Tag Archives: Politics

Who gets to say I’m a citizen of this country?

I discovered today that this “government” of ours is currently holding a “conversation” about ‘Increasing the value of Australia Citizenship’?

Have a read of their blurb, then have a think about it, and remember that Mr Dutton has already admitted that he thinks it should be something that the Minister alone can rule on.

Here’s the blurb about it – the link to the survey is at the bottom of the page, just click on the “how to provide your views” button to get there

This is the direct link to the survey.

Courtesy of LeoneTwo over at The Pub, I also offer the answers of one Curmudgeon who has kindly provided his answers to this survey. It might give you a start, it will certainly inform your own conversations about this topic.

Personally I am not overly impressed. After all, I probably fall into the demographic that is likely to offend Mr Dutton (the Minister concerned) by objecting to his desire to remove citizenship from any person who has or is eligible for dual citizenship with such a remarkable lack of evidence or oversight by the law or judiciary.

I think I have read/watched too many dystopian stories not to want to fight against this brain-dead brain fart of the nut jobs in this country. The LNP’s polling must be absolutely rock bottom for them to start dragging out such anti-democratic, anti-liberal crap. And if this is an example of their desires, it is deservedly at rock bottom!

Please consider completing the survey. Perhaps we might be the pebble that starts the avalanche that starts Australia back to a more humane country again.

I’m getting sufficiently annoyed that I might just Do Something!

Australia goes to “not-war” … again?

A letter to my Federal parliamentarians:

Dear Sirs,

Apparently while Parliament was not sitting over the weekend, Mr Abbott has declared that we are going to be gun-running for the Kurdish people fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq. He has indicated that we will apparently also be providing troops on the ground who may go into harm’s way should one of the planes being used for this gun-running activity be shot down and the crews need to be rescued.

I would appreciate a discussion in Parliament, and entered into the Parliamentary Record, to explain the reasons for Australia’s support to the Kurdish and other minority people of the region in this new fight, including an explanation of who and why the so called “Islamic State” developed and who originally funded it.
There may be a legitimate reasons why Australia should offer this support to these people – including provision of asylum if necessary. If there is, Australia may well have a role in providing that help, and Australians deserve to have those reasons explained.

But there are too many indicators that this is less about protecting people far away from our country, and more about protecting a Prime Minister and Government that is divisive, vindictive and determined to reduce our country to a mere resource to be gouged by others.

As Australians, I and my family deserve to be fully informed by our representatives as to the reasons why such risks by the Australian Defence Forces are to be taken.

Your employer,
*Not very impressed*

Who do you trust?

There are times when I wonder about where people get their information and why they trust it. This is not only a personal, but a professional question too.
_I_ have come to the conclusion that on balance, reportage about the world published by resources associated with Mr Murdoch are less likely to contain facts than the reportage from the Guardian or the ABC (though poor old Auntie is getting a bit questionable on occasion, she is still relatively fair in reporting). But it gets a bit much when I start finding myself looking for straight-forward reporting on my own country to Al Jazera, Der Speigal, Le Monde or the BBC.

I was recently asked by an acquaintance how I rated Prime Minister Abbott’s handling of the incident in the Ukraine, as they though he had done quite well. My response was that I felt he had performed adequately, but certainly not in a manner that deserved all the praise he was getting from some very insular sources.
I was then challenged, because my response was not in praise of Mr Abbott, that I was ignorant of the sterling job Australia’s Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister Bishop in particular, had done in getting the resolution up in the UN condemning Russia.

The problem is that it is not known that it was the Russians who shot down that plane. Perhaps it was Ukrainian separatists who are probably backed by Russia and like most in that delicate military situation, are more likely to think they know what they are looking at even when it isn’t (just ask the USS Vincennes).
And who is asking the question as to why it was flying through a known war zone any way?

The original wording of the resolution proposed by Australia’s Foreign Minister was apparently heavily edited before it was put forward. Not only that but by his own admission, Mr Abbot’s phone call to Mr Putin was not at first answered. Apparently some of the things he claimed last week upset the Russians, so it was only after he had snubbed our nearer neighbours at the South Pacific Forum because he had to sit by the phone for Mr Putin to call him back (eventually/apparently). And then the bellicosity is dialled back.

Yet I didn’t hear/read much of that information from the Australian media, or only after I had read it a couple of days earlier from other online sources. I find it a concern that I now start my daily news gathering of national news on non-Australian websites, and local news involves an increasing list of non-MSM sites based in my state. And mostly it is because I have had to retrain myself to constantly evaluate the content of those websites for veracity, likelihood and trustworthiness because of the amount of propaganda many of the mainstream media seem to be willing to spout today.

What’s wrong with this picture?

With regards to Mrs Abbott enjoying op-shopping, I am struck by several thoughts.
The first is that there is a perception that because Mr Abbott earns a lot of money (more than President Obama, I am led to believe) Mrs Abbott should have lots of resources to purchase things that are new. This story jars against that perception. Though I can think of more than one early primary educational establishment that stretches its budget by buying some resources from op-shops.
The next thought followed the first in that if Mr Abbott is ‘rich’ but Mrs Abbott is resorting to op-shops, then this could be evidence that he does not provide sufficient for her (and I know that she has her own income, but that is an actual comment I heard on the train today!).
The subsequent thought was why wouldn’t or shouldn’t Mrs Abbott enjoy op-shopping, or is it that is is yet another way to deprive poor people of resources – and I felt badly that an enjoyable experience that I have also enjoyed both when finances have been flush and when they have been tight should be denied to another woman who has the misfortune to be married to the guy who I think is really not competent to lead this country. Especially when it is obvious that the whole story is to promote something that is intended to promote charity op shops.

The last thought was to consider what type of “unicorn” is being highlighted by this sort of “reportage”. And that worries me because of what it betrays about the perceived roles of women by certain sections of the community.

The start of a new Senate term

I received an email from one of my Labor Senators this morning.
As there are now 18 cross benchers, I am tempted to feel a bit sorry for them as I contemplate both the schedule for the Senate to contemplate legislation and the mail-merge abilities of my word-processor *twinkle*
Yes, one can get the spreadsheets of addresses for both Senate and House of Reps from the Australian Parliament, just perfect for use with mail-merge programs.
Now to go write something to encourage those cross bench senators to vote the way I want them to. After all, they are supposed to be representing ME!

Despite all the bluster and claims of Senate obstruction, the Abbott Government has so far only presented a handful of Budget bills to the Senate.

Here’s the rundown on the current situation:
•   Appropriation Bills have passed the Senate.  We will never do what the Coalition did in 1975.
•   Scrapping the Schoolkids Bonus and the Low Income Superannuation Contribution. The Government sought to scrap Labor’s Schoolkids Bonus and Low Income Superannuation Contribution as part of its bill to repeal the Minerals Resources Rent Tax. Labor voted against this bill in the Senate and it was defeated in March.
•   Deficit reduction levy. This increases the top tax rate for people earning more than $180,000 a year. While it represents a broken promise, Labor did not oppose this measure in the Senate because it is targeted at those on very high incomes. The legislation has now passed Parliament.
•   GP and Medicines Taxes. Labor will vote against the new taxes of $7 per GP visit and $5 per chemist prescription when legislation comes into the Parliament.
•   Increasing university fees and student debt. Labor will vote against these measures.
•   Cutting indexation of pensions. We will vote against these cuts when legislation is brought into the Parliament.
•   Increasing petrol taxes. Labor will vote against the Government’s plans to increase fuel excises because of the cost of living impact on low and middle-income earners.

Well, that’s that job jobbed…

In the last three weeks I’ve handed out How to Vote cards (HTV) six times.
I’ve had three overt Liberal supporters be blatantly rude to both myself and the Greens volunteer standing the requisite six metres from the polling booth door.
One of the Liberal volunteers got a little hysterical when I wouldn’t back away from quoting facts about Mr Abbott’s record compared to the “BISONS” that the previous government achieved. I’m getting too old to be intimidated by people who think shouting can substitute for reason.

Yesterday it was picked up by the local online and broadcast MSM that Joe Bullock, who was placed ahead of Louise Pratt on the ALP ticket due to ‘it being his turn’ or some such factional flummery, had once been a playmate of Mr Abbott and encouraged him into taking over the Young Liberals at Sydney Uni as they were an easier pushover than Young Labor at the time.
It has long been known that Mr Bullock is a dreadful old dinosaur when it comes to things like abortion, homosexuality and equal marriage, but he has also spent many years working for the Shop Workers Union and standing up for workers conditions generally. So why does it matter that, as a youth, he was not a “Labor man”? He has worked for “Labor” and labour ever since! I would suggest that he has had a far more positive result on working conditions and income of retail workers for whom he was responsible than some who came from a similar background!

Mind you, the timing of the ‘discovery’ that Mr Bullock is a “dinosaur” I find most intriguing, as it suggest that the Liberal strategists may be concerned that they won’t get their senatorial rubber stamp.

I have heard some grumbles about ‘wasting $20million’ on this ‘by-election’ process because the AEC stuffed up – and the stuff up in Merriwa hasn’t helped either. Reports today about boxes splitting will not assist in repairing the reputation of the AEC. But the booth I attended was well regulated and the boxes were exchanged well before they got full. My impression is that the AEC staff are really trying hard to ‘get it perfect’ to restore their reputations.

There is also some confusion as to why some of the micro parties are not fielding WA based candidates, and a lot of people are confused about the whole micro-party preference deal thing that has been highlighted in the last few weeks. I think there could be a lot of support for finding a way to clear both those points up in the near future. There is also a deal of resentment about some of the micro-parties putting up candidates who reside out of Western Australia and have admitted that if they were elected, would not even move to the state they represent. That I find both disrespectful to the people they would be representing, and arrogantly rude. Not something that is desirable in someone whom I am employing to represent me!

In the main, I would suggest that most West Australians are well and truly ‘over it’ with regards to politics, muttering frequently about ‘a pox on both their houses’. The more experienced volunteers I spoke to on the pre-polling booth did comment that there seemed to be more people using the pre-poll option this time though. However, attendance at the actual booth (in a quite Liberal area) was quite steady all day. I asked the AEC Booth Officer as I was picking things up after the poll closed, if he thought that the turn out had been lower than expected. He responded that he thought that turn-out on the day may have been slightly down, but there were already a large number of postal votes and pre-polled votes ready to be counted next week, so was reasonably sure that it might be better than expected.

We will most likely get two Liberals and at least one Labour returned. Scott Ludlam may get re-elected, but I fear that WA feels quite beholden to the mining companies, so may well vote more Liberals up, or Liberal leaning candidates at least. I’m just hoping that Ms Pratt and Mr Ludlam get re-elected so that there is a need for Mr Abbott to learn how to negotiate!

I voted today, and then stood outside my local polling station with HTV cards, hopefully encouraging some voters to vote at least below the line so it is all their own preferences. After pressing ‘publish’ I shall be retiring to the couch with a nice cup of tea and some excellent chocolate. Because now we have to wait for all those ballots to be counted.

And for the record: Yes, I volunteered for the ALP.

Slave trade capitalism and the new Republican Party

Slave trade capitalism and the new Republican Party.

More elegantly put than I had been contemplating. I find it confirming of the thought that the current crop of “wealthy folk” who wish to reduce the opportunities for everyone a) do not realise that ideas are like fertiliser and that the more you have the more there are, and b) if ‘poor people’ can’t buy stuff, then ‘rich people’ can’t sell nearly as much stuff as they currently do so they won’t be as ‘rich’ as they might otherwise become!