Perhaps I am missing something here, so if I am please tell me.
I have seen John Howard interviewed quite a bit recently in regard to interest rates. The interview seems to always go the same way. The interviewer brings up his "broken promise" about interest rates. He retorts that interest rates were a lot higher under Labor and they move on.
Why doesn't an interviewer, or, say that were to be against interview etiquette, Labor bring up that yes, interests rates were higher under Labor, BUT house price were a sh*t load cheaper!! Even the most basic economic skills tell you that you are better off paying 17% p.a. on $30,000, than 8.5% on $300,000. Incomes certainly haven't risen in proportion to housing prices either.
Figures quoted here are guesstimates only. I'm too sick to google
Wow, well who knew, seems the "S" word is in his vocabulary after all...Howard sorry about rate rise
Prime Minister John Howard says he is sorry about the interest rate rise.
Official interest rates rose to their highest level in 10 years yesterday to 6.5 per cent.
Mr Howard has told Macquarie Radio he has taken a hammering about the Reserve Bank decision this morning.
"Sure, we've had an interest rate rise and I'm sorry about that - I regret it," he said.( rest of story under cutCollapse )
- Music:John Butler Trio
"We will decide who comes into this country and the circumstances under which they come."
Well, we sure decided well when it comes to certain brown skinned medical practitioners, didn't we, Mr Howard?
Cricket tour ban 'desperate', 'racist': Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean Government has denounced Australia's decision to ban its national cricket team's tour of Harare over the country's political and economic crisis as "desperate" and "racist".
"The Australians are mixing politics with sport and the decision shows how desperate the Howard Government is to isolate Zimbabwe," Junior Information Minister Bright Matonga said.
"Australia is one of the worst human rights violators in this whole world.
"Look what they have done to the Aborigines and yet they have the audacity to stand up and claim to have the moral authority to condemn us.
"This is also a racist ploy to kill our local cricket since our cricket team is now dominated by black players as we slowly transform cricket from being an elite sport.
"But still we will not lose anything because cricket is not a major sport here."
[more in link]
The racism card. Isn't the West Indies team primarily black? We play South Africa with a clear conscience now that it has more black players, right? Then there's India and Pakistan, not black per se but your average cricketer certainly doesn't need to rub zinc cream all over his nose like our melanin-deprived sportsmen. In fact I'd have to say that international cricket actually depends on different races. Working on the misconception that race actually exists, of course.
But that's not the point I was going to make. Should politics be interfering with sport? What is your opinion?
I think Mr Howard did the right thing. Whether the cricketers like it or not, this is political. And important international political decisions should be the domain of politicians, not ball game organisers, as Mr Howard said. We need to fix Zimbabwe, we need to get rid of Mr Mugabe, and this is at least a start. I'm very happy for bombs to not be involved this time.
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Recently I interivewed famous economist John Quiggin and Don McKee, director of the sustainable minerals institute at the University of Queensland. Download hereI'm not used to having intelligent and well-informed interviewers Don Burke during his interview on A Climate Affair
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I see the Liberal party election campaign has started. There's new ads telling us how great it is that they're investing so heavily in private medicine. The government isn't actually allowed to spend our money on their political advertising, but the good old Liberals will keep exploiting that loophole by advertising their policies rather than themselves. Every election.
The Federal Government has passed extraordinary legislation that will close the rolls for new voters at 8pm on the very night the election is officially called. In the last election, 83,000 first-time voters enrolled in the first week after the election was called. Hundreds of thousands more registered at their new address. But this time they won't get that chance, unless we spread the word immediately. ( Read more...Collapse )
I don't get how "263,000 jobs were created because of WorkChoices."
How can one piece of legislation changing magically make all these new companies appear and require thousands of extra employees? Does this number factor in workers that were sacked and rehired on AWAs? How many new jobs were created in 2005 - 2006? Are people moving from fulltime to casual counted as being in a newly created job? Is strike action less because calling a strike is virtually illegal now without filling in several tonnes of paperwork and asking the IR commission if it's okay?
I'm not doing the rhetorical question thing here; I'd genuinely like to know answers to these questions, but haven't got the time to go look it up. If anyone's got some stats on this stuff can you please paste them?
According to this site
, the Greens got 8.8% of the vote in yesterday's New South Wales elections. They won a grand total of zero seats. The Nationals got 9.8% of the vote, and won 13 seats.
Of course, there is also the Senate to consider, where they got a comparable percentage and will be represented. But still, it's a funny old system.
PM vows to work harder to turn around poll results
Prime Minister John Howard says he cannot ignore the Government's recent poor poll results.
Today's AC Nielsen poll puts Labor 22 points ahead of the Government on a two-party preferred basis.
Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is now 14 points ahead as preferred Prime Minister.
Mr Howard says the poll encourages him to work harder, but he has an idea of what is behind the result.
"I can't ignore the fact that we've had quite a series of bad polls over the past few months and I ask myself why is it that the polls are so bad for the Government at present," he said.
"I think one of the reasons is that the Labor Party has successfully created the impression that it doesn't matter who is in Government, the economy will continue to grow.
...Wha? Has Labor in fact done anything of the sort? This is the next line of attack obviously, "Labor wants to take credit for our good work. but really they'll destroy the economy." They'll then repeat this lie so often people will start to believe it.
Ironic really, in that the Liberals have been taking credit for the groundwork made by Paul Keating since they got in, not to mention the global economic stability.
Meanwhile, Mr Rudd says the election will be won on policies.
"I don't place any store by polls but my challenge to Mr Howard is let's have this next election about what he stands for and what I stand for on the economy, on an education revolution, on climate change and water and ending the blame game between Canberra and the states," he said.
Labor frontbencher Stephen Smith says he is concerned the Federal Government will use this year's Budget to buy votes.
"That's the danger both in political terms but also in economic terms, the danger here is that John Howard will do what he has done in the past, which is in a short-term clever way spend massively and try and buy back votes," he said.
"We'll be saying to the Australian people, forget about John Howard's short-term clever political tricks."Yep, there's a budget between here and the election. Every pre-election budget for the last decade has seen the Libs spending outrageously on popular issues, and this time round John Howard's desperate. Except that it may ruin us, it'll be interesting to watch.
I got an email about a good event coming up in Sydney hosted by a number of unions under the umbrella group Back On Track
How To Build A Progressive Movement (Lessons from the UK)
Neal Lawson - Chair of 'Compass'
Bruce Childs - Former President of Evatt Foundation
Thursday 1st March, 6-8pm
LHMU Auditorium, 187 Thomas St, Haymarket
For more info or to RSVP email: email@example.com
For those that don't know Neal Lawson is a columnist for the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom and Compass
is a left of centre organisation that is part thinktank/part activist organisation.
I don't suppose there a site out there that contains recent and accurate facts of the current state of Australian affairs for it's people?
I'm looking for figures such as the history of unemployment rates, the history of interests rates, attitudes toward immigrants, import/export information, the Australian budget and where it's all heading, information on tax funding that's put into public services - etc etc
Preferably on a site that is neutral and unbiased to political agendas.
Lots of complex information, I wonder if such a place even exists.
Any help or links will be very much welcomed and appreciated.
Labor targets PM over Obama remarks
In federal Parliament, the Opposition has directed all its questions to Prime Minister John Howard, attacking him over the alliance with the United States.
Labor has challenged Mr Howard to withdraw his comment that Al Qaeda will be praying for Senator Barack Obama to win the US presidency.
Senator Obama waded into a major foreign policy row just one day after formally announcing his candidacy, telling Mr Howard he should dispatch 20,000 Australians to Iraq if he wanted to back up his comments.
"I think it's flattering that one of George Bush's allies on the other side of the world started attacking me the day after I announced [my candidacy]," Senator Obama said.
"I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops in Iraq and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1,400.
"So if he is...to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq, otherwise it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."
(full story in link)
Bob Brown has been misquoted in the news today about the plan to phase out coal. The media reports Bob's words as "within the next three years, Australia needs to phase out coal" when in actual fact the words should be:
Australia should develop a plan, in the next three years, to reduce and phase out coal exports, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
The media loves to beat up on the Greens as either backwards or completely out of touch with reality. Now when someone mentions that Bob Brown wants to destroy Australia's economy within three years you can point out that he's saying we need a plan within the next three years. Please, pass this knowledge on to people you know.
There are also figures there that dismiss the arguments of "coal mining means jobs" and that burning native forests constitutes renewable energy.Bob Brown - Brown backs Flannery –"Australia should have a plan to end coal exports”
David Hicks is still
imprisoned without trial, without charges, going on his fifth year. He's apparently very sick, and he's now afraid to receive visits from officials at the Australian consulate in the US, because he claims he was punished for talking to him previously.
And what does the minister responsible for people like this, Alexander Downer have to say on the matter? Petty claims that Labor loves al Qaeda
What this man may or may not have done is irrelevant. Either you believe in the justice system or you don't. This man hasn't seen justice, and is unlikely to see justice for many years to come. It is a national disgrace that the Australian government has done absolutely nothing to help one of its citizens. Especially since nearly every other nation represented in Guantanamo has secured the release of its citizens. Not just the western ones, either. Afghanistan secured the release of every detainee from that country. Afghanistan.
Can anyone seriously suggest that an Australian does not have the same rights as the Afghanis he was supposedly fighting with?
I generally don't post a lot here as a mod/maintainer. However, I just wanted to let you know I deleted a recent post that I considered to be advertising.
I do let some non-politics related posts through, however, this is not the place to advertise.
Quick questions regarding the concept of a national day for Australia. Are you happy with Australia Day, January 26 (the date of the First Fleet landing) being our national day? If so, why so, if not why not?
If not happy, what do you think should be Australia's national day (if we should have one at all?)
December 3 (Eureka Rebellion), April 25 (ANZAC day), January 1 (the day Australia Federated) or some other date?
The number of people suffering type 2 diabetes is increasing at a disturbing rate at the moment in Australia. Please consider the following points:
1) Diabetes and associated medical problems cost the public health system, and by extension tax payers, a lot of money.
2) Type 2 diabetes is largely avoidable.
3) Unlike other lifestyle diseases such as liver disease from alcohol abuse or the many cancers and illnesses from smoking, type 2 diabetes is often reversible. Weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet effectively cures many sufferers of this disease.
Considering these factors, is it fair that tax payers have to subsidise the unhealthy lives of excess of others? People on pensions or benefits are means tested to find out if they deserve Government support. Should sufferers of type 2 diabetes be simmilarly means tested, to ascertain if they are doing enough to help themselves, under the threat of loss of free and subsidised medical care?
Note that this applies only to type 2 diabetes, and even then, only when the disease is caused by the above factors. There are many people who suffer from diabetes through no fault of their own, and can not be cured. They unquestionably deserve our full support.
I had no idea where to put this, but thought someone here may want to use this icon for themselves.
RE: Manne vs BoltMore political avatars need to be seen!
Update: I will add some as I make them, and I urge you all to drop some of your own!
Sheik Alhalali's comments to 500 people in a speech during Ramadan only prove once again how much of a fundamentalist nutcase this man is. He is out of touch not only (I suspect) with his own membership - the majority of moderate Muslims, but also with today's liberal democratic Australian society. It's disgusting that a religious leader can go about spouting comments that better fit in Saudi Arabia (but rightfully should have no place anywhere in the world.) A man such as Alhalali can only damage the Muslim community and spread the perceived divide between Australian Muslims and mainstream Australian society. Get rid of him.Article from TheAge.com.au
As you may remember, back during the Cronulla riots, an unnamed youth stole a flag from the RSL, burnt it and urinated on it. He was forced to apologise publicly for these acts, and it turned out he had no idea what the RSL even was. NSW RSL branch president Don Rowe arranged for the boy to march in the next ANZAC Day parade, carrying the flag. This is to give him some idea of the importance of the flag and to the people he stole it from.
However, a bunch of conservatives have gotten very upset about this. They don't want that sort of person in their parade. They rang up talkback radio, they sent letters to the editor, they threatened to boycott ANZAC Day. They threatened to spit at and throw things at the boy. They forced the RSL to change its plans. They don't want this boy educated. They don't want him rehabilitated. They just want him punished.
Meanwhile, the Australian flag has been hanging in the boy's bedroom for the past three months, his family hung it there to show him the pride they feel in their nation. And now the same flag flies outside their house, so that everyone knows they are proud Australians.
Who's the better Australian?
Unease at Perth RulingAn Australian court ruling that granted Aborigines the native title of Perth is of "considerable concern", Prime Minister John Howard has said.
The federal court judgement is the first time a metropolitan area has been ruled to belong to indigenous people.
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock warned that the ruling could have "significant implications" for Perth's citizens.
But indigenous leaders dismissed any suggestions they could take over people's homes.
In Tuesday's court ruling, the judge found that the Noongar people had proved their claim to more than 6,000 sq km (2,300 miles) of land in Western Australia, which includes the state capital, Perth.
Judge Murray Wilcox said his decision was "neither the pot of gold for the indigenous claimants nor the disaster for the remainder of the community that is sometimes painted". http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5366890.stm
A response to Beazley's idea of creating a list of values that would help Muslim leaders assist the integration of migrants.News.com.au
I understand that you don't want to lose ground to John Howard come 2008/9's Federal Election, but trying to out-Howard John Howard is not going to win you votes. If there is no perceived difference between the ALP and the Coalition, Australian voters will go with the devil they know over the devil they don't.
There is no single set of "Australian values" as our multicultural society has proven. While there may be values that many groups share, they can not be touted as universal and nor should we expect migrants to adopt what we perceive as the right set of ideals. To codify the Australian values is to set them in stone and remove any flexibility in their interpretation. This is dangerous as it gives all sides (both in political and public life) ammunition against others in calling people "Un-Australian". What is un-Australian is to ignore that we are a rich tapestry of cultures, ethnic groups and religious organisations that consist of different layers of identity that we share with each other (to borrow from Noel Pearson's speech at the Earth Dialogues).
While there may be a problem with immigrants who refuse to integrate into Australian society at large, it is not the place of government to force people to accept a set of values that not even the entirety of Australia can either agree upon or believes in.
I wish you the best of luck with your campaign coming up to the next Federal Election and hope we can get some real change in the attitudes in Canberra. Australia deserves better.
The cruelty of denialby Robert Manne
One of the qualities of nationalist extremists is the anxious denial of their own group's historic crimes. As soon as the cultural warriors of the right embraced Keith Windschuttle, perhaps for the first time in our history an authentic version of Australian denialism began to emerge.( Read on...Collapse )
Peter Costello has today come out in support of the claims that Howard promised the leadership / Prime Ministership to him after two terms. Obviously the claims were sponsered by Costello before their public release, but nevertheless his public support of such claims is big news! Especially as Howard categorically denied the very same claims over the weekend!
Great news for Costello fans, I think. But even greater news for Labor.
Surely a sensible Costello would prefer to wait until Howard beats a lethargic Beazley at the next election before putting in the boot? As Peter Hartcher wrote
a few days ago, Australians vote for the predictable and boring. And while Costello is fairly predictable and boring, he's got nothing on Beazley, let alone the king of predictable, John Howard.
I think that while Big Brother has no place on our screens and as a large part of our culture, it's not up to politicians to decide whether the show gets axed. Peter Beattie could well withdraw taxpayer funding for the show, but Howard shouldn't be calling for its removal from the idiot box.
Queensland Democrat Senator, Andrew Bartlett, has spoken out against the latest bout of moral hysteria being whipped up by federal politicians against the 'Big Brother' TV show.
"It is politicians trying to be Big Brother that we really need to be concerned about. That is far more serious and dangerous to our social fabric than a lame television show," Senator Bartlett said.
"If anyone in the Big Brother house broke the law, then it can be dealt with by the legal system. Attempting to force a television show off the air because of an incident that wasn't even screened on television is an excessive intrusion into the lives of Australians by moralising, preaching politicians who want to control how people live their lives."
"I don't watch Big Brother, don't like the show and find the endless gossip about it that pollutes our newspapers tiresome in the extreme."
"However, I suspect many people have forgotten that the original Big Brother was a politician in a book by George Orwell who used political power to control every aspect of people's lives, from what they said, did and watched, right down to their private thoughts."
"I sure don't want politicians and religious fundamentalists being able to act as the 'Thought Police' for our entire community."
"The moral panic being opportunistically whipped up by the Family First party and a few other politicians is a tactic straight out of George Orwell's novel '1984'. It is time we remembered the central lesson of that book where Big Brother made his debut letting politicians police peoples personal choices is a recipe for tyranny," Senator Bartlett said.
A favourite put down by right wingers is to call someone or something "politically correct". It's gotten to the point where most people have forgotten all about the positive side of political correctness, and see it as nothing but needless and ill-informed meddling by do gooders (another positive term that has been turned into an insult, says a lot about certain mindsets). So, for the record, here is the definition of political correctness, from page 1497 of the Macquarrie Dictionary, revised edition, 2003:
"Conformity to current beliefs about correctness in language and behaviour with regard to policies on sexism, racism, ageism, et cetera"
As you well know, there has been for some time now a right wing government both in Australia and the world's trendsetters, the USA. So overwhelming and so all-encompassing have these governments been, that the very fabric of society has been changed. Political correctness now applies to very different ideas.
If you hate terrorists as monsters, rather than try to understand their motivations, and if you unoffically view Islam as a mere extension of the term "terrorist", then you are being politically correct.
If you think those Danisg cartoons should be reprinted often and in a variety of media to uphold freedom of speech, but are opposed to the sale of a book that praises suicide bombers in one section, then you are being politically correct.
If you support the war in Iraq, then you are being politically correct.
If you are opposed to Iran having nuclear reactors, but for uranium trade with India, then you are being politically correct.
If you are opposed to refugees, assylum seekers, the vague "queue jumpers", and immigration generally, then you are being politically correct.
If you support middle class welfare but oppose welfare to dole bludgers and single mothers, then you are being politically correct.
If you dislike unions, then you are being politically correct.
If you prefer tax cuts to investment in infrastructure, then you are being politically correct.
If you believe mention of a little girl having two Mummies in a preschool library book or children's TV show is morally outrageous and damaging, then you are being politically correct.
If you believe that a political movement that is supported by most of the richest and most powerful men in the western world, including the men that control the media, is the victim in any given situation, or that the media is leftist, then you are being politically correct.
And so on. You get the idea. This is not a joke. This is the actual truth of political correctness today.
Call me easily amused but I've been reading the Hansard to find out what this snivelling grub business that got Gillard thrown out of the House of Reps today is all about. I've been lmao for the last 20 mins as I extracted the following timeline:
* Kelvin Thompson raises a motion that John Anderson tell the house what he knew about the Volcker Report before selling his AWB shares. In the motion he begins to list the suspicious circumstances surrounding the sale.
* Abbot tries to silence Thompson on a point of order but is defeated.
* Thompson finishes reading his motion.
* Abbott moves that "that that snivelling grub over there be not further heard."
* Albanese asks that Abbot withdraw the comment.
* Abbott withdraws, saying "If I have offended grubs, I withdraw unconditionally."
* A reworded snivelling grub motion passes.
Ms GILLARD (3.33 pm)—Mr Speaker, I have a question relating to the ruling that you gave at the start of question time today on the motion moved by the Leader of the House last Thursday, the motion being 'That that snivelling grub over there be not further heard'. As I understand your ruling, Mr Speaker, you believe that by the time the House voted, that motion had become ‘That the member be no longer heard’ as a result of the Leader of the House withdrawing the offensive words. Mr Speaker, the only withdrawal offered by the Leader of the House prior to the vote being taken was in the following terms:
If I have offended grubs, I withdraw unconditionally.
Mr Speaker, I take it as implicit in your ruling that in future in this House a withdrawal in that form will be seen to be an effective withdrawal. If you saw it to be effective on this occasion when offered by the Leader of the House, then you must necessarily be ruling that it will be effective on all occasions when offered by other members of the House. Can you confirm that the practice in this chamber is now that a withdrawal in that form is effective?
* Abbot introduces a bill about private health insurance.
* Gillard moves that "that that snivelling grub over there be not further heard."
* The speaker asks her to withdraw.
* Gillard withdraws, saying "If I have offended grubs I withdraw unconditionally."
* The speaker asks her to withdraw unconditionally.
* Gillard points out that the withdrawal was good enough for Abbott.
* Abbot asks that Gillard be thrown out.
I say we move question time reruns from 2am to prime-time: this is easily more entertaining than anything that's happened on Big Brother this season!
This community seems a little quiet. Maybe some healthy debate could come out of this news. What are your thoughts?
ABORIGINAL children should not be taught their culture in schools, a report endorsed by federal Education Minister Julie Bishop says.
The report, by the Menzies Research Centre, suggests removing indigenous culture from the curriculum, because it prevents Aboriginal children from progressing in their education.
Ms Bishop has said she will consider using the report, by Bennelong Society president Gary Johns, to frame policy. The report also urges governments to close schools in remote communities if they are not economically viable.
Indigenous leaders and academics say there is no evidence to support the report and claim that the Government is being driven by racism and a belief that Aborigines should assimilate.
So now the federal government won't provide funding for indigenous communities until the NT government sorts out the law-and-order problem caused by the underfunding of indigenous communities.
Catch 22 much?
I regularly take a shot at the ABC online poll, it's all quite above board and the results are discussed on ABC radio during the morning program. Thought I'd post an immediate summary the recent Budget poll
The major conclusions they drew were:
While our panel didn’t support the budget, across the community it would have received reasonable, but not overwhelming, support.
It was most strongly supported by higher-income Liberal voters.
Middle and lower income voters tended to think that the tax-cuts weren’t sufficient to meet cost-of-living increases caused by petrol and interest rates.
Faced with a choice between tax cuts, family support measures, supporting the elderly, infrastructure and increased spending for health and education, increased spending was the favoured option.
John Howard is firmly in control as Liberal Party Leader. Kim Beazley is coming fourth as ALP leader behind Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, and Paul Keating. Bill Shorten barely rates at the moment.
While doing some assignment research I found a submission from the Australian Democrats NSW Branch to an inquiry on proportional representation. I dont think I've ever seen this much bitterness in one place
before. Damn self-righteous rantings from a dead party of unrepresentitive swill.
If it asks you for a password just press cancel, it will work.
In a similar vein to the last post...
Anyone know much about the effects of electoral systems, such as proportional representation, compulsory/voluntary voting and FPTP/preferential voting, on the outcomes of elections? Do you know of any useful articles or discussions on the topic you can link me to?
Hi. I'm an American who has fallen in love with Australia. And I have a question...
In his book, "In A Sunburned Country," Bill Bryson said that trying to understand Australian politics was very hard. He said that trying to understand how the voting works was, in itself, very difficult. So my question is this: Anyone game for trying to explain the Australian system of voting to me? About all I know already is that all Australian citizens are required by law to vote (which I think is completely awesome, the USA should do the same thing.)
With utmost sincerity;
I sent this off earlier this afternoon in response to Kim's email he sent to everyone in the ALP. I doubt the Beaz will ever read it, but it was... therapeutic to write it.( rah rahCollapse )
Kim Beazely has just delivered his right of reply to the budget. And if i'm not mistaken it sounded more like a live rehearsal for and/or a brief snippet of what his election campaign might look like. There wasn't much in Costello's 'real thing' that Beazley could attack. Well, nothing except for the gaping holes. Beazley didn't waste any time drawing attention to Costello's smugness in doing his utmost to gratify the upper echelon of wage earners with generous tax cut enticements. Using lots of familiar local middle Australian vernacular he's painted a picture of easy access childcare, trades and an uber fast internet network that'll download porn at three times the speed your current middle earth aussie battler has to endure.
On Tuesday night Costello chanelled the spirit of the creepy but wealthy benevolant uncle, lavishing nuggets of goodness upon his future voting public, doing his utmost to convince them that he has the bank balance to afford it. No matter where your preferred political flavour resides, you have to admit that from that performance he came out looking pretty good. Kim Beazley on the other hand has two monkeys on his back. Tonight, he really had to pull something out of the air to give the voting public of muddle austraylia a half decent reason to listen and allow him to steady his footing over the next 18 months. The reality is that the voting public of muddle austraylia are not Kim's most pressing challenge. It's his own Caucus. The parliamentry Labor party are the ones that need to convincing that he's on to something. Let's hope so.
Onward and upward.
cross posted to my own lj blog
What will the papers say? Take a punt now and sue your favourite tabloid for plagiarising the intellectual copyright on your byline..
A Budget for Breeders
Smile if you earn 80K plus.
Edit on byline..
Tertiary Education Sector Funding - Where The Bloody Hell Are You?!?!
Go for it..
"Isn't anyone going to let him in?"
"No. If we reduce tariffs and subsidies then the Chinese will steal our jobs."
By July, the prediction is that we'll be paying nearly $1.50 a litre for petrol in Australia. And many are predicting between $1.50 and $2.00 a litre (including GST) by the end of the year.
Much of the blame for this lies with the problems in Iran and the brinkmanship that is going on there. But there are also other oil producing countries that are using their oil as a form of blackmail.
Another problem is that in the past decade, the Asian demand for oil has jumped from around 2% to around 30% of the total market.
So, with ever-increasing costs, you'd expect demand to weaken as people put of driving, and you'd expect oil company profits to weaken. Neither of these are happening. The rise of suburbia and the de-emphasising of public transport means that most of Australia is over a barrel, even when that barrel costs US$75 a barrel we simply can't not use our cars. For example, it takes me about 40 minutes to get from home to college by car during peak hour. To go by train and bus, the journey distance is doubled and it would take me two hours, plus the extra time waiting because the transport timetable doesn't match mine, and I'd still have to drive to the train station. If the trains are running that day, they often aren't.
So it's understandable that oil profits aren't suffering. But that doesn't explain why they're actually growing. The oil companies are realising incredible profits that were inconceivable a few years ago. Oil company stock prices have in fact risen more strongly than the cost of crude oil, and when for example the cost of crude fell considerably last year, stock prices didn't. They are making money out of our troubles. They are profiting from war and strife, and it is not in their interest for solutions to be found.
And just for good measure, donations from oil companies to the US Republican party rose from six and a half million dollars in the 1990 election cycle, to twenty-seven million dollars in the 2000 cycle, and has stayed around twenty million since. Donations to the Democrats have stayed around five million per election cycle for the last fifteen years.
Makes you wonder what exactly it is they're buying, doesn't it?
I've just been reading an article
about how Petro Georgiou is facing a preselection battle in Kooyong. Malcolm Fraser and Jeff Kennett have both spoken up to declare Georgiou as the sort of person the Liberal Party needs (more of) and that he is keeping the dream of Menzies style liberalism flying.
I read in a previous article about Malcolm Fraser (around the 30 year annivesary of the Whitlam dismissal, last year) that he believes that Menzies wanted a socially progressive party that would continue to improve the lives of all Australians through reformist policy that rolled back isolationist and protectionist policy. Fraser is unhappy with the current state of the LP, believing it to be too socially conservative and damaging the cause that the party was founded on.
While Howard is certainly doing a good job of advancing neo-liberalist policy, his government seems to have forgotten that social and personal freedom are two things which made Australia great. It looks like there are two camps in the current LP at the federal level. Georgiou and a few other backbenchers are the socially liberal wing that want Australia to move forward while securing protection of the people of Australia; Howard and the front bench appear to be stodgy, monarchist conservatives (with a few exceptions) who are hell-bent on preserving a status quo that never strictly existed.
Costello seems to be a bit further to the left in terms of social policy, and his ascent as leader would certainly bring about some shifts in social policy. I believe that a Costello government would bring in a new era of progressive liberal politics, such as a genuine effort for a republic and better welfare services, possibly even tax reform instead of supporting Howard's ideological addiction to tax cuts.
Anyway, back to Georgiou.
From the article:KOOYONG IN TWO CAMPS
* Petro Georgiou's supporters include Treasurer Peter Costello, former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, former prime minister Malcolm Fraser (for whom Georgiou once worked), state Liberal MP Ted Baillieu, Liberal MLC David Davis and Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger.
* Joshua Frydenberg, the challenger, is backed by former Howard government communications minister Richard Alston, former deputy liberal leader Neil Brown QC, former governor-general Zelman Cowen and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
I think this is a pretty good indicator of the ideologies associated with each camp.
New TV laws are coming to Australia. The idea was that there's not enough diversity, but the only way to improve choice would be to drop foreign ownership restrictions and cross-media ownership. A little bit dodgy, you have to admit.
The media in Australia is a duopoly. Two men own all the TV stations, another two men own all the newspapers, two others own the radio. SBS is carefully guarded to make sure it doesn't compete with the commercial stations, and the ABC has its funding cut every time it becomes a threat. We have digital TV now, but instead of the world of choice most other countries have, the two blokes owning TV decided their advertising revenue would be healthier if they didn't increase the channels, interactivity, or diversity. Instead we have a slightly clearer picture. And not surprisingly, only 15% of people have bothered to get set-top digital converters.
So we need more TV channels. And if it means we have only two blokes who own all the media, and they're both American, then a lot of people could live with that.
Instead, what we're getting is two blokes who own all the media, and they're both American, and we're not actually getting any extra channels. The only bone thrown the public's way is that SBS can put English language news on its digital channel.
And when it ends up with two Americans owning all our media, watch the minimum Australian content erode. We've already got the trade agreement with the US saying that we're not allowed to ever increase minimum content. Now all they have to do is drop it by 5% here, 10% there, and we'll be left with local news and kids with Californian accents.
Though of course, local content at the moment is made up mostly of moronic kids' game shows, news updates, and adaptations of foreign reality-themed television.
More important than TV shows of course, is news. What happens when the only news we get access to is Fox?
(cross-posted from my LiveJournal)
I have a real problem with party politics, it only helps the incumbents and leads to "Simple Simon's" problem grab his seat and you are set for life even if your a complete waste of oxygen there's enough rusted on voters to keep you there for life. This leads to next problem where all your colleagues are the same as you, think the same, from the same back ground, and thus have the same world view and thus develop policies that reflect that view. These policies you then try to sell to the general public at a vast cost to the public.
I think there should be three members for each seat one who is elected and two who are picked at random from the electors in that seat. The random members are only in for one term but they would add a little to the debates and the opportunities for back room deals is spectacular. Having been randomly selected a person couldn't stand again for one term just to give every one a chance to forget you.
Some will say that this will make the country difficult to govern or you could end up with some idiots, not that there aren't any there already but who said governing had to be easy? Never forget Belgium where they couldn't form a government for eight months and no-body noticed. You would be surprised how well countries govern themselves.
Another little idea might be a two term maximum. That would get some fresh ideas into the system though wouldn't do any thing for the party system. No I prefer the random idea best.
Isn't Simon Crean's preselection just despicable? How can that slobbish scum Beazley force a former leader to face this nonsense?
Crean is a gifted politician. Obviously too dull to be leader of the party, but quite effective as a team player. An excellent front bencher, shadow minister. But not under spineless Beazley.
Yes, every seat should have this sort of preselection - I'm not opposed to that. But dozens of MPs get through backroom deals. It's the way things are done. To allow your allies to get in through a 'deal' but forcing your opponents to go through branch elections is truly weak and spineless.
True to form, Beazley.