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IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.

Thursday, 19 April


Turnbull Government will ignore this call to extend Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry at its own electoral peril "IndyWatch Feed"

Remember When Australian Prime Minister and former merchant banker Malcolm Bligh Turnbull ruled out a bankig royal commission?

Telling the nation; "I can tell you wehave as a government decided not to have a royal commission, we made thedecision a long time ago, not because we don't believe there is nothing goingon in terms of problems with the banks, it is because we want to take actionright now and we are".

Recall the time and other limits placed on the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry when it was finally established on 14 December 2017? Giving it the power to ignore anything that it wanted to that would otherwise be within its scope. 

Well things did not go entirely to plan for Malcolm and his banker mates.

Because since13 March 2018 the curtain has been drawn back revealing the systemic unethical, deceitful, rapacious, sometimes fraudulent and, in certain instances criminal behaviour, of the financial sector.

National Australia Bank, Westpac, St George, Citibank, ANZ, AMP Insurance and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, along with their financial services spin-offs, had all come under some degree of scrutiny by mid-April with more hearings still sheduled.



A measure of justice for an Australian tweeter "IndyWatch Feed"

The win wont eradicate the sustained personal stress or financial difficulties that such an unfair dismissal imposed still it was pleasing see this tweeter's actions recognised as the right to freedom of political expression.

Hopefully Comcare will not be so bloody minded as to appeal the judgement,

A  former Immigration official sacked over tweets critical of Australia's asylum seeker policy has won a fight for compensation, after an appeals tribunal found her dismissal was unlawful and described government efforts to restrict anonymous comments from its employees as Orwellian.

The decision on Monday will redirect scrutiny to the Immigration Department's dismissal of Michaela Banerji for tweeting criticisms of detention policies, and challenges Australian Public Service rules stopping public servants from expressing their political views on social media.

Ms Banerji took the government to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal after federal workplace insurer Comcare refus...


African Gangs Makes Melburnians Afraid To Go Out, But AMP And The Banks Make People Unsafe In Their Houses "IndyWatch Feed"

Now, I know that Im meant to write satire but sometimes I just have to use my language skills to point out what is probably bleedin obvious. Compare the way the conservatives among us thunder on about burglaries and carjackings to the way they respond to people who are prepared to steal your life-savings No,

The post African Gangs Makes Melburnians Afraid To Go Out, But AMP And The Banks Make People Unsafe In Their Houses appeared first on The AIM Network.


Emissions and the meeting of energy ministers "IndyWatch Feed"

Ben Potter, who as a useful idiot, was leaked a copy of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) report by the Victorian Government, reports today that the states are likely to sign off on the NEG at their meeting tomorrow. Potter is excoriated by Terry McCrann in todays Herald Sun for his pandering to green energy myths.

NEG has twin features of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector together with a measure that ensures wind supply has a firming contract to compensate for its inherent unreliability.

Former Senator Ron Boswell entered the fray with a piece in todays Australian calling for Liddell to be replaced saying,

Some have likened the option to socialism. Rubbish. The energy market was socialised by intervention a long time ago. A $45bn subsidy and guaranteed market share for renewables is not socialism? Would the car market be a real market if the government said 23 per cent of cars sold had to be a Tesla and that Tesla would receive a subsidy of $30,000 for every car sold?

Boswell also argues that under the amended section 44 of the trade practices act AGL could be forced to sell since its closure would be substantially lessening competition in a substantial market.  And the Acting NSW Premier, John Barilaro, today came out in favour of a forcible acquisition of the Liddell plant.

Hardly any MPs Craig Kelly being a notable exception have undertaken the laborious research necessary to understand the energy market and its many faceted regulations; most accept the bromides that demonise coal and promote the need to reduce emissions to save the world.  But politicians do recognise the fact that prices have risen and voters are not pleased.  Moreover, voters have no allegiance to private property rights that are not their own as this recent Yougov survey illustrates.



Has World War III started or did the Great War never really end? "IndyWatch Feed"

Has World War III started or did the Great War never really end?Many fear that the Alliance missile strikes on Syria on the weekend utilities will trigger another world war, however contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence says the first one never ended. read now...


Economics in Two Lessons, Chapter 9 "IndyWatch Feed"

Thanks to everyone who the first eight chapters of my book-in-progress, Economics in Two Lessons. Ive found the comments on Chapter 8 valuable, but havent yet found time to edit in response to them. Soon, I hope!

In the meantime, Ive posted a draft of Chapter 9: Market Failure. Comments, criticism and praise are welcome.

The book so far is available
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: What is opportunity cost?
Chapter 2: Markets, opportunity cost and equilibrium
Chapter 3:Time, information and uncertainty
Chapter 4:Lesson 1: Applications.
Chapter 5: Lesson 1 and economic policy.
Chapter 6: The opportunity cost of destruction
Chapter 7: Property rights, and income distribution
Chapter 8:Unemployment


In which the pond spends quality time with Ronnie and the onion muncher ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Somebody had to crack the joke

As for scientists debating the cause of the reef toll, when the pond dropped in it seemed clear enough, whether at the ABC here, or at Fairfax here

The Federal Government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority concluded the bleaching in 2016 was caused by a record-breaking marine heatwave, caused by a combination of climate change and the El Nino weather cycle. Water on the reef was more than a 1 degree Celsius warmer than the average for that time of year, and for much of it there was little cloud cover that would offer corals respite from the heat stress. "We're anticipating more of these events as global warming continues," Professor Hughes said. "We're into a new system. " Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick from the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales recently published work showing underwater heatwaves have increased in both their duration and frequency over the past century, with a sudden uptick since the 1980s. As a result, on average around the globe, there are 54 per cent more days each year that are subject to a marine heatwave.

There doesn't seem to be much debate about it, except in Lloydie's octopi-fevered imagination.

The pond has no idea how Lloydie lives with himself, and the dissembling crap that he peddles for the reptiles, but thankfully doesn't have to care, because this day the onion muncher was out and about tweeting to promote the reptiles and his good mate Ron - apparently they can do a form of stuffing these days which allows mummies to stroll out of the museum as if they're alive



The world is about to end! "IndyWatch Feed"

By Anthony Andrews The world is about to end! Not really, its just that, like on the TV news or at the box office, real world events that arent at the extreme ends of the spectrum dont grab anybodys attention we want monsters. We want heroes and villains. We want drama! Unfortunately, most of the

The post The world is about to end! appeared first on The AIM Network.


Ken Henry "IndyWatch Feed"

I can almost forgive Dr Henry for his recent tantrums about the lack of progress on tax reform which he had neglected when Treasury Secretary for 10 years.

But his latest comments are absolutely outrageous. He blames investors for the poor behaviour of banks and investors also for driving up banker bonuses.

Here he is the chairman of NAB which has enjoyed far flung board/executive retreats on his $790,000 salary and responsible for the setting of executive remuneration for NAB and its culture.

Investors have no control over remuneration or culture and limited control over the Board after all under the three strikes rule it is just about impossible for a diverse range of small holdings to sack a board.

The largest shareholder in NAB is HSBC custody nominees. That is a proxy for other investors and while listed with 23.9 per cent of the shares, HSBC does not have 23.9 per cent of the vote. But in any case, is Ken Henry complaining that banks own banks? So even if his arguement was correct, it is the banks themselves with the control.

And if the Board of NAB does not in fact control the decisions of the banks strategy, risk appetite, policy, governance and remuneration, why dont they resign?

Because his argument is crap. The Board is responsible for all of that and he is the chairman. Stop blaming others Ken for your own errors.

If there is a complex remuneration policy with over 30 pages in its annual report it is because the Board agreed to it. The Corporations Act makes quite clear that the Board has responsibility for the actions of the bank. If Henry wants to abdicate that responsibility he should resign or ASIC should act against him for neglecting his directors duties.

The biggest problem in the banking sector is certainly not investors. It is the principal-agent problem where the Board and Executives are extracting rent from the owners. The terrible behaviour observed at the Royal Commission is due to poor behaviour by Boards and Executives, not investors.

Ken Henry its time you accepted responsibility rather than shirking it. If the remuneration practices at NAB need to change, that is something you can act upon. Otherwise step aside and let someone else take over who is willing to act.




When extension becomes effective refusal "IndyWatch Feed"

I've had a lot of bad OIA experiences, and my fair share of Ministers and officials playing games with extensions to delay access to documents until an issue is out of the media. However, I've never had anything as bad as this Canadian requester, who had an agency give itself an 80 year extension on an Access to Information Act request:

A federal institution has given itself what may be the longest-ever time extension to respond to a citizen's request under the Access to Information Act at least 80 years, which will delay the delivery of documents to 2098 or beyond.

"I may get those records in my next lifetime," 70-year-old Michael Dagg, the requester and longtime user of the act, said in an interview.

Dagg asked Library and Archives Canada (LAC) for files from Project Anecdote, an RCMP investigation into money laundering and public corruption that was launched in May 1993.

No charges were ever laid in the massive probe, which concluded in 2003. The voluminous Mountie files were eventually turned over to the government archives.

"You will note the extensive list of responsive records and we will need up to an 80-year minimum (bringing the due date to the year 2098)," LAC advised Dagg in writing last week, warning that consulting other departments would add more time.

This seems to be the longest AIA extension in Canadian history, and it effectively amounts to a refusal. There's good reason - the file is 780,000 pages, so there's a lot to go through and redact - and in New Zealand it is likely that it would simply be refused as requiring substantial collation and research. That at least would be honest; instead Library and Archives Canada is pretending that they're going to grant the request, while pretty obviously having no intention of doing so in practice - the files will be released when they would be required to be made public under public records law, and not before. Which means this "extension" is simply an official exercise in deceit.


In which the pond visits the bromancer and Dame Groan for a little catechismal refresher course ... "IndyWatch Feed"

It occurred to the pond that perhaps there were many scandals in the middle east, not limited to, but including the behaviour of the British empire, assorted forces in the second world war, the Russians, the Americans, the Iraq war and all the fellow travellers who cheered it on in the lizard Oz, or those like the dog botherer were in the game, and assorted slaughters over the years, not limited to the terrorist Zionists who suddenly became statesmen, but also the Arab terrorists who played the same game

Ah remember the olden days, when The Age's editorialist railed at the Jewish thugs and worried about the Jews in the mother country (the pond has joined the date to the editorial - the first piece was some hand-wringing about Britain's then economic crisis roll on Brexit and the need for the colonies to step up ...) 

Scum from the ghettoes of Europe

Well you wouldn't be saying that these days ...

Sorry, whenever the pond stumbles across the bromancer talking about the suffering of Xians, it's always drawn back in time to the suffering of displaced others but perhaps it's best to get on with the current bout of paranoia and persecution complex ...



Less than open II "IndyWatch Feed"

Back in March, I received some OIA'd documents from Clare Curran, the Minister of Open Government. Among other things, they showed that SSC had presented her with an draft open government strategy in November. Naturally, it was kept secret. I was curious about this, so sent in a followup request seeking information about this strategy. Today I received the response. Despite at least four months having passed since it was given to the Minister, the strategy is still being kept secret, supposedly because it is under "active consideration" (as opposed to under a desk somewhere being ignored). One thing that is clear however is that SSC's proposal that the strategy be consulted on at the same time as the Open Government Partnership action plan was rejected - that consultation is currently underway, and there's no mention of the strategy at all.

SSC did release some pretty powerpoint slides, including one of "actions taking place in the open government system". Naturally, this includes something secret. But it also mentions under international actions the idea of "New Zealand taking a leadership role in the Open Government Partnership". Of course, to do that, we'd have to start by developing an action plan which actually displayed some ambition, rather than just being a grab-bag of unambitious business-as-usual policies. And they'd need to walk the talk on consultation, rather than treating it as a box to be ticked. Whether they're actually doing that is left as an exercise for the reader.


EDITORIAL: The 'shocking' Royal Commission and the banking mafia "IndyWatch Feed"

EDITORIAL: The 'shocking' Royal Commission and the banking mafiaThe most shocking thing about the Banking Royal Commission is how shocked so many profess to be by its findings. read now...


Tony Shepherd is well paid to tell the government what it wants to hear "IndyWatch Feed"

Tony Shepherd has been paid $55,000 for 17 days work producing a report which recommended that the rules governing the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund be changed to allow the government to pretty much do what it likes with its five billion dollar slush fund. Thats the same Tony Shepherd who was paid $85,000 for a

The post Tony Shepherd is well paid to tell the government what it wants to hear appeared first on The AIM Network.


Tools of the trade: Australias new investment in global health R&D "IndyWatch Feed"

The global market for medical products is shaped mainly by the demands of wealthy consumers. It rarely calls into being the tools needed to combat diseases that afflict primarily poor countries therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines, as well as technologies that prevent the spread of disease such as insecticide-treated bed nets. Where such products do exist, its often down to the needs of tourists and soldiers and those products tend to fail over time as microbes and vectors evolve to evade our defences.

At the same time, governments and publicly or philanthropically funded research institutions generally do not have all the expertise required to discover, develop and create production pathways for such products.

Thats where Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) come in. PDPs are lean, not-for-profit public health intermediary organisations. They catalyse the discovery and development of global health products by bringing together public and private sector research and development expertise across a broad portfolio of product candidates. Some candidates succeed, some fall by the wayside.

The net effect of the 16 major PDPs work over the past two decades has been an impressive reinvigoration of the pipeline of tools for global health. Most importantly, a growing number of these tools have been approved for use, are under consideration by regulatory agencies, or are in late-stage trials.

When the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, launched Australias Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region in October 2017, she announced that Australia would commit $75 million over five years to support the work of PDPs from 2018. This represents the Australian aid programs single largest commitment to global health research and development, and a 50% increase in PDP funding in annual terms.



If this is true, why arent they in jail? "IndyWatch Feed"

Not bad men! They are evil beyond belief. From Instapundit.

MICHAEL MUKASEY: Trump, Cohen, and Attorney-Client Privilege: The protection has limits, but is it worth testing them over a possible campaign-finance offense?

After anthrax spores killed five people, infected 17 others, and showed up in envelopes mailed to U.S. senators and media organizations in 2001, the current special counsel, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spent years chasing and destroying the reputation of a microbiologist named Steven Hatfill, zealous in the belief that Mr. Hatfill was the guilty party. Another zealot, James Comey, then deputy attorney general, said he was absolutely certain no mistake had been made.

After Mr. Hatfill was exoneratedhe received more than $5.5 million in damages from the governmentMr. Mueller then decided that another microbiologist, Bruce Ivins, was the culprit. When Ivins committed suicide, Mr. Mueller pronounced the case closed. A subsequent investigation by the National Academy of Sciences suggests Ivins too was innocent.

Mr. Mueller is not a bad man, nor is Mr. Comey. Its just that both show particular confidence when making mistakes, which makes one grateful for safeguards like the attorney-client privilege.

Well, I wouldnt say that Mueller and Comey are good men. And neither has faced any significant accountability for his mistakes and misbehavior.

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Wednesday, 18 April


Panel show by numbers: ABC Q&A, Syria and all the usual suspects "IndyWatch Feed"

Panel show by numbers: ABC Q&A, Syria and all the usual suspectsThe latest episode of ABC Q&A revealed just how formulaic and two-dimensional the show is in its approach to serious issues, writes Binoy Kampark. read now...


In which the reptiles assure the pond the big one is coming ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Somewhere along the line in the pond's mind, the big kahuna transferred its meaning of sorcerer, magician, wizard and diviner to the event itself

The big kahuna came to mean the big one, the war to end war, as war has done so often

Never mind, the lizard Oz is full of prophets, seers, and such like, helping fill the void with FUD, and can anyone be a better kahuna that the one that yearns for, calls for the big kahuna?

The big one, armageddon, apocalypse, end times, annihilation, the catastrophic cataclysm that will produce decimation and devastation and it's "just around the corner."

Mmm, that's just a tad vague. Are we to expect the end with an autumn/spring onslaught, or perhaps by Thanksgiving, or Halloween, or by Christmas, or can we hang on until next Easter?

Naturally the pond was compelled



Pitching beyond the aid enthusiasts three simple aid messages "IndyWatch Feed"

We need to communicate aid better is a constant chorus among those working in aid and development in Australia. Against the background of major aid cuts and the integration of AusAID into DFAT, parliamentarians tell the aid community we need to sell the message better. Minister Julie Bishop has said, support for our invaluable aid program has to come from home, from the Australian taxpayer. So the Australian taxpayers must support it, and that will come with a better appreciation of its purpose, its intent and the outcomes. The winning 3-Minute Aid Pitch from the 2017 Australasian Aid Conference was that we need to communicate aid better. Agencies band together to campaign for Australian aid. DFAT earnestly tweets happy snaps of aid events and initiatives. And yet something isnt working: further deep cuts to aid are being floated and the public seems largely indifferent.

So: are there some simple aid messages that we aid enthusiasts in government, NGOs, academia, and the private sector can use when we engage with non-aid enthusiasts? We know that aid and development assistance is complex. There are a multitude of issues and strands that can be bewildering for those of us working in this sector, let alone those who dont. We easily slip into the jargon of aid and development, but it can be like putting up a brick wall against those whose support for aid we actually want to encourage.

Here is an attempt at three simple messages to help explain the aid program:

Message #1: Overseas aid is less than 1% of Australian Government spending

The aid community talks about Australia only spending 0.22% of GNI on aid, against the UN target of 0.7% and with that sentence alone weve probably lost most of our potential audience. So lets talk about a more commonly understood idea,...


Motivated by justice: defending the worlds courageous people "IndyWatch Feed"

Australian human rights lawyer and member of the legal team defending Wikileaks since 2010, talks about the hacker from Queensland who chose to fight against surveillance capitalism. Interview.

lead lead Photograph: George Hughes / Illustration: Celia LeoudiYorgos Boskos (YB): How did you get involved in the first place with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange?

Jennifer Robinson (JR): Julian first reached out to myself and a colleague of mine, the Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, in around September 2010. This was just before WikiLeaks was about to publish the Iraq war logs. Julian was in London, preparing that release, which came several months later, at the end of November. He was working with the Guardian and a group of other international newspapers.

It was around the time when there was concern about what might happen in Sweden, where there was an open investigation into sexual allegations that had previously being dropped. It now seemed that Julian might have to answer those allegations. So, Julian required assistance and advice. It was also the time, of course, that Chelsea Manning was arrested, and a US criminal investigation in grand jury had been announced.

YB: What was your first impression on meeting Julian Assange?

JR: Here was a man with a small group of volunteers and a backpack. And in his interactions with me what he was really doing was making his very brave decisions about what to publish. There were a lot of public threats being made against him at that particular time. He was incredibly security-conscious - conscious of the fact that they were pursuing him, trying to find ways to prosecute and investigate him. So apart from his remarkable work, the other factor was the strength of the state response that was building against him. He was perceived to be the most powerful man in the world, in that period. And why? Because he had access to that information.

YB: During your TEDx speech in Sydney in 2013, you stated that courage is contagious. Do you...


None of the financial institutions are coming away from this Royal Commission covered in glory "IndyWatch Feed"

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was established on 14 December 2017, is due to hand down an interim report no later than 30 September 2018 followed by a final report by 1 February 2019.

As of 13 April 2018 the royal commission has received 3,433 public submissions - 69% of these were Banking, 8% Superannuation 8% and 7% Financial Advice.

Round 2 public hearings finish on 27 April 2018.

View the live webcast or previous hearings.

Yesterday was the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's turn to reluctantly admit systemic fraud ....

The Guardian18 April 2018:

Counsel assisting the royal commission, Mark Costello, asked Linda Elkins, from CBAs wealth management arm Colonial First State, to confirm CBAs poor record of charging fees for no service.


Institute of Public Affairs Limited (IPA) has a single broad focus - to infiltrate government in order to reduce workers to a powerless underclass "IndyWatch Feed"

Given representatives of the Institute of Public Affairs Limited (IPA) turn up as guest commentators so frequently these days on television, radio and in newsprint - usually without mention of who they actually represent - perhaps it's time to update deatils of the corporate structure, finances and aims of this group.

This highly partisan, conservative political pressure group thinly disguised as an independent research group-cum-think tank was registered in Melbourne Victoria in 1987 and its legal owner appears to be The Trustee For Institute Of Public Affairs Research Trust. This trust was created on 10 July 2007.

In the 1990s it appears to have merged with the the Australian Institute of Public Policy.

IPA became a&nbsp...


Liberal Energy The too hard party "IndyWatch Feed"

By 1PETERMCC How poor is the understanding of our energy market by the Coalition government? Check these data. When Tony Abbott became PM he slashed the Renewable Energy Target from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000 claiming the target could not be met. Not only was that revised target met, the original is going to be exceeded, too.

The post Liberal Energy The too hard party appeared first on The AIM Network.


Without me, they wouldnt be discussing anything "IndyWatch Feed"

Stormy Daniels is still news, but this barely raises a ripple: US and North Korea holding extremely high level talks ahead of Trumps meeting with Kim Jong-un.

We have had direct talks at very high levels extremely high levels with North Korea, Trump said.

Well either have a very good meeting or we wont have a good meeting, he added. And maybe we wont even have a meeting at all, depending on whats going in. But I think that theres a great chance to solve a world problem. The president did not answer shouted questions about whether he has spoken with Kim.

Kims offer for a summit was initially conveyed to Trump by South Korea last month, and the president shocked many when it was announced that he had accepted. US officials have indicated over the past two weeks that North Koreas government has communicated directly with Washington that it is ready to discuss its nuclear weapons program.

Abe, who has voiced fears that short- and medium-range missiles that pose a threat to Japan might not be part of the US negotiations, praised Trump on Tuesday for his bravery in agreeing to meet with the North Korean dictator.

Id like to commend Donalds courage in his decision to have the upcoming summit meeting with the North Korean leader, Abe said.

Trump took credit for the inter-Korean talks, saying, Without us and without me, in particular, I guess you would have to say, they wouldnt be discussing anything.

Time Magazine does, however, find the right sort of nincompoop analysis: Will Trump Make a Bad Deal With North Korea?

You never know, but hell likely make a better deal than anyone else has since 1950. But it is a funny thing that I share one worry with the media and the left: whether Trump will make it for another seven years. The difference is they worry that he will and I worry that he wont.


CARTOON: Trump Zucks "IndyWatch Feed"

CARTOON: Trump ZucksOnce more unto the breach, dear fiends... read now...


In which the pond finds the energy to do the dance with Josh, the onion muncher, petulant Peta and the oscillating fan ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Moving quickly along - the sight of a lover spurned always distresses the pond - it seems an eternity since the onion muncher bobbed up on the front page of the lizard Oz, either the digital or tree killer edition - perhaps as much as an astonishing 24 hours.

It's the business of the reptiles to keep him front and centre as a stick with which to beat Malware and to remind the wets of all the many virtues of dinkum clean Oz coal as a solution to any passing energy problem oi, oi, oi

Of course that makes it the business of the pond too, and so without shame or remorse, the pond intends to revive some recent outings

First came petulant Peta, and a good chance to see the MAMIL in action ...

Sure it's as stale as mouldy bread caught out in Sydney humidity, but it's better than nothing. Brush off the mould, slip it in the toaster, and away you go ...

Sure enough, Albo and Sukkar and the whole damn thing set the oscillating fan off ...



Cyber war: Russia not playing by the rules, if there are any rules "IndyWatch Feed"

Cyber war: Russia not playing by the rules, if there are any rulesIs the Government's cybersecurity advice following Russian trolling activity sufficient or are deeper protections required? read now...


Antifa is liberalism, feminism is cancer, and Im a monkeys uncle "IndyWatch Feed"

My first reaction on reading Marianne Garneaus essay Antifa is liberalism (Ritual, April 11, 2018) was: lolwut. The second was to be reminded of Ward Churchills essay Pacifism As Pathology: in particular, his being at pains to distinguish between, on Continue reading


In which the pond wonders if Dames are boojums ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond realised, with shock, consternation and awe that it hadn't thought about the Devine for weeks, possibly months

Ever since the blessed Terror paywall brought blessed relief and now it seems the dear thing has to resort to attention-seeking trolling for a little attention

If only the lizards of Oz did the same, and the pond could wind up and go home, but still they allow a few to escape the paywall and haunt the pond, and then it occurred to the pond what a whiz it would be to have two Dames in the one piece

Just the place for a Dame! the pond cried, 
As she landed her crew with care; 
Supporting each person on the top of the tide 
By a finger entwined in his or her hair. 
Just the place for a Dame! I have said it twice: 
That alone should encourage the crew. 
Just the place for a Dame! I have said it thrice: 
What I tell you three times is true.

So the pond got out its handy map

and went in search of a Dame, so that it might begin its agony in two fits of dames, and sure enough, there was Dame Slap doing her thing ...



Elderly, disabled, jobless or homeless? The Coalition is still blaming you "IndyWatch Feed"

Elderly, disabled, jobless or homeless? The Coalition is still blaming youIn short, the take-home message from the Turnbull Government is, if youre poor, its your fault. read now...


A convenient purge "IndyWatch Feed"

At the moment the UK government is persecuting the "Windrush generation". People who legally migrated to the UK and have a legal right to remain are being thrown out of their jobs and threatened with deportation unless they can prove that fact. But it turns out that before they started this persecution, the UK government destroyed all the evidence that they were legal migrants:

Proof that could have spared members of the Windrush generation from the threat of deportation was destroyed by the Home Office under Theresa May, it has been revealed.

Thousands of landing cards recording dates of arrival in the UK were thrown away, despite staff warnings that it would be harder for Caribbean-born residents to establish their right to be in the UK.

The files were discarded in October 2010, when the current prime minister was home secretary, a former Home Office employee revealed.

Having destroyed that evidence, May then established a "hostile environment for illegal immigrants", requiring people to arbitrarily prove their residency in order to do pretty much anything. Naturally, this has provided cover for racists to discriminate against anyone who looks or sounds "foreign" because they might be an illegal immigrant. As for what it means in practice, here's a UK immigration lawyer's take on what would happen to Paddington Bear under May - and its not pretty.

While supposedly justified under data protection laws, retaining the information was obviously necessary, since people were regularly requesting it to prove their migration status. But I'm sure its just a complete coincidence that it was all destroyed right before a crackdown, and not part of a plan to engage in the mass deportation of people the Tories have always hated and think "don't belong" in the UK.


A good idea "IndyWatch Feed"

In the wake of Tony Blair's illegal war in Iraq, the UK had been developing a constitutional convention which saw Parliament vote on waging war, and this had prevented the UK from bombing Syria in 2013. But over the weekend, Theresa May violated that convention, joining the US in bombing Syria. And now, UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is calling for legislation to prevent it from happening again:

Jeremy Corbyn has called for a war powers act that would stop Theresa May from launching bombing raids without first consulting MPs.

The Labour leader said the prime minister should have strived for parliamentary approval before instigating UK involvement in yesterday's air strikes on Syrian targets.

And he called for a proper debate in parliament on Monday, concluding with a vote on action in Syria.


The MP for Islington North, who also called for a war powers act in 2016, continued: "I think what we need in this country is something more robust like a war powers act so governments do get held to account by parliament for what they do in our name".

Its a good idea, both on principled and pragmatic grounds. Foreign military operations are exactly the sort of thing which should require democratic approval by elected representatives, to ensure that there is a mandate. And such a requirement would help deter a warmongering executive and allow the UK people to take back control of their foreign policy from America.

But its not just a good idea for the UK, but a good one for New Zealand. In 2012, Labour promoted a Defence (Overseas Deployments) Amendment Bill which would have required explicit parliamentary consent for any deployment of more than 20 people. They should make that formal government policy, and commit to letting Parliament vote before kiwi troops are sent anywhere. And if future governments don't like that, they can always make it a question of confidence, and stand or fall on the result.


Holy Satanic Terror, it's Chuck-watch time is there an exorcist in the house? "IndyWatch Feed"

Now that the pond and the lizards of Oz have your click-baiting, trolling attention, let's get into the weirdness

Hmm, the pond is famous for its ability to crush sponges in the kitchen sink, speaks ad hoc Latin fluently, is a little bit rusty on Aramaic and blames Mel for that, and has an extreme revulsion at the sight of a cross, for some strange reason thinking that crucifixion is a tad barbaric, though admittedly not as problematic as eating human flesh and drinking human blood on a regular basis on a Sunday

So that's where journalism has landed in Britain and in The Times, and by extension, in the reptiles as they run tid-bits from their Pom kissing cousins, in search of click bait, while curiously maintaining a strident pay-wall ...

Not to worry, it's all the fault of social media and by the way the reptiles dragged this one out of the closet again, as an attempt to lure punters to their own brand of social media ...

Luckily the pond had already been there and done that, though it's a fair bet that the exorcist story will teach the Daily Mail a thing or two before sacking a journo or three



Climate change: Making farmers pay "IndyWatch Feed"

Yesterday the government announced its interim climate change committee - a group of experts to advise it on climate change policy. The group is intended to eventually become a permanent independent climate change commission once the government's Zero Carbon Act is passed, but they need advice now, so an interim body has been set up in the meantime. And their first order of business is working out how to make farmers pay for the pollution they cause:

A new climate change group has been immediately tasked with working out how New Zealand farmers can pay for their climate pollution.

And the highly controversial decision about whether and when the agricultural industry is charged for its greenhouse gases could fall close to the next election.


The commission won't be set up until May, and Shaw said that in the meantime work needed to get underway on two key issues agriculture's inclusion in the Emissions Trading Scheme and the goal of moving to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.

Any changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme will be finalised in late 2019, meaning if they are delayed they could be decided in the heat of the 2020 general election.

Agriculture is responsible for ~50% of our total greenhouse gas emissions, so working out how and when to bring it into the ETS and set it on a downward pathway is vital if we are to have any hope of reducing our emissions and doing our bit to reduce the damage caused by climate change. The current situation, where the rest of New Zealand effectively subsidises farmers to polluter, is neither fair nor effective, and provides farmers with no incentive at all to clean up their act. While any transition will need to take into account the technology and methods available to limit emissions, its important that we establish the principle of farmers paying their way, as well as providing an incentive to prevent further growth of their polluting industry. Neither the climate nor our rivers can afford more cows, and bringing farms into the ETS will help prevent that.

Naturally, the farmers are squealing at the prospect of being made to pay their own bills. We should resist that self-interested whining. We pay for our pollution now; they should too. Urban New Zealand should not be expected to support the polluting and environmentally destructive lifestyle of rural New Zealand.

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Tuesday, 17 April


Sexism and the city "IndyWatch Feed"

Sexism and the cityInstead of having it all, women have to do it all on their own, in cities that are not designed for them.  read now...


Day to Day Politics: Only in America, but then we willingly shake his hand. "IndyWatch Feed"

Wednesday 18 April 2018 How has it come to this? Australians have always had a sort of love-hate relationship with America. Whilst we come from an English heritage, it has been the United States that has had the most influence on our maturing as a Nation. You agree, guys? Rightly or wrongly we have followed

The post Day to Day Politics: Only in America, but then we willingly shake his hand. appeared first on The AIM Network.


Liberals continue to behave badly in 2018 - Part Four "IndyWatch Feed"

Just five months after Australian voters signalled their widespread acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) members of the community by voting for the introduction of same sex marriage, a number people in the Victorian Liberal Party want to turn back the clock in the name of sheer bigotry.

The Age, 14 April 2018:

A motion by a conservative Liberal branch linked to Federal MP Kevin Andrews has called for state legislation allowing health practitioners to offer counselling out of same sex attraction or gender transitioning to patients who request it''.

With seven months before the Victorian election, it also urges Mr Guy to advocate for laws ensuring parents and young people are all given full information about the psychological harms of social, medical and surgical gender transitioning.

It further states that any claims supporting prescribing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and g...


I know just what he means "IndyWatch Feed"

This is by Roger McGough where I found it reprinted in The Oxford Book of Comic Verse


I think about dying.
About disease, starvation,
violence, terrorism, war,
the end of the world.

It helps
keep my mind off things.


Ho, Ho, Ho, Scott Is Santa, While A Shorten Government Will Fail To Balance The Budget! "IndyWatch Feed"

Theres an old saying, Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me! Fool me over and over again, you must be the Murdoch Press telling me that the Liberal Party are great economic managers Yep, I did think that most ridiculous thing I heard was Sean Hannitys denial that he was

The post Ho, Ho, Ho, Scott Is Santa, While A Shorten Government Will Fail To Balance The Budget! appeared first on The AIM Network.


Australias Bushfires Threatening Nuclear Reactor: Changing the Name of a Suburb Helps the Government Keep this Quiet "IndyWatch Feed"

Fires as of April 16-17th. To give an idea of the map scale: Barden Ridge to Menai is approximately 3 km.
By Noel Wauchope: Australias bushfires threatening nuclear reactor: Changing the name of a suburb helps the government keep this quiet. Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: The untold threat of the Sydney bushfires:,11401 16 April 2018


For socialism and democracy "IndyWatch Feed"

As I mentioned a while ago, in the years that Ive been blogging, Ive described my political perspective as social-democratic. In earlier years, I mostly used democratic socialist. My reason for the switch was that, in a market liberal/neoliberal era, the term socialist had become a statement of aspiration without any concrete meaning or any serious prospect of realisation. By contrast, social democracy represented the Keynesian welfare state I was defending against market liberal reform.

In the decade since the Global Financial Crisis, things have changed. Socialism still describes an aspiration, rather than a concrete political program, but an aspiration to a better society is what we need now as a positive response to the evident failure of neoliberalism.

On the other side of the ledger, nominally social democratic parties nearly all failed the test of the crisis, accepting to a greater or lesser degree to the politics of austerity. Some, like PASOK in Greece, have paid the price in full. Others, like Labor in Australia, are finally showing some spine. In practice, though, social democracy has come to stand, at best, for technocratic managerialism, and at worst for capitulation to the demands of financial capital.

So, Ive changed the description of this blogs perspective to socialist. I havent however, adopted the formulation democratic socialist which was used, in the 20th century, to emphasise a rejection of the Stalinist claim to have produced actually existing socialism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. Thats no longer necessary.

As has been true for most of the history of the modern world, the only serious threat to democracy is now coming from the right. So, its important to defend democracy as well as advancing the case for socialism.


In which the pond's glass slips from nerveless fingers and shatters on the floor ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Oh please, please, miss, can the pond answer that? 

It's been half-empty because it's been quite a while since the Department of Finance stumped up the last grant report, and we've been running on cash in the paw empty ever since

And with that ritual out of the way - it never gets old for the pond - it's on with the latest bout of Caterism.

The pond realises that the Caterist is hugely popular amongst those who occasionally drop in to enjoy the pons'a circus, perhaps because clowns work well whether it's a comedy or a horror show.

It mystifies the pond why the reptiles would let the Caterists out from behind the paywall, seeing as how the Caterists probably represent the best path forward for their business plan a bit like the Speccie mob

Or maybe not, maybe the pond's just filling its irony quota for the day ...

Never mind, let him out they did, and the pond thought the next best thing to ignoring him was to slip him into the graveyard shift, so that only those with empty glasses would seek him out  


National opposes oversight of our spies "IndyWatch Feed"

Yesterday, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and security announced the creation of a civil society reference group to provide advice on her work programme. The group includes lawyers, intelligence policy experts, journalists and civil libertarians, and many have been strong critics of New Zealand's intelligence agencies in the past. Journalist Nicky Hager is the most prominent of these, but the group also includes Deborah Manning (who represented Ahmed Zaoui in his battle for freedom), journalist David Fisher, and Thomas Beagle of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties. Together, they'll help bring a more critical eye to the IGIS' work, and raise issues of concern which the IGIS may not have thought of. And if we want robust oversight of the spies to stop them getting out of control, that's a Good Thing.

Naturally, though, National is outraged at the thought that anyone who isn't part of the spy-club getting to have an opinion on spying. And its clear from Brownlee's press release that he doesn't actually want robust oversight at all. Instead, he wants an Inspector-General who meekly accepts whatever the spies tell them, and doesn't ask awkward questions - just like in the "good old days" before Zaoui. But as we say in the Zaoui case, that sort of chummy relationship does not serve the public, and allows the spies to get away with mayhem. And in a democracy committed to the rule of law, that simply isn't acceptable.

I am concerned about the reference group, but only insofar as it is used to silence critics. The rules around what they are and are not allowed to say will have to be closely examined. But I have confidence that if there is any attempt to silence them (e.g. by forcing them to get security clearances, making them subject to s78AA of the Crimes Act and unable to read Wikileaks for the rest of their lives), then they will simply pull the plug and resign.


Macrons Syria Game "IndyWatch Feed"

There is a certain bullishness in French circles these days, even if there was an initial attempt, with the Macron government, to calm matters down. The need to assert Gallic might in the face of brutality has again surfaced; and has a familiar ring to it. With Syrias Bashar al-Assad getting more comfortable with military

The post Macrons Syria Game appeared first on The AIM Network.


Once Upon a Time, Long Ago "IndyWatch Feed"

I wonder how many people, not just Americans but those in other countries, have come to the conclusion that the United States today is a less free and less aware society than the societies in the dystopian novels of the 20th century or in movies such as The Matrix and V for Vendetta. Just as people in the dystopian novels had no idea of their real situation, few Americans do either.

What are we to make of the extraordinary war crimes committed by the United States in the 21st century that have destroyed in whole or part seven countries, resulting in millions of dead, maimed, orphaned, and displaced peoples? Consider, for example, the latest Washington war crime, the illegal attack on Syria. Instead of protesting this illegality, the American media egged it on, cheering impending death and destruction.

During the entirety of the 21st century, Israel, Washingtons only allyas contrasted with the European, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese vassal states of Washingtons empirehas continued with Washingtons support, protection, and encouragement the genocide of the Palestinian people. Essentially, all that is left of Palestine is a getto concentration camp known as Gaza which is routinely bombed by Israel using weapons and money supplied by Washington. When a bombing of Gaza is announced, Gods Chosen People take their lawn chairs and picnics up on a hill overlooking Gaza and applaud as the Israeli military murders women and children. This is Americas only ally.

The crimes committed by the US and Israel are horrific, but meet with little opposition. In contrast, an alleged attack in which 70 Syrians are alleged to have died sets in motion the wheels of war. It makes no sense whatsoever. Israel routinely bombs Syrian targets, killing Syrians, and the US arms and supports the rebels that the Obama regime sent to overthrow Assad, resulting in large numbers of dead Syrians. Why all of a sudden do 70 Syrians matter to Washington?

According to the Washington authorities, or to the presstitutes reports of their statements, two or three alleged Syrian chemical weapons facilities were destroyed by Washingtons missile attack. Think about this for a minute. If Washington bombed or sent missiles into chemical weapons facilities, a vast cloud of lethal gas would have been released. The civilian casualties would be many times higher than the claimed 70 victims of Assads alleged and unsubstantiated chemical attack used as the pretext for the Trump regimes war crime against Syria. There is no evidence whatsoever of these casualties.

Had there been casualties, Washingtons attack would obviously be a far greater crime than the chemical attack that Washington used as cover for its own crime. Yet the American presstitutes are crowing over the lesson that America has taught Syria and Russia. Apparently, the American media consists of suc...


In which the pond delivers a double hunger of Moorice groaning ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond was ecstatic when the reptiles let Moorice out from behind the paywall for a ramble, but then it read the instructions

Should anyone read the column? 

After all, when it comes to special interest groups, Moorice "dinkum clean Oz coal, oi, oi, oi" Newperson knows a thing or two

And what if the dear old thing started off by talking about the 30th poll, when that birthday was yonks ago, ages and ages, and the next one just around the corner ...

Now before a Queenslander intrudes from the far north, let the pond say that it loves a fresh pineapple. It can't stand tinned pineapples, an abomination that southerners drop on to burgers and which invoke in the pond a flashback to the dreaded ancient times when tinned beetroot was perceived as a culinary delight in Tamworth

If the government could deliver to the pond's door the fresh pineapple Moorice has promised on a weekly basis, it wouldn't compensate for the NBN, but it would be a start

As for the rest, poor Moorice is getting closer and closer to 'mindless shouting at clouds' syndrome, easily spotted by the way that he runs through a listicle of complaints.

But doubtless he's just getting warmed up, and he'll get to the nub of the pineapple in the second gobbet, and go into Ancient Mariner mode, subs...


Mungo MacCallum: Malcolm Turnbull and the old economic leadership line "IndyWatch Feed"

Mungo MacCallum: Malcolm Turnbull and the old economic leadership lineTurnbull's "economic leadership" and "traditional cabinet government" excuse for his 30th Newspoll loss just proves he doesn't get it. read now...


On sales pitches and taking the public with you on aid "IndyWatch Feed"

Imagine being a door-to-door vacuum salesperson from the worlds 19th best vacuum company, approaching someone who already owns a Dyson, and trying to convince them that your model is better while saying that 80% of people you try to sell it to dont actually buy it.

Our Minister for International Development and the Pacific would sure give it a shot. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells went to the Overseas Development Institute in the UK last night our time, said the UK should spend more money in the Pacific region and partner with Australia to help us with that little China-in-the-Pacific predicament, but said we couldnt possibly spend more money on such things ourselves because Australians dont like aid.

Australias terrible and declining performance on aid does not put it in a good position to tell other countries what to do with theirs. Influence doesnt come cheap. (Just ask China)

Terrible sales pitch aside, Senator CFWs remark that youve got to take the public along with you on aid is also worthy of examination.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the government polling had exposed a big schism between the community and those working in the aid sector who think the complete opposite.

You do have to take your public with you, she said.

In many ways, its true. We know there are differences between views in the aid sector and in the general public we did research on it. But the views are not polar opposites. (See our full range of research on public opinion on aid here.)

The UK government had to work extremely hard to take the public (and Conservatives) along with them when they instituted the 0.7% aid target, so they probably didnt need this pearl of wisdom from a representative of a government that has done absolutely nothing to build public support for or understanding of aid and development.

The hustle started in their own party room. They did it during the austerity period. It was campaigned for on the basis of it being the moral thing to do first and foremost, and in the cou...


Dangers of Bushfires-Wildfires & Nuclear Business "IndyWatch Feed"

Mining Awareness +

Bushfire Safety and Survival for Businesses and Organisations. Dear Customers from p. 19
From Bushfire Safety and Survival for Businesses and Organisations, p. 19:
Bushfires in Australia are frequent events during the hotter months of the year, due to Australias mostly hot, dry climate. Each year, such fires impact extensive areas
Radiant Heat Kills from a Distance 50% Don't know in Bushfire area
See more here:

According to the South Australia Country Fire Service, nearly 1/2 of people living in bushfire prone areas dont understand the threat. This is apparently true of those proposing adding nuclear anything in Australia. For, in such a context, the risks of nuclear anything are clearly even higher than average. And, the solar potential in Australia is higher than average. The choice should be clear.



The cost of victory "IndyWatch Feed"

Only a week ago, the government took a stand against climate change and banned offshore oil exploration - the first step on the long pathway to decarbonising New Zealand. But as the Herald notes, Russel Norman and Sara May Howell are still facing trial at the end of the month for protesting against the very activity the government has banned back in 2017:

Prosecution against two Greenpeace activists who were charged with jumping into the water in front of an oil exploration ship will go ahead despite the Government announcing a ban on offshore oil exploration last week.

Greenpeace executive director and former politician Russel Norman and volunteer Sara May Howell are set to stand trial in the Napier District Court at the end of this month for their roles in a deep-sea oil protest last year.

The pair allegedly jumped into the water in front of oil exploration ship Amazon Warrior, off the Wairarapa coast, forcing it to stop its seismic work on April 10.

They were both charged with interfering in the operation of the 125m ship and pleaded not guilty at a joint appearance last October.

It would obviously be inappropriate for Ministers to direct that the case be dropped. At the same time, its also obviously a pointless prosecution, a mean-spirited act of revenge against those who turned the tide of public opinion and pushed the government into banning this toxic industry (and in the process, probably laying off some MBIE staff). But then, that's exactly what you'd expect from a vindictive organisation which seems totally in thrall to the industry it is supposed to regulate (and their nasty little spies).

The prosecution then is the cost of victory. Hopefully it won't be too high for Norman and Howell. Though with them gearing up to mount a necessity defence against the overwhelming threat of climate change, and effectively putting MBIE and the previous government's policies on trial, they're going to impose some pretty serious political costs on the government too.

Meanwhile, the law they are being prosecuted under - National's "Anadarko amendment" - is still on the books. I'm quite surprised that the government hasn't taken the opportunity to repeal it in their...


The plus-and-minus Commonwealth Games "IndyWatch Feed"

The plus-and-minus Commonwealth GamesThe Commonwealth Games wound up on the weekend on Queenslands Gold Coast with a familiar mix of celebration and bitching. read now...

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Monday, 16 April


The agony of Prince Chuck, and an energetic hope for the future ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The reptile agony over Prince Chuck continues apace, and in the absence of Flinty, the pond feels obliged to track the fear and loathing that haunts the lizard monarchists ...

Indeed, indeed, those damned repuglians are the bane of the reptiles' and Flinty's lives, when it should all be peace and harmony and Boris ...

(and there's more Rowson here )

But there's trouble on other fronts, with the devious, cunning republican push using Prince Chuck's charms as a way of advancing their fiendish agenda ...

There was something Freudian about the photo that the reptiles used to illustrate the piece, with Prince Churck waving goodbye, and then dreadful data led which suggested Prince Chuck might have all the popularity of measles in certain areas down u...


On writing, PNG literature and the voice of the diaspora "IndyWatch Feed"

I recently caught up with Rashmii Bell over lunch in Brisbane, and asked about her background and experiences as an author. Listen to the podcast, read the transcript, or for highlights of what we discussed, read on.

I began by asking Rashmii to tell me about her background, and what she is currently involved in.

Rashmii hails from Sio, Morobe Province in PNG, having being born and lived in Lae, as well as Port Moresby and (presently) Brisbane. She was educated in Australia, and has lived between there and PNG since 1990. She studied at Griffith University, obtaining a degree in psychology and criminology. She has more than ten years of experience working in case management within adult and youth corrections services.

And now?

Im a little past nine years while Ive been at home. Ive just been raising children. But, Ive always enjoyed reading. I read everything, read every day. And writing, I have been writing for myself, but I only just started having my work published in the past three years

I went on to ask what Rashmii considered to be the most significant milestones in her journey as an author. Her first, and possibly most significant milestone, was seeing her work published on the PNG Attitude blog, edited by Keith Jackson. More recently, her role as editor of My Walk to Equality has provided new opportunities:

appearing at the writers festivals, the Sunshine Coast festival this year, and then Brisbane Writers Festival, both in 2016 and 2017, which has really, I think, for the majority of the emerging contemporary PNG writers, thats a huge thing for us to know that Papua New Guinean literature is being mentioned at these international events.

In a similar vein, I asked Rashmii what she thought were the things that had the most influence on her voice as an author. She explained to me that she focuses on long form writing, with her pieces best classified as opinion and commentary. This is not a genre favoured by many Papua New Guineans and, among those that do, there are very few women, so I think that in itself helps elevate my voice because I am the minority in amongst the commentators out there, among the PNG men.

In addition, the subjects she writes on social justic...


More reports showing that 'trickle up' economics is at work in Australia "IndyWatch Feed"

Here is just a little of what Liberal & National party members - and their governments - refuse to understand as they support a far-right economic platform which is built on a reduction in corporate tax rates, high business profits and large management salaries in conjunction with employee wage supression, erosion of workers' rights, an increase in employment insecurity based on casual, part-time and/or employees as sham contractors and, further restrictions on eligibility for a number of basic welfare payments.

Last year, as the government prepared another round of welfare crackdowns, Minister Michaelia Cash said she expects that those who can work should work and our welfare system should be there as a genuine safety net, not as something that people can choose to fund their lifestyle.

The subtext was clear those who need help are a drain on the rest of us.
This rhetoric is familiar, but it is wrong. It is the wealthiest Australians who enjoy the most support.

Research commissioned by Anglicare Australia shows that each year, a staggering $68 billion is spent keeping the wealthiest households wealthy. That...


Fair Work Ombudsman begins another weary audit which will inevitably discover more employers behaving like criminals "IndyWatch Feed"

Despite wage growth falling to record lows last year, the Australian Minister for Jobs and Innovation WA Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash continues to talk down any need for a substantial national minimum wage increase and praises the good will of employers big and small.

It seems she just refuses to accpet the evidence of her own eyes.......

The Guardian, 11 April 2018:

On Wednesday the Fair Work Ombudsman announced an audit targeting the fast food, restaurant and cafe sector which will penalise businesses exploiting vulnerable workers, including students, casual staff and immigrants.

It follows numerous high-profile cases of workers being exploited, including a cook who was employed by Bar Coluzzi in Sydney on a 457 skilled worker visa who was told by her boss to repay $13,952 of her wages to cover tax and superannuation contributions. She was also working excessive unpaid overtime.

The convenience story chain 7-Eleven was ...


A society based upon the opinion of civilians "IndyWatch Feed"

This is from Winston Churchill, found as the opening words of Daniel Hannans wonderful How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters:

There are few words which are used more loosely than the word Civilization. What does it mean? It means a society based upon the opinion of civilians. It means that violence, the rule of warriors and despotic chiefs, the conditions of camps and warfare, of riot and tyranny, give place to parliaments where laws are made, and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained. That is Civilizationand in its soil grow continually freedom, comfort, and culture. When Civilization reigns, in any country, a wider and less harassed life is afforded to the masses of the people. The traditions of the past are cherished, and the inheritance bequeathed to us by former wise or valiant men becomes a rich estate to be enjoyed and used by all.

There is no culture like our Western civilisation and if it disappears it will not come back for a thousand years. None of the alternatives looking to be the replacement for our way of life will be anything other than tyranny and slavery for the vast bulk of the population. And if you dont think our way of life is at risk, you are either completely clueless or think the past is a guarantor of the future. The totalitarian enemy is there at every turn, both outside the citadel and within. Let me just take this from (Lizzie) Beare from a previous thread, because it really is depressing how politically naive so many supposedly intelligent people are.

The right circumstances for another purge are upon us now; from the left. It is starting under the Antifa thugs when ordinary people going about their business are called fascist/and or are subject to physical violence for simply attending a talk by a reputable clinical psychologist or a very clever gay young man making jokes. You see it when a prominent TV conservative is physically attacked on his way into a venue. You see it when the recently deposed Australian Prime Minister is punched in the face by a gay activist. You also see it when a man of J3wish-Yemini background tries to collect signatures at a rally supposedly in support of refugee immigration into Australia and a big loon not just yel...


On the road again "IndyWatch Feed"

Posting might be light, it might be heavy.

Youll know the drill.


Wanted: three hundred good people "IndyWatch Feed"

The AIMN needs the help of 300 good people. Ill get to the who and why shortly. When The AIMN started up over five years ago we were just another WordPress blog, unaware that within six months we were going to be among the widest-read political blogs in Australia. Admittedly we did have high expectations,

The post Wanted: three hundred good people appeared first on The AIM Network.


In which the pond gets into crusader mode ... "IndyWatch Feed"

It's time for a serious discussion of foreign policy, so the pond wanted to get the right tone-setting image at the top, to get the discussion going in good form ...

While the Oreo has an anxiety attack about Syria, fresh from his junket to check out the Italian subs, the bromancer is feckless and fancy free

Uh huh, so the Donald has taken out chemical weapons in Syria and has a consistency of serious strategic purpose, and reports of a chirpy Assad swanning around wondering if that's the best they've got are just RT propaganda, and the pond is supposed to take it as seriously as the Three Amigos, or the bromancer's sales pamphlet for an Italian sub manufacturer? Apparently so ...

Each day the pond yearns to get a sample of whatever it is they put in the bromancer's drink, because it might help it get through this weekend outing by the eternally crusading Pipes ...

The pond was drawn to it by the grotesque use of the word "civilisationism", though it turned out that the grotesque word was no match for the grotesquerie of the thinking ...



How many Coalition MPs does it take to launch 400 'brown coal' jobs? "IndyWatch Feed"

How many Coalition MPs does it take to launch 400 'brown coal' jobs? The Turnbull Government's "brown coal to hydrogen" project is poised to create 400 jobs, but at what cost? read now...


Yamba basks in the reflected glow of gold "IndyWatch Feed"

Area News, 14 April 2018:

Cousins Donna Urquhart (right) and Cameron Pilley have won gold in the mixed doubles squash.

They already shared family, a hometown and their childhoods - but now cousins Donna Urquhart and Cameron Pilley share a mixed doubles squash title at the Commonwealth Games.

Urquhart and Pilley won gold after defeating Indian pair Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Saurav Ghosal on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Both a product of Yamba in northern...


Truth tampering a sinister political reality "IndyWatch Feed"

By Ad astra Australians were justifiably shocked, appalled and embarrassed by the ball tampering our test cricketers attempted last month in South Africa. Somehow, better was expected of them. After all, they were playing the gentlemens game cricket where any cheating was simply not cricket. Why then are we not even more disgusted

The post Truth tampering a sinister political reality appeared first on The AIM Network.


Governments institutional brutality (Part 1) "IndyWatch Feed"

Part Twenty-six of a history of European occupation, rule, and brutal imperialism of Indigenous Australia, by Dr George Venturini. Governments institutional brutality Located in Berrimah, an Indigenous word which in Yolngu means to the south, in fact east of Darwin, is the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, a facility for juvenile detention in the Northern

The post Governments institutional brutality (Part 1) appeared first on The AIM Network.


Sandpit "IndyWatch Feed"

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.


Monday Message Board "IndyWatch Feed"

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


In which the pond joins assorted reptile business ventures ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Why did the pond find this vastly amusing?

Well over the weekend, the bromancer published a major piece in the lizard Oz peddling a certain solution to Australia's frigate problem

It went on and on, which is why the pond didn't bother with it -  really the headline "Fincantieri Australia's best bet" made reading the rest of it redundant - and then after an interminable slog came the punch line ...

And if that wasn't enough from the guest scribbler, the reptiles were still wittering way today

Oh yes, there's a lot of nice sweetening been going down

It put the pond in a most excellent mood - there's nothing so nakedly shocking as nakedly obvious reptiles - and ready for a dose of Major...


Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: The untold threat of the Sydney bushfires "IndyWatch Feed"

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: The untold threat of the Sydney bushfiresAs fires raged in Sydney, there hasn't been a peep about the fire hazard to Lucas Heights nuclear complex. read now...


This is just wrong "IndyWatch Feed"

Imagine living somewhere for your entire life, and then being jailed as an overstayer pending deportation "back" to a foreign country. That's what's happening to Mark Middleton:

Mark Middleton was once a popular choice to become Whanganui's Member of Parliament ... now he is facing deportation.

The stepfather of murdered schoolgirl Karla Cardno has been ordered to leave New Zealand after overstaying for more than 30 years.

Middleton, who came to live in New Zealand with his British parents as a 4-year-old in 1962, said immigration officials stormed his workplace on Tuesday, accusing him of living in the country illegally.

He was arrested and put in a cell at a Wellington police station until Wednesday afternoon.

There's an obvious parallel with the UK's current persecution of the "windrush generation", who are being told they are illegal migrants despite having arrived in the UK legally and having a legal right to remain. Over there, the problem is poor government record-keeping and a guilty-until-proven-innocent attitude in immigration cases. Here, its a poorly-drafted transition clause in the Immigration Act 1987, which required pre-1974 migrants to have never left New Zealand (except to go to Australia) in order to have their residency survive the law change. Which when you're talking about people who came here as children and are likely unaware that they are not citizens, seems guaranteed to result in injustice. And oddly, that doesn't seem to have been a problem at the time, or subsequently - despite having supposedly ignored an immigration direction to normalise his status, Middleton was allowed to continue his life without being bothered, and was even able to run for Parliament in 1999 (something you'd think Immigration would notice if they were actually concerned about his citizenship status). Instead, it only seems to have become an issue now he's getting old and in line to be paid superannuation - or, in immigration-speak, become "high risk".

Middleton has lived here all his life. He is a kiwi in fact, if not in law. Deporting him is simply wrong. Charging him money for the status he is entitled to is simply wrong. The Minister should issue him with citizenship or permanent residency, and let him get on with his life.


SA federal redistribution here is the map "IndyWatch Feed"

Ive now finished the draft boundary map for the SA federal redistribution, following on from the draft boundaries released the previous week for Victoria and the ACT.

Download the Google Earth map for the draft SA federal boundaries.

Remember there is a wide range of electoral maps federal, state and local, dating back at least a decade on the maps page.

And here is an interactive map. You can toggle on and off the 2016 and 2019 boundaries.


Homelessness: what are the solutions? "IndyWatch Feed"

By Christine Kent In August 2017, after years of denial, I finally acknowledged my own homelessness. I came out of the closet in the most public way, on the SBS show, Insight. Since then I have been seriously researching the issue of homelessness. I think I have clarified the problem what homelessness is, who

The post Homelessness: what are the solutions? appeared first on The AIM Network.


Hes the closest to a statesman we have "IndyWatch Feed"

On Friday, Phil Coorey published an article in the AFR lauding the credentials of Peter Dutton as a future Prime Minister. He quotes an unnamed Liberal colleague (but factional opponent) as saying Everyone listens when Peter intervenes.  Hes the closest to a statesman we have. If any statement has shown how much trouble the Liberal

The post Hes the closest to a statesman we have appeared first on The AIM Network.


Trump and Troika bomb Syria in the interests of 'democracy' "IndyWatch Feed"

Trump and Troika bomb Syria in the interests of 'democracy'The U.S. involvement in Syria has nothing to do with democracy it is about protecting and extending U.S. power. read now...

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Sunday, 15 April


In which prattling Polonius steals the Monday slot ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond was moved to a deep, inexpressible sorrow to see Polonius's prattle elevated to top of the digital page late yesterday partly because the invisible time slot might see the message go unheeded, and partly because Polonius embraced the onion muncher with a compassion long lost by the likes of the uncaring, unheeding bromancer

First a little background. Things have come to a pretty pass when an agrarian socialist sends out warnings of socialist tendencies

Oh Bazza wash out your nationalist mouth for saying such a naughty word, for saying such a bad thing about the Coal Lovers' Forum

Now there's little doubt that Bazza is an agrarian socialist rocket scientist, with his astute observation that any club that is designed to undermine Malware is a club he wouldn't be a member of perhaps suddenly aware, pace  Barners, that we are all playing games here, and the reptiles' relentless reporting on dinkum Oz coal, oi, oi, oi, is indeed a way to undermine Malware


In Febuary-March 2018 there were 63 Notifiable Data Breaches in Australia involving the personal information of up to 341,849 individuals "IndyWatch Feed"

In the 201617 financial year, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) reported that it received 114 data breach notifications on a voluntary basis.

On 22 February the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme came into force.

Between 22 February and 31 March 2018 there were 63 mandatory notifiable data breaches reported involving the personal information of up to est. 341,849 individuals, with 55 of these breaches reported in March alone.

Of these breaches:
24 were the result of criminal or malicious attack;
32 were the result of human error;
2 were system fault; and
1 was classified as Other.

The type of personal information involved in the data breaches:
Three of these data breaches involved the personal information of between 10,000 and 999,999 people in each instance.

At least 15 of the 63 data breached involved personal information held by health service pr...


1953 and all that "IndyWatch Feed"

Weve been to see Death of Stalin and I could not recommend it more. A tragic story told in a lighthearted way. I am so old I remembered every one of the main protagonists, knew who they were and each had a very high recognition factor. And by coincidence, this is just now the first item at Instapundit:

TODAY IS THE 124th ANNIVERSARY OF NIKITA KHRUSHCHEVS BIRTH: Khrushchev was all too willing to assist with Stalins infamous purges and was Stalins enforcer in Ukraine.   But at least later in life, he came to understand that Stalin was a dangerous maniac. After Stalins death, he emerged (hands bloodied) as the Soviet Unions leader from 1953 to 1964 and pursued a policy of De-Stalinization.

Khrushchevs grip on power was never as tight as Stalins.  On the night of his ouster (engineered by Leonid Brezhnev), he is reported to have told a friend:

Im old and tired. Let them cope by themselves. Ive done the main thing. Could anyone have dreamed of telling Stalin that he didnt suit us anymore and suggesting he retire? Not even a wet spot would have remained where we had been standing. Now everything is different. The fear is gone, and we can talk as equals. Thats my contribution. I wont put up a fight.

Khrushchev is famous for having told a room full of Western ambassadors, WE WILL BURY YOU! Instead, he is buried at Novodevichy Cemetery. Brezhnev refused him a state funeral or Kremlin burial. To Brezhnev, he was just an annoying squish.  Take a look at his monument at the cemetery. Its in black and whitea fitting metaphor for the man.

His secret speech on Stalin was a turning point, but so were the Russian tanks on the streets of Budapest, which both occurred in exactly the same year.


One of those asssociated with the company behind the second push for a Yamba Mega Port allegedly used an alias when giving sworn evidence before a NSW parliamentray committee "IndyWatch Feed"

An open secret finally hit the headline this month......

Disgraced former senior tax official Nick Petroulias gave sworn evidence to a parliamentary inquiry under a fake name, it has been alleged in State Parliament - and seven MPs sitting across the table never twigged.

The Greens are now demanding a formal inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the appearance at the inquiry into Crown land, held in August 2016.

Mr Petroulias' face was splashed across the country's media about eight years earlier, when he was imprisoned for corrupt conduct during his stint as assistant tax commissioner.

But in Parliament on Thursday, Greens MP David Shoebridge alleged that Mr Petroulias used the alias "Nicholas Peterson" to give sworn evidence before the upper house committee, of which Mr Shoebridge was a member.


Blowing stuff up "IndyWatch Feed"

A while ago, I had a multi-topic post covering some things I hoped to expand on. One of them was this

Blowing things and people up is seen as a demonstration of clarity and resolve, unless someone is doing it to us, in which case its correctly recognised as cowardly and evil. The most striking recent example (on our side) was the instant and near-universal approval of Trumps bombing of an airfield in Syria, which had no effect at all on events there.

Weve now had another round of bombing from Trump, and yet more instant applause. As I reread the para above, and looked at evidence on the general ineffectiveness of airstrikes, it struck me that there is a big asymmetry. The satisfaction we get when our side blows something or someone up is trivial in comparison to the hatred generated when we are on the receiving end. In most cases, the people and resources mobilised against the bomber far outweigh the physical destruction the bomber can inflict. Heres a study (paywalled, but the abstract is clear) making that point about Vietnam; it seems to be entirely general.

Ive talked here about large-scale aerial bombing, but all of these points apply with equal force to bombing campaigns undertaken on the ground by non-state actors, going back to the propaganda of the deed in the 19th century. Experience has shown that deeds like bombings and assassinations make great propaganda, but not for the side that carries them out.


McCarthy good; Stalin bad "IndyWatch Feed"


We are off to see Death of Stalin tonight, but unfortunately, as this article by Diana West makes all too clear, Stalinism is still not dead and can be seen at every turn and in what ought to be the most unlikely places: A Short, Communist History Of McCarthyism. Heres the start of her article, but read it all:

It was one thing for the Communist Party organ, the Daily Worker, that pre-Twitter roadmap of every zig and zag of Kremlin directives, to have ramped up the information-war against Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s by turning the name of our greatest anti-communist hero into an epithet mouthed by the Left.

It is quite another for conservatives nearly 70 years later to keep pounding what was, after all, Stalins line.

And then from there onto M. Stanton Evans Blacklisted by History followed by Dianas own American Betrayal.

Just yesterday we find that something like a third of millennials had never heard of Auschwitz or the Holocaust: Kids dont know about the Holocaust because schools are pre-occupied with social justice.

This year, while studying World World II, my 11-year-old learned about the Holocaust for the first time. We studied books, watched a few short documentaries, and discussed the facts first, before I asked him finally, What do you think? He shook his head. How could anyone do such a thing?

That is a good start, to find out that people can do such things. And there is then Stalins gulags, and even modern Venzuela to catch up on. Its not that those who forget history get to repeat it, but those who do not learn history end up being led around in chains.


Trump reaches for the Tomahawk while Turnbulls rivals sharpen their knives. "IndyWatch Feed"

Mafia Don, as former FBI Director, James Comey designates Donald Trump in his best-seller, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership is ever more desperate, as Special Counsel Robert Muellers investigation closes its net on the nepotist-in-chief and his comic Corleone familys alleged criminal collusion with the Russian government. Two weeks ago, in Richfield Ohio, the

The post Trump reaches for the Tomahawk while Turnbulls rivals sharpen their knives. appeared first on The AIM Network.


In which the reptiles "Ned" and Troy point to a vast, sinister conspiracy ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond is maintaining its royal theme for Sunday, and thought it might drop this lengthy piece in late on a Sunday arvo for queenly specialists, featuring as it does the expert nattering "Ted" and his consort, Troy of the Bramstons ...

Now the pond is delighted that the reptiles are absolutely certain that what they say is absolutely true but the pond seems to remember that some documentation remains missing in action, so how can they be certain?

After all, he did love his frocks and his fancy gear, and relished a good conspiracy ...

Never mind, let the reptiles wend their way along the river bed, putting out sundry fires along the way ...

Ah, the missing correspondence. 



In which the pond indulges in a massive monarchical Sunday meditation thanks to the lizards of Oz ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond has never been much of a Royal watcher, and the idea of groping Prince Chuck induces a faint air of nausea

But whatever entrances the reptiles perforce entrances the pond, and over recent weeks, the reptiles have been on high alert, thanks to Prince Chuck visiting down under for some games thingie the pond has never mentioned (and sees no reason to break that rule now)

Much of the anxiety stems from the notion that Prince Chuck, a notorious coal-hater, might become King Chuck, and then what would the reptiles do?

The reptiles are uneasy, and have turned all their bile and spleen on the bandana-wearing one, and his acolytes and consorts, but there have been a number of voices producing consternation in the ranks, and so the pond was moved this Sunday to do its first epic, almost endless reptile monarchist watch (apart from good old Flinty and his constitutional republic, may the long absent lord bless him and help him make a speedy return to the Speccie mob pages).

It was that dreadful clock man flying over Darwin to do his Regency thing in Paris that got things really ticking over

What an outrageous man he is, and naturally the reptiles had to bring out their heaviest royal hitters, Troy and nattering "Ned" and of course the onion muncher was front and centre of their thoughts...



REVIEW: David Bradbury's documentary 'America and Me' "IndyWatch Feed"

REVIEW: David Bradbury's documentary 'America and Me'Chris Mordd Richards reviews David Bradburys latest film documentary America and Me. read now...


Strangers Band Together To Reunite A Veteran And His Service Dog After Car Crash "IndyWatch Feed"

Via Stars and Stripes: It took a Facebook group, a search team and a lot of patience, but a Collinsville man and his emotional support dog were finally reunited, three weeks after they were separated by a car crash. Summer, a miniature Australian Shepherd, was ejected from the car during a crash with her owner, []


Ball Tampering and Anti-Siphon Tampering Is there a Difference? "IndyWatch Feed"

By Terence Mills The broadcasting anti-siphoning regime was intended to preserve access to major sporting events to so called free-to-air and public broadcasters and the anti-siphoning list mandates that broadcasting rights cannot be acquired by a subscription broadcaster unless they have first been offered to or acquired by a free-to-air broadcaster who has either declined

The post Ball Tampering and Anti-Siphon Tampering Is there a Difference? appeared first on The AIM Network.


Close the Gap still reveals gaping holes in Government efforts "IndyWatch Feed"

Close the Gap still reveals gaping holes in Government effortsMalcolm Turnbull and the Australian Government are failing Indigenous Australians when it comes to Closing the Gap, Daniel Gough writes. read now...


drag0nista "IndyWatch Feed"

This weeks column for The New Daily. I also produce a politics newsletter exclusively for my Patreon supporters. Click here to see a couple of free editions of the newsletter.

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Saturday, 14 April


In which the pond pokes a stick at the dog botherer and the oscillating fan ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond remembers the times in Tamworth when idle, naughty boys would get a stick and act out the cliche of poking at a nest of bull ants

The pond could never see the point, provocation as a form of entertainment, but in these Syrian "mission accomplished" times, why not try to lower the temperature by putting two reptiles in the ring, and watching as they chin wag and talk around the point, bull ant pundits on Valium as it were

It isn't a traditional Sunday meditation, but could the dog botherer please step into the ring to get the feuding and the fussing going?

The topic is poll-driven punditry and ironical references to pundits punditing on punditry is encouraged ...

Hmm, the dog botherer opens strongly, ravaging the enormous stupidity of the newspaper that publishes him, with its obsessive poll-watching, not that he's trying to downplaying the value of efficacy of Newspoll, it's just superficial and leads to wafer-thin analysis of a kind regularly featured in the lizard Oz and in the commentary offered by Malware

It'll be hard for the oscillating fan to match that opening flourish ...



Day to Day Politics: For an evaluation of what a splendid education can do, just look at the cabinet. "IndyWatch Feed"

Sunday April 15 2018 Australia has a need for many things but there is none greater than the need for equality of opportunity be it employment, equal pay, or whatever. But there is none greater than the need for equality of opportunity in education. That is what Gonski was all about and for any Australian

The post Day to Day Politics: For an evaluation of what a splendid education can do, just look at the cabinet. appeared first on The AIM Network.


It is getting harder and harder to believe Facebook Inc's denials of intentional harm "IndyWatch Feed"

The fact that Facebook Inc. re-named the street in which it is headquartered "1 Hacker Way" should have been a clue to this social media giant's business ethos but it obviously didn't register with national governments and everyday Internet users. 

By the time All tech reported this on 11 November 2016 we were all a little more informed, but Facebook was still trying to pull the wool over our eyes:

Mark Zuckerberg says the notion that fake news influenced the U.S. presidential election is "a pretty crazy idea."

The Facebook CEO is finding himself in a unique position in this election cycle. Many news organizations have come under fire for their coverage of the campaign. Now Facebook is getting it too, as a modern media company that does not vet fake news from its News Feed and that, critics argue, allows users to stay in information bubbles that reinforce existing prejudices.

Zuckerberg took both these criticisms head-on yesterday, at a conference called Techonomy. (You can find the full interview on his Facebook feed.)

He says hoaxes existed before his platform was created. They aren't new, and people who say misinformation is why Donald Trump won simply do not get it...


Blind Assault: Trump Strikes Syria "IndyWatch Feed"

Feeling that some display of force was needed, US president Donald Trump issued orders on Friday to demonstrate some form of muscle, albeit exercised some thousands of miles away. A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator

The post Blind Assault: Trump Strikes Syria appeared first on The AIM Network.


Irony alert - Dame Slap might be getting out the sexy black underwear ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Why indeed and the outrage grew

Yes it's rich comedy time and a bossy middle class woman from the safety zone of the lizard Oz in Surry Hills purports an affinity with the working class the pond realises it should have an irony alert at the top of its page permanently, but surely this is in the mega-irony class that defies any humble sign

Well as the Poms would say, into Syria for a penny, in for a pound

The pond can't imagine what's funnier, Dame Slap imagining that a television entertainment program constitutes a threat to America's bourgeois nightmare, or that somehow mystically Dame Slap herself isn't part of the said nightmare.

Truth to tell, comedy has gone down this path from times immemorial


Comcare: How our workplaces ostracise sexual harassment victims "IndyWatch Feed"

Comcare: How our workplaces ostracise sexual harassment victimsLuke Williams exposes Australias failing complaint systems, services and legal culture when it comes to workplace sexual harassment. read now...


New federal pendulum after recent redistributions "IndyWatch Feed"

Following the release of the draft South Australian redistribution boundaries yesterday, we can now put together a pendulum of all seat margins for the next election. This pendulum uses the actual election margins for New South Wales and Western Australia, and the final post-redistribution margins for Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, as well as the post-redistribution margins for the draft boundaries for Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.

Ive included this pendulum below the fold, but you can also find it at this link. Ive now posted the pendulum, along with a list of seats in alphabetical order and a list of seats by state, on the federal election guide. There are now twenty seat guides posted there, and I will keep posting at least one per day for the foreseeable future. The pendulum below wont keep getting updated with fresh links but does include the twenty so far.

The only update since yesterdays post is that I calculated two-candidate-preferred margins between the Liberal Party and the Nick Xenophon Team in Barker, Grey and Mayo. In these three seats, I calculated what proportion of primary votes for all other parties flowed to either of these two parties in the final count in those parts of the seat where NXT made the top two. Some areas were swapped back and forth between Grey and Barker, so they were included as if they had always been in the seat. This proportion was then applied to the remaining primary votes.

The figures are:

  • Barker LIB vs NXT 4.2% (down from 4.7%)
  • Grey LIB vs NXT 1.9% (down from 2.0%)
  • Mayo NXT vs LIB 5.3% (up from 5.0%)

These are all shifts towards the NXT, but they should come with a grain of salt. They fit with the overall trend of the Liberal Party not losing any seats but having all of their seats become more marginal.

Coalition Seats Labor Seats
Seat Margin Seat Margin


In which the angelic Shanners sparkles with 'Romanes eunt domus' silliness ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond has discovered that there are lonely, brave trolls, who drop in on the reptiles' twitter account to tug the reptiles' leet Surry Hills hipster beards and then disappear into the night

The pond hastens to reassure these trolls that the pond pays not a dime for any reptile content on its pages, and now survives by way of scraps of bread that fall from the reptile table

It could have looked at the "Case of the disappearing burglar", but quaint stories of crime dressed up with an Agatha Christie hook are too silly for the pond when it goes looking for pure essence of looniness.

The magical, sparkling Shanners of Canberra is more to the pond's taste, and how pleasing that the reptiles should graciously consent to her appearing outside the paywall and on a matter of extreme and dire national importance

Of course the pond is in deep sympathy with Shanners. After all, the right to consign people to eternal hellfire and damnation is an important one, and in the past, certain religious practices have led to profound insights

The trouble of course is that the lizard Oz is i...


A rising tide is great if you own a boat "IndyWatch Feed"

The Coalition works on the theory that a rising tide lifts all boats, which is all very well if you happen to own a boat.  The majority of the population is either bailing hard to stay afloat, treading water or drowning. In the last five years, the worlds economies have made a strong recovery.  Investment

The post A rising tide is great if you own a boat appeared first on The AIM Network.


Screen Themes: The Shape of Water vs Pacific Rim: Uprising "IndyWatch Feed"

Screen Themes: The Shape of Water vs Pacific Rim: UprisingThis week, entertainment editor John Turnbull checks out an offbeat Oscar winner and the rarest of beasts, a sequel surpassing the original. read now...

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Friday, 13 April


In which the pond wonders if "Ned's" DNA came from outer space ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Oh come on Gazza, little did you know that one of the world's greatest climate scientists was lurking behind this circulation booster ...

Now before anyone starts mocking Lloydie, the pond is well aware of the theories and has read many papers on the subject, though it tends to discount recent studies in favour of an early study approved of by Mr Spock himself

And so to the click bait of the day, and a curse on anyone who asks "if locked behind a paywall, can anyone hear you scream"?


Day to Day Politics: The week that was. "IndyWatch Feed"

Saturday 14 April 2018 Every Saturday from now on I plan to bring you something a little different. So this is a trial run and you will get the gist as you read through. Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated. Comment of the week Russell Green on my Facebook comments on 30th Poll day.

The post Day to Day Politics: The week that was. appeared first on The AIM Network.


Just how corrupt is this? "IndyWatch Feed"

Happening right before your eyes.


Tweets of the Week "IndyWatch Feed"


Quotes of the Week "IndyWatch Feed"

We have the right to store a copy of your  [personal e-health] record and we are the only ones in the market to have this level 4 certification.  [Romain Bonjean, co-founder Tyde, app developer registered portal operator with Australian Government Digital Health Agency & My Health Record, quoted in the Australian Financial Review on 6 April 2018]

Life is short and shorter for smokers. Just legalise vaping.  [Andrew Laming MP, Dissenting Report, submitted to Australian HoR Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, March 2018]

When we kick their ass they all like to claim were drunk. Ive been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hoggs ass. Busy working; preparing.  [St. Louis radio host Jamie Allman threatening anti-gun activist & highschool student David Hogg, as reported by Snopes, 9 April 2018]



David Leyonhjelm guest post on motorists "IndyWatch Feed"

Australians love their cars. Its not hard to see why; cars can be comfortable, convenient and liberating. Yet our governments seem intent on making life for motorists more difficult.

First, there are the taxes on new cars.

Theres a 5 per cent import tariff, unless the car is made in a country with which Australia has a free trade deal. So an import tariff of more than $1,500 is imposed on entry-level Commodores, which are now made in Germany.

Then theres the luxury car tax, which imposes a 33 per cent tax on the value of new cars over $65,000. This adds more than $6,000 to the price of a basic Landcruiser, and more than $120,000 on a top-of-the line BMW.

The GST of 10 per cent applies on top of that, after which comes state duties of around 3 per cent on top of the GST-inclusive value. Thats quadruple taxation: a tax on a tax on a tax on a tax.

The tax penalty for buying a new car is a key reason why Australia has an old car fleet, with the average age of cars in Australia around 10 years. This is a key contributor to our road toll, because older cars are not as safe in an accident, and it doesnt help our pollution and emission levels either.

The high price of new cars in Australia is also the result of government-imposed restrictions on competition from used cars. Quotas on used car imports mean that only around 6,000 used cars are imported into Australia each year, compared to more than a million new cars. If these quotas were removed to allow unrestricted imports of used cars which are less than five years old and meet Australian standards, including right hand drive, it would only lead to the import of around 30,000 used cars each year. However, it would put significant downward pressure on new car prices.

Such a removal of quotas occurred in New Zealand with great success, and has been recommended by a succession of reviews including the Governments own Competition Policy Review. But the Coalition, intimidated by the manufacturers and their dealerships who sell new cars into Australia, is now threatening to make used car import arrangements even more restrictive. This would further increase the price of cars in Australia.

After youve purchased a car, our governments continue to make life difficult for Australian motorists. Before youve even pulled out of your driveway youre hit with hundreds of dollars in registration fees, licence fees and surcharges on your insurance.

Once driving, youre hit with fuel tax of 40.9 cents a litre. The unfairness of this is plain to see; those with a fuel efficient car pay less tax than those stuck with an old clunker despite using the same public roads. Those with an electric car pay nothing.

In fact, the burden of fuel tax falls heaviest on those in regional Aust...


Who is the most connected right-winger in Australia? "IndyWatch Feed"

Well I reckon it would be Alan Jones, or Andrew Bolt, or Paul Murray or a think tank executive director like John Roskam or Tom Switzer. Maybe the prime minister? You know connected people.

But no; not according to a (very creepy) infographic published this week at The Conversation.

That is a screen shot for the original youll have to click through to the link.

This shows a map of the Australian right-wing. It can be neatly divided into two broad groupings politicians and politician wannabes on the right hand side and think tank type organisations on the left hand side. No media people, so sorry Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray. You guys just dont cut it.

The map shows a number of organisations with people clustered around them the more connections any one individual has the bigger the dot representing them. By hovering over the dots anyone can quickly and easily observe the relative influence and connectedness of these individuals.

So back to the original question:  Who is the most connected right-winger in Australia? According to The Conversation an organisation that has as its byline Academic rigour, journalistic flair.

Here is the great Satan himself (alas sharing joint credit with John Humphreys).

Very annoying having to share top billing with John H so please update to reflect that I often give talks to the Victorian branch of the LDP and sometimes to local branches of the Liberal Party.

More seriously ...


Jacob Hersant : An Antipodean Resistance Lad "IndyWatch Feed"

In September last year I published a post titled Who Are Antipodean Resistance?. It gave a brief outline on the neo-Nazi groups origins on Tumblr and its development by way of Reclaim Australia and, moreover, the United Patriots Front (UPF). Continue reading


Neither Washington nor Moscow nor more war in Syria "IndyWatch Feed"

Neither Washington nor Moscow nor more war in SyriaU.S. President Donald Trump has pushed the world to the edge of a new conflict by threatening a missile attack on Syria. read now...


Going around in circles (Part 2) "IndyWatch Feed"

Part Twenty-five of a history of European occupation, rule, and brutal imperialism of Indigenous Australia, by Dr George Venturini. The high numbers of Indigenous People in prison has consequences for virtually all Indigenous People. It impacts on the individuals who are incarcerated, as well as their families and communities. Children with a parent in prison

The post Going around in circles (Part 2) appeared first on The AIM Network.


In which the predictability of the loonacy fills the pond with despair ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond continues in deep existential crisis

The Swiss bank accounts man explaining that Malware is a dummy? The pond would rather pluck out its eyes than proceed

Then there was The Mocker explaining how fundamentalist Xianity was really quite okay by him, and how it was right and good to send gays to hell, or at least consider it was a reasonable option, provided it didn't have anything to do with that dreadful bandana-wearer.

The pond would rather puncture its ear drums

This is Friday for fuck's sake, this is meant to be a fun day and what's on offer?

Chris Berg scribbling about Australia's 'rich heritage of nineteenth century classical liberalism' for the Speccie mob, in the form of Sir Joseph Carruthers?

Waiter, can the pond revert to the demon drink?

Or should the pond eat a main course of sawdust, followed by desiccated coconut, for lunch instead?

The pond blames the Caterists for not putting the rag out of its misery.

Oh sure there's always the United States, what with Donald Trump's love child all the go

But what's love got to do with it?

What's love got to do, got to do with...


Rawls faces off Facebook "IndyWatch Feed"

By John Tns The Facebook scandal regarding the use or abuse of private data has dominated news headlines for the past few weeks, yet there really is nothing new here. We have been or should have been aware that the various free services offered do use our data to pay for that service. How

The post Rawls faces off Facebook appeared first on The AIM Network.


SA redistribution live "IndyWatch Feed"

12:30pm Thats all Ill be posting today. Ill be back on the weekend with an updated pendulum, and will be putting together the map in coming days.

12:26pm On a primary vote basis in Mayo, the Liberal Party has dropped 1.1%, NXT has dropped 1.9%, and Labor has jumped by 3.1%, thanks to inclusion of Boothby and Kingston, which were seats where Labor competed much more strongly.

Its also worth noting that the Liberal-Labor 2PP figure in all three seats where NXT broke into the top two have seen Labors position strengthen. I will have to make my own estimates of the LIB vs NXT margin in these three seats, but wont happen until tomorrow.

12:20pm  So here are the toplines:

  • Labor has lost its sixth seat, thanks to the merger of Port Adelaide and Wakefield into Spence, which is a very safe seat.
  • The extremely marginal Labor seat of Hindmarsh has become reasonably safe, while Adelaide has also got a lot safer, and Makin is a bit safer.
  • Its hard to predict the margins in Barker, Grey or Mayo because there were parts of these seats where the two-candidate-preferred count didnt involve NXT. So thats why these margins havent changed much. About 86% of Grey and Mayo were already in the seat before the redistribution, while the figure is just over 90% for Barker.
  • The Liberal Partys position has got weaker in Boothby and Sturt.

12:15pm  Here are my margin estimates.

Seat Old margin New margin
Adelaide ALP 4.7% ALP 8.3%
Barker LIB vs NXT 4.7% LIB vs NXT 4.2%
Boothby LIB 3.5% LIB 2.7%


Turnbull Government at sea over live sheep exports "IndyWatch Feed"

Turnbull Government at sea over live sheep exportsThe Coalition faces a stern test as global outrage escalates over the horror and cruelty of Australias live sheep trade. read now...


US Officials Say Australian Muslim Activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied Deported For Not Having Correct Visa "IndyWatch Feed"

Suck it up, the rules are being enforced. Via The Guardian: Australian author and TV personality Yassmin Abdel-Magied has been deported from the US because she didnt hold the right visa, US authorities have said, but noted she was welcome to apply to return to the country. Abdel-Magied was due to speak at the PEN []


Happy Birthday Mr Jefferson "IndyWatch Feed"

Today would have been the 275th birthday of Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the US Declaration of Independence and the 3rd President of the United States.

The importance of his words in the Declaration of Independence, even today, should never be under-estimated:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Happy birthday Mr Jefferson.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus


This weeks guides April 13 "IndyWatch Feed"

Since I last posted about this, Ive published eight more guides, with the links listed below:

Ill keep publishing one guide per day, and you can see the most recent guides on the right-hand sidebar or on each guides front page. If youd like to see a seat prioritised, you can make a request if you donate $5 or more per month via Patreon.

The South Australian redistribution is due out today. I plan to do a quick calculation of the margin but have some work commitments which may make that hard to do immediately. Watch this space!


TSR The Spartacus Review "IndyWatch Feed"

Yesterday, Spartacus was reading Marcus contribution on energy policy  We Need the Government to Do What?!.  (PS highly recommended to the Cats).

Marcus description of the exchange between Credlin, Bernardi and Reece did not really surprise Spartacus, but given some 90% of communication is non verbal (voice and face), and Marcus description was second hand, Spartacus wanted to go to the horses mouth and see for himself.

So off to FoxTel Go he went.  And almost threw a shoe at the screen.  Dear Marcus did not do these clowns the disservice they deserve.

But before going into the substance, one cannot but what this particular performance of Peta Credlin and get a better insight into what and why so many counselled Prime Minister Abbott to let her go.  She was high handed, arrogant and wrong.  But importantly, she was not in doubt.

On to substance.  The key debate was on electricity and AGL and their plan to close/re-purpose the Liddell Power Station.  Here is Senator Bernardis contribution:

The big problem we have got is that the government is too involved in this business

But then Senator Bernardi proposes that the government get further involved:

You could take out all the speculators and the only purchaser will be the government.

Does this mean the government will also get back into the distribution, billing and call centre business?  Perhaps in South Australia?

But moving onto AGL, Credlin suggested that the government, unable to convince management cow tow should try to influence to the board and institutional investors of AGL.  Wow.  Just Wow.

Credlin has (repeatedly) mocked the Turnbull government for their attack on superannuants through the tax system but she now proposed to attack superannuants through other means.  And then Credlin says this:

The company (AGL) has to act in the national interest.

Perhaps in a totalitarian state ,but to suggest that AGL had a duty to act in the national interest above shareholder interest is just breathtaking.  Ms Credlin frequently likes to wave her legal credentials around, so perhaps before her next outing she should familiarise herself with the Corporations Act.  If Ms Credlin happens to be a reader of Catallaxy, here is a snippet from the ASIC website talking about director duties:

General duties imposed by the Corporat...


Homophobia loses in Trinidad "IndyWatch Feed"

The High Court of Trinidad and Tobago has struck down the country's colonial sodomy law:

A judge in Trinidad and Tobago has declared the nations laws banning sodomy and consensual homosexual acts are unconstitutional, a ruling that could potentially lead to the complete decriminalization of homosexuality.

Judge Devindra Rampersand of the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago ruled on Thursday that Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offenses Act are unconstitutional as applied to acts between consenting adults.

The court will meet again in July to determine whether the sections of the law should be struck down in their entirety or just in part.

LGBTQ activist Jason Jones challenged the colonial-era sodomy law in February 2017 by suing the nations attorney general, claiming that the prohibitions on buggery and acts of serious indecency between two men violate his and, by extension, other LGBTQ peoples right to privacy and freedom of expression.

Ironicly, it was the T&T legislature's own homophobia which allowed this. They had successively rewritten the law to increase the penalty to 25 years imprisonment - an act which removed the law from the protection of a "savings clause" preventing judicial review of colonial laws, and placing it squarely under the jurisdiction of the courts.

There's still a long way to go. Trinidad and Tobago is still a homophobic society which permits discrimination and employment and has a legal ban on homosexuals entering the country. But hopefully this ruling is the first step towards making it a better place.


Admiring Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg goes before Congress "IndyWatch Feed"

This is a dance of confused ends and mistrustful glances, mixed with occasional moments of misplaced adoration. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame has never been an empathetic sort and his testifying before the US Congress has done nothing to dispel that assessment. That stands to reason: the least sociable of types, the most awkward of

The post Admiring Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg goes before Congress appeared first on The AIM Network.


We should tell Trump to take a hike "IndyWatch Feed"

Last month, New Zealand formally signed the successor to the TPPA, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. The deal had few benefits for New Zealand, and the primary one seems to be MFAT negotiators not feeling left out, but it had one saving virtue: America wasn't involved. And that meant that it was merely a bit shit, rather than being actively toxic due to US IP bullshit. But now, having pulled out of the TPP and left the other countries to negotiate amongst themselves, Donald Trump wants back in:

US President Donald Trump told top administration officials Thursday to look at rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the multination trade agreement he pulled the United States out of shortly after taking office.

Rejoining the pact - now also known as the CPTPP - would be a major reversal as Trump escalates a trade conflict with China. The Pacific Rim trade deal was intended by the Obama administration as a way to counter China's influence, but Trump criticised the pact as a candidate and pulled the United States out of the pact in early 2017.

Trump gave the new orders to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow during a meeting with lawmakers and governors on trade issues, according to two GOP senators in attendance.

Senator John Thune said that he and others at the table raised the point that "if you really want to get China's attention, one way to do it is start doing business with all the people they're doing business with in the region: their competitors."

Trump then told Lighthizer and Kudlow to "take a look at getting us back into that agreement, on our terms of course," Thune said. "He was very I would say bullish about that."

"On our terms" means taking the negotiated position (currently suspended) as a baseline, and then demanding even more regulatory subsidies for US businesses. Which means making the deal even worse for New Zealand (and presumably everybody else as well).

The good news is that the US's re-entry requires the unanimous consent of all CPTPP parties. We can - and should - tell Donald Trump to take a hike.


Energy Battlegrounds and Furphies "IndyWatch Feed"

I have this piece in this mornings Australian which addresses the direction of energy and climate policy in light of Josh Frydenbergs Press Club address.  Aside from demonstrating how the renewable program has wrecked the electricity supply industry and brought a doubling of prices, it has two main themes.

First, it demonstrates that government statements bend the truth in saying that the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) will be neutral between energy sources.

The NEG will be set to achieve aspirations for a level of greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector in line with the governments Paris commitments on greenhouse gas emissions and will oblige suppliers to adjust their energy sources accordingly.  It is, in short, a mechanisms under which suppliers contract more renewable energy than they would without the NEG and less from fossil fuel generators.  This is accomplished by, in effect, the fossil fuel generators paying a price penalty and the renewables getting a price bonus.

Secondly, theres the Liddell closure issue.  Supply security and price is uppermost in the battleground over this and has brought calls for some Coalition MPs for direct investment in new coal fired generators.  The outgoing head of the electricity industry lobby group, Matthew Warren thinks the planned Liddell closure would not be a problem but politicians and regulators are not so confident.

The government is resisting calls for direct investment

but leaning heavily on AGL to keep Liddell open the firms claims that its alternative investments will be superior just do not pass the credibility test.  AGL has said it needs policy certainty.  A prominent ALP spokesman, Nicholas Reece, made it clear on Wednesday nights Bolt program that a Shorten Government would not permit Liddells closure prior to 2025.

In other words, we have bipartisan policy that will ensure the plant is kept open and it is a safe bet that the ALP would be more ruthless in ensuring this than the Coalition.

One important feature of the address by Josh Frydenberg was his observation that the renewable industry is adamant that it is now competitive with fossil supplies but equally resolute in demanding on-going subsidy programs to effect this.

The Minister says that wholesale prices are likely to fall a bit.  Maybe, but we wont see the $40 per MWh level that prevailed before politics destroyed our competitive supply.  Interestingly Josh Frydenberg also says the forward price of...


Putin grand master in global game of strategy and domination "IndyWatch Feed"

Putin grand master in global game of strategy and dominationVladimir Putin is a master strategist, but his end game may be putting the world in checkmate, writes Gerry Sont. read now...

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IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed Today.

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Thursday, 12 April


In which the pond takes its TGIF early ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Shattered. Gutted. Devastated. Shocked. Startled. Existential despair (thank the long absent lord there's more Rowe here).

No, it's not the Donald on the middle east or rejoining the TPP. The pond has always expected consistency of purpose and policy from the Donald.

No, it's not the drop in the immigration numbers that have sent the reptiles delirious with joy.

It's the absence of genuinely decent and rewarding looniness.

The pond had its usual supply of airport lounge Murdochian publications dropped on its lap last night, and there wasn't anything worth clipping. Oh sure there was the bromancer, but the pond had already been there and done that. There was the Bolter bleating in the HUN about violence, and the lizard Oz editorialist was celebrating a Donald triumph over China, but what's new about any of that?

And then this morning the Speccie mob turned in a spectacular failure. No Giles, no Flinty? What's happening to the country? Are we on a downhill slide to nowhere?

The pond had to turn to some of the lizard Oz's better reporting just to do a column filler

Strange. No reptile could be found willing to claim authorship of this epic story, which, if googled, can be found littering the intertubes in all sorts of places from long ago, and more recently in such august sources as the Daily Snail some six days ago the pond always hesitates to provide a di...


Kevin Rudds 2020 summit symphony fell flat "IndyWatch Feed"

Today in The Australian

Listening, on the eve of its 10th anniversary, to recordings of the Rudd governments 2020 Summit, it was hard not to be reminded of Rossinis quip about Wagner. One cannot judge Wagners Lohengrin from a first hearing, said the maestro, and I certainly do not intend to hear it a second time.



Alleged irrigator water theft heading for the courts? "IndyWatch Feed"

A cousin by marriage of the current Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud, John Norman, finds his agricultural business practices under scrutiny.....

The Guardian, 9 April 2018:

Fraud charges are expected to be laid against one of Queenslands biggest cotton irrigators, John Norman, within a matter of weeks.

If the trial of the owner-operator of Norman Farming, and former cotton farmer of the year goes ahead, it is likely to draw attention to the links between the irrigators family and that of the federal minister for agriculture and water resources, David Littleproud.

If the charges are laid, they will also throw the spotlight on the Queensland governments failure in administering a key plank of the $13bn Murray-Darling basin plan, how it withheld critical information about the alleged crimes, and how it raises queries as to whether it lied about its own investigation.



No wonder I dont buy Japanese goods including those now 100% Japanese-owned well-known Australian brands "IndyWatch Feed"

The Strait Times, 31 March 2018:

This undated file picture released on February 7, 2008, by the Australian Customs Services shows a mother whale and her calf being dragged on board a Japanese ship after being harpooned in Antarctic waters .PHOTO: AFP


John Stuart Mill on free speech "IndyWatch Feed"

Reprinted from Instapundit.

John Stuart Mills Ideas on Free Speech Illustrated

Heterodox Academy has produced a new book based on John Stuart Mills famous essay On Liberty to make it accessible for the 21st century. Heres what makes our edition special:

1) Its just the second chapter (out of 5), because that chapter gives the best arguments ever made for the importance of free speech and viewpoint diversity;

2) We have reduced that chapter by 50% to remove repetitions and historical references that would be obscure today, p...


Welcome back bromancer ... "IndyWatch Feed"

The pond had wondered what had happened to the bromancer. 

There was a suspicious absence, a sense of loss in the pond, a feeling of turbulence in the force, just like the mysteriously absent savvy Savva, but the bromancer broke his silence and revealed he's been on a junket to see the Poms

Now the pond really doesn't want to editorialise, but it does promise that there'll be a pay-off. It might take a little time to get to, but it's a real bromancer zinger

Never mind the classic Lobbecke - what a master he is.

The zinger revolves around the bromancer's recent infatuation with the Donald ...



A Chinese military base in Vanuatu or another Fairfax beat-up? "IndyWatch Feed"

A Chinese military base in Vanuatu or another Fairfax beat-up?Should Australia be concerned about a rumoured Chinese military expansion in the Pacific? Or is it yet another distraction from the Governments domestic problems? Political editor Dr Martin Hirst investigates. read now...


Chris Berg: Are Australians ready to embrace libertarianism? "IndyWatch Feed"

How much influence does libertarianism have on Australian politics? The first thing to know is that the Australian political system has very few libertarians in it.

The only federal member of parliament to self-describe as a libertarian is Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party. Other candidates like my former colleagues at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Senator James Paterson and Tim Wilson describe themselves as classical liberals.

Ideological classifications can get very tedious very quickly, but generally libertarianism is a variety of classical liberalism. Both philosophies believe that public policy should be designed to maximise free markets and civil liberties. That is, governments should get out of both the wallet and the bedroom. Libertarianism is generally seen as inhabiting the more radical end of the classical liberal spectrum.

A 2007 study published by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) estimated that 36% of the Australian electorate were classical liberals. So it is unsurprising they have little electoral influence on Australian politics.

The reason libertarians and classical liberals exercise some degree of influence is that they make up a disproportionate share of Australias policy wonks, think tank staff (especially at the IPA and CIS), and political commentators.

An extremely big tent

Australias right-of-centre political community is not so large as to have exclusively libertarian or conservative think tanks, as exist in the United States. Everyone works together. This co-mingling hasnt generally been an issue because Australian political debate has tended to pivot around economic issues (taxation, regulation, privatisation) or basic shared liberty issues (like freedom of speech) rather than the thorny moral debates that might divide the two camps.

Occasionally there have been polarising issues. Same-sex marriage is one. Conservatives were generally opposed, while libertarians tended to be in favour. But there was also broad agreement that any change to marriage laws should also protect religious freedom.

Immigration particularly asylum seeker policy is another. Libertarians are inclined towards freer immigration, whereas conservatives want more control over the borders. Here the tiny number of libertarians have been completely ineffective against the policy stalemate.

For the most part, there is much agreement between conservatives and libertarians about the current state of Australian politics. Both think the Turnbull government is a disappointment, for...


We Need the Government to Do What?! "IndyWatch Feed"

When TMR is not busy being a private lawyer, relishing sledge on a basketball court or tending to his fruit trees, he can be found cooking up culinary delights such as his ridiculously tasty chicken and prawn curry laksa (using plenty of goodies from the yard such as coriander, Vietnamese mint, Thai chilli, Kaffir lime leaves and Tahitian lime juice).

Regrettably, TMR made the mistake last night of attempting to consume his laksa while resident conservatives Peta Credlin and Cory Bernardi attempted to debate the parlous state of Australias energy market with resident economic imbecile leftist Nicholas Reece on Skys Paul Murray Live.

By now, you may be aware of the small matters of:

  • federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenbergs attempt yesterday to wrap a steaming pile of dung in foil  convince the public that their energy bills were going to magically go down before the end of this year because hed given the big bad power companies a good talking to.

Unbelievably, TMR actually heard someone looking and sounding exactly like Cory Bernardi saying words to the effect that:

  • there were too many energy retailers in the market gaming the system; and
  • the government should consider taking all these players and speculators out and becoming the only purchaser in the market so that we could then watch them all scramble to lower household energy prices.

One can only speculate whether this idea will make it to Bernardis weekly dose of common sense.

Shortly after, someone looking and sounding exactly like Peta Credlin said that it may be necessary for the government to step in and sort things out (when it comes to the AGL and Liddell situation).

After composing himself from what must have been quite a shock, resident leftist Reece had little option but to:

  • applaud Bernardi and Credlin for admitting that the free market has failed (TM...


Think Prove Speak "IndyWatch Feed"

Whilst there is some doubt as to who actually wrote it first, one contender was Mark Twain who wrote:

Its better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt

And stepping into the breach is the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM.

In response to an employee of Dr Parkinsons department facing court on allegations of indecent acts against minors, Dr Parkinson released a brief statement:

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet confirms that an employee of the Department was arrested this week for alleged indecent acts against minors.

The Australian Public Service has a zero tolerance for any abuse, particularly abuse of children. These allegations are extremely disturbing and we are cooperating fully with the Northern Territory Police.

The Department has suspended this employee pending court processes.

We remain committed to ensuring appropriate work practices in dealing with all vulnerable people.

While this case is currently under investigation, I will not be making any further comment.

It is pleasing to see that the APS has a zero tolerance for any abuse, particularly abuse of children, but was the really necessary to say?  Is there any kind of abuse that the APS does have a tolerance for?  If such a statement was necessary to be issued, it beggars the question as to why and who was the intended audience?

But that aside, it would be nice also for Dr Parkinson to say the APS has a zero tolerance for the abuse of tax payers or of citizens in general.  But heres wishing.  Perhaps Dr Parkinson is demonstrating unconscious bias against tax payers and citizens in general.

Without presuming an outcome to the legal case against the APS officer in questions, were such an incident to have occurred within a private sector entity, questions would be validly asked about the CEOs oversight of the organisation, the boards role in setting and monitoring culture and the role of the relevant human resources and risk departments.

Anyone wanna bet whether such questions will be asked here or let alone answered?...


Public spending lowers economic growth "IndyWatch Feed"

Another article for all you Keynesians out there: More Government Spending = Weaker Economic Performance. And the article comes with many other charts and notes this as well:

  • The OECD admitted in one study that a reduction in the size of the government could increase long-term GDP by about 10%, with much larger effects in some countries.
  • The OECD admitted in another study that a cut in the tax-to-GDP ratio by 10 percentage points of GDP (accompanied by a deficit-neutral cut in transfers) may increase annual growth by to 1 percentage points.
  • The OECD admitted in a different study that an increase of about one percentage point in the tax pressure (or, equivalently one half of a percentage point in government consumption, taken as a proxy for government size)could be associated with a direct reduction of about 0.3 per cent in output per capita. If the investment effect is taken into account, the overall reduction would be about 0.6-0.7 per cent.

Why this might be you will never understand if you start from Y=C+I+G, but thats all you are going to find in any macro text anywhere in the world.


In which the pond tries its hand at sniping, wrecking and undermining ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Ryan gone and war by tweet, how's the stunning victory man handling it?

Oh dear haven't the reptiles learned yet that the best way to communicate with the Donald on policy matters is to send someone off to Fox and Friends?

Never mind, if we must, but the pond will consider this strictly an entree ...

Uh huh, well the Pope knows where that's coming from, and more Pope here


Snap Fitness bullying makes employee hit breaking point "IndyWatch Feed"

Snap Fitness bullying makes employee hit breaking pointNaomi Fryers was blindsided by her experience working for a well-known gym chain, severely damaging her health, wellbeing and peace of mind. read now...


Climate Change: The latest inventory "IndyWatch Feed"

The annual inventory report [PDF] of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions has been released, showing a welcome small decrease in pollution in 2016:

2016 was a good hydro year, so less coal and gas were burned. There were also fewer sheep. But its not all good news. The drop from last year was about 2.4%, but this was offset by a rise in forestry emissions as trees planted in the early 1990's were harvested. And that's going to become a bigger effect over the next decade: the cushion of forests we used to soak up carbon and reduce our net emissions are going to be cut down, meaning we will have nowhere to hide from our long-term failure to reduce gross emissions. Hence why the government is so keen to plant a billion trees: to buy us some time. The good news is that they seem to be willing to make the tough decisions required to decarbonise the economy and set us on a greener path. Hopefully that work won't be undone by a future National government desperate to curry favour with the provinces at the expense of drowning our cities.


Double Disillusion the definitive analysis of the 2016 election out now "IndyWatch Feed"

Im very pleased to plug a new book that has just been published from ANU Press about the 2016 federal election entitled Double Disillusion.

The book will be available in hard copy and is also available as a free download.

This is the sixteenth edition in a series of election studies dating back half a century, covering each federal election in depth. It features chapters analysing the overall contest, each of the political parties campaigns, the impact of the media and interest groups, and the major policy debates of the election campaign, written by a bunch of excellent academic writers.

I was very happy to be able to contribute the chapter summarising the results in the House of Representatives, including the impact of minor parties, the role of preferences and a run-through of key seats. This is paired with a chapter analysing the Senate results by Antony Green.

Thank you to Anika Gauja and Peter Chen in particular for inviting me to participate in a formal space which I am not normally a part of.

Theres also a bunch of other excellent chapters and I hope readers find it useful and interesting as a definitive take on this bizarre election campaign.


A formal finding of deceit "IndyWatch Feed"

The Chief Ombudsman released their decision on the release and withholding of information around Operation Burnham the other day. At the time, I focused on the surprising news that a foreign country was deciding who kiwi soldiers were allowed to shoot - something which now seems to be part of the formal inquiry. But there was also another surprise in the report: a formal finding that NZDF had lied to the New Zealand public. Here's what the Ombudsman had to say about the release of information about Operation Burnham's location:

[A] key plank of NZDFs rebuttal of Hit & Run was that the authors were wrong about the location of the operation, and appeared to have confused interviews, stories and anecdotes from locals from one operation with another operation. NZDFs rebuttal suggested that there was no connection between the account of events in the book and the operation that did take place.

Having reviewed information about the location of the Operation, I formed the provisional opinion that the information NZDF had publicly released did not fully reflect the information NZDF held on this issue, particularly in relation to the photos of buildings in
Hit & Run. NZDF agreed to consider releasing some more information on this topic.

[Emphasis added]

Or to put it another way, they were telling the public that Hager and Stephenson were wrong, while they held and kept secret information showing that they were in fact right. No wonder the Chief of Defence Force resigned. This sort of systematic, calculated deceit is absolutely unacceptable in a public agency in a democratic state, and it makes you wonder whether NZDF thinks they are at war with us, their bosses. But while Lt General Keating fronted the briefings which deceived the public, other defence staff must have been involved in designing these lies. They need to be held to account for their actions too.


When industries come first, people die "IndyWatch Feed"

As we watch the ridiculous debate about coal unfold again, driven by the resources and manufacturing industries with nary a mention of the economic and social cost of climate change and pollution, governments around the world collude with another industry to cause even greater immediate harm and the death and displacement of millions of people.

The post When industries come first, people die appeared first on The AIM Network.

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Wednesday, 11 April


EDITORIAL: Malcolm Turnbull's safe phrase "IndyWatch Feed"

EDITORIAL: Malcolm Turnbull's safe phraseOne foolish phrase has put Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbulls prime ministership in peril yet, bizarrely, one equally stupid statement may save him. read now...


In which Lloydie feverishly works to save the day from the sight of the satanic mills ... "IndyWatch Feed"


Having just worked its way in fits and starts through the thoughts of the most mendacious and duplicitous Nazi of them all - Sereny's book on Albert Speer - the pond was reminded yet again of the way that the Nazis keep on giving for SBS and academics, with books on stormtroopers recently bobbing up and noted at the NY Review of Books (sorry, inside the paywall here).

There's no doubt about it, for fighting we were born, and everything's a struggle, and naturally there's a point to this introduction, because the reptiles have triple blessed the pond with an extensive contribution from Lloydie on the struggle for power kampf um macht, if you will ...

Now it's true that some appalling people suggest Lloydie's main purpose in life is to confuse, dissemble, conflate, and muddy the waters in a way that produces lots of energy, but little heat or light, on and off the grid.

These sceptics might even propose that Lloydie could start off talking about energy, and end up with nuclear plants.

The pond won't hear of it Lloydie is a leading climate scientist and caring environmentalist, and besides, do we really need anything more than...


Ultimately allowing live animal exports and cruelty to livestock is the responsibility of the Australian general public and we should not turn away from our part in this trade "IndyWatch Feed"

It would appear that live animal exporters are still ignoring the health and well-being of livestock.

Take Emanuel Exports Pty Limited, first incorporated in Western Australia in 1955..... 

ABC News, 9 March 2018:   

A scandal-plagued live export ship slated to take 65,000 sheep to the Middle East has failed to satisfy an inspection and must provide evidence of improvements before maritime officials will allow it to set sail with livestock on board.

The concerns relate to airflow in pens where sheep will travel.

Inspectors from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) spent hours inspecting the Awassi Express after it docked in Fremantle, Western Australia, on Sunday.



Climate change: Decarbonising New Zealand "IndyWatch Feed"

Today the government has taken the first real step towards decarbonising the New Zealand economy, by banning all future offshore oil exploration:

The New Zealand government will issue no new exploration permits for offshore oil and gas fields in a historic move to support its commitment to action on climate change.

While some 22 existing offshore oil and gas exploration permits remain in place, with rights to explore and potentially develop any commercial discovery unaffected, the decision signals the endgame for decades of attempts to find major new oil and gas deposits outside the Taranaki Basin, where the offshore Maui, Kupe, Maari, Pohokura, and Tui fields are all producing oil and gas today.

"The coalition government is taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a statement issued at 5am in coordination with other Ministers and environmental groups.

Good. Humanity is pushing up against the edge of its safe carbon budget, and we can't afford to burn even half the carbon we know about. Under those circumstances, looking for more carbon is both pointless, and creates pressure to destroy the planet for the profit of a few. This is an industry we need to wind down, phase out, and replace. Which means the second part of this will be to gradually start revoking existing permits, and close the pipeline so that any new discoveries will not be developed. The market does most of the latter part for us - bringing new oil and gas fields into production is hugely expensive, and most discoveries are uneconomic to develop, meaning they just get recorded as an asset inflating the value of fossil fuel companies. Systematically devaluing those assets is the way to force those companies out of business.

Naturally, the Mayor of New Plymouth is unhappy. Like the West Coast, his local economy is dependent on a destructive and irresponsible industry, and that industry has been told it is no longer welcome. Won't someone think of the jobs! But those jobs and that illusory prosperity are bought at the cost of destroying the planet, and the homes and livelihoods of other New Zealanders. That tornado in Taranaki, those cyclones we've been having this summer, the droughts we've had which have made life difficult for farmers - that's what New Plymouth's fossil economy costs us. And the blunt truth is that if the rest of us are to survive and prosper, that economy has to die. The quicker it does so, the better.


The only Australians who do not recognise the cruel farce that is 'robo-debt' are right-wing politicians, ideologues and the just plain ignorant "IndyWatch Feed"

It is trite maths that statistical averages (whether means or medians) tell nothing about the variability or otherwise of the underlying numbers from which averages are calculated. Only if those underlying numbers do not vary at all is it possible to extrapolate from the average a figure for any one of the component periods to which the average relates. Otherwise the true underlying pattern may be as diverse as the experience of Australias highly variable drought/flood pattern in the face of knowledge of average yearly rainfall figures. Yet precisely such a mathematical fault lies at the heart of the introduction from July 2016 of the OCI machine-learning method for raising and recovering social security overpayment debts. This extrapolates Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data matching information about the total amount and period over which employment income was earned, and applies that average to each and every separate fortnightly rate calculation period for working-age payments.  [Terry Carney AO, UNSW Law Journal, Vol 42 No 2, THE NEW DIGITAL FUTURE FOR WELFARE: DEBTS WITHOUT LEGAL PROOFS OR MORAL AUTHORITY?, p2]

The Canberra Times, 5 April 2018:


Day to Day Politics: In answer to Phil and Kyran. "IndyWatch Feed"

Thursday 12 April 2018 After posting my first piece about making our democracy better in which I appealed to our readers can you please help me to respond with comments, I was overwhelmed with them. Two however, stood out and I ended up posting them as stand-alone articles. The first was from Phil and focused

The post Day to Day Politics: In answer to Phil and Kyran. appeared first on The AIM Network.


CARTOON: The Hannity Rush "IndyWatch Feed"

CARTOON: The Hannity RushOtherwise known as the 'double bum Rush'. read now...


In which the reptiles' monkey's aunt explains a few things to Josh and ScoMo ... "IndyWatch Feed"

That's the sort of casting the pond loves - remember he played a morgue night shift employee in Night Shift!

And now to put another few corpses to work. The pond has had an old Dame Groan lying around, and what else to do but get it out before it gets too smelly

Perhaps there should be a warm-up, because the reptiles have been fretting endlessly about energy and coal, oi, oi, oi, and all the rest of it

Come on down Josh, explain the free market vs. the onion muncher's five year nationalisation plan ...

Oh dear, this is just the sort of talk to make Dame Groan snap ...

Dearie me, clearly Josh hadn't paid any attention to Dame Groan, who gave that dreadful ScoMo a dressing down the day before


Why is it so hard to delete Facebook? "IndyWatch Feed"

Why is it so hard to delete Facebook?People are concerned about how their data will be used but few contemplate permanently deleting their Facebook accounts. read now...


Pacific Moves: China, Vanuatu and Australia "IndyWatch Feed"

Washingtons vigilant deputy, doing rounds on the beat in the Pacific, has been irate of late. The central issue here is the continuing poking around of China in an area that would have been colloquially termed in the past Australias neighbourhood. There have been no formal proposals, but the Australian press is agog with reports

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Finally "IndyWatch Feed"

The government will hold an inquiry into Operation Burnham, the SAS revenge raid in Afghanistan in which six civilians were killed and 15 injured. But that's not all - according to the livestream, it will also be investigating prisoner transfers by NZDF, the truthfulness of NZDF's briefings to Ministers, and whether NZDF's foreign-written rules of engagement authorised assassinations. The latter is a new and unpleasant issue, and highlights the dangers of letting foreigners decide when and in what circumstances NZ soldiers are allowed to kill: we know that many of NZDF's allies (including the USA, UK and Australia) are not moral countries and their moral values around military action and assassination are deeply at odds with those of the New Zealand public (and with international law). Its not clear whether there's any allegation that NZDF soldiers have been involved in assassinations, but if they have, then they may have committed crimes under New Zealand and international law, for which they will need to be prosecuted. "Only following orders" is not an excuse we can accept from those who kill in our name.


In which the pond takes a break from domestic anxieties and the heat, and plunges in for a swim ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Ever since the reptiles put up a tighter paywall, the pond has been swamped by discussion starters that leak outside whether it's even more on South African farmers and the Tudge response, or the Folau matter, and the oscillating fan and sponsor still troubling the reptiles, or dinkum Oz coal, oi, oi, oi, and poor old Josh and Barners and the onion muncher and the whole damn thing

But with Washington awash with gossip about the Donald working up the steam to sack Rod Rosenstein and perhaps Sessions, the pond thought it would take a lunch time break what with there still being record temperatures in the land, and the Donald's work only just begun, and all the reptiles can do is worry about blackouts in South Australia and besides, the pond has a number of cartoons to work its way through

Speaking of mindless adulation, the reptiles did a ripper this day

A stunning victory?

Hmm, the pond knows where that's coming from


How should we be naming our federal seats? "IndyWatch Feed"

Australian federal electorates follow a fairly unique naming convention. Australian state seats are usually named after geographic locations, which is also common for national electorates in Canada, the UK and New Zealand, while electoral districts in the United States are generally given numerical names.

The majority of Australian federal electorates are named after prominent individual Australians, as a way of honouring those people. 113 out of 150 seats in the current parliament are named after people, while 37 are named after geographic features.

The AEC is usually hesitant to rename seats, and their guidelines prioritise maintaining existing seat names. Yet seats do change from time to time: states gain additional seats, population shifts within a state sometimes require a seat to be abolished, and there is pretty much a hard-and-fast rule that former prime ministers are honoured with a seat as soon as possible after their death.

Because of this practice, most seat names are those that were named in the first half of last century:

43 seats are those created for the first parliaments. 35 seats have survived since 1901, while eight other seats are the same as when they were created in Tasmania and South Australia in 1903 (those states did not use single-member electorates in 1901).

There were spikes in seat names in 1949 and 1984, when the parliament was expanded. More than two thirds of electorates were named in these three peak periods.

Thus its not surprising to discover a strong bias towards naming seats after white men. This partly reflects the era in which seat names were coined, but also reflects how men were much more likely to qualify as someone who had rendered outstanding service to their country in an era where women didnt get the same opportunities.

After the fold I will run through why this has happened, and how the AEC isnt making anywhere near enough progress towards honouring a more diverse cross-section of Australians. You can also download the dataset I used to conduct this analysis.

I count fifteen seats named after early explorers (all men) and eight named after British governors of Australian colonies (it was nine until Deni...


Influencing the public discourse: Racism, Sunrise, Alan Jones et al "IndyWatch Feed"

Influencing the public discourse: Racism, Sunrise, Alan Jones et al'From my experience, racism like violence is a contagion.' ~ Jeff McMullen read now...


Factoring the Pacific into Australias approach to China "IndyWatch Feed"

The Chinese-in-the-Pacific dilemma has once again hit the headlines in Australia, this time with a proposed naval base in Vanuatu. It was promptly rejected by the Vanuatu government, but the likelihood of having Chinese military hardware on a long-term basis in the Pacific has raised significant discussion on the strategic implications for Australia and its allies.

Australia has long maintained a well-established and enduring relationship with the people of the Pacific. But Chinas influence is undeniably increasing. Its investment in soft power in particular has been a success, not only in economic terms but also in the lives of ordinary people. Chinese infrastructure projects, while not always successful, have enabled access to government services, giving people a sense of modernity and development. Chinas growing diaspora in the Pacific is also increasingly active in community engagements and maintain a close influence on local politics.

Chinas people-to-people relations continue to expand as it becomes a first responder to disaster relief efforts, shows goodwill through local charities, and provides scholarships for Pacific students to prestigious Chinese universities. To bridge the cultural gap, China is currently considering building Chinese language schools in the Pacific, beginning with Papua New Guinea.

Australia believes, as part of its strategic policy, that a secure Pacific means a secure Australia. Chinas emergence in the Pacific is seen by some as a threat to this state of order.......


Does Labour support social services or austerity? "IndyWatch Feed"

Our country currently has decrepit schools, underpaid nurses, and hospitals with sewage in the walls. To fix this massive social and infrastructure deficit, the government needs to spend more money - which means eventually collecting more money. The new government's tax working group, which is looking at taxing the land, wealth and capital gains of the rich, is an obvious way of solving this problem, and there's public support for doing so. Instead, Labour seems to be forgoing this opportunity and suggesting that any changes will be "fiscally neutral":

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it is "entirely plausible" that any tax changes stemming from the tax working group could be balanced by tax relief elsewhere.

In a video with Stuff political editor Tracy Watkins, Ardern not only repeated that there would be no tax changes in the first term of Government, any changes which came as a result of the tax working group could well be "neutral".

"We've ruled out any changes to, you know, significant new tax changes in this first term. It was a big issue during the election and it was one that we very openly worked through," Ardern said.

"We've said we'd set up a tax working group, we have, it'll report this term, but anything it suggests wouldn't take effect until a new term and people will have a chance to vote on it, but it could be entirely plausible that it could be fiscally neutral."

Because you can always rely on chickenshit Labour to ignore a golden opportunity to do the right thing. They're so scared of National criticising them - something that will happen regardless of what they do - that they are pre-emptively taking major policies off the table, and effectively pledging to continue right-wing austerity forever.

Labour needs to decide what it stands for: social services, or austerity. And if its the latter, then they might as well not be in government. All they'll really be standing for is a different bunch of arseholes getting the big salaries, while ordinary kiwis keep on getting fucked over.


Not acceptable "IndyWatch Feed"

Democracy in New Zealand is predicated on the fundamental rule that the executive and its agencies are accountable to Parliament, and through them to the people of New Zealand. We expect public servants and heads of public agencies to cooperate fully with Parliamentary oversight and investigations, and not attempt to mislead them or refuse to provide evidence. But that's exactly what RNZ Chair Richard Griffin is doing over his communications with his Minister Clare Curran:

RNZ chairman Richard Griffin says he has no intention of handing over a voice message left on his mobile phone by Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran.

"No, I have no intention of handing it over, so I'm in breach of the select committee directive," he told the Herald.

He declined to comment further, saying a letter outlining the reasons why had been sent to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee.

This simply is not acceptable. The information the committee has requested is official information, received and held in Griffin's official capacity as RNZ chair. By refusing to provide it, he is effectively saying that he does not work for Parliament, or the people of New Zealand. And if that's his attitude, then terminating his employment and getting his successor to provide the records seems appropriate.

(Meanwhile the voicemail has been the subject of numerous OIA requests as well, and there seems no real reason to refuse them. Its an official document sent and received in an official capacity in which there is no privacy interest. But given Griffin's attitude here, it is likely that he will try and unlawfully refuse them. All this will do is delay release until the Ombudsman has ordered it).


Rudd Had The Australia 2020 Summit; Abbott/Turnbull have Australia 3030 "IndyWatch Feed"

So, Turnbull survived his thirtieth Newspoll. Now hes after Julia Gillards record and the media can start a whole new countdown. Yes, when Rudd called his Australia 2020 summit it seemed a long way off. However, when Turnbull made his comment about Abbott losing 30 Newspolls in a row, Ill bet he never thought hed

The post Rudd Had The Australia 2020 Summit; Abbott/Turnbull have Australia 3030 appeared first on The AIM Network.


Spain is a tyranny "IndyWatch Feed"

Charging peaceful protesters with "terrorism" is one of the hallmarks of tyranny. But that's exactly what Spain is now doing in Catalonia:

Spanish police have arrested the organiser of a Catalan separatist protest group on suspicion of terrorism after she blocked motorways and high-speed railway lines.

The woman, who has not been named, was detained in a dawn raid yesterday by the Civil Guard in the town of Viladecans, east of Barcelona.

It is the first time since the illegal Catalan independence vote last October that any separatist has been charged with terrorism, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

"Terrorism" is supposed to require a significant element of violence. Here it is being used against peaceful protesters. And as the Spanish judiciary is not independent, there's no real hope of a fair trial or the charges being thrown out as ridiculous. Instead, Catalans will have to rely on the European courts for justice.


Ignore the polls Turnbull should resign over his economic incompetence "IndyWatch Feed"

Ignore the polls Turnbull should resign over his economic incompetenceAlthough Turnbull has not resigned upon reaching his 30th negative Newspoll, he should depart for failing where it really matters. read now...

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Tuesday, 10 April


In which the pond is waiting for "Ned" to natter ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Relax, that's just a bait and switch cartoon. 

The pond has, thanks to the lizards of Oz, arranged a stunning programming of stupefying navel-gazing and fluff-gathering for its morning outing

The pond remains captivated by the stormy weather abroad, and is now into the final episode of Wild Wild Country, which is just as well, because on the way there the pond accidentally stumbled across The Drum last night and discovered it was being hosted by the oscillating fan, with Caroline Overington on the panel 

It really, truly is their ABC and to celebrate,  the pond reluctantly returned to the domestic civil war. Drum roll, maestro, it will be a slow build

Yesterday, while the pond was out and about, the onion muncher, following on the belligerent Barners, came out swinging, and naturally the reptiles immediately stood to attention


Wonderful stuff, as Barners and the onion muncher and assorted others in the cracker barrel go about the business of making sure that it's absolutely not crystal clear what the government stands for, apart from a confused bunch of loons shouting at and haranguing each other about coal and hapless Malware pretending that somehow he's in control ...


Day to Day Politics: Retribution what an awful word "IndyWatch Feed"

Wednesday 11 April 2018 Alas, my wife and I were called to Melbourne yesterday to assist with the nursing of our daughter-in-law who had suddenly taken ill with a perforated bowel. Having suffered from bowel cancer myself, I could instantly relate to her predicament. An observation Every experience is a mountain with a peak to

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In conversation with Lionel Kaluat, former Labour Commissioner of Vanuatu "IndyWatch Feed"

Last month, on the sidelines of the Vanuatu Labour Summit, I caught up with Lionel Kaluat, the former Labour Commissioner for Vanuatu. Lionel is widely viewed as having been instrumental in Vanuatus early labour mobility success, which saw Vanuatu become the main provider of workers to New Zealand horticulture under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program. I asked Lionel both about those early successes, and about recent changes to Vanuatus labour sending arrangements.

Matt: Lionel, you were Labour Commissioner when Vanuatu quite against expectations became the largest provider of seasonal workers under New Zealands Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. What do you think was behind that success?

Lionel: Well, I believe the success story of how Vanuatu came to lead in New Zealand was basically because of the structure that we had right in the beginning which complemented New Zealand government policy.

And I think the beauty of the RSE program in the beginning was that New Zealand made sure that their backyard was cleared up, that the illegal workers were dealt with before the program commenced I always repeated to Australia to follow that example.

That was one of the reasons for RSE success: we started off with clear ground.

I then introduced a policy where we would not be reliant on the government as [an] agent, but where we would privatise the program by engaging agents, to ensure that there was no political interference. That was instrumental to that early success.

That allowed a transparent [and] accountable system to work, and we did so by trialing out the first 104 workers in a pilot. And the pilot proved successful.

Through that, employers in New Zealand found that our workers were reliable, competent. Thats how we first developed a trademark, or trade name: we are reliable workers, we can work eight hours a day, we are healthy, physically and mentally fit.

We also featured the skills our workers had, coming from rural areas. We picked people from rural areas who spent most of their time in the gardens.

I believe that once you do things right in the first place, you will always be right. So, we are very, very proud, and very glad that we actually had it on the right track right in the beginning.

And another good thing was our partnership with the New Zealand authorities. We were monitoring, providing advice, and making sure that things were done right in the first instance.

Matt: And its been, what? More than ten years since then? How do you think Vanuatu is going now in terms of labour mobility and its participation in the RSE and Australias Seasonal Worker Program (SWP)?



Almost right from its very beginning Facebook Inc was not the benign Internet presence it pretended to be "IndyWatch Feed"

Facebook Inc. - incorporated in July 2004 and headquartered at 1 Hacker Way (so named by Facebook management), Menlo Park, California 94025 - has at least twelve data centres around the world which collect, transmit, collate, store and monetise data drawn from an est. 2 billion active Facebook accounts. 

In May 2017 this social media company was worth est. US$407.3 billion according to

Now that the social media giant finds itself being officially investigated to varying degrees by the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States on matters of user data collection, data retention, privacy and safety - as well as being the object of a number of lawsuits - here is a timeline indicating how Mark Zuckerberg brought Facebook to this low point......


Facebook Privacy Policy...


It seems climate change deniers may be looking to that far-right lobby group the Insitute of Public Affairs (IPA) to organise defence fund appeals in the future "IndyWatch Feed"

For more than a decade, Ridd[Peter Vincent Ridd] has been happily criticising the science linking dangerous climate change to greenhouse gas emissions and the science showing the impacts of humans on corals.

Ridd has also repeatedly, over many years, said that the impact of agricultural runoff and water quality on the health and growth rate of corals is overstated.

But his employer, James Cook University, initiated its own action against Ridd after he had criticised specific organisations at his own university in media interviews, saying they could not be trusted. This, the university alleged, went against the universitys code of conduct....


Trumps Corporate Cursing: The Case of Amazon and Jeff Bezos "IndyWatch Feed"

When the President of the United States forgets that he is no longer running the set of The Apprentice, with its faux callousness and elevated brutality, he can prove devastating to certain stocks. Even in the land of the plutocrat and the capitalist, a bad word can signal the plummeting of value. What is so

The post Trumps Corporate Cursing: The Case of Amazon and Jeff Bezos appeared first on The AIM Network.


The ACCC and Liddell: Just opinion and no facts "IndyWatch Feed"

The ACCC and Liddell: Just opinion and no factsAGL is filling the role abdicated by the Turnbull Government and the ACCC by recognising the disastrous effects of coal on human health. read now...


In which the pond offers a double dose of Caterism, and it's guaranteed to work better than activated charcoal ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Each day the pond begs for mercy, and each day the reptiles continue to torment the pond.

The pond is almost tempted to accept that dinkum clean Oz coal is the way forward, oi, oi, oi, just to stop the crusading because sure enough once the reptiles get going on a crusade, little Sir Echo, aka the Caterists, can always be relied to chip in

First a bit of virtue-signalling. This presentation of the Caterists is only intended for the amusement of passing readers, and is an entertainment, and users must accept full responsibility and gamble sensibly.

Anyone who intends to respond to that immortal line "A new HELE (high efficiency, low emissions) coal-fired power station on a brownfield site might do the trick " should keep the response within the decent parameters of a belly laugh, verging on a horse laugh

Anyone resorting to the Fairfaxians for a price check here ...

A backbench push for a new taxpayer-funded coal fired power station has been derided as "ludicrous" by energy analysts who believe it would cost at least $3 billion, drive up energy prices and take eight years to build.

must understand and accept that the Caterists are very used to getting...


Australia stumbles further down the donor generosity rankings "IndyWatch Feed"

Preliminary OECD data on donor generosity were released today. The data cover 2017, and should be troubling to any Australian politician thinking of cutting aid in the coming budget.

In the 2017 calendar year, Australian aid was just 0.23 per cent of Australias Gross National Income (GNI). Australia now lags badly behind the median aid donor (which gives 0.29 per cent). The chart below shows you how Australia compares to other donors. It is worth looking at the countries in Australias neighbourhood. For the first time since 2005, Australia gives less aid as a share of GNI than Japan. Beneath Australia are the notoriously tightfisted United States, alongside countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece that have been through brutal recessions, and a group of countries such as Slovenia and Poland, all with GDPs per capita less than half that of Australias.

Is this really Australias place in the world?

The next chart shows how Australias ranking as a donor has trended over time. A score of one means most generous. There are 29 donors in total. As you can see, Australias standing is not improving. It has fallen to 19th in 2017, its lowest ranking in the group (which was also achieved one other time, in 2005). Needless to say, further aid cuts wont help this.


AEMO confirms that AGLs plan for Liddell will eliminate energy shortfall "IndyWatch Feed"

In an interview with 2GB on Monday, Chairman of the Backbench Environment and Energy Committee and spokeperson for the Monash Forum, Craig Kelly, said There is a clear argument under our existing competition law that AGL would be engaging in a misuse of their market power by closing Liddell down and not offering it to

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Dear Mr Turnbull, Happy 30th Newspoll Birthday "IndyWatch Feed"

Dear Mr Turnbull, Happy 30th Newspoll BirthdayJohn Passant pens a 30th birthday letter to Malcolm Turnbull letting him know he is still the preferred PM. read now...


Deeply dubious "IndyWatch Feed"

Last week, a senior Immigration NZ manager repeatedly said that Immigration NZ was using racial profiling to target people for deportation. This week, Immigration NZ is in full denial mode about that. They use "demographic profiling" - including age and gender - but

does not consider nationality - and never has done. There is no racial or ethnic profiling undertaken in deportation activity and there never has been.

That's what they've told the Minister, and its what they've told the public. But its also very much at odds with what the person actually in charge of the program said last week. Who are we to believe? As former immigration officer Tze Ming Mok points out, it is possible that nationality was included in withheld parts of the spreadsheet. And when the department in question is infamous for agreeing to "lie in unison" (and lying to the Ombudsman about it), its not outrageous to think they're lying again now.

Of course, what they've admitted is bad enough: gender discrimination and age discrimination for one. And an unhealthy focus on punishing the victims of migrant exploitation:
"Alastair Murray last week talked about targeting people who were incurring health debts and criminal history yet these types of factors have an extremely low weighting in the spreadsheet. All of these migrants who are basically targeted as a high risk to the immigration system are the people who score highly on visa type, number of applications made and the type of employer."

Mr McLymont said there was an emphasis on targeting potential victims of exploitation rather than rooting out the causes of it. He said the minister needed to ask a lot more questions.

And that's explicit in the briefing note: the purpose of the programme was "to identify a group or groups of unlawful migrants who are more likely to commit harm or become victims of harm themselves" (emphasis added). But not to help them, but to throw them out of the country.

This program, its motivations, and what we are being told about it are all deeply dubious. There needs...


ACT and Victorian redistributions here are the maps "IndyWatch Feed"

Ive finished making Google Earth maps for the draft federal boundaries for Victoria and the ACT, and they are now available for download:

Ive also turned them into interactive maps below the fold, which show the 2016 and 2019 boundaries (you can toggle each layer on and off). Enjoy!


Dutton and 'The Guardian': No longer 'dead' to him "IndyWatch Feed"

Dutton and 'The Guardian': No longer 'dead' to himTwo weeks after declaring that The Guardian was 'completely dead to me' Peter Dutton is handed two favourable articles. read now...

Monday, 09 April


In which the pond senses another reptile free speech crusade approaching ... "IndyWatch Feed"

After the party comes the hangover, but thank the long absent lord, Barners had the guts and the gumption to set the clock ticking, and we can all look forward to another party by Xmas

In the meantime, there was important business to attend to. You see the moment anyone drew attention to the recent strange behaviour of the weather yesterday, that's the very time that the reptiles get going... on more important matters

Well played Ben now please make sure you mention the coal lovers' forum, dinkum Oz coal, oi, oi, oi, and praise be, surely coal is the best solution ...

Ah, it's another day at the lizard Oz, and so to the main feast for the day.

The pond had overlooked it when Alan Jones spoke up he spent most of his column talking about the dire state of rugby in Australia, and the pond quite frankly wouldn't mind if rugby died and went to hell tomorrow

But speaking of hell, it goes without saying that the right to consign poofters to eternal hellfire, damnation and suffering is very dear to homophobes, bigots, Daesh, Islamic and Xian fundamentalists, and Catholics and of course the Catholic Boys' Daily, and late...


Five things the Australian Government could do to be a leader in the global compacts "IndyWatch Feed"

Its tempting to hide behind numbers when youre making excuses for inaction. Australia has become adept at it.

The world has 65 million displaced people. Many are stuck between homes they can never return to and countries who cant support them long-term.

When confronted with this global crisis, Australia has one number that makes us look impressive: we accept the third largest number of refugees for formal resettlement each year an expected 18,750 people in 2018. But our resettlement numbers pale in comparison to countries like Lebanon that neighbour conflict zones; Lebanons population today is 20 per cent refugees.

Globally, developing nations who have financial and security struggles of their own host 84 per cent of the worlds refugees.

Wealthy nations should be doing far more to support displaced people globally. This was recognised by UN member states in the September 2016 New York Declaration, which committed all countries to finding a fairer way to manage population flows and better share the responsibility for humanitarian and migration crises.

In the follow up to the Declaration, UNHCR was charged with developing a Global Compact on Refugees. Countries are now negotiating the content of the Compact, which will be finalised in July. A similar process is underway to develop a Global Compact on Migration.

Australia must stop hiding behind our resettlement intake, and make meaningful commitments to do our fair share. Below are five concrete actions the Australian Government can take in the global compacts process to step up to the refugee challenge:

  1. Develop a domestic program of action with concrete commitments.

Australia should develop a whole-of-government program of action in follow up to the global compacts. As a starting point for this program, Australia should bring its refugee resettlement quota back up to its previous level of 20,000 places, and then incrementally work to double it in the next five years. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that 1.2 million refugees need resettlement. But in 2016 only 125,000 refuge...


Big banks get hammered in first round of Banking Royal Commission hearings "IndyWatch Feed"

I am sure that the Turnbull Coalition Government was hoping that voters would not form opinions such as this when it set up the deliberately hobbled Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

OBrien Solicitors, blog post, 5 April 2018:

First Round of Banking Royal Commission Reveals Systemic Issues in the Banking Industry

Customers are falling victim to the misconduct of banks with evidence being presented at the Banking Royal Commission (BRC) of fraudulent conduct, approval of inappropriate loans and excessive interest rates. The first round of public hearings have finished with the big four banks (NAB, Westpac, ANZ and CBA) being scrutinised by the Commission over its inappropriate behaviour.

The big banks get hammered in first round of BRC hearings

NABs employee incentive scheme saw fraudulent conduct by its bankers making unsuitable loans, the dishonest use of customer signatures, and false documentation being provided to support loan applications. Even worse, staff in some branches accepted bribes to facilitate loans they knew were based on fraudulent documents. Whistleblowers called out the fraud, but the bank did not notify the regulator until months after they were required to...


So many Newspoll losses mean democratic processes at risk as Turnbull Government strives to claw back political ground "IndyWatch Feed"

The Coalition now trails Labor by 47.5 per cent to 52.5 per cent in two-party terms across the four polls. This reflects a 48:52 result from Fairfax/Ipsos, the same from Newspoll, the same from Essential and a 46:54 result from ReachTel on March 29. [The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 April 2016]

From May 2014 to September 2015 the Abbott Coalition Government experienced 30 consecutive negative Newspoll federal voting intentions opinion polls*.

After the sacking of Tony Abbott by his party and the installation of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister the Turnbull Coalition Government saw 12 positive Newspolls before this second rendition of a Coalition federal government itself experienced 30 consecutive negative Newspolls from 12 September 2016 to 9 April 2018.

This polling history indicates that the Liberal-National federal government is likely to have only had the national electorates approval for around ten of the last thirty-seven calendar months.



Two horse race "IndyWatch Feed"

Mondays 30th Newspoll passed with nothing much happening but a reminder as to why Abbott was dumped in the first place. It was media induced of course, but that does mean it is not A Thing. Newspoll has a currency in the media, and hence in the political class and it can often be a trigger for action (or at least an excuse for one). This time, however, the political side had no response it could make.

Chris Uhlmann says it is reasonable to ask why the same criteria should not be applied to Turnbull as to Abbott. Well, the public doesnt want it might be one reason. While there was support for Abbott being dumped there is by no means any appetite for the same to happen to Turnbull not least because the Coalition cannot produce anyone that would be more popular. Things are so desperate that there is even talk of going back to Costello. It is as though the Coalition has to run through everybody it can think of to reach the obvious conclusion that they are in a mess and no change in leadership will get them out of it.

Lets get some context. We are now clearly going through a period of widespread disruption across advanced political democracies. In Spain, Italy, Greece, France, and the Netherlands, major post war parties have collapsed. In Germany and Austria, the major parties dominate but are reaching post war lows. This is especially happening on the social democrat side but the right are not usually far behind. In the UK and the US the four major parties are still electorally dominant but internally both British Labour and the US Republicans are in upheaval while the Conservatives and US Democrats are not far behind.

In Australia things look much more settled. The major parties appear still in tact and the only overt sign something is wrong is the chronic instability in the leadership. Yet in some ways, that very stability is more revealing to what is actually happening than the political/culture war histrionics going on overseas. But to see it requires getting over three blind spots about the current political situation.

The first is on the leadership instability. It is not just that there is no obvious electoral alternative to Turnbull. The dynamic that destabilised the leadership over the last eight years is now over. The confusion as to what that dynamic is was summed up by a recent piece by Peter Hartcher.

Hartcher, of course, was one of those journalists who thought Turnbull could end the lead...


Hackery or heresy "IndyWatch Feed"

Henry Farrells recent post on the irrelevance of conservative intellectuals reminded me of this one from 2013, which concluded

Conservative reform of the Republican party is a project that has already failed. The only question is whether the remaining participants will choose hackery or heresy.

Overwhelmingly, the choice has been hackery (or, a little more honorably, silence).

The case for hackery is put most clearly by Henry Olsen. Starting from the evident fact that most Republican voters are white nationalists who dont care about small government, Olsen considers the options available to small government conservatives. He rapidly dismisses the ideas of challenging Trump or forming a third party, and concludes that the only option is to capitulate. Strikingly, the option of withdrawing from party politics, and arguing for small government positions as an independent critic isnt even considered.

As Paul Krugman has observed recently, conservative economists (at least, those who comment publicly). are a striking example for the choice of hackery over heresy. Krugman, along with Brad DeLong, has been particularly critical of a group of economists (Robert Barro, Michael Boskin, John Cogan, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Glenn Hubbard, Lawrence Lindsey, Harvey Rosen, George Shultz and John. Taylor) whove made dishonest arguments in favor of corporate tax cuts.

Recently, an overlapping group (Boskin, John Cochrane, Cogan, Shultz and Taylor) have taken the hackery a significant step further.

At first sight, its yet another piece of doom-mongering about the impending debt crisis. Whats striking is the extent to which the piece has been adjusted to fit the Republican partys new found lack of concern about deficits, while supporting the partys continued attack on entitlements. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they make excuses for the corporate tax cut theyve been pushing all along, even though its now clearly unfunded.

Rather more startling is the claim that the US government to cut entitlements in order to restore...


In which the pond picks over the birthday cake crumbs at the lizard Oz ... "IndyWatch Feed"

On this special day a special word of praise for Adam Creighton, kicking the can down the road on other issues of significance for the reptiles

Indeed, indeed. Speaking English would be handy.

Any other ideas?

Because parlez-vousing in  dinkum Australian is what every Croatian does

Such a stupid man, the pond couldn't bear to go any further ..

Meanwhile, the bike rider got his moment in the sun going full Soviet era five year plan ...

Yes, forced seizure of assets is the only way forward, and while we're at it Comrade Stalin, have we thought of locking up dissidents?

Such a stupid man the pond was relieved to see it went no further.

And now the pond has to report a curious phenomenon. Almost every reptile this day delivered stories, either suggesting Malware should go, or in the oscillating fan style, holding out ho...


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