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Saturday, 25 November


Screen Themes: Justice League vs Murder on the Orient Express "IndyWatch Feed"

Screen Themes: Justice League vs Murder on the Orient ExpressEntertainment editor John Turnbull checks out superhero team-up Justice League and classic whodunit Murder on the Orient Express. read now...


Breaking the right way "IndyWatch Feed"

Some encouraging news. The young women of the alt right are making up their minds on the national question and they are choosing to reject civic nationalism.

It began with a YouTube video by Lauren Rose which I have already posted on (here).

Then Faith Goldy posted the following tweet:

I find it interesting that civic nationalism has some emotional hold on her. I'm not sure why, as it seems emotionally empty to me. Instead of a deeper hold of shared ancestry, history and culture it is based instead on a shared allegiance to some wrongheaded liberal political principles - and in practice most Western nations don't even insist that new immigrants share these principles. Still, I have to accept that something about civic nationalism once appealed to her, but that she now recognises that there is no future in it, and that it leads to ethnocide.

The "coming out" of Lauren Rose and Faith Goldy emboldened the YouTuber "Blonde in the Belly of the Beast" to make the following thoughtful video explaining why she too has shifted away from civic nationalism:

Part of what motivated Blonde to make the video was her negative reaction to the following tweet by Jordan Peterson:

Peterson is good on many issues but this is straight out right-liberalism in which individualism is set against the evil of collectivism. I wish that Blonde had developed a point that she alluded to in her video, namely that this is a false opposition. If you support the individual, then you have to support healthy forms of collective life as well, because humans are in their natures social creatures who develop themselves most fully and readily through these forms of collective life.

The family is one obvious example. This is a col...

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Friday, 24 November


Koala holocaust continues unabated "IndyWatch Feed"

Koala holocaust continues unabatedThe NSW Government is forging ahead with a highway upgrade, wiping out a nationally significant koala habitat in its path. read now...


Stephen Cable: No matter the question, government is the answer "IndyWatch Feed"

In an excellent article in The Australian this week, Nick Cater does a skilful dissection of the Northcote by-election in Victoria. For those who might not have heard the news, a seat that has been Labor since 1927 went to The Greens. Amazingly, the Andrews government, that seems to have more in common with Che than Chifley, was not left enough for this electorate.

Some of the seats statistics of are quite illuminating. Apparently, there are ten times more teachers than truck drivers and twenty times more university lecturers than brick layers. The most interesting statistic of all however, is that 58 per cent work in the public sector. It seems that when government workers are in a position to decide, they vote for more government and there is no party more in favour of larger government than The Greens. It is no coincidence that the growth of government both in sheer numbers of workers and intrusion into every area of life has seen a rise of the big government party vote. Here in Queensland, we are in the final stages of a state election campaign and in the seat of South Brisbane, The Greens are also within grasp of a win. The advertising were seeing is the normal childish simplicity we expect from The Greens. Good vs. Evil arguments, terms like big corporations and greedy profits or similar are mentioned a thousand times on one pamphlet. This is followed by promises of utopia for all if only you will let The Greens make all of lifes decisions for you. There little mention of the environment but lots of talk about the government running everything. Cheap housing, cheap public transport, abundant cheap energy (from the government of course) and free childcare. It all sounds great to the naive and those who dont grasp history and use it as a guide.

Where government advances, liberty retreats. Victoria has been the centre of this in Australia but even a fool like Daniel Andrews isnt intrusive enough for the government workers of Northcote.

The message is clear, if you want to scale back The Greens you need to scale back the size of government. If we dont we will continue to feed the parasite that is destroying us.

Stephen writes at and for Liberty Works in Brisbane.


John Adams: The One Nation Challenge "IndyWatch Feed"

What vote percentage (or seats) does Pauline Hansons One Nation need to hit this Saturday in Queensland for the election to be a success for Hanson?



In which the pond sinks with nattering "Ned" and the dog botherer into the trough of despond, at least until the three ring circus comes to town ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond's heart sank. First the noble Spectator and its massive 8,000 subscribers down under in trouble, and now, according to nattering "Ned", the Liberals sinking deeper into the valley of despair, the trough of despond, the mugwump of murky madness ...

Of course the pond knew what "Ned" meant to say ..."Ned" sinks deeper into despair, the reptiles of Oz are in a blind funk, everywhere there's despair, a keening, a wailing and a moaning, a renting of garments, a donning of sackcloth, a tossing of ashes ...

Just how deep is this valley of despair?

Oh not the devouring of its own, not the full Goya!

It seems it's everywhere... over in the Terror this day, there was even more despair at the entire pointle...


Niki Sava on Trump "IndyWatch Feed"

Scans confirm not a single decent bone in Donald Trumps body
Niki Savva The Australian 12:00AM August 11, 2016

From the You Could Not Make it Up file.

If Americans want to elect a pig as their president, then they should go right ahead and vote for Donald Trump. I hope they dont because I think the American people are better than that, but who can predict anything with certainty after Brexit in Britain, then the federal election here?

Trump has not done or said anything that could lead you to believe that, if elected, he would change. There is nothing about him that suggests he can be civilised or tamed or controlled.

It is an indictment on Republicans that they have turned to someone not with a flawed character but with no character, a person who has shown himself to have not one single redeeming feature not one. Scans confirm there is not a single decent bone in his body. Next to Trump, North Koreas Kim Jong-un seems perfectly normal, yet Trump still won more than 13 million votes in the primaries more than any other Republican candidate in history.

There is no inherent virtue in amplifying the grievances of angry people, which Trump has perfected. Any old populist can do that

Despair quickly follows that someone so patently unstable, cruel, irrational, amoral, egotistical in short, an absolute pig of a man is now a few steps away from what is still the most powerful office on the globe.

Just when you think he has gone as low as he possibly can, when he ruts deep in mud, leaving only glued orange hair, a pointy finger and pursed lips exposed, to insult women, blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, his opponents as well as their wives, he burrows in deeper, embracing racism, sexism and any other negative ism you can think of.

He revels in the pain he inflicts, glories in the divisions he incites among Americans. He has wantonly advocated verbal or physical violence against Hillary Clinton. In the latest atrocity he stands accused of inciting his supporters to assassinate her.

He invites the Russians to hack into Clintons emails. Not that they need encouragement, but they certainly should not be egged on by a presidential candidate who first boasts Vladimir Putin is one of his besties, then later denies he knows him, and who you would think would have the security of all citizens as his No 1 priority.

You have to worry about who he had in mind as targets when he kept asking a foreign policy adviser why, given they had nuclear weapons, they couldnt use them.

It is one thing for politicians to give voice to the fears or grievances of the people, another to appeal to the darkest reces...


Quote of the Week "IndyWatch Feed"

Trump is 71; Murdoch is 86, and the median age of a prime-time Fox News viewer is 68. Anyone can see where this is going. The grim reaper has become a Democratic poll watcher.  [Journalist Richard Cohen  writing in The Washington Post, 13 November 2017]


Manus lessons "IndyWatch Feed"

By Jane Salmon I have been glued to mainstream and social media on the Manus issue as an advocate for 3 years. And Ive met a few refugees along the way. But yesterday took the biscuit. The sight of Aussies swallowing dishonest propaganda whole has shaken me. Were in deep trouble if we think that

The post Manus lessons appeared first on The AIM Network.


Step down or be taken down "IndyWatch Feed"

Let us stop talking falsely and start talking about realities. I am on a conversation friendly basis with a lady with one child who suffers a debilitating affliction, brought about by an unfortunate car accident that happened to her while she was in late pregnancy. The car accident smashed the womans pelvis and in consequence

The post Step down or be taken down appeared first on The AIM Network.



Relying on the poor to fix the budget is not much of a plan "IndyWatch Feed"

Between the May budget and the actual outcome for the 2017-18 financial year less than two months later, personal benefits expense, read welfare spending, fell short of estimates by $345 million. The actual spend on assistance to the aged was $80 million lower than forecast by Scott Morrison seven weeks earlier, assistance to veterans and

The post Relying on the poor to fix the budget is not much of a plan appeared first on The AIM Network.


Even the NeverTrumpers are coming around "IndyWatch Feed"

Its from Instapundit

IN NATIONAL REVIEW, OF ALL PLACES: This Thanksgiving, Thank Donald Trump:

This Thanksgiving, Americans in general and free-market conservatives in particular have plenty for which to be grateful. And much of it would be absent had the White Houses current occupant not become president on November 8, 2016. The day after Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, Princeton University economist Paul Krugman called Trumps victory the mother of all adverse effects. He predicted very probably . . . a global recession, with no end in sight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 all hit record highs on Tuesday. The Wilshire 5000 Index calculates that some $3.4 trillion in new wealth has been created since President Trumps inauguration and $5.4 trillion since his election. Fueled by the reality of deregulation, expectations of lower taxes, and a new tone in Washington that applauds free enterprise rather than excoriate it, the economy is on fire. Atop the second quarters 3.1 percent increase in real GDP, and 3.0 in 3Q, the New York Federal Reserve Bank predicts that 4Q output will expand by 3.8 percent. This far outpaces the feeble average-annual GDP growth rate of 1.5 percent on President Obamas watch. Meanwhile, the IMF expects global GDP to rise by 3.5 percent this year. So much for a Trump-inspired global recession.

Unemployment is at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low. New unemployment claims in September were at their most modest since 1974. Goldman Sachs on November 20 lowered our unemployment rate forecast to 3.7 percent by end-2018 and 3.5 percent by end-2019. According to the Wall Street powerhouses chief economist Jan Hatzius, Such a scenario would take the U.S. labor market into territory almost never seen outside of a major wartime mobilization. . . .

For every new regulation that Trump has imposed, 16 have been erased.

The FCC has begun to dismantle Obamas Net Neutrality takeover of the Internet, which functioned marvelously, thank you, before his needless e-power-grab.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is on the bench, along with 13 constitutionalist lower-court judges. At this stage in Obamas presidency, the Senate had confirmed just seven of his district- and circuit-court nominees.

Much more at the link, concluding with this: The Never Trump faction still claims that the president of the United States is no conservative. And yet, with ra...


BILL SHORTEN: Response to letter from Australians of the Year re Manus Island "IndyWatch Feed"

BILL SHORTEN: Response to letter from Australians of the Year re Manus Island'I, like you, believe Australia has a moral obligation to ensure refugees have access to essential services and can live in safety. ' read now...


Last-minute economic policy post "IndyWatch Feed"

Both Labor and the LNP have released their economic policies just two days before the state election. This isnt just a matter of costings. Essentially, all the new expenditure items and tax reductions were announced with some fanfare during the campaign, while the revenue measures and expenditure cuts needed to fund these goodies have been kept under wraps until now. This is a terrible way to run an election, but the hardheads on both sides obviously think its a good idea (the same hardheads who gave us compulsory preferential voting on the Labor side and the Commission of Audit for the LNP).

On the LNP side, my assessments here and here have been confirmed. The tax cuts and extra spending promised by the LNP have been financed by cuts to services (euphemistically referred to as efficiency dividends) and by the abandonment of the Cross-River rail project, which appears to be vital if we are going to handle a growing Brisbane population in the future. The efficiency dividend will necessarily involve reduced employment. If the promise to avoid compulsory redundancies is adhered to in spirit as well as letter, that will mean a semi-permanent hiring freeze in areas with low turnover, which is likely to have adverse effects on efficiency.

These are big cuts, but not enough to reach the target of a surplus on fiscal balance. That means the stage is set for yet another Commission of Audit and unannounced further cuts.

Labor is planning to finance promised improvements in services through a mixture of tax increases (targeted at the relatively wealthy) and unspecified reallocation of existing funds, yielding a modest net increase in expenditure as compared to the cuts proposed by the LNP.

We have a choice then between Labor offering improved services, which must ultimately be financed by tax revenue and the LNP offering cuts in taxes, services and jobs. It would have been helpful if this choice had been made explicit four weeks ago, but still it is clear enough. Unsurprisingly, I prefer Labor.


Virtue signalling "IndyWatch Feed"

There was a time that departmental secretaries received relatively modest salaries, worked hard in the background in the interests of the Australian people and helped governments by providing sensible advice.

Those days have sadly passed.

Todays departmental secretaries are overpaid, egotistical and chase personal publicity and celebrity. They need to signal their personal virtue.

The latest outrage occurred when the secretaries got together to sign a domestic violence pledge, with PM&C secretary Mr Parkinson leading the way.

This is wrong in so many ways what right have departmental secretaries to pry into the private lives of their staff? Are they going to install cameras in peoples homes? If (say) one half of a PM&C couple applies for domestic violence leave, will the other half be automatically sacked? Or, for that matter, if a person applies for domestic violence leave will there be action taken against the partner who is employed elsewhere in the public service?

Secretaries have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment. They have a right to demand their staff abide by the APS code of conduct. But they have no right to interfere in the private lives of staff in their homes.

And take this from the statement (reproduced in full below):

While men do experience domestic and family violence and sexual assault, the evidence shows that most victims are women.

But the survey cited ABS Cat No. 4906, Personal Safety Survey, shows that more men experience violence than women (42 per cent of men compared with 37 per cent of women). It also shows that the rate of violence is falling, but it is also concentrated in particular areas.

The proper authorities for addressing violence, whether sexual, domestic or otherwise, are the Police, not departmental secretaries.

Yet it does seem the departmental secretaries will be prying into the private lives of their staff

We understand the boundaries between work and personal life are not absolute. We also acknowledge that we play a role in reinforcing respectful behaviours and relationships.

And for those at the Cat who say Who Cares? They are only public servants, these types of pledges are being signed by CEOs of major companies trying to virtue signal too.

Look at the pledge

I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent mens violence against women.

What about violence again men (which is more prevalent)? How will they act to prevent mens violence against women?

By the way, not signing such p...


Step down or be taken down. "IndyWatch Feed"

Let us stop talking falsely and start talking about realities. I am on a conversation friendly basis with a lady with one child who suffers a debilitating affliction, brought about by an unfortunate car accident that happened to the above woman while she was in late pregnancy. The car accident smashed the womans pelvis and in consequence caused some brain damage to the foetus she was carrying at near term..the result has meant both a rebuild of the womans bone structure with metal parts and a lifelong commitment to the childs condition.

While the lady in question is from a upper middle class section of society that allows relief from many of the inconveniences that a poorer person in the same situation would feel, it still does not for one moment relieve the reality of the situation when a distressed child needs a mothers affection. Whatever the persons private means, the medical necessity must over-ride.

I tell this little cameo of an unfortunates situation because in the wider world of this nations political situation and the cost of living and the everyday ups and downs of trying to get by, we the citizen body have to carry the burden of supplying for our familys needs. There is no avoiding, without grave repercussion, the necessity of immediate attention to children and our loved ones. Of course, this is where a connection to the upper middle class could alleviate some of that burden..and THAT is where it brings this conversation here to the nub.

With failure on many fronts of domestic supply and demand for jobs, energy costs, climate change action, violence, education, communicationsand on and on, we can see no real solution coming from those in leadership at the head of our Federal govt..none whatsoever..only more propaganda through its MSM channels and more fumbling and bumbling when reform is both needed and long overdue.

We have in the Leadership of this nation, representatives of the best education providers, what could be claimed as successful business persons, the best qualified legal brains in both govt and advisory short, the best of the best representatives of the upper middle class strata of society..The most rewarded and well educated , in the one or two most esteemed universities in the world.and yet they failand fail so dismally that youd need a freight-train pulling an endless link of sealed box-wagons to contain all their fumbling excuses for that failure. We see manufacturing failure, economic failure, diplomatic , military and well-being of the nations citizenry failure.. In short, : The governing middle class no longer has either the capacity, capability, nor right to rule.

I make the case here and now for future leadership of this nation to be controlled and managed by those with experience and skills in a physical work-life.

Many years ago I...


In which, no thanks to the Caterists, the pond sets sail with Capt'n Flint hisself ... "IndyWatch Feed"

It's impossible to imagine the pond's shock and consternation, how absolutely befuddled it was by the befuddling news ...

The Spectator's brave, stout-hearted local lads forced to drop a half mil to end a defamation case, and the future of the rag is now in doubt?

While there's no need to repeat the defamation - easily googled - the pond was reminded by the Currish Snail that a Caterist was involved ...

Dearie me, the Caterist is in a right old pickle, and the stout-hearted, brave British lads forgot Rorke's Drift and folded, and now, confronted with these sorts of stories in the lizard Oz on a Friday ...


Et tu Swiss bank account man?

... and this sort of hard left pinko pervert banter by the reptiles of Oz ...

... is it any wonder that the pond has increasingly come...


There's a word for this "IndyWatch Feed"

How bad was Nigel Murray's abuse at Waikato DHB? This bad:

A health board boss took two international work trips while on sick leave, used public money for personal jaunts, did not declare hospitality, booked travel without approval and tried to cover up the breaches, an Audit NZ investigation found.

Former Waikato District Health Board chief executive Dr Nigel Murray circumvented DHB policy to use taxpayer money for personal spending, according to auditors in the damning draft report released today by a board member.


In a copy of the Audit NZ report obtained by the Herald, it showed that the business reason for travel was often missing from documentation, he had no proof he attended events he said he was going to, or the purpose for travel was retrospectively completed.

International trips in the past financial year did not explain why each trip was required and on domestic trips extra nights were booked, including into weekends, without explanation.

There were two international trips that, when corroborated with Murray's diary, showed he was on sick leave at the same time.

...and it goes on. There's a name for this behaviour: theft. And Murray should be prosecuted for it. As for the DHB chair who has tried to cover this up, he should be sacked. This sort of shit is simply not acceptable where public money is concerned, and those who did it and let it happen need to be held to account.


Same-sex marriage and the 'A' students "IndyWatch Feed"

Same-sex marriage and the 'A' studentsTony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews et al play 'weddings'. read now...


Weve Only Just Begun "IndyWatch Feed"

Isnt it funny how the left:

  • said that any public debate on homosexual marriage would turn nasty and harmful towards homosexuals (and their children) and then it didnt. Indeed, the opposite occurred repeatedly;

The idea of young people, perhaps yet to come out, seeing the legitimacy of their identity debated on the national stage, that is not an ideal which we should inflict on any citizen when we have a better path, Mr Shorten said as he introduced his bill.

Let me be as blunt as possible: a No campaign would be an emotional torment for gay teenagers and if one child commits suicide over the plebiscite, then that is one too many.

  • said that a plebiscite (or survey) would be a waste of time because, even if it produced a yes result, it would not be binding on Parliament and legalisation of homosexual marriage would therefore not occur yet this is pretty much the first thing our Federal Parliament is trying to do (you know as soon as it figures out whether its legitimate or not);


Editorial Weve Only Just Begun "IndyWatch Feed"

Isnt it funny how the left: said that any public debate on homosexual marriage would turn nasty and harmful towards


Backpackers v seasonal workers: lessons from across the Tasman "IndyWatch Feed"

In New Zealand, for every 1,000 backpackers picking fruit and vegetables there are about 2,600 seasonal workers, mainly from the Pacific. In Australia, the mix is completely different. For every 1,000 backpackers there are only about 130 Pacific seasonal workers.

The Australian outcome is what the literature predicts. The crowding out hypothesis asserts that unregulated migrant labour will crowd out regulated options. That is certainly what we see in Australia. Employers here prefer the more flexible, much less regulated backpacker (formally Working Holiday Maker) option. It is less hassle, and as recent media and academic research has shown, easier to get away with underpayment with backpackers, where no government approval or reporting is required, than with seasonal workers, where stringent approval and reporting requirements are imposed.

How then to explain New Zealands contrary performance? Thats what we set out to do in our new Devpolicy Discussion Paper Backpackers v seasonal workers: learning from the contrasting temporary migration outcomes in Australian and New Zealand horticulture.

We came up with five factors which explain why, as the graph below shows, New Zealands seasonal worker scheme (called the RSE or Recognized Seasonal Employer, and introduced in 2007) has been much more popular than Australias SWP (Seasonal Worker Programme, introduced in 2009).

Visas issued under New Zealands and Australias seasonal worker scheme

Note: the New Zealand (but not the Australian) scheme is c...

Thursday, 23 November


Manus needs a rescue flotilla "IndyWatch Feed"

On October 31, Australia finally closed its concentration camp on Manus Island. But rather than leaving, the refugees refused to move, because the new concentration camps Australia wanted to put them were even more dangerous than the one they were in. Over the next three weeks, Australia's colonial mercenaries, the PNG police, laid siege to the camp, cutting off food and water supplies, and eventually destroying buildings. Yesterday, they finally moved in and started clearing the refugees by force. Refugees were beaten and loaded onto buses, while journalist Behrouz Boochani was arrested (though what for is entirely unclear). Today, they are apparently finishing the job. The entire operation was arrested by and performed for the benefit of Australia (it was announced by their immigration minister, FFS), which shows that they are continuing to pull the strings regardless of all their denials of responsibility. And that string-pulling includes bullying PNG into refusing to let the refugees come to New Zealand.

The refugees on Manus have been tortured, beaten, starved, and denied medical care. The new "PNG run" concentration camps will continue to do the same, with the added extra danger of victimisation and murder by the local community.

we cannot let this happen in our back yard. And if the New Zealand government can't or won't act, New Zealand citizens should. Its time for a rescue flotilla for Manus Island.


Climate change: A good question "IndyWatch Feed"

Writing in the Herald, Brian Fallow asks what makes farming so special in relation to climate change policy? It's a good question. Other industries pollute, and they don't get a free ride. Neither do industries which have no real way of reducing their emissions beyond cutting production. They do get a (gradually decreasing) free allocation of credits, but they also all face the cost of emissions at the margin, giving them an incentive to find efficiencies and look for ways to reduce their emissions (or at least not increase them). Farming, OTOH, gets excluded from the ETS altogether. And as Fallow points out, that's a direct subsidy to landowners:

In the end, New Zealand is internationally accountable for all of its emissions. If those who profit from half of those emissions entirely escape that cost, the rest of us bear it.

That is a subsidy and one that gets capitalised into land prices.

The beneficiaries are those who sell farmland and who get a larger tax-free capital gain.

The buyer just gets a correspondingly larger mortgage.

This is no different from the subsidies Muldoon paid farmers, and just as pointless and wasteful. The farming sector must be made to pay its way, like the rest of us, rather than expecting the rest of New Zealand to financially support their dirty, polluting industry.


A peek at how the political donations were running in Adani country during the 2017 Queensland state election campaign "IndyWatch Feed"

The benefits of the Adani coal mine have been readily discussed and debated. Equally important but rarely discussed are the many electorates that stand to lose out from the development of the Galilee Basin. In some cases, the winners and losers share an electorate.

The mine that Adani plans to build in the Galilee Basin would be one of the largest export coal mines in the world. Its construction at a time of shrinking world demand for coal means that exports from Adani can cannibalise existing exports and potential growth from other coal regions and, by extension, lead to fewer jobs or lower jobs growth in those regions. Forecasts by coal industry modellers Wood Mackenzie show that significant coal exports from the Galilee Basin would, by 2035, lead to a reduction in coal production of 30% in the Bowen Basin, 37% in the Surat Basin and 37% in the Hunter Valley.

The balance of which seats would benefit from Adanis proposal and which would be negatively affected have not been properly considered. These effects will occur regardless of whether the Adani mine is subsidised; the additional cost to taxpayers of subsidising Adani is outside of the scope of this paper.

The decision by Adani to use Townsville and Rockhampton as its bases for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workforces could advantage those cities and the eight state electorates that they contain. Six of those electorates are marginal, and another has changed hands in b...


Nation still reels from toppling of Kevin Rudd by his own party in 2010 "IndyWatch Feed"

Today in The Australian

When the voters of Bennelong turfed John Howard out exactly 10 years ago, Kevin 07 seemed to offer a fresh alternative to a government that was scarred and wearied after four terms in office.


QLD election eve prediction thread "IndyWatch Feed"

Polls will open in 25 hours in Queensland and the comments threads have been lighting up here with people discussing each electorate.

In particular there have been a few people posting their predictions on each seat guide.

So I thought I would resurrect an old tradition and create a thread for people to post their predictions of what will happen tomorrow.

I wont try to be exact with my prediction (never a good idea to predict before votes start reporting) but Ill give some general thoughts:

  • One Nation will win seats, and poll very well for a minor party, but wont do as well in votes or seats as in their peak in 1998. Possible the polls are overstating their support and they will drop to the low teens.
  • I dont think we will see either party in a strong enough position to confidently declare victory early in the night.
  • There is a high chance of a hung parliament but its still quite likely that the result will be a majority government, or a hung parliament where only one major party has a viable path to government.

Ill have a piece in the Guardian tomorrow morning laying out what to expect on the night. Tomorrow evening therell be an open thread here, and I might contribute occasionally, but Ill also be contributed to the Guardians liveblog, so Ill just see how much capacity I have to do both. Youre welcome to join in the conversation in the comments.


Malcolm Turnbull's democracy at work just not next week "IndyWatch Feed"

Malcolm Turnbull's democracy at work just not next weekThe Turnbull Government is in complete disarray and every day brings some revelation of further incompetence. read now...


In which the pond abandons Keynes to spend its usual Friday with Sharri ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond is wildly excited and pleased to announce a joint venture with the NSW Liberal state government involving an exciting new infrastructure venture.

The scheme will involve digging a vast hole ... and then filling it in, and it will cost a modest $2.3 billion, and have a CBR of close to 0.

Some cynics have already attacked the venture, but the pond knows there's a vast number of tourists who will pay squillions to travel to NSW to watch the hole being dug, while squillions more will turn up to see the ritual filling in ...

And thus are the people and John Maynard Keynes made happy, with the state government realising the plan is much more sensible than burying banknotes in the ground and digging them up again. Why soil banknotes, when the hole will do?

Forget all that talk about NSW infrastructure in need of repair; pay no heed to that recent story in The New Yorker about saving a 1931 bridge and making it accommodate a new generation of ships by simply raising the height of the road (currently outside the paywall in New York's Majestic Passage in the Sky ...revamping the Bayonne Bridge to make space for megaships).

Stupid extenders of infrastructure life ... we've already knocked down and rebuilt Darling Harbour, and the hole scheme will be a megatriumph. It will be noted that the Terror has already hailed the scheme, with its modest splash, "Revealed The Winner Is ... Sydney" ...

Don't mind that tuft of hair over the banner, that's just a thugby leaguer in a spot of bother ...

What's that you say? Instead of coming up with harebrained schemes, the state government should be allowed to get on with the business of splashing out $2.3 billion to knock down a couple of stadiums and re-build them, for the sake of thugby league without any insolent mockery?

We should ignore Fairfaxians scribbling furiously With perfect schools, hospitals and transport, why not spend on Sydney stadiums?

And instead the pond should just get on with the usual business of the day, reading...


Day to Day Politics: The calm before the storm "IndyWatch Feed"

Friday 24 November 2017 We all wait in anticipation of what might happen on or after December 4 (after delaying a weeks sitting of the Parliament to enable politicians to do something they should have done when pre-selected to run for office in the last election that being to read section 44 of the

The post Day to Day Politics: The calm before the storm appeared first on The AIM Network.


Aid, and the Pacific in the 2003 and 2017 Foreign Policy White Papers "IndyWatch Feed"


The last Foreign Policy White Paper was also under a Coalition Government, in 2003, when Alexander Downer was Foreign Minister. On aid at least it is vintage Downer. The document downplays the role of aid at several points, with some disarmingly frank admissions: aid is not the key to development; it is trade and investment, not aid, that will drive development. Where aid could have a crucial impact, the White Paper argued, was in relation to the promotion of good governance, the bedrock of development success. This is why, the 2003 White Paper explained, good governance is now the largest sectoral focus of Australias aid program, with Australia at the forefront of donors grappling with governance issues in the region. Grappling is an apt description. Even Downer wasnt game to claim that our aid was actually improving governance. His belief, however, that the attempt (the grappling) was a good use of aid led to millions of dollars of aid being wasted on advisers. Some made a difference, but too many drew up corporate plans and reform programs that were never implemented.

While one can criticise Downers approach to aid, there was no mistaking what it consisted of. Fast forward to 2017 and the aid program now has something for everyone. There is little discussion in the new White Paper of the role of aid in development, let alone its limits. Governance is still the biggest aid spend (p. 91), but this is not explained. Rather, grappling with governance is now just one of many things we do: Our assistance helps partner countries improve governance, education and health, and enhance productivity in agriculture, fisheries and water. (Productivity in water?) The paragraph goes on to say we also build infrastructure and trade capacity, and promote gender equality.

Agree with it or not, the 2003 White Paper gave clear direction to the aid program. The 2017 White Paper does not. There are some positives. Humanitarian funding is increased from $400 to $500 million, something supported both by the public and by our own White Paper submission (though note there is no increase in total aid). There are a few subtle shifts on strategy: with the objective of economic growth giving way to one of inclusive growth, a new emphasis on the SDGs, and a renewed emphasis on climate change. Overall though, on aid strategy, the 2017 White Paper seems like a missed opportunity. Neither Foreign Minister...


Can anyone believe anything Australian Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and his motley crew say? "IndyWatch Feed"

The New Daily,  21 November 2017:

The Department of Human Services flagged the illegal sale of Medicare details on the dark web almost a fortnight before the illicit trade was exposed in a bombshell media report, The New Daily can exclusively reveal.

Internal emails, obtained under freedom of information laws, reveal that department officials discussed the security issue as early as June 22 nearly two weeks before revelations that Medicare numbers were being sold online.

On July 4, The Guardian revealed that a dark web vendor was advertising the sale of any Australians Medicare number for the bitcoin equivalent of just $22 after exploiting a government system vulnerability.

In the wake of the revelations, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said that he and his department had only learned of the illicit trade when contacted by a Guardian journalist on July 3.

However, high-priority correspondence within DHS shows that senior officials discussed the trade on the dark net, which is only accessible through a customised browser, nearly two weeks before it made the news.

On June 22, Rhonda Morris, national manager for serious non-compliance, raised the issue with Kate Buggy, national manager for internal fraud control and investigations, and Mark Withnell, general manager of business integrity, as well as several unnamed officials.

In a later email on July 3, Mr Withnell apparently connected The Guardians inquiries to the departments earlier...


Another local speaking out against the cruise ship industry coming to the Clarence River estuary "IndyWatch Feed"

Clarence Valley Independent, Letter to the Editor, 14 November 2017:

It is rare for me to get so steamed up that I feel compelled to write a letter to the editor. Cruise Terminal Slated for Yamba (CVI 1/11/17). Seriously?

Oh, this will be good for business, good for economic development, good for growth! What is it about the human race that they cannot get their minds past the almighty $ sign? Why do we want growth? Yamba is beautiful as it is. The peace and tranquillity, at least partially the reason we love living here, is already under threat as the highway to Brisbane nears completion and trip times of under three hours can be anticipated.

Have we not seen what became of the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and now, regrettably, Byron Bay? When I first visited Surfers Paradise you could count the high rise buildings on the fingers of one hand, and two or three of those were only about ten stories. It was a lovely little place. I suppose there must be some people who think its a lovely place now, but I never seem to meet them. There was a time you could have your afternoon nap in the middle of the main street of Byron Bay. These days it is a constant stream of cars driving round and round the streets desperately hoping to find a parking space before its time to go home again!

So now, in the slavish pursuit of growth and economic development, are we going to do the same thing to Yamba? The only kind of growth that would be really good is if we could actually grow the planet itself, to meet the needs and expectations of an ever growing population. As for economic growth, I imagine, if you were to ask the majority of people who live here, they would tell you they didnt come to Yamba to make their fortunes. Even those operating local businesses must surely have done the arithmetic and decided that their enterprise was never going to feature in Forbes; but it would fund the kind of lifestyle you...


Remember Michelle Fields? "IndyWatch Feed"

Whats your view on whether Michelle Field was pulled to the ground by Trumps Chief of Staff?

This is the truth. The entire story was a fabrication, a complete and absolute lie wholly made up with malicious intent. It was not an error nor an exaggeration. It was not a mis-recollection of the facts nor a misperception of an event. It was a premeditated and calculated lie told repeatedly by both Democrats and Republicans, inside the media and out, with no other intention than to manufacture a scandal around Donald Trump to prevent him from becoming president. And it would have gone on and on, and you would be hearing about it to this day, except there were videos taken and so the lie was revealed and could no longer serve the purpose it was designed to serve. And when the facts came out, they did not apologise, nor show contrition, nor exhibit the slightest remorse. They just shut up about this and went and found other lies that were not as obvious and blatant and as easy to expose. They have no conscience or moral scruples or give the slightest indication of wishing to deal fairly and honestly. They will do whatever it takes and count on the deceit and connivance of everyone on their side, along with the stone cold imbecility and ridiculous naivete of so many, too many, on the side of the Republicans.

Which brings me to: President Donald Trump all but endorsed embattled Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore on Tuesday.

Trump didnt explicitly say he was endorsing Moore, but he said with emphasis, We dont need a liberal person in there. We dont need somebody whos soft on crime like Jones.

He also noted that the allegations came from behavior alleged to have happened decades ago.

Forty years is a long time, Trump said, questioning why it took so long for Moores accusers to come forward.

That is, if this had happened why has she never mentioned it before to anyone at any time during the seven previous times Moore had run for office? Why did the forged signature carry the intials DA which did not mean District Attorney but were the initials of his assistant who wrote her initials next to the stamped signature of her boss on this very womans divorce decree which Moore presided over without her saying a word or asking for a different judge. But senior Republicans, including his daughter, have ended up in the ads being run by the Democrat.

Jones began airing a new ad Monday tha...


Malcolm feels the end game approaching "IndyWatch Feed"

By Peter McCarthy Cancelling a sitting week in Parliament is unusual to begin with, but I initially thought that Malcolm might have been building an escape route for failing to get SSM sorted out (which still has no real chance of being resolved this year even with the extra week in place). But on reflection,

The post Malcolm feels the end game approaching appeared first on The AIM Network.


Ruddock: The man who called a refugee child it "IndyWatch Feed"

In August 2001, 6 year-old Shayan Badraie, an Iranian asylum seeker who arrived by boat in Australia with his family, became seriously ill with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder after spending seventeen months in the Woomera and Villawood detention centres. During the time he was detained with his family, Shayan witnessed suicide attempts, and great unrest within the

The post Ruddock: The man who called a refugee child it appeared first on The AIM Network.


Ruddock: The man who called a refugee child it "IndyWatch Feed"

  In August 2001, 6 year-old Shayan Badraie, an Iranian asylum seeker who arrived by boat in Australia with his family, became seriously ill with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder after spending seventeen months in the Woomera and Villawood  detention centres. During the time he was detained with his family, Shayan witnessed suicide attempts, and great unrest within []


Queenslanders must ensure end to LNP deforestation and species extinction "IndyWatch Feed"

Queenslanders must ensure end to LNP deforestation and species extinctionQueenslanders have a fantastic opportunity to write a happy ending to the tragic deforestation crisis. read now...


Financing a UBI/GMI "IndyWatch Feed"

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post making some observations on the closely related ideas of a Universal Basic Income or Guaranteed Minimum Income. The most important was

Observation 1: Any UBI scheme can be replicated by a GBI with the same effective marginal tax rates, and vice versa

I meant to follow up with a more detailed exploration of financing issues, but all sorts of other things intervened. However, Ive now prepared a draft, which is over the fold.

Comments and criticism much appreciated

How could a UBI/GBI be financed along with the other activities government must undertake? Ill assume that that final government expenditure, excluding transfer payments, amounts to 20 per cent of national income, and that revenue from sources other than income tax amounts to 10 per cent of national income. Thats fairly accurate for Australia.

By thinking about the UBI case, its easy to work out the required tax rate. Keeping things simple, Ill assume a single rate of taxation for all income above the threshold of 20 per cent of the average, For a UBI of 40 per cent and a net financing requirement of 10 per cent, the required revenue is 50 per cent of national income. If 20 per cent of income is untaxed, the required tax rate would 62.5 per cent. However, since those in the lowest quintile have incomes below the threshold, the proportion of untaxed income is a little lower and the required tax rate is approximately 61 per cent.

The UBI can be replicated as a GBI with the same effective marginal tax rate (EMTR). In this case, the net revenue requirement is equal to 27.6 per cent of national income, derived as the cost of the GBI (17.6 per cent), plus the net financing requirement for final government expenditure 10 per cent.

The outcomes are shown in Table 2. Column 2 shows tax paid by those in equal quintile and the total revenue expressed as a proportion of national income. The revenue from income tax is 27.6 per cent of national income, which is approximately equal to the financing requirement. Column 3 shows the average rate of taxation for each quintile. Column 4 shows disposable income, taking account of taxes other than income tax, which are assumed to be a combination of fixed charges (equal for all households) and proportiona...


Submissions open for April 2018 Australian Aid Evaluation Forum "IndyWatch Feed"

We are still accepting submissions of evaluations for the next Australian Aid Evaluation Forum, to be held in early April 2018.

If your organisation has an evaluation it would like discussed in a constructive, public forum involving aid and evaluation experts, this is for you.

Devpolicy and DFATs Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) co-organise a twice-yearly forum on aid evaluations. Each forum runs for three hours, covering two or three evaluations, and is held at ANU in Canberra.  The discussion of each evaluation involves a presentation from the evaluator, followed by a presentation from a person involved in running the aid activity that was evaluated, and finally a presentation by a discussant with aid evaluation expertise.

Are you proud of your aid program evaluation? Would you like it to be part of the next Australian Aid Evaluation Forum?

If you are interested in being part of the next event (in April 2018) please email an expression of interest to Terence Wood ( and Sachini Muller ( before 30 November. Please email us if you have any questions, or if your evaluation wont be ready by April but you would like to engage in the future.

Some funding for domestic travel is available to bring participants to Canberra from other parts of Australia.

If you would like to listen to some examples of presentations from a previous forum please click here.

The post Submissions open for April 2018 Australian Aid Evaluation Forum appeared first on Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre.


Linked at Instapundit! "IndyWatch Feed"

Heres the link.

MANSON AND THE TOTALITARIAN TEMPTATION: The potential for entire social movements to end up sympathizing with visibly pathological murderers with swastikas carved in their foreheads is a persistent potential. All you have to do is let down, for a brief moment, your simplest sense of right and wrong, perhaps because you pride yourself on being upset about some social issue.

Read the whole thing.

And as always, like here, some interesting commentary.


A bribe's a bribe "IndyWatch Feed"

In 2010, Peter Whittall killed 29 men at Pike River Mine by running an unsafe mining operation. In 2013 he bribed his way out of prosecution by demanding (and receiving) a plea bargain in which the serious charges he faced under the Health Safety and Employment Act would be dropped in exchange for making a compensation payment to his victims' families. Now, the Supreme Court has ruled that the decision to drop the charges was unlawful:

The Supreme Court says a deal not to pursue a prosecution against Pike River boss Peter Whittall was unlawful.

Two families of miners killed in the Pike River mine disaster had asked the Supreme Court to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling that upheld a WorkSafe NZ decision to drop charges against Whittall. Families were paid $3.4 million in the deal.


The Supreme Court on Thursday said Worksafe dropping the charges against Whittall was "an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution". It said the deal was "struck in return for a $3.41m payment".


The Supreme Court said it was irrelevant WorkSafe took account of other factors in deciding not to prosecute.

And that's basicly what it comes down to: a bribe's a bribe, and the fact that one was discussed and paid taints everything else. Even when its disguised as a "plea-bargain".

But this raises an obvious question: will the charges be reinstated? Or if not, will Whitall and those who conspired with him in this unlawful conspiracy be charged with conspiring to defeat justice? Because you can be damn sure that a gang member who paid a prosecutor to drop charges would be back in court when it was discovered, and the same rule should apply to the rich as well as the poor.


In which the pond seeks protection from endless reptile protectionism ... "IndyWatch Feed"

If the reptiles keep going with their desire to turn the lizard Oz into a fortress in the style of The Times, and take themselves completely out of the conversation, the pond might be spending more time with lesser lights of the Rachel Baxendale kind ...

But that too has its rewards, and possibly not before time.

Who knew that a wine science student would end up pounding the fundamental Xian beat for the lizard Oz?

There's a million stories in the naked, or even the clothed city, and setting up an entirely new RELIGIOUS PROTECTIONS category in the lizard Oz alleged news section is exemplary ...

Why even in the olden golden days, the reptiles never quite managed an ABANDON 18C FOR THE SAKE OF THE BOLTER category in the news section ...

Yesterday Rach lent her ear to the copious squawkings of the mysterious Lyle bird, a bold and brazen creature with not a shy feather to be found ...

Channelling the Lyle bird and typing down Cory talking about 'common sense' is as good a definition of silliness as can be imagined, and the pond feels a deep sense of pity for this Rach, trying...


Barnaby Joyce receives Rinehart prize for even worse judgement than Turnbull "IndyWatch Feed"

Barnaby Joyce receives Rinehart prize for even worse judgement than TurnbullJoyce talks the agriculture talk and walks the mining walk as he receives the inaugural prize for even worse judgement than Turnbull. read now...

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