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Tuesday, 19 September

22:00

Day to Day Politics: The polls tighten but not enough "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Wednesday 20 September 1 This weeks Guardian Essential Poll tightened up a little with Labor leading the Coalition 52/48. However, if that was consistent across the country then it would still be a big win for Labor. Public support for marriage equality has dropped 4% in a fortnight and opposition is up 3%, according to

The post Day to Day Politics: The polls tighten but not enough appeared first on The AIM Network.

21:30

3MAP: ideas for improving Australian aid "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

3MAP: the Three-Minute Aid Pitch will take place for the second time at the fifth annual Australasian Aid Conference (AAC) on February 13 and 14, 2018, following its great success at the 2017 AAC.

3MAP was first introduced at the 2017 AAC, and is an interactive plenary session to discuss ideas for improving Australian aid. Speakers will present and discuss their proposals for no more than 3 minutes each, followed by rapid-fire audience reaction, and a vote. For a taste of what 3MAP is like, check out the video from the 2017 AAC here.

Were looking for keen minds with a great idea for improving Australian aid and international development policy. If this is you and youre interested in promoting your idea, this is an opportunity to present your idea to an audience of researchers and practitioners from around Australia and the region. Please submit a short paragraph outlining your pitch to devpolicy@anu.edu.au (with 3MAP in the subject line) no later than Friday December 8. The authors of the top 10 most promising submissions will be invited to pitch their ideas at the 2018 AAC.

(Please note that if you are selected, your registration fee will be waived, but you will be required to register for and attend the conference; registration details can be found here.)

The post 3MAP: ideas for improving Australian aid appeared first on Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre.

17:55

J.K Rowling Tweet Didnt Age Well, As Piers Morgan Points Out "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Chilling new CCTV footage appears to show the London tube bomber just moments before Friday's devastating attack. @michaelbesty #9News pic.twitter.com/zZXhVeZq8Y Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) September 18, 2017 Both suspects were refugees; one from Iraq the other from Syria.

16:57

Donald Trumps speech to the UN "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Starts 45 minutes in. You can either watch it yourself or let his enemies interpret it for you. As good as any speech of its kind you have ever heard, and it holds its strength right to the end. From Drudge:

 

16:16

"You're an absolute disgrace" Coalition and One Nation senators "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie on the floor of the Australian Senate, 14 September 2017.

Senate Hansard,  12 September 2017:
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (13:56): The government wants One Nation support for this package so badly that it has agreed to invite a razor gang into the books of the ABC. And it wants Nick Xenophon's support for the package so badly that it has agreed not to embarrass him into being forced to vote in support of One Nation's proposal. But make no mistake, voting for this bill means voting for One Nation's deal. I know that, One Nation knows that and you can bet your last dollar that Nick Xenophon and his team know that, too. As for what the details are, we still don't know. The government won't tell us and they won't tell us. All we know is that it commits the government to review the ABC and ask if it is reducing the profitability of its commercial rivals. Guess what? The job of the ABC isn't to make money for its commercial rivals. Its job is to guarantee all Australians have access to news, programming and information that affects their lives, no matter where they live or how wealthy they are. The deal the government has made isn't designed to improve the ABC; it is designed to defund it. It's a deal to set up a rigged kangaroo court that is de...

16:15

Australian society in 2017: national gaol population hits record high "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"



Australias jail population has hit a record high of more than 41,200 prisoners, as a 20-year surge in incarceration rates shows no sign of waning.

The daily average of full-time prisoners in custody rose 7% to 41,204 over the year to the June quarter, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

That represented a 133% leap in prisoner numbers since the June quarter of 1997, meaning the national jail population grew at more than four times the rate of the overall population over the last two decades.

The cost of running prisons in Australia is likely to have hit around $3bn a year, based on Productivity Commission figures.

Inmates on remand awaiting court sentences (11%) and women (10%) were the fastest-growing groups of prisoners over the last year.

Indigenous prisoner numbers rose 7% in line with the overall increase but they remain grossly overrepresented in jail, making up 2% of the general population but 28% of the prison population.

According to the ABS ...

15:00

A further note on Avi Yeminis fascist and neo-Nazi friends "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Yeah well anyway, I thought I might just note in passing some of Avi Yeminis fanbase among the extreme-right. To begin with, unhappy with the media reportage of his hate rally on Sunday, Avi instead recommends everybody read the report Continue reading

14:12

The same-sex survey is not anonymous "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

We have just received our survey form and on the ballot itself there is a bar code and the bar code is different for my wifes ballot and mine. So far as I can tell, how I vote will be known to someone at the ABS, and perhaps to many many others. The accompanying letter does not give me confidence:

Your response is confidential, by law. It cannot be connected to you. The ABS will destroy all information after the survey is collected.

My assumption was that I would get two envelopes, the first to put my absolutely untraceable ballot into, and then the second to put the first envelope into that I would mail off. That way, my ballot would arrive at the ABS, someone would check on the first envelope that I am a registered voter and, having done so, put the second envelope unopened into the pile with all the other ballots. It is these second envelopes that would be opened and my vote counted only then. That way, no one could possibly know how I voted, either before, during or after.

This way, I cannot tell who will know how I voted nor how that information might be used.

13:33

Programming languages and publicly available source code at BOM "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Follow up sent to Bureau of Meteorology by Fraser Tweedale on September 19, 2017.
Partially successful.
Thank you for your efforts in discharging the essence of my request to the extent possible. I withdraw my formal request. Yours sincerely, Fras...

12:21

Is there a bigger pack of fools anywhere on the planet? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

And here I am referring to virtually the whole of the entertainment industry.

Televisions glittering Emmys placed politics front and center on Sunday, lavishing The Handmaids Tale with awards for its bleak portrait of an authoritarian America.

The glitzy ceremony in downtown Los Angeles the first under the administration of President Donald Trump was widely expected to have a strongly political flavor, and host Stephen Colbert set the tone in his opening monologue.

However you feel about the president, and you do feel about the president, you cant deny that every show was influenced by Donald Trump in some way, he said.

All the late night shows, obviously, House of Cards, the new season of American Horror Story.'

Hulus The Handmaids Tale and HBO miniseries Big Little Lies were the big winners, with five statuettes each.

Big Little Lies cast members Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgard all took home Emmys, along with director Jean-Marc Vallee. It also won outstanding limited series.

The Handmaids Tale, Hulus acclaimed series based on the 1985 novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, won awards for writing and directing as well as the biggest prize of the night outstanding drama series.

Ann Dowd, picking up her first Emmy at age 61 for her portrayal of brutal instructor Aunt Lydia, spoke of how her award was a dream while outstanding lead actress Elisabeth Moss turned the air blue with an expletive-strewn acceptance speech.

That was the clean version, Moss joked backstage after the show, describing the opportunity

I was just trying to remember everybody, and you do have a weird out of body experience.

Atwood, 77, said One takeaway would be never believe it can never happen here which was one of the premises that I used for the book. And, as Ive often said, nothing went into the book that people hadnt done.

As it happens, I read The Handmaids Tale when it came out and was astonished by how moronic it was. I used to read everything she wrote since we are almost of the same generation, both from Toronto and we used to catch up occasionally when we were living in Vancouver back in my hippy day in the 70s. If you liked the book and then the show, you are now officially classified as dull witted, stupid, and fantastically ignorant of everything that matters. It was, in fact, the last thing of hers I ever read so have been free of her idiocies for more than two decades. How do people take such things seriously?

10:39

A rare outbreak of unanimity on PFI "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Im doing some work on privatisation and wanted to look at recent UK experience with the Private Finance Initiative. So, I Googled for PFI in the last year (as Google personalizes searches, your mileage may vary). The result is a surprising degree of unanimity. Across the political spectrum, there is agreement that

* PFI is a disaster, enriching private firms at the expense of the public
* The other side is (mostly) to blame

Excluding some references to an Indian political group and some data sources, the top hits are, in order:

PFI is bankrupting Britain (Guardian)

Private firms poised to make another 1bn(Guardian)

Hundreds of schools held hostage over PFI contracts (Telegraph)

Costly legacy of Labours PFI shambles (Daily Mail)

Tories accused of double standards for promoting PFI (Financial Times)

NHS leaking millions in PFI contracts (BBC)

08:41

Same to you mate! "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

With certain publications, you know what you are getting.  You usually know well before you read them.  There are seldom surprises with the ideas or the agenda.  That does not mean that they should not be read.  It also does not mean that what is written is always right or always wrong or not funny.  Think the Sydney Morning Herald.  Think the Guardian.

Think also Front Page magazine which describes itself as a Project of the David Horowitz Freedom Centre:

The David Horowitz Freedom Center is best seen as a School of Political Warfare. The Centers mission is to defend free societies which are under attack from enemies within and without, both secular and religious. The Centers focus and the Schools curriculum have two agendas:

1. Identify the enemy and understand his nature
2. Devise ways to attack and neutralize him

Writing last week on Hillary Clintons new book, What Happened, David Greenfield wrote some classics:

Three creatures on earth are impossible to get rid of: lice, cockroaches and Clintons.

and

But while Democrats wish Hillary Clinton would go away, she embodies todays left better than anyone.  Hillary was Americas First Crybully: the malicious professional victim, the abuser who claims to be the abused, the black nationalist thug throwing cinderblocks at police while shrieking, Hands up, dont shoot and the leftist campus protesters screaming how afraid they are while they terrorize speakers.

If I could do only one thing in my remaining days, I would correct Greenfield.  Four creatures on earth are impossible to get rid of: lice, cockroaches, Clintons and that irritating fellow from Queensland who now lives in New York.

The same to you mate!  Shake your own sauce bottle!

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd adjusts his glases as he speaks to...

06:33

Kangaroo or Obama Court "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

I dont know the origins of the term Kangaroo Court, but I certainly know what it means.  But for the avoidance of doubt, according to Wikipedia, a Kangaroo Court is a:

judicial tribunal or assembly that ignores recognized standards of law or justice, and often carries little or no official standing in the territory within which it resides.

Perhaps the time has come to update Wikipedia and various dictionaries for the evolution of language and custom.  Perhaps it is time to update the term Kangaroo Court to Obama Court in recognition of the damage to law and justice perpetrated by the Obama Administration through its April 2011 Dear Colleague letter to American universities.

Using its financial leverage with US universities, the US government encouraged the establishment of sexual assault tribunals where guilt was determined on a preponderance of evidence (50% plus a feather).  But these tribunals went beyond this.  In many cases:

  • the accused were not permitted to see expert reports;
  • the accused were not allowed to confront their accuser; and
  • the accused were not allowed representations.

under the threat of losing federal funds, many did even more than what was required. Some schools chose not to give accused students the complaint against them, notice of the factual basis of charges, the evidence gathered, or the identities of witnesses. Some barred counsel from attending hearings or disallowed counsel from speaking at hearings. Some prohibited the accused from asking questions of the accuser or witnesses, even through intermediaries; often the accuser participated in hearings behind a partition so that she would not see or be seen by the accused. Even when found responsible for sexual misconduct, the accused was sometimes not allowed to have a copy of the investigative report.

Accusers were also sometimes permitted to appeal not guilty findings.  So much for double jeopardy.  But hey.  Justice eh.

It should also be remembered that the accused and their accusers were generally aged 18-22; many of whom were not able to legally purchase alcohol in many of the states in which they resided.

But why all of this?  The Dear Colleague letter was sent in response to claims of extensive sexual assaults on...

06:02

How WINZ got social housing costs so wrong "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Last year, National bowed to public pressure over homelessness and replaced emergency housing loans - under which the homeless were saddled with odious debt to be put up in price-gouging motels - with a grant. Their initial budget for these grants was a mere $2 million, but demand was so high that they burned through that in the first month. Currently, WINZ is on track to spend $50 million on these grants, 2500% of their budget. So how did they get it so wrong? Someone used FYI, the public OIA request site, to ask. The result is a depressing insight into the paucity of WINZ's thinking on the issue.

WINZ released 9 MB of documents, but the money quote is buried at the back:

The cost of the SNG has been estimated on the basis of supporting 750 single people and 1,250 families at 7 days each at the maximum SNG rate. Once implemented, the SNG will be demand-driven but an estimate of expected cost still needs to be provided as this is a policy change

So, 2,000 grants at $1,000 each. According to the cover letter, the number of grants was estimated from the number of households with "insecure housing" on WINZ's (severely restricted) social housing register (~800 - 950), and the number of households listed in the 2013 census as lacking habitable accommodation (4,200). In other words, they deliberately estimated that only 40% of those eligible would be given a grant - either because they wouldn't apply, or because WINZ would unlawfully refuse it. They also assumed that families would be given such a grant for only 7 days, after which they would miraculously find an affordable home to live in.

The reality, according to MSD's Social Housing Report, is a little different: MSD gave out 11,446 grants totalling $12.6 million to 3,108 individual clients in the March quarter alone. The average grant wasn't just higher - $1,100 instead of $1,000 - but there were significantly more of them. Partly this is because there were more clients, but the biggest factor is that each client received almost a month of support rather than the expected week. And price-gouging by the motels WINZ was hiring didn't exactly help either.

In retrospect, this should have been obvious to WINZ. People don't just find an affordable home in a week, and given that...

06:00

The sound of silence: Vale Hamed "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

By Kyran ODwyer Every so often, something catches your eye and prompts you to look a little deeper. After you see, you find you cannot un-see. After you hear, you find you cannot un-hear. When the sound of silence is disturbed it is, at best, disturbing. Hello darkness, my old friend Ive come to talk

The post The sound of silence: Vale Hamed appeared first on The AIM Network.

05:37

The result is in the mail "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

We got our equal marriage survey forms in the mail yesterday, and posted them back today. From what Ive seen, about half the forms were delivered last week and nearly all will be done by Friday. And I imagine, most people will either respond straight away or not at all. So, it was kind of strange to see the official campaigns being launched at the weekend, rather as if an ordinary election campaign started at lunchtime on election day*.

On the other hand, the results wont be announced until November, and the ABS is working hard to prevent any release of partial information. Thats if the votes were kept under lock and key on election night and not counted until the last postals and absentees had come in.

* For byzantine funding reasons, the major parties now leave their election launch until the week before election day, when quite a few people have already voted. But this is taking it a step further.

05:01

Correspondence with Rowan Ramsay MP (2014-present) "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Follow up sent to Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation by Dan Monceaux on September 19, 2017.
Successful.
I am writing to express my thanks for your timely fulfillment of my recent FoI request. I also appreciate your decision to release these documents w...

05:00

In which the pond gets out the taxpayer subsidy and the baseball bat because it's Caterist day ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"



The reptiles have been out and about this day with a story which has been described as a complete fabrication, or a tremendous beat-up, but the pond shares the reptile anger and indignation. The sooner we stop foreign businessmen playing footsies with Saudi princes the better ...

There's simply too much of it that's gone down to be easily forgiven ...


Shocking, enough already.

Meanwhile, the outrageously alarmist Climate Council has been out and about banging their hysterical warmist drum, proposing that things got a little warmer last winter, as can be read at the Graudian's Australia's record-breaking winter beats average highs by 2C, Climate Council says ...

Naturally the Fairfaxians and the cardigan-wearers at the ABC have also picked it up ...

...

04:58

Climate change: This is going to cost us "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

For the past six months, National have been suppressing Ministry for the Environment guidance on coastal hazards, which show that sea level rise and the resulting storm surges threaten $19 billion of coastal property. This government malfeasance isn't just bad froma transparency point of view - it has real consequences. Consequences like this:

The Thames-Coromandel District Council recently gave its consent to a 72 lot extension of the Whitianga Waterways canal housing project, and relied on a least drama IPCC projection for sea level rise of 1.06 m out to 2120. That 1m projection complies with nine-year-old 2008 Ministry for the Environment guidelines. But was this good resource and risk management practice? If the Council had instead taken account of high-impact but relatively low-probability projections, as has been proposed by the latest 2017 Draft Ministry guidelines and other 2017 reports from the USA, it would have been forced to conclude that both the subdivision itself and most of Whitianga township will be submerged by rising seas.

Instead, people are going to build houses there, and those houses are going to be underwater in 80 years. And long before then, the council will be forced to redzone them, and the owners will sue the council for deliberately and knowingly consenting them when they shouldn't have. Whoever ends up carrying the can, it is going to be hugely expensive, and hugely wasteful, not to mention ruining people's lives. And all because some property developer wanted to to find a greater fool to realise their asset before it became valueless, and the council was too stupid or too corrupt to say "no".

When that happens, we should send the bill to Paula Bennett, whose suppression of bad news has allowed this decision to be made.

04:16

Labor, the Greens and the Neo-Plutocrats "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

In the latest issue of National Review, Reihan Salam writes about the changes within the US Democratic Party.  The very first paragraph caught my eye.  So much so that it is repeated below with 1 very important change.  The reference to the Democrat party is replaced by the Labor Party:

The Labor party faces a dilemma. Since its inception, the party has defined itself as the champion of the little guy and a bulwark against plutocracy. Over the past few years, however, a funny thing has happened: The plutocrats have been joining the party en masse, and theyre changing it in the process.

The above would read similar if the Labor party was replaced with the Australian Greens.

But through this lens, consider the Labor Partys headline positions on immigration (increase), mining (end), electricity (make more expensive) and manufacturing (suffocate).  Now consider whether the current Labor Partys policies align to the interests of Labors earlier constituents blue collar workers from mining, manufacturing and services.

Perhaps the plutocracy has not entirely captured the Labor Party, yet, but the inner city academia, public service and expert class wield significant influence.  It is these people, for whom government is a source of income and livelihood and not a framework for organising and ordering society, that are now running the show.

If plutocracy is defined as:

a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens;

then perhaps the neo-plutocracy should be defined as:

a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of politically connected and influential citizens.

For these neo-plutocrats, it is very easy to demand greater taxes to pay for greater and more expensive services because these people disproportionately benefit.  They often provide the public services and so are quite happy to be paid more to provide the same.  For these neo-plutocrats, they see no problem seeking to ban political donations from property developers by are quite comfortable to allow and enhance political donations from public sector unions.

These neo-plutocrats have also redefined what being rich is so the the rich can be taxed more; to pay their fair share.  But the rich arent the ones earning $180,000 per annum struggling to pay rent or a mortgage.  The rich are the ones who own th...

03:55

Suffrage Day "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Kate_Sheppard

Today, September 19th, is Suffrage Day. 124 years ago today, women gained the right to vote in New Zealand. Its one of our greatest achievements as a nation, and yet its not one we publicly mark. That needs to change: Suffrage Day should be a public holiday. Its certainly better than celebrating a dead religion, a foreign monarchy, or their odious wars.

This year, Suffrage Day has fallen in the middle of an election campaign, so its a particularly appropriate day to advance vote. If you're not sure where to do that, just select your electorate from the list here.

03:12

Turnbulls postal opinion poll: a vicious, bullying farce. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

  Its rather difficult to empathise with the marriage equality No crowds insistence that they are being bullied by the Yes side, given that the postal opinion poll on the issue is, in itself, one of the most outstanding examples of government and social bullying that weve seen in quite some time. Subjecting groups to

The post Turnbulls postal opinion poll: a vicious, bullying farce. appeared first on The AIM Network.

02:28

Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to return to persecution:

Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya refugees who agree to return to Myanmar, a country that has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority.

Asylum seekers in the Australian-run detention centre on Papua New Guineas Manus Island, have been pressured by officials to return to their home countries, even if they face violence.

[...]

Returning Rohingya to their country could put their lives at risk. Myanmar does not recognise the ethnic minority and has conducted military operations in Rohingya villages that the United Nations top human rights official branded a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

Close to 400,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, many with bullet wounds and stories of mass killings, as their villages burn.


This is simply monstrous. But its the ultimate endpoint of Australia's racist, anti-refugee policies: sending people back to be murdered. And the parallels with the shameful treatment of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany - treatment which the Refugee Convention was created to prevent any repeat of - couldn't be any clearer.

02:05

Turnbulls postal opinion poll: a vicious, bullying farce. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Its rather difficult to empathise with the marriage equality No crowds insistence that they are being bullied by the Yes side, given that the postal opinion poll on the issue is, in itself, one of the most outstanding examples of government and social bullying that weve seen in quite some time. The bullying is []

01:51

National's New Zealand "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The latest manifestation of National's social deficit? Malnourished kids:

Malnutrition is putting twice as many kids in hospital compared with 10 years ago, as food prices continue to bite into household incomes.

Child hospitalisation data shows around 120 children a year now have overnight stays due to nutritional deficiencies and anaemia, compared to an average 60 a decade ago.

Doctors say poor nutrition is also a factor in a significant proportion of the rest of the 40,000 annual child hospitalisations linked to poverty - and that vitamin deficiencies are more common in New Zealand compared to similar countries.

"Housing, stress and nutrition - it's all tied together," said pediatrician Dr Nikki Turner, from the Child Poverty Action Group. "If you want to eat nutritiously on a low-income it's difficult, and that means you're more likely to get sick and stay sick for longer."


National has allowed a housing bubble to grow while neglecting poverty and homelessness. And this is the result. And its not simply indecent - it will also cost us later in health, education, and reduced life chances for these children. But I guess National's "answer" to that would simply be to build another road...

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Monday, 18 September

23:51

In which the pond springs to attention for Moorice ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


The reptiles have been in fine form of late, seizing on any passing ethnic to help spread FUD, presumably on the basis that leftists are sensitive to ethnicity and no-one would dare call out a bunch of barking mad fundamentalist Xians when they discover they're Chinese ... except that a few stories down, the reptiles shot this notion in the foot ...


Sorry, Chinese Xians good, nationalist Chinese bad ...

Meanwhile, the Oz editorialist seems to have been at a loss for words ...


For want of a better word? 

How about "many Australians have already expressed an opinion - in a totally useless and very expensive survey - by filling out forms, at least when they haven't been scattered to the wind by the postie or the local hound ..."

Sheesh, and there was the pond thinking you needed to swallow a dictionary to be an Oz editorialist.

Meanwhile, the Terrorists seem to have adopted the same strategy sensitivity with the Islamics embarking on a jihad ... crusade if y...

23:41

Were all Democrats now "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Who would have thought? Donald Trump is fickle, he is repudiating the policies he took to the election and is embracing high immigration, no wall, signing on to the Paris accord and keeping Obama care. He is more Democratic than Obama. Even Ann Coulter who wrote In Trump We Trust now wants him impeached. Dont say you werent warned. Trump always had leftist leanings and disguised that during the campaign and attracted his Useful Idiots from the right to help him across the line (since he wouldnt have been able to take the Democratic nomination from Hillary). Now we are in a ride for big government and crony capitalism writ large.

22:03

Day to Day Politics: Dont go right, dont go left; go deeper. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Tuesday 19 September 2017 Have you ever given thought to the state of our politics and what you would like to replace it with given you are deeply dissatisfied? I have, and I always come up with the words common good. I imagine what a common good society might look like. I include those things

The post Day to Day Politics: Dont go right, dont go left; go deeper. appeared first on The AIM Network.

22:00

Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

On our Australian doorstep is an amazing place, Papua New Guinea. Seven of us were there for the month of August, exploring a remote region of islands and atolls in the Massim district of Milne Bay Province by boat, visiting places most people would not think of seeing.

The incredible opportunity we experienced was matched with a grateful appreciation and response form the communities we meet at each of the 30 islands we stopped at. There was mutual respect. We werent there just as tourists, we were interested in their culture and in particular their many different, traditional types of single outrigger canoe. They responded with information, introduced elders who talked of the past, let us look over the craft in detail and even took us sailing.

Harry Beran discussing traditional canoes at Wabanum village, Muyuw (Woodlark) Island (image: John Greenshields)

Harry Beran discussing traditional canoes at Wabanum village, Muyuw (Woodlark) Island

As Australians we were warmly received everywhere. Australia was the PNG administrator for decades and has left many good things in place. The Australian influence was there in diverse ways, including an inspired wooden Hills Hoist and outdoor bench setting at Boagis village, way out at the extreme end of PNG territory.

16:15

Independent Investigation into NSW Water Management and Compliance - interim report concerning theft and corruption allegations published 8 September 2017 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


It took a public airing of the issues by ABC TV Four Corners in its Pumped: Who is benefitting from the billions spent on the Murray-Darling? program on 24 July 2017 to force the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Australian National Audit Office, Commonwealth Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption and the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government into investigative action.
The NSW Government has now published its initial 78-page report into allegations of theft and corruption in the management of water resources in the MurrayDarling Basin.


On 11 September 2017, Ken Matthews issued a statement regarding the delivery of his Independent Investigation into NSW Water Management and Compliance. The focus of his interim report was to assess whether the department's policies, procedures and actions were appropriate, to recommend whether further actions should be undertaken, and to identify opportunities to improve the departments future compliance and enforcement performance.

16:02

INVESTIGATION: The mystery of the mayors and the phoenix with four names "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

INVESTIGATION: The mystery of the mayors and the phoenix with four namesWhy did Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate sell property out from under former Albury Mayor Amanda Duncan-Strelec to a bankrupt friend registered under four different names in ASIC. read now...

16:01

EXCLUSIVE: Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and the man with four names "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

EXCLUSIVE: Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and the man with four namesIn the spotlight for all the wrong reasons after Four Corners last night, things get worse for Tom Tate as IA releases the first part in a comprehensive new investigation into the 'unorthodox' activities of the Gold Coast Mayor. read now...

14:14

Editorial The LGTBI Waffen Never Sleeps "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Is it just me, or do you get the feeling that were being followed by the LGTBI lobby and its

11:00

How the West was Lost "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

We have to remark on what identifies the evidence of a great empire or a remarkable civilisation and when we do cite such evidence, we invariably point to the ruins of great works, great architecture, great civic constructions. In short, all those incontrovertible examples of material achievement. And sure, such civic constructs are

The post How the West was Lost appeared first on The AIM Network.

09:57

Nothing new under the sun "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

On the tidal wave unleashed in the Reformation after Martin Luther challenged the authority of the Catholic church. Described by Roger Kimball in a review of Jacques Barzuns book Dawn to Decadence.

And what a tidal wave:
Manners are flouted and customs broken. Foul language and direct insult become normal, in keeping with the rest of the excitement buildings defaced, images destroyed, shops looted. Printed sheets pass from hand to hand and are read with delight or outrage Listen to this! Angry debates multiply about things long since settled: talk of free love, of priests marrying and monks breaking their vows, of property and wives in common, of sweeping out all evils, all corruption, all at onceall things for a new and blissful life on earth .
Voices grow shrill, parties form and adopt names or are tagged with them in derision and contempt. Again and again comes the shock of broken friendships, broken families. As time goes on, betraying the cause is an incessant charge, and there are indeed turncoats.

08:58

Monday Message Board "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

07:10

Unwinding the renewable energy scam "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

I have an article in the online Spectator which addresses measures in place to correct the economic fall out now manifestly evident from green energy policies.

Escaping the renewable energy subsidy trap

It concludes

Whatever the fall-out one thing is certain: no politician will ever be called into account for retailing the now discredited renewable energy nirvana. Thats just the way things are.

The wasted expenditure involved in renewable subsidies can never be recouped; it represents a permanent and irretrievable reduction in national wealth and living standards.

Above all, in transforming the worlds most competitive electricity supply industry into one of the worlds most expensive systems it has brought about a deindustrialisation that will have a lasting effect.

06:03

Right wing think tank experts with no teaching experience dictate Coalition education policy "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

It was with absolute horror that I read today of a supposed expert report recommending that Year 1 students face standardised testing in numeracy and literacy. Education Minister Simon Birmingham released a report by an expert advisory panel on Monday, led by Jennifer Buckingham, which recommends a national literacy and numeracy check for year 1

The post Right wing think tank experts with no teaching experience dictate Coalition education policy appeared first on The AIM Network.

06:01

The Genuine Article in Australian Politics "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

He was there with his entourage, a face unmoved bar the occasional muscle flex. Theres Malcolm Turnbull! exclaimed drinking companions at the Curtin on Melbournes famed Lygon Street, the artery of culinary matters Italian. It wasnt: Bill Shorten, the leader of the Australian Labor Party and contender for the Prime Ministership of Australia, was nursing

The post The Genuine Article in Australian Politics appeared first on The AIM Network.

05:47

Its going to be a short election night "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Advance voting has really taken off this year, with enormous numbers exercising their right to vote early, parties campaigning specifically for advance votes, and queues at some advance polling booths. As of Sunday, 445,000 people had advance voted - more than did so in the whole 2011 election. The number of advance votes look like it will easily surpass the 2014 election as well - but by how many?

Looking at the Electoral Commission's graphs, there's a rough pattern. In 2011, roughly 70,000 people had advance voted a week out from the election, versus a final tally of 334,000. In 2014, the week out number was 179,000 versus a final tally of 717,000. So, the final number is somewhere between 4 and 5 times the week out figure. Applying the lower estimate to Friday's tally of 312,000 gives an estimate of roughly 1.25 million advance votes - or about half the total expected to be cast. And it could be even higher.

Those votes are counted early, starting on election afternoon, and announced shortly after the polls close on election night. Which means that from pretty much the moment the election specials start, we're going to already know the rough shape of the result, and have an idea which of the rival polling houses' models is correct. And with fewer votes to count, the rest of the results should be counted much quicker, giving us a final result much earlier. In other words, unless something goes catastrophically wrong somewhere, it is going to be a very short election night.

05:27

Direct Action Re-Considered: An Appeal for Left Unity "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Denis Bright invites more evaluation of the positive roles played by direct action in the progressive political movement. Are contemporary and now more diverse direct action campaigns carrying the baton from an earlier generation as proposed creative pictorial mosaic from The Westender Online?  In this personal perspective, let me raise the possibilities of greater Left

The post Direct Action Re-Considered: An Appeal for Left Unity appeared first on The AIM Network.

05:00

In which the pond celebrates the exceptional climate science skills of that masterly Order of Lenin sleuth, the Major Mitchell ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


While it's well-known that Major Mitchell is Australia's foremost Order of Lenin hunter - he can find them when others just shrug and give up - it's a less celebrated fact that he's one of the world's greatest climate scientists.

Perhaps it's his innate, unassuming modesty. Perhaps it's because the lizard Oz is full of great climate scientists, with many of them making remarkable contributions to the science, with the immortal Moorice at the head of the pack. Devotees of the reptiles will know that Moorice's calm, studied analyses have befuddled the hysterics and led to all sorts of alarmist headlines ...


(Here).

The pond realises that some will stake a claim for the immense significance of the Bolter's field work. No banal desk work for him - the Bolter has gone from the Arctic to the Antarctic to the Siberian fields of *methane to the melting glaciers of Greenland to discover definitive evidence that this tommy rot climate hysteria must stop ...

The Bolt...

04:05

The Master of the Game "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

by DAVID LEPI

Behind this charming and unfailing gracious persona lies a shrewd and unflinching calculative mind. A mind of a brilliant and accomplished political tactician the country has ever seen.

Peter Parre ONeill is the maker and breaker of political parties, a mover and a shaker of political will and even those whims of titanium craftily engineered by the seasoned and well-placed hands that many thought wouldnt stand the test of the boy from Ialibu/Pangias political ingenuity.

Born to Brian O'Neill, an Australian-born magistrate of partial Irish descent and local mother Awambo Yari, from Pangia Southern Highlands. In Parres veins run 'Kamari'- the blood of those destined for higher callings. O'Neill was educated at the Pangia Primary School, Ialibu High School, and Goroka High School. After leaving the school he was educated at the University of Papua New Guinea, graduating with a Bachelor of Accountancy and Commerce in 1986.

ONiell's tentacles are everywhere, woven into the woof and warp of every corridor of power. He speaks several languages fluently even his local vernacular, Imbonggu and Wiru with the perfection of a local raconteur. He is a charismatic man, with a brilliantly incisive mind and has a swarthy complexion. He has the face of a hawk, a predator.

When he chose to take the trouble, O'Neill can be extremely charming. He enjoys the challenge of figuring out what it is that people are really after, for it is rarely what it appeared to be. His analytical mind is always skeptical of surface truth, and as a consequence, he believes in nothing he is told and trusts no one. His motto is "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."

If our Grand Chief Sir Michael is the father of our nation, Peter O'Neill is the epitome of Papua New Guineas modern-day politics. He perfected an imperfect system to continue a colorful reign. And now he is rightly on a path to re-write the countrys history as the longest serving Prime Minister.

He had already pulled through some of the smartest political coups, government formations and events of national and international grandeur with the ingenuity, grace, and ease that always make it look so simple like a childs play. This is the master at work. He just smashed the countrys oldest political party and made mincemeat out of it to state his governments crave for stability and long tenure....

02:39

Too many cows "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Waikato's dairy farmers - the dirtiest in the country - are protesting in Morrinsville today to defend their "right" to keep pumping their shit into our rivers and their piss into our wells. Meanwhile, to get an idea of how obscene this is, farmers are just 1% of the population. They produce 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. And their cows use as much water as 60 million people:

Dairy farms in New Zealand use water equivalent to the combined populations of London, New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Rio de Janeiro, experts say.

[...]

Fraser and Dewes, using Dairy NZ figures, said there were 12,000 dairy herds in New Zealand consuming 4.8b cubic metres of water.

An average person - based on figures from Wellington, although water use varies nationwide - uses around 80 cubic metres of water, meaning dairy farms alone use the equivalent of around 58.2 million people.

Almost all of the water is used by about 2000 farms, primarily in dry areas such as Canterbury and Otago.


And that's why our rivers are so dirty: because we have the equivalent of five global megalopolises sucking them dry, and spewing their shit back, untreated. And this massively disproportionate use of environmental resources is done by and for the benefit of a tiny clique of rural landowners, while fucking up and threatening the lives of the rest of us.

This has to stop. The number of cows has to decrease, and their water use needs to be reduced to a sustainable level. People running dairy farms in areas of the country like Canterbury where its just not environmentally sustainable need to switch to farming something else. Part of the solution to that is to cut the environmental subsidy and make farmers pay for their profiteering from a public resource. But as we've seen with the ETS, market mechanisms alone are insufficient. Ultimately, we need to regulate unsustainable dairying out of existence. And those persist in illegally pumping shit into our environment need to start going to jail for it.

01:00

Institutional Cryptoeconomics: A New Model for a New Century "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

While cryptoeconomics is already a vibrant research field, the study of the blockchain must not be left solely to computer scientists and game theorists.

The rollout of blockchain technology raises complex questions in economics, public policy, law, sociology and political economy. What we call institutional cryptoeconomics starts from a simple premise the blockchain is not just a new general purpose technology, it is a new institutional technology.

This may sound like a pedantic distinction, but the difference between these two conceptions is profound. General purpose technologies allow us to do what we already do better, faster and cheaper. Economists understand general purpose technologies (like steam power or the semi-conductor) as great engines of economic growth.

There is no doubt that the blockchain is a general purpose technology, but it is much more.

Rather, the blockchain is a new mechanism to coordinate economic activity and to facilitate cooperation between individuals. It opens up new opportunities for exchange, for collaboration and for building communities that were previously closed off due to high information costs and transactions costs.

Old thinking

As a new institutional technology, we expect that blockchains will disrupt and transform both economic activity and social organization. Institutional cryptoeconomics is a new analytic framework to study that evolutionary process.

In the very first instance, we believe that the transaction costs approach of Oliver Williamson who won the Nobel in economics in 2009 is the ideal theoretical framework to understand the blockchain. Williamson was primarily interested in understanding the make or buy decisions that firms have to resolve.

Is it better the buy inputs on the open market or produce them in-house?

That choice defined the limits of the firm, which in turn determined the incentive structures that decision makers faced.

A key determinant of the limits of the firm is opportunism or self-interest seeking with guile as Williamson described human behavior.

The combination of opportunism and asset specificity (which refers to how easily an investment can be resold or repurposed for another use) meant that complex economic behavior had to take place in large corporations. This in turn implied the need for substantial financial capital investment.

Thus, we saw the dominance of shareholder capitalism in the 19th and 20th centuries.

New paradigm

The blockchain breaks this re...

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Sunday, 17 September

03:00

'Posse Comitatus': Giving ADF domestic security role a massive mistake "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

'Posse Comitatus': Giving ADF domestic security role a massive mistakeThe ADF is not equipped or trained to adopt a domestic anti-terrorism role and giving it a call-out function further blurs the nation's civilian-military divide. read now...

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Tuesday, 12 September

08:54

Programming languages and publicly available source code at BOM "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Response by Bureau of Meteorology to Fraser Tweedale on September 12, 2017.
Partially successful.
Dear Fraser The Bureau has prepared the attached document in response to your queries about the Bureau's use of software programming languages. As p...

Tuesday, 05 September

07:40

Correspondence with Rowan Ramsay MP (2014-present) "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Successful.
Dear Mr Monceaux I refer to your Freedom of Information request dated 20 July 2017 and attach a decision dated 5 September 2017 together with a docum...

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