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Malcolm Turnbull

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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.

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.

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

defence-land-grab

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.

landry-petition

Please Sir…Can I have some More? Mooooree?

 

turnbull-winning

It is very clear to us now that Malcolm Turnbull knows his place and we should all damn well know ours. Through his attack on Bill Shorten yesterday, he let us all know that only the ‘real’ rich kids get to sit at the table with other ‘real’ rich kids. If you are the poor kid who gets that invitation to go to the cool rich kids party, then you better not show up, cos the rich kids are waiting to slap you down.

Please Sir Can I Have Some More?

In question time yesterday, Labor Leader, Bill Shorten loudly objected to the Turnbull Government’s harsh cuts on families, pensioners and the poor in general. For those who continuously state that Liberal and Labor are the same; please take note of this stark contrast between the two and please press the buzzer and get off this bizarre unicorn led school bus you are riding.

You know, the cuts that mean sausages and mince some nights and peanut on bread the other nights.

Cuts that mean that even if your kid is a bloody star and you are so proud of them, they have to just miss out, because you can no longer afford footy fees or singing lessons.

The cuts that mean pensioners cannot afford to keep cool or keep warm because it is a choice between meager amounts of food or electricity.

Cuts from an uncaring Government who are threatening jail to disability pensioners, whilst their leader smiles as he protects the big banks and big companies.

Liberals always tout their very loud support for the low paid casualised labour, abolition of penalty rates and high childcare fees.  This means that most families need to rely on family payments to simply make ends meet. Yet Turnbull decides it might be fun to cut that too.

The Liberals very vocal advocacy of making it really super easy to sack people, like their mate John Howard did, forces many families to work for next to nothing. They never rise up, stay complacent, never complain. This means a dream of a fair days work for a fair days pay is just a dream. Full time work is not even in the scope of reality.  Yet Turnbull decides to cut the one thing that makes up the gap for these struggling families: Family Payment.

Real Leadership

Shorten had enough so he rightly attacked the Government and stood up and spoke up for every single parent, child and even the family dog that these cuts hurt.  Shorten insisted that these pensioners and families, to please sir, have some more.

Moooooreeee????

Just like in Oliver Twist, when he asked “Please Sir, Can I have some more?” Turnbull, just like the big fat custodian of the workhouse, bellowed at the orphaned worker “Moooorreeee?”

Turnbull yesterday moved through classic literature in one very angry rant. Moving from the Workhouse boss in Oliver Twist and then transforming into Flashman from Tom Brown’s School Days. Shouting at Shorten, “How dare you, you poor person sit with the rich kids!” While Flashy’s mates stood around him smugly laughing.

It is a wonder Turnbull didn’t yell at Shorten:

“You’ll be fagging for me by the end of term, BOY!”

As Rhys Muldoon summed it up yesterday:

Morphing yet again, we have Barnaby this time, in the background, Turnbull’s main Droogie from A Clockwork Orange, who has made his way to parliament yesterday straight from the Korova Milk Bar where he overdosed on some horrorshow Moloko.

(If you don’t understand any of these examples, I suggest you lobby the Liberal Government to start re-funding the Arts).

Destroying the Liberal Ideology in One Rant

So there we have it. Turnbull destroyed the Liberal  Party ideology in one big fat childish rant. The Liberal ideology that tells people who “If you work hard enough, you will make it.”

The way they always tell us that “Everyone is born equal and it is up to you to be all the way up here with us! You can do it. We did!”

The sniveling privileged born to rule ideology that insists that if you haven’t made it, it is all your fault and you should be ashamed.

The stigmatising and derogatory ideology that points to anyone on welfare as a criminal and a cheat. That is while the Liberals sit there and destroy the economy so there are no jobs to be had!

The main point of Turnbull’s rant yesterday was that even if you do work hard like Bill Shorten and end up earning $400,000 a year, and become the leader of a major party, you will never, ever, ever be a real rich kid. The rich kids will be here to push you around to remind you just where you have come from.  

Turnbull made the very big point that if you start even hanging around with the rich kids, we will make sure we let the other poor kids know, that now you are rich you have lost your values and you are now one of us.  You know, the rich kids who hate and ridicule the poor kids.

It speaks volumes that a strict conservative like Cory Bernardi has jumped ship. Conservatives may have twisted values, but one thing they loathe is uncouth clowns like Turnbull who cannot hold it together.

Just Two Things

Malcolm Turnbull like all self entitled right wingers do when they are lost and backed into a corner did.  He spurted a great big lump of psychological projection. As a poor kid of the 70s and 80s, Turnbull only said two things to me yesterday:

  • Only the real rich kids belong at the table with other rich kids
  • Rich people never, ever understand poor people. We loathe them and we simply must punish them, so they never ever join our circles.

Considering Turnbull is both in abundance, how is it possible that he can Govern for more than one percent of our people? The truth is, he does not.

For the Common Good

I will end this article with some more of Shorten’s words to show that it will not matter how many rich people he dines with (even if they did die eight years ago), he has stayed true to his Labor values.  This is Shorten on why Labor fights to help people with a disability.

As a poor kid of a Father with a disability, these words mean a lot to me, as it is how Dad used to explain it. “On the invalid pension, you never ever get a chance to get ahead. You are punished until the day you die.” he would say.  

shorten-on-the-ndis

This is the alternative Prime Minister telling his story behind his involvement in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

This is a narrative you will never ever hear from the Prime Minister Turnbull, even if he is angry and shouting as loud as he can.

Nerds Who Get Stuff Done Unite!

The media are hailing Turnbull a hero for berating the man and attacking the man. They must get super excited over right-wing nut job trolls on Twitter!

That night, the Policy Nerd Shorten smiled through yet another Sales interview on ABC 7.30. Instead of asking more about Shorten’s concerns, Sales tried to excuse Turnbull’s right to have his pointed personal attack on ‘the man.’

The current state of politics as described by the media is:

Angry shouty born to rule elites devoid of policy, just so they can wear a crown and destroy the country?

Hell Yes!

Policy Nerds who quietly get stuff done in the background. Like say, a national scheme to assist people with a disability. You know, stuff that really matters….

Boring! Bah! Boo!

What Turnbull did yesterday was what every single LNP or nationalist nut job on Twitter does, day in day out. Yells, Screams and personally attacks people because they cannot understand, nor articulate policy. Yesterday, Turnbull was like a real life Twitter Troll come to life. It was incredible to watch.

Heads up to the Media.  This is NOT leadership. 

Turnbull is right to worry about a stab in the back. He should worry some more. There are literally thousands of idiots on Twitter who do the same ranty personal attack diatribe every day and some are very skilled at it. With Hansonism, every idiot in a clown suit thinks they can now be Prime Minister.

Tick. Tock.

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

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!

march-in-march-1

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.

Follow Morrison’s Lead – Boot Them Out!

 

leave-now

Should we follow Scott Morrison’s example? Is it time to use Freedom of Speech as a precursor for a new model of Border Protection? Could we identify those who set out to destroy a peaceful society and create fear, dread and terror and boot them out?

There are a few constants that have been dragged up time and time again by the Abbott-Turnbull Government and two of these are Freedom of Speech and Border protection. The Liberals really want these two bills endorsed but there is opposition to block them.

However, should we grant unrestricted Freedom of Speech? Border Force could then identify, threatening speech and behaviour which creates, fear, dread and terror for many Australians and act on this quickly.

However, unrestricted Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom from consequence. If another human being or group inflicts emotional trauma, stigma, fear, dread and terror onto individuals or groups, they should be seen as violent individuals who are a threat to society.

The Border Protection Narrative

Asylum Seekers are held up as the universal threat to society. This underpins the harsh, punitive asylum seeker laws, the LNP champion to all of us, including the new proposed life time ban on asylum seekers who arrived by boat.

The Coalition have implied that Asylum Seekers are a threat to society as they are a burden on the taxpayer (Dutton) and Turnbull indirectly states that Asylum Seekers are a threat, due to the people who bring them here.

You should not underestimate the scale of the threat. These people smugglers are the worst criminals imaginable. (Turnbull, 30/10/2016)

Therefore, in the spirit of fairness and equity, if this logic is applied to asylum seekers coming by boat, then it stands to reason that we protect our borders from others who are a threat to our society and boot them out, never to be let back in again.

Let’s look to Scott Morrison as an example of how this works.

Follow Scott Morrison’s Lead

In 2014, Scott Morrison (then Minister for Border Protection) used his ‘power and authority’ to protect our borders. He threw someone out of the country who he determined was a threat to Australia.

This person was not an Asylum Seeker with brown skin, but a wealthy, white, “female attraction expert” or (Misogynicus Piggius). After a very active social media campaign, Scott Morrison cancelled the visa of Julien Blanc. Scott Morrison kicked Julien Blanc out of the country.

Mr. Morrison said of the cancellation of Blanc’s visa as:

“This guy wasn’t pushing forward political ideas, he was putting a view that was derogatory to women and that’s just something that our values abhor in this country,” he told Sky News.

Morrison acted on Julien Blanc because what he advocates is very harmful to women. If implemented by his male followers, we would see the physical and sexual harrassment of women in society, escalate. In a nutshell this is a threat to individuals, groups and society.

The Minister for Border Protection used his discretion to identify Blanc as a threat. This paves the way for the same discretion to be applied to identify other individuals or groups who are a threat to our way of life. 

This is why it is important to follow Scott Morrison’s lead.

Who are the real threats to society?

The Turnbull Government and the One Nation Party create fear, panic and dread for so many people in society. They do this through their freedom of speech to announce harmful cuts, stigmatising rhetoric and the purposeful division of society (Taxed and Taxed Nots, Homeless vs Refugees etc). One Nation encourages mass protests against segments of society, through alignment by choice with right wing Nationalists groups as well as their divisive and stigmatising rhetoric.

As per the example of Morrison above, these words and behaviours have the ability to incite violence towards individuals and groups. They are pushing a view that is derogatory to segments of society; and to align to Morrison’s quote – “and that’s just something that our values abhor in this country.” 

The Liberal and National Party politicians and One Nation Senators would be identified as a threat to society, if Morrison took the same logic and the same discretion and applied it to them. The perceived threats and the reasons they should be booted out of the country, are listed below.

Attacks on Unionised Workers and all workers

The ABCC will increase worker deaths, workers will face massive fines and also jail time, for stopping work, due to a safety breech in the workplace.  Destroying Rights at Work and purposesly implementing measures that will increase worker deaths is a direct threat to the lives of the Working Class.  

The LNP identify as a threat to the Worker. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on the vulnerable

The Turnbull Government are abolishing the Year 7 Whooping Cough Booster when there has been an increase in whooping cough deaths.  This puts, babies, young children, teenagers and the elderly at a high risk of death and/or serious illness.  Destroying imperative control measures for deadly diseases is a callous abomination and a threat to all of society.  

The LNP identify as a threat to the Vulnerable. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on Jobseekers

For putting forward a bill with even more disgusting and abhorrent punitive measures than the measures that jobseekers already have to face, including zero benefits for an entire month. Also for the Turnbull Government’s utter failure to create enough jobs to stimulate the economy and give the people a decent quality of life. In addition to giving job agencies the power to apply financial punishment to people in abject poverty – even if they are in hospital.

For imposing financial penalties for not finding jobs that do not exist; is sick, twisted and callous. These types of measures place the lives of young people in jeopardy and they face increased risk of suicide and homelessness. To have the intent of destroying the lives of the vulnerable is an absolute threat to all unemployed people now and in the future.

Another tactic to attack and dehuminise those on welfare, is to make up ludicrous mendacious claims about how much more money those on welfare get compared to ‘hard working Australians.’

In addition, the cashless welfare card is now proposed to be implemented Australia wide.

The LNP identify as a threat to the unemployed. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on LGBTIQ community

The insistance of a plebiscite has not been a civil debate so far

I would like to make special mention of George Christensen, who has young people living in fear in his own community because of his hateful rhetoric towards LGBTIQ people.

and also a special mention of Member for Mallee and Nationals MP, Andrew Broad, who equates marriage equality to rams having sex in a paddock.
The LNP identify as a threat to the LGBTIQ Community. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on First Nation People

For reducing 150 indigenous programs to just five. Cutting essential funding for legal services and the National Shame that is the Don Dale correctional facility and incarceration laws in some states and the absolute failure to ‘close the gap.’  Including defunding valuable programs for young people, such as the Jimmy Little Foundation.

The LNP identify as a threat to Australia’s First People. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on People with a Disability

By damaging the framework of the NDIS. So many people in dire need of assistance under the NDIS, championed it’s inception. However, we have now seen changes to payments and a letter detailing changes to the board. These changes indicate that those on the board with essential lived experience of disability, will now be replaced with those with Corporate experience.

The Abbodisabled-newstarttt-Turnbull Government is also hell bent on inflicting punitive measures on people with a disability. Pushing them off the pension and onto the punitive framework of Newstart. As detailed above, a stay in hospital is not a valid excuse for the overseas employment giant Max employment. They will still apply a financial penalty. This is a type of insane power and authority. This enables companies who work for the shareholders, rather than those who serve the public, to impose onto an already disadvantaged individual, a financial strain, when they are already finding it difficult to make ends meet.

In addition, the narrative used by the Liberal party when discussing welfare and disabilty, is ableist and degrading.

The LNP identify as a threat to people with a disability. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on Asylum Seekers and Xenophobia in general.

It is essential that this group is included. Asylum Seekers and anyone deemed as foreign (ie Muslims) have been used by the right side of politics for years now as a plaything in the game of spoiling identity.

The harmful rhetoric championed by Tony Abbott backed by his 1,000 flags and now adopted by our apprently ‘moderate’ Prime Minister Turnbull and inflamed to the Nth degree by Pauline Hanson and her merry band of devoted Nationalists, white supremiscists and Neo-Nazi’s; is one of the biggest threats to our society as a whole.

Due to this constant stigmatising and demonising rhetoric, individuals are verbally and physically abused. Some women have lost their freedom due to fear to go out in public.

This sickness. This irrational fear of people for no reason is alarming. Pauline Hanson and One Nation are central to inciting this divisiveness hatred and fear.

On Saturday, this was not just opinion or analysis, but a reality.

A Busload of Reclaim Australia and Pauline Hanson supporters bussed into Eltham.

They travelled especially to stand up against people in a community, about an issue that does not affect them, because they do not even live there.

They waved Australian Flags. They hid their faces by wrapping their head in a flag.

Riot Police were called in to stand guard – an indicator of the level of threat.

They rallied against refugee advocates.  These advocates expressed their views peacefully and showed their support for refugees with Butterflies.

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The LNP, One Nation Party and Nationalist support groups identify as a threat to Refugees and anyone who goes against their beliefs.  When we see those with intolerant views bussed into a peaceful community. When we see them displaying behaviours which cause others fear, dread and terror; the ‘them versus us’ debate has gone way, way, way too far. 

Protect our Borders. Boot them Out! Boot them ALL OUT!

Women are just a Political Game for the QLD LNP.

cwp-brittany

The encouragement of women into the political sphere and the development of current women MP’s should be a genuine intrinsic motivator for all politicians, across the political spectrum. However the Queensland State Liberal National Party Opposition have chosen to participate in political games, rather than engage in political progress for women. 

brittany-2The QLD LNP State Opposition have denied a pair for attendance at the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians’ (CWP) Annual Planning Meeting. Queensland Representative, Brittany Lauga, MP (ALP) is now unable to attend and Queensland will have no representative. A pair is required as QLD has a hung parliament. Ms. Lauga said that, “Pairs are granted all the time for Ministers and Members to attend different meetings.”

This is an indictment on the leadership and values of the LNP. It clearly shows that the LNP view women’s representation in politics as something frivolous to be scoffed at and something to play games with.

Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians

The CWP plays a vital role in the devolopment of women to enter into politics and also for the women who are currently in Office. The statement from the CWP website, describes their purpose as:

The CWP Steering Committee believes Australian political and party behaviours and cultures need to improve if we are to achieve equitable outcomes for women in Parliament. Moreover, women who are elected to Parliament deserve to be heard on policy and governance issues, especially gendered issues such as domestic violence where our laws and programs have tragically failed too many women.

It is essential that women politicians are given every opportunity to participate in any forum, conference or committee, which will enhance the role of women in public life.

Women’s representation in the State and Territory Parliaments is low and needs vast improvement.  The LNP have only eight women MPs out of a total of 42 MP’s in the QLD State Parliament (19%).

A Show of Good Bipartisanship

Ms. Verity Barton, MP (LNP), was the CWP QLD representative from 2012 – 2015.  Ms. Lauga wrote to the former CWP representative in the spirit of bipartisanship on the 25 October, 2016.

Dear Verity and the Broadwater EO,

On Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November 2016 the CWP is holding a face-to-face meeting in Hobart. I have negotiated with the CWP to allow an observer from the Queensland Opposition to attend and I wondered if Verity would like to be that representative? The Clerk of the Parliament and the Speaker have both approved this. Travel would have to be arranged using the Member’s GTA through Travel Services. Would you be interested in coming along?

Ms. Barton advised she was unable to attend.

Ms. Lauga then wrote to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Deb Frecklington MP, on the 27th October, 2016, to extend the offer to any other woman in the LNP Opposition.  However, to date, Ms. Lauga has not received a reply from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Ms. Barton was afforded every opportunity to attend CWP events as the Queensland representative from 2012 to 2015.  This includes attending the Pan-Commonwealth Conference for Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Houses of Parliament, UK,  in June 2014 and the 3rd Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum in Fiji, in May, 2015.
(pictured below).

 

verity-barton

Verity Barton at the CWP Conference UK,2014

verity-barton2-fiji

Verity Barton at the 3rd Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum, Fiji 2015

 

An ALP Junket and Upgrades to Business Class for LNP

In a statement to The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin on Wednesday 2nd November, 2016, an LNP spokesman advised that:

“Ms Lauga does not require leave from the Opposition to attend a parliamentary junket at taxpayers’ expense”

To describe a conference, which underpins the vital and crucial development of women representing women, in a country where Domestic Violence is an epidemic; as “A Junket” is beyond offensive to ALL women.

The statement from the LNP spokesperson is not only offensive, but the LNP may need to look in their own backyard before casting aspersions on others.

All MPs who undertake international travel are required to submit a report.  I have been able to source Ms. Barton’s report for her international travel to Fiji, but there appears to be an absence of a report for Ms. Barton’s international travel to London for the CWP Conference UK, 2014.

In addition, Ms. Barton’s Fiji report lists upgrades to business class equating to $1300. This exceeds the cost required for Ms. Lauga to attend the CWP Annual Planning meeting in Hobart.

If Ms. Barton has not submitted a report for her international travel to London, this may be a matter for the ethics committee.

Encouragement from the Speaker

The Speaker of the House, Mr. Peter Wellington, MP (IND) (and also chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of which CWP is a sub-branch) raised the matter today in the spririt of encouragement and fairness at a meeting between the LNP and Labor. However, the LNP still refused to grant a pair.

Ms. Lauga wrote to the Speaker on Tuesday to express her disappointment.

Dear Mr Speaker,

As discussed today, a meeting of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians is planned for Thursday 3 November (dinner) and all day Friday 4 November.

In the spirit of bipartisanship, I sought approval from the CWP for an observer to attend so a woman from the Opposition can also partake in the meeting.

Once approval was granted by the Chair of the CWP Michelle O’Byrne, I wrote to the former CWP Queensland Representative, the Member for Broadwater Verity Barton MP to invite her to take up the observer position (see attached email).

Further, I also provided the Member for Broadwater with a copy of my itinerary in case she wished to take the same flights and stay at the same hotel as I had planned. The Member for Broadwater refused the invitation (see attached email).

I subsequently wrote to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington MP and extended the offer for her, or another female member of the LNP Opposition to attend the CWP meeting as an observer (see attached email). To date I have not received a response to this offer.

My understanding is that it is unlikely the LNP will agree to a pair for me to attend the CWP meeting in Hobart, despite the offer for the LNP to send an observer to the meeting. It would be an embarrassment for Queensland not to be represented at the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians meeting considering all other States, Territories and the Commonwealth will all be represented.

It would be particularly disappointing given that the Member for Broadwater was offered every opportunity to partake in CWP meetings and activities as the former CWP Queensland representative. Queensland, and indeed all of the women members of the Queensland Parliament, deserve to have active representation at the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.

The LNP’s refusal to allow a pair to the meeting would be a State shame, but it does highlight the LNP’s failure to acknowledge the importance of women being represented in our Queensland Parliament.

Kind regards

Brittany

A National Statement of Disappointment

Any woman reading this, will have their own personal story about their lived experience of denial of opportunity due to sexism or gender discrimination. The level of disparity is further ingrained for women of colour, women with a disability, women in regional an rural communities, women in poverty and the LGBTIQ community and other minority groups.

It is not only important for all Queensland women to be represented, by their state MPs at these important events, but more so for women in these groups.  As inequality is a serious issue throughout Australia as a whole.

The Australian Chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Michelle O’Byrne MP who is also the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Tasmania, made this statement on behalf of all women.

‘It is extremely disappointing to see political game playing interfere with this important role that supports women in parliament and works to increase the participation of women in political life.

Unfortunately I note that this view is not held by the LNP for male attendance at national committees and events not was it their view when the Queensland role was held by a LNP member. It is disappointing that Queensland will not be represented at this national meeting’.

Men in Blue Ties

The LNP appear more interested in playing political games to harm the progress of women, instead of supporting and encouraging participation of women from both sides of the house.

An interesting question to raise is; have the ‘Men in Blue Ties’ also denied the participation of women in their own party, so they could play games with the hung parliament?

What would Malcom Turnbull Say?

The Federal Leader of the Liberal and National Coalition and Prime Minister famously said:

“You’ve heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating. Not all disrespecting women ends up in violence against women. But that is where all violence against women begins,”

I ask in all seriousness, would the Prime Minister approve of his State counterpart purposely playing political antics with the opportunities of women MP’s to participate in a forum who have one of their key purposes as:

“Women who are elected to Parliament deserve to be heard on policy and governance issues, especially gendered issues such as domestic violence where our laws and programs have tragically failed too many women.”

The State QLD LNP are disrespecting women at the highest level. That is, preventing women parliamentarians to attend an event that is integral in working towards a progressive future where women’s experiences of legal discrimination and discrimination by default are rederessed.

I encourage everyone to urgently place pressure on the Prime Minister to stand up to his State counterpart, the Leader of the QLD LNP, Tim Nicholls, to ensure that a pair is granted in the QLD State Parliament, to enable participation in CWP and similar events from LNP and Labor women MPs, at all times.

If the Prime Minister implies that “This is up to the QLD LNP” or places blame on the QLD ALP, then his attendance at the CWP Conference in 2015, was nothing, but for show.

cwp-2015

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

tony-time

I can imagine Abbott reading the latest dismal polling figures for Turnbull and dancing around reminiscent of his 2013 election victory screaming “The Leadership will change! The Leadership will change!” After today’s revelation; is it now on like Donkey Kong?

Reports emerged this morning that Tony Abbott tells UK Tories he believes he can be PM again.  The article describes Abbott is aiming to channel a Rudd like comeback, with Senior Liberals stating he ‘has a good chance, as he is popular amongst the Liberal Membership.’

An interesting revelation though is if Abbott is successful, it appears Julie Bishop will be gone, with Abbott describing Bishop in ‘unflattering terms‘ to his colleagues abroad. The sniping already seems to have begun.  In traditional form, Abbott may as well start with sniping about a woman, before he warms up to sniping openly about Turnbull.  He does need to get back into practice.

If Abbott pulls this off, who will be his Deputy? Andrews? Perhaps. His loyalty to Abbott would make him a favourable candidate.

Will Barnaby be pushed to move over to make room for Christensen as leader of the Nats? In all fairness, it has been Christensen twisting Turnbull’s arm to get him to bow down to the conservatives and nationalists on key policy.

Will Peta Credlin return as Abbott’s adviser?

People may laugh at the thought of an Abbott return and laugh harder at an Abbott/Credlin return. However, Credlin is a highly intelligent woman and an exceptional strategist.  As Howard channelled Hanson’s policies to appease the Nationalists in the 90’s; don’t take it for granted Abbott would fail.

If Abbott follows Howard’s lead and channels the same type of Hanson rhetoric and policies, in the unique Abbottesque-style conservatives and nationalists love; it will be an entire new ball game for Labor, as Abbott will be in his element.

Abbott has the capacity to take over this space and make Hanson sound like an unnecessary annoying blip.  Sunrise will be paying to keep her OFF the show.

The other day I was watching Andrew Bolt’s thoughts on the Presidential debate and another video popped up after that. I watched it with interest. The topic: “Could Malcolm Turnbull be turning into a conservative?” In the video, Bolt noted that Turnbull may be reinventing himself as a ‘more media friendly Tony Abbott.’

 

The video goes on to discuss changes in Turnbull such as his stance on Daesh and his decision to take less Muslim refugees. Attacking Labor with some ‘rare passion’ on border security and an attack on Kevin Rudd, were duly noted by Bolt.

Bolt then goes on to point out how Turnbull has bowed to the pressure from conservatives on superannuation and same sex marriage.

Bolt even asks the viewer to ‘watch this transformation.’  I’ve pointed a similar thing out before. So it isn’t just because I’m a laborist cynical about the right; the same observations are coming from the most prominent conservative in the Australian media.

The reason for Turnbull’s transformation to conservatism? As Bolt rightly points out: “It is the conservatives who can kill his Prime Ministership.” 

Are there already whispers around the halls of Canberra? Is this transformation Turnbull readying himself for a full on challenge?  Have the monkey’s been released from their pod and are they ready to cause real havoc?

After a very strong theme from Bolt that Turnbull is a dud; could it be that Bolt is actually stirring Turnbull here?  Pointing out to him via this medium that there is a challenge coming and to save his leadership he needs to walk the righteous path to conservatism and beg for mercy at the feet of the likes of Christensen? It is like Bolt is pointing and laughing at Turnbull and letting him know, that he knows his game is up  (hahah I see you, you can’t fool me!)

Only those on the inside will know for sure and no doubt they will feed us snippets; but if this is finally starting, it is going to be glorious to watch.

For those who enjoy studies of organisational behaviour and leadership like myself, watching Turnbull’s increasingly obvious grapple with getting his surface acting under control as he continues to pretend to be an authentic leader, will be absolutely delicious once the pressure is really on!

In my last article, I suggested that Turnbull may be Australia’s first ever shape-shifting politician. With a challenge looming and now picked up by the media, it will be interesting to watch how rapid Turnbull’s shape shifting to fully fledged nationalist conservative will be. Is it time to start counting the number of flags at media stops yet? Perhaps.

Yep, it seems it is going to be on like Donkey Kong. Will Turnbull get barrelled? Or will he save the Princess and take the crown?

When Christensen Talks You Better Listen to Him

turnbull-christensen

I love music. I especially love Australian Music. First and foremost, I am a diehard Angels fan, but Midnight Oil are a very close second. Australian Music from the 1980s has had a huge impact on my views. The Song “When the Generals Talk” by Midnight Oil really encompasses the control of Turnbull by George Christensen.

The first verse:

Up there on the platform
He is speaking to the people
The people are responding
With clapping and a’cheering
But the meaning of the message
Not revealed to those assembled
They’re taken for a ride
Taken In his stride

This really speaks to Turnbull’s beginnings. It has been said that people were so desperate to get rid of Abbott, Ronald McDonald could have taken his place and he would have been met with clapping and a’cheering.

So there he was after knifing Abbott – up there up there up there on the Platform; and although the media gallery were not clapping and a’cheering, the reverberation could be heard in lounge rooms all over Australia.

In Turnbull’s victory speech after over-throwing Abbott, he said this:

As far as policy changes are concerned, let me just say this, it is not a question of leadership style.

The meaning of his message was not revealed to those assembled.

Turnbull did not specifically say there would be a change away from Abbott’s policies. This was an assumption by the people. The meaning of the message is clear today, that he would deliver the same harsh, punitive Abbott policies.  It actually has nothing to do with leadership style. The existing policies were important to Turnbull. He would continue on Abbott’s legacy. The nation just didn’t see it.

He then said:

There are few things more important in any organisation than its culture.

The meaning of this message was not revealed to those assembled.

However, if we really pick this apart the meaning is evident. Schein is the seminal author and most prominent author regarding organisational culture. Schein defines culture as:

“A pattern of shared basic assumptions learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration”

In his initial victory speech post Abbott, Turnbull never even gave a hint that the Liberal party would change trajectory. He never implied he would be more compassionate, consider fairness or move away from the free market radicalisation he so adores. If this is dissected, he was actually saying that he believed that he could lead and develop the existing culture (right wing conservatism) better than Abbott, who was ‘losing the flock’ so to speak.  This was his guarantee to those who put him there, he just didn’t let us know that.

Turnbull is possibly the first shape-shifter we have seen in Australian Politics. He is empty and devoid of any real values and has always moulded himself to whatever he feels will appeal to others, so he can sustain power. The talk of Turnbull being a ‘lefty’ and he should have joined Labor is absolute rubbish. That type of front merely suited his power-purpose at the time. He is an empty canvas willing to be painted by anyone who will feed his ego.  I often visualise that we will see Turnbull one day as the last chapters of Dorian Gray and his real hidden ugliness coming to life.

It is evident that he does not care what he stands for. As long as he is at the top.

In essence, the nation at that point in time were “Taken for a ride, Taken in his stride”

So that is where this links to the Chorus. With the right wing speaking to Turnbull.

When the Generals talk
You better listen to him
When the Generals talk
You better do what he say

We have seen time and time again the right wing of the party controlling Turnbull and George Christensen featuring quite prominently in this.

In the current state of affairs, I think it is quite feasible to say that George Christensen is the General at the moment in control of the Turnbull Government. I think it is fair to say that evidence so far does present itself as this:

When Christensen talks
Turnbull better listen to him
When Christensen talks
Turnbull better do what he say

So far Turnbull has done what Christensen wants on Marriage Equality, Superannuation and most recently the Backpacker Tax. All just in three months and we have three more years of this!

What we have essentially here is a leader cowering to a self-identified General within his own ranks. Australia has no leadership.

The second verse of the song:

There’s a rumor in the ranking
Someone’s talking insurrection
So the General has a purge
Cause he wants to win elections
With the certain satisfaction
That the people are appeased
Long live the revolution
The General’s very pleased

The rumour in the ranking, someone’s talking insurrection, defines the beginning of an era where I believe we will see Turnbull attuned to becoming more and more instep with the right wing Nationalists within the Coalition. The insurrection is Christensen fighting the Government on it’s own policies and demanding his own.

Queensland is an essential state for an election win and Christensen has embraced Hanson and has even pleaded with her not to run a candidate against him. Christensen also threatened to quit the Coalition over the Backpacker tax, which would have destabilised the Government and most importantly posed a huge threat to Turnbull’s leadership.  Therefore, with his love for One Nation and the real possibility he could defect, Christensen as ‘the General’ plays a huge part in controlling Turnbull.

So the General has a purge cos he wants to win elections – can be aligned with the Christensen’s insistence of the purging of any policies Malcolm Turnbull may personally like but Christensen (the General) does not. As mentioned previously, Christensen has also appealed to One Nation not to run a candidate in Dawson because “The views of One Nation to a degree are the views of many in the rank and file of the (Liberal National Party).’’ (The Australian). Turnbull really does not have a voice at the moment, Christensen sees himself as the voice of the rank and file and that voice is synonymous with One Nation. The threat of Christensen possibly defecting to One Nation, with others who may follow, is an extreme threat to Turnbull holding onto power.  Turnbull is a man putting his lust for power before the needs of the nation.

As a staunch Christian who flirted with Priesthood the same as Abbott and who has very strong Nationalist Anti-Muslim views, Christensen has been placed by the media as the controlling General of the current Government and rightly so.

With the certain satisfaction, That the people are appeased is about the right wing arm of the Coalition, especially the Queensland Nationalists who dream about running the country. They know that now Christensen has lead Turnbull on the path of upholding one man one woman marriage, a backflip on Superannuation, a backflip on the backpacker tax and now anything is possible. The right wing are appeased.

And the remainder of the song speaks for itself…..

Sitting on the fence both ears to the ground
The fat cats still push the thin cats around

This is not a slight on Christensen, but a metaphor for how he is literally pushing Turnbull around.

Turnbull has nowhere to go. He is trapped in an abyss drowning, desperately trying to find an air pocket. Turnbull’s Leadership is beyond the point of failure. He is a Fizzer. The King is dead.

Le Turnbull est mort, vive le Christensen!!

Long live the revolution
The General’s very pleased

Turnbull – A Friendly Mushroom and a Destructive Seagull

seagull

“You’re not saying anything Tony” a famous statement by a journalist in an interview with Tony Abbott, really summed up the former Prime Minister’s inability to defend his bad decisions, words or actions.

“You’re not doing anything Malcolm” is the thought that appears to be in almost everyone’s mind summing up what they think of Turnbull’s Prime Ministership and leadership qualities.

When people start reminiscing that Tony Abbott should come back, then that is a sure sign that Turnbull’s leadership has failed miserably.

The really sad thing about all of this, is Turnbull promotes himself as a great leader through his self-portrayal of positive leadership archetypes. It is almost as if he has a little read of popular coffee-top books about ‘great leadership’ and then pops up in public and acts out his newly found knowledge about ‘what makes a good leader.’  I’m not sure about you, but he always looks so fake and staged to me. It is my biggest annoyance with his ‘style.’

He has promoted himself as “The Change Catalyst” when he removed Tony Abbott and promised great change.  He has promoted himself as “The Communicator” promising everyone with pomp and splendour and great verbosity, that he has the communication style that appeals to those within the party, has great appeal with the public and the communication style desperately needed to discuss important issues with all the friends and best friends and bestest of best good friends in other countries.

Most famously, he has promoted himself as “The Innovator”.  He really got into character for this one. This one was like a full dress rehearsal – Apple Watch and reeling off a full gamut of tech apps. He was very careful not to include apps like Tinder, to give the impression he just ‘wasn’t just rattling off apps’, but he was an active app user. However it seems that everyone is now swiping left. Sorry Malcolm.

The disconnect between how Turnbull displays himself as a positive leadership archetype, to the negative leadership archetype he actually delivers, appears to be vast.

Turnbull in my view is a collective of negative leadership archetypes which are used to symbolise toxic, bad, poor, weak or useless leaders.

Turnbull’s leadership behaviour can be summed up as collective of the negative leadership archetypes of  “Friendly, mushroom, destructive seagull” leader. His leadership is so poor, that it is difficult to pick just one which describes his current failure in leading this country forward and providing good Governance.

The Friendly Leader

Although this sounds like a positive trait, this negative leadership trait is the most discussed amongst the media and other politicians. The Friendly leader is too scared to make waves with others he disagrees with, out of fear of being derailed or losing power. This leader enables subordinates to hold power over the leader and this leads to poor decision making through trying to keep the most powerful subordinates onside.  These poor decisions include unpopular decisions for the majority but favoured by the sub-group ‘in power.’ The leader ends up losing control and powerful subordinates end up being the defacto leaders. When people start asking “Who is really running the country?” it is almost certain a weak leader has enabled defacto leadership to occur.

The Mushroom Leader

The mushroom leader kind of fits Turnbull, but also kind of doesn’t.  The Mushroom leader effectively “keeps everyone in the dark and feeds them a load of manure.”

The problem is with a mushroom leader they have an agenda, but don’t communicate it to anyone else. So, what happens is only the leader knows what he wants to achieve, but everyone else….does not! This creates a lot of confusion and disarray (Pyne! Pyne! lock the bloody doors mate!)

A good example of this is the GST debate, where it was on the table, not taken completely off the table, back on the table, a thought bubble to gauge public opinion, and then Turnbull announced he had killed his own idea, because it was umm…not a good idea? Confused? I bow before Mark Kenny  who had the ability to be able to describe this debacle with a straight face.

The conundrum of using the definition of a Mushroom Leader, is does Turnbull have an agenda he isn’t sharing; or does he have no agenda at all?  Regardless, would there be consensus that we are being kept in the dark and being fed a load of manure? I would personally put my hand up for that one.

The Destructive Leader

Turnbull is more a passive-destructive leader in the way he has a clear absence of any agenda, be it the progressive agenda he pretended to promote prior to becoming PM (that is a story for another day) or a conservative agenda many in his own party value. The negative trait of insincerity speaks to this. Destructive leaders are about short term gain, usually to their own benefit.  They are driven by egoism and ‘the desire to take their rightful place.’  It doesn’t matter that they don’t know what to do when they get there, they will either bully or blame others and manage from a distance and avoid responsibility. A destructive leader does not understand nor champion the strong values of those he leads and is a danger to ‘destroying the brand.’  We are hearing strong arguments from those who truly value conservatism on this as Turnbull’s biggest failure.   We are hearing strong arguments from the general public, on his inability to champion what Australians see as important issues to champion, through his complete lack of vision and agenda.

Unless of course, I am wrong and the discussion of favourite TV shows in the Senate today are indeed matters of serious importance and this was not  due to the lack of matters of serious importance to debate!

The Seagull

The most famous of all negative leadership archetypes is the beloved Seagull.  The Seagull is defined as the leader who ‘flies in, craps all over everything and takes off.”  The interesting thing about the Seagull as related to describing Turnbull’s leadership is:

How do they fly in?
They normally appear (sometimes out of nowhere) puffed up, brave, resilient and knowledgeable in times of trouble, ‘as the hero who can save the company – or in this case – the country.’

How do they communicate?
Seagulls make a lot of noise. Normally about themselves to deflect any attention away that they have no idea what they are doing. They need constant attention and spotlight to talk about themselves, so they appear important. Squawk. Squawk. Innovation. Squaarrk. (Sorry Mr. Pyne, but Mr. Turnbull wants us to believe he is the real fixer!)

How do they relate to others?
The Seagull (when it is impossible to talk about himself to avoid responsibility) blames others. They will target others as a source of their anger and the Seagull never accepts blame.   It is unusual in politics for leaders to blame their own party members, so deflection of blame is usually, on other parties, members of other parties, or even the Media (Yes ABC – Sorry Turnbull had to cut all that money from you, but….Squark!)

Sometimes they will have hysterical fits and take things away from others (Sorry Scott, but Malcolm couldn’t talk about himself to get out of this one, so he just had to take that GST play thingy off you!)

When do they fly off?
I don’t have a crystal ball on this one, but to stay true to the Seagull form, Turnbull simply cannot be deposed. The genuine style of the Seagull is he would need to take a much more glorious job offer of much more importance (global position? Innovative start up which will be the cure all unemployment in Australia?), where his skills are in great need to solve greater problems than the ones he has offered to solve now. In true form he would tearfully wave goodbye to all those who adore him, with a great big long speech about himself and take off.

Once Turnbull takes off, the questions are:

What mess will he leave behind?  and…

Who will fly in to steal your chips at the beach? Abbott, Morrison or maybe Bishop?

Only time will tell.

What have you really noticed about Bill Shorten?

labor-put-people-first

With so much of the same old, same old meeps about the Lib-Lab monopoly/duopoly and the clatter of mismatched voices who want something new, but can’t articulate what that is; the question is “have you actually taken the time to notice what Bill Shorten is about?”

Is it possible that for some, the inner voices of cynicism and pessimism developed by participating in the mob culture of screaming against a two party system, automatically disregard even the most progressive and positive reforms from Shorten’s Labor, just because they are a major party?

Is it possible that some are so fixated on the decisions of leaders of the past they did not agree with? Is it possible that due to this, they are not yet ready to notice Labor in 2016 and view them with a clean slate? Turnbull has been afforded this opportunity, but I do not notice this being extended to Shorten.

Is it possible that this is just a rant by someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause? Possibly. That is for the reader to decide.

However, all I can talk about is what I have noticed from my own perspective. So I will outline a few things that really strike me about Bill Shorten and his leadership and the direction he has been taking Labor thus far.

I will do this as counters to two distinct areas of the narrative I have noticed in the context of myth breaking,  of “Both Parties are exactly the same” as I see it – “Underpinning Values” and “They are selfish and out of touch and just don’t listen.”

 

Myth: Both the Major Parties are exactly the Same

Underpinning Values

I personally always find this statement extremely confusing. I will begin with the underpinning values of both parties, as I see them.

Liberals – The Liberal’s values are underpinned by individualism. In terms of public social policy, they believe that everyone is born equal and it is up to the individual’s inherent propensity to ‘make it in life. They believe, this in turn this develops the country as a strong and prosperous country.  Liberals believe in small Government intervention as they see Government intervention makes individuals lazy and reliant on Government and this weakens society.

Government intervention is usually paternalistic with punitive measurements seen as a guiding hand, that is required to motivate those without an internal propensity for self-development.

They believe in low taxes and favour a user pays system instead of major investment in Government funded services. The Liberals are semi anti socialism of the public sector and favour privatisation and outsourcing of the public sector where they can achieve it.

They believe in the free market and the balance of power in favour of the employer is the best result for the economy.  Liberals have a disregard for the value of a person’s labour and believe low wages and low cost to employers create more jobs and are drivers for the economy.

Liberals do not promote Government intervention in high unemployment as a large surplus labour force drives wages down, as opposed to a tight competitive labour force.

The Liberals believe in maintaining the status quo through conservative and nationalist values.

Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott, continue to champion their commitment to these values. Abbott being more vocal and committed to these values than Turnbull, who is committed to these values, but remains largely silent on the intent or values which underpin his policies. 

Malcolm Turnbull’s reason for going to a double dissolution election, was a policy which has star chamber type elements and strips away the civil rights of the worker, including apprentices. He saw this as so important, so vital to the progress of the nation.

Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s abhorrent budget cut regime progressed and championed by Turnbull, with all the pomp and ceremony of an entitled King.

Labor –  Labor’s values are underpinned by a form of collectivism and solidarity. Their valued are based on democratic socialism, egalitarianism and laborism. Labor recognises that not everyone is born equal and that it is the Government’s duty to intervene and provide assistance to those who need a hand up to achieve equality. They believe in a Welfare State to provide protection and social and economic benefits to the nation’s citizens.

Government intervention is incentive based and with a propensity towards proactive rather than reactive measures. (Such as investment in preventative health measures and needs based education funding).

Labor believe in the socialism of the public sector as opposed to the privatisation of the public sector to provide the best services to the community.  They believe the right assistance can develop individuals into strong, productive citizens, able to engage in the community, and break down the hindrances that were preventing them from doing so. Labor’s values consider external factors to the individual’s inherent drive and personality, and do not seek to place blame on the individual, but seek to address these hindrances and strive to provide an egalitarian society.

Labor’s overarching philosophy is Laborism, which values the labour of the working class. Laborists believe in the protection of safe work, rights and wages. They also believe this drives productivity and keeps the economy strong. They strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to work and a fair days work for a fair days pay. They believe in the Fair Go for workers.

Laborism is consistent with Government intervention in job creation projects to bring equal opportunity to everyone through the ability to access secure work, self development and career progression. They strive for low unemployment as this also creates a better standard of living though higher productivity and higher wages.

Labor believes in collective progressive policy which seeks to challenge the norms of the status quo. They are the leaders of every major positive reform contemporary Australia has ever had, such as: Medicare, Superannuation, Collective Bargaining, Fair Work Tribunal, Gonski, NDIS and NBN  

Under Bill Shorten’s leadership, his message is clear that he has returned to the true Labor values ingrained in Laborism which distinguishes Labor as a defiant opposition to the conservative alternative.

His very vocally championing egalitarian values and laborism as progressive solutions. His rejection of the increase to a GST as it would hurt the most vulnerable, his damning rejection of changes to Medicare and tenacious protection of our universal health system, his rejection of the removal of penalty rates and his submission to the Fair Work Commission to protect same.  His endless counter attacks on the Government to protect pensioners and families from harmful cuts and to stop the Liberals making the unemployed starve for six months!

His policy for protecting workers from underpayment, from exploitation and ensuring clarity of the term “Internship” to separate this from an essential learning or training activity from one of exploitation of the working class. In addition to policy for mandatory quotas of apprentices in Federally funded projects and investment in upskilling and training in new technologies.  There many more examples of this differentiation between Shorten’s Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals, and they can be found here.

Both parties are selfish and out of touch – they just don’t listen to the people

Liberals – The Liberals view of “the people” traditionally focuses big business as centric to their policy development.  A key focus of economic policy management is built around the rhetoric of welfare bashing of ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘taxed and taxed nots’ so cuts will be met with little resistance from the public, through the stigmatisation of this group.

Engagement with the “community” is often restricted to attendance at high end functions, with high end priced tickets for high end donations.

As described in the section above, the attacks on families, welfare recipients and workers are a testament to how out of touch the Liberals are with the every day Australian and their families.

Turnbull’s “look at moi” empty verbose rhetoric, where he talks at people and not to them. An example of this is, his common phrase of, “We simply must remember….” in my view is a clear indication of class separation where the ‘people (a forgetful and unintelligent lot) need a gentle paternalistic guiding hand from those who need to remind us of our place.”

Labor – The Labor movement invests in grass roots activism. Under Bill Shorten engaging with the public has been a central focus.  Community Cabinets in QLD were introduced by the Labor Government and Shorten’s personal style is community forums, where he openly takes questions from the floor and answers questions in an open public forum.

Shorten has done about 150 public forums in the last 18 months and numerous live Facebook feeds direct to anyone on Facebook who cares to subscribe to his live posts.

As for if Shorten is in touch with the people. I will leave you with his budget reply address for you to decide.

My personal view on Shorten

I have had the personal opportunity to attend one of Bill Shorten’s community forums.

In my own experience, he fielded a huge variety of random questions and answered them in detail. He was relaxed and open and quite focused on the night being about the people and their questions and not about us listening to a speech about him or Labor.

I had the opportunity to ask a question.  He approached me after the event and asked me to write to him in more detail with my concerns and expressed genuine interest in speaking to me further. I saw him openly engaging with others with genuine interest as well after the event.

He did not have to do that. He did not have to seek me or others out. He had enough people around him to purposely avoid me, if he wanted to. It speaks to his genuineness as a leader. I wish everyone could meet Bill Shorten because until you meet him up close and speak with him, you don’t realise that much of the negative media portrayal and other people’s negative perceptions are so very wrong.

I have not been truly excited about the vision of a Labor leader in a long time, but I truly connect with Shorten’s vision and leadership. In my opinion Shorten is the real deal. His ability to remember names, faces and detail of questions at community forums is phenomenal. You kind of need to see this in action. He is a highly intelligent man with great compassion and a great passion for people and their concerns, which is truly visible at a community forum.

I truly believe he will win the next election outright and will go down as one of our greatest Prime Ministers in our history.  I have 100% faith in him and the direction he is taking Labor.

Conclusion

It is such a shame that for many engaged in ‘left politics social media commentary’ disregard the shift in direction under Shorten’s leadership.  It is disappointing that those on the ‘left’ who oppose Shorten’s Labor discuss him as if he has evolved from some 1980’s mindset where neo-Liberalism was forging it’s place across the world and judge him on the decisions made by former leaders, which really should be critiqued in the context of that time. It is also frustrating that the progressive policies and Laborist solutions he is putting forward, fall on already made up closed minds and deaf ears.

Whether you think post is just a rant from a someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause, or a genuine attempt to implore people aligned with the left to view Shorten and his modern Labor party with a fresh open mind and really critique his current direction which is ingrained in the values of laborism and truly engaging with the the people. As well as a plea to not to continue to compare and contrast with the decisions and leadership of Hawke, Keating, Rudd or Gillard, which many say they have issues with, then that is up to the reader to decide.

Labor’s policies will not suit everyone, nor are they perfect with no room for improvement. However, it is very, very evident that Bill Shorten making a dedicated effort to meet as many people across as many communities as possible and he is really listening and is open to positive and progressive ideas for change and he has already led substantial policy development as a testament to this shift to the left and laborism.

For those who genuinely and fiercely arguing to topple both of the major parties from power and who are insisting Shorten does not have ‘Leftist’ values –  have you really truly taken the time to noticed what Bill Shorten is about?

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

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Source: georgecouros.ca/

A year ago, Malcolm Turnbull downloaded Bruno Mar’s “The Lazy Song” and it has been on repeat for the past year. The first line of the song “Today I don’t feel like doing anything” completely epitomises every single day of the Turnbull Government.

The media also seems to be stuck in a cycle of just accepting this as the new norm (except for Andrew Bolt who has really pushed the point on this, with an interview with Peta Credlin this week.)

The problem for the innovative Prime Minister is although he promised new ideas and an innovative Government; his leadership behaviour is actually not conducive to innovative leadership.

Innovative leaders need to encompass idea generation, idea evaluation and idea implementation. Their personal qualities include an ability to continuously generate ideas, or the ability to lead people to generate ideas. Fearlessness in challenging the status quo, taking risks. The ability to know when to cancel projects and change course (the opposite to escalation of commitment!) and the ability to lead a collegial and cohesive team.

Turnbull has two main issues to address; or he will be playing “The Lazy Song” for another 365 days.

Escalation of Commitment

Escalation of commitment is when an individual or group persists on the same trajectory, even if they know it will result in a poor outcome. Normally, substantial time or money has been invested and this is the impetus for maintaining that commitment.

What has Turnbull invested? He has invested his entire career to get to this point. His investment success was that he was given the authority to over-throw a sitting Prime Minister. His other investment is that he guaranteed would be much more popular than Tony Abbott. Although Turnbull has won the 2016 election in his own right; one would be hard pressed to argue that Turnbull won the election as the “Popular Prime Minister.”

As onlookers, we will never be privy to the in-party investment Turnbull has made, until the ABC produces the sequel to “The Killing Season.” However, it seems clear that the investment was made to gain the support of the conservative right aligned faction of his party.

The leather jacket wearing progressive, forward thinking Turnbull he displayed to the public, as the ‘would be Prime Minister’ is in stark contrast to the conservative and dull Turnbull who is now the current Prime Minister.

Escalation of commitment can explain why although there is public opposition and a huge drop in his popularity, he is committed to maintaining Abbott’s:

1. A commitment to a Plebiscite on Marriage Equality

2. A commitment to stigmatising the poor by targeting welfare recipients as a budget savings measure, instead of treating them as human beings.

3. A commitment to offshore processing and a high level of secrecy surrounding asylum seekers

4. A commitment to supporting climate change deniers and climate change measures that are mere tokenism and not proactive.

5. A commitment to attack dog style politics due to the lack of policy ideas.

6. A commitment to blaming absolutely everyone else but his own leadership

7. A commitment to treating Gonski as a joke

8. A commitment to destroying our universal health care system – Medicare

9. A commitment to union bashing and disrespecting the worker

10. A commitment to the absence of Government intervention and lack of job creation.

Leaders who fear change

The conundrum is, is Turnbull’s escalation of commitment a true escalation of commitment due to his personal investment to secure the top position or is it something intrinsic within him as a leader? Could Turnbull actually have every leader’s behavioural nightmare? Is he a leader who fears change?

One of the most important areas to lead change especially as an innovative change leader is one needs to be transparent and open and honest about who they are, and accept criticism and reflect on their own personal development.

Turnbull does appear to use a strong avoidance technique for any of this to occur. He has not been open and honest about why his focus has shifted from progressive to conservative and he does not accept criticism or (I can assume as an observer) he does not reflect on his own personal development, as the signature ‘blame everyone else’ behaviour has not changed.

Around this time last year, Turnbull promised the voting public that he would be the innovation prime minister.

The difficulty for Turnbull with innovation is innovation requires constant evolving change and continuous improvement. Maintaining the status quo through escalation of commitment kills off innovation faster than one can say “Betacord.”

For a Prime Minister to become the innovative Prime Minister he promised he would be, Turnbull needs to adopt a transformational leadership style. To do this, it is necessary to do a number of things and I’ll use this next section as a pictorial to show how things have gone wrong:

 

1. Adopt a new unique leadership perspective. Don’t copy old leadership styles.

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

abbott mask

 

2. Develop a Culture of Trust – Have those you lead trust you and share your vision

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

Bernardi 18c

Source: Crikey

 3. Develop Formal Solutions. Generate new ideas. Think outside the box. Take risks.

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong

Credlin ideas

Source: Fairfax

 

4. Challenge old ideas and adopt new thinking

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

cartoons abbott

Source: Eureka Street / Kudelka Cartoons / Loon Pond / Timstoons

 

5. Take responsibility – Reflect on your behaviour and do not blame others

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

blame labor

Source: @SirThomasWynne

 

6.  Become a failure-tolerant leader. Re-examine, Re-invigorate and Renew

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

turnbull sulking

Source: The Guardian/Australia

 

I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from a true great leader.  May his words inspire Mr. Turnbull to have his first original idea.

pat dodson

Plebiscite. NOT a civil and respectful debate

A Shorten Labor Government promises to pass Marriage Equality within the first 100 days if they win the election.   An Abbott-Turnbull Government favours a plebiscite. Both of these cases were argued at the first Facebook leaders debate last night.

Leadership Debate 17 June, 2016 – Marriage Equality Plebiscite

Malcolm Turnbull:  I support same-sex marriage, if we are returned to Government, there will be a plebiscite, then all Australians will get a say on the issue.  I’ll be voting yes. Lucy will be voting yes. We will be urging people to vote yes.  I am very confident it will be carried.

Bill Shorten: Now the argument says, Oh Plebiscite, it’s very democratic.  But the truth of the matter is that this is a debate where I don’t believe that people’s relationships and love for each other need to be submitted to a public opinion poll.  I think we have seen two terrible events in the last week that shows hate and extremism exists in modern societies. And I don’t want to give the haters a chance to come out from underneath the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people.

Malcolm Turnbull: With great respect to you. I believe Australians are better than that. I believe we can have a discussion about marriage equality. It can be civil. It can be respectful and we will make a decision as a nation and then, as a nation we will respect the outcome.

The debate on marriage equality so far, has been anything but civil or respectful. Therefore, one can conclude Turnbull is one or more of the following:

  • Outright lying
  • Responding with empty platitudes
  • Playing semantics with the words ‘can be’ and ‘will be’
  • Intentionally arrogant and insulting towards the people who have already expressed they have been harmed by this debate
  • Ignorant and out of touch with the commentary already occurring within this debate
  • Supportive of the hateful and harmful commentary from the Anti-Marriage Equality lobby and considers this commentary, a civil and respectful debate.

Let’s take a look just a small taste of how the marriage equality debate has developed thus far. It has been far from civil.

*Warning: This post contains comments and pictures that may be upsetting and hurtful to LGBTI people, their families and allies. 

A Taste of the Respectful and Civil debate thus far:

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Leaked pamphlets, to feature in an upcoming campaign against same-sex marriage, suggest children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to “abuse and neglect” and more likely to be unemployed, abuse drugs and suffer depression.

The pamphlets, obtained by Fairfax Media, have been prepared and funded by Chris Miles, a former Liberal MP and member of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

“Not only is the information on this flyer wrong, it will put the lives of young gay people and the children of same-sex couples at risk by reinforcing the message that they and their families are broken.” (Croome, AME)

The Rainbow Noose
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Australian Marriage Alliance advertisement opposing marriage equality

AUSTRALIAN anti-gay-marriage group Marriage Alliance has depicted a woman with a rainbow noose around her neck in its latest internet campaign.

The group is claiming that same-sex marriage will increase suicide because people who are against it will be bullied over their views if it becomes law.

What About the Children?

Australian Marriage Alliance television advertisement opposing marriage equality. The central message that only children who have a mum and a dad “Miss out” on a real family.  

Alexander Regan, a 17-year-old boy with two lesbian mums, said on the petition that he was deeply offended by the commercial.

“I’m signing this because I’m a child of two absolutely loving lesbian parents and I’m really offended that this advertisement blatantly slandering same-sex parents’ ability to be parents simply based on their homosexuality,” he wrote. “My mums are amazing and I honestly need nothing more than them and their love in my life.”

Booklet

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“This booklet denigrates and demeans same-sex relationships and will do immense harm to gay students and students being raised by same-sex couples.”

“The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.”

Mr Croome said he has received several complaints from teachers in Catholic schools who were horrified to learn at staff room meetings that the booklet will be distributed.

Comparing Marriage Equality to Animal Sexual Activity

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A federal Nationals MP has drawn a comparison between same-sex relationships and two rams having sex in a paddock, provoking condemnation for the ‘offensive’ and ‘inappropriate’ statements, with the Greens calling on him to apologise and retract them.

Educating Children and Parents about the dangers of Marriage Equality

 

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Parents took to social media to express concern over the event some described as “highly offensive’’, “extremely bigoted’’ and “totally inappropriate to be sent out through a Catholic school parent email list’’.

In a plea sent to the school, obtained by the Mercury, one parent said: “Although the teachings of the Catholic religion is one of husband and wife I find it inappropriate that the Catholic Diocesan of Wollongong  would find it appropriate to be “informed” about this topic by a (group) with a clear agenda leading up to a federal election.’’

“There are many families within our school community that would be extremely offended by this type of ignorant propaganda as they are not a ‘family’ as is defined,’’ the email said.

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The Australian Christian Lobby has compared same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program to the Holocaust, dubbing them all “unthinkable things” that happened because societies lacked strong moral guardians.

offensive FFP.JPG

offensive tweet.JPG

Peter Madden is running for the Tasmanian Senate with the Family First party and his campaign is anti-marriage equality and anti-Safe Schools.

On Monday he made a comment on Twitter: “Though Orlando is abhorrent, it doesn’t change the real & present dangers of the gay marriage agenda to Aus children.”

People have condemned the insensitive tweet and even called the hopeful politician “scum”.

“Absolutely disgusting. Completely offensive,” one commented.

As I live in a Regional Town, I am dedicating a section just to debate within regional communities. 

There are extra complexities to consider in regional communities for LGBTI people. There is no Mardi-Gras. There is no wide-spread community support. Young LGBTI people often move away from the area quickly and there is a high rate of suicide. A harmful and hurtful debate only places further stress on young LGBTI people in regional communities.

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ssm6Mr Christensen, the Member for Dawson, posted a photo on social media showing a gun loaded with a rainbow coloured magazine.

“My point is that people saying ‘let’s follow America’ in their argument for same-sex marriage … well what about the right to bear arms?” he said.

“I mean, you wouldn’t follow America on that one.

George Christensen, LNP Member for Dawson.

 

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“Many kids do flee Mackay straight after high school,” she said.

“I am sure this has something to do with it. People do not feel welcome here. You get shunned. So people leave and go to places where it is acceptable.”

BuzzFeed News asked Christensen (QLD LNP MP) what he thought about LGBTI teenagers in the area feeling as though a program like Safe Schools is needed.

He (Christensen) likened it to children wanting to eat ice cream.

“Kids love everything. Kids would love free ice cream at school,” the MP said. “Is that good for them? Y’know. Of course they are going to defend something they are being told is good.

“But is it good? Is it social engineering? I think it is clearly social engineering.”

comment1comment2

Using the plebiscite as campaign fodder.

The Capricornia Young LNP accuse the Labor candidate of vandalising the LNP member’s office.  (The Labor candidate responded in the original thread that she was there to support the rally and was writing “Love is Love” on a heart-shaped post it note.  The other person in the photo is the gorgeous Ben Norris from Big Brother, who spoke at the rally.

marriage equality rally

I attended this Equal Love Rally.  We held a peaceful rally. Marched a distance to the LNP Member’s office and those who desired could place a post it note on her door with a message in support of marriage equality.

Equal Love Rally

SMS to the Editor – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

TMB SSM

This is such a small sample from the commentary within  the debate against marriage equality thus far and it does not do justice to the plethora of uncivil and disrespectful commentary from the Anti-Marriage equality lobby found within this debate. 

This quote from Shirleene Robinson, spokeswoman for Australian Marriage Equality calls for people to understand that language and narrative can cause deep hurt to people.

“Words can inflict terrible harm sometimes and we would ask that people of all opinions remember that,” she said. “The use of intemperate language can cause deep hurt among LGBTI people and their families.”

Deciphering the Leaders Debate Comments.

A plebiscite – Abbott-Turnbull Government

I refer back to Turnbull’s comments within the leadership debate:

“….then all Australians will get a say on the issue”
“….we will make a decision as a nation”

Normally Turnbull palavers on with great verbosity and his words can be deciphered and reduced to something quite simple.  On this occasion he used a few words, but it translates to much more:  That is:

“When considering marriage, Australia currently recognises two groups of people: heterosexual people and LGBTI people. Australian law currently only respects the right to marry belongs to heterosexual people and excludes LGBTI people and discriminates based on gender.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government thinks the appropriate way to redress this gender based discrimination is for Australian citizens to decide if LGBTI people are the same as them, or a lesser class of citizen.  LGBTI people belong to a minority group.

The Government will ask LGBTI people (the minority group the current law discriminates against) to vote on this.

However  we will ask the majority – their friends, their allies, people who are apathetic and indifferent, but we also think it is important to ask people who do not consider LGBTI people ‘the same’ or ‘normal’ and should not have the same rights and also those who harbour a deep-seated hatred and contempt for LGBTI people.  

These people will make up of the majority group who will decide whether to uphold discrimination towards the minority group.

To ensure people are informed before they vote, as part of this, we will force LGBTI people and their families, loved ones and allies, to listen to the hateful rhetoric from people who argue that we should uphold this discrimination and LGBTI people should remain as a lesser class of citizen, which could cause deep hurt and harm to this group.

To ensure enough information is out there to decide whether LGBTI people are a lesser class of citizen or not, this will cost approximately 160 million dollars of taxpayer money.

It should also be noted that if a majority votes to continue discrimination towards the minority group, then discrimination based on gender should be fully respected and upheld. “

End Translation.

The Legislative Approach – Shorten Government

The legislative approach states that: Discrimination exists within our marriage law and separates citizens and discriminates based on gender. We will move a bill to redress that discrimination and ensure every citizen is equal under the eyes of the law.

Marriage Equality NOW.  Say NO to a plebiscite.

Ten Kids Poorer than Malcolm

Turnbull farther

The Hashtag #MalcolmWasSoPoor has been trending around the Twitter-verse. This is in response to a recent public video from our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. In a cruel morbidly satirical twist to the election; our obnoxiously wealthy, high end of town associated, Cayman Island investing, Australian Prime Minister has tried to prop himself up as the very battler his own party oppresses.

Turnbull tells the story of his single father – A hotel broker – a life of real battles and struggles. He speaks about this battle and struggle of a hotel broker parent as synonymous with the lives of other single parents – the low paid workers and the welfare dependent.

In his out of touch way, he also tries to draw the implicit comparison that genuinely poor people understand, and that is that ‘sometimes love is all that gets us through.’

Love is all that gets us through when we need to eat hot milk, bread and sugar to fill our tummies and keep us warm; not when we are worrying about what the elite private school we are attending might be serving us for lunch!

It is well known that Turnbull has had a privileged life, attending a school for the wealthy, has had high-flying well known connections to assist him to get ahead in life and is now a multi-millionaire.  Australians are not dolts and the viral hash-tag shows that many Australians are beyond belief at this latest grab for votes.

This attempt to identify with those in poverty, would have been more palatable, if he had recognised his privilege, but identified that he has used that privilege to listen to people and work on ways to help them.  But he did not.

The release of this video in the midst of an election – an election with class-war as the centrepiece, draws parallels to cultural appropriation in the form of poverty appropriation.

You simply cannot dress yourself up as a poor and disadvantaged person and ‘borrow’ that way of life as if this gives you entitlement to the pain and struggles of these people.  It is insulting and denies the credit of the struggle of the poor and disadvantaged that they deserve.  Poverty appropriation is a new low in politics.

The disconnect of Turnbull and the Liberal party to the poor and disadvantaged demographic is ingrained within their constitution:

2. d (vi) looking primarily to the encouragement of individual initiative and enterprise as the dynamic force of progress. Which translates to:

“We-are-all-born-equal-and-anyone-can-make-it-if-you-work-hard-enough”

This is a stuff and nonsense platitude that does nothing but add another label or ‘laziness’ or ‘bludger’ to the poor and disadvantaged, who are already stigmatised by the empty LNP rhetoric and their harsh policy decisions.

Turnbull doesn’t want us to look at the Duncan Storrar’s of this world and say ‘how can we help as a collective – as a nation? How can we work together to do better to assist people like Duncan lead a better life? What can the Government do about this?’

No, Turnbull wants us to look at people like Duncan and cry:

“Shame! You have not used your own initiative, you are lazy and can do better! The Liberal Party gives you the individual freedom and punitive welfare measures to push you forward and make you work hard and the free market to do this in. It is your fault if you cannot be the best you can be.”

…and this was very loudly backed up by the Liberal Party’s biggest advocates – The Murdoch Press.

There are kids who are the real battlers of today, who do not need to use some type of poverty appropriation to experience it, to empathise with it or  identify with it – they live it every day.  Here are ten kids poorer than Malcolm:

1. The eight year old boy in regional and rural Australia who is struggling to get a proper education because his family has no access to the internet.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his judgement of rural and regional Australians that he completely misunderstands their communications needs and how a communications infrastructure is essential and affects their prospects for the future.

2. The ten year old girl who can sing like an angel, who has the potential to be another Dame Joan Sutherland, but is unable to compete beyond the local eisteddfod, as her parents cannot afford singing lessons, let alone the travel for state or national competition.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding of how a few spare dollars a fortnight can make the future so different for some children, when his party cut Family Payments.

3. The seven year old girl in a regional community who misses her dad so much when he goes away for treatment for weeks at a time, as the regional hospital does not have the services to treat his condition.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding of the crucial role public health plays, particularly in regional communities when his Government cut critical health funding by $80 billion dollars.

4. The six year old boy who sees the shame in his mother’s eyes simultaneously with the judging eyes of the shop assistant as his mother hands over her Basic’s Card and he feels the not yet understood feeling of stigma.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his life experience that he cannot empathise and feel the shame and stigma that income management brings.

5. The nine year old girl with undiagnosed learning problems who will get further and further behind, because the school cannot afford additional remedial support staff to assist her.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his choosing a life dedicated to individualism and the free market over democratic socialism, that he cannot comprehend how an ideology based on individualism hurts those most in need and it is the chain that holds them back when he chose not to ‘Go the Full Gonski – whatever that means.’

6. The three young children who were so hungry their stomachs hurt, because they were unlucky to live in a disaster prone area when a flood hit and they had no access to funding for food after all of theirs was spoilt and destroyed.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in the checking of his privilege when he supported his party to cut Labor’s disaster funding guidelines which excluded so many needy disaster stricken families in desperate need of financial assistance.

7. The eleven year old girl who knows how to grab her four year old brother quickly to find the hiding spot and knows how to keep very, very still and not make a sound as she cries when she hears her mother get thumped and dragged and beaten and her heart races with every blood curdling scream, because Mummy says there is no where for them to go.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his commitment to feminism when the Liberal party cut funding to domestic violence services and Community Legal Centres in Australia and decided to inadequately address funding needs for this sector in the budget.

8. The young person who will suicide next week due to not being able to cope with early onset of psychosis and his family cannot afford $600 to see a private psychologist.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding that all lives matter more than dollars when he made the commitment to discontinue organisations such as the The Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program.

9. The young teenage girl who will develop serious health problems and die at only age 26, as in making the choice between a paying for a blood test or food, she chose food.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his foresight that destroying and privatising Medicare that this situation will be a young person’s future reality.

10. The thirteen year old boy who is so afraid inside, but must show he is  brave as he continually swallows the urge to cry, as he sleeps tucked up inside a stolen sleeping bag in an abandoned industrial building with his new ‘friends’.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in  his comprehension that being a homeless youth is terrifying, lonely and dangerous when the Turnbull-Abbott government cut more than $500 million from homelessness support services.

As a child raised below the poverty line, this latest Turnbull video – an attempt at garnering votes saw me initially remain silent.  Regardless of Turnbull’s intention with this video, it has made me feel by ‘borrowing the lived experience of real poverty’ as his own, he has mocked my childhood and my experiences with contempt as he lilts and lulls his inflections with aplomb and tries to romanticise a life of disadvantage as ‘one that is the foundation of success’, as long as you have a ‘good dad.’

As someone who normally enjoys political satire, I have not been able to participate in the #MalcolmWasSoPoor Twitter frenzy and mock Turnbull’s attempt at poverty appropriation. I did not know why, until I worked out how this had actually made me feel.

I can only speak for how I feel and not for others, but this latest political stunt has developed a seething inner child who has screamed so loudly to stand in solidarity with the children of poverty who exist today that I was compelled to pen this post and give them voice through this medium.

To say the least, writing this list has been extremely confrontational, even with my own lived experience. I have used poetic licence to bring these stories into the context of today, but every single example is a built from a real example of someone I have made a connection with throughout my life, except for number 9, which is a hypothetical of the result of a Medicare system under destruction.  These stories are not fiction.

Rich or Poor we have the power in this country to make our world better for these children and we can do that with a vote. There are children like these in every electorate, this is their reality. Vote for an end to the conservative agenda permeated with individualism and put the LNP last on July 2.  Our voice is our power. Please use it wisely.

Are we Turnbull’s unpaid focus group?

focus groupAfter watching Malcolm Turnbull and his “Government” in action over the past five months, I have come to the conclusion that Turnbull is secretly using the voting public as one enormous unpaid focus group.

It all started way back when Tony Abbott was our Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull was well placed to be the communications Minister. He is a lover of Apple watches and he can rattle off with aplomb lots of social media apps.  He probably has an app on his mirror to tell him if he is the fairest in the land every morning. However, despite all of this, he had a huge dilemma.

As we all know, Turnbull likes to believe he is the man of the hour, the champion of the people, that guy who gets everything right, the man who holds the adulation and love of so many fans. (Wait…Turnbull likes to believe he is Jonathon Thurston?)

Anyway, set your mind back just a little.  Turnbull, as communications minister had to put out an inferior, rubbish, embarrassing FTTN NBN and blow the budget out to the GDP of a small country, all for good reason. The reason is that the Liberals needed an alternative model to Labor’s far superior FTTP NBN. Therefore, Malcolm thought he would just test his rubbish model out on a focus group aka ‘us’, add in a little spin and waffle about how Betacord is far more superior than blue ray; oops I mean how copper is far more superior than fibre; and we would buy it.

When ‘we’ (the focus group) started moaning and groaning about how crap his NBN was, and in the still of the night he stared at the laughter from online tech forums with tears in his eyes, the stress of it all started to show. One morning, he looked in the mirror and his app told him that Jason Clare was by far the fairest in the land. He knew it was all over and he had to do something drastic. He had to distance himself from the NBN.

How can the man of the hour be the same man who has the crap NBN and who is the subject of memes with tin cans and string? No, no, no that simply would not do. At least Abbott had a boat phone!

He had to get out of communications fast into a job that made him look good.  He needed a job that allowed him to be flexible. One with enough scope that if he had to talk about something that made him look dull instead of shiny, he could brush that aside and talk about something else. With that, he eyed Tony Abbott with a glint in his eye. He just had to convince his party colleagues that he was the very model of a modern major Prime Minister.

So he did what any good innovator would do, he chose a tried and true product that the focus group liked but had become tired of and applied a little incremental innovation. All he had to do was to sell it to his party colleagues.

Malcolm had feedback that the focus group didn’t like the way the old Prime Minister model ummed and ah-ed and especially that time that he wasn’t saying anything (but you aren’t saying anything, Tony) or his inappropriate repetition of “But we have stopped the boats”. The focus group especially did not like any Captains picks.

The party colleagues insisted that the inner workings of PM Mark I stay the same and PM Mark II had to have the same values and beliefs as the old model, but it would be ok if Malcolm tinkered with the aesthetics.

So Malcolm hopped on a tram to take some selfies, chucked on an Armani Suit, put 200 million dollars in the bank and shifted some to an offshore account in the Cayman islands and the model was almost complete. To demonstrate the winning element of the new model, he slapped on a happy face, twirled his glasses a few times and with great anticipation he unveiled the clincher…never ending verbosity with an inbuilt thesaurus for all the synonyms a Prime Minister could use without sounding repetitive once.  It was a done deal.  With the help of a knife and a Bishop, the old model was sent to the backbenches and Turnbull was now the new Prime Minister Mark II.

So Malcolm turned to the Focus Group once again for them to evaluate Prime Minister Mark II. As confirmed by @Ghostwhovotes every week, the polls were in and the focus group gave the thumbs up. The media were so happy they were reminiscent of Magenta grabbing Riff Raff’s hand, twirling him around and yelling, “Malcolm is happy. The Liberals are happy, you’re happy, we’re all happy hahaha hahaha.”

After such a positive response from the focus group, Malcolm then became obsessed with using us as a focus group to evaluate so many things in the coming months.

He did this with so much excitement and relief because he has no idea how to make his own decisions. However, he became increasingly frustrated because no matter what he put before us, it was all nope, nope, nope from us. There was a small ‘yay’ for getting rid of knights and dames.  There was also a huge sigh of relief when Speaker mark II turned out to be rational and level headed and did not take helicopter joy rides.

However, secretly copying a diary to bring down the speaker of parliament to topple a Labor Government, it was a nope from the focus group.

A Minister of Parliament drunk groping and kissing a female public servant in China, was a nope from the focus group.

Announcing, “there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian” was a yay from most of us. However, repeated at the same volume and frequency of ‘we have stopped the boats’ resulted in a noise complaint and a subsequent thumbs down from the focus group.

Ministers grabbing the Baygon and spraying it in the PM’s general direction as they backed away and resigned, was a mixed response with many raising an eyebrow of suspicion as to what was going on.

A Minister under the guise of a private citizen signing off on a mining deal with a Chinese mining company and prominent Liberal party donor was a big, big nope from the focus group.

The focus group climbed bridges and towers and screamed nope, nope, nope and staged a protest outside of a hospital when he canvassed whether sending Asylum seeker babies back to detention was okay.

The focus group was split on a report of a political witch hunt, set up to destroy the party of the workers, led by a life-long Liberal party supporter who was allowed to assess his own bias. (The nopes were a lot louder than yays on this one, so this one is reserved for desperate situations only).

As the Prime Minister had no idea about economic reform, he decided to run an increase in the GST by the focus group.  The results from the focus group were so poor and when he noted that they were listening to the Labor party, he has backed away from the GST like Voldemort backing away from Harry. Like he still intends to do the evil deed, he just has to wait to get Harry in a weak position.

Some of the focus group still have their head turned sideways trying to work out if the Unicorn selling is a possibility.  Others in the focus group started designing unicorn memes straight away.

Prime Minister Mark II is now canvassing the focus group for the privatisation of Medicare and their personal medical records being handled by a private contractor, possibly an overseas company. The early data is that this is a huge thumbs down.

As Prime Minister Mark II is too scared to make any decisions of his own and he relies on the feedback from focus groups; here is a list of forthcoming ideas from the Turnbull’s ideas boom that we can expect in the near future.

A list of possible ideas for the PM Mark II’s focus group (aka us)

Should Anchovies on pizza cost extra?

When city Ministers visit country areas, should they wear a cowboy hat, or not wear a cowboy hat?

Is it ever OK for the Minister for women to scream like a banshee about ‘the sisterhood?’

Are socks with Sandals ever Ok and should Barnaby wear them?

How often can one hear the word innovation before they start screaming?

If copper is better than fibre, should blue ray be made obsolete and should we return to Betacord?

If your sick mum cannot get access to healthcare, is that Ok,  if there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian?

If PM Mark II does not make any decisions up to and including the election, is it because there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian?

Should the Government put out a budget before the election?

Should unicorns be sold, or should they be a protected species?

Is it obvious that the treasurer is a dumb-arse who knows jack about economics?

When the camera pans to Prime Minister Mark I sitting on the back bench looking forlorn, have you felt, or slightly felt a left-wing condition called empathy?

What do you think of underdogs? Is it possible for them to win elections?

Is ‘Work Save and Invest’ considered a slogan?

How much longer can the Liberal party get away with blaming Labor?

Do Pyne’s glasses look dorky nerdy or nerdy hot?

If the Prime Minister who owns several houses and is worth 200 million dollars, does not approve of a policy that will let your children and grandchildren buy a house, will you accept that this is OK because it won’t be fair on the rich people?.

With a Double Dissolution election now being suggested widely for July, I am sure the above and many more will be put to us aka the focus group for assessment between now and then, as it has become increasingly obvious Malcolm Turnbull is unable to make any decisions.

At a rate of zero dollars per hour, our pay for this focus group is less than the 47c an hour being paid to workers of the 7-Eleven Turnbull has a stake in.  I think I had better get my union, (or is that unicorn) on to this!

Join the Protest to Re-elect Turnbull

lnp protest2

 

A very wise man once said to me, “There are two types of politicians. Anti-Community and Pro-Community. The Liberals are always Anti-Community. That is why there are always protests against a Coalition Government.

 

 

Turnbull has been ahead in the polls since he obtained the Prime Ministership by default. Anyone who toppled Abbott would be the Nation’s automatic Messiah. He could read the back of a Cornflakes packet and the public would still have been cheering.  How fortunate for Turnbull.

The party did not want Abbott.  The party re-installed a former failed leader, Malcolm Turnbull.  Four Corners painted Turnbull as the good little boy who didn’t make any fuss about Abbott whilst he was the Prime Minister. He just sat back patiently and waited for his crown.  

The fact that Turnbull did not make any fuss about Abbott or vocally opposed Abbott’s policies or rhetoric, clearly shows that Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal National Coalition simply were happy with Abbott’s policies. They just wanted a new face to deliver them and that is what we have now.

We saw the rise of March in March or March Australia during the Abbott years. We also saw massive protests against Campbell Newman’s harsh cuts, job losses, privatisation of public assets and the attack on our civil liberties in Queensland as well as his mantra of selling our assets.  People marched and yelled in protest because they were fighting to protect everything that underpins us as Australians – A Fair Go.

Will you join the Protest to support Turnbull?

This leads me to the central question of this piece.  Turnbull and the Coalition are ahead in the polls, but are his policies really worth fighting for?  Your vote for a Turnbull Government is the ultimate endorsement of your fight for Turnbull and his policies. Would you protest for his policies to save his Prime Ministership? 

If the Coalition’s policies are so important to make this country great, why do Liberal members and Liberal supporters and even swinging voters not get out there and protest to make their voices heard?  Why do they not get out there and really fight for them?

I ask you this: “If you are thinking of voting for the Abbott-Turnbull Coalition Government are you so passionate about their return in the election that you would protest to keep them?”

To look beyond voting for a face and to really understand what that face represents, let’s take a look at what 10,000’s of people protesting for the Abbott-Turnbull policies would sound like…..

Cuts to Medicare

“If you get sick you should pay, user pays is a better way”

“It’s my taxes anyway, Make the poor PAY, PAY, PAY!”

“Cuts to Medicare should come quick. If you can’t afford it, don’t get sick!”

GST Increase

“Increase GST on everything!”

“GST up NOW!”

“Make the poor pay much more.  A GST rise is our winning score!”

NBN FTTN

“Fast Broadband is a joke. Keep the copper that gets choked!”

“44th in the world isn’t last. We don’t need Internet that’s fast!”

“Rural living is a pity. If you want internet move to the city!”

Climate Change Denial 

“Climate Science is a joke. Renewables will send us broke!”

“It was hotter last year! Climate Change is a smear!”

“Coal is good for humanity! Up the Climate Anti!”

Education – Cuts to Gonski

“We don’t need children educated. Gonski should be eradicated!”

“More funding for Elite Private Schools! Funding needy schools is for fools!”

“Education is a privilege, not a right. Down with Gonski, Fight, Fight Fight!”

 

It’s an election year. It’s time to get serious.

Turnbull neo liberalism

It is time to look beyond Turnbull’s smile and his nice suits and the fact that he is not Tony Abbott. In my personal view, what Turnbull stands for – Mass privatisation, harsh neo-liberal policies and radical industrial relations reform, is far worse than what Abbott stood for. By voting for a Liberal or National party member, you are joining the protest above. Through your vote for a Turnbull Government, you are endorsing the destruction of the quality of life we enjoy in Australia.

It’s time to vote with our hearts and use our vote to stamp out the greed and austerity that underpins the destruction of a fair go in Australia by the Abbott-Turnbull Government.

 

If you can chant all of the above and stand shoulder to shoulder and march with those who support Turnbull; by all means, vote for your Turnbull candidate.  If not, put the Liberal and National Coalition candidates last on your ballot.  It is where they put you.

 

 

Fact Check. ICT students. Malcolm Turnbull

ict pic

In an interview with Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister on ABC 7.30 (7th December, 2015), Leigh Sales posed the following question:

Your innovation package gives businesses more capacity to poach good people from overseas and it will also allow some foreign students to stay in Australia rather than take the skills they acquire back home.  What do you say to Australians who might grizzle at that and say “Hang on, they are taking Australian Jobs.”

Mr. Turnbull responded:

“That’s not right actually. You know, in the….take in the ICT area in postgraduate tech, if you like – computing sciences and so forth in universities – over three quarters of the students studying here are foreigners. So…we don’t have enough Australian’s studying ICT. We don’t have enough Australians, particularly Australian girls and women studying STEM subjects and computing related subjects generally.

The first point I would like to make is Malcolm Turnbull completely ignored the question regarding businesses attracting more foreign workers. However, I thought I would check the percentage of foreign student’s studying ICT in Australia.  According to the 2014 Selected Higher Education Statistics – 2014 Student Data (Australian Federal Government), the percentage of foreign students studying postgraduate ICT (as the level of study targeted by the Prime Minister) is 41.60%.  This is less than half. Not over three quarters as the Prime Minister claimed.

The percentage of foreign undergraduate students studying ICT is 27.17%. This is less than a third. The total percentage of foreign students studying  postgraduate and undergraduate ICT is 32.77%. This is approximately one third.

The percentage of foreign students studying in Australia overall across all Broad Fields of Education (BFOE) is 25%. That is one quarter of students overall for all levels of study across all BFOE’s are foreign students. So it certainly is true that more foreign students are attracted to our ICT programs, but that is not necessarily a bad thing at all.  This could speak to the quality of our programs, the quality of our academics or the lack of programs in other countries.

Approximately one third of PhD students studying to write their ICT thesis are foreign students.   The progression from undergraduate to PhD is not fluid, as in many postgraduate research students, will not have necessarily studied their undergraduate degree in Australia.

Many foreign Research Higher Degree (RHD) students review Universities from all over the world to select their University. This should be a reflection of the high quality of ICT research supervisors and programs in Australia, rather than this statistic being framed in a way that not enough domestic students are studying ICT at this level. We actually should be boasting that our ICT programs are attracting foreign students.

An increase in domestic scholarships including a living stipend for domestic Research Higher Degree students could very well see even more domestic students progressing into PhD level studies in this area.

More serious funding for universities to establish well developed university led women in science and technology programs, including properly funded recruitment and mentoring positions and more funding to employ more women ICT academics, could see the increase of more women engaged in this area of study.  A serious investment in funding casual or better still, permanent teaching positions to free up existing women academics to do research would also assist.

I found it peculiar that Mr. Turnbull identified specifically postgraduate students in his interview, where he should be focusing on encouraging more students to take up ICT at vocational and undergraduate levels, if we are indeed talking about developing the innovators of the future.

I also found the focus on postgraduate students puzzling if his aim is to increase women in this area, when it is highly unlikely that women will enter through direct entry into a postgraduate program, based on the assumption that they are not working in the field and have not studied this area before.  Women should be encouraged to take up ICT programs at undergraduate level and recruitment to engage women and all students should start from primary school.

All of these things take a commitment of serious funding. Will Mr. Turnbull and the Liberal Party actually act in good conscience on this, when they have not taken the Gonski reforms seriously?  Gonski was a serious innovation in education reform and sadly it was not implemented by the Liberal party as the experts recommended. Its kind of like putting salt in a cake instead of sugar.  It is still called a cake and you can say you have a cake, but it is a pretty useless cake.

I have posted the statistics below.  I believe Malcolm Turnbull’s claim that over three quarters of students studying ICT in Australian Universities are foreign students is possibly incorrect.  This is going by the 2014 figures. Perhaps 2015 has seen a stark increase in foreign students in this area. The 2015 data is not public on the ABS website or the Department of Education and Training website to determine this.

Mr. Turnbull could certainly be correct, if the scenario was for example a small increase in domestic postgraduate students in 2015 and a very high increase of postgraduate foreign students. Nothing is impossible. I certainly do not have the resources of the Prime Minister, but this certainly was not the case in 2014.

I think it would be great if journalists and ABC Fact Check would start checking more Turnbull facts.  My personal opinion (and the reason I thought I would check this out) is that Mr. Turnbull does palaver on quite a bit with a decent smattering of verbosity. I feel this is to give voters the illusion that he is quite knowledgeable, but that may not necessarily be the case.

Stats ict

Selected Higher Education Statistics – 2014 data – ICT

It’s Bushfire Season – Let’s Talk About Disaster Relief Funding

Letter to the Editor of The Morning Bulletin submitted 08/10/2015

Bushfire season

Dear Editor

Thank you for your recent stories about how The Morning Bulletin is there when it matters.  I lived in Koongal at the time of the bushfires and it was a harrowing and terrifying time.  I do believe so many of us take for granted the essential services we rely on and one of these essential services is the news and I am very grateful to have a local newspaper in my town reporting on local issues and thank all the journalists, photographers and staff for their hard work.

As we are now in bushfire season, I would like to bring to your attention a critical gap in essential services in our community.  The essential service I am speaking of brings reassurance and stability to those in a time of crisis. This essential service is disaster relief.

During cyclone Yasi, the people of Townsville qualified for Federal Government disaster assistance under the Labor Party.  This is $1000 per adult and $400 for each child.  During the fires in the Blue Mountains, whilst people’s homes were burning; the Abbott Government changed the criteria, so only those who had suffered significant damage to their homes or had injury or death, as a result were eligible. Hence the confusion about payments with Cyclone Marcia.

“Eligibility for payments, available in disasters such as the Tasmanian fires, changed on October 18, 2013 so residents who did not lose their homes but had to relocate for days at a time would not receive assistance.” (Excerpt NSW bushfire victims denied compensation under new rules, SMH 26/10/2013). To reiterate, the Federal Liberal National Government cut this disaster relief as bushfires tore through the Blue Mountains.

The Liberal National Federal Government removed the last three criteria for disaster relief, which applied under a Federal Labor Government. The criteria the Liberal National Federal Government removed were:

  • You have been unable to access your place of residence for a period of at least 24 hours
  • You have been stranded in your principal place of residence for a period of at least 24 hours
  • Your principal place of residence was without a particular utility service (electricity, gas, water, sewerage services or another essential service) for a continuous period of 48 hours.

The changes to the eligibility criteria have a huge impact on who is eligible for disaster relief funding.

The Turnbull Government says it is a more compassionate and understanding Government.  I strongly believe that our community, which is prone to bushfires and floods, should have the security of decent disaster relief funding and the abolished criteria reinstated immediately, before the next disaster hits.

Trish Corry

trishcorry

trishcorry

I love to discuss Australian Politics. My key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. I am pro-worker and anti-conservativism/Liberalism. I am a proud member of the Australian Labor Party and you will find my blog posts written from a Laborist / Progressive Slant.

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