29 Aug 2017

IT stuff ups caused by loss of expertise within departments? Both sides of politics have outsourced their IT expertise.

Image result for computer stuff up cartoon
Could it be that the loss of real IT expertise within government agencies to the private IT industry means that there is no proper oversight of projects.

IT contractors get an open cheque because its in their interest to prolong projects by inventing stumbling blocks.

Centralising IT doesn't seem to achieve the right outcomes, each department has its own independent requirements. The main aim should be to interface with a common platform.
'A symptom of a broader problem'

Shadow minister for the digital economy Ed Husic said the Government was trying to blame public servants for the increasing costs, rather than taking leadership.

Mr Husic, who led Labor's calls for the Senate inquiry, said the Government did not have enough "digital literacy" to turn the problem around.

"You can see the scale of this when you measure the cost of the digital spending against what is being spent on Newstart payments," he told the ABC.

"The ATO website has been crashing repeatedly over the course of the last six to eight months, and no senior minister has thought it important to step forward and explain what has gone wrong.

"This is a symptom of a broader IT problem in Government."

23 Aug 2017

Identity politics agenda: First they came for someone else and then,and then they came for me.

Opinion: Identity politics agenda is economically fraught

LET me tell you a story about Norm and Norma.
This married couple don’t actually exist. At least not in the sense we usually mean. But there are numerous Norms and Normas on the fringes of Australia’s capital cities and in our nation’s regions.
Norm and Norma met in high school in a mid-sized country town. Eager to marry, they left school early and secured make-do jobs.
Their incomes were modest but they were happy, even when the bills piled up with extra mouths to feed. After eight years, Norma was laid off after the local supermarket was bought by a recent migrant. Soon after, Norm saw another migrant – a younger, university-educated woman who dressed “funny” – promoted to the front office while Norm remained on the loading dock.
The years passed and their children grew up. Norm and Norma talked with friends about how “bad” Australia had become when Aussie kids couldn’t get good local jobs. They hated the way their new neighbours spoke foreign languages and who didn’t dress “Australian”.
Norm and Norma were soon enamoured with a new political party headed by an articulate, telegenic young man who promised to make Australia great again by putting Australians first. The party struggled at first and won only a handful of Senate seats. But Australia’s major parties began to unravel as each became consumed with internal squabbles, especially after a major recession gutted Australia’s economy and pushed voters into a new world of fear.
Despite a few false starts the Great Australia Party, in just over a decade, managed to assume government with majorities in both houses.
Norm and Norma were ecstatic that, as promised, high tariffs would again bring well-paid jobs to everyone – even those with limited education – and Australia would again become a land of milk and honey where, at least in public, only English language and western dress is permitted.
Norm and Norma kept their electoral faith with the Great Australia Party, even when those well-paid jobs didn’t appear.
At first they cheered the government’s “Excess Migrant Removal” program, but when the young migrant bloke at the end of their street was deported – a single dad who volunteered with the local fire brigade and with whom Norm had shared many a beer and described as a “good bloke” – Norm and Norma grieved.
The seemingly endless recession deepened and, in the name of a national emergency, the GAP government suspended the forthcoming election to “fix” Australia’s problems.
But the policy agenda soon veered away from economics and even more toward identity.
The prime minister, who by now had largely abandoned cabinet government and who’d not allowed parliament to convene for a year, boasted he could ignore the High Court and the Constitution because he spoke directly to – and for – the people.
Those media outlets who criticised the GAP were branded “fake news” and later shut down, by GAP emergency fiat, for being “un-Australian”.
Norm and Norma, by now in their 50s, were unemployed and living on an ever-shrinking dole payment.
Worse, while sky-high import tariffs produced a few thousand low-paid jobs, the few products they created became unaffordable for most families.
Norm and Norma felt life couldn’t possibly get worse. But then a letter arrived by a now intermittent postal service.
The letter said the DNA test Norm had submitted to the previous year – part of the GAP’s requirements to ensure only the “right” people could collect welfare – had found Norm had more than the permissible 25 per cent of non-Anglo genes.
In short, Norm was “too foreign” and, while he wouldn’t be deported – where would he go? – he would no longer be eligible for government assistance.
We don’t know what became of Norm, Norma, their kids or the countless thousands like them.
But German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller, imprisoned by the Nazis despite his earlier ambivalence, would have a good idea, as his famous poem suggests:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Socialist. / Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Trade Unionist. / Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Jew. / Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
Dr Paul Williams is a senior lecturer at Griffith University’s School of Humanities, Languages and Social Scienc

2017 most popular slogan.


Human rights. Why shouldn't we have charter?

Australia stands out as one of the few countries without human rights legislation,why? Both major parties have avoided it, why?
Why, are they frightened?

Maybe a couple of newbie MP's will renew the call and drag us into this century.

Pauline Hanson burka stunt offensive and ridiculous | The Mercury:

'via Blog this'

Private health funds we know best: Doctors know nothing about health?

Private Health private funds policy details are almost written in code.

NIB's chief executive Mark Fitzgibbon rejected the AMA's proposal as "paternalistic" and an attack on consumer choice.

"All policies do have a minimum level of cover, it's just a question of where you draw the minimum," he said.

"It's an interesting argument, isn't it, to say that consumers can't make a decision for themselves. It sounds a bit paternalistic."

Instead, Mr Fitzgibbon shifted the onus back onto consumers to check that their health insurance policy covered the treatments they thought they might need.

"We took the view, so long as it's transparent, caveat emptor [the legal principle of buyer beware] applies," he said.

The NIB boss said his company was a pioneer in offering flexible insurance policies with differing levels of cover, with many of the lower cost (although still between $1,500-2000 a year for a couple) policies specifically targeted at younger, healthier people.

"It's been wonderfully successful in attracting more and more younger people into the system, because allowing younger people to carve out cover such as obstetrics or orthodontics ... allowed us to reduce the price," he said.

Is health insurance worth it?

Last year, consumer advocacy group Choice published a list of seven popular "junk" health insurance policies, which it described as a "waste of money for consumers and taxpayers".

NIB's basic hospital policy was on that list, along with some policies from major rival Medibank Private, HCF, Australian Unity, Defence Health and HIF.

"Our analysis shows that in many cases, junk policies cover less than 1 per cent of the services available in hospital, and exclude treatment for the most common serious illnesses such as cancer, stroke and heart disease," Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said at the time.

UK light weight takes on Elephant and is trampled to death.

Politician dismisses Hawking's research analysis (it doesn't go well)

Not so good at looking at research?
It's not a good idea to criticize a scientist's ability to do science if you're not that good at, say, science.

Climate scientists have borne the brunt of this is recent times, as some politicians have told them that they don't know what they're talking about.

On Friday, UK Health Secretary Jeremy(not in the hunt)Hunt gave Stephen Hawking -- of all scientists -- an "F" for his analysis of research.

Hawking, you see, had penned an article in The Guardian defending the UK's National Health Service. The NHS tries to ensure that, you know, people don't die in the streets when they're sick simply because they don't have enough money.

It's an imperfect system, but one, some would say, with a heart.

Hawking said the service had saved his own life, since he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1962. He said Hunt was trying to turn the NHS into a pure, American-style business. He added that the politician had "abused" and "cherry-picked" scientific research to support his politics.

Hunt, a member of the ruling rightish Conservative Party, took to Twitter to upbraid the famed physicist: "Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect. 2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever."

Please, I'd prefer not to get too deeply into the grimy details of the weekend effect. Essentially, it's the suggestion that patient care deteriorates at weekends, relative to weekdays.

In the case of Hunt vs. Hawking, it's the Twitterish contemporary psychology that fascinates far more.

The minute Hunt decided to take on Hawking on Twitter, he was met with a barrage of criticism.

For example, this from Labor Party politician Clive Lewis: "Well, Hawking gave us complex theories on blackholes & alternative universes.The other left a blackhole where the NHS was & covered his back with alternative(fake) facts."

21 Aug 2017

Its all about needing One Nations vote.

LNP will sup with the devil to remain in power.

Business as usual for Brandis and Hanson
By Jennifer Rajca
A day after facing off in the Senate, life goes on for George Brandis and Pauline Hanson.

The Children’s Party to take on Canberra

Melbourne kids form The Children’s Party to take on Canberra

Catherine Lambert, Herald Sun 
THE need to be heard has become official for a group of Melbourne kids who have established the first child-led political party in Australia.

The Children’s Party comprises 12 kids, aged 9-12, and they have policies on marriage equality, gender equality, use of plastic bags and religious tolerance.

Member Mirai Sastradipradja-Pollock, 10, of St Kilda, is so inspired she is already thinking about a career in politics once she finishes school.

“We don’t want to wait until we’re 18 to tell people what we think when all of our good ideas will have vanished and we have become boring and just go with the crowd,” Mirai said.

“We have all come up with policies on things that are most important to us right now. I’m considering a career in politics because I see it as a way to make a change and have an input on what goes on in the world.”

“These kids are incredibly tapped into their personal politics as in their values and beliefs and they’re very articulate and eloquent,” teacher Ms Walker said.

“Their sense of humanity and social justice is outstanding. They offer a unique perspective. They’re reminded daily about their behaviours such as respect, putting up their hands to speak, sharing, being kind and taking turns.

“So they’re pretty horrified by what they see in question time at Parliament.”

20 Aug 2017

The wheel of death, it keeps on giving!

Image result for death of democracy cartoon
Based on an article by Chris Silvini, Townsville Bulletin

Hasn’t it been quite the spectacle watching our pollies take on the wheel of death lately?

One by one they bravely place their hand over their hearts, pledge allegiance to the flag and promise that they’re a citizen of Australia and Australia alone. And then, and then, they plummet to the ground, crash-landing on the growing pile below.

Then there’s the jaw-dropping juggling act of the same-sex marriage plebiscite.
Well, it’s not really a plebiscite is it? I’m still a little bit confused about what exactly to call it. It’s like a sort of more of an informal chat, like popping in for a cup of tea and a scone with Gran to see what she thinks about stuff.

Mind you we already know what she thinks about stuff and it’s going to cost us $122 million!! You hear her say it again "$122 million". Then there's the age thing, can 16-year-olds join in? Yes, they can. Oh, wait … no, never mind.

You’d think it’d be comforting to know that we’re not the only country who seems to have flown over the cuckoo’s nest.
No, especially when it takes a clown of a world leader a couple of days to decide whether or not he should condemn actual real-life Nazi sympathisers; and even when he does he’s still a bit flaky about it.

If there’s one positive thing that’s come out of our Ministry of Madness of late, it’s the fact that the same-sex marriage debate has prompted a huge number of people — mostly young people — to add themselves to the electoral rolls.

Before the poll was announced the AEC estimated that more than 800,000 people weren’t on there, with around 300,000 of them aged 18 to 24.
For a long time our politicians have been concerned about how disengaged so many of us are from the political process. But can anyone really blame us?

The huge upsurge in people signing up to vote on SSM has shown that we’re actually interested in the issues, and when it comes to something we care about we will mobilise.

Maybe that’s what politicians are scared of. We might learn that we ourselves still have the power, not them!

What we don’t care about is the endless political point scoring. We’re sick of the “gotcha” mentality. We're sick of you blaming the other side of politics for problems that just need solutions.

Question time,ha,ha,ha.
Then there's way you weasel out of answering pretty simple questions, and when you trot out the same old speaking points to make it sound like you’re doing stuff when we all know you’ve made no progress on anything of importance.

I'm hoping that a plague of commonsense descends on the house or I'll be forced to listen to the National Anthem on a loop until I die.

18 Aug 2017

The birth of corporate domination, maybe its already happened?

Image result for people and the money machine cartoon
Griffith Review

During the 1970s, a handful of the Americas wealthiest corporate captains felt overtaxed and over-regulated and decided to fight back. Disenchanted with the direction of modern America, they launched an ambitious, privately financed war of ideas to radically change the country. They didn’t want to merely win elections; they wanted to change how Americans thought.

These well-lubricated ideas quickly spread through the world due to American global dominance.

It didn’t take long before institutions were accused of failing, experts gained the prefix “so-called”, and “elites” it ceased to be the mega rich or those born with silver spoons, but were redefined as educated people who questioned the self-interest orthodoxy.

My comment.
It appears that Donald Trump is continuing the attack in institutions, so called experts(scientists) and 'elites' are now the educated people.

Whereas the mega rich no longer owe allegiance to any country, their only religion is the mighty dollar, they are the 'deserving ones' now because they create wealth. How? By dodging tax and manipulating countries and world stock markets.

Democracies are being replaced by corporate self interest, they play countries off against one another to win corporate investment, and the "mice"(countries) learn where they have to go to get fed.

Our democracies, our elected representatives are locked into a treadmill that puts corporates ahead of people.

16 Aug 2017

Sky boss wants to destroy the ABC. Whats new?The LNP and Pauline Hanson would like to help out.

Image result for ABC bashing cartoon

“The commercial media have been bellyaching about the ABC for 85 years,” Milne said in an interview with ABC Riverina. “Eighty-five years ago the media barons were out in force saying that ABC radio was going to wreck their radio stations – and it didn’t. Then they were saying ABC TV was going to wreck their TV investments – and of course it didn’t.

“Australians want and benefit from – and so does commercial media – a vibrant, interesting, diverse media environment. It just works better.”
Ticking the diversity box

When you are a public broadcaster committed to increasing onscreen diversity, you have to ensure every effort is being made to put the policy into action. The ABC’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has made diversity her catchphrase since she took over from Mark Scott, saying the goal for the ABC is “to look and sound like Australia”.

“I am also not only the first woman to hold the position but I am also the first managing director from a non-English speaking background,” Guthrie said last year.

But the move has only meant more red tape and some ABC TV journos are a little frustrated at being told they have to track their own diversity quotas. “Every time you file a TV story can you please fill in this form,” a recent memo said.

Do the LNP and Hanson wants to check every story????

Comparison Malcolm Turnbull and Alfred Deakin: Deakin always put the national interest before considerations of party politics or personal advantage. And he fiercely protected his independence. Turnbull is the exact opposite and will pay the price.

Based on exerpts from Judith Brett’s new book.

Alfred Deakin, he fiercely protected his independence. The party was always placed last behind what was good for the nation and his beliefs.

Alfred Deakin is often overlooked, he was a politician who put Nation before party. A rare or extinct bird these days.

His rejection of those he called “the obstructionists”, the conservatives and nay-sayers, who put their energies into blocking progressive policies rather than pursuing positive initiatives for the nation.

In June this year, Turnbull quoted these words of Menzies, in his struggle with the conservatives of the party. Clearly Turnbull wants to be a strong leader of a progressive party, rather than the front man for a shambolic do-nothing government.

However there was never any doubt about what Deakin would fight for his beliefs, whereas Malcolm just doesn't cut the mustard.

He does have some superficial resemblances to Deakin: he is super-smart, urbane, charming and a smooth talker who looks like a leader. But as we all now know, he lacks substance.
First, he could learn the courage of his convictions.

The second lesson Turnbull could have learnt is to have put the interests of the nation ahead of the interests of the party and the management of its internal differences.

Deakin always put his conception of the national interest before considerations of party politics or personal advantage. And he fiercely protected his independence.

A note from Judith Brett
When I first began thinking about this piece I was going to call it “What Malcolm Turnbull could learn from Alfred Deakin”. But I fear it may now too late for him to save his government, and might be more accurately called “What Malcolm Turnbull might have learned from Alfred Deakin”.


7 Aug 2017

Don’t listen to the rich: inequality is bad for everyone

Inequality is bad for everyone

Chris Doucouliagos

Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Deakin Business School and Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University
Disclosure statement

One of the co-authors of the cited research, Jakob B. Madsen, received financial support from the Australian Research Council (DP150100061 and DP170100339).

Having only a few people with most of the wealth, motivates others. This theory is actually wrong according to research. 

A world where a few people have most of the wealth motivates others who are poor to strive to earn more. And when they do, they’ll invest in businesses and other areas of the economy. That’s the argument for inequality. But it’s wrong.

Our study of 21 OECD countries over more than a 100 years shows income inequality actually restricts people from earning more, educating themselves and becoming entrepreneurs. That flows on to businesses who in turn invest less in things like plant and equipment.

Inequality makes it harder for economies to benefit from innovation. However, if people have access to credit or the money to move up, it can offset this effect.

We measured the impact of this by looking at the number of patents for new inventions and then also looking at the Gini coefficient and the income share of the top 10%. The Gini coefficient is a measure of the distribution of income or wealth within a nation.
How inequality reduces innovation

From 1870 to 1977, inequality measured by the Gini coefficient fell by about 40%. During this time people actually got more innovative and productivity increased, incomes also increased.
But inequality has increased in recent decades and it’s having the opposite effect.

Inequality is preventing people with less income and wealth from reaching their potential in terms of education and invention. There’s also less entrepreneurship.

6 Aug 2017

Big political donations by private health corporations | Illawarra Mercury

Some of big players expect payback after large donations. They appear to be getting it in spades.

Rorris queries big political donations by private health corporations | Illawarra Mercury:

'via Blog this'

Australian parliamentarians in 1969. Parliamentarians in 2017.

Image result for lying politician cartoon
The 'smoothies' have taken over government.
That's why we don't listen to our MP's anymore.

Based on an article by Imre Salusinszky
Former Hawke government minister Barry Cohen liked to tell a story that when he was first introduced to his new Labor party-room comrades, arriving in Canberra as a young MP in 1969.

He was struck by how many of the hands he shook had fingers missing: these men (and yes, they were all men) had worked on railroads, construction sites and in factories.

Now, MPs on both sides
(smoothies) have the smooth hands of those who have worked entirely within the political system itself.
They're ministerial advisers or similar. Now, even worse, they generally came to that work via the respective political parties.

Ministerial offices these days are stacked with party members, many of whom have come up through Young Labor or the Young Liberals.

Like a footballer who won't "lift his eyes" and look for options other than a long shot at goal, these people have been focused on party politics so long they can barely see past it.

The first mob that snapps out of this mindset and gets real people to stand will win big.

1 Aug 2017

Australia:- How to fix political campaign finances.

Not Rocket science

Six reforms to fix the campaign finance system:-
Instant online disclosure of donations as they are received by registered political parties with the electoral commission in the relevant state being the clearing house where donations must be centrally processed and disclosed.

1. At the moment we get one annual dump of clunky Federal and state data on February 1 each year, which is already up to 19 months out of date. Right now, we’ve had no disclosure of Federal donations made over the past 13 months.

2. Spending caps on parties and candidates as occurs in Britain, so it is impossible for elections to be bought by billionaires, as so often happens in the US. Barack Obama raised almost $1 billion to win the White House in 2008.

3.Increased public funding for candidates and parties to reduce the reliance on private donations. At the moment, Federal elections generate $2.63 per vote for those who get above the four per cent threshold but the ACT Assembly has the highest level of public funding at $8 per vote.

4. Follow the US lead and restrict donations to citizens on the electoral roll. This would effectively eliminate all foreign donations, something which might just get done by the current Parliament.

5. Follow the British lead of requiring shareholder approval by large listed companies before company resources can be deployed for political purposes. This has led to a collapse in UK public company donations. Similar member approvals should also be required for union donations.

6. Require donors or third party campaign spenders to register with electoral authorities and fully disclose the scope and scale of their spending. You can see a version of that with the upcoming NSW local government elections being held on September 9 where anyone spending more than $2000 must register and
appoint an agent.

The missing link in Airport Security. Stop playing politics with security!

Our Airport missing link
Image result for a missing link

The government must pursue greater training for airport employees and for all domestic travellers to be "made to produce photo identification" when checking in.

“The major things that are missing particularly on domestic flights in Australia is the matching of the passengers with the boarding card. In Australia if you go a library, a bowls club or an RSL club you have to show photo ID 'but not an airport'?

“It’s very simple and happens regularly. Criminals use it, terrorists have used it to get a ticket online using a dodgy name or a dodgy credit card and they can get a boarding pass sent to them and produce it at an airport and travel unchallenged.

“It means flight crew have no idea who is in the cabin behind them, no idea.”

Featured post

When is a balloon a balloon. When its not Chinese!