23 Sept 2018

Back to the future? Morrison takes a step back in time by pandering to private schools.

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Governing for everybody is thrown out the window by our new Prime Minister 

The Gonski principles provide that school funding should be needs based and sector blind and these are the principles that should be adhered to.

Now under PM Scott Morrison we are returning to Howard years and the school funding wars of the past that pitted private schools against public schools.

The Federal Government should provide equal treatment for all schools, public and private.

It is all about the Catholic and the well healed voters, nothing else.

This is pathetic. There is nothing fair about it. There is nothing Christian about it. It's throwing money at the powerful and well connected.

This is about the $1.2b slush fund the LNP are setting up only for Catholic and independent schools."

22 Sept 2018

Brexit or no Brexit is England's new game plan, its called Snakes and Ladders.

The 'plan' for Brexit is a Snakes and Ladders game.

If you land on the wrong square you go up or down, either way you could end up where you started from.

The people that took this game out of the bag didn't realise what sort of game it is.
For children its fine, however its not a game for adults.

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Perhaps adults should have chosen Chess because you can plan a strategy for the end game rather than rely on the roll of dice. 

The roll of the dice ensures that the unforeseen will always happen.

The blind leading the blind. 

21 Sept 2018

Living on the bread line, small acts of kindness keeps me alive.

From an article By Mick Smart

Amethyst DeWilde’s  "Life on the breadline, pride is a luxury I can no longer afford."

Recently I had a discussion with my GP worker. Someone who comes once a week to check on me, help with practical things, chat with me if I’m low ... truly the ONE program that has done more to keep me sane than any other service.

We spoke about the changes to her funding and I asked what she would do if it dried up. She said that she would have to move to the country because there was no way that she would be able to afford city rent on Newstart.

I again thanked the gods for subsidised housing and was reminded of a conversation I had had with a new friend I had made from the Anti-Poverty Network.

He put in excess of 350 job applications before he was able to find employment. I had joked in the past with my terrible Australian humour, “You know I just don’t think you’re really trying – you really should pull your finger out and try a little bit harder!” Thankfully he shared the joke and laughed as well.

As we sat outside on the asphalt he told me that he had been two weeks short of becoming homeless. I asked him what he would have done if that had been the case. He simply replied that he would have topped himself. He stated it without rancour or exaggeration. It was just the truth.

This man has children. He is intelligent, well-educated and seems kind. If someone like him can be pushed to such extremes, how are those of us who were brought up without his opportunities faring?

How many people have killed themselves in desperation? How many people are we losing?

Writing this article is beginning to wear on me so I’ll change tack and let you into a secret. It is what keeps us sane, and it’s not shared among the solvent so you’re very lucky you are reading this.

When you are penniless you are given a gift. A gift of seeing people as they really are. People are kind. People do care. It happens in myriad ways, unexpectedly and without fanfare. When it does, it fills your heart and overflows into your soul and life is wonderful because you are seen. Somebody kind cares and acts accordingly.

The shop assistant in Coles who pays for your toilet paper from the left-behind change to stop you from putting it back.

The anonymous somebody who sends you a $20 note assiduously wrapped in alfoil through the mail. (That made me cry).

Life on the breadline: Knowing what you can live without becomes an essential skill

Last week was Father’s Day. I suppose because I had been so very unwell, it crept up on me. Generally I buy my presents throughout the year and put them in a cupboard ready for the occasion, but Father’s Day dawned and I had nothing.

I checked my bank accounts. Oh salubrious day, I was solvent! I had $4.50 in my account. Wacko! I knew that Coles had Old Gold chocolate on special for $2.50 and I could get a card for $1 at Smokemart. Chocolate achieved, now for the card.

No go. The shop assistant advised me that the minimum I could buy on card was $5.

I tried my purse and was 20 cents short. I smiled and said that I would go to Coles and get the dollar out in cash.

Then I heard a voice say in broken English. “How much for to pay? I give to her? I pay.” I turned and saw two young male immigrants standing patiently in line. “20? I pay for her 20 cent.”

Tears sprung to my eyes and I hugged him. “Thank you so much. This is for my father. Thank you so much!” I hugged him again and he smiled. “I am happy,” he responded.

My father loved the card. But he loved the story more.

This is what keeps me going, people are kind.

Oh, my dog Mojo's love which is free is my most valued thing in my life.

20 Sept 2018

The disability community, and its peak representative bodies should lobby the government to broaden the proposed Royal Commission

The proposed Royal Commission should investigate violence, abuse and neglect of disabled people and older people in institutional and residential settings, including their own homes.

Senator Jordon Steele-John said people had been waiting decades for action, and this was an opportunity not to be missed for a comprehensive Royal Commission into the maltreatment of disabled people and older people, in institutional and residential settings.

“The disability community have been pushing for action on this issue for years, as have the aged care sector and other care industries. We have a real opportunity here to investigate all of these concerns in one go,” Steele-John said today.

“I don’t want to see this government cave in and just tack a reference to the disability community, my community, onto the side of a Royal Commission into the aged care sector and similarly I don’t want to see the investigation of the aged care sector diminished.

The West Australian senator has been campaigning for a royal commission into the sector, and has recently argued the federal government’s inquiry into aged care should be expanded to include the disability sector as well.

The Upper House fell silent as Senator Steele-John listed name after name of people who had died while in care, many of neglect or serious violence.

“Tonight I seek to speak their names,” he told the Senate.

“And though the sun does not shine in this place, I hope that their stories will move the hearts of those who have it within their power to see justice done.”

Among the victims, Senator Steele-John spoke of a seven-year-old girl with severe autism who was found dead of starvation and surrounded by faeces.

He detailed the deaths of people from severe neglect by their carers, others who had been killed by loved ones in ‘mercy killings’ to end their suffering, and people who had died in group care homes after sexual assaults and other forms of serious physical violence.

“These are the names that don’t get spoken,” he told the Senate.

“These are the reasons. These are the human beings, the loved ones, the mothers, the fathers, the sons, the partners who need justice, who demand justice, whose lives were worth living.”

Political dads are optional extras?

Political dads are optional extras, like heated seats

When we conduct — as we have in the past few weeks — a national bout of hand-wringing about why there are not more women in federal politics, the talk is always of how women are treated. Bullying, preselection processes, the questions they're asked and so on.

But what about the things we don't ask men?

For an average Dad in politics, mentions of his children usually are oblique affairs in campaign literature where they appear as silent, smiling guarantors of his reliability. Every now and again they might bob up as detail in an excessive travel entitlement claim, or in the papers if they've done something unfortunate, like get kicked out of school or busted for smoking weed.

For the most part, we assume that a male politician's kids are being raised quietly, competently, and not by him, in a place beyond our field of vision.

In a political family, a father is effectively a kind of optional extra, like metallic duco or heated seats. Nice if you have them; survivable if you don't.

It's so different for women.

Here's an example: When Karen Andrews — now a Cabinet minister in charge of industry, science and technology — was preselected to contest the Queensland seat of McPherson in 2010, she received a letter from a preselector who informed her that he would never permit his own wife to leave their children to go into politics.

It's one of a thousand little stories that parliamentary mothers swap among themselves.
Whose job it is to look after kids is deeply, deeply held.

Among all the other things that MPs have to deal with — constant media attention, the unpredictability of the work environment, separation from family — mothers in Parliament also need to know that they will regularly receive awful letters from constituents or distant cranks accusing them of being terrible mothers and abandoning their children.

Of all the disincentives that militate against women taking that step into public life, this is a pretty serious one, and yet it probably gets the least attention.

Why? Because our attitudes about mothers and fathers and whose job it really is to look after children are deeply, deeply held. We assume that most parliamentary fathers have "the wife who will be raising the kids most of the time that's true.

The fathers are never asked.  Do your children suffer because of your job?

19 Sept 2018

FAIL, fail,fail, that is, Federal governments have repeatedly failed to act on Aged Care.

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There have been at least 13 inquiries and reviews into the sector during the past decade, yet there remains an embedded problem with the industry where it appears profits have been prioritised over patients.

Here is a (long) list of the inquiries conducted, and this may not even be all of them. Some of these reviews are yet to conclude, let alone see final reports published:
A decent quality of life: Inquiry into the cost of living pressures on older Australians (Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs 2008)
Aged Care Amendment Bill 2008 (Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs)
Residential and Community Aged Care in Australia (Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration 2009)
A Healthier Future for All Australians (contained information about aged care, 2009)
Review of the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme (2009)
Review of the residential aged care accreditation process for residential aged care homes (Department of Health and Ageing 2010)
Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector (Productivity Commission research paper 2010)
Productivity Commission Review into Aged Care (2011)
Legislated Review into Aged Care (2017)
Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes (2018)
Senate inquiry into the effectiveness of the aged care quality assessment and accreditation framework for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices and ensuring proper clinical and medical care standards are maintained and practised (due November 2018)
Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia (Standing Committee on Health, Standing Committee on Health and Ageing, commissioned March 2018, no date yet for its final report)
The Aged Care Workforce Strategy (September 2018)

Little has changed over this period for the elderly, why not, is because as a group they have no power to influence political parties. 


18 Sept 2018

Short memories, LNP didn't want a Royal commission. Now their trying to blame Labor for the insurance rorts?

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg tries to blame Labor for insurance debacle? He ignores the fact that in the time they have spent in government they've done nothing despite requests from ASIC.

However, ASIC said that industry lobbying of successive federal governments had "severely limited" the regulator's power to hold the insurance sector to account.

The insurance industry has been exempted from key consumer protections including financial services conduct and complaint handling provisions in the Corporations Act, as well as unfair contract term provisions in the ASIC Act.

"The insurance sector has been exempted from a range of laws which have seen ASIC's ability to review the sector severely limited.

The blame lies with both sides of gov't, they ignored ASIC's requests.

Any government that takes their eyes off the ball, and the ball in this case is to govern, and instead concentrates on their personal grievances is doomed.

How long have we waited for any government to admit they made a mistake, years and years. And they wonder why our trust is so low.

17 Sept 2018

PM Scott Morrison was treasurer when he decided to cut funds to Aged Care Funding. Now he's mister nice guy. Election in the air.

As the dust settled on the battlefield, I wondered what a new dawn would bring.
I awoke to hear the first shot(promise?)  fired at the opposition.

Oh, I do love to hear the unfolding of ballot papers and the smell politician's sweat in the air as they prepare to meet their fate.

The First Shot:

PM's announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care.
Then a journalist asked, did you cut funding to this area in the 2016 budget.
It's a lie said Morrison?

Mr Morrison's 2016 budget said the government would “achieve efficiencies of $1.2 billion over four years until 2020” from federal funding paid to aged care providers.
Page 101 of paper No. 2 from the 2016 budget.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison could not explain how this was a “lie” when asked by a journalist..

He may have been referring to the fact that some parts of aged care received small boosts in funding in that budget, such as $137 million for the My Aged Care web portal. The combined effect was a cut of $902.7 million in federal aged care funding over five years, according to health department estimates at the time.

Aged care industry bodies warned at the time of the 2016 budget that the cuts could result in worsening standards of care.

The Prime Minister’s announcement of a public inquiry into aged care came hours before the ABC was to air the first of two Four Corners episodes investigating scandals in the sector.

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, who stood next to the Prime Minister on Sunday, was forced to explain why he had told Four Corners just weeks ago that a royal commission was not needed, as it would only tell the government what it already knew.

How could this attitude change in a matter of a week? A week is a long time in politics

We're coming up to an election kids, get used to opinions and even ideology changing at the drop of a hat.

This is about people saving their arse- job-salary and power. 

If they can sell it they'll use it, they love long term, even if it will never happen.

14 Sept 2018

Western Australian's should all speak French. Why?

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French first to lay claim to WA

Dr Michael McCarthy, the museum’s curator of maritime archaeology, said most people were often surprised to find out WA had been claimed by the French in 1772.

Only two years after Captain Cook named and claimed New South Wales for the British.“Not many people know that Saint Alouarn (a French explorer) came to Shark Bay and annexed Western Australia for France,” he said.

“So this should have been French, this part of the coast, because the French actually laid claim.

Historic documents and drawings never seen before outside France – and on loan to Western Australia – have shed more light on the theory that WA could just as easily have been settled by the French.

The artefacts, from two French-led expeditions in the early 1800s – the first commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte – are on display at the WA Maritime Museum.

The earlier expedition, led by Nicolas Baudin with 23 scientists on board, was labelled a journey of scientific discovery.

It was likely the French leader had other, less scientific intentions, that of laying claim to more lands.

“There was also a colonial aspect to it, the French and the English were, in a way, rivals.

“The British were already there on the east coast but nobody knew much about the west coast … and so the French were sent to not only discover the natural elements of the land but to look for harbours.”

Australia(New Holland Expedition).

In October 1800 Baudin was selected to lead what has become known as the Baudin expedition to map the coast of Australia (New Holland).

He had two ships, Géographe and Naturaliste captained by Hamelin, and a suite of nine zoologists and botanists, including Jean Baptiste Leschenault de la Tour.

He reached Australia in May 1801, and explored and mapped the western coast and a part of the little-known southern coast of the continent.

The scientific expedition proved a great success, with more than 2500 new species discovered. The French also met Aboriginal peoples and treated them with great respect.

In April 1802 Baudin met Matthew Flinders, also engaged in charting the coastline, in Encounter Bay in present-day South Australia.

He then stopped at the British colony at Sydney for supplies. In Sydney he bought a new ship — Casuarina — named after the wood it was made from. From there he sent home Naturaliste, which had on board all of the specimens that had been discovered by Baudin and his crew.

He then headed for Tasmania, before continuing north to Timor. Baudin then sailed for home, stopping at Mauritius.

According to recent researches by academics from the University of Adelaide, François Péron, who had become the chief zoologist and intellectual leader of the mission, wrote a report for Napoleon on ways to invade and capture the British colony at Sydney Cove. So New South Wales could have become French if Naploleon hadn't been distracted in Europe.

4 Sept 2018

Lies, “fake news” and cover-ups are not, of course, the preserve of politicians.

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By Joseph Camilleri: Edited by S W T Read

Lies, “fake news” and cover-ups are not, of course, the preserve of politicians. They have become commonplace in so many of our institutions.

The extraordinary revelations from the Banking Royal Commission make clear that Australia’s largest banks and other financial enterprises have massively defrauded customers, given short shrift to both the law and regulators and consistently disregarded the truth (fake news).

And now, as a result of another Royal Commission, we have a belated appreciation of the rampant sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, which has been consistently covered up by religious officials.(fake news)

These various public and private arenas, where truth is regularly concealed, denied or obscured, have had a profoundly corrosive effect on the fabric of society, and inevitably on the public sphere.

They have severely diminished the social trust on which the viability of democratic processes vitally depends.

There is no simple remedy to the current political disarray. The powerful forces driving financial flows and production and communication technologies are reshaping culture, the global economy and policy-making processes in deeply troubling ways.

Truth and trust are now in short supply. Yet, they are indispensable to democratic processes and institutions.

A sustained national and international conversation on ways to redeem truth and trust has become one of the defining imperatives of our time.

The Great Dividing Range, no its not the mountains, its the divide between Politicians and the People of Australia and its growing.

The system is loaded to favour the two main parties, so, will we ever get the chance to elect the type of people we want.
Only if the main parties diversify their candidates. Using focus groups is not an alternative for fresh blood.
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By Peter Lewis: Edited by S W T Read

Are these our representatives, or are they beholden to the party first. 

With party membership falling, it means that a small membership is choosing candidates that are like minded. The result is that we get more of the same, new blood is sadly lacking.

The divide between the composition of the parliament and the people it serves continues to widen.

The 2016 parliamentary handbook lists 226 members and senators.

91 of these describe their occupations as having been political: consultants/ advisors, state and local politicians, party and union administrators, union officials, researchers and electorate officers, and public service/policy managers.

Another 50 were in business as executives, managers or full-time company directors.

Another 24 were lawyers and six were from the media.

Of the recognisable jobs outside the extended political system, there were eight farmers, five military or police officers, four doctors, one teacher, one in real estate and one a psychologist.

Thirty-two per cent of the parliament is made up of women. This is our representative body.

Politics is driven by human nature. It makes sense that people with an interest in politics spend time in the offices of a politician. The parties should look outside this group more often. 

However when the parliament fails to reflect the people it serves, it is bound to increase the actual and perceived divide between served and serving.

2 Sept 2018

Enforceable human rights, freedom of speech are long overdue in Australia otherwise we will become a police state. Once we over react and create over intrusive legislation I fear we will never be able to unravel it.

Security is played as a political weapon by both sides of government, its about who can be the toughest.
They loose sight of the dangers if they over do it. It is not inconceivable that these powers of invasion of personnel information could result in extremists taking power.

Information in 2018 does not only have commercial value it has value as a weapon.

Propaganda made Adolf "Man OF THE YEAR"
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The argument that the law needs to be updated as time and technologies move on is quite reasonable.

The curious thing is, this argument is used to repeatedly ratchet up new powers for governments and secret police, while privacy law, whistleblower protections and anti-corruption legislation stay marooned in the 1980s for reasons that never quite come up for discussion.

The most important gap in our legislative architecture – the absence of a legally enforceable human rights/freedom of speech act – remains in the wilderness of major party indifference for the time being.

In the meantime, it seems we’re due for our three-monthly bipartisan force-feeding of upgraded surveillance powers.

The people demanding these new powers are the same ones who signed off on the prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery for exposing the vast misuse of espionage powers against our neighbours in Timor-Leste years ago. This is the same Timor-Leste we helped liberate.

They are the same people who provided a media organisation with the private details of blogger Andie Fox for exposing the extent of the robodebt mess.

The very same people who have set the federal police against journalists, doctors and whistleblowers for reporting on the horrors of our internment camps on Manus Island and Nauru. They deeply, truly and fundamentally cannot be trusted with the powers they already have.

National Security is no longer 'National Security' it has become a euphemism for anything the government doesn't want you to know.