31 Aug 2018

Politicians in Australia shouldn't forget, humour is our staple diet. Humility is the desert. Sniping should be left to the army, there's no place in parliament for it.

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Self-deprecation has become a staple of Australian humour is due to what is often referred to as our ‘tall poppy syndrome’. Perhaps more a way of life than a syndrome, Australians are quick to bring themselves and those around them back to ground-zero.

As a colony of convicts, we are sensitive to anyone who tries to climb the ranks.

While our American colleagues are sometimes left bewildered and a little embarrassed by our self-deprecation, this tendency has served us rather well in relations with our neighbours in the Asia Pacific, who have a saying that “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”.

Self-deprecation can provide for a sense of humility, and this can build authentic social connection with others, undercut pretention and build trust.

It might also ‘keep the bastards honest’ as one politician once put it.

Coup capital” of the world, it's no laughing matter.

An exerpt from: Grattan on Friday

We may chuckle on hearing Australia referred to abroad as the “coup capital” of the world. But it’s not a joke. Although this country will continue to be seen as a safe place to invest, a rolling prime ministership must eventually test the faith of outsiders.

The coup culture works against the sort of decision-making that requires serious policy bravery. Time frames shorten – ironically, just when governments fancifully cast programs as stretching over ten years.

Thinking for the future is difficult enough with continuous polling and the shrill media cycle. But if a prime minister can’t rely on their troops guaranteeing their leadership through tough patches, or standing up against guerrilla insurgencies, public policy is reduced to the lowest common denominator or falls victim to the worst of internal power struggles.

What’s really critical is the culture – in a party and in the political system generally. Once that’s been corroded, it’s a devil of a job to scrape the rust off.

30 Aug 2018

Is "The Brave New World" of Huxley almost upon us?

Huxley's Brave New World is not a prediction but rather a diagnosis of dangerous tendencies in Huxley’s present. One of the most striking elements of Huxley’s vision of the future involves factories in which infants are designed to perform specific social functions.

These Stepford babies are later conditioned through standardised educational practices. Sounds a little familiar, don't you think?

This motif is not primarily a cautionary tale about the potential abuse of genetic engineering. Rather, it is a commentary on existing class inequalities and the use of education to reinforce social obedience.

It exemplifies the fundamental tendency of capitalism to convert humans into commodities, interchangeable and bereft of genuine  individualism. 

Certain aspects of Huxley’s dystopian society strikingly resemble our current situation.

A lack of respect for history, a population conditioned to consume goods at breakneck pace, a tendency toward globalisation, and the pacification of individuals via an entertainment culture curated to squelch any emerging rumblings of critical thought: all of these are hallmarks of Huxley’s and our world.

If we look at the world around us, some of these prediction are closer than we realise.

The Liberal Party has a man problem. Its a man only, almost and they're all very ambitious with many bullies amongst them.

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The woman problem in the Liberal party?

Firstly, there is not so much a “woman problem” as a “man problem” on the conservative side of politics in Australia. The Liberal Party room is dominated – and increasingly so over the past generation – by male MPs who anoint leaders in their own image.

Last week they looked at Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison and Bishop and chose the one who is, if you average out the demographics of current Liberal MPs, their identikit picture.

This reinforces the collective power of men in the Liberal party room, maximises their comfort level and is, until exposed to political reality in the form of a general election, an approach easily sold on the inside as “common sense”.

Secondly, the reluctance of Liberal women to name and organise around the liberal feminism they actually practice, psychologically undercuts their power and keeps them in a prone position.

They need to name and unashamedly organise around the set of ideas that can end the present male Liberal monoculture in a way consistent with their political philosophy: that is, liberal feminism. 

Every time Bishop and those like her shy from declaring themselves liberal feminists, they pull the rug from under not only their own feet, but also from under the feet of every other Liberal woman around them. It’s time they staked out their philosophical ground.

29 Aug 2018

No ministers named for financial services and superannuation. No one is putting their hand up, maybe its hot potato.

No ministers named on frontbench. (Remember Our new PM opposed the Royal Commission.)
By The Business presenter Elysse Morgan

No one in the Morrison Government can say who will be taking the reins of the financial services portfolio, despite the scandal-plagued sector hurtling towards upheaval thanks to the banking royal commission.

Opposition and senior industry figures condemn omission

For the first time in many years, the Federal Government has not included a designated financial services minister — a position most recently held by the new Industrial Relations Minister, Kelly O'Dwyer.

That is despite the final report of the financial services royal commission being due within six months.

For the first time since 2007, neither is there a dedicated minister for the $3 trillion superannuation industry.

26 Aug 2018

Our new leader in Australia could learn from this guy.


He was a true friend of Australia, who was committed to strengthening the alliance between our two nations".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to US Senator John McCain on Sunday, reflecting on the "true friend of Australia" after the war hero died of cancer.© Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images  "He was a man of great courage. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, and family during this time.

25 Aug 2018

Has Scott Morrison won the poison challis, he could end up as Opposition leader with his team, stampeding out the door.

How did I get here?
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Australia: The cows are still spooked by the recent events and with the votes 40- 45, they'll be milling around for quite a while.
Can the new big bull satisfy them all, its doubtful. The 40 are stubborn, they may just have pretend orgasm's to fool ScoMo and then attack again. 

24 Aug 2018

Your guess is as good as mine.

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 STABILITY ??????????????????????? RIP

23 Aug 2018

Could this be our next PM? His history does not show us a statesman. How the hell do we get one from this rabble.

Is this the face of someone who cares?
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A rough history: Peter Dutton.
Dutton was made shadow minister for Health from 2008 to 2013. During that time he made no announcements, asked no questions in parliament and didn’t bother visiting any hospitals until the 2013 election.

After the election of the Abbott government, Dutton became Federal Health minister. During that time he attempted to introduce a $7 GP co-payment and was voted worst health minister in living memory by a poll of 1,100 readers of the politically conservative ‘Australian Doctor’ magazine.

In December 2014 Peter Dutton became Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, a portfolio he has handled with equal measures of malice and incompetence.

He has paid bribes to people smugglers, lied about the intentions of a woman who was raped on Nauru and forcefully returned there while waiting for an abortion necessitated by that rape. He has made false claims that refugee advocates are responsible for the self-harm of immigration detainees and mislead parliament about spying on a Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

He was responsible for a bungled Border Force operation to check visas in the Melbourne CBD. He has attacked and denigrated the president of the Australian Human Rights commission for investigating the abuse of children in detention, ignored criticism from the UN, Amnesty International and Oxfam, and introduced laws to goal immigration detention whistle-blowers who report abuse.

He has seen Australia’s border protection policies become a full blown litany of human rights abuses including, but not limited to, murder, rape, torture, and child abuse.

Making Australia into something none of us want. There's a hole in this bucket and no amount of blue tack will fix it!

Terminal Turnbull, how many days left? Potato head Dutton, heading for the top job? The Mad Hatters tea party has nothing on Liberal Parties on again off again party meeting and the alternate PM's will inherit a sinking ship stuck fast on a reef of their own making.

20 Aug 2018

Journalism may need a rethink:- If there is a conflict between forces or ideas or values, then the chances are it will make news. Manipulation is the watchword!

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Excerpts from an article by Conal Hanna

The first-year journalism textbook. “The most important news value may well be conflict,” Len Granato wrote in 1991. .”

But maybe not for much longer. Finally it seems journalists are waking up to how they are being co-opted by the outrage machine.

A few months ago, US author Whitney Phillips published a report entitled, The Oxygen of Amplification, in which she wrote that US news media was hijacked from 2016 to 2018 to amplify the messages of hate groups.

The Oxygen of Amplification by Whitney Phillips details the ways in which the media is being manipulated. 

She recounted how many journalists and editors wrestled with the decision to publish, trying to balance competing demands such as respect for free speech, a desire to dispel false information and commercial pressures.

Often the problem is in the quantity and prominence of coverage of fringe views, but even measured responses worked to the benefit of outsiders, garnering them more attention.

“The issue isn't that the media system is broken; the issue is that the media system is working as it was designed to work," she wrote. "We must find ways to defend against narrative hijacking, targeted antagonisms and media manipulations."

18 Aug 2018

The ABC is becoming a major blood donor. It is being bled to death!

17 Aug 2018

Parrot out for flight for a few days was not about to let anyone disrupt his fun.

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A “potty-mouthed” parrot told a firefighter who tried to rescue her from a rooftop to “fuck off.” The macaw had escaped from her owner’s home and sat on a neighbor’s roof for three days. After the owner and an animal welfare group failed to get her down, they called the firefighters in because of concern she might be injured. She was not: Soon after she said “fuck off” to the firefighters, she flew to another roof. The very rude bird then “returned home of her own accord.”

15 Aug 2018

Medical research funding is not appropriate, if we wish to be a clever country. Government has head in the sand attitude to funding research.

Medical research held back by inefficient funding system

Australian medical research is being held back due to inefficient and inequitable funding systems.

Medical research institutes are being left with a large funding gap each year as research grants only cover part of the full cost of doing research.

“Funding bodies like to tie their grants to one lab, or one project, but they are not providing enough support to cover all the other indirect costs involved in supporting research.” said Professor Tony Cunningham AO, President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI).

“These indirect costs are everything that’s needed to support what is going on in the lab. This includes providing IT services, data analysis and storage, running business development units, building services and utilities. We have the figures on this, for every $1 spent on research, a further 54 cents of funds are needed for these indirect costs.” he said.

“Think of it like baking a cake, people keep giving you eggs and flour, but no one has given you a tin to bake it in.”

In response to an inquiry from the Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training which is investigating the efficiency, effectiveness and coherency of the Australian Government funding for research, AAMRI is taking the opportunity to shed light on this issue.

AAMRI has found the level of support provided by government for these indirect costs is too low and it leaves a significant burden on medical research institutes to make up the gap so that science can happen. As government support for these costs is on average around 23 cents for every dollar spent on research, institutes have to find a further 31 cents, leaving a funding gap of $247 million.

The issue effects all institutes of every size – in fact the more successful an institute is at getting research grants the bigger the financial gap

10 Aug 2018

Affordable housing has become a boil on the backside of Australia.

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Excerpt from an article Peter Lewis- Edited by S W T Read
The federal government’s gradual withdrawal from directly building low-cost rentals.

Social housing, is not a term either parties would use. Governments have been gradually creeping away from it. Now public and community housing is now as scarce as hen’s teeth, and almost impossible to access.

In affordable housing the withdrawal was more sudden, with the 2014 budget decision to scrap the National Rent Affordability Scheme that provided investment support for rental properties for moderate-income earners.

This was a deliberate attempt to distort the housing market – to actually make it more attractive for investors to build affordable rental properties and accept a more moderate short-term return while building an asset with long-term value.

As government has walked away from social and affordable housing, more renters have been left to compete for the few relatively cheap private rentals on the market.

Therefore pushing rent prices up and making it harder for renters to save for a deposit. Alternatively the lack of affordable rent forces people further down the housing chain into short-term accommodation, on to couches or worse, the street.

Malcolm Turnbull, if we can't work him out, how the hell can China? He flashes like a hazard light that turns on and off.

Consistency is the key word when dealing with China.

Australia needs a strong, consistent, balanced China strategy which comfortably embraces our common interests and deals robustly with our disagreements.

All previous Australian governments have managed this since 1972. Except this one.

Turnbull instead has done a complete flip-flop-flap on China - from leading Huawei apologist, to launching a “reds under the bed” scare campaign which effectively questioned the loyalty of the Australian Chinese community, to his most recent capitulation when giving a speech the UNSW. And all in the space of just a few years.

In matters of foreign policy, Chinese statecraft respects consistency and strength and is utterly contemptuous of weakness.

In Turnbull we now have a Prime Minister who is inconsistent, impulsive and appears worst of all - now weak.

7 Aug 2018

The Australia of a fair go is being undermined by extremist views pedalled by politicians and the media. The fair go Australia is the sort of Australia I want to live in. Fear has no place in my Australia.

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Based on an article by Michael Pascoe

2018 have we lost what Australian-ness is all about?

We’ve lost some of our friendly fearlessness. We’ve allowed ourselves to be preyed on by scaremongers, by people who seek to personally gain by dividing us. Worse, we’ve lowered our standards, our ‘Australian values’ about what is acceptable in the face of unprincipled populists and shameless media.

After trying to steadily evolve away from previous centuries’ prejudices and acknowledge the reality of our blood-soaked and brutal inheritance, we’ve let ourselves be enslaved by fake news that's brought fear into our lives.

Major media figures trumpet racism. A significant minority party’s single core policy is sectarianism. Federal government ministers and a recent prime minister promote race-based immigration and are not only tolerated but applauded by cheer squads.

Appalling people, people who are the antipathy of ‘Australian values’, are afforded megaphones to promote outrage.

Which brings us back to the 25 millionth Australian. Many in this more divided and scared Australia aren’t as optimistic about becoming bigger and better as we have been for a couple of hundred years, about being willing to share our common wealth.

The arrival of the 23 millionth Australian was largely unnoticed. The 24 millionth attracted more official attention with the ABS making a bigger show of the event. The 25 millionth though has been heralded with fear and concern over weeks and months leading up to the milestone.

Beyond the prejudiced and small-minded, the ‘Smaller Australia’ push over the past couple of years has largely come from the policy shortcomings of politicians responsible for our two biggest cities.

Those two cities are large by our standards, but they still represent a minority of the country’s population. As anyone who travels this land knows, Sydney and Melbourne have congestion challenges, but Australia is not crowded.

This more timid and divided Australia is disinclined to deal with the challenges, preferring to shrink from them. They want two cities’ difficulties to restrict the whole nation’s potential.

It's a sad day when don't welcome more people to our wonderful country. Australia has been built by immigration, people from all over the world have decided that Australia is the country they want to live in.

Australians born here have never had to make a choice, they've been lucky to live in a country where Australian-ness means we give people a fair go.

This vast country needs a larger population to reach its full potential. The fear mongering that is pedalled by some media and fuelled by politicians has the potential to destroy our Australian-ness.

Let's love our Australia for what it is and what we are. An open minded welcoming people. 

2 Aug 2018

Laziness is no excuse for racial reporting.

Lazy  journalism results in racial profiling.

Among the universe of labels available to describe the crime incidents in Melbourne, the media have, predictably, fallen back on the familiar ground of racial or national identity(This time the term African).

Unconcerned with the great diversity that defines Africa, the label "African gangs" has become lazy shorthand for anyone of African descent. One wonders whether a white person from Africa would be included under this "African gangs" umbrella.

One of the questions many migrants have is why their nationality, race and cultural background has become such a defining feature in crime coverage when the whiteness of other criminal offenders is essentially ignored and rendered invisible.

1 Aug 2018

The ABC is now run by managers who have never been content makers. The future of the ABC is in doubt, because they are removing the meat in the sandwich. A sandwich without the filling is no longer a sandwich.

The culture of an organisation comes from the top down and if managers don't have any background in the core business, well this is what you get!

“It’s become very clear that this does matter because they appear to have absolutely no idea, and also no interest, in how content is made.

The level of respect for content makers is at an all-time low. This is demonstrated by the manner in which content makers are referred to as ‘units’ to be shuffled around at any time to any place.”

Management reviews have resulted in the cream of talent leaving in waves: award-winning radio features producers were removed from Radio National, highly skilled TV and radio reporters were made redundant in newsrooms in every state and camera operators and journalists with decades of experience were deemed not to have the skills needed for a digital newsroom.

The ABC has also been breaking up its historic music and reference libraries, making 10 librarians redundant and digitising only a fraction of the unique collection.

There is also massive inefficiency in units where experienced staff are ditched for inexperienced staff who take longer to do a job because they don’t know how to do it, and they have no one to learn from.

The contempt of managers for older experienced staff has become a culture which has flowed out into the work floor and there’s now a generational divide.

Since 2014, more than 1,100 ABC staff have been retrenched – that’s one quarter of the workforce – and most of the retrenchments were older, experienced staff. A great deal of skills and knowledge has walked out the door and repeated restructures have ensured staff morale is at an all-time low.