Category Archives: Politics

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 A pair of Hipster glasses doesn’t help outdated ideologs speak to the younger voters.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.

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.

Movie Wish List for #auspol – What they missed out on as children

For a whole host of reasons, I’ve been unable, even reluctant, to write.

Firstly, the survey flopped. I managed to get around 40 people to sign it within the first couple days. However there wasn’t enough interest to obtain 2nd and 3rd generation participation. All up only 50 people signed it which simply wasn’t enough to comment on.

Secondly, the job front has been stressful and disheartening. That it has been relentless has meant that it has required more and more of my time and energy. I’ve even wishfully mused over monetising NewAnthro through minimal advertisements and looking into Patreon so that I can dedicate my entire efforts to it. This would allow me to move into different media (eg. video production, podcasting, etc) and genuine reporting.

Of course, I’m enough of a realist to see that I don’t have weight enough for this bud to fruit.

Thirdly, the last year in politics has left me speechless. I don’t know if I’m more surprised that my predictions have largely been proven right or that enough of the population (46% is not a mandate, mind you) didn’t see it coming. From Pyne’s attempted wordplay of ‘schools’ or school’s’ regarding funding, to Morrison’s mute reply to every horrendous truth that we eventually learn of on his watch…

Moreover, that many members in the general public honestly think any refugee could be considered a “queue jumper” and that sending their children alone half way around the world is anything but traumatic (only achievable in that it is less traumatic than leaving them at risk of death in a war zone) or that our disadvantaged are “bludgers” is a disgraceful badge on the Aussie culture.

Perhaps I’m the odd one.

I’m not sure what might follow with my writing. However there is one thing I want to say for now.

I suspect our political class collectively suffered a deprived childhood that could have helped to make them better people. Here are a few movies / TV series they could have seen that may have helped them to learn valuable moral lessons. It’s by no means a complete list; please feel free to suggest others.

Movie Life lesson
The Emperor’s new groove Compromise and cooperation (indeed even building regulations) can lead to greater positive outcomes for all parties than pure selfish, individualistic, pursuits.
Aladdin While our political class might have the lesson “bee yourself” sorted, this only applies if ‘yourself’ is someone willing to share with those less fortunate.
The Little Mermaid Be wary of making deals with powerful magnates. They are where they are only because their deals favour themselves more than anyone else.
The Lion King Without genuine, fair and empathetic leadership, scoundrels take over and erode the quality of life for all.
Full House / The Brady Bunch / The Smurfs Pretty much every moral question imaginable over their many seasons.
Bob the Builder / Thomas the tank engine Hard work and consideration for those around you builds lasting personal and professional relationships.
Gremlins Prevention is more cost effective than a cure. This is directly concerned with nutrition and the advice of experts, but applicable elsewhere.
The Dark Crystal Draining the vital resources from the vulnerable is only a short-term move which will lead to escalating social problems.
The Labyrinth Imprisoning children to get your way will ultimately outrage those you seek to impress.
Spiderman With great power comes great responsibility
Snow White Obsessing over popular opinion leads to poor decision-making.
Pinocchio Telling lies only leaves you looking like an ass.
Ghost busters Adequate funding of science, even if you don’t personally understand the field in question, is essential in mitigating larger problems in the long run.



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?