Australia has a new PM, or does it?

Today Australia awoke to a new Prime Minister.

If anyone thinks that their problems are solved, they’re kidding themselves.

We might expect the polls to reflect an improvement for the Coalition. But my guess is that they won’t be as much an improvement as that we saw with the last spill.

For, the problem wasn’t just one man, one front bench or even one party. The problem is that the political arena is still the battle grounds for the wars of last century. A pair of Hipster glasses doesn’t help outdated ideologs speak to the younger voters.

“Kevin07” was so successful because, on the surface it looked like a leader had got with the times. In practice, it was the same song and dance as ever before.

The battle between “fat cats” and unions doesn’t inspire younger voters like it did their parents and grandparents. There has been enough royal commissions and investigations to conclude that both sides are as bad and irrelevant as the other.

Even capitalism itself has lost its glow to gen-Y and Millennials. Did I just hear people gasp and collapse in the offices of the IPA?

Think about it. Aussies now starting or just establishing a career find themselves with a terrifying student load debt (if they could even stomach that future and went to uni). The prospects of home ownership within an hour’s drive from most jobs is practically impossible and anything outside that region is an overpriced, monotonous, sprawling hell-hole, made and sold like mobile phones.

In their childhood, they watched successive state and federal governments flog off any service of value for seemingly little return. In selling off communication utilities especially, it has meant that they now pay top dollar for suboptimal services.

They pay a premium on most technology simply because they are Australian.

In short, they entered a mature capital marketplace that presents them few opportunities. They lost the game before they had even started.

If this is the best their governments and the marketplace can offer them, why should they defend either or the ideology behind them?

Moreover, for the new Prime Minister, he finds himself part of a scene stuck on repeat for the last eight years. The man he ousted was in many ways a victim of his own success.

Being such a potent critic of the other party, he needed to demonstrate how much more improved he was when he had his turn. Removing a couple wealthy business taxes and being hard of refugees can only got him so far. If that was his entire vision, the term should have ended a few months in.

The voting base is changing quicker than our major parties can evolve and they have so far failed to understand why the ensuing teams post-Howard have failed to find legs.

They haven’t even begun to start a discussion with younger voters. They’ve only talked down to them and blame them. Anyone with a child in their twenties knows just how far that will get you (even if your tech-savvy and say it with hashtags).

It’s for that reason that I’m stuck on how to wind up this post. I can’t say (in one way or another) that it’ll be interesting to see how this next leadership plays out, because I doubt it will be interesting. I guess all that I can say is that I hope we’ve past the trough and that they have learnt enough to see the need to revise their party policies, on all sides of parliament

Refugee crisis: are we better than that?

It’s good to see that, globally, we are finally motivated to care about the plight of the growing number of refugees.

In a heart beat, we stopped calling them the sterile term “asylum-seekers” (or more idiotically, illegal asylum-seekers) and recognised them for what they are.

What changed our perception were, primarily two photographs; one of an emotional father on the beach and another, more horrible; a lifeless child on another beach.

“Aren’t we better than this?” many have been asking.

No. No, we’re not better than this. If we were, actions would never have led us to such conclusions.

We’ve had more than a decade of scapegoating refugees as potential terrorists, the eroders of cultural identity and even the cause of job loss or economic weakness. Even since this shift in attitude, our own PM has stated that by helping the refugees we hold in detention camps, we would be rewarding people smugglers.

(A word to the wise: the people smugglers already have the money, they don’t care about the future of these people.)

Refugees are the easy option for that ails your political sphere. Afterall, how often do they have enough of a voice to defend themselves?

We are only ever as good as our behaviour, including, more damningly, those voted in to direct future actions. Polls shouldn’t be just a signal for anxious politicians, but also a gauge of popular attitude.

Policies geared towards coming down hard on refugees have remained popular for years.

No, we’re not better than that.

Sure, a voice of defence for refugees has lingered in the national discourse, but this has been drowned out by red-faced rants wrapped in a makeshift Aussie flag cape. Morality has long tried to be entertained, only to be rejected, on most platforms.

So, again, we’re not better than that.

If we cared about the risks of boat arrival, we would have long recognised that these refugees are not idiots. Just like us, they know just how risky this venture is. Moreover, they often burn the last of their meagre cash supplies on the gamble.

Given a genuine alternative in an Asian country, say a processing office that gave them real hope of refuge, the whole “business model” of the smugglers would be undermined.

Because risky behaviour remains the preferable option also tells us that we are not better than that.

If we were better than this, we would have been proactive, not reactive after some gruesome photos went viral.

It’s always easier to ignore a problem than to face it. Our willingness to warp the problem and to blame the victims speaks volumes to what we will condone.

My only hope is that this is not a mere wisp of concern to quickly be lost the next time a politician points the finger and screams “bogeyman!”

Don’t be hoodwinked.

Allow this to be another step forward in our moral development.

Ultimately, this is only the start of the problem. Not only are the players involved seemed determined to annihilate the Middle East, but food and water security will increasingly shift where people will need to be, simply to live.

Without tolerance, we will fail to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The Disappearing Sea of Ice

The horrible truth about fluoride, vaccines and GMO’s

I found the following on various threads and couldn’t help but share. The point, I think, is amplified when they are presented together.



Abbott plays blame games to defy the democratic process

The fallacy is better known as a Red Herring.

I know that I said I would move away from politics (primarily because the topic is career limiting to say the least – good luck democracy!) but how could I avoid the relentless march into absurdity that encapsulates the mob entrusted to make decisions on our behalf?

The straw that broke this camel’s back is the waste of taxpayer funds to advertise a red herring as obvious as dog’s… um…

Our fearless (if myopia can be called that) leader unveiled a mobile billboard yesterday. It reads; “East West Link Scrapped and you’re… Stuck in traffic! Blame Labor.”

Who is he kidding? It will no doubt stir up rage in the average fan of Andrew Bolt, but arguably most Victorian’s get that another toll road is not what the state needs at this point in time.

Actually, it’s not subjective; Victorians knew what they were voting for in the 2014 election; The East West Link (Coalition) or Rail upgrades (Labor). The parties made no secret that this was one of the main contests and the East West Link lost.

Victoria, not just Labor, rejected this toll road.

Building new roads instead of improving public transport is at odds with 21st century urban planning. Our devoting to roads is weird. If we continue to be stuck in traffic, it’s because our Federal government refuses to fund what the people voted for (and again, democracy takes a hit).

To give an example, Eastlink caps a one way trip at $5.84. If you used CityLink to the CBD from the Monash Freeway, one way would cost you $7.20. A return trip would land you $11.68 or $14.40 respectively, with the stop-start pain of peak hour on either the Eastern or Monash Freeways.

By contrast, a full day trip that covers zones 1 & 2 (most regions) will set you back a modest $7.52, without additional fuel, wear-and-tear and the overwhelming threat of being involved in the next accident (too often the result of impatience).

With Melbourne’s population growth projections expecting as much as 7.8 million people by 2051, we can’t expect each person to ride alone in our cars to work. No amount of roads could cope.

The people stuck in traffic are those who don’t have access to good public transport and those who need their cars for work. Reinforce the public transport system and most of the former will convert, leaving the roads for the latter.

And yet, here we are with a PM refusing to part with promise funds to the state. It’s a bitter revenge for rejecting his state counterparts and more toll roads that we don’t need or want.

Instead, he’s loose with cash for a political stunt that flies in the face of Victorian voters. He does so, of course, not to play state politics, but to try to get one state one side in the lead up to next year’s election. It’s negative rhetoric and what he does best.

A better person might acknowledge the will of the people and act accordingly.

We can only hope that this red herring is transparent to Victorian voters. We can hope that they show this PM, just as they did the former Premier, that they will not cave into 20th century thinking.

When you’re stuck in traffic, I hope it gives you enough time to reflect on who is truly to blame.

Watch “Five More Stupid Things About Climate Change Denial” on YouTube

Fuel in the skies: has sequestration finally found its market?

I just came across an article stating that Audi have just done something pretty awesome.

Using water, renewable energy and atmospheric CO2, they have generated a synthetic diesel.

Read the article here.

Personally, I see it as a much bigger deal than simply a cleaner, more efficient fuel, which of course it is.

It’s actually sequestration. Moreover, it’s sequestration with potentially strong market influences. It’s also sequestration that brings a cyclic relationship to our carbon-based fuel.

Given strong global leadership on it, there is even a potential for us to modify the atmospheric CO2 concentrations to counter long term climate trends that could impact us negatively. Through controlling what we burn or store, we would be able to influence our climate for our benefit.

I recognise that I might be getting carried away with this news. However, depending on how this story unfolds, it could be a genuine game changer.