25 Dec 2018

CHRISTMAS IS FOR CHILDREN. Is it really, or is it for grown-ups to become children?

Image result for Dads riding kids toys cartoonRelated image

What makes you think it’s a grand idea to juggle fire and matches after several champagne cocktails?

And the last time you rode a bike was before high school, so please explain why you are attempting a wheelie in thongs after several hours of hooking into the Christmas spirits.

As the portly chap in the flammable red suit prepares for his annual squeeze down the exhaust extractor, take action to ensure you head into 2019 intact.

“The big injuries over Christmas in Australia feature dads who buy skateboards, scooters or bikes for the kids and then break their wrists or other bones demonstrating them.

Santa does not take any responsibility for grown-ups behaving like children after they buy so called toys for the children.

24 Dec 2018

Is this open government? Brexit secrecy once again?

Tell the public nothing, that is the mantra of the present government.
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Pharmaceutical organisations working with Whitehall to maintain medicine supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit have signed 26 “gagging orders” that bar them from revealing information to the public.

Figures show that 16 drug companies and 10 trade associations have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) which prevent them from revealing any information related to contingency plans drawn up with the Department of Health and Social Care.

It means that the government has now asked at least 60 partners working on no-deal preparations across Whitehall to sign such agreements, angering transparency campaigners and MPs.

22 Dec 2018

Trump diplomacy? Diplomacy is no longer commonplace in America or externally.

Reliance on American commonsense, while we did not always agree, was predictable. This has now turned to fear, fear of a loose cannon president who is out of control.

The blood and treasure spent by the US in the middle east is being squandered by a TV host president?

These two US withdrawals from war don't spell peace. They show weakness and instability. America's supremacy and the world order since the Cold War were predicated on overwhelming military might and predictability.

Now Washington's adversaries are stronger militarily, and see that the old strictures no longer apply.

No longer do they know what the US will and will not accept. 

Instead, the Commander in Chief of the most powerful war machine in history thinks of it as a device to be used to change the headlines, or express his potency.

The risk of conflict being initiated as rashly as these two withdrawals were announced has risen dramatically. The risk of America's adversaries calculating -- with some justification -- that now might be the time to think about pursuing their longer-term goals in somewhere say, like, Ukraine, massively rose too.

This is not a standard Trump-era blip, but a moment when the mood music saw a key change, or perhaps the screen went blue along with the blue thoughts among world leaders.

10 Dec 2018

Boats have turned into planes? Home Affairs Department website shows 27,931 protection visa applications were made in the latest financial year by plane arrivals.

Based on an article by Michael Pascoe
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27,931 protection visa applications were made in the latest financial year by plane arrivals. (Smugglers now put refugees on planes?) What is really happening with stop the boats. How many turn backs have happened, we'll never know!

The previous record number of asylum seekers was 26,845 in the 2012-13 financial year when 18,365 protection visa applications were made for boat arrivals and 8480 for those who came by plane.

Over the weekend, the federal government continued its campaign of trying to paint Labor as “soft” on border protection, feeding compliant media outlets with allegations that admitting a relatively small number of asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus Island on medical grounds would mean people convicted of murder and rape could enter Australia. (How many of the refugees are criminals. We are never told)

But in the past four years since the government “stopped the boats”, 64,362 protection visa applications have been made by unvetted individuals who have arrived by plane while Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton were the relevant ministers.

The people smugglers are doing more business than ever.  Photo: AAP

That compares with a total of 44,581 protection visa applications for boat arrivals over the previous five years.

Former Immigration Department deputy secretary, Abul Rizvi, predicts the latest record will be broken this financial year, blaming the surge on the “chaos” in Mr Dutton’s Home Affairs department. Most of the new wage of protection visa applicants are arriving on visitor visas and then lodging appeals as asylum seekers.

Meanwhile Home Affairs is reducing frontline staff and IT contractors.

“Outsourcing visa processing will make the problem worse. Tackling the chaos in our visa processing system will cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly north of a billion dollars and take many years.

Mr Rizvi retired as Immigration Department deputy secretary in 2007. He was awarded the Public Service Medal and the Centenary Medal for services to development and implementation of immigration policy.

He has blown the whistle on protection visa applications and the resurgence of people smugglers via John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritationspublic policy website.

7 Dec 2018

The way we view The Social Economy is outdated. We need a rethink.

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Luke Michael, Journalist
The social economy is the workforce of the future, according to a new report, which says outdated perceptions of the social services sector must change.

The Future Social Service Institute (FSSI) report identified the social economy as the fastest growing segment of the Australian labour market, with 250,000 new jobs projected by 2022.

“However despite this rapid growth, the social economy is largely overlooked in discourses about… Australia’s economic future,” the report said.

“Instead, attention is typically given to new jobs in advanced manufacturing, defence, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and construction.”

The report said it was time to change how the the social economy was “recognised, respected and rewarded”, with a need to make social services jobs more attractive to meet demand.

“In short, we must see the social economy as the workforce of the future,” the report said.

“We must stop talking about the sector as if it were only a welfare cost to the public purse, and we must start seeing it as being about industries, professions and careers.”

Government's fight against terrorism to stop over Christmas holidays? Home Affairs slashes staff over Christmas at Airports. So, terrorist must go on holidays? I don't think so!

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Terrorist selecting holiday destination. Australia is available.

Home Affairs budget slashed to avoid $300 million overspend

The Australian Border Force is slashing staff numbers at airports over the busy Christmas period as part of desperate measures to stem a predicted $300 million overspend at the Department of Home Affairs.

Leaked emails from two regional commanders show the Border Force is taking dramatic action in the face of "significant budget pressures", including slashing casual staff by up to two-thirds in some areas. Sources say the organisation is becoming increasingly casualized, which suggests the reduction in overall workers will be substantial.

On Thursday we had PM Morrison giving Shorten a blast about not supporting governments bill on Cyber Security(this bill is not workable without amendments).
Now we learn the Government is going on holidays early and now Boarder Force's staff has been cut over the holidays. Terrorists go on holidays? Talk about hypocrisy!

3 Dec 2018

Where are the children? 'They are our present government'. I say again where are the children- answer:- marching in the street like gown-ups protesting about lack of action on climate change.

Image result for Australian Morrison government ministers photo

Based on an article by BIGSMOKE

Our school kids skipping school to protest the Government’s inaction should be an example to follow. In fact, compared to the people who govern us, they seem like the real adults.

Now I have been a little more jaded than usual with respect to our leaders and political system. But something happened this week that enraged me so much that I had to say something in a public forum.

For those that haven’t kept up. Thousands of school kids skipped school this week to hold a protest against the Government’s lack of action on climate change. 

Now whether you agree with their cause or not, you’d have to agree that seeing the next generation politically engaged is an absolute plus.

Perhaps if my generation or the others around mine had done more of it, we might not be where we are right now.
Now the embattled (sacred cow) Liberal MP Craig Kelly treated us to a further example of our elected juvenility. 
As he strode into a leisure centre, castigating a local mayor with four-letter words for not shaking his hand. Apparently, this was at a function attended by children.

Meanwhile  Kelly, of course, is in the midst of being saved by his own party, not for his merit, but because his friends(climate change deniers) chose to keep him around.

The government, I feel, needs a fairly comprehensive shift of three years in the naughty corner.

2 Dec 2018

Royal Commission stage 2 is waiting in the wings to investigate criminal offences!

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Only 27 customers heard at Royal Commission

The clamour for a royal commission 2.0 is already starting to build among victims of misconduct in the financial services industry. They are unanimous in saying that the inquiry – although thorough and on occasions a brutal expose of the industry’s shortcomings.
They heard from only 27 customers and did not go nearly far enough.

Geoff Shannon, who set up a group to help victims of bank misconduct several years ago, said the commission had only just begun the work of exposing problems in the financial system.

“It’s not even scratched the surface in terms of bank scandals. The industry think they are just about off the hook but we are only just at the beginning,” said Shannon, a former Bankwest customer.

Another campaigner, Peter Brandson, agreed that the commission needed to carry on investigating the financial industry but with increased powers to expose misconduct.

The commission is not looking at the most serious offences,” said Brandson, who set up Bank Reform Now after fighting a loan dispute with NAB. “There has been criminal fraud, forged documents, asset-stripping and millions of dollars of assets have been taken from people.

Both activists have held numerous meetings with the banks and politicians but say there is still not enough recognition of the damage done by what they claim is decades of misconduct.

It is not inconceivable that a change of government in Canberra next year could put the banks, wealth managers, super funds and insurance companies on the interrogatory rack again.

26 Nov 2018

First it was the the Bank Royal Commission that was opposed by the LNP and now its a Federal Anti corruption watchdog.

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You would think that they would have learned. 

First it was the the Bank Royal Commission that was opposed by the LNP and now its a Federal Anti corruption watchdog,. 

You would think that they would have learned from their "helping the big end of town, mates" tag, they would have jumped at the opportunity to create a Federal Anti corruption watchdog. But, no!

An integrity commission was an important measure to restore public trust in the political system.
Governments ignore at their peril demands by citizens to combat corruption with vigour.

Attorney General Porter has warned the model proposed would “apply extraordinary powers against all public servants, including ABC and ABS journalists”. A very strange remark?

“Those powers could be used without proper checks and balances and at large because of an incredibly broad and low definition of corruption including basic administrative errors and process failures by public servants,” Mr Porter said. Again he is trying to frighten people off the idea. Why?

Even though we have a group of judges crying out for a commission it appears they don't want the same integrity commission extending to cover the judiciary. ????

Only people with something to hide should fear such a body.

Corruption is insidious it always exists because humans have flaws, so anyone who believes it doesn't exist in our Australian system is in La,La land.

25 Nov 2018

Whatever happened to the revolution?

Whatever happened to the (digital news) revolution?

Remember when the doctor says, just before giving you a needle, this is going to sting just a little bit?
The chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, adopted the same bedside manner when he recently announced he had approved Nine Entertainment’s takeover of Fairfax Media.
Mr Sims admitted Australia would be “slightly worse off” after the Nine-Fairfax deal but argued there would still be a diverse range of views for local audiences.
Why did he agree to the Fairfax takeover
He argued that the many small digital players would maintain a balance. Well, what planet he lives on we do not know, suffice to say it is not a planet that Australia resides on.
Thank god for the ABC!

24 Nov 2018

mARS bARS threatened by Brexit. It can't be ignored, it could be the end of life as we know it.

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The loss of the popular Mars bar from British supermarket shelves has illustrated the massive change millions of consumers could soon be hit with.

The chocolate bars would vanish from Britain within a fortnight of the country leaving the European Union if there was no transition deal in place. Untangling the world’s fifth largest economy from 27 other countries after three decades is going to require some hard decisions, quick thinking and creative solutions.

Which brings us to the current mess the United Kingdom is in.

Using Mars as an example, if no deal is reached by March 29 next year then the UK will crash out of the EU and have to rely on World Trade Organisation rules to trade with its former European partners.

The problem with that is there would no longer be frictionless trade that allowed goods to pass through borders without customs and regulatory checks — and for Mars bars, two imported ingredients that couldn’t be stockpiled would go off in days.

Expected gridlock at the port of Dover would almost shut down one of the UK’s vital food import routes, meaning Mars bars — and many other products — would be gone, some within a few days.

Is the dark side about to appear again in Australian politics?

Image result for Abbott He won't stay dead

The mystic powers of the Mad Monk amaze me, could he rise again from the un-dead to lead the LNP?

Will he lead them into the wilderness of opposition, will he renew our respect for politicians, by bringing back true parliament abuse and denigration of anyone who opposes him.

We await the next episode with bated breath.

Costco America Strange supplies? They stock it because it sells.

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Extract from an article Emily Mester

Only in America? Coming to a store near you, in Australia?

Their emergency food department is stocked with the dizzying quantities that could only appeal to the truly doom-hearted. $279.99 gets you 600 servings of canned eggs; $449 gets you 12 cans of freeze-dried ground beef that will last you 90 days. Unlike fresh meat, the product copy reads, THRIVE Ground Beef has a shelf life of 25 years in the can. For $4,499.99, a single person can gorge for a whole year on a kit of chicken stew, breakfast skillets, and chili mac with beef, all nonperishable. I eventually read those reviews, too, some of them from customers who are saving for disaster, others from those for whom the kits comprise part of their everyday diet.

17 Nov 2018

Time the Liberal National Party remembered their greatest leader Menzies

Humanities that are derided so much by to-days politicians should be used as a guide to good government.

Prime Minister, Menzies declared  the Humanities Council would provide,
Wisdom, a sense of proportion, sanity of judgement, a faith in the capacity of man to rise to higher mental and spiritual levels. We live dangerously in the world of ideas, just as we do in the world of international conflict. If we are to escape this modern barbarism, humane studies must come back into their own, not as the enemies of science, but as its guides and philosophic friends.
Robert Menzies: saw a key role for the ‘humane studies’. AAP
Now we are more often likely to hear prominent politicians pillorying the humanities as esoteric and truth-defying, and humanities scholars as ideologues in cahoots with self-aggrandizing scientists who are addressing the existential crisis of climate change for personal gain.
To attack the university system at precisely the moment when it reaches more people, when its impact on the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of the nation has never been higher, seems perverse. Based on medium-sized lies, madness even, from the zone of truthiness.

15 Nov 2018

Scomo The Unicorn has returned, however his mystical powers appear to have deserted him.

Scomo The Unicorn has returned and the LNP now realises that they didn't get what they wished for when they played snakes and ladders a short time ago.

They threw the dice and went down the ladder and landed on the mystical Scomo Unicorn who appeared out of nowhere.

Now we are learning fast that the only relationship Scott Morrison has to a real Unicorns is that he behaviour is a mystery.

His antenna seems to point all over the place, his policies are on and off like a proverbial light switch.

And since landing on Scomo Unicorn when they had their next throw they had to move backwards which was not what they expected at all.

They believed that the Unicorn mystical powers would move them forward. Now everyone wonders why on earth they decided to play the game in the first place.

The team that played the first game won't take the blame, and the second team who fell for the Unicorn seem's to have stuffed it up also.

Image result for Scott Morrison unicorn
Meanwhile The UNICORN is oblivious

He's PM so he's a happy UNICORN

7 Nov 2018

Platypus in Melbourne water ways, could be receiving half the daily recommended dose of anti-depressants for humans.

Found pharmaceuticals in every bug sampled - over 190 invertebrates - from six different streams. These included caddisfly larvae, midge larvae, snails and dragonfly larvae. Found pharmaceuticals in spiders living in stream-side vegetation.

Found 69 different drugs in the bugs, including fluoxetine and mianserin (anti-depressants), fluconazole (an anti-fungal), and non-steroidal anti-inflamatories (NSAIDs), often used to treat arthritis.

While we don’t know how these drugs are affecting these invertebrates, we know from other studies pharmaceuticals do affect the lifecycles of other organisms.

We also calculated that animals that eat these aquatic invertebrates, such as platypus, would be receiving half the daily recommended dose of anti-depressants for humans

28 Oct 2018

The LNP Senators have proved that half a brain is the requirement to become a Senator for the LNP.

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What does it say about Coalition senators that they would vote mindlessly for anything they are told to back, however inappropriate?
After all, following a short but pithy debate Coalition senators sat to be counted, with the white supremacist language there before them, with their notice papers. Meanwhile the opposition senators are yelling to bring their attention to the stupidity of thier action.
When these Senate motions – on average there are 50-60 every sitting week – come, the government asks the relevant ministerial office to advise. In this case, it was the office of Attorney-General Christian Porter.

The SHEEP Senators were not even thinking. Why do we elect them!

Then again it's often been said "anyone with half a brain could do that job," Now we know its true!

The desert in Australia is a lesser danger than the policy desert in the present government.

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A Political policy desert in Australia could destroy a brave history
Look to the past for political bravery

No other wealthy country has experienced a period of economic growth as long as Australia’s current stretch, and our relatively open approach to immigration is also a major asset.

Australia takes in as many as 190,000 immigrants a year who work, pay taxes and have children – all useful to address an ageing population. Then there’s Australia’s world-class health-care and superannuation systems.

Surprised by how few Australians seem to realise how much their country stands out!” I'm not, as we are all attuned to 24 hour news cycles.

“Not just in terms of how long it has gone without a recession, but also in terms of income growth, immigration and economic reform. It’s an amazing record, and one that it’s really important not to jeopardise.”

Morrison and Taylor are touting huge potential savings in typical annual household power bills

'Big stick' energy plan is bad

 politics as well as bad policy

Edited by S.W.T.Read

by Ben Potter

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake," Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten and energy spokesman Mark Butler can't believe their luck. Morrison bends the truth in plain sight.

The package of energy measures unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and energy minister Angus Taylor plays with a number of myths and distortions about power and energy.

For example, they've distorted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's findings and recommendations to justify the measures and achieve the claimed savings.

The government is touting huge but unrepresentative savings from its proposed"default offer" for retail electricity. 

Here are some of the most glaring myths and distortions on show.

So called 'Big stick' equals huge savings

Morrison and Taylor are touting huge potential savings in typical annual household power bills from forcing power retailers to use regulated "default offers" - from $369 in southeast Queensland and $411 in NSW to $652 in Victoria and a massive $832 in South Australia.

The reality as described by the ACCC in its retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry—Final Report is a lot less exciting.

Here are some of the most glaring myths and distortions on show.

Buried away on page 368 of the report are the ACCC's findings on typical annual savings that households on standing offers can reap from switching to the new regulated "default" offer.

They range from $105-$106 in NSW and South East Queensland to $140 in SA and $165 in Victoria.

But because only a fraction of customers are still "loyal" enough to be on standing offers, the average savings per retail customer from the default offer are even smaller - $11 in Victoria, $17 in SA and $22 - $24 in NSW and SE Queensland.

Total average savings from retail price reductions range from $26 in Victoria and $37 in NSW to $42 in SA and $62 in Queensland. 

In other words, a few coffees worth a year. There's no question that power companies have moved too slowly to shift customers off standing offers. But huge retail savings aren't on the table for most.

Buried away on page 368 of the report are the ACCC's findings on typical annual savings that households on standing offers can reap from switching to the new regulated "default" offer.

16 Oct 2018

Where has our voice in our region gone? Its gone among the budget cuts. The LNP has made Australia's voice disappear!

Australia's broadcasting service
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Right when Australia finds itself with serious strategic interests in its neighbourhood, it has managed to turn its once influential international broadcasting voice into a whisper.

One that’s difficult to hear outside a handful of major cities across the region.

Colleagues here at the Lowy Institute have written about international broadcasting before, highlighting its relationship to international diplomacy, lamenting government decisions about funding, and decisions by the national broadcast the ABC about services, and shutting down shortwave broadcasts to the Pacific islands region.

Both sides of politics can share in the blame for the poor state of Australia’s interational broadcasting.

Labor’s bitter internal wrangling over whether a contract for international television should be outsourced to Sky News over the ABC left the way clear for the incoming Abbott government to simply axe the contract entirely.

And let's not let off the hook the decision makers at the ABC who took the opportunity of a funding “crisis” to seek elusive digital audiences in China – while junking decades of experience broadcasting to audiences in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Thankfully, all is not lost.

The much reduced Radio Australia is still providing important news and current affairs coverage for the Pacific. Its last remaining foreign language broadcast service – in Tok Pisin – is still keeping audiences informed in remote Papua New Guinea and across Melanesia. The ABC’s website is still producing news in Mandarin and Indonesian. A bare-bones television service can be found – with some effort – across the region.

The elements are there to once again gently raise the volume of Australia’s voice in the region.

Lying is a virus that infects us all.

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IF YOU are looking for a topic that has some sort of longevity to it, you might choose climate change, energy policy, NBN or immigration policy. However, by far the one that seems to get the most perpetual political attention is lying.

How utterly dispiriting it is when the hearts and minds of our politicians are so utterly corrupted by this virus of political lies, but more demoralising it is that ordinary people catch the same infection.

It is rampant in the run up to elections and only becomes more apparent once they're elected.

America says jump and Australia jumps and asks how high.

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Prime minister Scott Morrison has proposed following Donald Trump in relocating Australia’s embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the historically disputed Middle Eastern city as Israel’s capital.

Mr Morrison announced he will continue to back a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but suggested following the US President controversial decision to move Israeli embassies.

The US officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem in May this year, prompting violent clashes and mass protests on the border between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

If it Australia followed the US move, it would fly in the face of global opinion and make it just the second major nation to proceed with the controversial move from Tel Aviv.

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