10 Jun 2019

Frightening step towards a police state and we we are blindly letting it happen in the name of security.

The book is by veteran journalist Brian Toohey, and reflects his half century of writing about defence and national security issues.
Toohey says that:
"step by step, a succession of new laws and policies have provided the building blocks for Australia to become a country in which secretive officials and ministers wield unprecedented levels of peacetime power".
No major political party, he argues, is:
"offering to restore the values of an earlier era in which habeas corpus prevailed; the onus of proof was on the prosecution; the accused was allowed to see the evidence relied on by the Crown; and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation officials could not legally kidnap people or raid a lawyer's offices and seize documents in a commercial case directly involving the Government on the other side.
"No major party seems bothered by the use of new surveillance technology that allows governments to detect contact between journalists and their sources, effectively denying whistleblowers the opportunity to reveal abuses of power and criminal behaviour."
This (slightly hysterical) culture built around national security is the really important issue at stake in this week's raids, even more than the raids themselves and the threat they pose to journalism.

30 May 2019

Homelessness and the press.

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The roles of the law and the media

Why is the association of homelessness and crime so strong? There are two main factors.

First, many behaviours made necessary by homelessness are criminalised. Simply trying to survive puts people who are experiencing homelessness in direct contact with the criminal justice system.

In Victoria, for example, begging is a criminal offence. Other laws that unfairly target the homeless include indecent exposure laws, which result in homeless people being arrested for going to the toilet or washing themselves in public (because they lack the option to do so in private).

The second factor is the persistent linking of homelessness and crime in the media.

News stories proliferate in the tabloid media about aggressive beggars, foreign backpackers pretending to be homeless to make money and people who exploit their pets as they beg for donations.

Coverage of the homeless camp at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne during the 2017 Australian Open tennis tournament routinely described inhabitants as drug dealers, criminals and professional troublemakers.

Being homeless means being vulnerable it does not mean they are all criminals!

19 May 2019

The election "KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID" wins the day.

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The election "KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID" wins the day.

Summing up: The why of the election results comes down to one reason. If you give the opposing side several large targets you open the door on fear and people will play it safe.

Personalities had little to do with result. The why of the election result comes down to one reason. If you give the opposing side many targets they are bound to hit some of them.

Personalities I believe had little to do with result.

The agenda of the Labor party though based on sound policies was too broad. Once the Labor party has been in the wilderness(opposition) for a few terms, they unfortunately fall in to the same trap as their predecessors, their whole wish list becomes their agenda.

It's not that the electorate is stupid, if you open  many doors to rooms full of complicated equipment, they all require an explanation of how each piece of equipment works.

An election campaign is not the ideal time to be opening a party up to a wide ranging inquisition.

The LNP government was is given a free kick, they didn't have to defend all this complicated machinery, all they had to do, was "KEEP IT SMIPLE STUPID".

 And guess what, they did just that, it wasn't rocket science.

The journalists and pollsters including myself got lost in hullabaloo. Now in the light of day it was bloody obvious once the campaign was underway. 

16 May 2019

Are many of our news providers broken. Once lost can integrity come back?

Based on an article in The Conversation

Image result for Truth in newspapers cartoon
Dirt is not journalism its the death of ethics.

Print media is flawed because its business model is broken, and in its desperate effort to attract attention its bias toward drama and conflict is all-consuming. The Daily Telegraph’s front page attack on Bill Shorten’s comments about his mother was telling, not for its cruelty but for what it said about that newspaper’s insatiable hunger for gotcha journalism. When the combatants can’t or won’t provide a rough approximation of reality-TV entertainment, it has long been a standard modus operandi to get creative.

Television is also a flawed medium for conveying reliable information in detail. TV news is dominated by images, which during a campaign are tightly controlled by political operatives. TV panel shows are often fact-free and full of hot air. Social media is full of anger, fake news, misinformation and outright lies, an information wild-west without a Sheriff in sight. Radio can handle some detail, but it too is often a theatre of conflict as "entertainment".

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The introduction of a tribunal for unpaid wage and entitlement claims could be a game-changer for underpaid workers in Australia, according to legal experts.
Labor leader Bill Shorten announced the move on Wednesday saying “we’ve seen too many examples of systemic wage theft but lengthy and costly court proceedings prevent and deter workers from recovering wage underpayments”.

The plan would see a new tribunal attached to the Fair Work Commission that workers could call on to investigate their complaints.

“It’s an excellent idea,” said Giri Sivaraman, employment law principal at lawyers Maurice Blackburn. “At the moment, if a worker wants to pursue a breach of award they have to go to the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court which is slow and costly.

“The tribunal would be fast and practical, more industrial and less legal [because it would be attached to the existing Fair Work Commission],” Mr Sivaraman said.

Bassina Farbenblum, a law lecturer at the University of NSW, said the proposed tribunal could dramatically affect wages law enforcement.

“A key element would be that it’s cheap and easy to access and assists workers in putting claims together.

 This would be a game-changer for vulnerable workers

7 May 2019

How one article became Fake news.

Image result for truth in politics is a lie quotes

Releasing a story and deliberately leaving out the truth and timing of this article completes the Fake cycle. This is just another example, this is about the ALP but it could be about any member of parliament. Integrity is the first casualty in an election campaign and it reinforces our lack of faith in members of parliament

The integrity of Australia’s electoral processes is under unprecedented challenge in this federal election.

The campaign has already been marred by fake news, political exploitation of social media falsehoods and amplification by mainstream media of crude slurs made on Facebook under the cover of anonymity.

We have seen our first recorded instance of Facebook running Australian fake news.

It was a false post about the Labor Party’s tax policies, wrongly saying Labor intended to introduce a 40% inheritance tax.

It was interesting to trace how this fakery was created.

The false post had a link to a press release issued in January by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

It said Labor’s assistant treasury spokesman, Andrew Leigh, had written an article 13 years ago – when he was an academic – that favoured introducing an inheritance tax. Thirteen years ago – before he was even in politics.

Barnaby Joyce, a wombat or just a bloke down on his luck?

A new leader with different habits?
Image result for National Party a wombat cartoon
A wombat eats roots and leaves

Each election, the National Party leader hits the hustings on the 'wombat trail', traversing key rural and regional seats across the country.

Theories differ as to why the campaign is named after a chubby marsupial, but the preferred explanation is that, like a wombat, Nats leaders have traditionally ambled about on slower, older planes in electorates off the beaten track.

Some Nationals have also joked about how a wombat "eats roots and leaves", but these days they'd rather let that one lie.

This election, Michael McCormack is the Nationals leader.

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Frightening step towards a police state and we we are blindly letting it happen in the name of security.

The book is by veteran journalist Brian Toohey, and reflects his half century of writing about defence and national security issues. To...