The Australian government is trying to stop us saving the Great Barrier Reef. Why, is there an ulterior motive. Lenore Taylor
Australia has embarked on a “whole of government” diplomatic and ministerial lobbying campaign to correct “misinformation” and prevent the Great Barrier Reef from being placed on the Unesco world heritage committee’s “in danger” list, a Senate committee has been told.
The environment minister Greg Hunt visited German environment minister and world heritage committee chair Maria Boehmer in January and Senate estimates heard on Thursday that ambassadors in all of the 21 countries on the committee had been enlisted in the lobbying effort, as well as consuls general and other staff.
“We have asked our ambassadors in countries that are on the world heritage committee, this is a whole of government effort, we will use our diplomatic resources to best effect,” said the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Varghese in response to questions from the Greens senator for Queensland and environment spokeswoman, Larissa Waters.
“There is currently a campaign to list the Great Barrier Reef as in danger; we are doing all that we can to ensure the campaign does not succeed,” he said.
“In the course of that campaign we think there are a number of assertions about the management of the Great Barrier Reef and its vulnerability which are not grounded in fact and which need to be rebutted".
This means mining on the Reef. Do we want it no, not ever. This government is crazy, we the people own the reef. Don't touch, it or else!!
There’s a something deeply disturbing about the Abbott government’s attitude to women.
In opposition, they threw sleaze continuously, depicting Julia Gillard in the most vile way, it went to viciousness, then bizarre and now we see the same thing being dished out to another woman.
This is a throwback to another age, once upon a time it would have been political death. Not today, it seems that politics has become a contest of who can reach the bottom first and this Abbott government is winning hands down. It should be no surprise the public is beginning to look on politics with contempt, the childish tit for tat and brutality and bullying is sickening.
Between the knighting of Prince Philip and the attacks on the human rights commissioner, Gillian Triggs, we now see the essence of this government, their treatment of the electorate is no different– they seem to believe in a near-feudal hierarchy with a European monarch’s consort at the top and women, children and citizens at the bottom.
The truth is Gillian Triggs has lost the confidence of the government – but then to has Tony Abbott, by his leadership style and bullying. Gillian Triggs’s real crime is that as human rights commissioner she spoke up for human rights. This is her job. Her only mistake was she thought she was dealing with an honest government, instead she is dealing with a government that has no respect for human rights or human dignity.
The “unemployment industry” was created to find jobs, what we now have instead is a fraud machine that is given government blank cheques for nothing. The Commonwealth Employment Service handed over labour market program delivery to profit-seeking private providers who embraced profit seeking to the extent that it has become fraud. There was little regard for their core business of finding real jobs. Successive governments have failed to prosecute any of these firms or done much to tighten up the system to stop this fraud occurring. Why has no one has been brought to task, is it because some of the largest firms in the business are linked to religious organisations. This is a national disgrace, governments have kept pouring money into its coffers for years with little or no oversight. Governments have continued to tighten benefits for the unemployed which is a good thing, yet they still spend millions on an industry which is wide open to abuse.
TONY Abbott’s staff and government bureaucrats were aware of his decision to knight Prince Philip in November last year, two months before senior ministers learnt of the move.
The revelation, which emerged in a Senate hearing yesterday, appears to contradict suggestions from the Prime Minister that he only consulted with Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and the chairman of the Council of the Order of Australia, Angus Houston, about the appointment.
It has also been revealed that Prince Philip officially became a Knight of the Order of Australia on January 7, holding the title for almost three weeks before his appointment was made public on Australia Day.
Mr Abbott has accepted the decision was a “captain’s call”, and repeatedly refused to disclose whether his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, had also been aware of the knighthood.
Evidence to a Senate committee yesterday revealed that while Liberal MPs were in the dark about the award until January 26, discussions with bureaucrats had begun as early as November.
Deputy secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Elizabeth Kelly, said the “preliminary discussions” about knighting the prince took place with a government adviser from the Prime Minister’s office. Staff then informed the Prime Minister’s office that the move would require changes to the relevant letters patent — a legal document outlining the rules of the award system.
Is Ned Kelly running Australia Post Mail is something we can't do without. It should remain in government hands.
Australia post is still alive but can't survive unless they remove the five day deliveries, twice a week would be a way to save, even country people would probably accept two day deliveries. As far as increasing the price of letter postage, this is a no brainer, all it would do is force people to look for alternatives, maybe that is their real aim. Snail mail may well be loosing money at present, however many snail people(old) can not use the alternative digital system. Until such time most people are digitally literate it must be maintained. Mail is still an essential service and should not be sacrificed for the mighty dollar
The death of these two would be sad, however lumping it all on Indonesia is short sighted. For years our governments have talked about exchanging prisoners so that they serve their life sentences in Australia, particularly with countries where the death sentences exists, we appear to have done nothing about it.
As for for these two young men, I'm afraid they were well aware of the law in Indonesia when they embarked on this venture.
The reaction by the public is heartening to see, it shows the world we care, however should these sentences be carried out we should not take it out on Indonesia only.
Some of the blame lies on us, the AFP for the way they handled this case, the Australian government's, who have not done enough work on prisoner exchanges. It has been talked about for years and nothing has happened.
The government should, whatever the outcome of this misadventure learn a lesson from this episode, so that we can avoid having this happen again.
It is highly likely something similar will happen again and we don't want to be floundering around, threatening and playing the blame game again.
Tony Abbott apparently hatched a plan for a unilateral Australian invasion of Iraq – a move that would have marked the first time Australia went to war alone.
It was proposed by Mr Abbott, just a month after the former pugilist famously threatened to “shirt-front” Vladimir Putin over the MH17 attack.
Mr Abbott reportedly told a meeting in Canberra on November 25 that he wanted to send 3,500 Australian ground troops to try to stop the threat.
According to a report by veteran journalist John Lyons in The Australian,the prime minister’s plan “stunned” defence officials, who said sending 3500 Australian troops without United States or Nato cover would be disastrous.
Military officials argued that even the US was not prepared to put ground troops into Iraq and it would make Australia the only Western country with troops on the ground,” the report said.
Mr Abbott immediately denied the claim, describing it as “fanciful”.
The Australian is standing by its story apparently, so who leaked it and why to The Australian. One would think that they'd think twice about printing such a story, does it mean that they are backing away from Tony. Is Rupert loosing faith in him, watch this space.
An opportunity lost Based on an article by Mark Kenny
Back in 2007, Craig Emerson, then an opposition frontbencher, spoke to a senior government figure and proposed discussions around the big generational issues – the things likely to become burgeoning costs to the budget in its out-years and well beyond.
The idea, which was not taken up, was to see if there were matters on which agreement could be reached in the national interest and in the shared political interest of both major parties – given that either could, and probably would, be in office at various times in the foreseeable future.
It was an opportunity lost. Clearly the atmosphere since has hardened decisively, with an arrogant all-or-nothing government, an eclectic populist Senate, and a Labor obstructionist opposition seething with desire for revenge, and with its foot firmly on the government throat.
And here's why: one of many unfortunate sequels to last year's own-goal-heavy budget is that the word "budget" has become negative in its own right. According to ALP-commissioned focus-group testing, voters now read it as a byword for unfairness.
The government can't even talk about the budget at the moment without people immediately hearing unfairness and broken promises. The result of this is indecision by both parties and no chance of a bipartisan approach to the problem. One thinks of government is business that should be run as such, meanwhile the other considers it only the province of government. The answer of course lies somewhere in between.
We desperately need a Minister for
the Rehabilitation of Politics?
DO WE NEED A MINISTER FOR THE REHABILITATION OF POLITICS? DO WE EVER!
JENNIFER DOGGETT:-EDITED BY S W T READ: April 2014 revisited.
To begin to rehabilitate
Over the past decade or so politics has won for itself a very poor
reputation. One of the most important positions in the new government will be
the Minister for the Rehabilitation of Politics.
He/She will lead national action to return politics to the situation in which it
can again be respected and taken seriously. She will give the Productivity
Commission a reference on The nature of truth in public policy, the meaning of a political mandate
and the Keynesian Principle of Altered Circumstances.
A Summit will be called in the first 100 days at which parliamentarians
and media representatives will chart a new course for interviews relating to
public policy matters, using the interview between Kerry O’Brien and Clive
James as a case study in how true opinions may be decently canvassed.
Legislation will be introduced under which harsh penalties will be meted out to
workers in the media who rush along as if no matter is important enough to
spend real time on.
Those who engage in ‘gotcha moments’; who interrupt their interlocutor; and who
willfully misrepresent any matter, however important, on a front page will be
severely dealt with.
Within 100 days the public will again
trust and like their politicians and the political process.
Policy issues – big and small – will be discussed in pubs and restaurants the
length and breadth of the land, and all of those who spoiled their ballots on 7
September will feel slightly ashamed.
Once fully operational we will no longer hear of hair colour, the size of a
rear end, clothing descriptions or swimming and cycling attire. Will not that
be something to look forward to, yes, yes we can, can't we.
IS THIS A JOKE, OF COURSE, BECAUSE IT WILL NEVER COME TRUE
THEY CAN,T READ YOUR MIND YET, CAN THEY? Storing data is a touchy subject and we all have views on the matter, how much or how little and how long ARE THE QUESTIONS WE NEED ANSWERS TO.. There is no doubt we the people will be paying for it, the telco's will find a way. The government has some bypartisan support however we don't want to give away to many freedoms, for if we do they will never be returned to us. Big brother could be forever be watching us.
Australian communications businesses have questioned the effectiveness of the government’s planned $400m data retention laws, given that popular overseas-based services such as Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook and Skype would not be captured.
Other “substantial” exemptions from the proposed scheme include services provided within corporate and university networks and free Wi-Fi in public places.
The retention laws – described by Tony Abbott as “a very important piece of crime-fighting equipment” and necessary to avoid “a form of unilateral disarmament in the face of criminals” – would apply only to Australian-based telecommunications providers.
Under laws to be debated by parliament next month, telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) would be obliged to store customer records – such as the sender, recipient and time of emails and phone calls using the services the companies directly operate – for two years.
John Stanton, the chief executive of the Communications Alliance representing Australian industry, said “large gaps in the scheme” included details of interactions through widely used “over-the-top” services such as Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook and Skype.
I ONLY EXAGGERATE A LITTLE, ALRIGHT SOME ARE BIGGER THAN OTHERS
Hockey is about to put the fear of god in us The Intergenerational Report – a five-yearly document looking at long term fiscal pressures, due for release soon – would make Australians “fall off their chairs”.says Hockey. He said the IGR would not be like past reports but “a very genuine attempt by the Treasury, in an unprecedented way, to launch a conversation about Australia’s future”. This is exactly what we were told about the last report that proved to be way out in its projection. These reports are terribly unreliable, not because they are badly conceived, rather that they are trying to predict the future. They generally conservative in nature for good reason, they are a merely a guide to what might could occur if their predictions prove correct. Its bit like predicting the stock market for the next five years.
That does not mean that drastic action is required immediately, it tells us that our action must take into account the report even though its predictions could be flawed. It could prove to be 180 degrees out in five years time as indeed the last one was. A bull in a china shop reaction would be crazy, Joe Hockey is already trying to scare the pants of us. After the last debacle(budget) he offered up, let's hope some commonsense is used in framing the next one.
In an age when information is so valuable why would a government consider cutting off a source of information that is so valuable.
If Australia dumps or even postpones the census it will be a tragic case of being "penny pinching". The short-term benefit is bound to be outweighed by the costs in the long run.
The last census, staged in 2011, cost $440 million or about $19 per person. That's good value when you consider how important reliable information has become in our fast-changing economy.
The census is the only way to get precise information about how many people there are in each part of Australia, what they do, and how they live.
That information is fundamental to our democracy.
The census is used by the Australian Electoral Commission to come up with fair electoral boundaries. Without an accurate picture of the population distribution how could we be sure each citizen's vote was of equal value?
That's not a compromise a wealthy nation like Australia should make.
Apparently the Abbott government is considering abandoning the Australian census and replacing it with a smaller sample survey in the upcoming budget.
The most recent census marked 100 years of data collection, providing a century's worth of information about where Australians came from, where they lived, what type of families they had and how they worked.
It is and has been used by business and governments in numerous ways for years and this government is considering dumping it to save money!
The census is crucial for the planning, administration and policy formation of federal, state and local governments. It's especially important for the fair distribution of federal funds across the nation.
Population estimates, based on census data, are used to determine the allocation of around $45 billion worth of GST funding to the states and territories. The census helps governments evaluate the effectiveness of their activities.
Asked directly whether the 2016 census would go ahead as planned on August 9, a spokeswoman for the parliamentary secretary to the treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer read from a prepared statement.
It said: "The government and the Bureau of Statistics are consulting with a wide range of stakeholders about the best methods to deliver high quality, accurate and timely information on the social and economic condition of Australian households."
Asked whether that was an answer to the question: "Will the census go ahead next year?" the spokeswoman replied that it was.
Will the census go ahead? As for the reply, your guess is as good as mine, it seems that every answer given by this government has a double meaning.
ABBOTT HAS ANOTHER FOOT IN MOUTH EPISODE He may as well be in the firing squad! CLEVER NO! STUPID YES!
Indonesia's response is what you would expect.
INDONESIAN’S foreign ministry has responded to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s escalation of rhetoric on two condemned Australians, saying “threats are not part of diplomatic language”.
Spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters in Jakarta he hadn’t studied Mr Abbott’s comments on tsunami aid but understood he had made a linkage to “the issue now in Indonesia”.
“There’s a saying in Indonesia, ‘orang akan terlihat warna sebenarnya,’ (people will be shown its true colours),” he said. “So I hope this does not reflect, the statements made, the true colours of Australians.” Mr Nasir said he didn’t want to speculate on Australia’s next moves.
“But what I know is this, threats are not part of diplomatic language ... Threats are not part of diplomatic language and from what I know, no one responds well to threats.”
A man reverses his wheelchair down the steps at Unanderra station, the wheelchair threatening to flip over and tumble down at every precarious step. One strong hand on the railing is all that keeps him alive.
He is literally hanging on for grim life.
Going back up, he ditches the wheelchair and hauls himself up step by arduous step using only his arms. He has no choice, for he has no legs.
A woman who has suffered a stroke hobbles down.
An old lady struggles up, exhausted.
For more than 20 years, disabled residents and the community have campaigned for lifts at Unanderra.
The steps, which are exposed to the elements, are the only way in or out of the station’s island platform.
For all that time, politicians from this party and that party have argued about it incessantly. About promises. About funding. About blame.
And yet still today, if you’re in a wheelchair, or you’ve had a stroke, or you’re simply old, getting in and out of Unanderra station is your problem.
Deal with it if you can. If you can’t, tough bickies!
This week, as another state election hurtles towards us, the politicians have been at it again. All three main candidates for Wollongong have pledged support for lifts.
Sitting Labor MP Noreen Hay says the lifts will be funded with $25 million. Her Liberal opponent, Cameron Walters, promises to talk to his Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian.
And independent candidate Arthur Rorris says the lift will be his first order of business.
This is Australia, forget animal rights for the moment. Make it happen!!
The restoration of knights and dames in Australia was one of Tony Abbott’s “captain’s calls”. Now one of his mates has found a way to take some of the stuffiness out of the system – by suggesting the introduction of “matehoods”.
The Liberal MP for Bennelong, John Alexander, made something of a “backbencher’s call” when he expressed a preference for addressing recipients of the nation’s top honour with “g’day, mate”.
“It came about when the new honours were announced last year and I said to a couple of my colleagues ‘our highest honour should be a matehood and you should honour people by officially calling them ‘mate’ and the official greeting should be ‘g’day mate’,” he said.
Could this really come about, we'll have to wait and see, what worries me is that all my mates may be embarrassed because if 'matehood' becomes a special honor what's going to happen to my real mates. Then there's G'day mate, will that be reserved for people that have been 'matehooded".
Perhaps we should have a Royal Commission to investigate what a mate really is before we jump in and make 'matehoods" out of people who are not really our true blue mates.
MULTI-millionaire retirees are receiving federal government handouts worth about $500 million a year, sparking calls for an overhaul of Australia’s publicly funded retirement system.
About 260,000 Australian households have a net worth of more than $3m yet are enjoying welfare payments of about $800m a year, despite years of attempts to slow the growth of social security spending.
The study, undertaken by the National Centre of Social and Economic Modelling, also shows these wealthy families receive more than $6 billion a year of benefits in kind, such as taxpayer-funded healthcare and education services.
The analysis, which questions the fairness of Australia’s welfare and retirement programs, comes as debate continues over how unfair the Abbott government’s first budget was.
The other area of contention is people living in houses valued in the millions receiving aged pensions and other benefits.
The handouts some of these people have had through tax concessions and negative gearing over the years brings into question weather the family home should be exempt from means testing. Some would say that many of these people are double dipping.
Should these people be blamed for using the system, no, its the system it's self that is the problem and successive governments have not had the bottle to fix it.