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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

House Music: Welfare Reform and Drug Testing

division

This is the first of a weekly blog about Parliamentary Business. This week: Social Security Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill, Senate Committee Inquiry and a Petition against Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients.  

Every week, I will discuss selected Bills, Petitions and Committee Inquiries. Where appropriate, I will discuss Matters of Public Importance raised in Parliament. Through this weekly blog, I also hope to create awareness about the APH website and encourage active interaction.

Bills

welfare reform bill

Social Security Amendment Bill (Welfare Reform)

Quick Recap: (Not the entire list)

  1. Will remove seven current payments and reduce them to one jobseeker payment.
    (Remove: Widow B Pension, Wife Pension, Bereavement Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Widow Allowance, Partner Allowance) and
  2. Establishment of a drug testing trial and
  3. Removal of exemptions for drug and alcohol dependence and
  4. Changes to Reasonable Excuses and
  5. New Targeted Compliance Framework and
  6. Claim Provisions (Benefits will no longer be backdated to date of claim)

Discussion

Please note: this section is a discussion, therefore it is from my own point of view.  Please read the official Explanatory Note because this will explain the information as tabled.

Streamlining Payments – Everyone is a Jobseeker

It appears the Government’s aim is to punish as many welfare recipients as possible. Even those with a reasonable excuse.

The bereaved, widowed and incapacitated due to illness are all now “Jobseekers” under this Bill.

Even those genuinely incapacitated will need to participate in jobsearch.

jobseeker payments

These individuals will be scooped up into the same nauseating bucket the Liberals carry around at their sides filled with condemnation and labelled “Bludgers.”

Widow and Wife’s Pension

age2bdiscrimination

Since at least the 1990’s Governments have changed access to the Widow’s pension and Wife’s pension. These pensions are primarily the domain of women, because they are now unable to rely on a husband’s income due to his illness or death. This is another move to completely cancel these payments. Hence, my view is that they should be revisited and reinstated – not abolished

These recipients, mainly women, are not bludgers.  They are often active in family life and the community. Individual case managers should support Mature-Aged jobseekers in a voluntary program. A 20-year-old at a counter telling them that they haven’t done enough, should not exist. They should not live in fear they will be ‘cut off’ because they are the mercy of the system.

A Blow to Mature Aged Jobseekers

Mature-aged jobseekers are currently able to participate in voluntary work. This will no longer be the case. Are the Liberals suspicious this is a ‘loophole’ to avoid paid work? That is how The explanatory note reads to me. The vile deep bucket labelled “Bludgers” now includes volunteers.

Schedule 9 – Changes to activity tests for persons aged 55 to 59

volunteer

The Liberal Party does not value the contribution of volunteers (particularly women). Many mature aged women and men, who have not worked, would have a history of active participation in the community and schools. In addition, they often perform caring duties for grandchildren, because formal childcare is difficult to access and punishment is ludicrous, because this is a valuable contribution to society.

Mature Aged Jobseekers, seek employment, often because of illness, death and/or bereavement of a loved one and therefore should participate in voluntary jobsearch. Jobsearch can have an emotional toll on a mature aged individual, therefore, specialised case managers who understand this demographic need to support this group.This is because the sudden requirement for jobsearch can be a shock and furthermore is a huge disruption to their regular routine.

Financial Penalties – Every Single Time – For Everyone

financial penalties

The nature and extent of jobseeker compliance is harsher in terms of punishment and wider in the scope of recipients it is proposed to encompass.

I would describe the widening and intensity of financial penalties as ‘welfare punishment creep.’

This term describes the growing number of welfare recipients financial penalties apply to and the increasing lack of consideration and reasoning for which penalties are applied. 

This new Bill recommends a financial penalty to all jobseekers, with no consideration for a reasonable excuse, it appears.

This Bill proposes:

compliance

and

compliance 2

This section in the explanatory memorandum reads as if the Liberal Party has the assumption that every welfare recipient is trying to rip off the system, and they will find any excuse to get out of working‘.  Do the Liberals see all welfare recipients as underhanded and dishonest? Did you really think they would stop at cheezel eating X-Box players?

Drug Trials

drug testing welfare

This Bill also introduces the ‘infamous’ drug testing for welfare recipients. Also, see here for previous posts relating to welfare and drug testing and false positives.

Welfare recipients are required to agree with participation in drug testing:

drugs

The Government’s Mantra

The Government is implementing these drug trials under the premise that drug tests will show that jobseekers are not willing and able to participate in jobsearch.

A one off drug test may not show any indication of long-term or chronic drug use. Drug tests may not indicate the individual is unable to participate in jobsearch. In addition, as different tests test within the limitation of different time frames, this will not always ensure natural justice.

Urinary Drug Testing
This picks up drugs in a person’s system 3-4 days prior. This does not indicate chronic drug use or the inability to jobsearch or indicate impairment to work.

Hair Testing
This will only show drugs used at least four weeks prior.

This means that not only are the most recent three to four weeks invisible, but so too are drugs used prior to the growing time of the hair tested.  This approach approximately samples from a month prior to hair collection back as far as four months prior to hair collection depending on the length of the hair sample.

This means that a jobseeker is penalised, even if they are in a period of cessation.

..if the cessation of drug use does not extend back to further than four months prior to sample collection, the subject may argue that any drug found reflects use prior to the time of cessation

The other concern is that chronic drug users will simply shift to drugs because they are not detected in hair testing or urine testing.  Especially relevant is one such drug is GBH (liquid ecstasy).

GBH is the drug that saw 21 people hospitalised earlier this year.

Testing requires rigorous standards. Otherwise, contamination can occur. The NATA information paper also indicates that false negatives and false positives can occur.

Vulnerable People and the Right to Fairness

It is vital that welfare recipients experience compassion and fairness

Another concern is jobseekers who are on psychiatric medication can return a false positive (see linked article above).  Statistics also show that many individuals who are drug dependent have a comorbidity of mental illness.

The Australian Government’s own Department of Health and Aging reports that:

Comorbidity or the co-occurrence of mental disorders and substance use disorders is common.

The DMS-5 classifies Drug and Alcohol Abuse as a disorder.

“substance use disorder describes a problematic pattern of using alcohol or another substance that results in impairment in daily life or noticeable distress.”

Therefore, individuals are at greater risk if they have a psychiatric disorder, with a co-morbidity of drug addiction, or have a substance abuse disorder.

In addition, it is this specific group who are most likely to not have the self-efficacy to use the complaints system.

Fairness is an issue. When we are dealing with the most vulnerable in society, this is a major concern.

If the Government is concerned about substance abuse, they should invest in prevention and support services and not punitive welfare.

Please see the petition below and sign it!

Australian Liberals – Wanna Be UK Tories

Malcolm Turnbull Theresa may

These types of measures of consolidating payments is in line with the approach of the UK Conservative Party.  This was largely rejected by the Social Welfare Sector in the UK.

The Sickness that is the UK Conservative Party is on display right now. That is thanks to Jeremy Corbyn. No credit to the former UKLabour party given. Do we really want to vote for a Government that follows suit?  We are the country of the fair go. Not a country of abject poverty.

Senate Committee Inquiry

senate committees

The Social Security Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill has concluded it’s second reading and is now referred to the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs.  This committee covers Health, Social Services and Human Services.

Individuals and organisations can submit their opinions or proposals to the committee for consideration.  Here is the information on how to write and submit a submission.

Submissions should be received by 4 August 2017. The reporting date is 4 September 2017.

There is not a lot of time to participate in feedback on this Bill, therefore, if you are against these changes, I would encourage you to write a submission as a direct protest.

Signing change.org petitions and sharing memes have their purpose; however, a submission is a direct voice to the Committee considering the Bill.

Petitions

petitions

Many people regularly sign online petitions using platforms such as change.org, however, I would like to raise awareness that there are always petitions online in Federal and State Parliaments.

In fact, The House can only accept e-petitions that have been submitted via its e-petitions website. Signatures from other electronic or paper petitions cannot be added to your petition.

The petitions page is worth bookmarking.  Submitting petitions to parliament (State and Federal) and supporting official petitions submitted to Parliament is also critical in the stand against an issue.

To support a Petition:  Click on the Petition Link.  Complete your details, tick the terms and conditions box, go to your email and confirm your signature.

Standing up for progress – Achievement Unlocked!

Petition: Drug Testing of Welfare Recipients

We ask that the House reject the Government’s proposed trial, preventing the invasive and stigmatising practice of mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients.

Petition Number
EN0256

Petition Address
To the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives and Members of the House of Representatives

Petition Of
Certain citizens of Australia

Petition Reason
The petitioners request that the House reject the Government’s proposed trial of drug testing for welfare recipients.

The petitioners request that the House reject the Government’s proposed trial of drug testing for welfare recipients. The suggested “random” selection of subjects by profiling people thought to be high risk will lead to discriminatory selection, while income quarantine and compulsory treatment are ineffective measures that will further marginalise the vulnerable. Rather than supporting people into employment, this will force those with substance abuse problems to disengage with the system and seek other means to support themselves. This reflects the experience of other jurisdictions, where mandatory testing has proven expensive and ineffective. Such resources would be better targeted towards supporting our overburdened treatment sector, as metropolitan and regional service providers continue to be understaffed and underfunded.

Petition Request
We ask that the House reject the Government’s proposed trial, preventing the invasive and stigmatising practice of mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients.

I hope you enjoyed this first weekly review of Parliamentary Business. Until next week….

PATH: Proles Accursed To HELL! Enough!

Since time immemorial, the worker has fended off constant attacks. PATH is another chapter in the Liberal’s playbook where they accurse the Proles to hell.

A Worker’s Labour is Valuable

The Liberal Party of Australia formed to oppose the workers’ parties.  How Liberals and Labor view the worker are worlds apart. PATH is a clear example of this.

Australian Liberals

The basis of the Liberal ideology is to enable growth in the free market. They believe the cost of labour should be as low as possible. Turnbull’s Liberals believe a worker’s labour should be a cheap commodity. The incessant need to eradicate workers’ unions and weaken industrial labour laws are a testament to this.

One could strongly argue that the aspiration of full employment is not on the Liberals’ agenda. High numbers of unemployed people result in a much larger labour pool. This, in turn, drives wages down. Or in the case of PATH – the creation of an opportunity where labour is utilised for free.

As Sussan Ley said on Qanda: Governments don’t create jobs

The neo-liberal ideology aim is to purchase a worker’s labour as cheaply as possible. Ideologues like Turnbull and Cash, view a law passed to create a pool of free labour, such as PATH, as an exciting achievement.

Australian Labor

The Australian Labor Party was borne from the struggle of the worker. They believe that a worker’s labour is valuable. In simple terms, they believe that the ‘supply’ side of labour has the right to participate in setting the value of the labour. Hence their close connections with the unions. In simple terms, Labour Unions are there to protect the working class from the disintegration of rights and fair pay as imposed by the ruling class.

From this perspective, laws that negate this right, disempower workers and remove individual agency.

This is a punishment inflicted upon the working class.

The Rise of the PATH

The Turnbull Government introduced the PATH Program in the 2016 budget. This bill passed the Senate on 10 May 2017; with the assistance of Cory Bernardi, Derryn Hinch, Nick Xenophon Team, Jackie Lambie, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Family First all supporting the Government.

Only David Leyonhelm opposed the Bill, along with Labor and Greens.

The PATH to Nothingness

The PATH program offers young job seekers an internship by contract with an employer. This contract legally reduces the value of a young jobseeker’s labour. The taxpayer pays the intern at a rate of $4.00 per hour.

This is $14.29 an hour less than the minimum wage.This is $6.04 less than a 16 year old junior and $16.08 an hour less than a 21-year-old level 1 employee rate set down for many industries detailed on the Fair Work Australia payment guides.

The PATH scheme enables an employer to decrease the value of the intern’s labour by a minimum of 80% based on the scantest of entry-level wages in the country.

intern wage decrease

Business is at the Centre of the Framework

Internships are often painted as ‘work experience.’  However, work experience places the worker at the centre of the framework.  Work experience is usually a short-term experience in a workplace.  This enabled the worker to determine if they should invest in developing skills to seek future work in that industry.

PATH places business at the centre of the framework. An internship is:

The internship is designed around the needs of the host organisation and the intern’s skills, experience and interests. (Item 4, Sample Path Internship Agreement)

The employer must sign off to agree that they have a vacancy available now or in the near future. They have already identified that they need staff to meet operational requirements. 

The employer is already in a willing position to outlay money on recruitment and selection of new staff. They are already in a position to employ a jobseeker in a casual, temporary or permanent capacity.

This is not an incentive to increase staffing. PATH is an incentive to reduce recruitment & labour costs for staff that the organisation has already identified are required.

Additional Cost Savings to Business

Businesses can make considerable savings in induction, training and performance management costs during the probation period, in addition to recruitment and selection savings

The PATH program enables an employer to try a number of potential employees for free. This also frees them from all the associated costs during the probationary period.  

Businesses are able to increase profits through the tax payer funding the PATH program. This is not the same as work experience or on the job learning, such as an apprenticeship or traineeship. This is a free labour program dressed up ‘helping the jobless who seek to work.’

Lower Labor Costs Equal Increased Profits

The PATH program strips workers of their own agency. The worker has forced upon them, a lower dollar value in exchange for their labour. Employers have an opportunity to reduce costs and increase profit.

Labour, raw materials and overheads are the inputs in the production of goods or services. The through-put is the phase that mixes all inputs, including labour, together.

The output, being the end product or service is purchased or consumed by the consumer at the point of sale.  The employer factors into consideration the costs of all labour and materials in the input and through-put stages. The final product or service is sold for a percentage amount above the cost to produce that product or service.  This is the profit.

The cheaper labour is, the greater the profit for the employer.  The Government is creating a legal way for employers to reduce the cost of one factor of production.

The PATH program simply offers employers a way to reduce the cost of developing their product or service, enabling them to make a greater profit.

No Employment Guarantee

The PATH program offers no guarantee of future secure employment.  It does not offer a qualification that may be determined by the worker to be a sufficient value to trade for the monetary value of their labour.

What are the impacts on the emotional health of a young worker, if they are not retained?  What are the supports in place?

Experience as a payment does not automatically equal the same value of labour. Labour is given in exchange for money, conditions and other benefits. There is no formal equivalent offered to the value of the loss of wages, such as a degree that has a beneficial use to enable the worker to sell their labour to another organisation. 

There is no solid case that this experience will be valued by the young worker so much that it will negate any negative affect the young jobseeker will experience if they are not retained.

My main area of interest is emotions in the workplace.  I would encourage other bloggers to approach the PATH program from the aspect of the emotional well-being of the intern. I strongly believe we need as many people as possible investigating this issue.

Work. Struggle.

We are working people.
Work.
Struggle.
Even laugh about it sometimes.
None of us are winners.
We’re survivors
(Cameron Wolfe – Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak.)

These six lines boom, boom, boomed like a heart beating in the middle of page 25.

Marus Zusak has captured the essence of so many Australians. This is who we are.

The struggle of the working class in this country is a dire story. Sure, we have a history of hard fought victories. But as long as free marketeers live and breathe on the parliament floor, this struggle is endless.

Past struggle lives like a dormant beast within every, single worker.

The scars that punctured the body and mind, the endless nights staring at jail cell walls and the lives lost, of those before us, embodies the beast which stirs within the heart of every worker.

The Beast of Past Struggle

When Liberals and Conservatives think they can take away agency of the jobless. When they insist upon total control of their spending with a plastic card. The beast of past struggle stirs.

When they deny us and our children the opportunity of a skilled education, to learn a trade or a profession. The beast of past struggle stirs.

When they make a rule that says the weekends are only important to people who can afford to not work on the weekend. the beast of past struggle stirs.

And when they think they have the right to tell young people who are desperate for work that their labour has no value. The beast of past struggle stirs.

When the beast of past struggle stirs in many of us, the beast of past struggle ROARS!

In a civilised society, labour is purchased for it’s determined worth, not stolen through the rule of badly designed laws.

My World Outside MSM: 4 July 2017

cat-operating-funny-comuter

This is the first of a regular new series on my blog, where I will share my favourites as I traipse about Independent News and Social Media, in the world outside the MSM.  All faves are embedded, so please click on any picture or link to view or read the original. 

Best News Article This Week

My Favourite article this week was an article written by Duncan Storrar published on Independent Australia. This article really appealed to me. The author has placed children at the centre of the debate. If politicians did this, the world would be a much better place.

article-10463-hero

How successive gov’ts have ensured we’ll have a gangland war in 5 to 10 years

The methods we are using to deal with troubled children is turning them into hardened criminals, writes Duncan Storrar. The Cain Government of Victoria of the 1980s was very progressive. As such, it spent a lot of money moving from a 19th Century British approach to children in peril towards a more humane “Scandinavian” approach.

Favourite Political Video of the Week

My favourite video of the week is this video of Bill Shorten at the Labor Tasmania State Conference. This is the Bill that the MSM refuses to show.  Rowan @fightingtories is Tweeting these as he sees them. Good on you Rowan!  I like this video he tweeted too, but my fave video this week is below this tweet. 

This is the Bill that the MSM doesn’t show

Favourite Blog Post This Week

My favourite blog post this week is written by Andrew Hartwell on Medium.  For anyone who follows my writing knows that I talk a lot about narrative. I see patterns in narrative every day.  It is one reason I find social media and independent media intriguing. These patterns, through commentary, conversation and the narrative of politicians and even memes, contrast with the mainstream media. This creates our world. Narrative is powerful. The Author is right when he says:

Why Voters Don’t Care About Facts – Andrew Hartwell – Medium

“Please, fact-checkers, get to work.” That was Hillary Clinton’s exasperated plea during her first debate with Donald Trump. They dutifully complied: Trump was endlessly called out on his constant falsehoods by professional fact-checkers. Here’s the harshest fact-check of them all: all the fact-checkers in the world couldn’t stop Donald Trump from becoming president.

Top Tweets

Some Top Tweets of the Week are:

Everything Clinton is Tops! 

Oh Teapot, Teapot Before My Eyes.
Is it Me or Tones who is Most Despised?

WorkChoices – So Quiet – You didn’t even hear it come in.

Timeless BAM!

Memes of the Week

The Floor is Human Decency 😂 😂 😂 

TwoEyedHead is a new Follow for me. Really good animated political memes. Recommended Follow.

A Novel by Richard DiNatale 😂 😂 😂

Petitions worth Signing

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:

Liberal Bludgers Should Engage in Job Creation

Satire or Serious – You be the judge. Written from the perspective of the media reporting on the Liberals like they do about those on Welfare.

A Kiss for Lee. A Punch in the Face for Tones 

A compare and contrast of the stories about Lee Rhiannon and Tony Abbott and the reactions to them.

Well, that was my world outside the MSM over the last week. How did your’s go?

A Kiss for Lee. A Punch in the Face for Tones.

Lee Rhiannon Tony Abbott

A kiss on the cheek for Lee Rhiannon and a punch in the face for Tony Abbott. Two opposing ideologues tell the same story. Two very different reactions.

The Story of Lee

During the last sitting week of Parliament, the Turnbull Government tried to pass their version of the Gonski education reforms through the Senate. The Greens initially had indicated they would vote to support the Government.

However, at the time of the vote, the Greens voted against the Government.  The turnaround pleased many. However, ideology it appears was not the reason.

As the week unravelled, Greens Senators accused NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon of white-anting, for campaigning against Gonski 2.0.  Senator Rhiannon was subsequently reported to the Green’s National Council and on June 28 she was ‘temporarily excluded from party room discussions and decisions on contentious legislation.’

Senator Rhiannon defends her position and is a strong advocate for grassroots-based democratic political leadership, where members have a say.  The Senator also proposed in light of the UK, we should take a stronger view of socialism and insisted it is what young people are asking for.

This is a direct ultimatum to the NSW Greens: either get with the increasingly right-wing program of Greens leader Richard Di Natale and his backers or piss off.  (Red Flag)

A Kiss on the  Cheek for Lee

Many praise Senator Rhiannon for staying true to her convictions. Standing up for her constituents and telling the truth.

Senator Sam Dastyari tweeted his support with a kiss on the cheek.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie Tweeted:

and all over social media, we saw a similar story to this of many people angry at the Greens and Richard Di Natale for their treatment of Lee Rhiannon:

Another theme on social media is that the Greens are angry at Rhiannon, as they did not get their Greens “We Did It” to claim the glory of their negotiations. The cross-benchers who voted with the Government get their ‘We Did It’ moment instead.

and some are highlighting the ‘cosying up to the Liberals’ by the Greens is becoming all too frequent.

An Ideological Stance

In short, Senator Rhiannon is reaping loads of praise and a kiss on the cheek for staying true to her convictions of leftism.

The Story of Tones

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was overthrown by his own party and lost the Prime Ministership on 14th September 2015.  In Abbott’s final statement as Prime Minister he said:

“There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping. I’ve never leaked or backgrounded against anyone. And I certainly won’t start now.” (SMH)

However, since that day Abbott has continued to contribute conservative commentary in response to the Turnbull-led Moderates Government. Over the last few weeks, Abbott has delivered an increasingly strong conservative narrative.

What’s at the Heart of Abbott’s Narrative

Through a series of radio interviews, including an address to the IPA over the course of the last year and even a new slogan; Tony Abbott shares with the public a consistent and strong narrative.  One that speaks to the urgent need to return conservative values to the Liberal Party.

Abbott is also calling for changes to the Liberal party to make it more democratic where members have a say.

The deep conviction to the ideology of small Government, reined in spending and individual freedom, is at the heart of what Abbott sees as the core values of the Liberals and what he believes is needed to move Australia forward.

Mr Abbott is urging conservatives to “take our party back, make it a party of the people again and then we can win the next election”. (Paul Bongiorno – The New Daily)

A Punch in the Face for Tones

The Former Prime Minister receives a decent amount of backing from right-wing conservatives in the MSM and social media for his current stance. There is also a noticeable ‘Pro-Abbott cheer squad’ on Twitter and in Newspaper forums.

Despite the Abbott loyalists, Abbott is copping some big blows. From the left to moderate right, he is copping a punch in the face.

There are many who consider Abbott as disruptive, chaotic, out of control and a threat to losing the next election to Bill Shorten.

Senator Cormann described Abbott’s contributions as “Unhelpful.”  Senator Sinodinos conceded that “the Liberal party can’t control Tony Abbott.”

Barrie Cassidy (Insiders Extra) said, “Tony Abbott is running amok and it’s causing the Liberal Party a world of pain.”

There are reams of anti-Abbott posts on social media.  Not in the sense that they are backing Turnbull over Abbott; but posting reminders of when Abbott was in power.  The main message is a rejection of the return of the Abbott Ideology as Prime Minister.

Similar Stories. Very  Different Reactions

I am asking readers to put aside their personal values/political ideology to one side and consider what is central to Rhiannon’s and Abbott’s stories.

Both are displaying a deep conviction for their political ideology.

They are both championing change for their respective parties to become more inclusive.

For Abbott his deep convictions see him pushing for what he sees as the way forward for Australia – Conservatism.

For Rhiannon her deep convictions see her pushing for what she sees as the way forward
for Australia – Socialism.

However, the pattern in the response narrative I am picking up is that Rhiannon is a politician who is desperately doing what we need politicians to do. That is to stand up what they believe in, in times of adversity.  The momentum is there behind Rhiannon for her to triumph over the stronger faction led by Di Natale.

The response narrative to Abbott is peppered with the insinuation that he should sit down, shut up and resign. He should not stand up for his true values of conservatism. He should not fight for what he sees as right in times of adversity.  There is a momentum shouting down Abbott to bow down to the stronger faction led by Turnbull. 

For those who oppose either ideology and want to rise above it in power, leadership is the key. (Bytheway Di Natale  – leaders who punish dissent are sooo 1980s – Schein says it leads to crisis and dysfunction).

The Greens and the Liberals must fight this out within their own parties. The dissent must be allowed to enable the pathway to a clear direction. It must be allowed to showcase or condemn the leadership abilities of the respective leaders. Otherwise, the cracks will turn into canyons.

Leadership is as Leadership Does

There is a plethora of Leadership theories.  However, in very simple terms, what you put into leadership is what it does.  

If your leadership strategies are about unity – you will unite.  When your leadership strategies are about championing change. You will enable change. If your leadership strategies are transformational, you will empower others and develop a strong culture where people champion and truly believe your vision.

One thing Bill Shorten is not given credit for is his very strong leadership qualities.  The Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years were in the not too distant past. The Labor party at that time was in the same disarray. Shorten has utilised all of the leadership strategies outlined above. For the past four years, Shorten has led a strong, unified movement, which most said would never recover from the deep factional divide of the Rudd-Gillard years.

If Turnbull was as strong a leader as Shorten, Abbott’s push for conservatism would be as insignificant as the score at half-time in the State of Origin decider.

Australian Politics – An Aimless Discourse?

left right

 

We need an immediate shift from the current aimless national political discourse and we must insist upon politics with clear definable aims. The involvement of more young people in politics is now urgent. We need young voices now, not later. Continue reading

The Racist Agenda Was Made to Destroy The Working Class

fear2

The fear of ‘the others’ permeates everything lately. Social media, politicians, commentators and the mainstream media are enabling a culture of stigma and ‘othering’. Fear of people we don’t understand shuffles beneath the surface of individual thought.  These fears have a parasitic grip on beliefs, ideas and thought. It channels thought, word and deed through the prism of fear. This fear is a man-made construct, developed by conservatives to destroy the working class.  It can be framed as the pre-agenda of the real agenda. The real agenda for the conservatives is as always – to destroy the working class. The pre-agenda is to establish a base, through fear of others, to help them get there.

Racism, Fear and Work Choices

This pre-agenda was first tried in the 1990’s with the aim to support the real agenda. That was to see more people embrace Howard’s Work Choices. In the 1990’s the stigma and fear of Indigenous people and Asian people was developed with a particular aim. That is fear would grip people. They would turn to those speaking out loudest against Indigenous people and Asian people. This would then, see people turn to the Government’s ‘paternalist-guiding hand’ agenda. In other words, stand with the Government to destroy the unions and destroy the working class. Even better if you were working class yourself and you left the union.

It was not going according to plan. To save some face, Howard had to terminate his association with the person he mentored, developed and gave a platform to, to be the voice of the pre-agenda. The agenda of racism. A person so ‘brave’ her voice shook when she spoke. A person dressed as an everyday Australian suburban woman. The mother at school, the tuckshop lady, the shop owner, the corner store worker. The person we don’t really know but feel comfortable ‘having a chat to.’ This person was Pauline Hanson. Pauline Hanson was to be the very voice to create a culture of fear, stigma and racism. This fear was to be so great that people’s attention would divert away from the atrocity of Work Choices. So blinded by fear of others, they would support it. 

Work Choices Enabled

As history has shown us, this backfired. It was the wrong time and the wrong targets of racism for longevity. It did work in part. A conservative Government was in for four terms and the biggest defining piece of anti-worker legislation was enabled.

However, the uptake was not strong enough for people to be blinded to the plight of the worker and the destructive anti-worker policies put forward by the Howard Government.The Rights at Work movement was the light of the working class fighting against the darkness of Work Choices. Good trumped Evil and in 2007 the working class won. We are seeing no such movement today. No such swell of deep angst organising to take up the cause. The ‘fear of other’s’ is blinding people to the real agenda. There appears to be no lessons learnt from the Work Choices era.

The Agenda of Fear Enables Attacks on the Working Class

Prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, racism, hatred and xenophobia suck the life from rational decision-making like an insidious contagious disease.  Once it has obtained its grip, this fear underpins and drives people to agree and believe in political ideology and political direction and policies, they would normally not have agreed with or believed in. The fear that we must stay safe from ‘the others’ now underpins agreement. Agreement to attack the worker and demonise and denigrating the poor. Those who choose to do so defend this stance vehemently. They see this as the just thing to do. It does not matter what the consequences are.

The Howard Government, along with the Abbott-Turnbull-(?) Government underpins their policy decisions with the idea that the working class do not know what is good for the country. That is, to allow the free market to flourish, by allowing the owners of the capital to tell the owners of the labour what they will be paid, how they will work and the conditions they will work in. Not to stand in they way of big business.

This is a Disturbing Reality

The fear of others is so great that some of the people who fought against this in the 1990’s are not remotely interested in what is happening to the working class, the jobless and the poor. They are too busy battling the ghosts the agenda of fear has conjured. The conservatives appear to have chosen the right time and the right targets of racism and stigma.

Muslims, in the minds of the fearful, are far more frightening than Indigenous people or Asians. In the 90’s these targets of victimisation were “stealing our social security money, stealing our jobs and stealing our land.”  Today, in a nutshell, the belief among the fearful is that Muslims will take over the world and force us to become ISIS.”  

Therefore, they must seek solace in ‘the brave’ – find their ‘protector.’  When Pauline Hanson’s voice shakes today it sounds much more brave to fearful ears, as the fear is much more magnified today with Muslims as the target. Hanson is indeed much more appealing as a consoling leader, as she speaks the loudest and the media makes her the centre of attention, which reinforces her words as ‘normal and justified.’  This is a disturbing reality towards the success of the conservative agenda of destroying the working class.

Too Busy Battling Ghosts

Today in 2017, the fear of others is so great that some of the people who fought against Work Choices in the 1990’s are not remotely interested in what is happening to the working class, the jobless and the poor. They are too busy battling the ghosts the agenda of fear has conjured. The fear of things that may never, ever happen and are not happening underpins their decisions to support anti-worker, anti-welfare and anti-community policies. They will even argue that these things are not happening, although the nightly news will tell the stories of what has been passed in parliament and although they can watch both houses live. It is a case of blanket denial, because ‘Pauline stands up for us Aussies against those Muzzie Bastards – Have you even read the Koran?‘  

They will scream, yell, insult and rant at those who are awake to the fact that these policies are being passed and are deeply concerned about their implications, and call them liars or ‘too sensitive’.  They are practised at standing firm with everyone who agrees with them and calling it ‘the right’ and those who they shun and don’t agree with them ‘the left.’

For Hanson voters, Attacking Workers Is Pro-Worker

Hanson advocates appear to have a twisted belief that Hanson, a conservative, Christian, nationalist, ex-member of the Liberal party, who shows immense support for the Liberal Party and who wants to abolish all penalty rates, abolish holiday leave loading and voted for the ABCC, somehow is ‘for the worker.’ This would indeed make Hanson ‘left’ on the political spectrum. 

Yes, the pro-working class voter of yesteryear, now see being angry at the passing of legislation that will increase worker deaths, where a worker has no right to silence, that removes mandatory employment of apprentices, that sees income ripped from low paid workers and harsh and unjust punitive measures on the jobless, as weak and ‘not concerned enough about ‘the others’ (who will destroy our freedoms). Workers rights have become secondary to many people who are actually good working class people, simply blinded by unfounded fear. That is a disturbing reality.

Right Time. Right Targets

This time, the conservatives appear to have chosen the right time and the right targets of racism and stigma. This is also a disturbing reality.

With so much talk about Australian values lately; attacking the worker and denigrating the poor were conservative agendas that people would fight tooth and nail against. It was against our values. They would rise up and join the struggle to ward off this narrative from becoming the norm.

The narrative of the pre-agenda is, however, strong and it has born an entirely new class of voters. Voters who are now welcoming these baseless attacks on the working class and the poor as ‘the new acceptable norm’.  Some choose to ignore the implications, such as anti-worker policy passing both houses. Others see it as a ‘sacrifice’ for the greater good, of staying safe and not letting ‘the others’ destroy us, take over our country, our jobs and our freedoms. 

Some of these people are true conservatives. Some are the non-union working class, some are union working class and some are jobless and/or are living below the poverty line. The majority of people within the ‘right wing agenda-Hansonite groupings’ supporting this ‘pre-agenda’ are the very people conservative politics attacks.

The Mini Resistance

The desire to keep fear and prejudice strong within individuals has now formed into a collective, via contagion and has formed into a mini-resistance.  It is suffocating the empathy and understanding of the plight of the worker, the jobless and the poor. There are those who were in the trenches with the working class in the 1990s, who are now fighting against the worker, shoulder to shoulder, embracing the enemy of the working class.

There are those who fight by shouting their prejudices and wearing them on their sleeve; angrily scream at anyone who dares to ‘not see the real truth.’ Their truth.

Then there are those who consciously or unconsciously deny their prejudices. They don’t want to say these things out loud. They just want to think them. Pauline Hanson, other conservative politicians, conservative commentators and the media will say these things for them. (She speaks for me). This gives them a new confidence to speak these prejudices out loud for the first time. To speak them gives a sense of reinforcement and belonging. For some, the feeling is almost euphoric. A relief beyond comprehension. They feel they are finally part of a collective. A resistance and that they ‘belong.’

This sense of belonging brings a sense of security and protection. A belief that if the ‘protectors’ – the one’s who are loudest attacking ‘the others’ will keep us safe from harm. However, it is through this false sense of reality, that real harm is being ignored and disbelieved. For some who have made the complete transformation to anti-working class – they embrace it.

The Racist Agenda. A Man Made Construct to Destroy the Working Class

What other anti-worker, anti-welfare policies will dedicated ‘Hansonites’ ignore, accept, condone and defend, all in the name of staying true and remaining loyal to the resistance that fights against minorities and speaks loudly to denigrate ‘the others?’

The racist agenda is a man-made construct developed as a pre-agenda to assist the conservative Government to destroy the working class. In 1996, “Howard’s Battlers” of the working class enabled the biggest onslaught on the working class we have ever seen. In 2017, “Pauline’s Battlers” are on the rise.

People must stop allowing the unrealistic fear of others to underpin and guide their beliefs, opinions, and decisions and take notice of the attacks on the working class. They must make a conscious choice. Support the workers and the jobless. Otherwise, support the Christian-Conservative Nationalist anti-worker agenda of Hanson and the rest of the right-wing parties. Supporting Hanson, the Liberals, The Bernardis, the Xenophons and Hinch, gives zero support to the working class.

Otherwise, this time, the conservatives may win and sustain longevity and the attacks on the working class may completely destroy everything unionists and the working class have fought for, were jailed for and died for.

Michelle Landry Must Resign and Force A By-Election in Capricornia

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Michelle Landry, LNP MP for Capricornia must resign.  The Liberal National Party have now admitted they went to the election based on a blatant lie. Turnbull said he will bring back integrity to politics He must insist that Ms. Landry resigns today.

On 3rd February, I published Is the Defence Land Grab” Turnbull’s Carbon Tax Lie?  This article details the timeline and agenda through an analysis of press releases, Hansard, the Defence White paper and the Budget.

My timeline shows that the Liberal National Coalition either knew they were going to acquire land, or they are severely incompetent and had developed no contingency plan for the expansion to house the Singaporean Army at Shoalwater.

They say a week is a long time in politics. However two weeks have revealed two things. The first is that Peta Credlin admitted on national television that the Gillard’s carbon tax lie was just dirty politics made up by the Liberals and it was never a carbon tax.

The second is that Marise Payne admitted that the LNP knew before the election about the land grab.

Michelle Landry needs to admit that either she did not know about the land grab or she is incompetent. So incompetent that she did not inquire as to the impact of the Defence training deal on her own constituency.  For either one of these she MUST resign.

Although the Government has now backed down on compulsory acquisition, after protests and rallies; the electorate was prevented from voting on all the facts at the time of the election, due to dishonesty by the now Government.

Please Sign the Petition and Insist Michelle Landry Resigns. Force a By-Election in Capricornia.

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Turnbull: From Diamond to Deviant. Oh! How He Has Fallen

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I felt sick today. Truly sick. Malcolm Turnbull dangled people with disabilities as political pawns. He used vulnerable people as pawns to pressure Labor to support harsh cuts to welfare or he would hold off on the NDIS. Turnbull has now slid all the way from Diamond to Deviant. There is absolutely no coming back from this.

Tawdry Deals Between the Sheets

Before Turnbull had to whisper tawdry deals to Pauline Hanson between the sheets; he was so proud of the NDIS.  When he thought he was invincible in September, 2015 he said this about signing agreements for the NDIS.

This marks a huge milestone towards the delivery of one of the largest social policy reforms in our nation’s history.

Fast forward post the 2016 election, Turnbull returns by the skin of his teeth. No longer popular with the people. No longer popular with his party. A whipping boy for the rancid right and now plays kissing cousins for real with Pauline Hanson – the Jimmy Swaggart of the Racist Set.

All Hail Turnbull – A Diamond

In 2015, he was considered a diamond. Precious and rare. A Prime Minister who would never lose his sparkle. In that point in time, in all his verbose puffery, he wailed glorious over the benefits of the NDIS.

I am proud our Governments are securing a sustainable NDIS that will be available to all who need it and I want to thank all of those who have worked so hard to get us here.

All Hail Turnbull – A Deviant

Today, just 17 months later Turnbull dismissed the NDIS as a burdensome cost to the taxpayer. A shameful political defence that reduced some of our most vulnerable people, who need our support, love and pro-community solidarity, into nothing more than a stigmatising liability on the taxpayer.

He then drew the “Hanson card” and pitted the oppressed against the oppressed. A tactic normally reserved to pit the homeless against the refugees; he used this card to pit jobless youth living under the poverty line against people with a disability

In a dehumanising fashion that literally made my skin crawl and my stomach flop; he did something so abhorrently repulsive, I could not believe my ears.

What Was He Thinking

I know I have already expressed I was shocked. I still am, hours later. Listening to this today, I was appalled. I couldn’t imagine what sort of person I would have to become to do this.  How would I feel? What would I be thinking about? How could I look a person with a disability in the face again?

I really want to know what was going through his head.  What was he feeling. Not that he would reply but I just had to tweet him this.  If a journalist can ask him face to face that would be great.

Turnbull threatened to withhold assistance for people with a disability they have been waiting years for, unless Labor signed off on harsh reductions in welfare. This includes a reduction in payment for Newstart and withholding payment from new recipients for four weeks. Over 25% of people on Newstart also have a disability.

The choice Turnbull gave Labor is sickening and can be summed up as:

Sign up to push unemployed young people into more poverty and homelessness or the disabled kid gets it. 

How Far He Has Fallen

The Prime Minister is showing an obvious contempt for people with a disability. The tirade towards Bill Shorten calling Shorten a parasite; clearly shows this was a case of psychological projection where Turnbull was bellowing out his deepest feelings about himself. Today he was on display as a parasitic, loathsome creature.

I would not normally be so harsh; but his behaviour today was nothing short of contemptible. I have no other words. I’m sorry.

In 2017, the transition from diamond to deviant is complete. Turnbull now holds views that are incompatible with civil society. Oh! How he has fallen!

Turnbull Holds the NDIS Hostage. Please sign the petition below.

Click to Sign the Petition Below

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Stuff the Silent Majority. It is Your Time to Be Heard

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The Silent Majority demand to be heard. What about your rights to be heard? Are you prepared to do nothing? Will you be heard when the ‘silent majority’ finally get their way? Or are you prepared to sit there and let the media and minor parties tell you that you do not matter anymore?

Who Are The Silent Majority

Who are the silent majority? No one really knows. They don’t protest or fight for rights. Nor do they write to newspapers or politicians to raise issues. They haven’t really given a stuff about anything, until now. Until Pauline Hanson ‘gave them a voice.’ Or so the media tells them she has.

They are the angry silent people who have never bothered with politics. While others have been out in the streets protesting, the silent majority have done nothing.

For years the silent majority have looked at politicians on television or on Facebook and have made their judgements. Not on their policies, but on what they look like.

The media has placed them front and centre and now it is only their opinion that matters. They truly believe an angry protest vote will magically make the world a perfect place.

This is Bothering Me

This phenomenon has really bothered me. Particularly because of Trump and the rise of Hanson.  I feel the world is teetering on the edge.  I feel the hard fought gains with so many things we take for granted and enjoy, like proper health care, free education and rights at work and decent wages, will be torn to shreds in an instant.

It is a terrifying feeling and I do not believe I am the only one who feels this way.

I have an impending doom of the return of work choices – where we had NO RIGHTS AT WORK. 

How can anyone forget that? I will never, ever forget.

This is not a game. Politics is not a game. It really affects people’s lives.

I have taken the time to be less political and more approachable. I’ve asked more questions, listened and not said a word. Sometimes I have been a straight out eavesdropper and listened in.  (sorry Mum! – My mum did not like eavesdroppers).

Mostly, I have listened.  I have listened in pubs, the checkout, at social gatherings and I have waded through commentary on newspaper forums and Facebook posts, day after day.

Some Random Opinions

I often hear or read things about politicians such as:

“Ooh she looks like a bitch, I don’t like her.” (about Catherine King)

“Listen to this dickhead (physically mocking), who is this clown?’ (about Christopher Pyne)

“Jesus…Shorten is nothing but forehead, must be a brain in there somewhere hahahaha!” (about Bill Shorten)

“Blah, Blah, Blah, come and work as hard as me and then you can have an opinion, mate!” (about Barnaby Joyce)

“I like her. She seems nice.” (about Julie Bishop)

“Yeah, Yeah” (dismissive) (about Malcolm Turnbull)

“Feed that man a F ###### Pie” (about George Christensen)

“When Turnbull’s gone, don’t put Abbott back in, put him in” (about Chris Bowen – LABOR!!!!)

and of course we have:

“YEAAAHHHH Pauline. Pauline for PM” (cue five grown men insanely grinning and head nodding) (about Pauline Hanson)

They know who Pauline is because she is the star of breakfast news television and the media shoves her face in our face every five minutes and never asks her hard questions.

This may be a shock to some of the very politically engaged voters reading this (and obviously Mr. Turnbull); but some do not even know who the Prime Minister is.

Many have absolutely no idea who Barnaby Joyce, is. Many do not know which politician belongs with which party (see Chris Bowen example above).

What Is Going On?

Because some people know I am politically engaged, I will often be approached to explain an issue, when they hear or see something.

An example is:

Them: So Shorten….is he Labor or Liberal?

Me: Labor

Them: So the other ones then….the Liberals (Me: Yeh) what are they doing to the dole?

Me: They don’t want people under 25 to have any dole for four weeks – it was six months, then six weeks, now four weeks. People will starve! We must stop this!

Them: Well Pauline will not allow that then.

Me: Ahhh yes, she will. She supports it

Them: Yeh, so she will get in and it won’t happen.

Me: No….she supports Government for no payment. She wants them to starve for a month too.

Them: No, that won’t be right.

Me:  Ahh yes, it is. She votes with the bastard Liberals on almost everything. She supports it.

Them: I don’t believe that. You must have it wrong.

Me: No. She is an ex-Liberal and supports Turnbull. Hanson said she supports it.

Them: Well I say you are wrong. We will see who is right when she wins.

Me: stunned

This is the point where I physically want to smash my head through a wall. If anyone has any answers, any advice to combat this. Please, please put your suggestions below.

The Movement Deciding Our Future

Yet, this silent majority apparently know so much about the political decisions and how these decisions affect their lives. Their abundance of political knowledge has made them so angry about not being heard.

Apparently, these are the people we all must listen to, but they refuse to listen to anyone else. The silent majority will decide our future.

Well stuff that!

When the silent majority vote for Hanson, will you be happy to be ignored? A blind anger the media has told them they have when they have never cared about politics before? People who judge politicians on their hair style? Are you better than this?

Let’s have a look at just four things a Hanson / Liberal Duopoly will bring.

The Hanson / Liberal Duopoly

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Out of Work? Kids out of Work?

You will not be heard if you are out of work and under 25. You are a citizen who does not matter. Four weeks with no income. No money for food, rent, phone, basic hygiene needs. Nothing.  Then you will receive less money than now. Only $433 per fortnight.  If you are a parent of someone under 25. You will support them, out of your own pocket. Hanson and Turnbull are paid way, way more than you. They do not care.  If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.

Need a Job? Kids need a job? 

Hanson supported the Liberal’s ABCC, so if you are an apprentice or a mature aged worker, your voice will not be heard if you want a job in the construction industry. The ABCC discourages apprenticeships and mature aged workers. You are a citizen who does not matter. Worker deaths increased under the last ABCC.This could be your loved one or friend. Hanson and Turnbull do not care. If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.

Storms, Cyclones, sweltering heat or freezing cold? 

The Hanson / Liberal duopoly don’t want to listen to you on this one. You are a citizen that does not matter. You will not be heard. Hanson supports the West Australian Liberal Government’s plan to privatise electricity assets. There is no guarantee of service with a private provider. Cost of electricity will sky rocket.  If you are a low income family or a pensioner, your voice will not be heard. Your worries about affording electricity or ensuring connection in times of crisis will be dismissed.  If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.

Money for the Kids? 

If you are a low income earning family and rely on family payment to make ends meet; your voice will no longer be heard. You do not matter. Hanson supports the current cuts to family payment. Pauline Hanson said of welfare, ‘I see a big waste of money and we actually have to rein it back in’.  This means your kids will have less. So will you. Hanson does not have a family support agenda. She does not care. If the silent majority decides, you do not have a say and neither do your kids.

Stuff the Silent Majority

Because the silent majority are worried about a few women wearing a burqa, are these the acceptable trade offs?

If you vote for Hanson because of this concern, on the other hand you will vote for jobless young people starving for a whole month, privatised electricity, unsafe workplaces, less apprentices and mature aged workers and less money for kids and that is only the beginning.

If you are one of the people who post the memes about helping homeless first before refugees. Well here is your chance. Put Liberals and One Nation last and help the homeless. Welfare cuts create more homelessness. Not less. That is how your vote can make a difference. You can be heard!

Read up. Listen up. Speak up on the issues that matter to you. About jobs, welfare, families, health and education. Find out exactly what Hanson and the Liberals support and do not stop asking or reading until you find out the truth. Log onto www.aph.gov.au and have a look around. If you don’t know what something means, ask a friend who does or join a facebook political group and ask.

Become aware of what matters. For example, Muslims with multiple wives is a diversion. It does not affect you. It does not affect your family home or your kids. Hanson’s vote to cut your family payment does.

Put Liberals and One Nation Last

Take particular note that when a party preferences another party – that means their values and what they believe in are very similar. Pauline Hanson and the Liberals are preferencing each other in the Western Australian election and Turnbull will not rule it out.  They are now ‘in bed together’ whispering political promises in the dark. A duopoly. Joined at the hip.

The Hanson Party who says they are better than the majors, has now joined forces with a major party. Think about that for a second. She has sold the ‘silent majority’ out.

That means, Hanson prefers the Liberals with all their harsh cuts to welfare and the fight to keep overseas 457 visas workers in abundance and us out of jobs over Labor and the Greens who oppose both of these things. I think this really paints her as a fraud and a liar – don’t  you?

It is YOUR time to be heard. Do not let the silent majority voting in blind rage speak for you. Do not let Hanson speak for you. Also do not let the media speak for you. It is YOUR time to be heard.

Join a Left Wing Party. Join Get Up! Put the Liberals and One Nation last!

1964 – Pauline’s “Lucky Country”

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Redcuchulain takes a look at the growing number of voters attracted to Pauline Hanson and puts forth suggestions for progressive leaders to combat this.

To quote an old Arabic saying , “If people are thirsty enough they will drink the sand”. I do not believe that 23% of Queenslanders are turning to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation because they are racist. It is more that they feel that they are not being listened to by anyone else. They will no longer put up with it.

The Lucky Country

There is no doubt that social inequality is increasing. The poor feel vilified and disenfranchised. All while we hear stories like we did last week about the six executives from Australia post taking home half the profits. Jobs disappear and it is the less educated who are suffering. Jobs are outsourced to countries where labour is cheaper. We are being replaced by machines everywhere from the coal mine to the supermarket checkout.

Back in 1964 Donald Horne coined the phrase , “The Lucky Country”. While this phrase is generally now accepted as a positive reference and has been repeated everywhere from cigarette adverts to patriotic Aussie songs, Horne’s original meaning of the phrase was somewhat different. He noticed that the structure of our economy was more like a developing nation. We export lots of raw material and then we buy back finished product.

We also do not have a great record on the management of our environment. Australia is essentially an Anglo-Saxon culture country in the middle of Asia. However, we haven’t really worked out our place in it. Australia was seen as ‘The Lucky Country,’ as it enjoys a very good standard of living despite all this.

Quite simply there are a lot of natural resources compared to the size of the population. Fifty years on from Horne’s book our luck is running out.

Hanson is the Opposite to What We Need

I believe the future of Australia requires us to structurally change our economy. It requires us to increase our educational standards. Our educational standards aren’t all that great compared with other countries. We need to invest more in science and innovation and actually start exporting knowledge and products. We need world standard infrastructure, like the original NBN.

Hanson is openly anti-science. She supports a dumbing down of educational standards for professionals. Hanson does not seem to have any original ideas other than to collect vastly less tax than even a conservative government would support.

Of course her followers do not seem to be able to deduct that this type of conservatism would flow to vastly less expenditure on everything from defence to education. Perhaps she thinks that everything in the new world will be priced in 1964 dollars as well.

Deny Change. Blame Islam. Easy.

It is perhaps ironic that that Hanson and her party are prepared to sit and deny that the world is changing and are in fear of Islam. They sit like the Byzantines who denied science and clung to their old religious beliefs right up until Mehmet was at their gates with his superior technology and took their city from them.

Except the Hansonites are chasing the wrong foe. It is not the Muslims who will destroy our way of life but our own failure to innovate.

Protectionist policies do nothing to lift productivity. They give a country the economic prowess of the South African rugby team when they first waddled around the pitch at the end of the apartheid era after being isolated for 25 years.

There is a difference between governments creating infrastructure and investing in research to give your industry a fighting chance and putting up trade barriers.

Populist politicians are tapping into the very valid emotion people are feeling that things felt better in the past.

One Nation’s idea seems to be to go back to 1964 when Australia felt lucky. I do not believe that rolling back social attitudes back to 1964, denying climate change or rolling back education to what was required in the 60’s is going to make us lucky again. It isn’t going to bring the jobs back.

Policies Should Be Front and Centre

It is my sincere hope that the next elections are fought over policy issues. I hope our debates move to positive ideas on how we don’t leave sections of our community behind in terms of rising living standards.

The first thing that progressive politicians need to do is acknowledge the lack of hope that sections of the community are feeling at the moment.

In 1964 a person could move from job to job, they had more in life than their parents had (their parents lived through a war but people often forget that) and the idea that growth could not go on forever without destroying our planet was the domain of a few academics.

The more narrow religion dominated social narrative, while abhorrent for progressives may have been easier for many people to understand. There is a large cohort of mainly white, 50 and over Australians who perhaps miss that country that they perceived lucky.

They make up a large portion of the electorate. They have less of their life in front of them than what is behind them.

The ‘serious’ consequences of climate change are always talked about occurring in 2050 and it is human nature to think of something beyond our expected lifetime as abstract and unreal.

They see things harder for their children and grandchildren and if we could just dial back the clock on a few things it would be better. Wouldn’t it? These people don’t care much for celebrating our progressive victories such as improved university participation, women’s rights or social justice. These are things that affect other people. The ‘elites’.

Drinking Pauline’s Sand Will Not Quench Your Thirst

Progressives need to find a way to reconnect with these people if we are to bring them on our journey forward. Part of this will involve acknowledging that there are bits of the old world that had value and that we have lost as well as gained.

These people have not enough hope to drink. They are thirsty.

Drinking Pauline’s sand will not quench thirst. It will make you even thirstier and your guts will end up… well…full of it. It is up to us to provide a different bottle.

The Corruption of the Cutie: Is Turnbull Now a Mean Girl?

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Is Turnbull just a Mean Girl, or is he a Heisenberg or possibly a Trumbleberg? What has he become?  The once suave leather jacket wearing moderate has transformed into the incarnation of Abbott with his sycophant speech.  A man full of angry personally abusive ranting and zero policy.

The media seem to really get their rocks off on this type of abusive ranting politician. They love it. They channel Highlander with “There can be only One!” in their writing. They wallow unashamedly in it. As they did with Abbott. For this reason, vulnerable people will always be doomed.

The media (except VanBadham) have missed the mark. The only thing that will be immortalised about the Turnbull Speech is how the media got this wrong. Except Van Badham. Trust Van to be head and shoulders above the rest, standing against the grain.

The media have compared the sycophant speech with Gillard’s misogyny speech. There is no comparison. Where can Turnbull go from here?

The Corruption of the Cutie

A common trope in movies is the ‘corruption of the cutie’. That is, the ‘nice guy or girl turned villain.’ When Turnbull became leader he was seen as the ‘unbeatable good guy’ with 60% plus in the polls. A wide appeal. The nice guy next door.

How Turnbull has transitioned since he stole leadership from Tony Abbott is in line with this trope of corruption of the cutie –  it is a slow progression of nastiness, until the transformation is complete and BAMThe lead good guy is now the lead bastard and he is a bastard in spades.

This is epitomised in Mean Girls when the good girl character Cady, becomes a mean girl herself.

Walter White, calm, nerdy, good, family loving chemistry teacher, turning into Heisenberg, self obsessed, greedy drug lord, “I am the one who knocks” in Breaking Bad, is another example.

For some, they will be torn between the good guy who they believe is still deep inside, and will be loyal to him, waiting for his return. This is how I was with Walter White. I never got my wish.

I failed to realise the good guy is either dead, or never was. People will realise the same with Turnbull.

The Bullied who Fight Back – Right vs Might

The corruption of the cutie, is the role Turnbull played the other day. This is in stark contrast to the trope of the bullied character, who stands up in the end, in the case of Gillard.  The character who is the butt of jokes, picked on, ridiculed by bullies. However, has the personal resilience to stand strong in the face of adversity. Always determined to rise up with a right versus might speech.

Gillard’s speech was about right versus might.  It was Gillard insisting that the right of women to enjoy life free from sexism is paramount above the might of the misogynists.

Turnbull’s response to Shorten’s objection to cuts to family payments by calling him a sycophant and a parasite, was all about might versus right.  This was Turnbull insisting that the might of the rich and powerful always is paramount above the poor, the worker, the downtrodden who fight against them.

A stark contrast indeed. The media have this, very, very wrong.

Bringing Back the Ugly

Indeed, Turnbull will think people love him for being a bully. His inner circle will tell him so. It worked for Abbott after all. His party members have felt so adrift with not being able to express their true ugliness. They are excited now they can clap and cheer at bullying in all it’s glory, like they did with Abbott on a day-to-day basis. Now again in love with Turnbull because he is bringing back the ugly.

They had no choice but to get rid of Biff from Back to the Future…

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But Now they have Steff – the Ultimate Rich Mean Boy

Now they can clap and cheer because they have the actual God of all mean rich boys. All the rich kids love this guy. They love him because he is rich, he decides the pecking order, he decides who gets to go to the best parties. He reassures them all daily that they are superior and the poor kids are just scum. That makes them feel so much better. By their clapping and a cheering you can see the meaning of the message. The message is the LNP thrive on ugly politics.

They love Steff-like characters because he is real true arsehole. He picks on the poor kids. They get behind him and stand tall, staking their ‘rightful place’. Feeling strong by the jollies they get from humiliating ‘the working class trash’. They all play a part in reminding them, that even if you turn up to the rich kids party, you will never be one of them. You. Do. Not. Belong.

In 16 Candles, Steff, made sure he let Andie know she did not belong. Just like Malcolm made sure he told Bill that he does not belong at the same table as rich men.

Well I guess we should have seen that coming…….

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No Comparison to Gillard

Misogyny Speech

Gillard’s Misogyny speech was a rousing speech. It can be encapsulated as the determination trope. It was brought on through the determination that is required to face daily, sexist slurs and pointed sexist ridicule. It is the determination that is required to get up every morning and face a narrative that talks women down, while she was determined to always talk women up.

Gillard’s message was to everyone – I am a leader. Follow me and say no to sexism and misogyny and make the world a much better place for women.

Sycophant Speech

Turnbull’s sycophant speech can be encapsulated as the evil gloating trope. It is what mean people do. They gloat. This is brought on by a born to rule mentality. A mentality that aims to bring the good guy down. It is brought about when the popular kid or the rich kid sees their perfect world threatened by the inclusion of an outsider. An outsider they consider who does not belong. The threat that ‘the lower class’ may just make it to the place they see as rightfully theirs. A right they inherited, and did not have to yuk ‘earn’. 

Turnbull’s message was really to his party.  As a leader, follow me and I will teach you how to keep the worker trash out of our posh parties and I will make the world a much better place for the deservedly wealthy.

The message to everyone else was – I am a leader, follow me and I will make sure if you ever actually ‘make it’ I will be here to put you back in your place and remind you where you truly belong – with the other working class trash.

Where to From Here?

The media has played this up for all it is worth. However, deep inside so many Australians is the love for the Aussie Battler. Shorten will continue to stand up for the little guy, the worker and the poor.

Turnbull it seems will continue his Shorten bashing from a place of ‘you don’t deserve to be here’.

If Turnbull continues these mean girl rants, he will realise that even those who were once loyal will turn on him. When you become an Mean Girl, not everyone will love you.

He may realise that even though his internal party members love him for being the meanest, nastiest, rich-boy bully; those on the outside, especially those suffering under his cuts to family payment, will not feel the same way.

Stop the Bus!

Now he has started on this trajectory, is there a way back for Turnbull? To get out of this dilemma, and claw his way back to any semblance of decency; he may need to pray that the leader of the right-wing instructing his every move, is taken out by a bus.

(Don’t worry, she doesn’t die….)

Pauline Hanson Stay the Hell Out of My Bedroom!

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In what reads like a paid Advertorial, but is a subscriber only exclusive, able to be viewed by non-subscribers; the Courier Mail apparently interviewed Pauline Hanson. This time about what she would do if she was the Prime Minister.  What is in it for her voters? Not much. Not much at all. Let’s take a look at just one idea – Prenuptial Agreements. Pauline now wants to interfere in our bedroom lives. GTFO!

My Private Life is None Of Your Business!

They often say that in populist politics, that there is a wider agenda at play. It appears that 20 years of opinions on race and religion, makes Pauline a dull girl. Now she wants to be dictator and chief in our private lives. What is it about the genuine romance and happiness that most couples enjoy, that she simply won’t put up with?

The power has really gone to her head now.  Enshrining in law and forcing couples to sign a prenuptial agreement is a blatant intrusion into our private lives. 

Seriously Pauline, stay out of our private lives and get the hell out of my bedroom!

I’ve Had It Up To Here Happy Couples

Pauline Hanson has revealed, if she was Prime Minister, all couples should have to enter into mandatory prenuptial agreements. That means, that Pauline Hanson would make it a law, that you must sign a prenuptial agreement.

No free choice for you. This is Pauline taking away your personal freedom. Taking away your freedom of choice in a matter concerning your private life. If this was a Muslim country she would tell us the Muslims are controlling the women. But in Australia we have Pauline who wants to control all of us.

What Pauline says goes. Because she has had it up to here with being tolerant of happy couples who may never ever get divorced.  Hanson is twice divorced with a string of other failed relationships. This does not mean everyone is as unlucky in love as she is. Nor does it mean should dictate to everyone else.

It is not clear if these agreements are for married couples or all couples. This is Hanson’s answer to the Family Court. After all, it is not only married couples who have children. It is not only couples with children who lose out in divorce settlements or break-ups.  Once again, no deep thought has gone into this by Hanson.

Betraying Her Voter Base

Once again, she has not thought this through and is actually betraying her voter base.

PHON voters are said to be white, male over 40 years of age. They are traditionally right-wing voters, living in regional or rural communities. However, it is also this group who Hanson claims to support for domestic violence and Family court. What Pauline is proposing here, may result in severe distress for victims of domestic violence.

We all know that the suicide rate is the highest in this group. We also know that the prevalence of family violence towards men in this group is emotional violence, demeaning their self-worth, control of finances and personal freedoms. Yet, a prenuptial agreement can place more pressure on a couple, not less.

What is Hanson doing to protect the men in her voter base?  The vulnerable men who may feel forced (well they will be by law) to sign a prenuptial agreement. The men who may feel forced to put in place what their partner insists on.  This goes both ways of course, but this is purely focusing on Hanson’s own voter base.  Hanson is a great big ball of contradiction.

The Pitfalls of Prenuptial Agreements

Domestic violence has phases. No one signs a prenuptial agreement when they are at logger heads with each other. Typically, they are very much in love.

If one person has a controlling nature, it would be very easy make financial control of another person legal. Especially, when the other person is in blinded by love. Way before things turn ugly.

honeymoon-stage prenuptial agreement

One of the most common cited pitfalls of a prenuptial agreement is distrust.  This inflames a relationship and cause more friction and more arguments.  Sometimes interfering in-laws insist on terms.

I know part of Hanson’s “charm” is that she is not very intelligent. Not a higher educated ‘elite’ to put it in the Hansonite’s lingo.  Hanson should always seek expert advice. This should be not negotiable. She should understand the pros and cons and how it will affect vulnerable people. Hanson should assess all risks, before she thinks of enshrining something in law.

That is her responsibility to all citizens as a politician.

In this case, this thought bubble may actually harm the very people who vote for her.

prenuptial agreement pitfalls

Controlling Partners

A domestic violence victim is not always aware their partner is controlling them, until it is too late.

If someone is in genuinely violent relationship, a prenuptial agreement can make it even harder to get away from the abuser, depending upon what is in the agreement.

Pauline Hanson is setting the ground work for those in relationships who want control over others, to have this control legitimately.

As discussed above, prenuptial agreements can have pitfalls.  The law should always protect the vulnerable who are subject to these pitfalls.

What if the controlling party, threatened to leave if they did not put in the prenuptial agreement what they wanted?  Someone being controlled is dependent. The abuser knows this.

What if the prenuptial agreement including giving sole custody to one parent and you felt forced to sign? Signing away your parenting rights? Manipulative partners can use this as a guilt towards the victim that they don’t trust them (the abuser).

If it is a Hanson Government mandated requirement, you may have absolutely no choice, but to give up your own freedoms. You may lose more than you have bargained for.

Politicians should aim to legislate to protect the most vulnerable in society.  In the case of anyone in a domestic violent/controlling relationship. Hanson is doing the opposite with this proposal and it may have severe consequences.

The Freedom to Choose a Prenuptial Agreement

In addition, prenuptial agreements are already available in Australia, entered into of a couple’s own free will. Entering into private bedrooms and forcing couples into a signed legal agreement, in my view, is extremely un-Australian. It is downright dictatorial. 

Since when have we just laid back and accepted a politician making decisions that are private matters for our bedrooms? Most people don’t.  Most people now even recognise that who we marry or what gender they are, is no longer the business of the Government but our own.

Unless you can afford a very good lawyer, you could end up much worse off than what the State may protect you for already. Coupled with Kevin Andrew’s idea of mandatory marriage counselling, between Hanson and Andrews Lawyers and Marriage Counsellors will be making a packet from laws mandated by a Hanson led Government.

Stay The Hell Out Of My Bedroom!

Prenuptial agreements are normally for the very wealthy in society – of which Hanson is one of them, as she is a multi-millionaire. Maybe her voter base should consider that maybe she does not really speak for them on this issue and push this back to her to explain.

Explain why she thinks her opinions and laws belong in our bedrooms?

Also, ask her to explain if she gained financially from either of her two marriages which ended in divorce and did either of these contain a prenuptial agreement?  According to this article, “Pauline Hanson’s Bitter Harvest” the ex-husbands may be sued if they answer your questions. So it may be best to start asking her directly.

Or perhaps ask her yourself.  Ask, “Is it normal for someone to go from barmaid, to divorce first husband, then to a plumbing business, then divorce said second tradie husband, then to fish-shop owner to $500,000 dollar house, to a multi-million dollar lifestyle in 20 years?” Ask her how she actually did it.

I don’t know about you, but in my world, this is not normal.

How dare Hanson dictate to anyone when her married life has been far from perfect.

Pauline Hanson is always the first one to tell people to stay the hell out of her private life, but she thinks she is the self nominated Queen and can interfere in ours! I seriously do not think so.

Hanson does not live in my world and she certainly does not speak for me. She can shove her forced prenuptial agreement where it fits and stay the hell out of my bedroom!

You can also follow my articles on The AIM Network and Medium

Is the “Defence Land Grab” Turnbull’s “Carbon Tax Lie?”

premier-land-grab

In 2010, Tony Abbott, supported by the media in epic proportions, touted Gillard’s infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” as THE lie that cost Abbott the Prime Ministership. Moving forward to 2017, an even bigger lie has been revealed. This just may be THE lie which allowed Turnbull to hang on by the skin of his teeth to power.  This lie is the Turnbull Government remained silent on the compulsory acquisition of farming land in Central Queensland for supplying land to the Singaporean Army for defence training.

Lust for Power and Political Lies

When the lust for political power is such that it sees citizens denied their rights, or it denies voters to make an informed vote, it is up to all of us to stand up against that.

Prior to the election in May 2016, the LNP MP for Capricornia, Michelle Landry announced that the Turnbull Government was investing in defence at Shoalwater Bay.  Landry was pleased to announce that this would pump millions into the local economy and it was a positive for small business.

In all instances, Michelle Landry framed the Shoalwater Bay investment in terms of an upgrade, implicitly insinuating that the upgrade was to existing facilities. Landry omitted the cold hard facts that this also included, or had even the potential to include compulsory acquisition of nearby farming land, owned by local farmers for generations (see maps in link above).

In addition, Bill Byrne, QLD Labor Minister for Agriculture has also accused Defence Minister Marise Payne of misleading the Senate.

QLD Labor Minister Byrne said that:

“There is no doubt in my mind that vital information was withheld to gain electoral advantage, and I am raising the possibility that Minister Payne… misled the senate estimates hearing,”

How Long Have They Known?

On 18th March, 2016, Defence Minister Payne issued a press release which detailed the enhanced development of training operations between Singapore and Australia.

military-increased-access

Therefore, in March 2016, the Defence Minister, Minister for Trade and Investment, Special Envoy for Trade and the Foreign Minister knew that an increase of Singaporean Troops was earmarked or military training facilities. The question is:

Did not one of these Ministers have any awareness that this increase would indeed require an expansion to the military training areas?

Was this promise made without even developing an understanding of how it might impact on people living in the region or the impact on our economy?

Has the Member for Capricornia, shown absolutely no interest in asking her own Party about any perceived negative impacts on the constituency she is supposed to represent? 

Do You Even Budget?

The Federal Budget papers do not detail any expenses for upgrading the Military Operations in Shoalwater Bay.

However, in capital expenses, the Government does commit to $29.9 billion over 10 years from 2016‑17 to 2025‑26 to support initiatives in the Defence White paper which includes:

A number of ADF training areas in northern Australia will receive upgrades by 2020, including Shoalwater Bay (Queensland)

Once again, Shoalwater Bay and Townsville are only discussed as upgrades and not as an expansion.

In October, Senator Payne took a question from Senator McDonald regarding the memorandum of understanding with Singapore. Senator Payne detailed that the Singaporean Army will invest “around $2.25 billion in upgrades to Australian training areas while up to 14,000 Singaporean troops will join our own for training for up to 18 weeks per year in Australia.”

However, in Senator Payne’s response in the Senate, she details that this inclusion in the Defence White Paper includes increasing international defence engagement. The CSP will particularly enhance training area access and joint development of facilities.

Shoalwater Bay Expansion

The expansion was announced in the Senator on 8th November. Senator Payne advised the house that she would make sure that ADF would conduct extensive engagement and consultation. This has not occurred and Farmers were advised via a letter of the compulsory acquisition of Land, a shock to many. The Coalition Government decided upon compulsory acquisition of land without consulting Farmers. 

The strategic partnership is detailed as developed in May, the White Paper states upgrades as an aim. However, in May, 2016, the Government did not detail any expenses for an expansion, just an ‘upgrade.’ The Government knew the increase in Singaporean Personnel and the aims of the strategic plan, at least in May. Why did they not question the logistics of this increase? QLD Minister Bill Byrne goes into much more depth here.

Lies or Incompetence?

The Government either hid the information regarding the compulsory acquisition of farming land from voters prior to the election, or they were incompetent in their planning with the Singaporean Army in the land area that was required to achieve the aims of the strategic plan.

If the Government was evasive and did not disclose in May that this land was a necessity to acquire by force of compulsory acquisition, then the Government is also incompetent by excluding the loss of revenue from Beef Producers in the region in the Agriculture revenue within the Budget. This will rip approximately 100,000 head of cattle from our local producers and severely impact on the two meat works in Rockhampton.  Rockhampton is the Beef Capital of Australia. This Defence threat to farmer’s land will hand this title to Casino in NSW.

The Defence Land Grab Lie

To put the omission of the compulsory acquisition of farming land into perspective of the infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” is that the Coalition rests on just 76 seats. Just enough to form Government. The Carbon Tax Lie was touted by the Coalition and by the media as the lie that denied Abbott the Prime Ministership.

In Queensland the Coalition won 21 seats. There are quite a number of seats in QLD that the coalition holds onto with very slim margins. Michelle Landry’s seat of Capricornia scraped through with only 1111 votes, with the majority of Liberal votes coming from the rural areas via postal votes. The nearby seat of Flynn, saw the local Labor candidate, Zac Beers, almost decimated O’Dowd’s comfortable seat, leaving O’Dowd with a swing against him of -8.96. Capricornia was one of the deciding seats in the election. Flynn now sits on a margin of 2.08, 1,814 votes.

These are just some examples of regional seats in Queensland, where the Liberal National Coalition and indeed the local LNP MPs fighting to keep their seats would know full well that attacks on our farming community and a farmers land grab would have banished at least Landry and O’Dowd into oblivion.

In Regional Queensland regardless of whether we live in town, or out on a property, or what our traditional political beliefs are, everyone is united in standing up for the farmers. No doubt, many Australians feel the way regional Queenslanders do and would have voted accordingly.

Announcements Before the Election

As detailed above in March, the Defence Minister met with Singapore to discuss mutual aims for Defence, including access and development of training facilities. From May, the Coalition were spruiking their deal with the Singaporean Army, which would bring 14,000 Singaporeans to the region for training.  The ADF website details that:

“Identifying a remote parcel of land for Singapore Armed Forces training was considered during development of the agreement, but was dismissed due to the limited benefit for the Australian Defence Force.”

Therefore, in May, the Coalition knew full well that an expansion was required. In no instance, did Michelle Landry or Marise Payne identify the expansion and what land was to be (initially) used. They simply implicitly stated that they were ‘upgrading existing facilities’ to house the increase of Singaporeans.

The revelation that the Liberal National Government had no contingency plan if this ‘parcel of land’ detailed above fell over and that would mean forced acquisition of farming land, speaks to the either a cover up and deceit to voters or blatant incompetence.

How the LNP Duped Voters – Psychological Projection

Psychological projection is a tried and true campaign style of the LNP, particularly in Queensland. Psychological projection is when someone takes their undesirable feelings or beliefs and projects them onto others. This takes the focus off them and project it onto others, with the intent to have others believe it is the target who has the undesirable feelings or belief and not them.

For example, if the Liberals stated the opposition would ‘harm families’ but knew it was their party and not the opposition, that had a plan to abolish funding that would harm families. This is psychological  projection. This technique is also used by Republicans in America.

Setting up for the Campaign

On the 4th May, the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry posed a question to the Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce. This question was put forward to demonstrate how much the LNP invest in helping farmers. This is such a contradiction in terms to the real truth that an expansion would heavily impact on Beef production and supply for the Capricornia region. Landry had already established a platform that LNP supports farmers and Labor does not prior to the election. That smells very much like a precursor for the campaign strategy below.

At the Norman Road booth in Capricornia, where I handed out HTV cards, Landry’s fly-in campaigners from down south (because her local volunteers do not appear to be in abundance) were screaming:

“Labor Hates Farmers!!!” 

They were also telling voters not to vote for the Katter Party or Glenn Lazurus as “they are funded by the dirty filthy unions.”  The absolute hatred for the worker by the LNP in Capricornia also runs deep.

If this was the campaign style at one booth, then it would stand to reason that this was the campaign strategy at many booths.

The truth in this, is that whilst Landry’s mob were screaming “Labor Hates Farmers!!” it was indeed Landry’s mob who were getting set to do the dirty on farmers in the Capricornia region.

Labor Supports Farmers

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Minister Bill Byrne, QLD MPs Jim Pearce and Brittany Lauga and Federal Senator Murray Watt, have organised forums and rallies to give these Farmers a voice.  Brittany Lauga also organised counselling services for local farmers as, readers would appreciate the impact on their emotional health with this decision is heartbreaking and as Lauga said, quite urgent.

Please see the video below from the Rally, including a brilliant speech from local Farmer, Pip Rea.

Never Underestimate the Vote in QLD

We have already seen what happens in QLD when the Government defies the wishes of the electorate.  In 2012, QLD Labor were banished to seven seats, for selling QLD Rail. In 2015, the LNP were thrown out of office after one term, with Labor taking 37 seats from the opposition for a total of 44 seats. Our assets are not for sale. Not now. Now ever.

Similar anger would have been felt from Queenslanders, on July 2, if they knew about the compulsory acquisition of farming land. This would have most certainly resulted in a very different parliament than we have today.

What You Can Do

Yesterday, the Federal Government said they would look at ‘alternatives’ due to the outcry from local farmers. However, local farmers are not satisfied, with some suggesting this is just to take the heat off of the first week in Parliament.

Bill Shorten has written to the Prime Minister personally and The QLD Premier has requested COAG be held in Rockhampton.

“IF he has any guts he will come here and face you.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Premier, commenting on the Prime Minister “The Rally” Rockhampton 1st February, 2017.

However, that is not a victory.  A victory is no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land.  That is the outcome local farmers want.

To support Farmers you can like and encourage friends to like the Marlborough Defence Land Grab Facebook Page

Sign and share the Stop the Australian Farm Land being Blown Up Petition

Write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Defence Minister Marise Payne and your local member and insist upon no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land for Defence Training to accommodate the Singaporean Army

Listen and Share Ray Hadley’s scathing interview with Barnaby Joyce linked below:

Renting our Land to the Singaporeans

Barnaby: If we say we will never forcibly acquire anything, we will never build another road, we will never build another dam…..

Hadley: Yeh but they are not giving it to the Singaporeans…….

Hadley: Barnaby, Barnaby, the one thing we never get involved in is BS…..

One thing Hadley is right about – this entire thing is B.S. 

 

The Incredi-Bill National Press Club Address

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's arguments against a binding vote on marriage equality do not withstand close scrutiny.

Bill Shorten’s speech at the National Press Club was incredible.  Shorten shifted the political narrative and claimed a very large space as his own, in less than one hour.  The stage is now his. I see the future as something like this……

Bill’s Advantage

Bill Shorten has a very strong advantage over Turnbull. He has clearly denounced Trump’s promises and his policies. Whereas, Turnbull clearly wants to show his commitment and love of Trump and his support for his actions.

Trump is making a very ugly America. Nationalism is not kind, nor gentle and there are always casualties. Australians now have the chance to see nationalism in action. They will see what Hanson wants for us. Hansonism will come to life, and the people won’t like it. They will sit back and watch Turnbull condone it.

Regardless of how loud and proud some people have been or still are, of Trump and Hanson; via media they will be forced to take on the burden of witnessing the casualties of Trump’s nationalism.  They will see children handcuffed and hear about people fleeing America in fear.  From the freest country in the world, people will be seeking Asylum. It is happening now.

They will see a broken man crying for his brother.  “Sending them back to where they came from” and how cruel and inhumane it is, will hit home for many.

They will see the ugliness and fear created by Hansonism and Trumpism as supported by Turnbullism and they will in turn, reject it.

People of Good Conscience

Those of good conscience will see people in emotional pain and distress and they too will feel emotional pain and distress.  They will want it to stop. Helplessness will be a normal feeling. The fear it will happen here, will be a huge concern. Turnbull, with his support for Trump and Hanson is setting an agenda that he would encourage it.  He would welcome it here. This message will be extremely clear to all Australians.

These people will look to the leaders who endorse the infliction of pain and distress on others and they will turn to the leaders who do not.  Turnbull is a supporter, Shorten is not.

Regardless of how far on-board the populist bandwagon people may be; our test is always in crises. During times of flood, cyclones, fires and drought, asset sales and compulsory land acquisition of farming land, that is happening right now in Central Queensland; regardless of our political affiliation, our sexuality, ability or gender we stand united as one Australia. Race, religion and politics no longer matters.

Trump will deliver up a crisis, day after day after day. Hanson will promise to do the same here. The Morrison’s and the Christensen’s will clap their hands and cheer. Turnbull will stand back and give every indication he would never stop these crises happening here, as everyone in parliament is democratically elected.

Casualties

As the discussion keeps unfolding around Trump, we will be discussing the casualties, like the man in the video above. Turnbull will be standing there in all his pomp and splendour agreeing that the pain of these casualties is right and just. He will wave a flag and and meep about secure borders. He will palaver on about ‘what we simply must remember and something about something and how important that something is.’

In addition, he will elevate high above us “Lucy and me” with a fondness of a Malcolm and Lucy story, fit for a 1980s edition of Woman’s Day. Turnbull and Lucy are his fantasy of Australia’s first royal family. The push for the republic back in the day is now quite clear. He has legitimate status as King and Lucy as Queen now. So, that is why a republic no longer matters.

Bill Shorten will be stating with conviction that these victims are human beings. That they are workers and family people. They are the casualties of an ugly right wing populist nationalism that we don’t need here and that we don’t accept. he will clearly state these actions towards others are unacceptable and he will detail how he will oppose it and condemn it.

It’s About Me. No! It’s About Them

Turnbull will continue with verbose lectures, poli-speak and blaming Shorten, throwing some union bashing in for good measure.  Avoiding media questions will become more prominent and he will shrink further into his defensive shell and perhaps get a little angry and remind such journalists of ‘their place.’

Shorten will show more openness, engagement and genuine concern.  He will apologise to the people for being part of the out of touch political scene. Shorten will show genuine contrition. He will follow through on the action he sets down to make it right. Shorten will be open and frank with the media and even if a prominent ABC journalist interrupts him 32 times; he will continue to be gracious and respectful, as a leader should. Always appreciating our quality journalism, pro-Bill or not.  He will point to the existence of fake news and acknowledge the confusion it inflicts on every day citizens.

There will be more town halls, he will call out the media more on silly antagonistic questions. He will challenge the Government on job creation and also insist on transparency.

Staking Claim on a Space

Shorten will claim back the space of being a worker or union and proud of it. He will bear no shame for it. Others will follow, because there IS no shame in being working class or union.  Turnbull’s solutions are all business focused, strongly focused on making businesses richer. Shorten is people focused, strongly focusing on making the lives of the working class and the poor, richer.

Turnbull will prattle on about removing red tape to improve quality of business. Shorten will outline a clear plan to improve our quality of life.

He will claim back the space that has been tainted and attacked by the right and openly slurred, by a taxpayer funded witch-hunt called TURC.

Bill Shorten will own this space because Shorten is the real deal. Turnbull is a fake and it is showing in abundance.

Shorten’s Qualities will Shine Like A Beacon

In a world of uncertainty (and now fear) for many as they watch Trump play God; charisma, fancy suits or pomp-speak are not the traits they will seek. Sincerity, honesty, stead-fastness/dependability are the traits they will seek out.  Shorten has demonstrated that in spades for a long time now.  As the world gets more uncertain, these qualities will shine like a beacon.

The NPC speech was particularly exciting for me, as I love observing strategy. Bill shifted the political narrative away from the populist rhetoric and delivered a sincere, honest, tenacious and steadfast, reliable alternative to the Prime Minister.

He set himself aside and laid out a clear agenda for jobs, families and Australia. Shorten established himself firmly as the political leader and the leading expert in this space.

There are no other politicians who can claim the space of caring for Australian jobs, putting on our kids as apprentices, giving our kids a quality education and understanding families and the disadvantaged.

Shorten laid claim to this space during his NPC speech and now he completely owns this space. At election time, jobs, the economy and families are always central and are the three biggest issues people care about. The stage is all his.

It’s Getting Crowded in Here

The right wing populist nationalist space is getting very over crowded. Especially now Turnbull and the two Bishops have jumped in there with Hanson and her nutty crew along with Christensen and Morrison and the entire channel seven breakfast crew.

Turnbull’s National Press Club address was gutless, weak, pointing fingers, shallow and evasive. A very stark contrast to Bill Shorten who will be Prime Minister for a very, very long time – very soon.

For those who judge Shorten by his ‘charisma level’ I say this too you:

#NerdsWhoGetStuffDoneQuietlyAndTenaciouslyUnite

Is Pauline Hanson a Dinky Di Aussie?

aussie

How we define who is Australian and what we mean by “Australian” has become strong focus over many years. With the rise of nationalism in Australia, there are those who insist they are the authority on this.

Redcuchulain asks why do nationalist monarchists like Hanson believe they have the legitimate right to dictate to the rest of us who we are? Does a true Australian worship the Queen, or do they stand in solidarity with an Australian President of an Australian Republic? Would Hanson pass the citizenship test?

Australian Citizens

One of the most wonderful things about Australia day is the number of people who choose to become Australian citizens. They make a permanent commitment to this country. It is easy to understand why.

I still look back fondly on the day when I became an Australian citizen. Yet, I can still imagine what those people are feeling as they take their oath. I fell in love with Australia the first time I visited here. For me it is the egalitarian outlook of most people, the beautiful country. It is also the freedom from the old baggage which holds other places back that makes this country great. We are still young enough to shape our own destiny.

I could not help noticing the oath this year and the irony that some people in the public eye now who claim to be bastions of Australian values would not be able to take the oath with a straight face. “Australian society values equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background”

How could Pauline Hanson seriously take this vow and not choke on the words? Or: “compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good” when she recently voted to support the LNP’s latest round of cuts to welfare recipients and pensioners.

Maybe it is because Pauline still sees our allegiance to a foreign Queen that she is so out of step with the values of modern Australia?

Perhaps if she was made to take the education, citizenship test and oath herself she may realise who is really a threat to our culture and way of life.

Hey! Fat White Women! Ya Clowns! Stop Marching!

womens-march-sydney

Source: Andrew Murray/AFP

Overtly racist, Anti-Muslim, Right Wing Nationalist-Populist Pauline Hanson yesterday announced in a coded message that she has redressed all the issues for women which underpin feminism. We no longer need feminism! Cancel the next Women’s March!

Five Million Women

The Women’s March on Washington  was held on 21st January, 2017. This was an international event with over five million women and men marching world wide.  The Unity Principle of the movement is defined as:

We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights. We must create a society in which women – including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women – are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.

Women, men and children marched to raise awareness to end violence against women. They marched for reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights and environmental justice.

Australian women, men and children also marched in solidarity. This is what they marched in solidarity for:

womens-mission

I Stand for all Aussies – Except Fat White Clown Chicks

Pauline Hanson expressed outright anger yesterday at Australian women marching in solidarity with another five million women worldwide.

Now we all know Hanson insists she is not racist. Despite still saying racist things about them, she now loves Indigenous people, Asians and Muslims. She stands for all Australians.

That is, except fat, white women who chose to march in the biggest women’s march in our history, because human rights are women’s rights.

Hanson described these women as clowns, who needed some sun and exercise.  I know many will think that this is just an unplanned rant by Hanson, because she is just an ignorant and angry woman. No, not at all. This is very planned and strategic.

This is simply a strategic tactic to appeal to her main demographic voter base – white men over 40 and to plant herself firmly into the spotlight by saying something divisive about feminism. Being a woman herself, this just legitimises her as a ‘strong woman’ in the eyes of her voter base – white men over 40. A woman standing up to fight against the ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ women who are attempting to share equal space with ‘good’ or ‘strong’ men and have men relinquish some of that power they hold dear, is most certainly a beauty to behold and to vote for.

hanson-women

You Can Tell a Dumb Clown by Its Frown

Dumb clowns are confused. These dumb clowns are stupid. Silly dumb clowns always frown. The saying that we say back to bullies, “it takes one to know one” is quite apt here. Hanson is openly stating that she thinks women are marching against democracy. She thinks they are marching against a process to elect a Government democratically.

Think before you speak might be another one that fits here.

Because dumb clowns are stupid, another one that does fit very well is “educate yourself”.

This is normally used towards people who make claims about feminism. However, they are super dumb, just shaking and crying all over their keyboards angrily hammering out myths and propaganda, rather than actual facts.

Hanson in this rant is the epitome of the clown, she accuses other women to be. A dumb clown at that.

These women were not marching to protest against democracy. Women were marching for an entire gamut of human rights and women’s rights. They were not marching to over-turn a democratic process of electing leaders. Or insisting on authoritarian rule. They were however, sending a message that women’s rights are human rights.

Bumping Up and Down in My Little Red Bandwagon

Bandwagon jumping is when someone pops into an online cause or trend for personal ego trips. Normally, reserved for social justice, these bandwagon jumpers are often louder and drown out the voices of the legitimate minority group that need to be heard. They do it for personal gain, for followers, for ego pumping.

Regardless, they see a trend and they jump right on that bandwagon. Just like Pauline did.

Trending online opposing the women’s march were two groups – Trump supporters and men who oppose the rights of women. Often referred to as MRA’s.

One of the main arguments used against the women’s march was the use of the “Divide and Conquer” strategy.  In all fairness, this is Hanson’s primary tactic in obtaining voters for her own personal gain in her pursuit of power.  This may explain why this bandwagon was so appealing.

This particular bandwagon had so many jumping on it to pit Muslim women against white women.  They did it by trying to delegitimise the many struggles women face. This is done by championing the fact that Muslim women in Muslim Majority countries have it far worse.

That is, pitting the oppressed against the oppressed. Veterans and homeless before refugees! Sound familiar?

Having women question their compassion for all women, to incite them to turn on one another in competition between race, gender status, geography, is a tried and true tactic of those who seek to destroy the feminist movement.

Those in power or who seek to be in power, like Pauline Hanson, do this because facing the enormity of not only the legal discrimination women face, but discrimination by default and the ingrained sexism and misogyny women face daily, is simply too difficult.

For leaders to be sincere about women’s rights issues, would mean that they would need to invest or actually think about solutions. That is far too hard.

Instead, they do things like this to divide and conquer:

Muslims, Muslims everywhere!

Sorry, didn’t mean to scare the Hanson voters reading this with that headline. My point of that headline is that there are two takes on this:  Hanson either purposely did this as a tactic, or she is purposely ignorant, which is not a fitting quality for any leader.

The leader and organiser of the Women’s March is a very famous Muslim-Palestinian – Linda Sarsour. Sarsour is a strong advocate that women of colour should lead the women’s movement.

The other fact that Hanson seems to apply her ignorance to, is that the March was an inter-sectional march. That means that women were marching for all women, regardless of where they come from or if they do or do not fit into a minority sub-group of women. They were marching for Human Rights for all. As women’s rights are human rights.

The HUGE fact that Hanson ignored was that thousands of Muslim Women marched. Yes, even in Saudi Arabia.

womens-march-saudi

No Need to March – I’ve Got This!

Perhaps I am being far too pessimistic. Maybe Hanson thinks that women do not need to march because she has all the answers. Has she redressed all the issues women face? In all fairness, she does claim to have the answers to everything.

The problem is, Pauline Hanson never tells us what those answers are. She just mirrors a problem and agrees with it. She says she will do something about it. That she is standing up for it.

This is the era of ‘Fake News’. We are also asking ‘should the media hold politicians to account or should the politicians hold the media to account’? Therefore, it is the responsibility of the media to put some decency back into their profession and ask Hanson the tough questions.

Ask her questions about her reasons why a women’s march in Australia is a waste of time.

The media can start with similar to these:

Does she think it is appropriate for her followers to burn mosques, interrupt sermons and scare women?

How much does she think her rhetoric impacts on white-on-Muslim women violence in the streets?

If she can tell us her solution for violence against women, longer questioning and scrutiny of sexual assault victims in court and wage inequality, that may be an interesting start.

The media questioned Gladys Berejiklian yesterday about why she was childless. This infers she is not a ‘whole woman’ and is an attack on all women.

They might want to question Hanson if her hyper-masculine, anti-women attitude is a front to protect herself from this type of attack the media inflict on women in politics.

Or is Hanson actually just an anti-woman woman, who gets her jollies from fat shaming other women?

March in March 2017: Are You Angry Enough Yet?

MiM6

Are you angry enough yet? That is the question March Australia would like to know. In 2017, they are taking it to the streets again!

In 2014, Tony Abbott and the Liberal National Coalition Government saw the anger well up in so many people and March in March took it to the streets. Three years later the Australian people are still angry and Malcolm Turnbull, like Tony Abbott before him, still does not have a positive or progressive agenda.

Although this morning on Twitter John Wren thinks he knows where the Prime Minister’s agenda might be. If only Irona was not on holidays! 😂😂😂😂

The Turnbull Government is still NOT listening to the people and March in March is BACK!

The Liberal Government has failed miserably under Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull and the list of things the Australians are angry about is almost endless.

It is time to Stand Up Australia!  Instead, this year bring your best banners of Fizza, as the Lyin King has been removed and replaced! Thank you Australia! Give yourselves a round of applause!

How Many are YOU Angry About?

Here is the list presented by March in March as some of the things you may be angry about. If you are angry about any of these things, something else, or maybe just the flat-out incompetence of the Turnbull Coalition Government – then get amongst it. Boots on the ground people!

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March in March – Get Involved Today!

Watch the Video below for how to get involved today; or visit the March Australia Activist Interchange Facebook Page:

What is the Point?

As we saw with the influence that marches like these had on the influence of the removal of Tony Abbott and the influence of pure people power to remove Campbell Newman from power in Queensland, with Labor and other parties taking 40 seats off the LNP Government.  The removal of the Newman LNP Government freed Queenslanders from mass sackings, removal of civil liberties and the closure of many vital and important public and community services and the privatisation of our important assets.

Boots on the Ground does make a difference.  Get involved today!

In Times of Crisis, who are our True Leaders?

melbourne-tragedy

Yesterday, a heartbreaking tragedy occurred in the centre of Melbourne. Four people are dead including a young child. In times of crisis and tragedy, it is important to reflect on how our leaders respond.

Why are the Words of our Leaders Important?

It is important to reflect on the words of those who seek high office and those who seek to represent the people.

Their words can either unify us in strength and respond with solutions that will protect us from greater harm, or they can divide us and offer us non-practical knee jerk reactions.

Their words should console us and give us the strength to carry on.  Their words should respect the lives lost and those who are injured.

Their words should pay tribute to those who selflessly put their own lives in danger, whether it is emergency services or volunteers at the scene.

Our leaders should respond with genuine empathy, seriousness and concern. Their first concern should always be about the people.

The public and of course other leaders should outright condemn politicians who make a tragedy all about themselves or their agenda.

I will leave the responses from our various leaders and politicians below for the readers to judge.

Malcolm Turnbull – Liberal Leader. Prime Minister of Australia

The prayers and heartfelt sympathies of all Australians are with the victims and the families of the victims of this shocking crime in Melbourne today.  And we thank and acknowledge the heroism, the professionalism of the police and the emergency workers who rushed to the aid of the victims, joined by bystanders who mindless of their own danger sought to help those who had been attacked in this shocking crime. Their love, their selflessness, their courage, is the very best of our Australian spirit.

Bill Shorten – Leader of the Labor Party. Leader of the Opposition

All Australians stand with the people of Melbourne in this horrific moment.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of the lost.

We pray for the injured and the frightened, in particular the very young children.

We pay tribute to the first responders. We give thanks for the bravery of the police, the speed of the paramedics and the skill of those who’ve worked to save the lives of the injured.

We salute those passers-by who rushed to the aid of their neighbours.

But we also know that on dark days like this, words are so inadequate.

Words can’t capture the horror we feel. Words can’t comfort those who’ve lost someone they love. Words won’t heal people who’ve been hurt or banish the fear. Words can’t put back the lives stolen in a few minutes of madness.

It’s difficult for all of us to comprehend how, why and what has happened. Harder still to understand that it happened here, in a country and a city that prides itself on being such a welcoming, safe and peaceful place.

Victoria Police have made it clear this was not an act of terror, it was an act of murder. A cowardly, senseless, destructive crime that has claimed the lives of innocent people.

We wait for answers, we wait for justice and tonight we hold all those in sadness and pain, close to our hearts.

People who are concerned about loved ones can call the helpline on 1800 727 077.

Daniel Andrews – Premier of Victoria. Leader of Victorian Labor Party.

Our hearts are breaking this afternoon.

People have died in the heart of our city.

Others are seriously injured. Young and old. And all of them were innocent.

All of them were just going about their day, like you or I.

Some families are just starting to find out the news about their loved ones, and right now, our thoughts are with each and every one of them.

I’m so proud of all the Victorians who reached out and provided care and support to strangers today.

I’m so thankful for all our police, paramedics and emergency services workers who launched into action, and will now be working around the clock.

And I hope that everyone can be patient and cooperative, so we can let these professionals do their job.

This was a terrible crime – a senseless, evil act – and justice will be done.

Richard DiNatale – Leader of the Australian Greens

My heart goes out to everyone affected by the horrible scenes we’ve seen in Melbourne’s CBD today.

Adam Bandt – Australian Greens. Member for Melbourne.

I’ve stood on those Bourke Street corners many times, including with kids. My heart goes out to everyone suffering today. Big thanks to emergency service workers, especially those trying hard tonight to save lives.

Pauline Hanson – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party

I have just been told that there has been a terrorism attack in Melbourne.

People don’t look right. That they are not going to assimilate into our society, have a different ideology, different beliefs, don’t abide by our laws, our culture, our way of life, don’t let them in.  Make this country safer for future generations.

All terrorist attacks in this country have been by Muslims. (Journalist: No they haven’t).

It is up to us to accept, revere, reject, condemn & shame

Australia is not immune to tragedy. Our tragedies are from the actions of other human beings or forced upon us by nature with fires, floods and cyclones.

Regardless of our politics, we should always seek to reject those who do not put others first. This is an automatic indicator that the inherent requirement to represent others is simply not a driver for that person and their motivations for public office are disingenuous and self-serving.

It is up to us to accept and revere Leaders who stand with us, comfort us and guide us in times of tragedy. Our existence as human beings, as community members, as families and as individuals is above all else.

It is up to us to reject, condemn and shame those who are not genuine in their desire to serve the people. It is up to us to demand that the media and other leaders do the same. However, trusted and true Leaders should need no encouragement from the people to do so.

A Very Stark and Dark Contrast

There is a very stark and dark contrast between the words of Pauline Hanson today and that of other prominent leaders. As someone who the media promotes as a potential next Prime Minister; it is really important to frame Hanson’s words as the central to her motivations in public life.

Will the media continue to give a free rein and a supportive kid-glove approach to someone who believes they ‘say what Australians are thinking’ yet puts herself before others, even in times of devastating tragedy?

Well Pauline, yesterday Australians were thinking about the lives lost, the people injured and those who were left terrified and the work of our emergency services and volunteers. Australians were not thinking about where your next vote will come from.

The media is constantly giving the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party an absolute gamut of free advertising and promotion in the media, through their reporting, radio and TV shows.  The media should take responsibility and cease this free promotion of this self-serving right wing nationalist immediately.  The media are not oblivious to the power of influence they hold over the voting public.

Clearly, the contrast is in the video of this interview, where Hanson actually smirks as she turns away from James Ashby back to the media, before she went into her tirade about blaming terrorism and Muslims for this absolutely devastating tragedy.

Zero Compassion

Not once did she show empathy, compassion, concern or horror at what had occurred. Not once did she want to know more. The scale of the attack. How many injured. Was there still a threat?

Instead, Hanson smirked, turned to face the media and with smug satisfaction she announced there had been a terrorist attack in Melbourne.  Then she used the death of others and the serious injuries of others to promote her populist ideology. 

Considering Populism is the stark contrast between the corrupt elite and the will of the people; for Hanson to completely exclude any concern for the people from her rant, really reeks of blatant hypocrisy. It is time to put Australia first and reject this charlatan.

Clearly Hanson is all about the conversion of votes into cash and the luxury the power that public office brings.  Clearly, no one but herself was her concern today.

Imagine Hanson leading the country in a time of war?  No thanks.

It no longer saddens me that Hanson’s popularity is increasing. It absolutely distresses me.

It is time the Media took some Responsibility

The media is a very, very powerful being and it can and does shape the minds of the voting public. They media are very aware of their own influence.  It is time the media took some responsibility for their role in the promotion of politicians.

We can no longer afford to stand by and to continue to allow the media to promote politicians who are disingenuous and self-serving and this is always very evident in times of crisis and tragedy.   I thank the media who have called her actions out.

Let’s hope Channel Seven responds with a blanket ban. 

Our country and our people are too precious to waste our faith in those who do not stand with us, but stand for themselves.

I know along with everyone reading this, my heart goes out to the people who have lost their lives and were injured yesterday and also to their families.

I would like to end this article by directing readers to another very good article on this topic by Jennifer Wilson: Giving a Damn Still Matters.

Indeed it does. Let’s not lose that anymore than we already have.

Assimilate but GTFO – of our billboards

two-little-girls

Tonight it really hit home. It hit home that the Australian people are more interested in trashing the fair go, than holding it dear as a true Australian value. Once the fair go is well and truly gone; we, as a people are nothing.

Two Girls, Two Flags,Two Tweets

As I browsed Twitter, two tweets had a huge impact on me tonight. The first was from Sam Dastyari. There was a real sadness in Sam’s tweet. A sadness that really encompassed that this insidious scourge of populist racism, led very vocally by Pauline Hanson, is actively destroying our country from the inside out.

The human face of the racial attacks, slurs, anger and hatred from so many “Hansonites” in the last 24 hours were two gorgeous, smiling little girls. This. Must. Stop.

The second tweet was from Josh Butler, Associate Editor of Huffington Post Australia. His tweet really drove home not only the callous behaviour of the last 24 hours; but the stupidity behind it. Is this what we have become? 

Why this really hit home

The reason Sam and Josh’s tweets really hit home is because they wrap up very neatly in a nice little ball how racist ranting has become the new power drug for so many. It hit home because the feeling of elation and superiority more and more Australians are feeling from this negative, insidious activism, led by Hanson (and encouraged by the Media reporting her every word); is now overwhelming us. It is dividing us. It is destroying us.

This hateful rhetoric takes precedence over everything. Over actually giving a damn about the damage, stigma and pain these harmful words and actions are doing to other human beings. Now it doesn’t even matter if the target is just a sweet, innocent, little kid. 

It didn’t matter if the loud screams and anger were aimed at these little girls. It just did not matter.

Did the people screaming in anger and making hateful comments and praising Pauline Hanson ‘to fight against this’ really care how these two little girls felt about the harmful words inflicted upon them? Or if they felt totally destroyed when the Billboard was taken down? 

The honest answer is, “No they did not”

The honest and even more terrifying answer is “No, in the name of Pauline Hanson, they would do it all again tomorrow.”

Our Racism now knows no bounds

This Hansonesque Racism, which is taking off like wildfire, now knows no bounds. Anyone is now fair game. As we can see from today – anyone. 

Just like all little girls, the two girls in this photo were most likely super excited about being on a big billboard. Their Mum and Dad would have been so proud of how beautiful they looked on such a huge poster and no doubt family and friends were delighted to just know them and how proud everyone is of them. Drive-by’s and selfies galore would have been had.

Yesterday, dedicated Hansonites destroyed that overwhelming joy for two little girls.

Due to the racist outrage and fears of safety by the advertiser and threats to the company, the billboard has now been removed.

There is a growing number of Hanson worshipping Australians who see someone in a religious garb as sub-human and they gladly treat them as such and celebrate such joy from another person’s pain and anguish.

The Hansonites don’t care about how these little girls must be feeling. These ‘Patriotic Australians of the adult variety’, actively participated in the last 24 hours in breaking the hearts of these two little girls.

Today is the day that these little girl’s have had to face the reality that they live amongst monsters. Not the BFG kind. Ugly, hateful, mean, nasty, scary monsters who worship a god with a really poor vocabulary, no positive ideas, an ever increasingly prominent narcissistic personality, an over-zealous ambition, with flaming red hair and a nasally twang. How blasphemous of them!

I want to know the names of these little girls so I can ask these Hansonites, if they actually care how [Name] and [Name] felt when the billboard was taken down?

Brave and Patriotic

How much did the Hansonites laugh because these little girls may go to bed tonight crying until they can’t cry anymore?

Did these Hansonites hoot with glee that these little girls will never understand that all they did wrong was to exist as Australians?

Who are these ‘patriots’ who say they don’t deserve to?

How big and powerful do the Hansonites feel? Screaming at these little girls that they aren’t Australian enough? Although they are Australian, just like them? 

Did the rants and screams of the Hansonites make them feel more valued as members of society, because they “protected” Australia from the great harm these two little girls inflicted upon the country by being on a billboard?

How very brave and patriotic!

Hansonite Hypocrites – Is this who we have become?

The video below is so important at this point in time.  It is important because it really visualises the Hanson rhetoric. The message of how we are supposed to shame, ridicule and tear down others. We simply must force ourselves into a position of authority above ‘the targeted others’ and insist they do not belong.

This makes us “Pauline’s Australians’ who are ‘Real Australians’…..apparently.

This video, went viral and was all over social media. Australians were appalled at how this teacher built this little boy up and then tore him down in an instant.

When I read Sam’s tweet tonight, my mind immediately returned to remembering this video and I loudly exclaimed with disgust “What hypocrites we have become.”

Such compassion from Australians for this little boy. Day in day out, people screamed for the teacher to be sacked. Capslocked in anger about what they wanted to ‘do to her.’

What hypocrites we have become.

In the last 24 hours, the big brave Hansonites have metaphorically rushed that stage, pushed the teacher out of the way and ripped that mic out of that boy’s hand in disgust. Then they screamed at him:

“YOU DO NOT BELONG ON OUR STAGE!!!!”

Not only did they do that….they laughed about it and patted each other on the back if they could snatch the mic in a particularly cruel or nasty manner. They cheered if they reached the epic status of making the kid cry really loud. This meant they were ‘true patriots dedicated to Pauline’s Australia.’ 

That is what Hanson and her pack of self-righteous “patriots” have done to these girls yesterday.  

Hanson and her patriots’ message to these girls is that they better bloody assimilate, but seriously GTFO of our billboards. Don’t you dare come to the barbie cos we will damn well make sure we smother it with bacon.  We do this because we think it makes you uncomfortable. Making you feel uncomfortable, makes us feel brave.

I am, you are, we are Pauline’s Patriots.

So yeh – assimilate but GTFO! 

Is Pauline Hanson and her happy hate club slowly choking the fair go to death?

The Sentient Adult

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From F. Scott-Fitzgerald: ‘The Crack-up’

“This is what I think now: that the natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness. I think also that in an adult the desire to be finer in grain that you are, “a constant striving” (as those people say who gain their bread by saying it) only adds to this unhappiness in the end — that end that comes to our youth and hope.”

It doesn’t do to become too cynical at a young age, THAT is best left those who reach the “winter” of one’s life and can “cheerfully” find justification for cynicism alongside their other trophies of other disappointments in life. It is one of the privileges of living a long life where one can, with experience (no matter how twisted that experience is!) talk-up justification without a youngsters interruption for one’s opinion….it’s called “booorinnng!”

Sneering Cynicism: Are you guilty?

I am hearing, especially in these rural areas where I live, an ironic twist of cynicism and naivety from the same mouths at the same time.  For example, like in these cases of parliamentary privileges rorting by certain ministers.

Many in these rural areas, being “welded-on” LNP. Supporters, curled their lips in sneering cynicism when a Labor minister stepped down from his post for a $1600.

Bill-pay done for him by a company..mumbles of “It’s what you’d expect” spat in disgust from those parched conservative lips.

Even one of “their own”, the Speaker of the House in the Gillard years; Mr. Slipper, was hounded from his position in disgrace for a cab-charge of; circa $900. Dollars!

But THEN, when conservative  ministers (that’s plural !) are caught red-handed with their pilfering arms plunged elbow-deep into the proverbial “ministerial entitlements” cookie-jar, there is this eye blinking, ashen-faced disbelief that “one of their own” could do such a thing, even when one of their own is a fervent follower of that philosophy that believes in self-enrichment for the greater public  good.

You have to wonder what the conservative public expects from the people they voted for…: Mother Theresa in a banker’s suit?

I would offer a bigger fish to fry.

The underpinning foundations of political personality

In my trade of building, one learns from bitter experience (hopefully from others!) that certain types of soil can only support certain types of buildings without an injection of significant amounts of money!

For instance, the extremes of expansion and contraction of “Bay of Biscay” soils of the Adelaide plains made for the invention and development of “brick-veneer” construction after those earlier houses of solid-brick developed cracks in the walls you could drive a Mack Truck through!

One lives and learns..the same could be said (metaphorically) for people; only a certain quality of judgement can be expected or “built on” of a certain type of personality.

Which brings us straight to politics!

Cynicism: Creating an unfair imbalance

This cynicism about the intentions of politicians from BOTH sides of the House, creates an unfair imbalance between two opposing philosophies. The Conservative philosophy could, in fair comment, be considered both hypocritical and cynical in its twisted ideology of providing through Bills and Legislation passed through the House when it has power, of providing largesse and speculative opportunity for the Capitalist ideal and then laying claim to being the best friend to those in need of community support for the social welfare demographic…a contradiction in terms of intention and action, surely?

To sneer cynically at the attempts by Labor when in power to swing the public purse from Right to Left principles of governance, against extreme prejudice of conservative media broadsides that concentrate their fire to “expose” and to “ridicule” and to “demoralise” those attempts by the Labor party to bring about social equality by incremental shifts (so as not to “scare the horses” of public opinion), has to be in itself a most disgusting exercise of political cynicism bordering on sedition.

In some cases this is outright sabotage of vital communications infrastructure that benefits a foreign Media baron, and could be classed as outright treason against the people AND the State.

Then to use the Parliament to undo vital programs that give real benefit to the majority of citizens both young and aged has to be the lowest act of cynicism by the conservative parties.

Your sentient adult should stop and think

So when I hear those snorts of: “They’re both (parties) as bad as each other.” I have to wince in despair, because there has to be a time when the “sentient adult” in all of us has to stop for a moment..think about it a moment..and then realise that there IS a vast difference in both the political goals, the background lives and the policy aspirations to benefit whom and how many citizens of this nation between the two parties.  It is clearly defined by the scale of outrage against the amounts of rorting and the number of failed and dismissed ministers and members of the LNP as against Labor in these accusations..

Let’s get THAT straight.

There is a VAST difference between the arrogance of expected entitlements, the length and scale of rorting and the lenience of punishment against the scale of the crime that marks the Conservative Parties as the one most deserving of the public’s cynical “curl of lip”.

This article was written by Jaycee and originally Published on Freef’all852

Hanson does no favours for Townsville Tourism

I have just watched Pauline Hanson’s video with her Queensland State Election candidate for Townsville (only referred to as Tyrell) and neither politician nor candidate did any favours for Townsville Tourism.

Townsville – A Crime Capital?

Listening to and watching this video was like standing behind two gossip-mongers at the checkout who were moaning about the everyday ills that we all face and know about.

If I was living in a community with such terrible crime as they both promoted Townsville to be, I would expect a politician who claims to ‘understand the ordinary Australian’ to at least give an ‘ordinary solution.’ However, Hanson, offered no solutions at all, except to say that the candidate ran a local crime Facebook page.

Hanson also said that we need to put ‘pressure on the politicians.’ That is right folks. Hanson doesn’t need to come up with any solutions, it is your job – the average Joe, to fight the Government. It isn’t like it is her job or she gets paid mountains of cash to do that job or anything. 

For those who don’t think she is a politician but ‘one of us’….Newsflash: When a person campaigns in elections across a span of 18 years, receives oodles of cash in AEC funding, heads a political party, has a political party named after her, has ‘staffers’ and sits in the Senate – they are a politician.

I find it remarkable that someone who has been given the power and the privilege to be a politician, talks about herself as if she is not a politician at all.

Is this the new era of politician? Pretend you are not one, so you can absolve yourself of generating ideas and solutions, or taking responsibility?  

For someone who has never been to Townsville, I’m not inclined to drop by any time soon, as both women made it sound like an extremely terrifying place to live.

Their focus was all about how the Queensland Police Service have basically no control over crime in the community and hooning and stolen vehicle crime is sky rocketing.

According to Hanson, here are the two main issues that are ‘sky-rocketing’ in Townsville:

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Doing Townsville Tourism No Favours

It appears that over the last five years, the QPS have been working really hard to curb these types of crimes in the Townsville region. There has been an increase in statistics in the last year; but the factors are unknown.  Townsville is indeed above the State average for hooning and vehicle theft. However, Hanson did not have a serious take on this issue as to a standard one would expect of a politician.  Why do the media treat her with kid gloves in this respect, yet hound other politicians?

Unemployment was blamed, however, on the other hand Hanson also supports more welfare cuts by the Government.

Speaking to issues such as these are complex matters with a variety of factors. That is why it is much easier for Hanson to just blame a certain race of people for the entire problem. It sounds so simple to so many, that this just makes sense. You don’t need to really think about how to fix it if you already have a simple (albeit wrong) answer.

Hanson, then tried to give the impression this is happening everywhere and used Mackay as another example.  The crime stats do not support Hanson’s claims.

What is the political purpose to promote two coastal towns that rely on Tourism as ‘places with uncontrollable crime?”

 It’s a Big No to Renewables Investment and Jobs

After Hanson kind of shooed her candidate away because she wanted to talk about herself (awkward moment); other topics covered were promoting the Adani mine, rubbishing the Greens and rubbishing renewables because they are too expensive.  In Townsville where unemployment is extremely high; Hanson, once again offered no solution or even acknowledged that whilst coal is essential for jobs in the region; the possibility that investment in various sources of energy would create even more jobs and it would be looking at a long term solution. In fact, Hanson played up the ‘scariness’ of renewables and how much they would cost.

If Hanson had genuine concern for the disadvantaged, would it not be more appropriate for her to talk about how she is backing the welfare cuts by the Turnbull Government?

welfare-cuts

The Aboriginal Issue & The Scary Muslims

Then Hanson turned to her favourite 90’s retro topic – “The Aboriginal Issue” (her term, not mine).  According to Hanson some ‘Aboriginals’ approached her with open arms asking her to help them, to stop them from committing the escalating crime. She then clearly stated that Aboriginals commit 75% of the crime in Townsville.  Again, no solutions, blaming ‘politicians and forgetting she is one herself.’

Now we escalate to scaring the good people of Townsville with those Terrorist Muslims who are going to cancel Anzac day. Hanson did not explain that this was an issue of state and local  Government in one state fighting each other for funding for the necessary security at a major event. She did however pinpoint very specifically that this is the fault of Muslims that we allow into the country.

Although Hanson says this again, as some type of off the cuff remark, she knows full well that although Townsville, going by population data has a very tiny Muslim population of about 1%, yet had this type of attack which only occurred in Townsville last year. 

I really need to ask.

Do readers think Hanson purposely tries to incite more of these types of attacks on innocent people, through her constant stigmatisation and blaming of entire groups of people for the actions of a few? or

Is Hanson really too stupid to understand her position of power and the influence she has over those who truly revere her and the actions they take to ‘feel part of her cause?’

townsville-muslims

A Blind Eye for Some Blind Rhetoric

I would strongly question that Hanson has targeted car theft and hooning and a very misleading take on Anzac Day, but steered clear of drug crime and domestic violence. Drug Crime and breaches of domestic violence orders have almost doubled in five years in Townsville, (whilst car theft and hooning has actually gone down in the last five years.) This is in line with state wide statistics; which shows it is a huge concern and a statewide issue.

Do readers find it remarkable that Hanson steers clear of two such major issues? Is it because Indigenous people or Muslims are not stereotyped as the main offenders of these crimes in the media and society?  

That is serious question to ponder.

As Sam Dastyari said on Qanda – Hanson is an experienced politician and she knows exactly what she is doing. 

Happy To Sell Off The Country

Hanson then ends the video with a delusional note that Bill Shorten is the either the Prime Minister or a Minister in the Liberal Government, as she lumps him in with Turnbull and Bishop with some incoherent tirade about selling Cane Growers agricultural land to the overseas buyer.

It is a pity she didn’t tell the cane growers and people of Townsville how she just supported the sale of the largest piece of agricultural land in Australia to Gina Rinehart and her Chinese Investors.  

Once again, the contradiction becomes very evident, when she back flips on her Populist Nationalist agenda and makes the excuse that it is only one third Chinese and they promised to hire Australians. This is not Australia’s favourite measuring yardstick – an Olympic swimming pool. The Kidman property is listed as larger than Ireland.’

The portion she is happy for the Chinese to own is approximately 34,000 kilometres squared. To put it into perspective – Sydney is 12,368 kilometres squared. The portion her Nationalist self is pleased the Chinese own is almost three times the size of Sydney!

Those who align with the right and support Hanson for her ‘steadfast ideals’ and are still calling for her to be the Prime Minister, have lost the right to call leftists blind non-thinking sheep ever again.

kidman

Holiday in Townsville? No Way!

So, there we have it. Townsville, according to Hanson, is a very scary place where Aboriginals who are only 7% of the Townsville population are committing 75% of all crime; where the police have no control crime and criminals are running rampant and where we live in a totalitarian society and Muslims are forcing Australians to cancel Anzac Day. What a terrible place to go for a holiday. No thank you! I hope Townsville Regional Council take note of the impression Hanson and her candidate have broadcast about their community.

The Corner Shop Know-It-All.  Is That All There Is?

Just like waiting for the morning paper at the corner shop, Hanson and her Townsville Candidate are like those two women who stand there holding up the counter with their whiny gossip. We have them in every neighbourhood. We know them. They get parodied in Australian comedy. These women know all, like to have a good gossip about what ‘they have heard’ but offer nothing in return, no solutions – just gossip and ‘their point of view’ as they frown and run a particular group of people in the community down to the ground.

You know the type…… If a young Aboriginal boy got caught stealing a car, they would be frowning and making sure everyone in the shop knew that they thought ALL young Aboriginal men should be locked up. Even if 99% of Aboriginal young men were fine upstanding citizens, tut, tut, tut, don’t let that fool you – that just means YOU are stupid and can’t see it.

(lowers voice) Can’t you SEE?…. (nods head over right shoulder vigorously) It’s them….It’s what they’re like……they are ALL the same.

These type of people always think they are ‘correct!” and that everyone should agree with them, and shame on you if you do not!

Should we aspire to more than this? Or is this all there is? If corner shop gossip is all Hanson has to offer this great country of ours –  I ask you, “What is the point of Hanson?”

Morpheus’ Draught.

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“Now fable night hath with her ebon’ robe,

Darken the Surface of this earthly Globe,

And drowsy Morpheus, with his leaden Key,

Locked up the doors of every mortal eye,

Come, let us fall into our wanton games…”

“Thus I tamper Poison for myself; but, were I sure to drink the baneful Draught, …”

from “The Harleian Miscellany.”

For too long has the educated working-class, through deference to a more erudite, well-dressed and long-winded educated upper middle-class, stood to one side while those rhetoric-driven managers have manipulated the levers of governance to steer us now down a cu-de-sac of an economic and social dead-end. It is the wealthy upper class; the likes of Murdoch and Gina etc. who operate and manage the conservative politics in Australia.

Do the majority care about the working class?

I grew up, as I suppose many of you likewise, fulfilling the expected role of a many generation working-class family, slipping easily and comfortably into a trade. Others around me of the same demographic group also went into skilled trades or labour.

Very, very few came from families familiar with or able to afford tertiary education. It was within those trades  that many of us after several decades gained a knowledge of system and structure of our particular workplace, be it health, mechanics, government administration and others, or like mine; building / construction. We gained a depth of knowledge and more importantly; a nous of how we “fitted” into the structure of management.

Many of us came to understand that there was an “outside force” that had the call of employment or sacking over us, and this “management group”, backed in all encounters by any conservative government resented the presence of union representation of the working-class. They resented it because Management knows through intense education from an early age that power x a few, is no match against power x legion!

However, these isolated cases of a factory or group in conflict between union representatives and corporate management came and went outside the general concern of the majority of the population of working people. There was rarely any “bringing together” of the combined strengths of the unions to call a general strike against a government or corporations.

This must change.

The attacks on working people

There must be an awakening from a sleepy acceptance of conservative governments continual attack on the working people of this nation.  This includes those who are now made redundant through corp’ / govt’ outsourcing and the incompetent closing of large manufacturing enterprises. This combined with the sabotage and destruction of high-speed broadband delivery, equitable education scheme and winding down of universal health schemes demonstrates an ineptitude toward social responsibility and democracy (remember : “Of , For and By the people” ?) by an out of touch government and corporate class steeped in the theories of an out of date, foolish  and now educated to imbecility upper middle-class.

We have slept too long from the effects of “Morpheus’s draught. We – the educated working-class need to awaken and step forward to take our place at the helm of leadership of the nation. There needs be more evidence of “blue-collar” and less “white-collar” behind the navigator’s post.

By “educated”, I do not necessarily mean those multiple degrees in this or that tertiary discipline, I mean a well-read and concise knowledge of one’s “trade” gained through years of study at the foot of that most severe of mentors and masters; Labour. We need those who know and understand the complexities of domestic management on limited monies, of begetting and raising children in a safe environment of a “owned” home on limited monies. We need those who while doing this have a broader knowledge of the workings and machinations of a national psyche and of the needs of those engaged in production of goods and services outside or allied to their own workplace. This knowledge is a complimentary addition automatically gained through contact over many years with those trades allied to one’s own.

United we stand – Divided we beg

For too long have we drunk the “advising” poison of the entrepreneurial / speculative upper middle-classes, who with their blind faith in an idiot’s ideology, have driven our economy, our society, our international reputation and lastly and most damagingly our cultural spirit and our overall good nature into the depraved depths of their own personal hell!

Labor needs to stand solidly on a level dais alongside the unions and the working / producing (yes..we must begin to encompass that other side-lined working peoples; the inter-generational family small farmer/orchardist / dairy farmer ) class, and wrest back control of the nation from a merchant money-grubbing upper middle-class more interested in selling this nation and its workforce to the lowest bidder and then shifting such selfish profit away from fair and equitable taxation to an overseas tax haven most suited to their “robber-baron” status.

It’s time for the working-class to nominate those representatives more and better suited to make laws, regulations, trade agreements and governance OF, FOR and BY the many ethnic and cultural diverse peoples of this nation.

It’s Time …once again….It’s Time!

Originally published on Freef’all852

The Red Window Blog – 2016 in Review

“If you jail a man for striking, it’s a rich man’s country yet.” These words had the biggest impact on me in 2016.  These simple words cut through the distrustful MSM, the spineless rhetoric of Prime Minister Turnbull, Trumpism, Hansonism and me-too-ism. They silenced the noise, propaganda, discombobulation and the head spinning mind blowing ‘post-truth’ lies.

As I fought my way through the narratives or dishonesty, distrust, jingoism, cronyism, nepotism, elitism and divisiveness in our fractured society; these few words made it all clear. They were truly “my light on the hill.”

Regardless of what politicians throw at us. Regardless of how the media want to spin politics to play their own game. Regardless of the diversionary tactics of racism, nationalism and sectarianism. Regardless of how the public are closing their eyes and ears to facts and rejecting the reasonable, sensible debate of ideas. What will always remain is the same struggle that has always been. The words in my opening paragraph define this.

The struggle between the capitalist class and the working class. The struggle to maintain the rights of the worker and to protect those who are not engaged in work, regardless of the reason. This struggle underpins every single political thought, word and deed.

May aim for 2017, through this blog, is to keep this focus. To cut through the noise. To bring the worker back to the table.

Before, I post the summary of my year in review; I would like to send a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has read any of my blog posts in the past year. Readers who have taken the time to read my thoughts and who have taken the time to comment, like, subscribe and share. Your support is invaluable and greatly appreciated.

Anything in the public view such as blogging, can and does have an ugly side and at times, it can attract the less than friendly commentariat, weirdos tracking me down on Facebook or email who share their vile thoughts about me more privately and the going does get tough.

In 2016, I will be honest. I struggled at times. Sometimes it was dealing with negative and very personal commentary. Sometimes it was struggling with the exasperation I constantly felt with real people being harmed and feeling so helpless all because of Government decisions. Part of the struggle was whether blogging even made a difference. I have always just written because I simply have to write. It is something that I can’t control. I’ve never stopped to think about making any difference. However, I began to struggle with the purpose or the reason of doing this publicly.  

As they say, a change is as good as a holiday. So I refocused and renamed. Polyfeministix, which has been the name of this blog since the beginning; had a restyle and a name change to “The Red Window Blog.” It is a better reflection of who I am and my writing style. I also made a decision to actively label myself a laborist rather than a leftist.

I cannot end this year, without expressing my deepest and sincerest gratitude and thanks to two incredibly selfless, kind and generous men who I am honoured to call my friends and my comrades. These two fine, fine men propped me up and gave me confidence and strength every single time I was so close to throwing away my writing and my blog.  

So Biggy and Corny, I raise my glass to both of you and send you my deepest thanks for your kindness and support and your tireless listening ears.  Your invaluable guidance and your treasured friendship. May 2017 deliver to you your hopes and dreams for you and yours.

Happy New Year from me at The Red Window Blog to all of you and I wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2017.

A recap of my articles and other political media for 2016 is listed below:  

Thanks again for reading!

Blog Posts

January, 2016

Join the Protest to Re-elect Turnbull

Power Rules, Men, Sex and Politics

February, 2016

A dirty deal to drown out our inner voice

Are we Turnbull’s unpaid focus group?

Ten things more reckless than funding Gonski

March, 2016

IWD: A most exciting time to be a woman

Marriage Equality. How Tolerant?

April, 2016

Mums & Dads – Malcolm wants YOU as a new recruit

If Malcolm was a homeless youth

May, 2016

No posts of my own. A reblog of “Should I quit writing” by Josephine Moon  – the question on my mind at the time! and a petition about the changes in the publishing industry.

June, 2016

Australian Voters – What are you afraid of?

Shorten’s Labor: Fair Go Mate!

Plebiscite. NOT a civil and respectful debate

Pauline just attacked women and I don’t like it!

Ten Kids Poorer than Malcolm

July, 2016

After plummeting into deep despair after the election and losing all faith in humanity, I zipped up my pencil-case and just read Stephen King and Dean Koontz for a whole month.

A guest blog by Redcuchulain

Why we need an Iraq war Royal Commission- Sign my petition

August, 2016

The Taxed Nots. Who are they and what should we do with them?

Will you Lean on me or are you an indi-bloody-vidual?

September, 2016

Welfare Bashing the NEETS: The new team in the sport of welfare bashing

Have the Greens just divided the Nation?

No! I don’t defend your right to say it

Turnbull – A Friendly Mushroom and a Destructive Seagull

What have you really noticed about Bill Shorten?

Cashless Welfare – Enough is Enough!

Australian Political Reporting: Explained by Movies

So… You call yourself a Leftist?

Innovative PM? No Malcolm! You’re doing it wrong!

October, 2016

Who Defines Patriotism? The Politicians or Us?

This Could Change Politics Forever

One Nation Voters – Hate the Worker. Hate the Poor

One Nation Voters – Hope. Fear. Racism.

One Nation Voters – Nationalism, Patriotism and the ABCC

WE DON’T SERVE THE GAYS HERE! Innovative Marketing solutions

Abbott & Turnbull – It’s on like Donkey Kong!

When Christensen Talks You Better Listen to Him

Politics Driven Fear and the Pain it Brings

November, 2016

Cameron Slaps Down Anti-Worker Party One Nation

Oh Do Shut Up! The Lib/Lab Duopoly is Bullshit!

A Casual Conversation about Politics in Regional QLD

Dutton, Turnbull, Hanson and Veruca Salt – How Tolerant?

Steve Price & Others Blaming “The Left”

The System isn’t Broken – We Are.

Follow Morrison’s Lead – Boot Them Out!

Women are just a Political Game for the QLD LNP.

The Poli-Stakes Cup (Warning Satire!)

December, 2016

Family Court of Australia – Men’s Experiences

The Ballad of Auspol 2016

2017 – It’s Time to be like Gough

Fishing R Us – The Best Aussie Advert Ever

and of course – The Red Window Blog – 2016 in Review.

Some Red Window Political Memes of 2016

tax-dodger-originalHAPPY 2017!!!!!

Family Court of Australia – Men’s Experiences

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It is time for a National inquiry into the Family Law Court. This inquiry should seek to understand if decisions are balanced and fair for both parties. A system of review and redress should follow.

Listening to the stories of men

Over the past year, I have engaged with men online and their stories about their experiences with Family Court matters. I have also been privy to the stories of men I know personally and their experiences within the Family Court system in Australia. I have found these stories to be quite alarming.

I believe there is a system of unfairness. There are indeed enough personal recounts that I have personally come across to conclude that some/many men appear to be on the receiving end of injustice and unfairness within the Family Court system. It is fair to assume that this extends beyond my own networks and could indeed be a prevalent experience amongst men.

The child should always be placed at the centre of the policy framework. The best outcome for the child should be to have regular physical and emotional contact with both parents, wherever possible.

I am a strong believer that if there is no violence, where neither parent, nor child is in danger from the other; that both parents have the same right to be involved fully in their child’s life. That should be seen as fair and just. If that means that neither parent can leave the geographical area, then so be it.

For some men, this is not a complex matter of whom the child lives with; but it is simply a matter of being given ‘permission’ to have physical contact with their own child on a regular basis – to simply be involved. That basic right should always be decided upon in a fair and just manner, with the child at the centre of the decision. Not the desires of either parent placed at the centre of the decision.

Just one of the stories

One personal story told to me recently, was from a young father.  He has fought to be able to spend time with his child since the day she was born. The mother had already decided “her baby” did not need a father, prior to the birth (his personal recount and he showed me text messages to the same effect). The father has seen the child for only 32 days out of 530 days, despite a mediated parenting agreement being in place. I am reassured that there was/is no violence and no unusual circumstances. The existing mediated agreement also support this is not the case. This is just a simple story of a father who wants to be involved in his child’s life.

In this instance, the mother has moved five times. The father has travelled to various places to see his child all in the relatively close geographical area, up to an hour and a half away. However, recently the mother took the child and moved 2,500 km’s away across three states without telling the father. One day she did not show up at the agreed place to deliver the child to the father for his scheduled visit at his home. The mother was unable to be contacted for months.

The mother ignored the parenting agreement already decided upon in mediation in the court system during the first round of appeal by the father to spend time with his child (Legal proceedings commenced from the day the child was born). The mother removed the child and took the child to live three states away in the period between the court mediated parenting agreement and the official court ruling (which I understand confirms the parenting agreement agreed to at mediation).

After a court battle instigated by the father (which has been ongoing since the birth of the child), the judge decided ‘although it is not ideal’ he will be at least ‘allowed’ to Skype his child twice a week. The judge acknowledged the mother broke the parenting agreement but ruled that the mother does not have to return the child to the same geographical area so the father can have regular access.

This was because the mother has relatives in the state she moved to. The mother also has relatives in the area the child was born and removed from. However, this was not taken into account. Most importantly, the fact that the child has the other parent – a key and major relative back where the child was moved from – was completely ignored.

His new reality

The father’s involvement in the child’s life will be via a screen on an I-Phone – twice per week. The Skype calls so far have been about 15 minutes long. The child is under two years old. The father is around 20 years old. For this young man, the legal battle to see his child continues. He has been informed to appeal this, he needs to travel three states away and appeal the matter in the court where the mother now resides.

For men with little income, how do they cope with this, let alone the emotional turmoil?

The most difficult part for me as the recipient of this story, was the feeling of helplessness for the father who is so distraught at being punished because, in his own words:

“I have done everything the court has said to do. I followed the agreement. I have done nothing wrong. She has done everything wrong. How is that fair? How is that fair?”

If listening to this brings forth such distressing emotions for me, a third party – what is the actual emotional toll on the father? I conclude it is insurmountable.

How many stories similar to this young man’s story are there?

Why does this matter?

The impetus for my writing this is a question from this father: “What is the point of a parenting agreement, if one party can just break it?” How is that fair? After hearing this story, it appears that mediated agreements have no weight as a legal mechanism to protect the rights of either parent. In this case – the father’s rights.

If there is no case for violence, danger or unusual circumstances (drugs/alcohol etc.), laws need to be reviewed to ensure that the child is placed at the centre of decisions made and fairness for both parties prevails.

I am not a family law expert and I declare that I have no experience in studying family law and I do not understand the complexities of the system. However, I am an individual who sees patterns in narrative. It is patterns in narrative – in stories of lived experience which set the foundations of how our society is shaped. I have developed the belief that there is something wrong with the shape of this part of our society at present.

The patterns in narrative I am seeing are raw, emotional, frightening and alarming.  I simply have to say… or do something. I cannot have a platform such as a blog and remain silent on this matter.  I don’t see the point of being someone who is actively engaged politically just to ignore what I am hearing. I don’t see the point of labelling myself a liberal feminist, or a democratic socialist, if I ignore a blatant area of inequality which can be redressed by a review of the existing law and on what basis decisions are made.

The stories I have engaged with online and amongst others within my own networks, all point to that men are overwhelmingly experiencing injustice and inequality in Family Law cases and there is an pool of emotional pain that is as vast as it is deep. There simply must be a better solution. With same sex couples also with families, the notion of the woman having prominence of all decisions can no longer be the norm and should never have been. This should never be about gender. The child simply must be at the centre of this policy debate.

For those of us who claim to be for equality and social justice, we must ask why more attention is not being paid to men who are self harming, who are in severe emotional distress and who are also taking their own lives, because of decisions in the family court.

This is not my story. I am merely the story-teller. As a woman, I do not have this experience as a father. I have been told by men that this is their reality – this is their lived experience due to decisions of the Family Court of Australia.

Gathering evidence for a proposal

I simply seek to bring a proposal to the two political major parties and advocate that they take a serious view of the stories of men. I will be seeking that they agree to bi-partisan support.

Once I have gathered enough evidence for a proposal, I  will ask that they recommend a National Inquiry into the Family Court of Australia. I will also ask that they seek to implement an operational strategy where cases can be re-heard and a system of redress is put into place.

To assist me in gathering evidence for a proposal, I have developed a short questionnaire (see below). Please feel free to share your story and opinion by completing the survey below. The purpose of this short questionnaire is to collect stories from men who feel they have experienced injustice in the Family Court of Australia.

These stories will be used to identify main themes to highlight where there may be consistent areas of inequality.  You may use a pseudonym and please do not include any identifying details.

This proposal will be sent to Ministers and politicians relevant to this area, to advocate for a national review of the Family Court of Australia; including a proposal for a system of individual review and redress, where inequality is identified.

From the information gathered, other suggestions will also be proposed, as per the lived experience of men who have completed this survey.

My aim is not about one gender winning or one gender losing, but ensuring that this is brought to light so we have an actual system of fairness and the child is placed at the centre of any decisions made.

Please note this is a point of advocacy. It is not a guaranteed solution. I do not know what the outcome will be, but this needs to start somewhere.

Click HERE to complete the Survey.

The Ballad of Auspol 2016

shearers-strike-2

Mr. Harbour-side Mansion, or so he’s been called, waved and smiled at those below him
Leather jacket gone, I lean to the right, I’ll do whatever you say, He told ’em
Two Thousand and Sixteen, I’ve been the selfie-Queen, everyone will recognise me
‘Cept that lady on the train, who was clearly insane, “Mr. PM” is how they baptised me.
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2017 – It’s Time to be like Gough

whitlam

Today, 5 December, 2016 marks 44 years since Gough Whitlam broke 23 years of conservative rule. In 2016, we saw a mark in our history where so many people are screaming for change. In 2017, It’s time to be like Gough.

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Fishing R Us – The Best Aussie Advert Ever

fishing-r-us

Last night on Facebook, I came across an advert by Fishing R US, advertising their WTF sale. This is clearly one of the best Aussie adverts ever. I don’t know a thing about fishing, but I bloody well love this ad!

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Cameron Slaps Down Anti-Worker Party One Nation

hanson-worker-deaths

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has agreed to sign off on the anti-worker ABCC Bill. Labor’s Senator Doug Cameron has hung up One Nation’s dirty laundry out to dry for everyone to see.

Labor’s Senator Doug Cameron fought the anti-worker parties yesterday in the senate. He pointed out One Nation’s hypocrisy as the ‘Party for the Average Australian.’ The Average Australian does not have a helicopter pilot like Ms. Hanson; they go out every day and slog their guts out for a weekly wage.

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Oh Do Shut Up! The Lib/Lab Duopoly is Bullshit!

shearers-strike

Unionists Marched Under the Eureka Flag in 1891

To quote Crowded House “They come, they come, to build a wall between us.” Well, this wall already exists between us and it has existed for at least 125 years in Australia. This wall is the wall between the employer and the worker. The very existence of this wall explains why the so-called Lib/Lab Duopoly is Bullshit…..and I do wish that people would really just shut up about it.

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Dutton, Turnbull, Hanson and Veruca Salt – How Tolerant?

i-want-it-now3

Australia is taking carpark rage to an entire new level. The fight is over space in Australian society and how many white people get to park in that space. This has become a tirade of sobbing and wailing and crying by some really loud white people with loads of money, privilege and power. Not happy with all of this, they want more and they want it now! If they don’t get everything they want, just like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka they are going to scream!

I want the world, I want the whole world.
And if I don’t get the things I am after, I’m going to scream!

 

I want it now gif.gif

Help! I’m scared of losing my whiteness

Peter Dutton is terrified that he might lose a bit of white space in society, so he wants to shut that down right now. He wants it to stop now! So just like Veruca Salt, he had a bit of a scream the other day. His scream was demanding that white Australians should think that Lebanese people (or people we might think are Lebanese because plenty of Australians won’t know the difference!) are terrorists, because he does.

As a rich white man with privilege and power, Dutton insists we should all get on board his train and take a journey through the “tunnel of stigmatisation.” 

Just like Willy Wonka’s train ride through the ‘tunnel of hell’ This train ride Dutton wants you on, is meant to scare the bejesus out of you, and it will end up taking you to the room where you will be encouraged to participated in a ‘bad deed.’ Take the ‘everlasting Gobstopper.’ More on that later.

willy-wonka

Because when you are scared, you will vote for the protectors and that is what all of this is about and the very reason Hanson oozes it and Turnbull defends it.

The advice I have is that out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 of those people are from second and third generation Lebanese-Muslim background.

He has been around a long time. He knows the power of words in politics. He is well aware of today’s new trend of Hansonism and Trumpism. He knows his statement was about creating fear and looking to those who announce the fear as ‘protectors.’

This is not the first time Dutton has spewed forth such hateful divisive rhetoric, nor will it be his last. He needs to be sent to the back bench immediately and scorned by all of his party, particularly the Prime Minister. But hey, obviously just a dream, because that is not what happened…..

Peter is such a good little white boy, says Malcolm

Then we had the Prime Minister having a bit of a scream in Dutton’s defence. Taking Dutton’s broad brush Turnbull painted the big white space in Australia with a second gloss coat. He endorsed Dutton by not condemning his words but by praising Dutton as a good human being, committed and compassionate.

Heads up Turnbull, it is not compassionate to paint an entire race of people with the ‘Be scared of them’ brush. If you call that leadership, your idea of leadership is crap, mate.

“Peter Dutton is a thoughtful and committed and compassionate Immigration Minister,” 

Please explain what this big word “Tolerance” means

Pauline Hanson, the Jimmy Swaggart of the Nationalist set in Australia, screamed once again like the wailing fish-wife that she is in the true sense of the word. This time it was about ‘her tolerance.’

If Hanson has to complain about ‘enacting the labour’ of tolerating people who speak up against racism, who defend those humiliated, stigmatised and shunned because of her own words, she should not have a seat in the Senate. That in itself is an insult to our democracy, regardless of how she got there. 

For over twenty years she has been screaming at white Australia about how hard done by they are.  First it was the Aboriginals getting more than white people, then it was the Asians who were taking us over and now it is Muslim people who are ‘swamping us’. Her most sickening and lowest scream is her tantrum about how women victims of domestic violence make it all up. Men are the real victims of domestic violence, according to Hanson. An insult to women who have survived and an insult to the women who have died. Yet she claims she is so tolerant she is sick of her own tolerance. I think it is fair to say that Pauline Hanson does not understand the meaning of the word “Tolerance.”  

She appears to tolerate and accept worker deaths though. Why is that?

Not so tolerant about worker deaths.

If Hanson wants to scream about men being the major victim of something, she should be screaming about worker deaths. I don’t hear her screaming that her support for the ABCC will see even more workers dying on the job-site.  Apparently that must not be a vote grabber. Apprently you can’t deflect blame onto brown people for that one.

In an alternate universe: If only the boss men on construction sites were people of colour and white men were dying due to the unsafe work practices enforced by people of colour.

If only this was the scenario would we see the truth about Hanson. Would Hanson still support the ABCC which will see workers jailed and fined for stopping work due to a death on site? A very serious question to ask. My bet would be NO, she would not. She would stand there pointing fingers and screaming at the people of colour who would be to blame for the deaths of white men and she would be condemning the ABCC with every screach and squawk she could muster.

There are however vote grabs in those who believe the lies and baseless accusations against Unions, so she is supporting the ABCC. Hanson is an opportunist until her last breath, who is playing with the lives of hard working men and women. Very Un-Australian. Very sickening.

So we hear so much about freedom of speech and how tolerant people need to be of Hanson’s divisive rhetoric. I would like to discuss how regressive this stance actually 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. Marcuse (1960’s) believed that the tolerance of ideas that were harmful to society encouraged a repressive society rather than enable a progressive one.

Discriminate tolerance 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.

Those who sit on the right wing and the extreme right, the Conservative-Liberals and the Hansonites 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. How is that good for society?

A thirteen year old boy committed suicide a few days ago, because bullies used ‘freedom of speech’ towards him being gay. Harmful words can and do cause death. This should be marked as a national tragedy. 

I ask you again. How is absolute freedom of speech good for society?

Marcuse does not argue for complete indiscriminate tolerance, but discriminate tolerance where we tolerate ideas unless they are harmful. The harmful ideas should be framed and set aside. The Greens walking out on Hanson’s speech was symbolism of ‘Framing Hanson’s harmful ideas and setting her aside.’

Marcuse’s argument is that unless this is done, we are tolerating for the sake of being tolerant and impeding progress.

So what of Truth?

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.’ A forte of Hanson, Trump, Dutton and Christensen and the media in Australia (with the exception of Andrew P Street, that guy rocks!)

This imbalance of power in our democratic society frames truth in a frame that there is only one rational and objective truth. There is not just ‘one truth.’ There are multiple truths and multiple realities.  

The truths of minority groups should be considered and heard. Not just the truth of Hanson, Dutton and Christensen, Reclaim Australia and other Nationalist groups and individuals who have internal racist unconcious bias, yet see people who call this out as ‘smug’ and ‘wrong’. 

Minority groups will not be heard, with the freedom of speech brigade making it too difficult to speak up. Minority groups have the right to live in peace without judgement. They should not be shut down because others who cause great harm through their words insist on absolute freedom of speech with no consequence and insiste we have indiscriminate tolerance.

The right to freedom of speech is about the white wealthy privilege of keeping minority groups excluded. It is not about equality, or inclusion. If Hanson thinks her rhetoric is about ‘equality’ and that she is the superior being who will bring equality to Australians, Hanson has a serious case of Dunning-Kruger effect. (Shout out to “MH” you know who you are).

Everlasting Gobstopppers

To return back to the theme of Willy Wonker let me put the current rise of nationalism and racism into perspective. Charlie gave back the Everlasting Gobstopper because he had a bloody moral compass! He did not want to participate in a bad deed. If Charlie was in this debate, he would not want to participate in divisiveness and hateful rhetoric towards groups which cause stigma and even death.

Think of Charlie’s Everlasting Gobstopper as the metaphor that gives voice to inequality, stigma, shaming, humilation and setting asside minority groups as ‘strange and weird’ and even something to be fearful of. Charlie’s Everlasting Gobstopper is the voice of Hanson, Dutton, Christensen, Nationalist movements and those like Turnbull and the Media who enable them.

If you are currently supportive of this type of hateful rhetoric as not-harmful and helpful ‘freedom of speech’ but may now be having second thoughts, stand up, speak out and condemn words that harm others and give back your Everlasting Gobstopper.  If you gave back your Everlasting Gobstopper long ago, I thank you.

So shines a good deed in a weary world.
everlasting-gobstopper

 

 

The System isn’t Broken – We Are.

broken-system

The system is broken. This is a common response in many political discussions across social media. I disagree. I believe we are broken. Not the system.

Over the years we have seen many right-wing parties rise up across the world out of what I would describe as the bottomless pit of apathy and agitation. Analysis of the voter demographic these parties appeal to are largely the low socio-economic working class, welfare recipients or a mix of work and welfare. In addition, this demographic is usually described as having a lower level of education and most likely live in regional and rural areas. Essentially, individuals within these groups have barrier/s of disadvantage.

Marine Le Pen like Pauline Hanson, leads a right-wing Conservative-Nationalist party. Le Pen in France, Hanson in  Australia.

Both Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Le Pen’s Nationalist Front, target high unemployment, low-income areas, where the lower-middle working class are struggling to make ends meet.

Once the voice of the anti-worker and champions of Austerity take hold, it gets harder and harder but much easier for parties such as these to take hold.

Tactical Trump Manoeuvres

As we see with Trump’s tactical objectives in the USA campaign, Trump can easily be completely devoid of any real solutions. Solutions do not matter. The main objective is to bring to the surface the abject feeling of despair and find a target to blame that despair on. The target is always a minority group.

The game play then is to just pop up and say he will fix it. How, is not important. A way out of the feeling of frustration and anger is. This is consistent with the right-wing conservative-nationalists parties making headway through populist politics. 

In all cases, Trump, Hanson and Le Pen, the target for blame are Muslims. Other cultures and particular races can be mixed in as well. However, the key objective is that the voter-target demographic are not familiar with these groups. Members of these group are most likely not prevalent in the demographics of the voter-target regions. They are not usually known as close friends, or family members of the voter-target demographic.

They key is to divide us. The key is to make us broken.

The Appeal of One Nation in the Regions.

Taking this into consideration, there should be no surprise that One Nation votes are high in Regional Queensland. Regional Queensland ticks all the boxes for the target voter demographic.There are very few Muslims and these areas do not have a heavy concentration of multiculturalism. This makes these groups easy targets for blame, as members within these groups appear foreign and not familiar. 

Unemployment is rising, wages have stagnated, parents worry constantly about their children’s future, water is scarce in some places and if you are sick, you may need to travel more than twelve hours to get treatment and stay thousands of miles away from those who love you and support you. These things take a toll on people. It really is not fair.

The reason these target groups are selected to place blame on; is it is much easier to dehumanise a race, or a particular group if there is no personal connection to that race or group.

It should be no surprise that One Nation has backed off attacking and degrading Aboriginals as ‘the other lot that get everything we don’t’ as was her key mantra her first time in office.

That is because times have changed and there is much more acceptance and a lot of divisiveness from the 80s, 90s and early 2000’s has healed. A lot of lifelong friendships have been made and mixed families are the norm today. 

The same applies for Asians as a target. It would be ridiculous to state that we are being swamped by Asians, when it still has not come true 20 years after Hanson campaigned on this the first time.

Consistently, Pauline Hanson, just like Pen and Trump, deflect blame to minority groups.

If anyone tells me that Hanson is not taking aim at a target demographic to exploit their vulnerabilities and anxieties for her own financial and political gain…I call B*llshit!

The System isn’t Broken – It’s Us.

The link between Trump, Le Pen and Hanson, is that people are turning away from the policy makers and turning to the populist makers.  Policy is complex. It needs to take into account the interests of multiple stakeholders and other factors. Policy isn’t three word slogans. Seriously, what has Jobson Growth done for you since July 2?

I am not saying by any means that all policy is where it should be.  However, a true progressive would never be satisfied with the status quo. Otherwise, they would be a conservative. That is why regardless of past hurdles to achieving  marriage equality, even within Labor; the voices who believed in this change, stayed there and advocated that change. They did not quit and join a splinter party or chucked in the towel.

Today, the hateful and divisive plebiscite was voted down and Labor guarantees to legislate for marriage equality within the first 100 days, if when they win office, in 2019 2017.

It is only by strong voices staying there and fighting that fight, that they remained unbroken.

It’s Born in You.

I read two sentences today that really, truly affected me. Deng Adut – NSW Australian of the Year, said:

A person was not an Australian because they were born in Australia but because Australia was born in them.

What a person did for their country was what made it meaningful.

Not only was it one of the most powerful quotes ever in our history, Adut’s words made me reflect on my decision to join a political party.  That is, that regardless of whether you agree with my politics or not (Labor), I am engaged at a level as much as I can be. From a very young age, when I saw how my parents struggled under Fraser, and I listened to the contrast of Hawke, politics was born in me. I’ve bled red since. 

I have no aspirations to become a politician (I would love to be a researcher for a politician, but that is as far as it would go). However, I get engaged in politics, with like-minded people and we collaborate and share ideas to put forward. 

I cannot speak for other parties, but I know in the party I chose to join – Labor,  we have policy discussion as a standing agenda item, we have a Regional Conference, where everyday people like you and me, put forward our policy ideas, this then goes onto State Conference and Federal Conference. That is democracy at work. That is grassroots. It is being heard. That is the bottom up approach and I am proud to be a part of it.  

The noise in the media about political parties, the personalities within, the factions or divisions, is not what it is about. Politics is about a wider cause. Every party gets there in a different way.

If you are looking to have a voice, make it heard. Don’t just wait for someone to listen. We have free agency in this country. Well, no not all of us. Some of us don’t. If you know people who have trouble speaking up, or minority groups that are not heard, be an ally and ask if you can assist with advocacy. Also, join activist groups. Get involved.

We are broken because we are turning away from the collectivist roots that have bound us and allowed us to achieve progress for many years. We are broken because we are fractioning off. We still have voices, but they are fractured and quiet. Not loud and united.

We see this fractioning so strongly in the USA right now, just within the left itself. Here we have the most dangerous USA Republican Presidential candidate in my lifetime and the only party who can stop this, is the Democrats.  We have seen Bernie supporters still dedicated to someone who will not be in power. Who has no possible way to stop Trump. Yet, this loyalty is more important than joining in the SAME party and doing their very best for the cause.  Or the third-party voters who are also doing absolutely nothing to stop Trump. Just championing their cause.

Sometimes it is more important to stop someone so destructive, than be a ‘champion for your cause.’  This scenario is no different in Australia today.

A political party cannot effect change, if they are not in power. Evil will not be stamped out, if they are always in power.

The Birth of Liberal and Labor

The Liberal and National Coalition and the Labor Party are the ONLY two parties that can form Government. They were born from two competing view points and still are two competing ideologies. They are not the same. FriendlyJordies will explain why.

The Labor party was born from unionists standing collectively side by side and fighting for their rights. A simple fair days work for a fair days pay. Today, that is not such a radical idea, because this fight – the real bloodshed and jail time of everyday workers, gave us that. The fact that unions are out there every single day fighting for our rights, also gives us that. But the battle is still on.

The Liberal party was born from the idea that non-Labor parties join together to fight against those who fight for the worker and advocate Individualism and the Free Market. As we can see with policy positions such as the ABCC, privatisation of public services, abolishment of penalty rates, reducing or abolishing the minimum wage, punitive job seeker frameworks and other attacks on welfare. That this battle is still on.

It is a simple equation. For the middle and lower working class, work is central to everything we do. It puts food on the table, it buys school uniforms, it pays the rent or the mortgage, it puts petrol in the car, and it gives us choices of leisure to name a few. 

For people who are not in receipt of a working wage for whatever reason, it is our responsibility as citizens to make sure that those who are for individualism and austerity, do not have louder voices than the ones who are for unity and solidarity.

Decent wages and fair conditions and a supportive welfare system, do not just come wrapped up in a bow at Christmas. They are fought for. Long and hard by so many today and before us.

Be the Glue that fixes the system

Whatever your political persuasion, I fully encourage you to join a political party. If not Labor (which obviously I’m biased and I’d recommend), choose a major party who can form Government and effect change, which has the same democratic bottom up approach to policy and member’s voice that Labor has. 

No, Labor does not have perfect policy in all areas. However, members are given a voice for change on serious platforms. To progress, political parties need the people to be champions of that change. As Obama has said:

obama-quote2

Obama does not belong to a third-party or a splinter group.

If you want the system to not be broken, get amongst it and be the glue that fixes the system. Have a louder voice than the voices who are putting forward the policies you don’t like. Be part of the change you want to see.

Don’t just listen to someone who says they are listening but have no real solutions. Be the solution.  

Even after knowing a third-party, splinter group will never gain power and can never effect real change and you still decide to align yourself with a splinter group or a third party; fight the bloody enemy for goodness sake. We don’t need a replica of Sanders vs. Clinton in Australia when there are Orcs to slay! Take a leaf out of Albo’s book and “Fight some Tories.”

Unity is Key

Unity is the key. Not splintering off into smaller groups. This is the only thing that can beat the loud voices of Populism, Nationalism, Conservatism and Austerity.

John Howard showed us this when he forced us to use Australian Workplace Agreements and tried to abolish collective agreements. His policies were purposely built to break us.

One voice  – your voice to stand alone to negotiate your wage, is pointless, especially when he abolished unfair dismissal laws at the same time.  Never. Ever. Forget.

As Albo said tonight on Qanda, The Liberals and the Nationals – always, always try to divide us. It is their key strategy always. Splintering off into smaller groups, or deciding politics isn’t worth it, divides us even further. It is in their interest to make us broken. Hanson and parties like her’s are the bots that feed off the negative emotions that bleed out from all of this.

Hanson may not have been voted in on this platform, but everything her party has backed so far in the Senate, shows what they actually stand for. That is joining with the Liberals to create more and more division and more and more hardship for the worker and those on welfare. Working against the very interests of her voter base.

The Trump experience shows us how powerful and ugly the anti-worker, anti-socialism, anti-environmentalism, anti-woman, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, ableist, nationalist populist can be, when they have a huge following. We don’t need that here.

I believe we are at the cusp of that tipping point in Australia. Right here. Right now.  We do have the power to change that. Together. Unbroken. In Unity.

The Poli-Stakes Cup (Warning Satire!)

parliament-racing

Good afternoon folks and it’s a wonderful day out here at Flemington today for the Poli-stakes cup.

The Horses look in fine form as they head towards the starting barrier. Abbott looks pretty rank and a bit full of himself ready to run. A hot tip today says he is in top form to take a place if not the top spot. No sir, we will not see this Stallion sitting in the back of the pack for long.

Hold up! There is a bit of commotion as Hanson is protesting that Aly and Dastyari should not be allowed in the race.  Last time she protested against Wong and Dodson, but she seems to have packed that game away.

It’s only her second time on the track but this untamed chestnut is proving to be a challenge to get under control before they even get into the gates. This filly may run into problems in this race as her fitness is down due to her poor diet. She has refused to eat hay, oats, carrots and drink water because they are all Halal.

Well what a day! Now we have Malcolm Roberts holding up. He is checking conspiracy blogs for the empirical evidence that the race is actually on before he commits to moving into the barrier.

And it looks like they are finally all moving into the barrier, with Leyonhjelm and Hinch madly tweeting abuse at each other as they approach the gates.

Yep all set now. They are in…..

And they’re off! And they shoot out with Turnbull taking the lead….but what’s this? We have a bit of a bungle at the starting gate folks – It looks like Bob Day has packed it in.

It seems that Dougie Cameron boxed him in and he has nowhere to go….and he is out. Bob Day has chucked in the towel and quit the race folks!

And back to the pack. Simon Birmingham looks shakily nervous as he contemplates if he will be forced back to the barrier and follow Bob Day.

And the pack is tightly bunched as they head down the straight, nothing much in it folks, just a slight margin between Turnbull at the front of the pack who is just a nose in front of Abott and the monkey pod who look sure to over take him.

As we come into the turn, that troublesome chestnut Hanson has come in down the inside of Turnbull. He is lugging in trying to stay on the inside, but he is taken up and Hanson pushes him to the far right and now he is in tight with nose to tail to Christensen.  It looks like Abbott might take that lead after all.

Shorten is gaining pace and racing ahead almost to the front of the pack. DiNatale, is alongside on the left and it looks like he is trying hard to jostle for position to take up the whole left field.

It appears from where I sit folks, DiNatale may be trying to throw the race!  He looks like his main aim is to hold Shorten back, rather than win the race.  Although this is far from his first race, DiNatale’s actions consistently in every race are what you would expect of a green horse. It looks like he still lacks serious form, folks.

What a race this has been!

As we approach the turn we see Watts and Butler making some headway. These shining stars are the ones to watch folks.

Brandis is running last of all. He’s got a lot of baggage weighing him down and he looks as if he is in serious trouble.

Just in front of Brandis, we have The Boats who don’t seem like they are going anywhere. It seems Dutton has pulled up and is holding pace third from last in an effort to stop The Boats and we are seeing some repulsive manoeuvres from him here today in his usual callous style.

The right side of the punters in the stands are going crazy! They can’t get enough of him.

And we are into the backstretch folks! The pack is still tight, Turnbull has fallen further behind at every pole and looks like he won’t come home ahead.

We have just had a rogue horse come onto the track and enter the race! This is all on today folks! Anything can happen in this race! He’s moving into the lead fast.  It’s Dr. Falzon. Dr. Falzon has joined the race!

This is getting crazier by the minute folks.  He has just ridden up behind Shorten and whipped him across the back of the head with a giant basics card.

Well he is off. It looks like that is all he was here to do today. Let’s see if that shook Shorten up.

As they come towards the turn, it is Abbott and Shorten neck and neck, with the pack two lengths behind and Brandis and his baggage still last of all.

As they come into the final turn, we see DiNatale trying to catch these two major players, but he looks like he has a buckleys chance in hell folks.

Its Shorten, Abbott, Shorten, Abbott.

No!!!! It could be all over folks! Media Agenda who has been lurking in the middle of the pack is now streaming down the outside.

Shorten and Abbott have been blind-sided.

It’s Media Agenda now controlling this race.

Media Agenda!!!

Media Agenda!!

And Media Agenda WINS!