Category Archives: Politics

The voice of Australia

I had an excellent survey rate on Friday, but since then, very little.

So far less than 50 Aussies have filled out this tiny survey. No-one from “right of centre” has filled it out.

For it to have any value, readers will need to nudge others to add their voice. If I can get about 2000 people, we will have numbers akin to the news polls.

My hope is to follow this with a second survey; 1) age, 2) last federal vote, 3) more or less likely to vote for the coalition had the GP co-payments been mentioned prior to the election, 4)  more or less likely to vote for the coalition had the increase fuel excise been mentioned prior to the election.

Before I pursue that, I hope to get the numbers for this survey.

Survey: Does the Aust Gov have a mandate on Chaplains in Public Schools?

Sunday Reads #8: All things climate, environmental and politics

Firstly, I need to plug my survey again. I had a great response on Friday, but yesterday saw little movement. If the question and the answer matters to you, please try to get at least three friends or family members to spare 60 seconds to fill it in and a couple additional minutes to get three more to follow on.

Survey: Does the Aust Gov have a mandate on Chaplains in Public Schools?

Coalition’s Green Army passes the Senate

Having worked as a retail “trainee” when I was 19-20 in what was clearly a way to get around minimum wage restrictions, I am concerned by this, but not surprised at the bi-partisan support, sadly.

Carpark run-off cheaper to drink than desal water

Thinking for the 21st century!

Changing what we eat [relating to sustainability climate change]

Great to bookmark and refer to the future.

This Is What Your Grocery Store Looks Like Without Bees (PHOTOS)

Expect this message to become a bigger issue over the coming decades.

Fiji accuses global community of abandoning the Pacific on climate change, singles out ‘selfish’ Australia

Unfortunately, our leaders are not listening.

The jobs of yesterday: Abbott’s roads rear-vision

Sorry, second plug. This is my latest article on the Climate Spectator.

Power bills to drop 8pc in Tasmania if Senate approves carbon tax abolition

When the Gillard government introduced the carbon price, Abbott said people would pay thousands more a year in energy costs. He then said he would save people on average $550 a year in energy costs. Tasmanians’ are set to save $164 a year from the latest estimates.

For me, this is a clear indicator that reality is likely to be about 20% the estimate offered by our current PM.

Coal’s share of world energy demand at highest since 1970

And this is a genuine tragedy for the coal rich country down under, regardless what the short-term economics might say.

 

Government funded Chaplains in public schools: The public voice

As my previous post highlighted, I’ve opened a survey to gauge what the Australian public actually thinks about federal funding of Chaplain’s in public schools.

The survey is a mere two pages and will take less than a minute to complete. It is also entirely anonymous.

It will automatically close at 10pm EST (Aust) on Friday the 27th of June.

Already there has been a good response, but entirely from centre to left and non-religious members of the community. The value of this is entirely dependent upon the voluntary contribution of the Australian public across the various ideological spectrums.

If each person who fills in the survey convinced four friends to follow and this happened once each day for the coming week, we would have more than 20,000 people adding to the public voice. That would be an incredible achievement by all!

Below are many sharing options. It is only through this that we could get a genuine representation of the public sentiment… part from when we next vote and if the issue is a party commitment.

My views may be in the minority and I will be happy should that be the case. I simple hope to know what Australia actually thinks.

Click the following link to fill in the very short survey and please share this page.

Survey: Does the Aust Gov have a mandate on Chaplains in Public Schools?

 

Does the government have a mandate on federal funding of Chaplains in public schools?

I’ve never been comfortable with the title “atheist”. I don’t really know why. I suspect it is because I hate labels that I don’t really care much about and I’ve come to let go of any notion of faith.

It hasn’t always been like that. Even in my mid 20’s I had prayed in difficult times – of which there were a few. By this time, I think I had lost my faith, but not my hope for some supernatural help.

In fact, my faith took it’s deepest cut back in Sunday school of all places. I’ll never forget that lesson.

I was shown an image of a path with a fork. To the left, the path went up a rock road into the hills. It looked grueling. To the right the path remained flat and smooth over meadows. Which, I was asked, is the path of God?

I chose wrong, as I guess all children do. I learnt that the Creator of everything – an entity I was told loved me, personally, more than anyone else ever could – wanted me to suffer throughout my life for some higher purpose. While the universe was built in a week and women from a single rib, God couldn’t make a gentle path.

From then, my faith began to bleed out. It was a slow death.

Chaplains in public schools

Admittedly, I was slow to cotton on to this story, which John Howard brought in back in 2006 and was continued by the subsequent Rudd-Gillard governments.

It has returned to the public eye with the High Court ruling against the Federal funding of Chaplains in public schools. Prime Minster Tony Abbott has assured the public that he is committed to the program and that it will continue.

This story has since reminded me of my old Sunday school days. I have my own thoughts on Chaplains providing advice to my own children, but I know that those thoughts reside with me alone.

But it got me wondering. Our current administration talk a lot of “mandate”…

Let’s find out if the Australian government has a mandate for funding Chaplains in public schools.

To answer this question, I’ve developed a quick survey.

It has a mere two pages with few questions on each; 1) basic demographics, 2) views on federal funded Chaplains in public schools.

It takes less than a minute to fill out and is completely anonymous.

It will be kept open for the next week – until the end of Friday next week (27th of June). Over the following weekend, I’ll collect all the data and report on it by Monday (30th of June).

The value in this survey will only come from your help.

Of course, honesty is the best policy, but most importantly we need numbers; share, share, share! Share this page or the survey directly. We need as many Aussies, from across the political and religious spectrum.

Thanks for your help!

Survey: Does the Aust Gov have a mandate on Chaplains in Public Schools?

Economic Wealth is Tied to Ecology

Today I stumbled upon The Future Economy Group. Very interesting stuff, especially the following infograph. The biggest problem as I see it from my experience is that those you need to convince (typically conservative politicians) think that token gestures are enough (I’m thinking Direct Action and the Green Army, for example).

Farmers are often conservative, but they know better than most that symbiosis means wealth. “You reap what you sow” isn’t just a dated cliché, it is the unbreakable mantra of our relationship with environments. It is only through investing in environments that we can continue to obtain profitable returns.

This isn’t “Tree hugging” nonsense, but good business strategy.

Political comics

As many NewAnthro followers would already know, I like to dabble in various comics. I began by resorting to my experience with 3D rendering, but have since found more joy in simple pen sketching which I later colour (believe it or not, the latter is more labour intensive for me).

Of later, instead of just posting them on NewAnthro, I’ve been offering a first look to others – most often, Independent Australia. Most of these have appeared elsewhere, some have flopped.

Anyway, from now on I’ll add them to a suitable subheading under Comics above. These new comics and some of my older work merited a new page; Political Comics.

Feel free to use any of these anywhere. If required, I can provide up to around A3 in size on request.

Lastly, I’m happy to take suggestions or to do specialised work, pro bono, in some circumstances. Please feel free to contact me via the Contact page.

Sov-Borders-without-water Asylum-policy-Aust immunity sunburnt dept murdoch Some-of-us rare playing-politics Open-for-business MIM-Tony

The jobs of yesterday: Abbott’s roads rear-vision

The following is the start of an article that Climate | Business Spectator published yesterday.

The weeks are few and far between when there isn’t news of job cuts, be it primarily manufacturing, services or research. A few hundred here, a couple thousand there, a revamp (with a subtle job loss undertone) for the rest.

And our brave Prime Minister stresses with his Canadian counterpart that job and economic growth are his primary focus. He wants to be the “Infrastructure PM” after all, and if we would all just chip in for his fuel tax, he would open the doors to a plethora of roles in road construction.

There is just one problem with this logic. Just because they’re fruit, it doesn’t mean an apple and an orange are the same. Just because he talks of jobs, it doesn’t mean an out-of-work postie, ex-Holden worker or researcher will be suitable fodder for his new roads projects.

Keep reading here.

Sunday Reads #7: All things climate, environmental and politics

Why electricity prices continue to shock people

Something a lot of us have been saying for some time; the maths simply doesn’t add up. The costs of energy in Australia are not largely the result of the carbon price. We will not be better off with the carbon price gone. We certainly won’t be better off with additional fuel taxes and GP co-payments.

Hunting for Hunt’s Direct Action costings

This government clearly failed when they told us they would be one of “no surprises”. If they had told us they would be one of “no modelling” they would have been spot on.

The Liberals’ radical turn on climate change

An interesting back story the shifting Liberal ideology.

IR debate hijacked by the right

Everything you thought you knew about the supposed “wage explosion” is nothing more than spin designed to undermine workers rights.

Unleash metrics on the climate change sceptics! Met Office chief wants scientists to turn to poetry to promote research

Julia should spend more time exploring blogs and YouTube. There are plenty that have long known this.

Tony Abbott missing signs of world’s switch to carbon trading, experts say

No-one is convinced by the claim that countries are moving away from a market based approach.

Dear Millennials, We’re Sorry

I’ve wanted to write a response article to this, if time permitted. In short, great read, but I disagree with attacking the aged so heavily. Yes, a large proportion goes to them, but we have an aging population. More importantly, have we forgotten the point of “we are the 99%”?

There are massive problems with the distribution of money. More equal societies and a combination of super and taxation ought to support individuals throughout their lives. What kills that is when you live in a society that sees no fundamental problems with some having billions in personal net wealth among their communities.

People-Oriented Cities: Three Keys to Quality Public Transport

Another one to bookmark. The “Aussie dream” for the 20th just doesn’t work in the 21 centuryst. How we manage the expected population growth in Australia over the next century will make or brake our cities.

Sunday Reads #6: All things climate, environmental and politics

Real Density Versus Experienced Density in Paris

I know I’m part of a very small group in Australia who believe discussions will need to focus on higher density on the coming decades, but all the signs are there. I am certain Australia a century from now will have it’s capital cities and many satellites with densities much the same as places like many of the biggest cities today. A massive rethink on how we envision cities and indeed the “Aussie dream” need to be on the cards sooner or later.

This is excellent fuel for thought. As is;

Transit Oriented Development Needs More than Just Location

Making Aussies pay more for fuel to invest in more roads is worthy of a face palm. We will need TOD’s for our growing population. Planning ahead while density is low and land is being chewed up from sprawl makes for excellent timing.

Five Exciting Designs Chosen for New Garden Cities

Of course, higher density can be beautiful, if planned ahead.

Saving Trees in Tropics Could Cut Emissions by One-Fifth, Study Shows

Why not? They are productive lands (assuming landholders don’t rip them up – little nutrients actually in the soil).

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank joins super funds in fossil fuel rethink

The shift is happening, regardless how much some might resist it.

Science funding cuts are generating fears for jobs and research output

Something I can relate with. Being a job searcher hearing CSIRO cutting jobs, various universities cutting non-academic roles, outsourcing, outsourcing, outsourcing. Let’s just say, it’s hard being green….

Abbott deserves to be punished relentlessly for his broken promises

And yet, a mad side show between Turnbull and a couple neo-conservative commentators are taking up the discussions. Speaking of which;

Reading the crazy illogical Turnbull-Jones-Bolt brouhaha

Another shameless plug. The Climate Spectator picked up my article and ran with it.

Richard Denniss: Hey Joe Hockey, while we’re on the subject of debt …

“Australia faces choices about climate change, not dilemmas.”

Dinner laced with Conspiracy?

The strangest story is unfolding in Conservative Australia over this week.

I, for one, am entirely baffled by it all and can only conclude that the right must have collectively failed at basic algebra. It serves as an excellent example of a fundamental flaw in the general ideology of the right, of which I’ve encountered previously on another subject; climate change.

As for the story…

For my international readers, here’s the basic story.

  • One senior minister, Malcolm Turnbull, of the main conservative party, Liberal Party of Australia, had dinner with another conservative minister of a minor party, Clive Palmer, the leader of PUP.
  • Neo-conservative commentator, Andrew Bolt, wrote that he thought this might represent an attempt to challenge the Abbott leadership of the Libs. Turnbull refuted this claim.
  • Turnbull was then accused of destabilising the Libs for refuting Bolt’s claim (ie. ‘he should have ignored it if it wasn’t true).
  • A conservative shock jock, Alan Jones, interviewed Turnbull to challenge him on this and other claims. He refuted the arguments thrown at him.
  • Turnbull was then accused of destabilising the Libs for refuting the claims made by Jones.

Can you see why I’m baffled?

A B

Here’s where the very simply algebra comes into it; nothing adds up.

Sure, following a heated footy match, there may or may not be some pubs you should entre wearing a certain teams colours. But that doesn’t go for politics.

Politicians get a nice share of the public purse – that’s our money – to run the country. If this wasn’t a democracy, then it’s easy; what ruler says, ruler gets.

Not so when you’re stuck in a house with people who disagree with you and also hold a vote on legislation.

While I don’t agree with the far right – and I can only see conservative Australia trekking far off into that sunset at present – I understand the need to make peace with other parties for the sake of your political agenda. The Libs needs the support for other parties and they have a better chance with PUP than they do with the left.

Being civil enough to share a meal with members of other parties, surely, isn’t restricted to this one event. I think it’s a safe bet to say that members of the left and right have done something so risky as to share a couple rounds of beer at one point or another.

Whispered incarnation

This bizarre story gets even worse. Somehow Turnbull’s defiance gives life to the claims.

Anyone who has bothered to challenge climate change deniers would have seen this before. Put simply, they will eventually get to the argument; “If the sceptics don’t have a case, why do you challenge them, then?”

Some of us, as crazy as it sounds, have a problem when we spot others peddling horse manure as ‘miracle face cream’.

You might ask; why should anyone bother, right? If someone is willing to wear that crap, be it on their own head.

I disagree, obviously. I don’t like being taken for a ride and feel uncomfortable idly sitting back while I watch others being led on. I’m somewhat of a fan of reality.

Now, I can understand why Turnbull took these claims on; he’s not about to sit back an enjoy a stinky face mask. He is in the public arena and he has two popular chaps from the media making challenges on his position. Who would he be doing any favours by letting them slide? Are we so sure that his silence would have been seen as anything but an admission of guilt?

A dish too spicy

Turnbull, from what I can tell (noting that neither Bolt or Jones provided additional supportive information), has done nothing but have dinner with someone. How did this story even happen?

Listening to the interview with Jones and his near shrill insistence that Turnbull would never again be the leader of the Coalition, I came up with the only potential reason for all of this that I could fathom.

The budget has been a disaster for the Libs. Their popularity has crashed and regardless of their best efforts, large pockets of the community (myself included) deem the budget unfair and potentially damaging to future equity of the two most fundamental aspects to our lives; health and education.

The Australian Labor Party have kept more or less quiet. It seems the Libs are doing enough damage to themselves.

People like Bolt and Jones did their bit to help Abbott rise to the top job and now, it seems difficult to see how he can maintain it with such a public backlash. Of course, some people will be thinking if a new face is needed and obviously Turnbull, who remains fairly popular, would be one person who jumps to mind.

From what I know of Bolt’s writing and from Jones, with his Galileo Movement, when the choice is between Abbott and Turnbull, the selection is very clear. I might be wrong, but could all this madness be an attempt to nip that particular bud before it blooms?

Whatever the case may be, we must be thankful for the chance dinner for it gave us all something very special; it gave us great insight to the conservative mind.