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Saturday, 18 August

03:05

Peace for our time ? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Amid the recent upsurge of leadership speculation, this time affecting the government, a crucial observation on the so-called National Energy Guarantee seems to have been missed.

This half-baked compromise, if it works at all, wont resolve anything. Theres no target for emissions reductions, which might help get legislation through Parliament, but leaves the most important single issue for later. The already messy pricing system is to be complicated further by unspecified policies to reduce prices directly. And the denialists are still pushing for a publicly funded coal-fired power station.

Supposing this chimera somehow struggles into existence, it will last as long as the political stars with which it is aligned. If Turnbull loses to the right of his own party, the whole thing will be dumped in favor of policies driven by culture war concerns rather than economics, let alone climate. If Labor wins, they will need to dump this mess and start again, effectively from scratch.

I have in my mind a picture of Turnbull, descending the steps of a plane and waving a peace of paper while he announces Peace for our Time. I guess that cant literally happen since the relevant meetings will all take place in Canberra and tarmac photo-ops are confined to state visits these days. But I doubt that Turnbulls deal will last as long as Chamberlains did.

01:34

Turnbulls new approach to electricity: smoke and mirrors "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The idiocy of Turnbulls handling of electricity policy now, once again, looks likely to cost him the leadership of his party.  Faced with termination, he is seeking to extricate himself while pretending to reform the policy that has revealed his incompetence.  His new proposals at modifying the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) are bromides that leave intact his destructive objectives for the electricity supply industry.

Turnbulls automatic default position is to override the market and substitute his own perceived wisdom.  Ten years ago, on a joint ticket with the ALP to close down fossil fuel electricity production and replace it with wind, he lost the leadership to Tony Abbott.

He has long considered modern wind and solar to be superior to the geriatric coal power stations that gave Australia the cheapest electricity in the world.  Among his missions is to effect the replacement of those dinosaurs.  He will not be swayed by arguments that the alternatives are dearer and less reliable and will remain so.  And no amount of evidence will dissuade him that global emission reductions are either unnecessary or unachievable.

His ratification of Australias emission reduction commitments in the Paris Agreement the day after Trumps election victory torpedoed that agreement was the act of a man determined to cement in a favoured cause irrespective of its impossibility.  This was a gesture similar to that of another ego-maniac, Kevin Rudd, in pursuing the Copenhagen conferences express-train to decarbonisation even after fellow believer, Barrack Obama, had accepted that the policy had to be shelved for the time being.  Turnbulls Paris ratification and subsequent moves to effect the policy reflects badly on those ministers who meekly went along with it and on the media that was mostly silent in its approval.

Turnbull doubled down on his coal replacement policy with the $10 billion Snowy2 proposal to paper over the cracks of renewable rich energy supplys unreliability.  And he hand-picked the Energy Security Board (ESB) to give us the NEG.  The NEG is a carbon intensity scheme (a carbon tax with revenues going to renewable suppliers) that replaces the renewable energy subsidies (that are trending at some $5 billion a year) which, in undermining the economics of coal power stations, have given us a doubling of the wholesale electricity price).  The carbon tax was the very policy that the Coalition rejected in 2009 when they dismissed Turnbull from the leadership.

The NEG is patently unworkable and is built on a foundation of eggshells that will supposedly deliver certainty to allow more (wind and solar) investment, an outcome that is not even supported by the ESBs own modelling that shows no investment other than rooftop solar taking place after 2021!

Turnbull is the architect of the present policy and...

01:00

When the urge to control causes damage "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

When the urge to control causes damageDenmark has become the latest western country to ban the burqa. But this response is only making things worse, writes Judy Crozier read now...

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Friday, 17 August

23:45

Is the first mossie of the summer a sign that there will be blood, there must be blood? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Talk about a bad sign. 

The first mossie of summer in the shower in mid-August dead now for its outrageous cheek, but the mossie wars, and the bush fires, have begun early this year ...

Speaking of irritating, grating, monotonous sounds, the pond would usually turn to prattling Polonius to kick start things, but this weekend, other wars, and much navel-gazing, is afoot in the lizard Oz


The mutton Dutton is being thrust forward as an alternative?

The pond couldn't imagine a finer outcome, except perhaps the return of the onion muncher himself, with the trusty Barners as his Sancho Panza. 

Who would be pushing this brilliant strategy, who would be behind this much-loved figure who beguiles the electorate so?

 

Uh huh the barking mad Murdochian tabloids

...

15:52

Australia, our white supremacy is showing "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

In the days after the night before a senator used nazi rhetoric in the Australian parliament, I watched carefully to see who would say what about possibly the most straightforward question in public discourse: is nazi rhetoric bad? Is it wrong?

The answer is yes. This is both objective moral fact and global consensus. Yet there are places in the world where nazi rhetoric is acceptable public discourse. One of those places is the micro-party headed by Australian politician Bob Katter.

On Monday week (27 August 2018), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), our national broadcaster, will provide Bob with a panel show timeslot to explain away how his colleague using nazi rhetoric in the Australian Parliament is really no big deal and also magnificent.

 

 

This decision is wrong, and dangerous. Before I say why from my perspective, I want to point to Put Away Your Ball, This is not a Game by Karen Wyld at IndigenousX and Australia is Racist, But not in the Way You Think by Natalie Cromb at NITV-SBS. That Karen is a Martu woman and Natalie a Gamilaraay woman is not a coincidence. The collective moral authority of Abor...

15:11

Malcolm Turnbull dumps Paris agreement target "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Fake headline! Memo to subbie, read the copy.

Malcolm Turnbull has dumped the governments plans to legislate the 26 per cent Paris emissions reduction target in a dramatic capitulation to rebel MPs and Ministers threatening to cross the floor and vote it down.

Instead the 2015 climate change commitment will be mandated through Ministerial order and only after advice from the competition regulator that it wouldnt increase power prices.

Do we trust the competition regulator to give credible advice? What is the form of the regulator up to date?

Memo to Malcolm and Josh, how to really do it.

TORONTO Ontario ratepayers will benefit from $790 million in savings thanks to the Government of Ontarios decision to cancel and wind down 758 renewable energy contracts, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford announced today.

Pity about our long-term contracts. Who signed off on them?

10:35

Anning, inkblots, the Alinsky playbook and the Stockholm syndrome "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Remember the one about the psychiatrist who administered the ink blot to test to a patient.
The patient found erotic imagery in every inkblot.
Psychiatrist. You appear to be obsessed with sex.
Patient. Who is the one with all the dirty pictures?

The usual suspects and others piled onto Fraser Annan, finding something pornographic in a commonsense speech on some touchy issues. Or at least issues that we are not supposed to touch.

Unfortunate choice of words? Why? There is something to discuss! And address the content of the speech. Sinclair Davidson our list master showed up as the adult in the room. Who else?

The usual suspects applied rule 12 of Alinskys rules for radicals.

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

And look how conservatives joined in to help! It is the Stockholm syndrome! They have become captives of the radical narrative! (See the post on the language of fairness in taxation!)

Stockholm syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity.

What are they giving us to vote for as an alternative to the ALP and the Greens?

09:58

SOS from David Leyonhjelm "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Save Our Senate

How many senators can you name? If your answer is no more than a handful, you are typical of most Australians. And if the senators you can name are crossbenchers like me, there is nothing unusual about that either. Despite the government having 31 senators and Labor 26, theres a fair chance youve never heard of most of them.

Thats a problem, because its leading to some pretty appalling assessments about the value of the Senate. Its also prompting some highly undemocratic suggestions as to what should be done about it.

A recent example was an article by George Williams, Dean of Law at the University of NSW. He argued that the Senate is a house of political parties and therefore the disloyalty of our senators cuts to the heart of the role of the chamber.

His concern is with senators who were either elected or appointed under the auspices of one party but are now associated with another one. He asserts that this is now occurring more frequently, can no longer be tolerated, and signifies the need for reform.

Another is an article by Alexander Downer. He argued that Senate crossbenchers are feckless and that the number who resigned due to dual citizenship or have changed their party affiliation has weakened the democratic standing of the Senate.

Yet another is an article by former Senator and Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson. He castigated me for something I never said, bizarrely puts Derryn Hinch in the same category as Cory Bernardi for being across the issues, criticises Pauline Hanson for changing her mind on company tax (she changed her mind no more often than Bill Shorten did), and concedes he knows next to nothing about the rest of the crossbench. All of which amounts, in his view, to squalid dysfunction.

Implicit in all three of these assessments, notwithstanding various errors of fact, is the assumption that the government and parliament would perform much better but for the crossbench.

Williams wants to make party loyalty obligatory. Yet, as we saw with the recent foreign interference and foreign influence bills, the only senators who routinely scrutinise legislation are crossbenchers like me. The great majority of bills pass the Senate with barely a whiff of scrutiny from the Labor Opposition.

Party loyalty means Labor senators (who hardly anybody knows) who once supported company tax cuts now block them. Party loyalty also means that Coalition senators (also largely unknown) supported an increased Medicare levy prior to Anzac Day this year, but no longer supported it once the Treasurer told them hed changed his mind.

Downer believes joint sittings of both Houses could help overcome Senate obstruction, except the numbers dont add up. The Coalition needs eig...

08:30

The future of the other Australia within our smart cities "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The future of the other Australia within our smart citiesDr Peter Fisher explores the relationship between the environment and urban tech and how nature imprints on our major cities read now...

08:24

Why Donald J Trump is the POTUS "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

President Trump may be a Republican but he was created by the Democratic Party.

No.  This is not about President Trumps earlier political affiliations.  This is about the rank insanity, hypocrisy and corruption of the US Democratic Party.  A Party whose leadership includes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who said

Were not going to make America great again.  America was never that great.

America was never that great.  Dont believe Spartacus that a leading politician would say that?  Watch for yourself.

Forget what came after.  That was enough.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus
Subscribe to the Sparta-Blog at eyamspartacus.wordpress.com

08:15

Warring against Encryption: Australian proposals for the Tech Giants "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

What is it with Australias law enforcement authorities? Their uncontrollable appetite for encrypted data primarily the data of private users is so voracious it has become a parody of itself. There seems to be little that will restrain such politicians as Cybersecurity minister Angus Taylor, who insists that the technology giants cough up

The post Warring against Encryption: Australian proposals for the Tech Giants appeared first on The AIM Network.

05:40

Labour supports Muldoonism "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Last month, National's Nick Smith pushed a Muldoonist bill aiming to force the Department of Conservation to surrender part of a protected forest park so farmers in his electorate can build a dam for irrigation. Sadly, it seems that Labour has decided to support it:

However, the Labour Party caucus has agreed to support the legislation while Shane Jones, of NZ First, this week said the social and economic benefits of the dam were large. Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith, who is sponsoring the local bill, in July said he had secured support for it from all 56 National MPs.

The local bill seeks to gain an inundation easement over 9.67 hectares of conservation land in the Mount Richmond State Forest Park needed for the creation of the reservoir for the proposed dam in the Lee Valley. The bill would also secure a right to construct the dam on Crown riverbed.

[Green Party co-leader Marama] Davidson said the Green Party believed that conservation land should be protected for its innate values and that the transfer of conservation land "for use as part of a dam cannot be reconciled with the fundamental commitment to protect it for conservation".

The Green Party caucus was listening to the concerns of environmentalists "and the local community, and will not support the upcoming Waimea dam-enabling legislation".


So, when it comes to a choice between conservation and farmers, Labour chooses farmers. Its good to know which side they're on, and that they cannot be relied upon to protect the environment. And hopefully, the Greens will be taking that into account when considering their support for government legislation in the future.

05:00

In which the pond winds down, while hoping for a horror movie denialist weekend ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


The pond makes no apologies

The pond felt like a break, like a little light relief, like a light Friday lunch, and then a weekend hopefully watching a right royal battle in the herpetarium

The bouffant one has written a nice trailer for the horror movie plenty of cutting, an excited narrator, an abundance of intriguing plot points, and the promise of blood, which should attract the male demographic, even if there's not enough sex


Indeed, indeed, and in that short space, the trailer jumped from the dogs barking to a dog's breakfast oh it's a doggy do world ...


Now the pond could have spent time tending to Henry, as he worried about more holes in the bucket


Or it could have spent time marvelling at the reptiles' ongoing obsession

...

04:03

A positive story about both coal AND Donald Trump "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The world may really be about to change: Donald Trump saves coal from renewables surge from The Weekly Standard and published in The Australian.

No country has a greater abundance of hydrocarbon energy than the US. The corollary is that no country was as big a loser from participating in the Paris Agreement and its intention to progressively decarbonise the worlds hydrocarbon superpower. On July 10, the Energy Information Administration forecast that next year the US would produce 12 million barrels of oil a day and overtake Saudi Arabia to be the worlds No 1 producer. When it comes to the politics of energy, the interests of the US and European green ideology are irreconcilable.

Trump understands this. Our country is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance, which we didnt know of even five years ago and certainly 10 years ago, the President said last year. Those remarks were not only a paean to Americas energy resources, they were a full-dress rejection of the policies of his predecessor and of the Democrats goal of Europeanising US energy policy.

We have nearly 100 years worth of natural gas and more than 250 years worth of clean, beautiful coal, he said. We are a top producer of petroleum and the No 1 producer of natural gas. We have so much more than we ever thought possible. We are really in the driving seat. And you know what? We dont want to let other countries take away our sovereignty and tell us what to do and how to do it. Thats not going to happen. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that weve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance.

And were going to be an exporter exporter. We will be dominant. We will export American energy all over the world These energy exports will create countless jobs for our people, and provide true energy security to our friends, partners and allies all across the globe.

For the first time since 1992, when George HW Bush went to the Rio Earth Summit, a US president was outlining a global energy strategy diametrically opposed to the tenets underlying the UN climate process. Trump was establishing a rival pole based on energy realism and energy abundance.

On just this alone, PDT can lift the American economy into a prolonged period of rising growth and higher incomes. Its amazing that no one else has the strength and courage to do the same anywhere else.

04:00

Anning and Latham fight for a white male privilege 'final solution' "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Anning and Latham fight for a white male privilege 'final solution'Fraser Anning's careless mixing of race and politics is just one example of how of white male privilege is setting democracy on the road to tyranny. read now...

03:00

The Road to Fracist Anning "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The Road to Fracist AnningThe road to Fraser Anning is littered by the spectres of Hanson, Katter, Roberts, Dutton and a host of others, writes Suresh Rajan. read now...

02:52

The next phase "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

This is the next phase no pun intended.  This just in from Zero Hedge:

one month after the Ontario government shut down its generous EV rebate, Tesla is suing the Ontario government claiming it  deliberately and arbitrarily targeted the company, discriminating against Tesla based on how it was treated differently from other automakers through the shutdown of the EV incentives.

This is what happened: after the election of the Conservative party in June, Doug Ford, the partys leader, said that they were shutting down the cap-and-trade program, which was financing the EV rebate  which was worth up to $14,000  to finance a 10-cent per litre tax reduction on gasoline.

Whole article here.

The word chutzpah comes to mind.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus
Subscribe to the Sparta-Blog at eyamspartacus.wordpress.com

02:41

The Jig Is Up "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Politics is a business of ideas.  It is also a business of language and rhetoric.  And there is no better sign that one political party has lost and capitulated than when it starts to use the words and language of the other party.  See for example the latest from the Hon. Kelly ODwyer:

Making multinationals pay their fair share

Who knew that businesses, multinational or otherwise, or even citizens had an obligation to pay their fair share.  Spartacus was of the view that tax obligations were a legal obligation and not something defined in the Social Justice Handbook.

From ODwyers announcement:

The Turnbull Government is ensuring that those that do business in Australia pay tax in Australia.

Fine and good.  But why is this making companies pay their fare share rather than making them pay their legal obligation?

As long as Australia has a company tax system, Spartacus has no problem with the Government ensuring tax neutrality between domestic and internaltional/multinational businesses.  But what the hell has this got to do with fairness?

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus
Subscribe to the Sparta-Blog at eyamspartacus.wordpress.com

01:45

Im worried about you ladies "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

I was there giving my glasses a bit of a clean with that stuff supplied from Specsavers you know that stuff that smells like those dentist surgeries of old that stuff you spray on the lenses from a little misting bottle much like a scent bottle that women spray onto their

The post Im worried about you ladies appeared first on The AIM Network.

01:00

Peter Swan AO: David Murray exposes decay of corporate board box-tickers "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

David Murray has had a distinguished record as CEO of the Commonwealth Bank from 1992 to 2005. He headed the recent inquiry into the Australian Financial System. He has now been handed a poisoned chalice in the form of the chair of AMP, whose share price has collapsed following the revelations of the Hayne Royal Commission into misconduct in the financial sector.

Murray does not blame the ASX Corporate Governance Council (CGC) entirely for the $6 billion lost by AMP since the revelations but he says rightly that the ASX corporate governance principles contributed to what happened to AMP and others in the financial sector.

He says that the ASX rules requiring committees chaired by independent directors covering audit, risk, remuneration and nomination fracture the work of boards and tie non-executive board members too closely to executives that help these subcommittees digest the often 1000 pages of stuff that they are required to grasp prior to each meeting.

Murray points out that these rules weaken the power and authority of the CEO as well as the accountability of the board by linking external board members to management.

He also points out that the financial regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, has put into law the rules promulgated by the ASX CGC, whereas the council justifies itself by saying that their guidelines are not laws because boards can opt out using the if not, why not, provision if the rules are unsuited in its circumstances.

Such a board is more likely to achieve the accountability and independence from management demanded by APRA than the very highly prescriptive structures that APRA has passed into law.

In fact, as Murray opines, most boards are harassed into following the supposed ASX CGC guidelines and recommendations even without APRAs heavy-hande...

00:59

Unsurprising "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The 2017 election delivered a tight result, with National feeling cheated because they no longer held a majority. So naturally, they've been trying to persuade NZ First MPs to switch sides:

National leader Simon Bridges has tried to talk New Zealand First MPs, including Ron Mark, into leaving the party, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has claimed.

[...]

"The leader of the National Party Simon Bridges has been talking to members of my caucus about how they might jump the ship and stay on, doing a deal with them. This is how bad and how rotten it is," Peters said.

He named Defence Minister and New Zealand First MP Ron Mark as a target of Bridges' approaches.

"He's been witnessed saying 'look come on Ron, let's just do a deal. You can have Wairarapa'. In short he was talking about dumping his local MP called [Alastair] Scott. So, you know, pretty bad stuff."

Mark did not return a call for comment but in a text message said "Wow, how did you find out about that."


This is completely unsurprising. National is just four seats from government, and if NZ First has refused as a party to work with them, they'll naturally try shifting individual MPs and buying their loyalty with electorate deals. Its dirty, but that's what desperate Tories when denied what they think is their "natural" place. At the same time, its no justification for anti-party-hopping legislation. If a party cannot maintain the loyalty of its MPs, then that's on them, and our democracy shouldn't be undermined because Winston Peters feels insecure and inadequate.

00:00

Fraser Anning: My brush with infamy "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Fraser Anning: My brush with infamyRoss Jones describes a meeting with controversial Senator Fraser Anning, who was keen on seeking help to destroy One Nation. read now...

Thursday, 16 August

23:38

In which the reptiles deliver a reliably stupid scribbler to produce a pond TGIF moment ... "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"


The pond suspected something was up. There was the pastie Hastie speaking fluent Mao in yesterday's Oz.

What next? Malware a lickspittle running dog?

Then this morning the pond woke to news of pure, undiluted socialism, with price controls just like the good old days, and Malware on the ropes, and the mutton Dutton calculating his totally unique appeal to the electorate, and the herpetarium in a state of high agitation and anticipation

 

But all the pond can do is live in hope that there will soon be blood on the floor, there must be blood, and go in search of some of the undiluted stupidity for which the lizard Oz is justly famous throughout the land, and sure enough


The pond has no idea why the reptiles keep publishing Sufi a man of infinite silliness

22:00

How politics keeps Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea poor and poorly governed "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The Western Melanesian countries of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG) are both poor and poorly governed. Anyone who has spent any time in either country will have seen how governance woes contribute to the countries poverty. Their governments neglect essential infrastructure. Dysfunctional bureaucracies impede legitimate businesses and let other businesses get away with causing harm. Health and education systems are poorly run.

This much is obvious. What is less well understood is the way the two countries politics contribute to their governance woes. In my new Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies paper I explain that many of the governance problems in the two countries stem from their clientelist politics.

In elections in clientelist polities voters dont vote in search of better public policy, or on the basis of how well the country is being governed. Rather, they vote for candidates they think will help them directly if they win. This has the effect of selecting and incentivising members of parliament (MPs) to focus on delivering direct benefits to their supporters back in their electorates rather than running the national government well.

The effects of this are obvious. In both countries, funds that MPs can spend at their discretion within their electorates have grown at the same time as government departments have been underfunded. In both countries, ministers often pay little attention to the government departments they are supposed to be running. Ministers are rarely punished for poor performance. Bureaucracies are not subject to political pressure to improve; they are neglected and demoralised.

It may sound like I am blaming voters in Solomon Islands and PNG for their countries governance woes. Im not. I think voters who vote in search of personal or localised benefits in the two countries are voting perfectly reasonably. Voters decisions are reasonable because the states they live in are weak, while at the same time voters needs are acute. Voters need something from elections, and when the government cant deliver it through better policy and better services, all they can hope for is direct assistance from MPs.

You might ask why voters dont vote for better governance to solve this problem. It might take longer but it would bring greater benefits in the end. The problem is that individual voters, or families, or communities, or even electorates, dont control the quality of national governance. At best, all they can do is elect one MP out of many (50 in Solomon Islands and 111 in PNG), and one MP cant change the country on their own.

Weve resolved this particular probl...

21:30

Fortnightly links: challenges for SDG #6, ACAPS, recovering from PNGs February earthquake, and more "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The results from Mongolias first gender-based violence survey are in.

ACAPS is a non-profit dedicated to providing humanitarian actors with emergency assessments. This Devex article reports on how it helps NGOs decide where to spend their money.

An MSF logistician has invented a vest with a built-in decontamination kit for humanitarian actors in the field.

The interim report into the risk of sexual exploitation in the Australian aid sector has found that Australian aid programs have strong safeguards and protection measures already built in, reports The Guardian.

Devex reports that many countries are facing challenges on achieving SDG No. 6 on clean water and sanitation, and at this rate of progress we wont see it achieved for centuries.

Radio New Zealands Johnny Blades reports from PNGs....

14:21

Turnbull may be standing in front of the orchestra pit but Abbott composed the cacophony they are playing "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Tony Abbott is being widely dismissed in the media as having little influence in the Liberal Party today but I beg to differ. Abbott is, in fact, very much the architect of todays Liberal Party strategy. Malcolm had a go at telling us there was never a more exciting time to be us and that

The post Turnbull may be standing in front of the orchestra pit but Abbott composed the cacophony they are playing appeared first on The AIM Network.

14:19

Dead in the middle "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing in the wind on the side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky ... Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond.

- Ernest Hemingway For whom the bell tolls
Turnbull is giving his all for a shemozzle of a compromise which will benefit nobody but him and Josh Frydenberg, and not very much even then. His predicament reminds me of the final days of centrist former NSW Labor Premier Morris Iemma a decade ago. Sillier press gallery observers claim that the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) puts Turnbull's fate in his own hands once more, but the opposite is true.

Why the NEG is a shemozzle

People who study this sort of thing agree that it is designed to give the appearance of solidity to a desperately unstable status quo. A national plan for a national problem that pleases nobody. The end result of a long and stupid process that put the one thing government can't deliver - lower power bills - at the centre of the debate. It will have no impact on carbon emissions. It is not worth doing, except as a political exercise, and the very emptiness of the political exercise has experienced commentators slavering when they should be sneering.

Iemma then ...

Morris Iemma succeeded Bob Carr as NSW Premier in 2005. He saw off two internal challengers in Craig Knowles and Carl Scully, and led Labor to victory in the 2007 election over a Liberal Party convulsed by a Christianist insurgency. Then it all went wrong, first gradually and then suddenly.

Iemma made the politically fatal error of departing from Carr's proven model for success: manage the daily spin cycle and forget big, long-term issues.

Increased public patronage of public transport strained aging infrastructure. You might think Labor would be good at public transport, and maybe in other jurisdictions they are, but not in NSW:
  • Jack Lang built one fucking bridge, and that was initiated by the conservatives (see below).
  • All those Labor Premiers from the 1940s, '50s, and '60s who look like they're sculpted from mashed potato bought some buses but did little else infrastructure-wise. One of them, Joe Cahill, actually used to work at the Eveleigh rail yards but is better known for his expressway and opera house....

09:33

Emma Husar Yet another institutional failure "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

By John Tons By now most Australians will have moved on from the Emma Husar episode. For those who managed to miss it here is a brief synopsis: Emma Husar is a first-term politician. There were indications that her staff were not happy with her management style, in addition some of her staff made

The post Emma Husar Yet another institutional failure appeared first on The AIM Network.

09:22

Thats got to hurt "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The Mocker is out and about commenting on the Victorian governments decision to ban Sky News from train stations. In relation to Laura Jayes skewering Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan:

By this stage viewers no doubt concluded Allan was unfit to narrate the childrens television series Thomas the Tank Engine, let alone be in charge of a major metropolitan rail network. To paraphrase The Fat Controller, Jacinta was not proving to be a really useful engine.

Thats the funniest thing Ive read all day.

Mind you The Mocker doesnt point to the greater farce in that whole story: The left managed to get a blackfella sacked because he had interviewed a white supremacist on a TV show that almost nobody watches.

08:30

Simele: The massacre that history forgot "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Simele: The massacre that history forgotVanessa Powell recounts her experience visiting the site of the Simele Massacre, an event that history seems to have forgotten read now...

07:52

Mini Roundup "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

The latest from Quillette. At CIS tonight.

University campuses throughout the West are in the grip of a troubling social phenomenon, now in danger of spreading beyond the ivy walls. Once bastions of intellectual rigour and freedom of thought, universities have become closed-minded and self-censoring, pandering to what appear from the outside to be ridiculously heightened sensitivities and undeserved entitlement.

Don Aitkin on the NEG. Worst policy botch ever? Jo Nova on the climate circus back in town.

The Australian government, despite the polls showing Australians dont want to pay more for renewables, has agreed to try to legislate a 26% reduction in emissions, setting a target in stone that almost no other country has done. (Have any?) Most countries have committed to nothing, or rather, theyve committed to building nearly 300 coal plants. Theyre planning 400 more.

Dont sell your overcoat! The planet is experiencing an unexplained major cooling and scientists are ignoring it.

07:02

A contempt of Parliament? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Today in the sparring over the waka-jumping bill, Nick Smith reminded everyone of something we'd forgotten about: NZ First's dubious attempts to coerce their Members of Parliament:

NZ First leader Winston Peters has defended a clause in the party's constitution which hold MPs liable for a $300,000 penalty if they resign.

The clause states that every member who is elected as a New Zealand First list MP or constituency MP, must sign a "resignation obligation contract" which imposes a "liability for liquidated damages in the sum of $300,000" if they resign or are expelled from caucus or the party.

Peters said a lot of time and money was put on the line and "no one is entitled to jeopardise it and just walk off without any regard to the proportionality of the vote at election time, that's why it's important".

[...]

National MP Nick Smith asked Justice Minister Andrew Little in Parliament whether the Government supported MPs being subjected to legally binding contracts requiring them to pay $300,000 if they fell out with their party.

Little said he had no knowledge of such an arrangement and it sounded hypothetical.


Clearly, its not: its part of NZ First's constitution. And, as Andrew Geddis explained last time this came up, its clearly unenforceable: no court will touch a contract which purports to determine whether someone is an MP, and any attempt to enforce such a contract (that is, to financially punish someone for being an MP) would be a clear contempt of Parliament. But while the clause may be unenforceable, like a lot of other illegal contracts, it still may be treated as binding by its victims and influence their behaviour. So its worth asking: insofar as it threatens MPs in the course of their official duties, is the rule itself also a contempt? Hopefully the Privileges Committee will give us an answer.

07:00

Beware of rabid zealots "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

By Ad astra Lets remind ourselves of the meaning of zealot. Historically, it denoted a member of a fanatical sect in Judea during the first century AD that militantly opposed the Roman domination of Palestine. Today it describes a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of religious, political, or other ideals. We still

The post Beware of rabid zealots appeared first on The AIM Network.

06:50

Sanjeev Sabhlok: Fraser Annings ill-articulated concerns are a fight for Australias soul "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

I moved to Australia nearly 18 years ago. Many people in India were astonished, given I was so close to the top of the pecking order of Indias governance system. But I had become increasingly frustrated with the ultra-corrupt governance system. It was time to get out.

To me Australia represented both a well-governed country and a country that had largely adopted the concepts of liberty and rule of law: concepts that underpin the idea of Western civilization, also known as liberalism.

I was fortunate to find a role as a public servant from the vantage point of which I found that Australias governance system is for the most part driven by good rational thinking and sensible economic analysis.

But I am also keenly aware of Australias rapid drift to the left. The foundations of liberty that attracted me to Australia are being rapidly eroded not so much by any blacks but by white leftists.

My concerns are similar in some way to those of Fraser Anning, but the confusions in his speech made the media lose the bigger picture the defence of Western civilisation that he was talking about. A careful review of Annings speech suggests that he was basically defending the foundational ethic of Australia as a Western liberal democracy.

He did not even remotely suggest that anyone be exterminated. All he suggested with regard to immigration was a plebiscite. If the media cant understand the difference between the two, then something has gone seriously wrong with basic English education in this country.

You can hear the echo of many of his ideas in the views of more sophisticated commentators like Paul Kelly who in his 11 August article in The Australian (Australia ignores its successful integration policies at its peril) raised many of the same issues that Anning pointed out, such as Central to this task is the unresolved story of Muslim integration.

This is now a major issue staring us in the face. I was alarmed when I recently discovered that a 23- year old woman visitor to Australia was forbidden by the Police from walking down the Haldon street in Lekemba suburb in Sydney because Muslims might be offended.

It is high time for all Australians to unite to defend its core foundations of liberty and democracy. That includes insisting that all faiths should be able to happily live here so long as no one threatens violence. The Police must defend peoples liberty to walk down a street. Anning is right to raise a real and very fundamental problem the impending loss of Australias soul.

I consider myself more Western (as a firm promoter of critical thinking and liberty) than most Australians. In fact, not many people are aware that the core ideas of liberty, tolerance and good economic policy first arose 2500 years ago i...

06:41

The media have a perfect right to be liars and fools "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

But others then have a perfect right to call them liars and fools when they are. So what are those liars and fools doing now: Almost 350 news outlets to publish editorials denouncing Trumps dirty war on press.

Nearly 350 news organizations are set to publish editorials on Thursday pushing back against Donald Trumps attacks on the media and defending freedom of the press.

The publications are participating in a push organized by the Boston Globe to run coordinated editorials denouncing what the paper called a dirty war against the free press.

As of Wednesday morning, 343 publications had pledged to participate, said Marjorie Pritchard, the Globes deputy managing editor overseeing the opinion page.

Ad nauseam and etc. These people are beyond irony, but preaching to their own choir as they do, and living in their own bubbles of ignorance, they are astonished at the very first major politician who has pointed out how vast media bias has become. No one outside the left will now trust anything written in the press or reported on the news as a straight, down the line, factual and balanced report about anything. Not even the weather; specially the weather. Everything is filtered through the story-line perspective of the day. Take this from that same article:

Trump has stepped up his attacks on the media in recent weeks. At a rally in Pennsylvania, he pointed out the journalists covering the event and derided them as fake, fake, disgusting news. The White House barred a CNN reporter from covering a public event after she asked Trump a question.

Heres the more complete story, and you have no idea how hard it was to find even this.

Why would you believe a thing they say without confirmation from some other source? This, however, is how they see things in the same article.

It is not the presss job to save the United States from Mr Trump. It is the presss job to report, delve, analyse and scrutinise as best it can and without fear, the Guardians editorial says.

Mr Trumps insults and incitements are a calculated danger to that, and to the respect, civility and dialogue that should exist between the press and its readers. The Guardian stands with the US press in its efforts to maintain the objectivity and the moral boundaries that this president like so many others in much more dangerous parts of the world is doing so much to destroy.

...

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