Morrison make if he refuses to put them last?

So all you people scared of brown people and think One Nation speaks for you, will they speak for you when your kids are murdered in their classroom? Well? Will they? If you vote for this party you are trash. Nothing but trash.

If you are a leader who refuses to put One Nation last, you are trash. Nothing but trash.

Desperate and Hungry for Power

The video posted at the end of this article is the fully exposes the deranged sentiment of Pauline Hanson and the One Nation Party. They are lobbying for millions – millions from an organisation in a foreign country. They are hinting that they need them to interfere in our democracy for ‘support’ (interference) on Social Media. That means having people from another country, treat you, the voter like a mug. Like a mug. Like a mug.

They want Americans to infiltrate our social media to pretend to care about what you care about, when it is all about making millions for the gun lobby and winning power for One Nation. Not you. They don’t care about you. Its about money and power.

One Nation is so hungry for power, and so UnAustralian, that they are plotting with major organisation in a foreign country to use millions to try to get eight senate seats (or more) to change our voting system. We have the best voting system in the world. It is designed to keep the people you least want in power OUT. In simple terms, it is supposed to keep the bad people out. The dictators, the really dangerous politicians. It has done that….until now it seems. This works when decent parties – decent leaders, put the dangerous parties last. One Nation, along with a few others, are that party.

If this means nothing to One Nation voters, then these voters will contribute to mass shootings, in the streets and in the classrooms. This cannot be ignored. When the time comes, they will be shunned.

If this means nothing to Scott Morrison, then if he continues to refuse to put One Nation Last, he will contribute to mass shootings in the streets and in the classrooms. This cannot be ignored. When the time comes, Morrison will be shunned.

We Cannot Tolerate Morrison’s Weak Leadership on This

There has been a push from Media, Labor, Greens and other IND to push Scott Morrison to put One Nation Last. He has refused. Now that One Nation wants to change our laws to enable a society, where kids will be shot dead in their classrooms. Innocent little kids. Teenagers with their whole lives ahead of them – murdered in cold blood by a moron with a gun – what is his excuse now? What will Scott Morrison’s excuse be when this does happen? What will be Hanson’s excuse if that does happen? Has the NRA has trained her up in the appropriate “Gun Lobby” response?

After this expose – Scott Morrison has a National responsibility. This is not only to reject One Nation for their racism, but to reject One Nation for dealing with major influential organisations in a foreign country to influence our politics, plotting with organisations in a foreign country about getting the power to change our voting system – the heart of our democracy, and most of all, their vision to change our gun laws which will see our kids, OUR KIDS, dead in their classrooms. This is a complete assault on our people and our country.

Morrison may have thought it was a game and could balance the racism by playing it down. He might back the excuse that One Nation is “more sophisticated” but he sure as hell can’t now.

Howard had the guts to get rid of Hanson. We cannot tolerate Scott Morrison’s weak leadership on this. We just can’t. Put One Nation last Scott. Put them Last.

The Expose

“A three-year Al Jazeera investigation into the U.S. gun lobby has uncovered an effort by an Australian political party to seek millions of dollars in political funding while offering to soften strict, anti-gun laws in Australia. Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit used concealed cameras to track ‘Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’, a right-wing, anti-immigration party, as representatives travelled to Washington, D.C. to hold meetings with the National Rifle Association and other lobby groups, as well as the energy giant Koch Industries. One Nation’s Chief of Staff James Ashby was accompanied on the U.S. visit by Steve Dickson, the party’s leader in the Australian state of Queensland and a candidate in upcoming Australian elections. Ashby and Dickson were recorded seeking up to $US20 million for their election war chest while promising to soften laws, put in place following a massacre in Australia in 1996. The strict Australian gun laws have often been condemned by the NRA. Al Jazeera approached all the groups and individuals featured in this programme. None responded to our findings.”

Freedom of Speech: An Insidious Monster

Gosford Anglican Church

No religion, race, or gender incited terrorism on our cousins in New Zealand yesterday. Yesterday’s terrorism was fuelled by the insidious monster of indiscriminate freedom of speech. Racist politicians, laws allowing racist hate groups to gather together and the depraved voices in our media give racism legitimacy of thought and voice.

We Felt the Pain and Witnessed the Horror

Friday, 15th March, 2019 was a day of heartbreak and mourning. The culmination of racist hatred, Islamophobia and bigotry festered and erupted in a terrorist attack upon Australia’s dearest neighbour, New Zealand. The terrorist, an Australian, has killed 49 people, so far and injured many more. This gunman took innocent lives and ripped other lives apart. The gunman did not discriminate. He exuded as much hatred for a four-year-old boy, as a he did for mothers, grandmothers, fathers, uncles and brothers, as he gunned them down as they participated in silent prayer.

An insidious monster motivated this terrorist. An aggressive, insidious monster valiantly protected by loud media voices and weak and divisive leadership. This monster is Indiscriminate Freedom of Speech.

Regardless of the harm indiscriminate freedom of speech may cause; advocates believe it has true value as individual freedom. Also, advocates of freedom of speech reject the reaction of disagreement or consequence. They see these reactions as a threat to their freedom. As a result, yesterday, we witnessed the horror that is the death of innocents. Indiscriminate freedom of speech gives licence to this hatred.

Discriminate Freedom of Speech

The only thing that can kill this monster is Repressive and Discriminate Tolerance.

Repressive tolerance argues freedom of speech as underpinned by the constructs of (small l) liberalism exists to share ideas and have those ideas respected unless those ideas cause harm.  Above all, Herbert Marcuse believed that even in the 1960’s that the tolerance of ideas that were harmful to society encouraged a repressive society rather than enable a progressive one.

Marcuse does not argue for complete indiscriminate tolerance, but discriminate tolerance where we tolerate ideas unless they are harmful. We should frame and set aside harmful ideas. His argument is that unless this is done, we are tolerating for the sake of being tolerant and impeding progress of the Left.

Marcuse argues that indiscriminate tolerance is indeed beneficial in many forms of debate, howeverBut society cannot be indiscriminate where the pacification of existence, where freedom and happiness themselves are at stake: here, certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed, certain behavior cannot be permitted without making tolerance an instrument for the continuation of servitude.”

The Pain of an Unequal Framework

Atrocities such as the New Zealand Terror attack, rip the blind fold off the wilfully blind and not so wilfully blind. At these times racism is alive. It is bright and it is loud. We see it clearly. Even the people like me who feel we speak up enough. Who call racism out. Who condemn and shout at racists. We become hyper-aware. But….I’m not a target of racism and many reading this are not targets either. That is why at these times we are hyper-aware.

A sudden striking of hyper-awareness occurs because you do not experience racism.

We co-exist in an unequal framework. We must always bear that in mind. Particularly, as allies. Listening and reflecting upon what targets of racism say, is more important than anything we say; because people who do not experience racism; inherently reap the benefits of power within this unequal framework.

In a democratic society, democracy is not pure. Debate exists within an unequal framework. The institutions of Government and the media as two examples, have privilege and power to define what is ‘normal’ for the majority and what is not.  These entities have the power to stigmatise groups of people and spoil normal identity (see Erving Goffman). They have the power to place minority groups in the place of ‘weird and unacceptable.’

Our media in Australia gives the platform of legitimacy to racist thought and voice. Australian media has predefined for a long time that racist thoughts and racist voices are an important contribution to the development of society. That we must listen to them and more importantly, debate them.

However, today, we sharply see they are wrong. Others who experience racism every day, live that the media are wrong every day with many, including “The Project’s” Waleed Aly, that they are not surprised.

The power of our media resonates here:

“Under the rule of monopolistic media–themselves the mere instruments of economic and political power–a mentality is created for which right and wrong, true and false are predefined wherever they affect the vital interests of the society.” (Marcuse)

Tweets such as these speak volumes.

Indiscriminate Freedom of Speech Kills

Layers and layers of racist behaviours, actions and words are repeated every single day. In particular, racism is amplified by politicians and the media. In addition, our laws enable racism. The forceful arguments from the conservative, libertarian and nationalists platforms, that indiscriminate freedom of speech is vital for a just and fair society is now killing people. People are dying, literally, to satisfy the ego-driven desire for inane and depraved racists thoughts to be heard.

Indiscriminate Freedom of Speech, kills.

Weak political leadership trying to score political points dog whistling to racists for votes, kills people.

Politicians overtly inciting a negative stereotype and stigmatising an entire group of people, by wearing a burka, over-inflating statistics or suggesting eugenics through DNA testing, kills people.

Our laws that allow racists to congregate en masse targeting Muslims and our laws that allow hate groups to recruit and radicalise others to share their messages of hate and anger, kills people.

Our laws that keep Asylum Seekers imprisoned in indefinite detention; laws that enforce no investigation or redress or control measures when Asylum Seekers are murdered or suicide, kills people.

Our Media, who give paid breakfast airtime to racists; who invite them on dancing shows to build a profile for the purpose of assisting that racist individual to secure a political foothold, kills people.

Our Media, who adopt the stance of a stunned mullet, unable to muster up one difficult question to challenge extremist views, who welcome racists on their shows to amplify their platforms, who glorify and salivate and selfie-take with international “celebrity” racists, kills people.

Targets of racism always know this. Begging for it to stop fell on deaf ears because indiscriminate freedom of speech was more important.

Conveniently Discriminate

Discriminate tolerance (Marcuse) is framing and setting aside the ideas that should not be tolerated in a debate towards progress. We already do this as a society.  We do not have complete indiscriminate tolerance, as those ideas will harm society.  Our national security legislation is one example.  Another example is Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act which makes hate speech unlawful.

However, those who sit on the right wing and the extreme right, the Conservative-Liberals, Nationalists and the Libertarians argue for complete indiscriminate tolerance. They argue that unless they can be completely indiscriminate, this impedes their freedom of speech, even if that speech is harmful. They want the section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, destroyed.

However, at times like this, when blood is spilled in senseless, hate-filled murderous terror attack; we beg for discriminate freedom of speech. We are conveniently discriminate of free speech. A search of “Do Not Share” on Twitter returns hundreds of tweets of:

“Do Not Share the terrorists video or manifesto, because it contributes to terrorism”

The tweet below is a compelling argument for discriminate freedom of speech.

Ingrained Racism

This must be a turning point. 

First Nations people also experience this discrimination.

In Australia, there is an ingrained system of stigmatisation and discrimination that First Nations people experience. The countless stories told by Indigenous people of deaths in custody, wrongful incarceration, abhorrent treatment in incarceration, mortality rates, racially discriminatory ’employment’ programs, access to health and education, under-funding of Indigenous services, poverty and every day casual racial discrimination….the list goes on.

Let us never forget, the darling of the racist set, Pauline Hanson, (who also brought us the depraved, disgusting, gutter trash, hateful, racist mindset of Fraser Anning, now condemned internationally); started her tirade of racism against First Nations people and Asian people.

Last week Pauline Hanson and Mark Latham brought back attacks on Indigenous people with unashamed overt racism. They want people to vote next week in the NSW election for DNA testing of First Nations People.

If you have learned anything from the terrorist attack yesterday, you must use your voice to condemn this and put One Nation LAST.

A New Era

Today we wake up to a new day.  Yesterday we saw the growing outcry of no longer accepting hateful voices.

Bill Shorten – All Eyes Are On You

After the New Zealand Terrorist attack, it is evident that every single politician who does not show democratic leadership to unite us and instead plays to the politics of fear and division will soon learn the transactional cost at the ballot box in May. These politicians will no longer be tolerated.

Furthermore, many suggest that Bill Shorten will become our next Prime Minister. Bill Shorten stands out head and shoulders as a leader who does seek to unite us. The current Government has a sordid history of politics of fear and division, particularly the Prime Minister. It is clear that Bill Shorten will be the next Prime Minister of Australia.

Bill Shorten, you have a huge responsibility ahead of you. Huge. You need to lead the way and be the voice that will be the emotional contagion to drive the eradication of stigmatisation, discrimination and racist culture in this country.

Bill Shorten – All eyes are on you.

The Language of Class Control.

“Barnaby would’ve been castigated if not castrated if we had pinned him on the moral issue instead of the stupid pursuit of the rorting issue…useless waffling middle-classes..a bunch of chatterers!”

freef'all852

grunwick

Back in my first marriage, when I was “encouraged’ to attend many spiritual “workshops” in that miasma of “new age” enlightenment, run, in the most part by self-proclaimed wanker gurus from the legion of reformed middle-class hippie escapees of the “Leafy Suburbs”, The formula for discussion was to take one’s turn of holding the “Talking Stick” and then and only then quietly and serenely make your point or tell your story to the group…I don’t think I need tell you the actual jargon-stacked sentences that preceded and followed each “confessor” as they held that sacred icon of conversation : “The Stick”…..I think the series ; “Kath and Kim” demonstrated such with fair and considered accuracy.

In short, we can differentiate between the social classes by the methodology of conversation practice used. There seems to be a bias toward what the middle-class calls “polite manners” where one waits one’s turn while…

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Das Testament.

Each people, one ethnic group at a time .. the same procedure: invite, contain, divide, reject their culture .. introduce debt along with aspiration & expectation until cultural and financial control does the rest until capital/material obsession becomes the new culture .. By Joe Carli

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Any reading of the annals of human history, it’s achievements and failings, in both majestic endeavour or mean deception, will uncover the heroic alongside the cowardice of the spirit of humanity indelibly written into the texts and transcripts recorded in those annals..even an attempt to hide or disguise the facts of a moment of importance cannot be forever obscured .. there is no hiding from history.

The primary sources of Roman history are well served with examples of both. Tacitus will record with both pride in deed and shame in action those annals he has written for the elucidation of posterity. His candid revelations without fear or favour can be an inspiration to those who follow and would like to record their own interpretations of their own contemporary histories, an example most encouraging. Even the everyday chattering of the Diary of Samuel Pepys gives sublime clue to the machinations of…

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Ode to Women’s Beauty.

A poem by Joe Carli.

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Speechless and numb, I gazed on her beauty there,

Her limbs, her hands, her soft flowing hair.

Her voice the whisper of an angel’s prayer..

SHE..roamed her eyes over the banquet fair,

The roasts, the salads, the fruits so rare,

And of my adoration, just so….au contraire.

“There is so much beauty before us here ,

It is so hard to decide….you tell me, my dear,”..

She said..”What to you is the most desirous fare?”

[ Perhaps I should explain this poetic burst of feminine adoration…especially after all, in this time of “men behaving so very badly”….In a week I will be 68 years old…I have truly reached the end of that “Autumn” of one’s life, and as I go toward that inevitable “Winter”, that three score and ten.. I am just thankful of having reached this time and as we all do when we reach…

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Beautiful Dreamer.

A beautifully written, yet tragic tale of utter despair, which drives home the real impact Asylum Seeker detention has on very vulnerable people.

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What can it be that “anchors” a refugee to their personal situation and can give them the strength to persevere but a cultural / familial reflection back to happier times in their own country with their own family. As to how far back that memory must go would surely have to depend on what their age was when they first had to flee their homeland. I would imagine that those closely-held “pictures and words”, perhaps treasured from way back in childhood, seen and spoken when among the ones that they trusted and loved in a time of greater innocence and now held most dearly to the heart would be the single most precious tools of sanity and survival when things went bad while seeking refuge abroad..and the threat of losing or tainting those treasured memories to either callous abuse or fatalistic hopelessness could, I imagine, be worse than death itself…

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The end of stories.

Is there a time for the end of stories? I say no! A beautiful story by Joe Carli.

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I can remember exactly when that feeling came over me that here was one of those moments when, through some “native intuition”, you can feel that it is the ending of an era…a passing of a moment in time when something important is being lost…

I was at my aged mother’s house doing some regular maintenance..I am a carpenter and her house, built by my father just after the second world war, was a hotch-potch of scrounged materials and added-on-as-needed rooms that now, some sixty years later was a veritable endless loop of patch-up and maintain.

My mother was quite old at the time…she is deceased now..and I was there having a small lunch after doing the jobs..and it was at the moment when I was spreading some honey on a bit of toast that I remembered something..

“Mum….do you remember telling us about that old chap back there in…

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A Response to “Does the Labor Party Deserve Our Vote”

This article is a response to Noely Neate’s article in Independent Australia – Does the Labor Party Deserve our Vote?  This article challenges statements made within Ms. Neate’s article, which I strongly argue misrepresents Labor’s position on various policy areas. In addition, I will add further discussion to the arguments surrounding the AA Bill.  This article also discusses the political motivations of those who actively campaign against voting for the major parties. 

Seriously Unhappy with Labor

Central to Ms. Neate’s article is how she is very unhappy with the Australian Labor Party.  Listed are a range of policy areas that Ms. Neate either explicitly or implicitly states Labor either supports, or  that Labor does not stand up against bad Liberal Policy and Bad Liberal Programs. 

Review of Centrelink

There have been a number of issues I have been seriously unhappy about when it comes to the ALP. I don’t like how they waffle about “doing a review of Centrelink” when they know damn well people are living in poverty.

(Neate, 2018) 

Here it is implied that Labor does not give a stuff about people on Centrelink and are using delaying tactics to not commit to a rise in Newstart. 

The Importance of a Review

The reason why Labor is able to commit to a review – is that they are not in Government. When pressed on the review system, Bill Shorten has stated that “You don’t review something to cut it.” 

In his budget reply speech, Bill Shorten also said that “Jobseekers living in poverty is unacceptable.”

Labor is completing a full review, because the payment is not separate from the system.  There will be a vote at Labor conference for a Newstart increase, but I expect that will still be linked somehow or need to be revisited with a review of the entire Jobsearch framework; which is currently a punitive, draconian mess under the Liberal party. A review of the Jobsearch Framework, current mutual obligation participation requirements and associated punitive measures is necessary, as the punitive compliance procedures all affect payments. 

Contrary to the anger that is present in Ms. Neate’s article that a review is a bit of a a joke. It is a necessary requirement to get this policy area right. 

In addition, connected with a review of the payments system, will be Labor’s commitments to training, TAFE, Higher Education, Apprenticeships, commitments to the awards system and a commitment to enforcing a liveable minimum wage.  All which will have impacts on how the payment system is calculated. 

A Commitment to Raise Newstart

News reports today in the Courier Mail and on Sunrise state that Newstart Recipients will receive a significant increase under Labor, in reference to the vote at conference.  This is an important point to include, because (and I think I can speak for most Labor Twitter people I engage with) the frustration for “us Labor people” or “Diehard Labor Supporters” as we are referred to in the article, is the frustration that democratic processes that are vital to any progressive party, are ignored in commentary such as this. Instead, the purposeful absence of such is used to advance an argument. Which is a disingenuous argument. 

Labor Just Doesn’t Stand Up 

The article then moves on from delaying tactics around Newstart to explicitly stating that ‘Labor is not standing up.” I will detail each of these issues separately. Including Work for the Dole and PATH. Ms. Neate implicitly states that Labor are supportive of these Liberal initiatives, and is so angry about that, she exclaims;  “I won’t even start on Work for the Dole or the rorting PaTH program.”

Nor have they stood up for those being harmed by robo-debt, punished with the cashless welfare card, or given dodgy demerit points by private job providers earning a fortune at the expense of people, many of whom would rather be anywhere else than on social security.

(Neate, 2018)

RoboDebt

The system of debt matching was developed under a Labor Government. However, the implementation of this software under the Liberal Government is the key difference. The Liberals shifted the onus of proof from the Department to the recipient.  In short, the recipient must prove that the Department’s claim is false.  In this case, procedural fairness is non-existent. 

With regards to Labor not standing up against Robo-Debt, the first inclusion to dismiss this claim, would be the actual evidence of the Labor Party members participation in the Senate Enquiry Committee.  Labor party members on this Committee include Senators Bilyk, Brown, Dodson and Polley. 

In another act of not standing up against Robo Debt, Labor members as part of the Committee tabled recommendations to the Government.  These recommendations include, to put the system on hold until procedural fairness and other recommendations could be addressed.

Although Labor are always posed as the Bad Guys, the Liberal Party who is always let off Scot Free, rejected the recommendations and offered up their own dissenting report, based on the reason that the Committee report was biased and the Government rejects that the online system lacks procedural fairness. 

Senator Murray Watt and Linda Burney, MP, also have not been standing up by being incredibly vocal on this issue.  Again by not standing up, Labor also commissioned legal advice regarding the release of personal details of a recipient by the Government.  Labor in not standing up against RoboDebt, then led a concentrated charge at the Government for the Minister to stand down, in light of this legal advice.

Cashless Welfare

In 2014, the Indigenous Jobs and Training Review recommended a trial of the Cashless Welfare Card.  Labor agreed to this trial period.  Labor has stated they agreed with the trial period in two geographical areas, due to the support from these communities. This is contentious, as some community members have been quite vocal about their opposition and deny that there was ‘community support.’ 

During the trial period, Labor said that they would look at the evidence from a trial. This is another sticking point for the ‘Labor bashing crew’ who get quite angry at any type of evidence based policy. Well, they get angry at the bit where Labor needs to ‘collect the evidence.’  If a trial does not occur and evidence is not produced that the trial is ineffective; then the policy item would just keep being pushed as ‘needed’ and keep gaining public momentum. Without evidence to highlight ineffectiveness, such a policy could be rolled out nationally and forced upon people in the most arbitrary and draconian manner.

Those who advocate loudly to ‘not vote Labor’ risk reducing Labor’s numbers to fight propositions such as this. 

The 2017-18 Trial Extension Initiative was offered up by the Government, in the form of Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017.   In 2017, post a Committee Inquiry into the legislation, Labor produced a dissenting report.  This means they were against the roll out of further trials. 

The dissenting report covered issues such as, that there is no evidence to extend the trial areas (to areas such as Hinkler) and that the existing trial must have a guarantee of funding for social supports to be in place and limitations on the amount of participants in the trial.  

Further evidence that Labor stood up for Cashless welfare, is evidenced by votes in the Senate. Labor voted against the Bill. However, the Bill was passed with the support of Hinch, Centre Alliance, Bernardi, PHON, Leyonhjelm and Gichuhi. 

Votes were: 30 for 26 against for all readings, including the 3rd reading of the Bill.  By telling people not to vote Labor, once again, it reduces Labor’s numbers further in the Senate so they are unable to block harmful legislation.

The ruse that is often used is that ‘if Labor votes with the Greens, they can block x, y, z.  As you can see, this is simply not true.

Demerit System (Social Security Amendment Bill)

I find this particular inclusion in Ms. Neate’s article, quite alarming. Labor has spoken up quite vehemently about various sections of this Bill, including demerit points and drug testing.  Maybe it is just me, but I don’t know how anyone missed this one.

Labor does NOT support demerit points. Nor do they support Drug Testing.

The member for Bass spoke passionately about this, as has Senator’s Cameron, Singh and Polley.

As Senator Polley pointed out in her second reading speech, ‘The Liberals tried to ram this Bill through, but Labor referred it to a Senate Inquiry to ensure it was scrutinised.  

Senator Doug Cameron spoke out very strongly against demerit points.  He spoke to evidence from the UK which suggests that these punitive measures create more unemployment and have severe negative affect and severe physical health impacts. 

Senator Cameron castigated Senator Scullion, when in light of evidence that this measure would cause further inequality and have harder impacts in Indigenous Communities, when Senator Scullion said, “It is important we stop characterising penalties as punishment. 

Senator Cameron lividly described Senator Scullion’s comment as “An outrageous statement of paternalism to justify discrimination and damaging social policy”

Although Senator  Cameron was not angry enough for Ms. Neate, I think most of us would agree that when Senator Cameron berates something or someone, he berates at epic level 100. 

Significant amendments were made to this Bill by Labor. However, the Bill was passed 31 to 29 with the support from, Anning, Burston, Georgiou, Griff, Hanson, Hinch, Leyonhjelm and Patrick.  

Possibly, these are all the ‘wonderful Independents’ that Ms Neate suggests people vote for instead of Labor. Ms. Neate claims that: 

“Badgering people to vote against their own interests won’t result in them voting for your interests.”

Perhaps not, but I personally believe it is important to point out that the alternatives (non-majors), who are always presented as a neat little group as ‘much better to vote for than Labor’ are certainly not in the Nation’s interest. 

Senator Storer voted against the Bill with Labor and the Greens. 

Work for the Dole 

Ed Husic, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation (literally one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, just in case you are the only person I haven’t told) has been standing up against Work for the Dole and campaigning with the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU) for the Government to release the report for Joshua Park-Fing.  Mr. Park-Fing was a participant in the Work for the Dole program and tragically lost his life in an industrial incident, at his placement site for the Work for the Dole Program.  

Ed Husic has expressed serious concerns about the Workplace Health and Safety aspects of the program and the ineffectiveness of the Work For the Dole outcomes. 

Ms. Neate, does not need to start on Work for the Dole, because Labor has committed to cancelling the Work for the Dole Program because it is “punishing people for not being in work.” (Husic, 2018) 

PATH Program

The PATH Program is the mutual obligation program, designed by the Liberals to supply free labour to employers. I have previously written about PATH here. 

Ms.Neate does not need to worry about PATH either, as Labor has already committed to abolish the PATH program and to replace this program with a three part program – Working Futures Program.  This new program will include:

A six-week work readiness course focusing on essential employment skills as well as personal presentation, interview techniques and job hunting.

A six-month work placement with an employer, paid at an award-equivalent training wage.

A fully-funded Certificate III in a subject of their choice

AA Bill – A Wicked Problem

Ms. Neate’s article also speaks to the current passage of the AA Bill. The passage of the Bill was contentious with civil libertarians and the Tech Industry, against Labor’s participation in the passage of the Bill. My take is here.

I framed my article linked above, within the context of a Wicked Problem. There has been a lot of heated debate online regarding this Bill.  The reason for this is, that with a Wicked Problem, there is no perfect solution. Every point of decision making Labor took with a poorly written Bill, that was written by the Government, with the additional complexity of National Security Agency requests and the constraints of time limits*, creates a set of additional problems.  That is the nature of a Wicked Problem.

*No, Shorten could not just make Morrison keep the Lower House open Noely, because Bill Shorten is not the Prime Minister, nor is he in Government.  

People who are not empathetic, or who do not try to understand both sides of the argument, will continue to pile on the hate online. This is because one of the factors to measure a wicked problem is divergence – the competing social beliefs or values connected to the problem. 

Purist Politics

Those who see the passage of this Bill, as a simple issue in Black and White terms, rejecting the context and the political game playing from the Liberal Government, are consistently arguing from the point of purist politics.

Arguments online (and in Ms. Neate’s article) are that Labor just rolled over. Which is not the case, as detailed in my linked article above.  Through this article, I seek to rebut that accusation, through a discussion of purist politics vs democratic socialist politics and decision making theory and incrementalism.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

If Labor rejected the National Security request, this also creates an alternative set of problems. That is, the alternative Prime Minister treating ASIO with contempt and ridicule and not taking their requests seriously. This would have serious domestic and international ramifications, simply due to the external observable nature of such behaviour. (In context, the Prime Minister, left the responsibility up to the opposition leader, by clocking off for drinks. This further highlights the incompetence of this accidental Prime Minister.)

Bill Shorten had the choice between ignoring the National Security Request for urgency; or if he chose to pass the Bill (which he did) the alternative set of problems he accepted, were that the Bill was flawed and was not complete with all amendments debated or passed. The IT industry and civil libertarians have serious concerns regarding the Bill. With this choice, Shorten risked getting many within the public offside. Which is also a dilemma close to an election.

For those saying Shorten had no choice and rolled over, are ignoring the complexity of the decision making process, within the context of the problem. 

Decision Making and Incrementalism

To add to the framework of a Wicked Problem from my previous article; the point of difference between the purists and the democratic socialists, can be discussed using Decision Making Theory and Incrementalism. 

Rational Decision Making

The Purists arguing that Shorten just rolled over, are approaching this issue, with the view that Shorten should have used rational decision making. They have identified the solution (do not pass the Bill) and he should have just acted on it.

However, the problem with this, is with Rational Decision Making Theory, the decider (or advocates for the decider) already believe they know the perfect outcome.  This perfect outcome is confined within bounded rationality, where the above, are not cognisant (or maybe they are, but do not appreciate) the severity of the alternative problems, their ‘perfect outcome’ may cause.  In short, their perfect outcome, is limited within their own scope of knowledge or bias and does not extend outside of that. In other words, this decision making model is flawed.

And no, this is not an ‘attack’ on anyone. This is a theoretical perspective and it applies to CEOs, Leaders, Policy Makers, Politicians, World Leaders, every single day. So no, I’m not having a go at anyone. Just getting in first, as his debate has been quite sensitive online. 

Incrementalism 

Where Shorten really impressed me, under such pressure, due to the political games by the Liberals; was his adoption of incrementalism and the decision making model of choice under uncertainty. 

Due to the nature of the problem, as described above, with either choice, resulting in an alternative problem, Shorten had to adopt the Choice under Uncertainty model of decision making. Although this model is prominent within Economics, no actor within this problem, can be certain of any outcome for this problem.  A choice had to be made, weighing up various possibilities, problems extending from those possibilities and making a choice to maximise the most beneficial outcome. Shorten should be given credit for this, due to the time limit and the complexity of the problem. (I think this is more where my frustration lies – the difficulty I have with some people who disagree with my position, who cannot see the complexity and constraints Shorten was faced with, as we discuss this ongoing debate and who are piling on the disdain). 

With this approach, his decision balanced the urgency to meet the National Security request and offered alternative progress to try to meet the needs of the IT Industry and civil libertarians. He did this by securing further discussion of amendments and a public review, in the formal motion to pass this Bill. This satisfies the objective of success for incrementalism. That is the expertise of all stakeholders are included. 

This advances a complex problem through incrementalism, by enabling further steps to achieve a greater success. By Shorten adopting Incrementalism it is also an advantage. It will allow all politicians and the those with concerns to present their arguments at a public review.  (For those who deny this is happening, Penny Wong’s newsletter today states that submissions will be called soon). 

Alternatively, those who seek out purist political solutions adopting the rational decision making model, have difficulty tolerating any compromise towards progress, and compromise progress itself.

Anti-Majorism – A Political Agenda

The purpose of this article was to respond to Noely Neate’s article in Independent Australia, where she posed the question, “Does the Labor Party Deserve Our Vote” and also discussed general upset at certain positions of the Labor party on various issues. I have responded in detail. Sorry for the long read, but much like in parliament, the ‘anti-majors’ can really say whatever they like, and Bloggers who write with a laborist slant, like me, (about Labor) have to produce evidence and argument. Its just the way it is, folks. I speak from experience!

No – Anti-Majorism is not a word – I just made it up.

Misleading Statements are not Facts

Posing an argument for voters to question their voting intention about any party, should not be presented using misleading statements as facts. It’s duplicitous and regardless of whether a person is “party aligned” I would very strongly argue it is 100% political.

There are many (some with quite prominent followings) on social media and online blogs with the view that the majors are tainted and push this messaging. Who link Liberal and Labor together as one in the same and blame Labor for the Liberal’s Bills, practices, programs and behaviour. These people are minor party and IND supporters.

An entrenched political campaign

I don’t buy the position that “speaking up against the majors” is a pure non-political pursuit of social democracy, championed by people who are much better thinkers than the partisan aligned of the majors. I completely reject this idea and that is the theme of the arguments they often present on social media.

I would argue it is a deeply entrenched political campaign based on the belief that Individualism should take prominence over collective platforms the major parties have based on their central ideology.

I would also argue that it is based on Individualism through ego, as they believe the minor parties and Independents will represent their view (often falsely represented as speaking for my community, which is a technical impossibility. There is no community where everyone will agree) or speaking for “my issue”.

This is as opposed to the collective platform nature of the majors who need to speak for the national interest as a whole and implement that based on the practical methods as directed by their over-arching political ideologies. It is a me versus us argument. 

Their Way is Best

It’s also based on the belief that no compromise, purist politics is extremely easy, and effective. Because that is the behaviour espoused by the politicians they admire. Purist politicians believe that everyone must compromise to meet their (superior) demands and get quite shouty when others simply do not agree that their way is best.

Therefore, Purists believe that the major’s (particularly Labor) are too evil, too stupid or too lazy to “do what’s right”. 

It’s the rejection of or ignorance of, that compromise in a democratic society is not only the reality but often a necessity to make incremental progress towards securing outcomes for progressive issues. It should ‘just happen.’  They will often tout Labor’s incremental approach as “just a pathetic excuse.”

These purists believe that the two Majors never get it right because the minor parties (Greens PHON etc) or IND they look up to, have the luxury of saying and not doing (Governing).

Why Labor will get my Number 1 Vote

If one fights the Liberals instead, there are a whole range of condemning facts to go wild with. But instead, the anti-major party advocates, always attack Labor, when they present this argument. 

I have done my best above to present Labor in a factual light, in contrast to what I argue are misleading statements/innuendos, inherent assumptions, call them what you will, within Ms. Neate’s article; which reads as a bid to have voters question their voting intention for Labor. By clarifying some of the broad statements within the article on IA, I hope I have given the reader a very different view of Labor’s position on various policy areas. 

Presenting Labor in a factual light, would also list literally hundreds of progressive reforms enabled in society because of the Labor Party. Which would not happened if the type of argument in Ms. Neate’s article, to keep Labor out of power, by voting for someone else, was successful. We have already lost years of progress because of the Liberals.

That’s the difference between the collective of Liberals, minor parties, Independents and Labor and why Labor will get my number 1 vote.

Labor, Outrage and Encryption. But Why? A Wicked Problem.

There has been a lot of vigorous debate on Twitter about the Encryption Bill and Labor’s role. Here is my take on how it all panned out and why. I think the WHY is important because no one seems to want to discuss that. The WHYs are just as important in politics as the Whats, Hows, and Whens. Please note, this is not a debate about encryption technology. It is my take on why Labor made certain decisions. Everyone can decide for themselves.

1) Labor does not support “The Encryption Bill” in the raw form as written by the Liberal National Government. This is a misrepresentation being touted on Twitter. It is important to note, that this is a Liberal National Party Government Bill, that Labor must respond to. Labor is not the author of this Bill and did not write the content of this Bill in its first form.

2) Labor members were part of the committee which made a lot of recommendations to change the Bill. The Bill was deemed urgent as ASIO had requested new powers over Xmas, due to new technologies they don’t have powers for now (encrypted messages).

3) If Labor opposed the Bill, Liberals had support from Katter & McGowan in Lower house with no changes and could pass it anyway. Therefore, Labor’s opposition adds nothing but protest in this instance, as no outcome could be achieved. People angry at Labor need to weigh up if this was a viable solution.

4) If Labor opposed in the upper house (Senate) without taking time to work with the Government, the Government then had days of horse trading with X-Bench like Hanson, instead of Labor (I certainly don’t want that!) to make amendments to the Encryption Bill. People angry at Labor need to decide if this was a viable alternative to Labor blindly opposing).

5) So to prevent Hanson and co horse trading with their racist minds on National Security, Labor worked with the Government and made over 100 amendments. Amendments are protections – like control measures in risk management.

6) Time pressure was a huge factor, because ASIO said they needed these powers over Xmas and parliament was shutting down until February.

7) On Thursday 6 December, 2018, the Prime Minister shut down the lower house to keep kids on Nauru (Because the Liberals are sick in the head like that). After a Bill is passed in the upper house, the lower house needs to be in operation to ratify the Bill. (So the amendment solution Labor worked on to add protections to the Bill was now squashed by a political game played by the Morrison Government).

8) The Liberals closing parliament at 5pm was a game changer. All the hard work to make amendments would not be ratified. To reiterate, this move was made by Liberals to keep sick kids in offshore detention. (People should be really, really mad at this).

9) Because Morrison clocked off early, this left Labor with the responsibility and decision to give ASIO power. This was in light of the advice that there is an increased terror threat over Christmas. (Which makes sense because there are lots of crowds, right?)

10) If even one amendment passed, the Bill would have had to go back to lower house, which was no longer an option. This would leave ASIO with no new powers as requested. That is, except if Labor decided (in the absence of the Government who shirked their responsibility as a Government) to pass the Bill without amendments.

11) Bear in mind the experts warned of increased threat. Terror experts know more than most of us. (They don’t tell us everything because you know, Terrorists read the news and watch TV as well).

12) Because the Govt shirked their responsibility by going home, Labor had to weigh up pros and cons of increased threat, whilst weighing up the pros and cons of passing a flawed bill that a lot – a real lot of people outright reject, based on civil rights, privacy and other IT related concerns.

13) Labor erred on the side of caution, because terrorism is pretty shit and kills many innocent people.

14) With this in mind Labor had no choice but to pass the Bill to assist ASIO, if they were to take this threat seriously. Let’s face it. We EXPECT a Government to take ASIO seriously when it happens. Labor must act as an alternative Government and not a protest party (that’s why Labor mostly, does not act like the Greens).

This decision I personally support regardless of Govt. (I have faith in ASIO, others don’t, as they expressed on Twitter yesterday, which terrifies me).

15) Labor had to pass the Bill in the raw form with no amendments, because even if one amendment was passed, it needs to go back to the lower house. This wasn’t an option if ASIO were to be assisted over Xmas, because The Prime Minister and Govt clocked off at 5pm so kids on Nauru couldn’t get medical treatment. (Plus they had a knees up at The Lodge)

15) (i) The Liberals and Bernadi filibustered in the Senate (delaying a Bill by speech making, sometimes about nothing) so the Bill for Nauru kids was not passed in the senate before the Prime Minister shut down the lower house.

15 (ii) This means this was a pre-organised obstruction to get kids off Nauru. Which is pitifully sickening. The fact that people are not more outraged about this, than Labor passing a National Security Bill, also sickens me.

16) So Labor made the decision to pass the Bill to assist ASIO. To reiterate, Labor had to consider the advice of an increased terror threat over the Christmas season.

17) Labor passed this on the proviso that the amendments, including input from the public and experts is held when Parliament returns in February.

17) (i) This Bill passed with Greens, CA and Storer opposed to the raw bill. This means the Government only needed one of these to pass the Bill without Labor, which is a real possibility based on track record and the incentive for them to make their own amendments, if Labor did not make amendments. It is impossible to judge if Centre Alliance and Storer would or would not have supported the Bill with amendments that were not their amendments either.  Regardless, this is a huge risk to take and why Labor took the action to make amendments to the Bill, rather than blindly protesting with no input. For example, It appears that Senator Patrick’s main issue was with the urgency of the Bill. He appeared to agree in his speech that that ASIO needed additional powers. This would not take much convincing from a Government to win him over, in my opinion.

Therefore there was a real danger the Bill could have been negotiated with input from two major Senators well known for racism, Hanson and Anning, plus the rest of the right wing cross bench. (Except Storer – I cant work out what he stands for yet.)

17 (ii) This is the lie the Greens peddle all the time, to try to get people to vote Green instead of Labor. That is, Labor has the numbers to oppose the Liberals if Labor sides with the Greens. It’s absolutely not true and the Greens must have that many pimples on their tongues, I’m amazed they can talk!) Yes, I know, I know, I can’t stand the Greens, but this is just mathematics. It’s a valid point, because on Twitter especially, this lie gains traction.

18) A side note, but an important point, is about a week ago, Howard (former Liberal PM) advised that Morrison could win the election on National Security. So if you have noticed, there has been lots of talk about Security, boats, and even kids getting medical treatment “opening the borders.” In politics, this is called fear based campaigning, but my term for it is “sick in the head, baseless gobshite”

19) But let’s face facts. The Liberals do have a track record of creating real terror for people with regards to Terrorism. It has worked in the past.

20) If Labor didn’t pass the Bill, and a real or “foiled” terror attack occurred then Labor would have been to blame.

21) If this did occur and Labor ignored ASIOs advice, we all know, the media largely enables this fear based environment with Murdoch Press, Shock Jocks and Sunrise doing live Crosses to Hanson, on a horse in country QLD, wearing a vegemite TShirt and an Aussie flag scarf, for “regular updates.” To add to that, no doubt Prime Minister Morrison would hold a 50 flag press conference in his Trump hat, screaming about “Fair Dinkum Terror.”

22) People may argue this was the main factor. It may be a factor considered, but so is the responsibility of alternative Govt and being left with the responsibility to give ASIO Powers over Xmas, in light of a terror attack. My personal opinion is decisions were based on increased risk of Terror and advice from ASIO, but also with an awareness of a fear campaign, which Labor would have already thought about, Bill or no Bill.

23) Morrison played this game on Thursday, because he would have in no way expected Shorten to pass the Bill with no amendments. Morrison would have had a campaign tactic ready, based on “keeping us safe” which he no longer can use. For those who purely enjoy the analysis of political strategy, I personally think Shorten outdid Morrison, If this point is simply isolated, without the difficulty of the content of the Bill in Question which has serious flaws, as noted already by Labor, and needs more work.

24)  Sadly, Morrison May have achieved his aim regardless. The anger towards Labor on Twitter yesterday, was to the height of epic proportions. Voters taking the view that Labor could have stopped the Bill without any negative consequences, who now exclaim they won’t be voting Labor, in my view risk another term of the Morrison Government.

25) There is no magical realm where Liberal or Labor won’t Govern. Liberal, LNP, National, Shooters and Fishers, Independents and One Nation voters won’t be punishing the Liberals. But Morrison has achieved his aim to “split the left.” Which is good for no one else but him, now he is a Prime Minister who can’t be toppled.

26) For those who are angry at Labor, this is their own action with a negative consequence for them to consider. Every single vote counts.

A Wicked Problem

In Operations Management we refer to this entire scenario above as a Wicked Problem. This is where every solution results in an alternative set of problems.

Regardless of the decision that is made; there is no decision where a solution will result all positive consequences. Every decision has negative consequences. Importantly, no decision will make everyone happy.

Decisions when dealing with Wicked Problems are therefore based on reducing the most harm.

In this instance, and in my opinion, Labor decided the most harm would occur if a terror attack occurred over Christmas if ASIO was ignored.

Therefore, in my opinion, Bill Shorten and Labor put the safety of people before politics, contrary to the view of some very vocal people, including media personalities, on Twitter.

What would you do? Which negative consequences do you choose, based on your decisions for this scenario?

WHY’s Are Important

I have written this because I am fielding a lot of questions on Twitter because I agree with the Labor Party’s decisions on this matter. Debates are quite heated and plenty are attacking Labor – without the discussion of these points – the WHYs.

As I said in my intro, the WHYs are as important as the Whats, Whens and hows, in politics.

The absence of the WHYs I believe, is a blight on our political debate. When the Why’s or any context is ignored, I strongly feel that this makes people much more insular and they will rapidly form groups. Context is so very important.

One person commented to me on Twitter that simply because “I was outnumbered” and although I presented a good argument, I had to basically relent and join the popular voice against Labor.

That comment REALLY made me think about the power of Twitter. How it separates us into groups.  I do get into quite lengthy debates on Twitter, however, I will never, ever change my position because it is not popular. I will never sit on the fence, so people may “follow me.”  Although sad, I will accept, people will mute and block me, because I won’t agree with ‘their view.” and that’s life. We can’t do that in real life, we simply avoid uncomfortable topics around certain people, we don’t agree on, and remain civil, but it is the life on social media.

People will say I am fairly partisan with Labor; which I most certainly am. However, if anyone does engage with me on Twitter, I always aim to come from the point of the view of the “Why or How” about a view of Labor that is not popular.

This is quite prevalent, simply due to the tactic that the Greens run about Labor.  The Greens (and some Independents now) always focus on the “WHAT” and do not tell anyone about the “WHY or HOW.”  For example, Labor may reject a Bill, because the Greens have put it in the wrong format, or attempted to change the wrong Bill, or followed the wrong Process – all reasonable reasons why it must be rejected, because it will fail anyway.  However, the Greens then make a meme that LABOR VOTED WITH THE LIBERALS TO  X, Y, Z SOMETHING REALLY HORRIBLE!!

Its a duplicitous tactic the Greens play all the time and it is dishonest. In a climate where people are sick and tired of dishonesty in politics, I think the finger really should be pointed strongly at the Greens for a change. Throughout this entire debate over the last few days, the Greens applied this tactic time and time again, to pose themselves as saints, when they were purposely fuelling anger. This should also remind people that minor parties do not wear halos and they are indeed politicians. They are not voices who wear halos.

The absence of the WHY, may not clear up the bad taste in some people’s mouths, over Labor, if they read the points above; but at least I have tried to give a different perspective, than “Doesn’t Excuse them being Shit” (as said by Greg Jericho of the Guardian on Twitter.)

I Am Not A Bot

I would like to state very, very clearly, in case Senator CFW “you are a Labor bot” woman is watching me. Although, I’m a card carrying member of the Labor party, this blog is always and always will be completely my own thoughts. I have had no discussion, or instruction or by anyone else within the Labor party.

As this article is based on my own thoughts, anyone with anything to add to the PROCESS described above, which is factual, that I may have missed, or I may simply have wrong, is also welcome.

I won’t welcome anything that is a tech rant, because that is refuted as far as I am concerned until the Bill is in its final form, after public consultation and with all recommendations and amendments included. (Sure, comment, but it’s not the discussion I’m looking for).

I won’t welcome baseless untruths promulgated through Tweets, newsletters, memes, Instagram or Facebook by the Greens. These are already refuted based on the basic mathematics of addition, where numbers for and against a Bill are added for all scenarios detailed above.

Something To Think About

I hope at least I’ve added something else to think about, that outright protesting that the Greens insist Labor should do, does not always result in a positive outcome, based on the numbers in the current set of both houses.

Also, that an alternative Government (opposition) and Government, must sometimes make really shitty decisions, that people are not going to be happy with, knowing there will be huge popularity slumps for them to deal with as well.  What party wants that?

The parties that can Govern – that is, Labor and Liberal/National coalition – simply do not have this luxury of doing and saying whatever they please, without judgement.

I also want to shout out to the self identified “far more intelligent non-partisan” people on Twitter that I wrote this all by myself because Partisan people can also think for themselves. This is contrary to the belief us partisans are brainwashed for knowing where we sit on the ideology spectrum. Also that we can’t have any thoughts of our own because we don’t sit on the fence, or try to appeal to everyone, so they like us. (Sorry, in context – too many pathetic insults about this towards “us Labor People” on Twitter yesterday).

Frankly, I’d prefer an argument with a conservative with conviction, rather than someone with no heartfelt ideology. At least I’d understand their position.

Political Priorities

I am also very sad, that there was more outrage over this, than there was with the Social Security Amendment Act and the ABCC – which causes actual death. Have we lost our way? Why is this?

This last point, is the point that probably brings the most fear to me and my motivation for writing this piece. If the argument is true, that Morrison played this game, because he thought he had an advantage politically to gain ground in the polls; then from the reaction yesterday, this does very much concern me.

Its not that I am very dedicated to the Labor cause; but because in reality any other alternative than a Shorten Labor Government, means a Morrison Government for three more years.

If this tactic does work and enough people are angry at Labor, then the result will be the return of the Morrison Government. Voting Green or Independent does not guarantee a Shorten Government, regardless of how people try to spin preferential voting.  Splitting the left is the Liberal Party’s major dream.  Remember the utmost AIM of the Liberal’s entire existence is to break the working class. You do not get solidarity for the working class by dividing us into smaller groups so we turn against each other during an election.

Morrison thinks he is Trump and his tactic here is to make sure the electorate punishes Shorten, so he is Australia’s Trump after the electorate punished Hilary.  Punishing the alternative Government, when you don’t want the current Government, gives you back the current Government you do not want. It is no more clear than that.

The type of angry mob dialogue works and it is EXACTLY Morrison’s aim. He will be absolutely beaming with glee at the moment. I ask people to think about their political priorities, such as work rights, joblessness, stigma and punitive social security, the destruction of TAFE, cuts to Higher Education, Education and Health and cuts to Medicare, such as people over 50 no longer able to access MRI scans for knees etc., Only a Shorten Labor Government can achieve progress on any of these issues and give workers and the jobless back some goddamn dignity and rights.

Please seriously think about what it would take for any other party besides Labor to Govern, to knock off the Liberals.  Risking anything but Labor, is  unrealistic, it has no precedent in modern political history, and it is not a practical option. If you are passionate about issues and still don’t like Labor, please still vote for Labor, at least just for this election and for issues you are passionate about, use third party advocacy that is not about Governance of the nation. Join your Union.

The alternative of a Morrison Government for three more years, with a ‘mandate of the people’ is an unbearable, terrifying thought.

Cheers for reading. Feel free to place a comment below.

Liberal Senator Says Auspol Twitter Users Collude to Manipulate The Election

twitter bots

Senator Fierravanti-Wells likens regular everyday #Auspol users to Russian Bots colluding to manipulate the election on behalf of the Australian Labor Party. The Senator calls for accounts to be investigated. Named accounts in the Senate were: @virgotweet @Talaolp @Nobby15 @banas51 @randlight @MSMWatchdog2013 @pedwards2014 @GoldCoastNurse @MinhKular 

It is deeply concerning, that an Australian Senator is trying to suppress political opinion of the general public, by accusing these people of being fake accounts, or working on behalf of a political party, without any evidence whatsoever.

The Liberal Party may very well offer directives to members of the Liberal Party to post certain opinions, but as a member of the Labor Party, I have never received such an instruction. All thoughts are my own. Where is the Senator’s evidence that these named accounts are members of the Australian Labor Party if she does not even know their names? 

There are a myriad of Auspol Twitter Users with the same type of anti-Government messaging who use their own names.  Guess what? It’s because we are anti-Government because the Government hates the worker, hates the poor and are destroying lives and destroying the country! It is that simple. 

All of these accounts are well established, long standing Twitter accounts.  Like me and like you, all of these users are everyday citizens, who simply enjoy the Twitter medium to express their opinion.

It is deeply, deeply concerning, that Senator Fierravanti-Wells has suggested investigation of these accounts for ‘Anti-Government messaging’ by submitting her speech to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

We have the freedom to be anti-Government in Australia.  We have the freedom to express our political opinions in Australia.

I find it absolutely galling that this Senator has attacked every day citizens in this way, accusing them of sinister motivations and collusion to attack a Government in the same manner as a Russian Bot; when the Liberal Party has the Murdoch Press and various very prominent talk back hosts spreading their anti-Labor, anti-Union messages on behalf of the Liberals Party on a daily basis.

The Prime Minister must condemn Senator Fierravanti-Wells

The Prime Minister must absolutely condemn Senator Fierravanti-Wells for using the highest chamber to attack and accuse Australian Citizens of wrong doing; but also for using her platform as a representative of the Government in an attempt to destroy our freedom of political thought and expression.

The Prime Minister must also absolutely condemn Senator Fierravanti-Wells for any stress and upset she may have caused everyday citizen users by submitting the names of these accounts to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, as ‘Qualitative material’ and warns we must be ‘on guard.’

What country am I living in???

By the way Senator, I have 581.3K impressions in the last month. I am proudly a member of a Union, I am proudly a member of the Labor Party and I will proudly Tweet my anti-Government opinion 100 times a day if I wish. But the Labor Party sure as hell does not tell me what to say!  I am also a real person. How dare you accuse, defame and degrade members of the Australian public in this way, because you do not like their opinion.

Such an abuse of power!

Hansard Excerpt 

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS (New South Wales) (19:14): Tonight I again wish to examine how political influence campaigns are being run using multiple Twitter accounts. I recently informed the Senate about the activities of Sleeping Giants Oz, an anonymous, politically motivated Twitter campaign, imported from the US, whose heavy reliance on unverifiable Twitter accounts makes its actual size deceptive. The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is currently looking at cybermanipulation of elections, including considering the extent to which social media bots may have targeted Australian voters and political discourse in the past; the likely sources of social media manipulation within Australia and internationally; and ways to address the spread of deliberately false news online during elections.

A submission to JSCEM from Digital Industry Group Inc, which includes representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google, concludes:

Fortunately, the experience of DIGI members and the use of their platforms in Australia, to date there is no evidence to suggest that election manipulation has been a widespread problem in Australia as it has been in the U.S.

Similarly a submission from Twitter says:

During the 2016 election, we were not made aware of any activity related to the suppression or interference with the exercise of voting rights in Australia.

These reassurances seem at odds with a recent report in The Australian that Twitter accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, the infamous Russian troll factory, have spread politically charged posts about Australian politics, including the 2016 federal election and last year’s same-sex marriage survey.

However, tonight I wish to outline to the Senate how the Australian Labor Party is benefiting from another influence campaign also being conducted via the Twitter sphere. This campaign employs a calculated and malicious strategy of spreading misinformation and political spam via a large web of mainly anonymous but also automated Twitter accounts. These accounts post similar-to-identical pro-Labor, pro-union, anti-coalition content. They primarily engage by retweeting posts from like-minded accounts, creating an echo chamber of reinforcing noise. Twitter is full of anonymous accounts that often exist only to push partisan and frequently toxic debate by interests groups, including fake news. Twitter permits automated retweets and it is easy to make a Twitter bot that will automatically ‘favourite’ and/or retweet tweets that contain particular words or hashtags.

Many of the accounts to which I refer have tweeted or retweeted hundreds of thousands of times and continue to do so hundreds of times a day, cranking out pro-Labor, anti-coalition messaging on an industrial scale. Often they admit a union connection or Labor viewpoint, together with an eclectic mix of other interests which collectively cover the entire gamut of left-wing concerns. Some accounts run lies and smears against the coalition or needle coalition candidates and parliamentarians while promoting Labor initiatives or running interference for Labor. They are frequently a vehicle for unfounded and defamatory allegations, low-grade research or catalogues of alleged coalition misdeeds which wouldn’t be publishable by or rate any interest from the mainstream media. Some recycle media stories which boost Labor or are unflattering to the coalition. For example, @virgotweet, which mainly retweets 80 times a day, recycles old news about alleged coalition scandals and presents it as if new. They typically follow or are followed by a mix of Labor figures and also engage with Twitter feeds of other left-wing organisations. The aim is to discredit the coalition, to promote allies and to distort public opinion by massively amplifying messages which feed into like-minded networks and engage both anonymous and real Twitter users.

These accounts often show signs of direct user engagement via unique tweets and topical comments, which is indicative of their close maintenance and operation. A key account called @Talaolp tweets rather than retweets an unremitting torrent of Labor propaganda. It claims it is:

… sharing information about the Liberal Governments, State and Federal, their deception, lies and misinformation to the Australian Public.

Based in Western Australia, @Talaolp has tweeted 230,000 times in the last five years. That’s about 125 times a day. Some of its anti-coalition material is scurrilous and intended simply to smear. It typically posts to three other accounts: ‘Sir Clyde of Nob’ @Nobby15, ‘Big Al’ @banas51 and ‘Mari R’ @randlight.

Sir Clyde of Nob, supposedly a retired IT specialist also based in Western Australia, has tweeted 790,000 times over the last nine years, an average of 240 times a day. It mostly retweets, but every seventh to eighth engagement, on average, is a personal tweet or comment on a post, showing frequent personal intervention. It retweets TALAOLP extensively and boasts about its Twitter reach, in a recent week receiving over 1,600 mentions, 1,500 likes, almost 400 retweets and 230 replies. Big Al, who describes himself as a ‘lefty’ and a ‘hard worker’, has retweeted over 200,000 times in the last four years, an average of 135 a day, namely retweeting a broad fare of left-wing commentary. Mari R, who says she wants Bill for PM, has retweeted almost 450,000 times over the last seven years, an average of 175 times a day.

Another such account is MSM Watchdog, supposedly dedicated to ‘Exposing unconscionable attacks on the poor’. This account has tweeted 447,000 times over the last five years, an average of 240 a day, predominantly retweets of predictable anti-coalition and pro-Labor material. But MSM Watchdog was stung into life by my recent speech on Sleeping Giants Oz, claiming that the Liberal Party hates social media because ‘they are hopeless at it.’ If being good at it means flooding the twittersphere with propaganda up to 100,000 times a year, I’ll take that as a compliment. MSM Watchdog retweets far more frequently than Sir Clyde of Nob. Some days it only retweets hundreds of times; other days there are also some personal tweets and comments. Both accounts appear to be operated closely by individual users but are almost totally reliant on retweets as a method of amplification. Who has either the inclination or the resources to, in the main, retweet 240 times a day, year upon year? I suggest that the description of many accounts as being operated by unionists offers a clue.

Another account, ‘Old and Cranky’, which describes its owner as a ‘true believer still looking for the light on the hill’—good luck!—has tweeted 329,000 times in the last four years, an average of 225 a day, of antigovernment messaging. Its last 3,200 engagements are all retweets. Similarly, ‘Gold Coast Nurse’, which describes its owner as a proud union delegate and member, tweeted 88 times a day in the last five years and has also not tweeted an original thought in its last 3,200 tweets.

What I have described tonight is the Twitter equivalent of a Labor union telephone tree, a Twitter tree, though perhaps a better analogy would be a jungle, and the law of the jungle applies when it comes to its content. An organised union operation backed by Labor volunteers is the most likely source of this influence campaign, but the anonymity of accounts means we can’t be sure exactly who they are. These accounts were active during the 2016 election. They’re in full swing and, unless checked, will be active during the next election. Twitter’s submission to JSCEM claims:

We focus on developing machine learning tools that identify and act on networks of spammy or automated accounts automatically by tracking account behaviour. This lets us tackle attempts to manipulate conversations on Twitter at scale, across languages, and different time zones.

I submit that Twitter is on a steep learning curve and still has a long way to go, and I would suggest it review the activities of the accounts to which I have referred as well as many other high-volume accounts like ‘Wowbagger’ and ‘Fair Dinkum Troublemaker’.

As we approach the next election, we need to be aware that political interest groups as well as potential state actors are trying to amplify their messaging and distort debate, including by disseminating fake news using social media platforms. In relation to state actors, I again note that a US intelligence report assessed that:

Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.

Clearly, there is much to be on guard about as we approach the next election. I will be forwarding this speech to JSCEM as I believe it adds qualitative material.

Advancing Australia’s Sickness

The poorest of the poor have had their rights revoked and are pushed deeper into poverty because the Government believes in the punitive stigmatising force of cashless welfare, to “motivate” the jobless into jobs the Government is too lazy to create.

Yet, the anger is so quiet.

The oldest of our loved ones can be ripped from family & friends when aged care is sold off to private companies or shut down. They can be abused and treated with disgusting contempt.

Yet, the anger remains constrained.

First Nations people in Central Australia can be freezing in minus 0 cold, and have no warm blankets after they lost all supplies in a flood, but the Government will not help them, so fundraising by Waltja does the job.

Yet, only an eyebrow is raised.

People with disabilities still have limited access and stark inequality in services and lifestyle options.

Yet screams to demand better sound like a muffled cry.

Workers are literally being killed at work because of the ABCC laws, yet the outcry of Murder, Bloody Murder is left to just a few. Those few are castigated and ridiculed by the powerful in Government and the media and sometimes you even join in, and say the words “Union Thug” with gloating and disgust.

Yet, there are no online riots to seek justice for these deaths by insisting on violence as a response.

The majority don’t get angry. The media are not angry and demanding justice. The ones who do are pushed out by the louder, uglier, nastier voices in the Media.

There is no outpouring of anger and suggestions of violence against these perpetrators attacking the common good.

Instead, their platforms are lifted up and up and up, by those already with so much power. So. Much. Power.

But when a nine year old little girl silently protests to change the National Anthem, to actually Advance Australia Fair, so it is inclusive of First Nations people, grown men and grown women – who are mothers and fathers themselves – literally insist violence should be inflicted upon this little girl and some are saying there have been death threats.

Let that sink in – DEATH THREATS. For a silent protest by a nine year old.

Australia has a sickness. A terrible sickness.

If you agree with this violence against a little girl, if you admire and defend the powerful who suggest it – or if you ARE the one suggesting it – on RUOK day, I’ll tell you, you are NOT OK. You certainly are NOT even remotely OK.

You are not, NOT OK in the legitimate illness, “I’ll help you out mate” sense.

You are NOT OK like a sick and twisted, narcissistic, emotionally barren, get off on power and control over others, not OK kind of way.

It is NOT OK to instigate, suggest, advocate or reinforce an opinion of violence towards children. You should not even be allowed to have that right. It’s akin to insisting on violence against a frail 90 year old who has dementia.

You are not a member of some “brave silent majority.”

You are an emotionally deficient, sick minded individual.

An deeply emotionally troubled individual, whose empathy and rationality has been destroyed by the insidious parasite of getting likes and “belonging to a side.”

Or for the powerful among you – the insidious parasite of media fame, money and fortune of the desire to lead “a side.” A side only enabled by you creating hatred and a divide.

No! It is not your “right” to insist anyone should listen to this sick opinion.

You lost that right when you suggested, insisted, agreed with, shared memes about or commented to reinforce the act of physical violence against a little girl whose only crime is to have an opinion.

Violence against a little girl. Violence against a little girl. Again – Violence against a little girl! That is NEVER OKAY.

Jesus Christ! Slap yourselves hard and wake up!

Australia has a sickness. We need a cure. FAST!

Labor, Adani and A Quest for Green Seats

Greens lies

Source: NyunggaBlack

The election campaign by the Greens in Queensland is as vile and vicious as one would expect from the LNP and PHON.  This may not be new for southern key Labor seat supporters, but as a Queenslander, this is new breed of Greens we are seeing here. What we are seeing is a more aggressive and openly mendacious brand of Greens.

The Greens Take A Leaf from Pauline’s Book

The Greens are hungry to win three inner Brisbane seats. They have adopted a new style for this campaign. Similar to PHON, the Greens are aggressively pursuing a highly ideological attack dog campaign.

Like Pauline Hanson they are remaining silent on a practical solution.

The Greens are unable to clarify if Adani can be stopped, how it can be stopped and at what cost of compensation.

When asked if the compensation bill will cripple the Queensland economy,  the Greens candidate for Maiwar advised that he did not have that information.  He also fails to mention former QLD Government – the LNP.  The contracts were signed prior to the Labor winning office.

Who would know what Campbell Newman and Jeff Seeney negotiated in a contract? The same guys who signed a deal to have defective Queensland trains built overseas?

Who knows? Who cares right?  This is about blaming Labor. Stay focused.

I mean, if you are going to go all Superman on our arse and stop a great big mine, at least know if we can still afford to give emergency surgery to the sick, injured and dying in public hospitals after you do it!

In a large ideologically based campaign, where you insist another party can or should do something, you need to be able to stand up.

To be a serious political force, you simply must have the practical solutions and have the political experience to detail the risks to the public and take ownership of those risks.

Otherwise, an ideological campaign is just election fodder, stuff and nonsense, finger pointing, a whole lot of lies and just like Pauline Hanson has done for 20 years – a great dollar for votes fundraising opportunity.

Greens Aggression Intensity – 100

Similar to PHON, the Greens are aggressively attacking Labor, whilst remaining silent on the LNP.

In the quest for three Inner Brisbane seats, the message that Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor are corrupt is a key message.  Nothing is said about the party who actually signed the deal for Adani, the LNP.

corruption

The same LNP who for a period of three years, systematically offended nearly every single sector of our society, sacked thousands and thousand of people, literally destroyed public and community services absolutely vital to vulnerable people and were hell bent on selling off our electricity to foreign ownership.The Greens don’t think they are worth talking about.

For almost three years, Labor has had to work tirelessly to rebuild. To reinstate Public Sector workers, to return funding to vital community services, to introduce significant jobs programs, to re-organise our electricity services to keep them in our hands, to build infrastructure and roads and so much more.

The intensity of aggression by the Greens and the Stop Adani movement toward Labor is extreme and deceitful.

The Green’s silence towards the LNP and PHON is absolutely deafening.

A Selfish Political Ploy

I am very genuine when I say that I was extremely scared living under the Newman-Nicholls’ Government. Every day I would wake up and wonder if we would have jobs. Everyday someone would know someone who had lost a job, including me. It was soul destroying.

I was terrified of the increase of police presence. Searching people at servos simply because they owned motorbikes, and the police filming us protesting.

Worrying if I could trust the police, was not something I ever thought I would have to think about. But it happened under Newman.

I was worried and anxious about elderly patients in aged care, forced from their friends as homes were privatised and they had to move, and so much more.

The Alternative is LNP PHON

The Adani mine or any mine, regardless of the ideological or moral arguments, is not more important than the terrifying alternative option of the LNP back in power. Most likely with Nicholls as a puppet of Hanson; which is terrifying beyond belief.

A campaign strategy that clearly is designed to absolutely trash the Labor brand and create a vehement hate campaign towards Labor, can only have one successful outcome: A right wing Government. That is an LNP or LNP / PHON Government. The only choices to Govern in QLD are Labor or LNP. That is it. No other fantasy will become a reality.

The Greens may get their one or three seats in the process; but at what cost will this selfish, vindictive campaign towards Labor have for the rest of us?

It is possible that this utterly vicious and vindictive campaign by the Greens attacking Labor, may return LNP (plus PHON). Entirely possible.

It is also possible, by the Greens adopting the LNP/PHON mantra that Labor cannot be trusted, that Labor is corrupt, will only entice more undecided voters to vote for PHON. Hanson knows how this attack style resonates with this demographic and it is why she uses it.

With many stuck in the rigid moral and ideological vacuum about Adani, it is simply not possible to express any alternative view, without abuse from those who oppose the mine.

So here is my view of the Green’s campaign expressed in poetic form below.

I hope this form of expression, may, just may get some participating in these incessant attacks on Labor driven by the Greens, a different perspective that the real enemy is the LNP. 

But But Adani – A Quest for three seats

The Greens campaign of “Stop Adani”

Has gathered momentum very quickly

Screaming Labor is corrupt, so wrongfully

When contracts were signed by LNP

May see us suffer in misery

Painful long years of Anxiety

Why don’t Greens attack PHON or LNP?

Cos Greens want three seats in inner Brissy

It’s not about regions or you and me

And here is why I hope you see

Why Greens lies about Labor are insanity

And Stop Adani is a Greens campaign strategy

Because on these issues Greens don’t have the empathy

LNP sacked the nurses who care for you and me

But But Labor and Adani

Nicholls sold aged care as a strategy

But But Labor and Adani

Nicholls tried so hard to sell our electricity

But But Labor and Adani

Nicholls shut a youth mental health facility

But But Labor and Adani

Post closure suicides there were three

But But Labor and Adani

In solitary confinement sat innocent bikies

But But Labor and Adani

Nicholls cancelled jail squad doggies

But But Labor and Adani

Then LNP attacked screening of our boobies

But But Labor and Adani

Banned singles and gays from surrogacy

But But Labor and Adani

No more Skilling Queenslanders for free

But But Labor and Adani

LNP cancelled help for tenancies

But But Labor and Adani

Nicholls canned Nurses for little schoolies

But But Labor and Adani

and sold off school ovals of sporty kiddies

But But Labor and Adani

Nicholls sold public housing for those in poverty

But But Labor and Adani

LNP killed family planning for disabilities

But But Labor and Adani

Thousands and thousands of public servants axed in a sacking frenzy

But But Labor and Adani

And seriously pissed of the judiciary

But But Labor and Adani

The Office of Climate change was history

But But Labor …..

Greens say are worse than all this you see

When Adani will still dig under LNP PHON mentality

Cos LNP signed them up with no scrutiny

Labor added strictest regulations in history

But removing Labor will cause Greens ecstasy

If they win just one seat in Inner Brissy

Greens southerners don’t live in QLD you see

And have to suffer LNP PHON cruelty

To insist a mine is more important than LNP trickery

I hope you see it’s an absurdity

And it’s not the time for voting third parties

Nor to punish Labor wrongfully

Another hung parliament is too scary

Cos there are only two choices in QLD see

Palaszczuk Labor or the Nicholls LNP (who may join with PHON crazies)

There are No Greens ruling QLD fantasies

Cos up here we battle the bloody Tories

Greens Lies may give us years of LNP PHON insecurity

I don’t want that ever again for my community

I am voting one Labor

Please stand with me.

There will be those who do not care and will never understand. They will continue their attacks on Labor and silence towards the LNP and PHON.

To them I say, enjoy Adani, more mines, more fracking, more privatisation and a loss of civil rights, including possibly the right to protest against Adani or anything else, under LNP and PHON.

The Jobless Did Not Ask For this!

Menzies Welfare

Who is responsible for jobs? Should we punish the jobless? Is welfare a right or a privilege? These are the questions the Government is too gutless to ask. By accepting the Government’s answers to these issues without question, we may be shaping a future we haven’t asked for. The Jobless didn’t ask for this!

The term “welfare” is often touted as synonymous with the word “problem”. The question we are not asked is, “Is welfare a problem?”

The Government is asking us to argue vehemently over answers to a question they are too gutless to ask. We should ask the Government questions.

Welfare Reform is a complex issue. However, the wider narrative has a huge impact on how we address reform in this space.

Welfare ‘Reform’

The Welfare Reform Bill currently before the house, is focused on using punishment as a blunt force to solve the ‘welfare problem.’ The Government is quite brazen in no longer hiding punishment as a measure.

One system of punishment is a demerit point system. Another is drug testing. Therefore, the Government has predetermined, that the jobless ‘do the wrong thing’.

The Liberal National Coalition have successfully chipped away at society, along with the opposition in some respects. That is, to create a sub-human welfare class who society appears comfortable to punish.

Punishment sits well with a large section of society. This is due to continuous stigma aimed at the jobless. In the words of Erving Goffman, we have actively inflicted upon the jobless a ‘spoiled identity.’

The Labor opposition opposes these measures. However, since the late 1980’s the Labor party has joined with the Liberals with the same mantra.. That is, the onus is on the jobless to find a job, rather than the responsibility of Government to sustain an economy offering jobs for all.

In short, the narrative over the last 30 years is that jobseekers need a paternalistic guiding hand to motivate them. Therefore, the Government shuns the notion of the jobseeker’s own intrinsic motivation.

Who is Responsible For Jobs?

The answer given to us over the last 30 years is that the jobless are a problem. The Government(s) place the burden on the jobseeker to find jobs, although these jobs may not exist. Where jobs do not exist, the Turnbull Government believes the jobless should create their own job. For ideological reasons, the Government shuns Government intervention and job creation.

The Government(s) have given us answers without asking any questions. They assume that we, in society, simply agree that the jobless are a problem.  The Government assumes that we agree that the Government is blameless. They assume we are completely happy with the amount and types of jobs available.

The questions the Government(s) are too gutless to ask is:

“Is the Government doing enough to ensure there are enough jobs for the people?”

“Is the Government skilled enough to implement the right solutions to increase available jobs?”

“If the Government does not believe it is their role to create jobs, is self-determination to create our own job by starting our own business, a practical solution for all?”

“Do we aim for a society where large pockets of ghost towns exist, along with a number of over-populated vibrant cities for workers to transition to, or do we aim for a society where the Government places the same commitment to develop all regions equally?”

Should We Punish the Jobless?

The answer given to us over the last 30 years is the we should punish the jobless. The punitive approach intensified during the Howard era, particularly financial penalties. The level of punishment today is very paternalistic and draconian. 

The problem posed is that the jobless lack motivation. The assumption is that inaction by the Government is acceptable. However, the Government does not ask us if we agree.

Over the Abbott-Turnbull period, the level of punishment aimed at the jobless is unacceptable. From the jobless starve for six months policy, to the demerit system, to restrictions on volunteer work for over 55’s, cashless welfare and drug testing are aimed to develop a society, I do not recognise as an Australian society. This causes me a deep level of concern.

The questions the Government(s) are too gutless to ask is:

“Is it fair to punish the jobless, if the Government fails to provide enough jobs?”

“Should the Government punish the jobless, if they do not have the skills or capital to start their own business, if they cannot find a job?”

“Is it fair to punish the jobless if the Government has not provided an adequate jobsearch system to support the jobless to match them to available jobs?”

“Although studies show that extrinsic motivation factors such as punishment, affect psychological well-being, hinder job search and not assist it, is it acceptable to punish the jobless?

Is Welfare a Right or a Privilege?

The punitive approach of successive Governments aim to reduce spending in the welfare space. It is evident that the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s aim is to reclassify those on welfare into a sliding scale. This scale appears to bracket those on welfare from ‘acceptable citizens’ to ‘bludgers’ to ‘drug addled sub-humans.’

The Government had one other criteria “genuine jobseekers”, prior to this bill. However, all jobseekers now fall into the realm of bludgers. Every measure in the current bill, is underpinned by a suspicion the jobless individual may be prone to deviant behaviour.

The punitive measures in the current reforms are very much focused on financial penalty. They seek to exclude or restrict access to unemployment benefits. This is done by classifying welfare recipients into normal behaviour (reward) and deviant behaviour (exclusion).

In short, to save money on the welfare bill (which we all pay for, including the jobless), the Government has provided us with the answer of normals and deviants.

They haven’t asked us the question. However, it is clear their answer is ‘normals and deviants’.

The Government knows that Australians will always apply the ‘fair-go’ to normals, but not deviants. In short, it is a simple equation.

Jobless+30 years of stigma = Deviants
Normals-Deviants = Less welfare spending

This question I have left until last because it is crucial to how we see our future as a society.  Most importantly, I ask readers to please ponder upon this question. This is because the Government tells us everyday who we are. We need to stand up and tell them who we want to be.Therefore, it is crucial to argue if welfare is a right or a privilege. This is intrinsic to who we are as a society.

The question the Government(s) are too gutless to ask is:

Menzies Welfare

As you can see from the excerpt above, unemployment and sickness benefits were introduced in Australia as a right, not a privilege.  Three generations later, the Abbott-Turnbull Government speaks of welfare as a privilege and not a right. They have changed the definition whilst we were not looking. Additionally, they again, provided us with an answer without asking us a very important question.

“Should Welfare continue to be available as a right to all people in society, from the recently redundant to the most disenfranchised in society, or do we aim for a society, where the poorest class are further divided by the Government into entitled humans and excluded sub-humans?”

Real Reform

Real welfare reform will begin with asking confronting questions and shifting away from arguing over the answers the Government provides without them posing an actual question.

If the Government took on the burden instead of the jobless, our conversations around the dinner table, would be very different. Importantly, these tiny conversations are powerful enough to shape public policy.

It is evident from some of the emotive speakers within the Labor opposition and crossbenchers, speaking to this bill, that the punishment regime has gone way too far. However, after 30 years of placing the burden on the jobless and praising punishment as a motivator, why is anyone speaking to this welfare bill, angry or shocked?

Real Welfare Reform can only happen when a leader dares to stand apart from the pack. This leader will remove the burden from the jobless. They will lead us by being brave enough to take ownership and responsibility for job creation. Most importantly they will not stand idly by and allow the jobless in our society to suffer from stigma in silence. They will unite us and not divide us.

They will look back over the last 30 years, look back to us and with true emotion say “Under a Government I lead, the jobless will never be punished again.”

More Lies From The Greens – Newstart

the Greens

Another round of lies from the Greens is making its way around social media and very vulnerable people on Social Security are very, very angry – at Labor.  If you are a vulnerable Australian on welfare listening to the Greens, let me say this to you; Labor is not anti-welfare and Labor is fighting very hard for equality.  What the Greens are fighting hard for is putting up bills they know will fail on a technicality. They then work hard to take the moral high ground to upset you, all for the sole aim of creating a deep dark pit of hatred toward Labor by you, the voter. They do this in the hope you will see the Greens as the only party who cares.  In short, it is pathetic Trump Style politics.

One thing Senator Doug Cameron is, is he is a good man. He has spent his entire life fighting for the working class and the disadvantaged and that cannot be disputed.  I have cut and paste Senator Cameron’s response to the Greens amendment in the Senate to raise Newstart by $110 per fortnight.

It is time the Greens stopped playing pathetic games with the emotions of vulnerable people. It is sick! The incessant attacks on Labor are questionable. They may as well stick a Turnbull corflute in their front yards!

Greens' Lies On Newstart (1)

Senator Cameron (Labor) Response

Senate Hansard 10 August 2017 p. 76-78

(For those who do not want to read all of Senator Cameron’s response which is over 2,000 words, I have highlighted the relevant parts in Red. I have quoted and highlighted the trickery of the Greens in  – well Green!)

Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (16:59): I am quite amazed by that speech by Senator Fierravanti-Wells. In speaking on the Social Security Amendment (Caring for People on Newstart) Bill 2017, I want to try and correct some of the statements that have been made.

Let me go to the Greens first. The Greens indicated they are the only party calling for an increase in Newstart. Labor has acknowledged that Newstart is too low. The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has said on a number of occasions in recent years that it is too low. Labor acknowledges that too many Australians are living in poverty.

 It was Labor that defended young, unemployed Australians when the Abbott-Turnbull government wanted to make young people wait six months to access Newstart.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells said, ‘Don’t add fuel to the fire.’ There’ll be plenty of people on Newstart who won’t have any fuel—whether it’s electricity or gas—to actually keep themselves warm. Senator Fierravanti-Wells says it would cost an extra $2 billion per annum to increase the Newstart allowance to the allowance that’s been proposed by the Greens in this bill. How ridiculous is it that we have a coalition that want to hand $65 billion in tax cuts to the big end of town, and yet they stand here and argue that they can’t look after people on Newstart? They are a party that wants to look after big business but ignore people who are doing it tough. We’ve seen them: they’re all about the vilification and demonisation of people who are down on their luck and relying on Newstart. This argument of, ‘You’ve just got to get a job and everything will be okay,’ I suppose, is alright if you live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, the eastern suburbs or the wealthier areas of Australia where you don’t actually have to see much unemployment.

But what the coalition needs to understand—and they obviously don’t—is that there are 189,200 jobs available within Australia. There are 726,800 unemployed in Australia. So it’s not as if you can just get your gear on in the morning, lob out there and find a job. You never hear the coalition talking about that figure. It’s not easy to get a job in some areas, and it’s impossible to find a job in other areas. I notice that we’re going to have coalition people speak to this later, and we have two National Party members in the chamber now. If you look at the National Party seats, they’ve got some of the highest unemployment in Australia. Senator Williams would know it’s not that easy to go out and actually find a job in some areas in National Party electorates.

In National Party seats, unemployment has risen by 1.3 per cent on average since the coalition came to power. Since September 2013, unemployment has risen by 1.3 per cent on average in National Party seats. What a great example of how the National Party come here and suck up to that nonsense that we just heard from Senator Fierravanti-Wells, but are out there presiding over some of the highest unemployment in the country. It just beggars belief. All they want to do is vilify the unemployed, vilify those that are down on their luck. Look at what the government did when they first came to power.

They wanted to make young Australians wait six months to access Newstart. What would that do to young people in National Party seats where there were no jobs? They would either have to have rich parents or be part of the rural hoi polloi, or they would be left starving. It’s an absolute disgrace the way the National Party and the Liberal Party have dealt with unemployment and social security benefits over the last period of time. They wanted to abandon young jobseekers for six months. Starve! That was their approach, and Labor defeated that. After we defeated it, the Liberals tried to make young people wait five weeks before being able to access income support.

Remember the argument that was put forward by Senator Fierravanti-Wells: ‘Just go out and get a job. That’s the best inoculation from welfare. Just get a job.’ Well, I repeat again: there are 189,200 jobs available in Australia, and there are 726,800 unemployed. Many of those unemployed would not have the skills, the training or the capacity or live in the region where these jobs are, so it becomes really, really difficult. Senator Fierravanti-Wells ran the same nonsense that ‘Labor squandered money when they were in government’. What Labor did was to implement one of the most effective—if not the most effective—approaches to dealing with the global financial crisis that we had, and we kept jobs being created around the country. That’s what Labor did because we understood that, if jobs were lost, then intergenerational unemployment would increase. So we spent money on keeping people in jobs—in National Party seats around the country. Not only were individuals looked after by Labor, but communities were looked after and families were looked after. They had jobs when workers around the world were being thrown on the scrap heap.

But those opposite seem to forget that there was a global financial crisis. They forget that, just as they don’t have any idea or don’t want to recognise that there is global warming and a real problem for the future. They don’t want to recognise that they don’t have the policies and they don’t have the cohesion internally to actually deal with any of the problems that are facing Australians around this country.

So Labor defeated those cuts that were put there. We defeated the unfair Liberal and National Party cuts to paid parental leave. We defeated the Liberal and National Party unfair cuts to pension indexation. This is the mob that wanted to cut the pensions of Australians. That’s what they wanted to do, and it was only Labor standing against it that stopped that. We defeated the Liberals’ unfair GP tax that would have undermined Medicare as our universal health system. We defeated the Liberals and Nationals’ unfair cuts to young people that would have seen thousands of young Australians shifted from Newstart onto the lower youth allowance payment. We have consistently stood up for vulnerable Australians against this government’s unfair cuts.

I just find it beggaring belief that the National Party, who represent the victims of the Liberal Party’s ideology, come in here and vote with them to cut the social security payments for their constituents in their seats around the country when there are not the jobs available in National Party seats around the country. The National Party are an absolute disgrace. They just hang off the coat-tails of the Liberal Party, and then they try and run the Liberal Party when it comes to some ideological approach that they want to push. They are an absolute disgrace.

We have led the debate in this country on inequality. Bill Shorten, Wayne Swan, Jenny Macklin and Andrew Leigh have all been doing important policy work on the issue of inequality. Inequality isn’t just the gap between the rich and poor; it’s about the millionaires getting tax cuts under this government and large multinationals getting $65 billion in giveaways, while millions of Australians have had no wage rise for years. It’s about inequality in the housing market because first home buyers are lining up against property investors who have been subsidised by unfair and distortionary policies like negative gearing.

It’s about the gender gap in the pay that men and women in this country receive and the unfair deal that women are getting. It’s about the gap between Indigenous Australians and the unfair outcomes they’re getting in health, education and housing. And any conversation about inequality also has to focus on poverty. We know that Newstart is too low. We know that too many Australians are living below the poverty line.

As last year’s Growing together, Labor’s agenda for tackling inequality, document stated: The net replacement rate for the Newstart payment for a single person is equivalent to just 28 per cent of the average wage. That compares with an average of 47 per cent in other major English-speaking nations, such as Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. While the mechanisms for supporting the unemployed differ in each of these countries, there is no denying that income support for unemployed Australians is very low by international standards. We are doing the policy work.

That’s why at the last election Labor said that we’d establish a review into the adequacy of the Newstart allowance for people of working age and their place in the wider system of working age payments and employment supports. We won’t be coming here when there’s not enough jobs for every Australian that’s looking for them and tell them, ‘The best thing you can do is get out and find a job.’

It’s an absolute lie, perpetrated by the extremists in the Liberal and National parties who are presiding over some of the lowest paid in their electorates, and some of the worst unemployment and some of the worst housing conditions in the country. So much for the National Party and so much for the Liberal Party!

We’ve have said that, when we do the review, we’ll look at the adequacy of the base rate of Newstart to meet what is widely understood to be the essential living costs required to achieve a reasonable minimum standard of living. We will look at the adequacy of the current indexation of allowance payments in the context of indexation arrangements across the social security system.

We’ll look at the role of the Newstart allowance and other working age payments in promoting and supporting workforce participation, including through smooth transitions to paid employment, help with the cost of job search, training and employment. Labor wants a comprehensive and independent review into the adequacy of Newstart that we think should be done against two primary objectives: one, alleviating poverty and, two, encouraging work.

We also believe that the review should consider the adequacy of Newstart for people raising families, particularly single parents.

I’d dearly love to see an increase to Newstart, but this bill isn’t the right way of going about it.

Let’s be clear: it’s a stunt by the Greens political party. It’s symbolic. It won’t pass the parliament. The Greens know that this would never get through the House of Representatives. The Greens know that the appropriations bills in the House have to be introduced by a minister. Yet they introduce this bill in the Senate and give so many Australians false hope that Newstart might be increased—and it’s all for their own political purposes. (Senator Doug Cameron 10.08.2017)

 It’s worth noting that this bill has come on for debate on the same day it was introduced into the Senate. It’s not a fair dinkum proposal and the Greens know it. They haven’t done the proper policy work. They haven’t done the hard work of policy development that you need to make this kind of change. They haven’t even discussed it with the opposition before springing it on us today.

Unlike the Greens party, the opposition requires proposals to be properly developed, costed and considered before we can support them.

The truth is, if you want to see an increase to Newstart, you have to change the government in Canberra. You have to vote out the Liberals, because they will never help the vulnerable.* They’ve never helped the unemployed. The last time there was a significant increase to social security payments, it was done by a Labor government.

(*That means voting for Labor, the only party that can remove the Liberals and actually Govern to enact change – Trish)

In 2009 it was Labor that increased the age pension and the disability support pension by $30 a week—the largest increase to the pension in its history. And you know how that came about? The newly elected Labor government commissioned the Harmer review into the adequacy of the pension.

A proper policy process was undertaken, there was consultation with key stakeholders, and we increased the age pension and DSP. It was announced in the budget and paid for in the budget. The pension was increased by $30 a week and, as a result, one million Australians were lifted out of poverty. That’s how you bring about change.

That’s how you lift people out of poverty. It didn’t happen because of a stunt in the Senate from a minor party like the Greens. It happened because a Labor government was in office and able to bring about change. Labor can actually bring about change, not just talk about it like the Greens.

End.

 

I Just Want A Sally McManus T-Shirt!

Sally McManus

I don’t know about you, but I have not felt like this in a long time! Sally McManus is a real life hero. Sally is a bringer of hope.

It Cuts Deep

Equality and fairness cut very deep for me. I was one of six children and my father was on the disability pension. I was raised in housing commission in a regional town, in Queensland. One thing my Father used to say to me is, “On the pension, you can’t improve. This is it. There is no more money than what they give you.’ I understood life was different for us.

From the moment I could read, I took a keen interest in politics. I would sit at the table and trawl through the Australian and Courier Mail, turning the pages (which were almost as big as the table). Amongst the political stories, I searched for hope.

I would stare intently at photos of Malcolm Fraser and Joh Bjelke Petersen. Through the eyes of a child, they did not even have kind faces. They looked important but uncaring.

Day after day, there were never any stories about hope for kids like me, or for mums and dads like mine. Did they not see us? Did they not know we were here?

A New World of Fairness

One day, I was sitting cross legged in the middle of the lounge room floor (like you do as an eleven-year-old). A man appeared on the television and he was talking about fairness.

The feeling I had inside was overwhelming. I felt very, very emotional. Finally, in the world of huge newspapers and two television channels, here was one of those important men on the television, but I liked him. He was so much different.

I do not remember his exact words, (I am sure there will be a speech somewhere), but this man said that he would fight to make sure everyone was equal. He would make things fair.

I knew he understood us, without even knowing us. He saw us.

I turned around to Dad and said, “Who is that man?”

“That man is Bob Hawke. He was head of the ACTU. He’s a very smart man and by God Ish, he knows what he is doing. Bob Hawke is going to be our Prime Minister one day.” 

In the world of six o’clock news and huge newspapers, I finally existed.

I drew his words in.

Finally, I had hope.

I felt hope.

Starved of Hope

As I have travelled through life since Bob Hawke, I have not felt that same moment of overwhelming hope. Of being seen.

My first real understanding of the opposite of Bob Hawke was John Howard and Work Choices. My first real protest was fighting against Individual Contracts imposed on University workers.

The Howard Era for me was an era of oppression. Of really pushing the working class to the floor. Of making sure if something went wrong, it was too bad. Suck it up losers! A world thrust upon us where we could not speak up and find justice if wronged. We just had to ‘cop whatever employers decided to give us.’ Even the sack. 

It didn’t matter if you were loyal, or really good at your job and worked hard, the threat of the sack loomed dark over everyone’s heads and you could tell others felt it every day too. They were dark times.

I will never ever forget Work Choices. Ever.

Still Starving

The night Kevin Rudd won office, I was deliriously happy. To cut a long story short, I was still sitting on the footpath at six in the morning.

Although Rudd knocked down the bad guy. I never had that same feeling of hope. No emotions stirred within me. I was not looking up to a man fighting for fairness. The same with Gillard.

Tony Abbott destroyed my soul. Enough said. I don’t need to explain.

Malcolm Turnbull has the personality and empathy of a cardboard box. One thing you pick up on when you grow up poor is fake people. His fakeness – his insincerity demoralises me on a daily basis, because every single day, I think of today’s kids that are kids like I was. He never will understand the world these kids live in.

I was starved of hope again. The desire to feel hope again was strong.

Sally

Fast forward to 2017. The biggest news was Sally McManus was the first female secretary of the ACTU. I had waited all day for her interview on ABC 7.30 Report.

Leigh Sales, a journalist known for interrupting Labor politicians was the interviewer. I felt trepidation. What games would be played? Was the aim to tear down another woman? Did Sales have trick questions up her sleeve? Would Sales cut Sally off to leave misinterpretations hanging in the air?

I watched intently as Sally answered the questions. A calm, clear, steely resolve. An explicit air of knowing her stuff. Of intelligence, higher thought and compassion. A voice of fairness.

Traits I search for in women to admire were before me in abundance. I was stoked!

The emotions that welled inside me, took me back to my childhood sitting on the floor. Here I was sitting, in the lounge room again, watching ABC again and hearing words about the ACTU and fairness again. But this time, it was a woman. How good is this, Right?

Then the words boomed out of the screen….

“It is okay for workers to break unjust laws.”

I drew her words in.

Finally, I had hope.

I felt hope.

I Just Want a Sally McManus T-Shirt

Ever since this day, I have watched intently and Sally McManus is everywhere. Fighting the good fight. Travelling all over Australia. Standing with workers. Speaking words of hope. Fighting for workers. Standing in Solidarity with the unemployed. Fighting for all of us. Knocking down walls. Smashing the insidious thought that has permeated our culture since Howard, that “Workers will get what they are given.” 

Telling us to stand together to not back down. A consistent strong unwavering message of hope and fairness, every, single day. Every, single day.

My desire to feel hope is finally fed.

An iteration of Howard and Work Choices will never ever rise again under Sally’s watch.

And that makes me feel bloody good. For me and for kids today who were like kids like me. I feel good for the workers. For the jobless. For everyone doing it tough.

I no longer search for hope. No longer do I desire to be fed. I wake up every day and eat hope for breakfast.

Sally sees us. We exist. She is present.

Sally McManus IS a real life hero.

I echo my Father telling me about Bob Hawke, the man from the ACTU, but now about Sally McManus, the woman from the ACTU:

“Sally McManus will be our Prime Minister one day.”

I just want a Sally McManus T-Shirt!

My World Outside MSM: 25 July 2017

Grey kitten

The world outside mainstream media is a wonderful place. Every week, I will take you with me as I look back over my last week in my world outside the MSM. All articles, tweets and blogs are embedded, so click and share the love for independent news and people power!

Favourite News Article This Week

My favourite independent news article this week is by Krish Na. Absolutely top marks for investigative journalism. Krish Na reports that One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts may not only be still a citizen of India but possibly a British citizen as well.

Malcolm Roberts Independent Australia

Malcolm Roberts’ s44 conundrum: The Rajiv Gandhi connection

Malcolm Roberts, in spite of his express denials, very likely continues to be a citizen of India, thanks partly to India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Krish Na reports. AFTER GREENS Senator Larissa Waters’ resignation, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts issued a statement saying that he asked for clarification from ‘Indian authorities’ on his citizenship in 2014 and said they confirmed that he is not an Indian citizen.

 Favourite Political Video Of The Week

Fave video is a tie this week! Joel Fitzgibbon has been trying to expose the deal Malcolm Turnbull has done with the Nationals to become Prime Minister. Now Malcolm Turnbull is asking tax payers to pay to take Joel to court. David and Goliath stuff! 

A very relaxed and Funny Bill Shorten on Nova Breakfast. Fashion advice, A suspect night out and practising the Donald Trump handshake.

Favourite Blog Post This Week

My favourite blog post this week is written by Victoria Rollison. Victoria points out the inability of the media to understand (and report) Shorten’s message.  “I am both unsurprised and disappointed that the mainstream political media have not only completely missed the significance of Shorten’s agenda but have also missed the key point.”

Bill Shorten Victoria Article

A big moment for Labor (and again journos misunderstand) – The AIM Network

Shorten used a speech on Friday to set Labor’s economic agenda for the next Labor government. This agenda states clearly that inequality is hurting the economy, and that anything you do to reduce inequality is good for the economy. This is not just an economic announcement. It is a social one too.

Top Tweets

Senator Roberts Didn’t Renounce His Racism

Never Forget the Faces of Those Who Loathe the Worker

I just want a Sally McManus T-Shirt!

The Rules Are Broken

Newspoll – 16 In A Row

What’s not to like?

Clinton’s Walk

Clinton’s first time in the Snow

The Insanity of the ABCC

John Setka demonstrates the insanity of the ABCC. 

A curse on all those who voted for it!

Memes, Vids and Stuff

Dutton Emojis for all occasions. I wonder how many stories Julie Bishop can write using these?

Gotta Get Me Some ALP Spicy Meme Stash! 

Isn’t this is the best mash-up of Abbott-Turnbull ever?

 From the Vault 

A song about Turnbull’s first year in Office. Going by the most recent Newspoll, it appears that the punters still agree. Well done Stu!

The Dutton Master senses the destruction of society without the Super-Agency.

Courtesy of Mace Hope – Ministry of Satire Facebook.

Mace Minsat

As They Say – Leave The Best ‘Til Last

My Favourite for the Week is one of my regular faves. Noely (@YathinkN) and Caitlin (@LacyMartini) give us the pleasure of their weekly PodCasts on Politiscope #Auspollive.  Always a really, truly enjoyable listen. Politiscope is brought to us by the lovely @deniseshrivell  #Auspollive has regular and guest (and some very special guest) podcasters.

spreaker

#AuspolPunters AKA Whine time with Noely and Caitlin

Every Monday Noely and Caitlin have a chat about the happenings in #Auspol

My World Outside The MSM

Thanks to everyone who has shared my posts this week. In case you missed them – My blog posts this week were:

Post Coal Theming and Preventative Unemployment

The Anti-Adani protest has generated divisive anti-worker rhetoric. Preventative unemployment should be a key focus towards a post-coal world. This article discusses the importance of themes in the narrative towards a post-coal world and explores the approach to preventative unemployment policy

House Music: The Rise of Ministerial Advisers

The rise of Ministerial Advisers is examined by Dr Yee-Fui Ng. Peta Credlin, Kevin Rudd and Children Overboard are interesting inclusions. This week I also introduce a new element in House Music – Senate Occasional Lectures. Senate Occasional Lectures are part of the Seminars and Lectures Series in Parliament House.

House Music is a weekly blog where I discuss various Bills, Committees, Petitions and try to raise awareness of the valuable resources on the APH website.

Well, that was my world outside the MSM over the last week. How did your’s go?

House Music: The Rise of Ministerial Advisers

Ministerial Advisers

The rise of Ministerial Advisers is examined by Dr Yee-Fui Ng. Peta Credlin, Kevin Rudd and Children Overboard are interesting inclusions. This week I also introduce a new element in House Music – Senate Occasional Lectures. Senate Occasional Lectures are part of the Seminars and Lectures Series in Parliament House.

Dr Ng is a lecturer at RMIT. Her research interests are in the areas of political integrity and law. She has worked as a Policy Adviser to Prime Minister and Cabinet and as a Senior Legal Adviser in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. Dr Ng is the author of Ministerial Advisers in Australia – The Modern Legal Context. For this book, Dr Ng interviews 22 former and current Ministers and Members of Parliament, including four former Premiers, two former Treasurers, five former Senior Ministers, one leader of the Greens and two former speakers. Dr Ng uses theming to explain the findings in this lecture. I have paraphrased Dr Ng’s lecture below. The video link is provided.

House Music is a weekly blog where I discuss various Bills, Committees, Petitions and try to raise awareness of the valuable resources on the APH website

A New Political Class – Introduction

The 1970s saw the development of the modern Senate committee system. Therefore, this also saw the introduction of Senate Standing Committees and Estimate Committees. Importantly, the significance of this change is Senate Committees could hold the Government to account. This era marked the shift from Ministers relying solely on Departments for advice to the introduction of a new political class – the Ministerial Adviser. This new political class stands between the Minister and the Public Service.

The Role of the Ministerial Advisers

“It’s very hard to feel sorry for politicians” (Dr Ng)

In this opening statement, Dr Ng explains the complexity of a Minister’s role. Modern day politicians have many different responsibilities including, policy, the media and political issues. Advisers meet with stakeholders and interest groups as well as constituents. In addition, they must work with their Prime Minister, Members of Parliament and their political party. 

Furthermore, new Ministers face a complex system of bureaucracy inherited from the previous Government. Although the public service is impartial; Ministers may not trust a public service which has just served the outgoing Government. As a result, Ministers may seek partisan support from advisers who they can trust. This has led to the rise of the Ministerial Adviser. The Minister directly appoints their Ministerial Advisers.

Ministerial Advisers

The beginnings of Ministerial Advisers were in the form of the Kitchen Cabinet in the 1970s. A group of the Minister’s trusted colleagues ‘sat around the kitchen table’ and passed on advice to the Minister as well as developed political strategy. This has since formalised into the role of the Ministerial Adviser. 

This was a distinct shift from the Minister seeking advice from the impartial public service to a partisan adviser.

Ministerial Staff have increased by 173 percent over the last 40 years. in 1972 there were 155 Ministerial Staff. In 2015 there were 423 Ministerial Staff. 

Ministerial Advisers – Influential and Powerful

Ministerial Advisers are influential and powerful and work across a range of functions. Some Ministerial Advisers such as Chief of staff to the Prime Minister and very Senior Ministers were more powerful than many ministers and members of parliament. 

Often the Ministerial Advisers you find in the Prime Minister’s and Premier’s offices are more powerful than some Ministers. The Head of the Media Unit the Chief of Staff and maybe one or two advisers in Prime Ministers and Premier’s office, are more powerful, have more influence on the decision makers in most cases, than certainly Junior Ministers and more than most Ministers. (John Thwaite – Former Deputy Premier)

Intimacy

In addition, Intimacy develops between the Minister and their Ministerial Advisers. This is due to long working hours and high political pressures. 

There is an intimacy in the Ministerial office. People work ridiculous hours, you are living in each other’s other’s pockets, it is a relatively small area. You are under intense pressure. (Lindsay Tanner, Former Minister)

Dr Ng says that this environment is conducive to this type of intimacy. This intimacy gives more access, trust and bond than someone who is coming in to see you every two days.

Minister’s may see their Advisers more than they see their partner. (Steve Bracks former Premier)

Dr Ng describes this as a relationship forged in fire. 

Peta Credlin

Peta Credlin Ministerial Advisers

To demonstrate the power of Ministerial Advisers, Dr Ng offers Peta Credlin as a key example.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff Peta Credlin is a well-known example of a formidable former ministerial adviser. Credlin was once rated as Australia’s most powerful woman. There were frequent media reports about Credlin giving directions to and berating Ministers and Members of Parliament. Credlin also sat in on cabinet meetings and vetted Ministerial staff selection and media appearances.

She’s tough. She is the player, she makes demands, she gives directions, she balls people out. (Liberal Insider)

Credlin undoubtedly had more power and influence than most Ministers. Dr Ng concludes that “The Star of Ministerial Advisers has well and truly risen.”

Reduction of Power in the Public Service

Dr Ng explains the important inclusion of Ministerial Advisers is the link to the reduction in influence by public servants.

For example, Kevin Rudd would ignore his department for months at a time. Ministerial advisers were Rudd’s primary source of advice.

Dr Ng also demonstrates an observable shift. A Departmental Secretary physically moved to give the front row seat at an important function to the (Premier’s) Chief of Staff.

A key point of difference is that Public Servants operate under a strict administrative and compliance structure for accountability. Ministerial Advisers operate in a largely unregulated framework.

The public service reforms of 1980s were intended to bolster the position of ministers compared to public servants, as well as to increase the responsiveness of the public service. (Former Prime Minister – Paul Keating.)

and

Intent of the Ministerial staff system was to counter the impact of the imperial public service that was not elected and an excessive influence of Government and was not under the control of the elected Government. (Former Minister Dr David Kemp)

The implementation of the Ministerial staff system was to reduce the influence of the public sector. Dr Ng explained increased efficiency was another reason.

Children Overboard – Efficiency over Accountability

Children Overboard

However, Dr Ng argues that the rise of Ministerial Advisers is the triumph of efficiency over accountability. The appearance of Ministerial Advisers before Parliamentary Committees is used to demonstrate this. 

In some instances, Ministerial Advisers have been banned from appearing before Parliamentary committees. This happened in the Children Overboard Incident.

In 2001, Prime Minister John Howard claimed that asylum seeker passengers threw their own children overboard. 

Within several days the public servants found out the children overboard story was false. They advised the Ministerial Advisor to the Defence Minister this story was false. However, Ministers continued to keep making statements that Asylum Seekers threw their own children overboard, as part of an election strategy. The press secretary for the Defence Minister asked the public servant to email photos to him. The photos were from Navy Sailors who had rescued terrified asylum seekers and their children when their boat sank. 

The public servants made it clear that these photos were not of the Children Overboard incident but as part of a rescue operation. The Minister released photographs of “children thrown overboard”. Although, the Ministerial Adviser was notified this was not the case.

(Photos of the Children Overboard incident were used in the 2001 election campaign.)

Escaping Scrutiny

A Senate Committee enquiry was formed to investigate the Children Overboard incident. The Government refused to allow Ministerial Advisers to appear before the Committee. The Senate Committee was highly critical of this and argued this move shunned accountability.

This means they do not need to provide an explanation for accountability. Ministers can effectively escape scrutiny for their actions and deny responsibility.

Dr Ng explains that this creates an accountability gap and Government seeking to ensure executive accountability is undermined. Dr Ng argues this is a failure at a systemic level and Ministers can avoid their own responsibility to Parliament.

Constitutional Conventions

Dr Ng explains the complex nature of constitutional conventions and the different powers between Standing and Select Senate Committees. She explains that the belief system of politicians plays into whether Ministerial Advisers should appear before committees. Dr Ng points to a conjuncture between law and politics.

Within the interviews, former Ministers Kim Carr and Peter Costello objected to Ministerial Advisers appearing before Parliamentary Committees on the basis it allows Ministers to evade their own responsibilities to Parliament.

It would look very weak if you sent your Ministerial Advisers in for you (Peter Costello – Former Minister).

Anna Burke, the former Speaker of the House, argued that Ministerial Advisers should appear before parliamentary committees for a variety of reasons. Burke argued that Ministerial Advisers should have appeared in the Children Overboard inquiry.

Belief or Law?

Dr Ng explains the disparity of belief about conventions and the decision in the Children Overboard inquiry about Ministerial Advisers not appearing before Senate Committee.

For example, a former Liberal Senior Minister said that conventions are only practised until they are broken.

Conventions can be in the eye of the beholder and do not survive a brutal assault driven by political reasons. On an issue of this kind, people tend to do whatever suits their short term political interests. (Former Liberal Senior Minister)

Dr Ng argues that various parties will adopt contradictory positions with regard to conventions.

Either the Minister needs to accept responsibility for what their staff do. You cannot say they are responsible to me, but I don’t care what they do. I am not going to tell you what they do because it is nobody’s business. (Dr Ng)

Dr Ng argues there is no legitimate reason to exclude Ministerial Advisers from appearing before Parliamentary Committees.

Ministerial Advisers are an important part of the system and in that sense, I think that they are accountable the same way as Ministers are accountable to the public interest. The public interest is protected by Parliament and when Parliament enquire into something, they should get all the evidence that they need. It has never been an issue in Western Australia. (Geoff Gallop – Former Western Australian Premier)

Dr Ng explains that it is only the Commonwealth and the State of Victoria that makes the case that Ministerial Advisers are prevented from appearing before parliamentary Committees, through a constitutional convention.

Conclusion

Dr Ng concludes:

There are failings at an institutional level in the Australian system of public administration. This has been exacerbated by the rise of Ministerial Advisers in the Australian system of Government, the manipulated behaviour of politicians and the unreflective adoption of the public management efficiency approach.

We are caught between law and convention, continuity and change. (Dr Ng)

Dr Ng’s full lecture can be viewed here:

Source: Senate Occasional Lecture – Dr Yee-Fui Ng – 21/07/2017 12:07:00 – Parliament of Australia

 

Post-Coal Theming and Preventative Unemployment

post coal

The Anti-Adani protest has generated divisive anti-worker rhetoric. Preventative unemployment should be a key focus towards a post-coal world. This article discusses the importance of themes in the narrative towards a post-coal world and explores the approach to preventative unemployment policy.

Say No To Adani Is Just the Beginning

The anti-Adani movement is growing. It has progressed from a place of prominence on social media to a place of prominence in main stream media.

I have spent countless hours trying to engage with the Anti-Adani movement. I have persisted for a long period to bring the topic of jobs to the centre of the discussion. Placing the worker at the centre of the framework is crucial, as we move towards a post-coal world.

This is crucial because the Anti-Adani movement’s aim to shut down the Adani mine is just the beginning. It is not the end. A move towards alternative energy and away from coal is evident. Protests against existing mines are just a matter of time. The industrial landscape will change forever.

However, any discussion regarding jobs is dismissed and not taken seriously.

Screaming to Shut Down Jobs

Every Adani protester is protesting to shut down jobs and is part of a wider movement which will build and push to shut down even more heavy industry.

The wider narrative in the Anti-Adani movement, when the point of jobs is raised, makes this issue much bigger than Adani by default.

The Theming of Rebuttals

I have engaged almost every day in the Adani debate online, across various platforms for at least a year. In my experience, the rebuttals towards any argument put forward regarding jobs fall into a number of themes. The post-coal world is the framework for these themes, not just Adani per se.

Divisive 

This rebuttal insists that only Great Barrier Reef workers hold any importance and these workers are more important than Coal Workers.

Dehumanising

This rebuttal dehumanises coal workers as a lower status of human. Job creation for this group is not considered. There is the assumption that these workers work in a dead industry and it is up to them to get out. Some insist it is up to the current coal mine owners to transition employees out now. Protestors see coal as an ugly and dirty industry. Therefore, stigmatisation of coal workers occurs.

Externalising Blame to the Coal Worker

This rebuttal is related to the above and shifts the blame of climate change to the actual worker. ie Coal workers are ruining the planet.

The Assumption of Automatic Transition

Coal workers will all automatically transition to a renewables job and this is the best fit for ex-coal workers is the assumption.

The Assumption of Geographical Transition

The assumption is that renewable energy companies will hire the ex-coal workforce. The other assumption is the same location will house the new industry. See above.

The Dismissal of Impact

This rebuttal rejects that coal mining has any significant contribution to the Australian economy and renewables will generate much more revenue and jobs than coal. Also, local economies will remain unchanged. This rebuttal also assumes that small business or the allocation of public services funding and infrastructure funding will not change.

Sacrificial Lamb

This rebuttal insists that we must sacrifice all coal jobs for the greater good; because if we don’t then there will be no world and no jobs.

Personally Directed Themes

When I raised jobs as an issue, the following themes occurred.

Personal investment – The major theme is ‘pro-coal‘. It is my observation that participants in this movement are unable to differentiate between pro-jobs and pro-coal.

Another theme is “Queensland Bias” as it is my home state.

Guilt – The other major theme is guilt. This is usually a counter-argument after jobs are raised. For example, accusations relating to; not caring about the Great Barrier Reef, GBR workers, First Nations people and land rights and not caring about Farmers.

From my perspective, it is important to include the personally directed themes, as these themes are quite prevalent. In addition, I would argue that these types of retaliations are an active part of a phenomenon which dismisses the worker by delegitimising the concern of the pro-jobs advocate.

Political Difficulty

This poses problems for any politician who tries argue the point for jobs. Not just at this moment regarding Adani, but as this movement progresses towards the insistence of more closures of heavy industry. On Qanda, the panel and audience ultimately dismissed Senator Canavan when he raised the issue of high unemployment for local areas near the mine.

Political Theming

The theme around this post coal transition within politics is largely devoid of any conversation around the transition of jobs and skills. The political themes are:

Climate Change Targets – This theme is central to reducing carbon emissions.

Alternative Energy – This theme is central to exploring the use of alternative energy, rather than the importance of transition of jobs within this shift.

Renewables the Best Fit – Renewables as the best fit for coal workers is assumed. Attracting other industry is not discussed. The redistribution of the public sector is also not discussed.

The Importance of Themes for Transition

I have highlighted these themes, as I see them, as I believe they play a central part ensuring the recognition of the worker occurs. 

Through the attempt to understand the current phenomenon using theming, we can then identify the actors within the phenomenon and what impact the phenomenon has as it develops. We can use this insight to shape society.

The worker will remain in the background unless we reflect upon these themes. Therefore, the worker will be an accidental casualty of the movement towards a post coal world.

In addition, these themes contribute to the way we insist that political parties approach a transition. For example, the emphasis placed on skills transition and profession transition.

Most importantly, whether political parties implement curative or preventative unemployment strategies to address unemployment.

Preventative and Curative Unemployment Policy

Policy development towards unemployment takes two forms, preventative and curative. Essentially, preventative policy enables measures to prevent unemployment. Curative policy development is reactionary and punitive and seeks to address the consequences of unemployment.

On the Road to Somewhere

It is essential that political parties develop a solid transition plan based on skills and jobs. However, there is not enough detail in the current Labor and Greens transition plans. A focus on energy rather than jobs is evident. I have been unable to source a transition plan by the Liberal National Coalition Government.

The Greens’ transition plan discusses the rehabilitation of mines as the main alternative job for ex-coal workers.

Labor’s transition plan takes a more holistic approach. However, I would argue that some points such as redeployment and relocation do not focus on community.

A detailed transition plan consisting of where the new industry will be developed, a jobs and skills forecast, including projected employment types, such as ongoing and casual should be developed. In addition, an examination of the reconfiguration of new industry and public services should occur.

The road to where we are heading, how we will get there and what happens when we get there is now urgent.

Preventative Unemployment Strategies

The Shorten Labor Opposition does discuss preventative unemployment strategies as part of their transition plan. However, this is more implicit, rather than explicit. We urgently need a strong voice pushing a detailed jobs narrative.

Increase in Demand Side Employment 

As the transition away from coal jobs occurs, an increase in the demand for labour is essential. A forecast of job losses in coal areas should enable political parties to develop a blue print for planning.

Business incentives to encourage businesses to relocate and set up in local areas could be advantageous. In addition, job creation through Government intervention would be beneficial.

National Skills and Career Development Strategy

Often skills development is discussed from a curative point of view of ‘getting the unemployed skilled for work’. However, within a preventative strategy, the addition of career development is an essential addition. The development of new skills to supply labour is essential as the transition away from coal assumes an increase in unemployment. This shift is structural and understood. Therefore, the worker can complete career development programs during their employment with a coal based employer.

A focus on preventative unemployment would see a national strategy employed where employers are subsidised to release existing labour for new skills development training.

Funding of Universities to develop appropriate courses and recruit staff ahead of time is also vital.

Reconfiguration of the Labor Market

A micro approach to local economies should examine the requirements to reconfigure the labour market within Australia. Within a preventative strategy as alternatives or additions to renewable jobs and how this should be configured should be examined. For example, in conjunction with renewable jobs, local government areas may be identified as specific hubs. Such as telecommunications hubs, community sector hubs, aged care hubs.

A reconfiguration, redistribution and a reassessment of public sector need and staffing establishments required to adequately service the population should also be considered. Regional unemployment figures, rather than national unemployment figures, should be a measure of success.

A Strong Supply Side Voice in a Pluralistic Framework

The changes required towards a post coal world, including an increase in labour demand, a change of career and wages for many workers and a loss of increment/experience level is perceived.

The suppression of voice of the supply side of labour is a dangerous pressure from Liberal National Governments. They may argue that secure employment and strong labour regulations may reduce the desire for employers to employ more entrants into the new industry. They may argue that new industry in a new market is volatile and wages should be kept as low as possible and work as flexible as possible to enable growth.

However, a preventative framework should be a pluralistic framework. Therefore, the Government, employers and unions should work together to set the standards and improve worker security in new industries and in transitioning local economies.

From Punitive to Preventative Unemployment

Punitive measures underpin curative unemployment strategies. These have become increasingly harsh and prevalent since the 1990’s. Curative policies focus on the unemployed rather than the labour market. Therefore the motivations of the unemployed are questioned (and punished) rather than a recognition that there is not enough demand for labour in the market.

This transitional shift to a post coal world could also transition the job search framework. In a preventative system creating labour demand to match the under-utilised supply would be the focus. A preventative unemployment strategy would see a Government motivated to intervene to create jobs, invest in skills and career development.

In a curative system, the underlying assumption is punitive. The jobless are blamed for their own unemployment. This is usually a lack of motivation and intrinsic propensity to learn or work. ‘Curing’ the causes of lack of motivation or desire to work are the strategies employed. Currently, these are financial penalties and working as free labour for welfare benefits.

In a preventative system creating labour demand to match the under-utilised supply would be the focus. A preventative unemployment strategy would see a Government motivated to intervene to create jobs. Also, invest in skills and career development of new and transitioning workers and incentivize business.

The Worker Front and Centre

A consideration of the themes identified in the narrative in the shift towards a post coal society is critical to transition towards a narrative which places the worker front and centre in the climate change framework.

We need a detailed transition plan urgently. The implementation of preventative unemployment strategies will ensure a smooth transition to a post-coal world.

My World Outside MSM: 18 July 2017

cat 3

The world outside mainstream media is a wonderful place. Every week, I will take you with me as I look back over my last week in my world outside the MSM. All articles, tweets and blogs are embedded, so click and share the love for independent news and people power!

Favourite News Article This Week

My favourite independent news article this week is by Julian Burnside. The increasing interest in Australian citizens should be a serious concern for us all.

super ministry

Border Force: A threat to us all

Human rights advocate and barrister Julian Burnside AO discusses Border Force’s increased interest in Australian citizens, as PM Malcolm Turnbull announces greater powers for the Australian Defence Force. The lesson is: when governments misbehave, it’s just a matter of time before they will come for you.

 Favourite Political Video Of The Week

This video is of workers in Sale, Victoria.  These workers are facing massive pay cuts and casualisation. This is the workers’ stories and they are organising and speaking up. 

Favourite Blog Post This Week

My favourite blog post this week is from a new site I follow: Pearls and Irritations.  In this article, Professor John Quiggin discusses a possible turning away from privatisation.   I was fortunate enough to hear Professor Quiggin speak at a Not For Sale information night in Rockhampton in 2014.  The Newman Government were trying to sell Ergon Energy.  The LNP Government under Nicholls will also try to sell Ergon Energy.  Never. Ever. Forget.  Our Assets Are Not For Sale. Not Now. Not Ever!

not for sale campaign

JOHN QUIGGIN. Governments are buying up where the market has failed. Is this the end of privatisation?

Australian governments are back in business. Every couple of months, it seems, we hear of a new venture into public ownership of business enterprises, or an expansion of existing enterprises. Most recently, Victoria’s Labor government has announced the purchase of a sawmill in Gippsland to stave off the threat of closure.

Top Tweets

This will be my favourite Tweet for a while

I wrote a blog last week to raise awareness for Waltja’s campaign for blankets for Central Australians.  They sent me this in appreciation. Please donate if you can.

I just want a Sally McManus T-Shirt!

Winning Back Workers Rights

QLD State Treasurer and NSW Premier

Gladys was very sad after this photo 🙂 Go Queensland!!!!

Clinton’s Walk

What’s Not to Like?

Memes, Vids and Stuff

And on the Third Day, they ascended into Melbourne

I just Want a Sally McManus T-Shirt! 

Video posted by Sally McManus – What have Unions ever done for us?

Gotta Get Me Some ALP Spicy Meme Stash! 

How to talk to a Liberal

 From the Vault PMSL

I got stuck watching Shaun Micallef videos for three hours. I mean who doesn’t? I came across this. Obviously not Micallef and not from this week, but I had to share.

Captain Obvious Checks in with Super-Agency Man

As They Say – Leave The Best ‘Til Last

Turnbull Blames Dr. No to the tune of Dr. Hook. Well done Stu!

My World Outside The MSM

Thanks to everyone who has shared my posts this week. In case you missed them – My blog posts this week were:

Suffer in Ya Jocks! Turnbull Scoffs at Disaster Funding

The Prime Minister has made another attempt to divide Australians and pit state against state. Frustratingly, he has turned his back on Queensland by refusing to assist with Disaster Funding. Explicitly, the Prime Minister does not see disaster mitigation as a national issue. In other words, Turnbull believes that if bushfires rage through NSW, that is a problem for NSW. Similarly, if floods and cyclones hit Queensland, therefore, it is a problem for Queensland. Turnbull has to go!

House Music: Income Management QLD

This week, in “House Music” I discuss Income Management and the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs. I will also discuss the FRC in Cape York. The FRC is the Families Responsibilities Commission. This commission has input into income management restrictions in their community.

House Music is a weekly blog where I discuss various Bills, Committees, Petitions and try to raise awareness of the valuable resources on the APH website.

Vulnerable Jobseekers Are Invisible

Vulnerable Jobseekers need strong leadership. A shift away from a budget-savings model to a compassionate, supportive jobseeker-focused model is needed. The diverse needs of jobseekers, particularly vulnerable jobseekers, are ignored within the jobsearch framework and welfare reforms. Vulnerable Jobseekers are becoming increasingly invisible.

Welfare Reform – Turnbull is No Menzies

Turnbull’s claim that the Turnbull Liberal Party is a party embracing Menzies Liberalism, is a self-delusional fallacy. In terms of progressive welfare reform, the Menzies Liberal is dead.

The neo-liberal/conservative successors of Menzies are the insidious pathogen that flows through the Liberal party’s veins to sustain its current mutant form. Menzies views on social security and Turnbull’s stigmatising and punitive approach are poles apart.

Well, that was my world outside the MSM over the last week. How did your’s go?

Suffer in Ya Jocks! Turnbull Scoffs at Disaster Funding

cyclone marcia

A natural disaster has hit Rockhampton every two years since 2008. When a Prime Minister thinks natural disasters are not a national issue, he needs to go. 

The Prime Minister has made another attempt to divide Australians and pit state against state. Frustratingly, he has turned his back on Queensland by refusing to assist with Disaster Funding. Explicitly, the Prime Minister does not see disaster mitigation as a national issue. In other words, Turnbull believes that if bushfires rage through NSW, that is a problem for NSW. Similarly, if floods and cyclones hit Queensland, therefore, it is a problem for Queensland.

Clearly, Turnbull’s leadership on this issue is pathetic. The People’s Prime Minister he is not!

Disaster Mitigation

Fires, Cyclones and Floods happen in Rockhampton, Central QLD. They aren’t just words on a screen. In essence, they are terrifying and destructive natural disasters that can leave families stranded, with no shelter, food, power and water. The frail and elderly in dire need of help. For some, it is complete devastation as they lose everything. Also, businesses close or are on the brink of closure.

I think everyone agrees that preventing death, destruction and massive blows to the local economy are all in the national interest.

Turnbull seems to believe that the free market will just always sort things out. However, Turnbull’s free market doesn’t help in in a disaster. Turnbull’s free market’s role is for you, the pensioner, the unemployed, the worker, the small business owner to dig deep into your own pocket and donate after every disaster.

In short, Turnbull doesn’t want to do a thing to prevent natural disasters.

Do we want a Prime Minister who will step up and help prevent the death of innocent people, the frail and elderly stranded in their homes without power, businesses copping massive losses as they shut their doors in times of disaster or one who does nothing and then cries into the camera in the face of the aftermath and then tells you to pull out your wallet?

Regional Towns in Central Queensland need urgent assistance to mitigate the impact of future natural disasters.  Rockhampton has faced fires, cyclones and floods, every two years for the last ten years. It feels as if we just get over one disaster and another is knocking on our door.

Mitigation saves lives. Queensland needs this funding now.

Category D Funding Application

The Palaszczuk Government submitted an application for joint funding with the Commonwealth to fund infrastructure and mitigation projects in regional Queensland.

The proposed funding includes:

  • $135 million Recovery to Resilience – Local Council Package to help the hardest hit local government areas undertake key infrastructure projects that will generate employment, boost the local economy, drive community recovery and build resilience.
  • $60m Recovery to Resilience – infrastructure package (Betterment) to enable important infrastructure that has been damaged by STC Debbie to be rebuilt to a stronger more disaster resilient state.
  • $15m Recovery to Resilience – environmental package to ensure the recovery of impacted environmental areas, recognising the important contribution our unique environment makes to the Queensland and Australian tourism industry.
  • $10m Recovery to Resilience – economic package, to support the recovery of industry and businesses in and around impacted areas that experienced significant disruption and damage.

Queensland Short Changed

The Palaszczuk proposed the package of $220 million. With the Federal Government proposed to meet half the funding of $110 million. On the 14th July, the Turnbull Government announced it will only fund $29 million.

That is a shortfall of $81 million dollars. I propose the Prime Minister stops dissing mathematics because that is a very large shortfall.

Christensen Vs. Landry

landry christensen

Turnbull, backed by Capricornia LNP MP Michelle Landry has refused to assist the QLD Government with category D funding, post cyclone Debbie.

Controversial LNP MP George Christensen, who recently crossed the party room floor on penalty rates, has voiced his disappointment with Turnbull’s decision and will fly his regional Mayors to Canberra to insist on more funding. 

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen, whose own government signed off on the funding, was also “gutted” at the size of the kitty.

Michelle Landry, MP, has turned her back on her community. Landry, who holds her seat by 1,111 votes appears more concerned with gauging what locals think of the flood levee. The community has had a divided opinion regarding the flood levee for a variety of reasons.

Landry has bled every last political drop in every natural disaster since she was a candidate in the 2013 election. This includes blaming councils for fraudulent disaster funding claims and constantly blaming the State Labor Government.

Peak Flood Level? Peak Level Stupidity!

Landry’s argument is that Category D Funding is not for new infrastructure.  Landry’s rationale is that if Rockhampton already had a flood levee, then money could be used to fix it. However, Landry is opposed to money building a new levee to prevent the extensive damage flooding causes in the first place.  

“The State Government know very well that under Category D that there’s no new infrastructure built. If we had an existing levee and it was damaged, the money would fix it up.  (Michelle Landry Daily Mercury 13/05/17)

Landry might want to ask George Christensen where she can find some leadership and insist on this funding to keep people safe and businesses open. The temporary flood levee in Rockhampton recently saved many homes, which would have previously been inundated.

In 2015, Tony Abbott provided a meagre amount of funding under category D post cyclone Marcia. The basic idea which underpins category D for funding such as the QLD Betterment fund is:

The intent of betterment is to increase the resilience of Australian communities to natural disasters, while at the same time reducing future expenditure on asset restoration, reducing incidents, injuries and fatalities during and after natural disasters, and improving asset utility during and after natural disasters.

To insist that councils can only use this funding to rebuild an asset that has been destroyed and not build modern infrastructure to prevent further assets being destroyed by the next disaster; is most certainly a hair’s breadth away from reaching the level of peak stupidity.

Barnaby says Yes – Turnbull says No!

Barnaby Joyce backed the Rockhampton flood levee. However, Turnbull said No! Clearly, Turnbull simply does not understand regional Queensland. Why didn’t Michelle Landry say no to the disaster funding during this media opportunity?

Suffer in Ya Jocks

turnbull cowboy hat

 

The Abbott-Turnbull Liberal Government have fought against helping regional Queenslanders post disaster in every disaster. They have cut assistance to individuals and families by removing Labor’s clauses for assistance criteria.

 

Sure Landry, O’Dowd, Barnaby, Canavan and Turnbull like to strut around town post disaster, like the lacklustre five. Their cowboy hats on and their concerned game face on point. However, that is where their hands stay – on their hats. Indeed, they find it too difficult to reach into their pockets to provide funding to actually help. Their postured concerned frowns and faux empathy we can do without.

In short, Rockhampton has experienced a natural disaster ever two years since 2008. If the Liberal National Government does not understand we need this funding because the recovery time between disasters is short lived, and we barely get back on our feet before the next one, then clearly they are completely out of touch with Queensland.

I imagine Turnbull lazing around in his Sydney mansion, pouring expensive champagne, raising his glass to the chandelier and with a smirk he says – “Queensland – Suffer in ya jocks!

To Turnbull and Landry, I say

Rockhampton Flood Disaster

A Look Back at the Natural Disasters in Rockhampton
since 2008

2008 Floods Rockhampton


2009 Rockhampton Bushfires

2010-11 Floods Rockhampton

2013 Floods – Rockhampton

2015 Cyclone Marcia

2017 – Floods post Cyclone Debbie

House Music: Income Management QLD

community affairs committee

Income Management is a hot topic of concern. This week, in “House Music” I discuss Income Management and the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs. I will also discuss the FRC in Cape York. The FRC is the Families Responsibilities Commission. This commission has input into income management restrictions in their community.

House Music is a weekly blog where I discuss various Bills, Committees, Petitions and try to raise awareness of the valuable resources on the APH website.  

Income Management Bill (QLD Commission)

The Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs considered the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Queensland Commission Income Management Regime) Bill 2017. This Bill passed through both houses on 26th June 2017.

This Bill amends the Social Security Act (1999) and it includes an extension to income management in Cape York, Queensland until 30 June 2019. Cape York communities are participants in the Cape York welfare Reforms.

Cape York Income Management Communities

The communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge are the original participating communities from 2007. The community of Doomadgee was added in 2015.

This Bill enables Family Responsibilities Commissions (FRC) to make a determination regarding income management for individuals in their community.

Cape York Welfare Reforms

Cape York Welfare Reform

Cape York Partnership Empowering Families

The Cape York Welfare Reforms initially commenced in 2007 through the Cape York Institute’s federally funded project headed by Noel Pearson.  This legislated reform commenced in 2008, once Pearson secured Government support. Therefore, this reform had tripartite support between Cape York Institute, QLD Labor Bligh Government with the support of the Rudd Labor Federal Government.

In addition, the outgoing Howard Government was very supportive of this project. The Howard Government funded the initial trial project, including funding for additional housing.

Four communities partnered with the Cape York Institute and the Queensland and Federal Governments in a Welfare Reform Partnership.

The main aim of this reform is to enable people in these communities to have empowerment and personal agency. Primarily, the aim is to achieve this through Indigenous authority, developing a culture of social norms and positive behaviour and improvements in living conditions.

A theme I discuss often is the negative narrative of the Government and their labelling of people on welfare.  The Cape York Partnership sums up powerful decision makers as they negatively describe those on welfare as ‘bludgers.’

This mentality is also shared by bureaucracy that sees people on the ground as incapable. Instead of simply providing resources and facilitating decision-making and action at the ground level, it hoards power and responsibility.

However, I personally do not agree with the term ‘passive welfare’ which the Cape York Institute uses in their final report. It is my view that welfare dependency is not about passivity because welfare is within a system of power which disables empowerment, agency and personal power.

A Different Type of Income Management

The theme of community driven self-empowerment is evident in the FRC reports.

A number of reports have been issued since 2011 about the progress of the reforms, including an ABC Four Corners documentary.  Moreover, the contrast of comments in the 2011 report to the current FRC reports, shows that years later, more of the community members are on board than at the time of implementation. In addition, a key theme in the 2011 consultations was that this needed to be a long term approach. ‘Things won’t happen overnight’.

Chris logan.JPG

“It is great for us to finally have income management in Doomadgee. We have issued 28 conditional income management orders to our clients and they have been well received.

and.. We know that income management is a necessary tool to see our community grow and we look forward to seeing the positive results it has for our clients.

We know we have many challenges ahead, but our team is strong and we will continue to work together to improve the lives of and prospects for the children of Doomadgee.”
Doomadgee Commissioner Christopher Logan

Family Responsibilities Commission

The Family Responsibilities Commission is a Statutory Authority under the Family Responsibilities Act 2008 (QLD). Respected leaders or Elders within the community make up the FRC. Importantly, the FRC has consultations or conference with community members to reinforce positive social norms.

The aims of the FRC are:

FRC objectives

The FRC receive notices from various departments about a breach of community standards, i.e. a child not attending school.

Decisions made at the conference are made fairly and with the best interests of the client and their family in mind. At the conclusion of the conference, Commissioners may decide that no action is necessary, reprimand the client, encourage the client to enter into a Family Responsibilities Agreement (FRA), direct the client to relevant community support services or place the client on a Conditional Income Management (CIM) order.

The key difference between this Income Management Program and the blanket roll out of income management that is being discussed at the moment, for example in Hinkler; is that the community owns and runs the program.

In the Senate Committee Hearing it was noted regarding ACOSS’ conclusion:

For example, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has acknowledged that the Cape York model of income management was not imposed by the government but was developed by the affected communities and that the FRC plays a unique role in case management, assessment and only refers individuals to income management as a last resort.

Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs

senate committees

The Community Affairs portfolio coverage includes Health and Social Services (including Human Services).

The Committee convened to consider the
Social Services Legislation Amendment
(Queensland Commission Income Management Regime) Bill 2017 [Provisions] on 22nd June 2017.

Committee Members

Senate Committees include representatives from various parties.

Chair, Senator Jonathon Duniam Tasmania, LP
Deputy Chair 
Senator Rachel Siewert, Western Australia, AG;

Members
Linda Reynolds (Senator) Western Australia, LP
The Hon Lisa Singh (Senator) Tasmania, ALP
Dean Smith (Senator) Western Australia, LP
Murray Watt (Senator) Queensland, ALP

Legislative Scrutiny

Other Committees also report through Committee in regards to the Bill.  The Scrutiny of Bills Committee had no comment on the Bill.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights made comment on the Bill. They noted that income management limits equality and non-discrimination, the right to privacy and family. They noted that the Cape York Reforms are different to the Northern Territory’s income management.

The Human Rights Committee also noted:

Notwithstanding this, the human rights committee noted that the application of income management in Cape York may be compulsory rather than voluntary and therefore drew the Parliament’s attention to the human rights implications identified in the 2016 Review of Stronger Futures Measures report.

An excerpt from the Stronger Future Measures Report states:

A human rights compliant approach requires that any measures must be effective, subject to monitoring and review and genuinely tailored to the needs and wishes of the local community. The current approach to income management falls short of this standard.

Consideration of Submissions Received

The Committee received seven submissions and all submitters supported the Bill and extension of the reforms to 2019. The Committee heard through submissions that the crucial role the FRC’s play in the reforms and the community, the increase in school attendance and child well-being, including better nourishment, were some of the main drivers behind continuing the reforms.

Extension to the Reforms

Since 2007, Cape York Communities have extended income management four times.  A crucial aspect is, under the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (Cth) only the FRC can impose income management on an individual.

The Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku Aboriginal Corporation supported the extension:

When the time does come, the people of Mossman Gorge need to be empowered to drive what happens next so that we can stay on this road of positive change. The government can’t just suddenly decide to end Income Management and the FRC, without letting us plan so that we keep going forwards and don’t go backwards after making such hard won gains.

Income Management

The Committee considered the component of income management as a key measure in the Bill.  In addition to ACOSS’ comment above, all submitters agreed income management should continue.

This is not rolled out across all of Cape York. The submitters impressed that it only applies to at-risk individuals in communities as determined by the FRC.

Also, the FRC noted that individuals lose the right to ‘choice’ however, it is the FRC’s view that the benefits outweighed this. 

The Department of Social Services also agreed with the Bill and advised that a previous review of the reforms showed that 78% of individuals surveyed agreed that it had improved their lives.

The Committee recommended the Bill to be passed.

A Significant Bill

The Liberal National Coalition Government is pushing to roll out income management in more trial areas.There is an active protest against income management in the communities of Ceduna and Hinkler. The community I live in, Rockhampton, QLD has had income management in the form of the Basic’s card for some period of time now. However, this does not work the same as the Cape York Reforms. Instead, Centrelink determines who is income managed.

I felt that this is a significant Bill to include in this series because there is a variety of contemporary opinion regarding income management. In addition, as a regional Queenslander, I also think it is important to promote the positive work community organisations do in regional and rural communities. Unfortunately, this is largely unrecognised by the wider media.

Political Positions

The other reason is this can also clarify the position of at least three political parties. The Liberal and National Coalition, Australian Labor and the Australian Greens, all have different positions on income management. 

The Coalition Government is clear they want a blanket roll out of income management. In short, they are keen to implement cashless welfare widely. However, not in the same manner as the Cape York Reforms, but as a Government controlled and imposed measure.

Labor‘s position is that they do not support a blanket roll out of cashless welfare. However, as clarified by Senator Gallagher, they will work with communities that say they want cashless welfare, such as this program.

In contrast to the Coalition, Labor will not support cashless welfare in communities where community members do not want cashless welfare.

Whereas, the Greens oppose all forms of cashless welfare. This includes opposition to programs such as the Cape York Reforms.

A few weeks ago, the Australian Greens misrepresented Labor and implied Labor supported cashless welfare and voted down a Greens motion to stop it.  This erupted into quite a massive social media furore of attack after attack towards Labor.  I clarified Labor’s position, as per above, here.

Australian Greens’ Dissenting Report

The only opposition to the Bill within the Committee was from the Australian Greens. The Green’s reported to the Senate Committee that they have opposed this measure since it was implemented by the Howard Government. Therefore, they do not support this Bill.

One reason was that they believe it is not right for some people to have to conform to ‘somebody’s version’ of social norms. and this “promotes the idea that disadvantage is primarily a result of the individual’s failure to demonstrate the necessary social values and norms.”

I find it very confusing how the Greens argue that this is “somebody’s version’ of social norms. Clearly, from its inception, the people of the Cape York communities are the people who defined the social norms. Also, it is noted that a key success is that the communities own and drive this reform.

Apples and Oranges

The Cape York program of income management is different to other income management programs in Australia.

A recurring theme is that these reforms are viewed as a temporary measure. In addition, some argue that income management is another form of dependence.

Importantly, there is a long term view for communities to work together to the next stage beyond income management.

While income management has had a positive influence on Cape York communities, submitters acknowledged that it would be some time until it could be removed and that more progress could be made.

Discussions surrounding income management should take into account that there are different models. Models such as the Cape York reforms are supported by the community as well as by the people who have their welfare quarantined.

Anti-cashless welfare advocates (of which I am one), should acknowledge that every community is different. In addition, this is largely an Indigenous reform. However, every Indigenous person is also an individual. The commissioner’s approach to individual rights is especially relevant. 

Governments should note that a macro-view one size fits all approach of imposing income management on groups in a blanket fashion does remove agency and choice. Government regulated and forced income management is destabilising and stigmatising without the drivers of community and participant support.

Vulnerable Jobseekers Are Invisible

Vulnerable Jobseekers

Source Salvation Army

Vulnerable Jobseekers need strong leadership. A shift away from a budget-savings model to a compassionate, supportive jobseeker-focused model is needed. The diverse needs of jobseekers, particularly vulnerable jobseekers, are ignored within the jobsearch framework and welfare reforms. Vulnerable Jobseekers are becoming increasingly invisible.

Vulnerable Jobseekers – Increasingly Invisible

Think of the word ‘Jobseeker’ and close your eyes.  Who do you see?

The jobsearch and welfare framework ignores the diversity of people seeking employment.  The shifts in the jobsearch framework over time have sought to encompass more and more welfare recipients. This is a concern because it neutralises the personal circumstances of the individual. The label ‘jobseeker’ will apply to almost all jobless individuals under the current Welfare Reform Bill.

Vulnerable people in dire circumstances and highly experienced former workers are viewed through the lens of sameness and homogeneity.

Invisible and Inexcusable

The term jobseeker is an active term – one who seeks a job.  This also disguises the involuntary nature of the act of job seeking for many.  Cases of terminally ill individuals forced to seek work have been brought to light over recent years.

The shifts in policy over time, also place a cloak of silence over the most vulnerable in society. Explicit in the current welfare reform bill, and implicit in the language of Government is that the vulnerable people will no longer have ‘excuses’ for not meeting job search requirements.

In other words, legitimate behaviour displayed in the face of complex life circumstances will render vulnerable jobseekers and disabled jobseekers inexcusable. Their normal behavioural response to complex situations, intolerable and punishable by law.

The most vulnerable suffer the most in this type of punitive system.

Increased Participation

The aim of Governments over time is to increase participation of disabled people in work. The Liberal-National Coalition and Labor Governments have supported shifting disability support pension (DSP) recipients off the DSP and transferring them to the lower paid Newstart.

The Welfare to Work reforms, under the Howard Government, is the most significant change-point in the jobsearch framework for disabled people. Reducing welfare debt, by decreasing the number of DSP Recipients, was the main economic driver of these reforms.

‘Disabled people should not be left behind’, has been the mantra of both the Coalition and Labor Governments.

The System is the Problem

There are some success stories for enabling vulnerable jobseekers into new work.  However, people with an episodic mental illness can experience more distress and increased barriers in this system. 

Many disabled recipients are now on the lower rate of Newstart. They do not qualify for the DSP.  A review of the Welfare to Work changes indicated that among people with disabilities, 67 percent experienced no change, 29 percent were financially worse off and 3 per cent were better off. Income losses were up to $99 a week.

In addition, since 2006, the financial penalties for ‘non-compliance’ are more wide reaching and harsh.

This will only become more prevalent under the current Welfare Reform Bill. This is because reasonable behavioural responses to complex life problems are considered ‘unacceptable excuses’.

Financial stress is an identified barrier to employment and positive mental health. This is a serious concern because this group already live 20% under the poverty line. 

Quick Through-Put

Industry concern at the time of the pilot testing of the Welfare to Work Reforms for disabled participants was the shift to outcome-based payments for service providers.

In essence, a concern of a quick churn out culture. That is a lack of consideration for quality job matching or individual job seeker supports and a focus on placing vulnerable jobseekers in any job.

Some eleven years and five Prime Ministers later, after thousands have experienced disadvantaged, unfair expectations and punishment for non-compliance; the Reference Group for Welfare Reforms (McClure et. al) have highlighted quick throughput as an issue.

The Government recommendation in 2015 was to increase payments linked to outcomes. Seventy percent of funding is now linked to 26-week outcomes. A change from 40% previously.  However, this is not particularly ideal.

A Change in Funding Approach

The other change John Howard implemented was a shift from block funding to the outcome-based funding of employment services.  Once again, five Prime Minister’s later, this approach has become increasingly accepted and embedded.  I despair at the acceptance of this approach by both major parties, with little review or criticism.

Arguments for outcome-based funding models are usually from an economic-centric rationale focused on budget savings – rather than a client-centric rationale – focused on quality outcomes from the client’s perspective.

An Enabling Environment for Attacks on Jobseekers

I would strongly argue that outcome-based funding is a serious contributor to the deteriorating support and cultural attitudes displayed towards jobseekers, as reported by organisations such as the Australian Unemployed Workers Union.

There is a plethora of personal recounts by vulnerable people in extremely dire circumstances. Involuntary jobsearch and financial penalties apply to this group.

Personal Recounts such as:

“I came close to committing suicide because of the way Max treated me” – A First Hand Account  and

Centrelink and Job Agencies Discriminate Against the Sick

Are heartbreaking recounts where privately contracted employment agencies not only exacerbated mental health conditions but seemingly were the reason the mental health condition was introduced in the first place.

Absolutely unacceptable.

A Stronger Shift To Outcome Based Funding

Personally, since the late 1990’s I have expressed concern about the shift in funding models.  I have had a consistent concern since its inception that the personal financial breaching of jobsearch participants, impedes outcomes and punishes individuals unnecessarily.

I express serious concern that a higher percentage of 26-week outcome-based funding for employment agencies, is more likely to increase punitive measures on vulnerable participants. It is more likely to see vulnerable jobseekers with an episodic disability placed in the too hard basket and increased penalties applied, and less complex clients given more time and attention.  

Most outcome-based employment services contracts have tiers of payment, where people who face more difficulty finding and sustaining work attract higher payments (Department of Employment 2015Lu, 2014). Despite this, several studies found that the incentives to service the most difficult clients were insufficient: these clients had poorer outcomes, were underserved, or ‘parked’ (Business Council of Australia 2014Koning and Heinrich 2013National Audit Office 2015). At the other end of the spectrum, ‘cream skimming’, the practice of favouring easier to serve clients, was also evident (Davidson and Whiteford 2012). (Emma Tomkinson, 2016)

An Empty Echo Chamber

The jobsearch framework has evolved into an empty echo chamber. Complex life-situations of homeless people, women escaping domestic violence, individuals recovering from sexual trauma, the physically disabled, those with psychiatric disabilities, silent disabilities and homeless young people, for example, are all viewed as ‘excuses not to seek employment’.

There are many recipients now on Newstart who have undiagnosed mental health conditions. Also many with diagnosed mental health conditions in regional and rural areas cannot access the appropriate services and treatment. In turn, they are financially penalised for this lack of investment in support.

There are many individuals who are treated blatantly unfairly, financially punished and driven to the depths of despair, exacerbating mental health conditions and some committing suicide.  This is absolutely unacceptable.

This is a very under-reported phenomenon in the mainstream media.  These individuals receive little voice by way of organised protest. These vulnerable citizens receive little attention in the political space.

When a situation such as the Robo-Debt disaster occurs, there is a furore about mistreatment and unfair and harsh measures. However, largely, politics ignores the unfairness and punishment jobseekers experience.

Strong Leadership is urgent now, to completely review this system and develop in its place a jobseeker-centric model of employment support. 

A Jobseeker-Centric Model

The Welfare Reform changes occurred in 2006 and further reiterations of Howard’s model have occurred over time.  These reiterations are by both the Liberal-National Coalition and the Labor Governments.

Specialised support services have deteriorated, such as JPET. The Gillard Government moved to a one size fits all one-stop shop model. Also, smaller community-based organisations were less likely to win contracts. In their place, much larger ‘financially stable’ organisations won tenders. This saw the merger of many smaller community-based employment services and the demise of some. Lost under these changes were local knowledge and expertise and a community-centric focus.

The current shift by the Abbott-Turnbull Government imposes further difficulty on vulnerable jobseekers. This is through a higher compliance for employment services for 70% 26-week outcomes. Agencies will leave complex jobseekers behind and pursue the outcomes which fund them.

The shift to wielding a much bigger stick by focusing on ‘unreasonable excuses and compliance’ for vulnerable people and more punitive measures, is frankly, quite frightening. The shift to homogenise the diversity of jobseekers is a major concern, as to the future ramifications of this move.

A shift to a client-centric model focused on quality outcomes as self-reported by the client is now urgent and essential.

Strong Leadership Urgent!

Strong leadership in this space is crucial and quite urgent.  A shift towards a jobseeker-centric model requires an enormous shift in thinking by political parties. 

It requires a shift from a budget savings approach. A shift from the underpinning thought that jobseekers do not want to work. The satisfaction of jobseekers and a focus on needs-based supports and outcomes is crucial. A shift towards recognising episodic illness and complex life situations.

Crucially, a shift away from forced participation. An objective underpinned by financial penalties for vulnerable people. Vulnerable jobseekers are in complex circumstances and are already living under the poverty line.

It is simply hypocrisy to participate in the CEO Sleep Out during Homelessness week and actively contribute to the harsh regime that contributes to it.

Intimidation and Bullying

The Government frames jobseekers as potential employees. However, the bullying, intimidation and punitive measures imposed upon them, in the most unreasonable manner, would not be acceptable in any organisation.

How can a Government remain unchallenged in this space?  Should privately contracted companies receive a reward for the harsh treatment of vulnerable jobseekers?

Why is the mistreatment and harsh punishment of vulnerable people, considered a ‘positive outcome’ in this policy sphere?

Jobseeker Satisfaction

Organisations that value their employees take job satisfaction seriously. Jobseeker satisfaction should be central to jobsearch models because it will enable jobseeker focused continuous improvements.

Assessment of job satisfaction for new workers is vital. Vulnerable workers self-reporting workplace bullying also a serious concern. Corporate culture and attitudes towards long-term unemployed new workers, is also critical to understand.

Visible Jobseekers

A jobseeker centred model will push the current model out of the comfort zone it has been in for twenty years.  A model which gives voice to jobseekers will push Governments to respond to build a better model focused on supportive outcomes.

A jobseeker centred model is essential because it will make jobseekers visible again.  It will give jobseekers personal agency.  Vulnerable jobseekers will have a stronger internal locus of control. They will give voice to the access and supports they need.

Exposed will be the urgent need for Job Creation.  This will place pressure on lazy Governments who do not meet their responsibilities in this space.

I hope for future where the privately contracted punitive outcome based model is extinct and a nationalised public sector operated, jobseeker centric model, focused on quality supports and jobseeker satisfaction exists in its place.

Welfare Reform: Turnbull is No Menzies

Menzies Welfare

Turnbull’s claim that the Turnbull Liberal Party is a party embracing Menzies Liberalism, is a self-delusional fallacy. In terms of progressive welfare reform, the Menzies Liberal is dead. 

The neo-liberal/conservative successors of Menzies are the insidious pathogen that flows through the Liberal party’s veins to sustain its current mutant form. Menzies views on social security and Turnbull’s stigmatising and punitive approach are poles apart.

Deviants and Outsiders

Since the 1990’s The Liberal Party of Australia has embraced the Thatcherist concepts of framing the jobless as ‘deviants and outsiders.’  Increasing punitive measures imposed upon the jobless has existed since Howard. Howard embraced Thatcherism and punitive measures have spiralled out of control since then, with each successive Liberal Government. Turnbull’s Welfare Reform Bill, currently before Senate Committee is increasingly worse and is no exception.

I will use Adam’s Equity Theory to explain how those who embrace the tenets of Thatcherism, encourage societal divide, anger and acceptance of punitive welfare.

Equity theory

Equity Theory is based on the logic that humans will make social comparison’s between themselves and others. In doing so they assess effort exerted for reward gained.

Social division is created through the use of negative narrative. Categorisations such as ‘bludgers, loafers, lazy and more recently ‘the taxed not’, forces humans to make a comparison with others. To determine if one is in the ‘in-group or the ‘out-group’ is a natural reaction.

Therefore, they encourage the public to actively compare their personal input into society against those on welfare. Is their personal effort (work) for reward (income) equal with those who receive financial ‘reward’ for no effort?

A stigmatising narrative drives the view that reward is equal. When in reality it is not.

The first Thatcher government was able to launch an anti-welfare campaign by tapping into deep-seated resentment of `something for nothing’ welfare beneficiaries, to especial effect when it could be suggested that those in receipt of the state’s generosity were largely `outsiders’ (Phillip M. Larkin)

Enabling An Angry Society

Equity theory is a motivational theory. However, it also belongs to the grouping of justice theories. This is because the construct of justice underpins the motivational factors and behavioural response.

How an individual perceives distributive justice shapes our culture.  This sets down the parameters of the socially acceptable response to express anger at unfairness.

For example, union activism is (largely) a socially acceptable way to express anger and protest unfair work laws. The behavioural response is anger. The motivator is to achieve equality for those worse off.

Manufactured Unfairness

In the context of welfare, the perception of unfairness through the lens of distributive justice is manufactured by those in power who have an inherent dislike for those on welfare.

The use of a negative stigmatising narrative creates this enabling environment. The perception that those on welfare receive an equal reward for no effort is championed by influential politicians and political commentators. Therefore, this creates an enabling environment for the public to express anger towards those on welfare.

In the seminal research of distributive justice and relative deprivation, the connection between perceived injustice and aggression is clearly evident. If a state of injustice exists and it is to a person’s disadvantage – that is they person experiences deprivation – he or she will display anger. (Einarsen et. al)

However, in the instance of manufactured unfairness, deprivation is a subjective perception.

In this instance, the collective views those on welfare as ‘better off’ (as they expel less effort for the perceived ‘same’ reward). Therefore, the collective considers their situation as ‘worse off’ and unfair (deprivation).

As Newstart is 20% below the poverty line, in reality, this is clearly not the case. However, the negative narrative and the layering of punitive welfare measures over time, masks this.

Punitive Measures Creep

In contrast to the union activism example above, the collective’s behavioural response is largely influenced by what I term as “punitive measures creep”.

This is the gradual increase in scope and intensity that punitive measures are imposed on welfare recipients by the Government.

The collective accepts increasingly harsh punitive measures. This is because they perceive these measures redress the unfairness. It is a fair punishment for the lack of exertion in exchange for the ‘same reward’. In essence, they no longer feel deprived.

Therefore, the collective is content with widening the scope of welfare recipients who must comply with punitive measures. They also accept the harshness or intensity of the measures as justified.

For example, although the opposition parties successfully prevented the implementation of Abbott’s ‘starve for six months‘ reform, there was some acceptance amongst the public.

Radical versus Incremental Policy Innovation

I would strongly argue that Abbott’s six-month wait also saw a large movement of rejection because it was not a gradual change.  Whereas, historically, the changes to punitive welfare measures are gradual.

As with the development of products, sometimes radical innovation is rejected. (A famous example is Apple TV). Incremental innovation is generally low risk and more acceptable to current users (i.e. IPhone 4,5,6, and 7).

Turnbull’s current welfare reform Bill falls into the realm of incremental innovation (if we can reach across the divide and apply this term). This Bill widens the scope of those who need to participate in ‘job search compliance’.  It also widens the scope of the types of welfare recipients who are labelled ‘jobseekers’. Sickness Benefit recipients, for example.

This Bill also gradually increases the intensity or harshness  of measures, by removing what is deemed ‘an acceptable excuse.’  For example, those with the classified disorder of drug addiction will no longer be exempt.

So Mr Innovation is actually innovative – just in a really shitty way.

Menzies On Social Security

Menzies Welfare

The Robert Menzies viewed through the lens of his election speech in 1946, is no comparison to the values displayed by the Turnbull Government.

Throughout his speech, Menzies framed the jobless as a ‘temporary necessity.’ 

Unlike the Turnbull Government and Abbott Government, Menzies recognised that there was not enough work for everyone. Menzies spoke of full employment. His view was to create enough jobs for everyone. Not to punish them for his lack of job creation. However, Turnbull does. 

A Necessary Incident

Menzies Quote 1

In this excerpt above, Menzies demonstrates that he understands that there is not enough work and his passion is to change that.

The Turnbull Government Obsessed with Social Security

Below, Menzies is detailing his intention to invest in Australia and build jobs, rather than focus on welfare.  Although this is the mantra of the Turnbull Government (Jobs and Growth) it is not evident in their actions.

Menzies Quote 2

It would appear that as there are 17 job seekers for every job vacancy and the Government has submitted another Bill with a focus on imposing more punitive measures on the jobless, therefore it would appear that the Turnbull Government has “turned its back upon these matters and devotes all its attention to social security.”

The concentration on punitive welfare instead of investing in real jobs and opportunity is a hallmark of the Liberal Governments of Abbott and Turnbull. It appears these were not Menzie’s values at all.

Turnbull’s idea that his leadership represents Menzies, is a self-delusional fallacy. The Menzies Liberal is dead.

The Mutant Form with No X-Gene

The Abbott and Turnbull Governments are a mutant form of what once was. The Marvel Comic Mutants, we know as the X-Men and their nemeses, exist in their current form as they are ‘post-human’ because they carry a special gene.

The X-Gene is a ‘super-human’ gene. In the example of Menzies, we will frame the gene as Menzies frames himself. For the purpose of the argument, if we were to view the X-Gene as a super-human who has a vision of progressive values and compassionate towards those on welfare; then Turnbull evidently does not carry this gene.

The closest Turnbull will ever get to the X-Gene is his adoption of X in MacGregor’s X-Y theory. This is because he views those on welfare, as unmotivated and unwilling to work and he needs to come down upon them with punishment and authority.

If Turnbull perceives Menzies beliefs as reflective of his own leadership; and believes he has the capacity to champion this now, he is a bit late to lead this change.

Turnbull is the late starter stuck in the barrier and Shorten is a length away from winning the race.

Trish Corry

trishcorry

trishcorry

I love to discuss Australian Politics. My key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. I am pro-worker and anti-conservativism/Liberalism. You will find my blog posts written from a Laborist / Progressive Slant.

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