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IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.

Friday, 23 February


Donald Trump at the CONSERVATIVE Political Action Conference "IndyWatch Feed"

As he says at the start, I have proved I am a conservative. And so he is. And very very well received he was.


Australia deepens its role in South Sudanese conflict "IndyWatch Feed"

Australia deepens its role in South Sudanese conflictAs the situation in South Sudan worsens, Australia looks set to become embroiled in yet another nation's civil war, again to appease America read now...


loon pond "IndyWatch Feed"

As the pond shed a few last tears and hung its hankie out on the back line to dry, the question that kept repeating over and over like beans in a bad Mel Brooks' movie was "why?"

"Why, oh why, oh why, how could it be? How could it come to this?"

Naturally the seeking pond turned to the brightest minds of the lizard people in search of answers, and sure enough nattering "Ned" was on hand to help ...



Day to Day Politics: Who gives a stuff about what I think. Others have views, too. "IndyWatch Feed"

Saturday 24 February 2018 Yesterday the keys on my keyboard were craving the familiar attention of my fingers wanting to write of daily happenings in the body politic. However, I was drawn to words not of my own creation, that were not words that fall from the tongue like raindrops on dehydrated and burnt eucalyptus

The post Day to Day Politics: Who gives a stuff about what I think. Others have views, too. appeared first on The AIM Network.


A little bit of Saturday silliness "IndyWatch Feed"

"Beware of the Dog" sign from the wonderful world of Google Search


Allan Hird: ASADA out of control "IndyWatch Feed"

ASADA is out of control. Let me repeat that: ASADA is out of control.

In the Jessica Peris case it has shown a complete disdain for her rights and for the ASADA Act.

The ASADA Act, drafted and enacted by the Australian parliament, explicitly provides that information from an investigation must not be published in the media until or unless the athlete has been found to have breached anti-doping rules. Jessica Peris is still under investigation.  She has not been found guilty of anything.

But what do we find?  ASADA or Athletics Australia leaked to the media that a drug test conducted by ASADA indicates Jessica Peris may have taken banned substances. That of course is a serious matter. Under the ASADA Act and regulations what that means, however, is there are further steps to be taken before she is charged. Until the investigation is complete it is meant to remain confidential.

Section 67 of the Act provides for anyone leaking confidential information to be jailed for two years. Section 68B allows ASADA to enforce strict confidentiality provisions on any third party it shares information with.  In Jessica Peris case thats Athletics Australia. Clearly ASADA has breached section 67 and or 68B of the ASADA Act. In doing so ASADA has denied Jessica Peris the protection the Australian parliament intended to give all athletes falling into ASADAs clutches.

ASADA, by leaking the result of Jessica Peris drug test, has denied her a fair trial which, according to the ASADA Act, she is entitled to away from the glare of publicity. How can she, or any other athlete, trust ASADA to give them a fair go when it shows such blatant disregard for its own Act?

Jessica Peris called ASADA out and expressed her dismay that her privacy, to which she was entitled under the ASADA Act, had been taken away. But like all bullies, and backed by a tax payer funded bureaucracy, ASADA went for the jugular. In a media release of 22 February 2018 ASADA let the world know that Jessicas Peris urine sample tested positive for three banned substances. By doing so ASADA has breached section 67 of its own Act.

ASADA defence, no doubt, will be the get out of jail card provided by section 68E of the ASADA Act:

The CEO may disclose protected information if:

  • information relates to an athlete or support person; and
  • public comments have been attributed to:
  • the athlete or support person; or
  • a representative of the athlete or support person; and
  • the disclosure is for the purpose of the ASADA responding to the comments....


God, Politics and Billy Graham "IndyWatch Feed"

Evangelising is an ugly thing. It assumes indisputable truths, and limits the field of inquiry. Its very assertiveness lies in unquestioning rather than probing, a sheepish acceptance of the truth. The tele-pastor and media choked evangelists, of which the United States became famed, had a figure who was, for much of his time, without peer.

The post God, Politics and Billy Graham appeared first on The AIM Network.


Just a flesh wound "IndyWatch Feed"

It was only meant to be a flesh wound, it wasnt meant to end Barnabys career. That was his fault. This is the basic message from the Daily Telegraph, where Sharri Markson revealed insider knowledge of the crisis talks between the offices of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister in the lead up

The post Just a flesh wound appeared first on The AIM Network.


How to reject division "IndyWatch Feed"

By Loz Lawrey Loz, you have no class, she said. Shocked and confused, I felt my eyebrows arching. Was my sister-in-laws mother insulting me? No, she said. I mean, you have no class. Then I realised: she was referring to social class. This was a seminal moment for me. It had the effect of plunging

The post How to reject division appeared first on The AIM Network.


BEETROOTED! Barnaby the beetrorter says 'This is rooted!' and beats it "IndyWatch Feed"

BEETROOTED! Barnaby the beetrorter says 'This is rooted!' and beats itDeputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has resigned, in a sad display of sulking self-pity after a week of scrutiny. As political editor Dr Martin Hirst reports, Beetrorters move to the back bench came after a week of less than quiet contemplation. read now...


Depart, I say. "IndyWatch Feed"

We are fighting to-day for our life, for our liberty, for our all; we cannot go on being led as we are. I have quoted certain words of Oliver Cromwell. I will quote certain other words. I do it with great reluctance, because I am speaking of those who are old friends and associates of mine, but they are words which, I think, are applicable to the present situation. This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation: You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.

Leo Amery.

If you havent read Tony Abbotts op-ed in the Australian this morning you should.  It is an angry, and ugly outburst.* Clearly he views his Parliamentary colleagues with contempt. Politics is a team sport and Mr Abbott has demonstrated that he cannot and will not be a team player.

*I agree with his views on taking expert advice yet I well recall his time in office. He took lots of advice, yet never any advice from his friends.


Lepanto by Chesterton and a metaphysical hangover "IndyWatch Feed"

In the The Spectator Low Life column this week Jeremy Clarke described what Kingsley Amis (apparently a connoisseur of the phenomenon) called a metaphysical hangover. Apart from the usual feeling of being unwell there is a compound of depression, sadness (not the same thing), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear of the future. The Amis remedy was the final scene of Paradise Lost or battle poems such as Lepanto by Chesterton.

Lepanto is a poem by G.K. Chesterton celebrating the victory of the Holy League in the Battle of Lepanto written in irregular stanzas of rhyming, roughly paeonic tetrameter couplets, often ending in a quatrain of four dimeter lines. The poem tells of the defeat of the Ottoman fleet of Ali Pasha by the Christian crusader, Don John of Austria. The poem was written in 1911 and its stirring verses helped inspire soldiers such as John Buchan during World War I.



In which the pond insists on a Speccie treat to match its ramen-flavoured Oreo ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Step back, the pond has got a butter knife, and it isn't afraid to use it

Now where did that come from?

And so justice comes to all those who abandon Tamworth to live in Armidale, "now his home town"!!. The gods are never kind to such treachery, She is stern.

Oh dear, what rough beast is that slouching towards the back bench, causing much alarm amongst the trolls ...

There's always a pedant who comes along wanting to ruin the fun

Weatherboard Nine it shall be now and forever though a numeral is allowed in Thunderbird 9 episodes ...

Dammit, the pond has been derailed this Friday, though a diet of Oreos and onions is not to be recomme...


Nirvana income equality and a truly fair society "IndyWatch Feed"

The evidence is in.  Again.  Socialism and government stat-ism is the only way to eliminate income inequality.

As reported in Reuters, a 3 university study of conditions in Venezuela has shown that 90% of citizens now live in poverty.  But socialism can only achieve so much.  The other 10% must suffer in abject affluence so that the 90% can have income equality.

That in Venezuela income equality necessitates poverty is a design feature of the policy and not a fault.

Venezuela has also demonstrated that socialism can not only eliminate income inequality, it can also eliminate obesity.  There was no need to deploying a sugar tax, when the income equalization policies achieved the same ends.  You see, Venezuelans reported losing an average of 11 kilograms in 2017.  This was on top of losing an average of 8 kilograms in 2016.

Viva Venezuela.  Viva Chavez.  Viva Maduro.

Perhaps Philip Adams can get the ABC to sponsor a Maduro tour this time.  Public service budgets you know use it or lose it.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus



The evil of Conservatism "IndyWatch Feed"

By Christian Marx The world is in crisis. Endless wars, famine, rampant racism, assassinations, coups, a corrupted media landscape, increasing attacks on workers rights. All of these calamities are not happening in isolation. They can all be linked directly back to the political ideology of conservatism. Conservative politics in a nutshell is designed

The post The evil of Conservatism appeared first on The AIM Network.


Barnaby quits "IndyWatch Feed"

Barnaby Joyce has resigned from his leadership positions. This is Andrew Bolts post:

Barnaby Joyce quits as Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister. He says the complaint against him of sexual harassment which he denies was the last straw.

Malcom Turnbull had tried to publicly shame him into quitting but failed. His personal attak at a press conference eight days ago backfired, wth Nationals MPs declaring Joyce would stay.

But then came three devastatig leaks from the Government which destroyed Joyce and invite revenge.

Someone, almost certainly from Cabinet, leaked that Joyce had not declared during a Cabinet discussions to apparove an inland rail line that he owned land along the route.

Then someone, almost certainly within Cabinet, leaked that Joyce had been ruthless in Cabinet in demanding Minister Sussan Ley quit over her expenses controversy and thus was a hypocrite in not himself quitting now.

A familiar name features in that leak:

Sky News is reporting that cabinet ministers are angry about Mr Joyces behaviour in light of his handling of previous crises.

Witnesses have reportedly said that during cabinet discussions relating to the scandal over Ms Leys travel, Mr Joyce was ruthless, insisting that Ms Ley had to go.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reportedly argued for a proper investigation to establish whether Ms Ley had done anything wrong, but Mr Joyce said, No, let me tell you how this is going to end. She needs to stand down.

He is said to have taken a similar approach with respect to allegations relating to a late-night incident in a Hong Kong bar involving a female departmental staffer, which were levelled at Mr Briggs.

And now someone, probably in the Nationals party or in the Government, leaked that a woman in Western Australia had accused Joyce of sexual harassment (which he strongly denies). The woman says she never wanted the accusation made public.

Politics is always tough. This assassination of Joyce has been particularly brutal.

I doubt he will forgive.



Great Smackdowns! "IndyWatch Feed"

Journalist and rabble-rouser Brandon Morse is apparently pretty tired of responding to the very same nonsense from anti-gunners after every mass shooting. That would explain why he posted a video on YouTube thats pretty much applicable to every such attack.

Morse noted this videos origins over at RedState:

Having heard certain arguments made repeatedly from the left, I made a video addressing some of the most common things gun-control advocates say to gun rights supporters. These include statements like if only all guns in America disappeared, then wed have no gun problems, or if Australia can do it, so can the U.S., both being a complete pipe dream.

The original video was made shortly after the San Bernardino shooting, but after the shooting in Broward county, I noticed these same arguments pop up again like clockwork.

Hes right. They are the same arguments. Theyre the exact same ones up to and including the liberal saying, Well, at least Im trying to do something about the problem!

They automatically dismiss any efforts that arent gun control as not being an effort to try and do something about these shootings. Its a neat little trap theyve created, isnt it? You either support gun control, or youre OK with kids dying at least in their little world.

However, as Morse notes, plenty of us are actually trying to combat this problem, too. Were just taking different approaches.

Read the Whole Article

The post Great Smackdowns! appeared first on LewRockwell.


Very important defence of free speech by Mark Steyn "IndyWatch Feed"

A serious warning about the threat to free speech by protracted lawfare even in the face of the First Amendment. Not to mention the situation in Canada.

Also the danger of allowing the validity scientific hypotheses to be litigated and decided by juries.

Also the vulnerability of scientists who are not on the verge of retirement.

A sideline on Earth Hour in Sweden, called off in a provincial town because there are so many newcomers that it is not safe to turn off the lights for an hour.


A belated Recognition and a new policy (Part 3) "IndyWatch Feed"

Part Eleven of a history of European occupation, rule, and brutal imperialism of Indigenous Australia, by Dr George Venturini.  In 2012 the government set up the Recognise campaign, overseen by Reconciliation Australia. Recognise partnered with more than 180 organisations, and its distinctive R logo was used by sporting teams and companies, but opponents of constitutional

The post A belated Recognition and a new policy (Part 3) appeared first on The AIM Network.


ATA to Appear at Free Speech Rally in Melbourne on the 24th February "IndyWatch Feed"

The Australian Taxpayers Alliance would like to invite you to the Free Speech Rally outside the State Library of Victoria, organised by the Australian Freedom of Speech Movement, at 1pm on the 24th of February 2018.

Speakers will include:

  • Satyajeet Marar, Director of Policy at the Australian Taxpayers Alliance
  • Andie Moore from the Australian Libertarian Society
  • Tim Wilms from The Unshackled
  • Magnus OMallon from the Australian Freedom of Speech Movement
  • Nathaniel England from the Australian Freedom of Speech Movement

Freedom of Speech is crucial to our democracy. It continues to remain under threat from legislation including some of the Western worlds stricter defamation laws and 18C. It is also under threat from a toxic political and media environment driven by political correctness and elitism which deter frank discourse on the issues that matter to us.

What: Free Speech Rally

Where: State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

When: 1 pm (1300 hrs), Saturday: February 24th

We hope that you will join us on Saturday for a great event in support of a solid cause.


Finally, some action on EQC "IndyWatch Feed"

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake - and a reminder of what a terrible mess National made of the rebuild. On a macro scale, huge parts of Christchurch are still wasteland seven years on, while the infrastructure is still a mess. On a micro scale, EQC massively failed earthquake victims, with bureaucracy, shoddy repairs, and claims dragging on and on. Apparently 2600 EQC claims are still unresolved after seven years - something which should be utterly unacceptable.

National tolerated this incompetence, because it didn't affect their voters and they expect government to be broken anyway. Labour, OTOH, has sent a clear message that they expect this to be sorted out swiftly, effectively sacking the chair of EQC and appointing an independent advisor to help manage it:

The chair of the EQC board has resigned, as the government vows to speed up all remaining Canterbury earthquake claims.

Megan Woods - the Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission - announced today that an independent Ministerial advisor will be sent in to EQC to help speed up the remaining claims.

"I've made it clear I am not satisfied with where EQC is at in respect of the Canterbury Earthquake work seven years on from the February 22nd event. For the around 2600 people with unresolved claims, being stuck in limbo is unacceptable. We've got to see faster progress for these people so that they can get their lives back on track.

"Today I have accepted the resignation of Sir Maarten Wevers, chair of the EQC board, and I thank him for his service. Next week I will be appointing an interim chair to oversee the changes I believe need to be made to speed up this process.

Good. And hopefully those claims will be settled ASAP - because seven years is far too long for people to wait for help after a natural disaster.


In which the onion muncher steals reptile hearts again ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Okay, the pond apologises for that interruption by the Oreo it recognises it needs to set things right. Too many treats on a Friday and the body goes to seed...

The pastie hastie has spoken, there's trouble brewing in the west, the cock has crowed at least once and might do it thrice in Washington, and things are looking grim for Barners, and the reptiles and the pond are on the case, and it's time to get down with it

Cue sound of gramophone needle scratching across an LP, in a way designed to delight fluff-gathering hipsters

Hang on, hang on, what's this guv'nor at the top of the lizard Oz digital edition?

Why it's the guv'nor himself, and he knows about winning, and there was the pond thinking it was the Donald who knew about winning  

The pond never gets tired of winning, and it had an immediate win when it looked up the onion muncher's contribution, and came across this poignant google juxtaposition



No "breakthrough" in the Mackenzie country "IndyWatch Feed"

ECan has released a report on the environmental governance of the Mackenzie basin, which they're hailing as some sort of "breakthrough":

After more than 10 years of wrangling between environmental and farming interests, a "breakthrough" report on the Mackenzie Basin proposes everyone comes together if the area is to be properly protected.

While emphasising a need for better collaboration, the 54-page "Mackenzie Basin: Opportunities for Alignment", released publicly this week, stops short of suggesting a formal amalgamation of local council and government departments.

Commissioned by Environment Canterbury (ECan), Land Information New Zealand (Linz), the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Waitaki and Mackenzie district councils, the report recommends joint consent hearings, clearer plan guidelines, new tenure review guidelines and staff sharing among affected organisations. It also suggests all of the major agencies look into ways of managing the pressures of tourism in the Mackenzie.

Mackenzie District Mayor Graham Smith said the report was a "breakthrough".

Hardly. Because if you read the report, and in particular the issues summary table, its clear that there is a huge divergance in views between farmers (who want to profit by despoiling the area and drowning it in pivot irrigators) and everyone else. While there's obvious potential for government agencies to work more closely together to ensure that e.g. ECan's water consents don't undermine district council efforts to control land use, there's no kum-bah-yah group hug "everyone wins" moment to be found here. As the report itself notes, "a common understanding of the appropriate extent of pastoral intensification compared to landscape / ecological protection has not yet been achieved". And given that that is the central problem, this isn't any form of "breakthrough".

The central idea of the report is a drylands park to protect the natural landscape, now downgraded to a non-contiguous drylands natural heritage area because so much of it has been privatised and destroyed while they've been talking. If we're to have any hope of achieving this, then the first step has to be stopping the corrupt process of tenure review, at least in the northern part of the basin, so the government can work out what land we would need to make it happen. The good news is that the relevant portfolios are both in the hands of Eugenie Sage, so we we now have a Minister and a government which might actually be interested in doing this.


Bubble or burst: Young Australians face losing battle to own property "IndyWatch Feed"

Bubble or burst: Young Australians face losing battle to own propertyOwning a home is becoming increasingly difficult for new generations of Australians to achieve, with a distinct social divide as a potential result, writes Dr Glen Anderson. read now...


Crazy Little Thing Called Lust "IndyWatch Feed"

23 February 2018 It is being said in some quarters that Barnaby Joyce has been unfairly thrown under a bus. If that is so, then I suggest that the bus goes by the name of Karma. And it was no-one other than Barnaby who threw himself under its wheels. There is something in all of

The post Crazy Little Thing Called Lust appeared first on The AIM Network.


A misconceived attack on libertarianism "IndyWatch Feed"

Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay have produced a Manifesto Against the Enemies of Modernity. There is much to agree with in it but at least one part is thoroughly misconceived, which is the attack on libertarianism.

Such an attack is a strange thing to read in such a manifesto, for if any ideology seems a product of modernity it is libertarianism, an intense form of liberalism. The heroes of libertarianism are very much modern figures, with the earliest thinker being regularly invoked being C17th philosopher John Locke. Some of the more historically minded might cite the Salamanca School, but for their economic reasoning, and perhaps some of their natural law reasoning, not their Catholicism.

Indeed, the most potentially fruitful lines of attack on libertarianism would be to accuse it of being a particularly autistic manifestation of modernity. Dissident right blogger Zman lets loose with a blast along those lines here.

Yet Pluckrose and Lindsay line up the libertarians (or at least a significant strain of such thought) with the premodern right:

Premodernism valorizes simplicity and purity that it imagines in terms of Natural roles, Laws, and Rights. It feels these have been subverted by the growth of institutions and complex social structures. It also deeply distrusts expertise for a wide variety of complicated reasons, including a certain self-assured and yet self-pitying resentment of sociocultural betterment, the undermining of Natural roles, the questioning and challenging of traditional values, and engineering in the social, cultural, and political spheres.

In the case of libertarians, particularly, a major influence is the political theory of Friedrich Hayek, who saw the increasing centralized regulation by government in the more recent Modern period as a gradual return to serfdom which threatens to bring about totalitarianism. In The Road to Serfdom, he argues, mirroring the postmodernists, that knowledge and truth...


The One Australia Policy "IndyWatch Feed"

Two letters to The Oz yesterday responding to a column from the day before. There is nowhere in the world like Australia, but we will ruin ourselves if we do not understand that a One Australia Policy is the only policy that will keep us whole. Heres the first letter.

Maurice Newman (Assimilation must be part of the deal for new citizens, 21/2) blames multiculturalism for division, growing intolerance and diminished national pride.

He is not entirely right. As an activist in the Chinese community since 1984, my conclusion is that the commodification of the ethnic vote is the real culprit. I have lost count the number of times I cringed when I heard politicians at Chinese New Year functions telling the assembled how they respected our culture and how we had every right to preserve our culture, with one saying that she had been a practising Confucian without knowing it.

Worse, they confer grants for cultural festivals under the guise of multiculturalism, but in reality for no other purpose than harvesting votes and political donations. Then there are the multicultural awards, paid directorships on government owned corporations, and sinecures in state upper houses, all to lock in votes. This commodification of ethnic votes has bred a whole class of ethnic leaders who stridently call for ethnic rights to buttress their personal support in their ethnic group, at the cost of sabotaging the natural gravitation of migrants towards assimilation to gain economic and social progress.

Such ethnic leaders do not seem to question why few of their Aussie-acclimatised children care to be part of their glorious make-believe fiefdoms.

Chek Ling, Corinda, Qld

And then this is the second.

Maurice Newmans timely article reminded me of a very perceptive comment made in John Howards autobiography in the closing chapter: Multiculturalism is not our national cement. Rather, it is the Australian achievement, which has many components. One of them has been, successfully, to absorb millions of people from numerous lands into the mainstream of our nation. It is no surprise that those on the left who are quick to criticise any suggestion regarding curbing immigration themselves tend to dwell in the trendy inner-city suburbs, where social diversity manifests itself primarily in a decision between eating Thai or Vietn...

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Thursday, 22 February


Think tank uses fake figures to calculate mining sector tax "IndyWatch Feed"

We received a disgruntled phone call followed by two grumpy emails (one of which is at the bottom of this story) from a Mr Roderick Campbell of Manuka, ACT, after exposing TAIs fake claim that the mining industry paid just 15 per cent corporate tax on a $498 billion profit the last ten years.

As I pointed out in my column for The Australian on Tuesday, when you stop making up the figures and look at actual profits and actual tax paid, it shows the mining industry actually paid a little less 30 per cent in company tax.

And the Institute claimed the mining industry had made a $498 billion profit in the last ten years. The real figure is $353 billion. But whats the odd $145 billion between friends?

Campbell, the TAIs research director, doesnt dispute the 30 per cent figure (29.3 percent, to be precise) even though it is twice the figure claimed by his colleague David Richardson in this letter to the Australian Financial Review in January:


Error One: TAI took a wild guess at how much corporate tax the mining industry had paid. They took the total mining tax take, included royalties for the last 11 years $185 billion and made the brave assumption that only 41 per cent of that or $76 billion was corporate tax.

Error Two: The fanciful figure of $76 billion was based on data for 11 years, not ten. TAI seemed to think that didnt matter and called it a ten-year figure anyway.

Error Three: They used the wrong ABS table to identify mining profits from 2006 2016. TAI took the profit for the entire resource sector oil, gas, exploration and support services included to arrive at a ten year pr...


No solid theoretical basis or research to support cutting company tax rate "IndyWatch Feed"

No solid theoretical basis or research to support cutting company tax rateThe empirical and theoretical basis for cutting company taxes is weak, writes Griffith University Professor Fabrizio Carmignani. read now...


In which TGIF comes early thanks to a special limited Oreo treat ... "IndyWatch Feed"


The Joyce matter enters its nth week, and the reptiles and the pond are up to the task, and the hastie Pastie has spoken,  and so it's time to get on with

Cue sound of gramophone needle scratching across an LP, in a way designed to delight fluff-gathering hipsters

Hang on, hang on, what's this guv'nor?

An Oreo on a Friday?!

It must be a delicious treat, of a limited kind



The Pacific Labour Scheme: no families allowed? "IndyWatch Feed"

The Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) was announced in September 2017. Its a welcome initiative to allow greater access for Pacific Island workers to the Australian labour market. While currently capped at 2,000 (and its not clear if that is per year or in total), it has huge potential. As the PLS fact sheet says, it will enable citizens of Pacific island countries to take up low and semi-skilled work opportunities in rural and regional Australia for up to three years.

For all its potential, there are some odd aspects to the PLS. One is the hands-on role of DFAT, which will have primary responsibility for screening prospective employers for participation in the program. Thats the Department of Foreign Affairs. Pre-approval for the Seasonal Worker Programme (or SWP, which allows Pacific Islanders to come to Australia to work on farms typically for up to six months) is the responsibility of the Department of Jobs and Small Business. It is widely perceived not to have sufficiently promoted the SWP, and to have taken a very risk-averse approach. Perhaps DFAT will do a better job.

Another oddity is the initial focus on Nauru, Tuvalu and Kiribati. These are certainly three remote and relatively isolated countries. But Nauru is at full employment due to its processing centre. Tuvalu, like Nauru, is tiny and has some access to the New Zealand labour market. That leaves Kiribati, perhaps the most remote, but also a relatively small and one of the least healthy of all the Pacific island countries. At least one of the Melanesian countries such as Vanuatu or Solomon Islands should be added as pilot source countries.

An odd and worrying aspect of the scheme is the restriction that workers will not be able to bring their families with them. This isnt mentioned in the fact sheet, but was made clear when the scheme was explained at the recent Brisbane Pacific Labour Mobility Annual Meeting.

This is odd because the closest counterpart to this new scheme is what used to be called the 457, now the Temporary Skill Shortage visa. That visa now provides work rights for a two- or three-year period. Under it, workers are allowed to bring their families.

The PLS ban on family entry is worrying because surely it cant be a good thing to separate families for three years. More so because presumably workers will be allowed to return for a second or third stint. So the separation might be not for three years but....


Day to Day Politics: Its a matter of trust. But would you? "IndyWatch Feed"

Friday 23 February 2018 There was a time in Australian politics when ministerial conduct was important. So significant was trust that Ministers could lose their portfolio for the simplest misdemeanour. In John Howards first term as Prime Minister he lost 7 Ministers after introducing a Ministerial Code of Conduct. The code required members to divest

The post Day to Day Politics: Its a matter of trust. But would you? appeared first on The AIM Network.


The vocational education disaster "IndyWatch Feed"

Update: On the same day this article appeared, Labor has come out with a call for a major inquiry encompassing both unis and TAFEs. Whether or not my past advocacy had anything to do with this, its a welcome outcome.


Forget Putin, we need to fear Russias weaknesses "IndyWatch Feed"

Today in The Australian
Like Casablancas Captain Renault, who was shocked, shocked to discover gambling was taking place at Ricks nightclub, the Democrats on the US House of Representatives intelligence committee have barely been able to contain their outrage at evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.


There's something worse than a cashless welfare card out there in the darkness "IndyWatch Feed"

What could possibly be worse than the Turnbull Government's Cashless Debit Card which will eventually cover all government cash transfers to individuals except Age and Veterans' Affairs pensions?

The answer is - welfare payments being converted into 50 per cent Cashless Debit Card and 50 per cent a generic low grade, nutritionally suspect, weekly or fortnightly processed, tinned & dry goods food parcel.

Such as this proposed program......

Vibe, 13 February 2018:
In Donald Trump's budget proposal, America's poor is hit the hardest, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. The plan proposes a $17.2 billion-cut to the program by 2019 and will replace monthly cash benefits with a food box delivery program, according to reports.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney compared the program to Blue Apron, an ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service. The Chicago Tribune notes SNAP provides roughly $125 per month to 42.2 million Americans, and the Agriculture Department would use part of those benefits to buy and deliver boxes of "homegrown" food. It's called "America's Harvest Box."
The Harvest Box would contain things like shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, ce......


NATS Spill? Monday 26 February 2018 "IndyWatch Feed"

According to Junkee on 22 February 2018:

Nationals MP Andrew Broad has publicly called on Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to resign from the leadership of the National Party, firing the starting gun on a leadership challenge.

In an interview on ABC radio this afternoon Broad said his local Nationals branch had called on Joyce to resign and that he would represent that view to the Nationals party room meeting in Canberra next Monday. He called on Joyce to resign as party leader and go to the back bench.

Are we about to see......


Higher wages and lower cost-of-living do not follow from increasing company profits "IndyWatch Feed"

The New Daily reported that Emma Alberici has succeeded in getting the ABC to repost her analysis of the Turnbull governments tax cut plans with the help of lawyers.  Essentially, the ABC has had to concede that Ms Albericis article was factually correct and that, by removing it, they have impugned her reputation. The latest Alberici

The post Higher wages and lower cost-of-living do not follow from increasing company profits appeared first on The AIM Network.


CSIRO Blockchain slides "IndyWatch Feed"

Earlier today I gave a talk to a CSIRO conference. My powerpoint slides are here.


Barnaby Outdone By Selfish American Students Putting Their Own Lives Ahead Of Peoples Right To Slaughter. "IndyWatch Feed"

Ok, while many of you see Barnaby Joyce as an example of idiocy triumphing over competence and thats just in the battle of his own thoughts in the race to his mouth Oh, now Ive lost my train of thought maybe I, too, could be one of the leaders of the free world Anyway, Barnaby

The post Barnaby Outdone By Selfish American Students Putting Their Own Lives Ahead Of Peoples Right To Slaughter. appeared first on The AIM Network.


Midnight Meme Of The Day! "IndyWatch Feed"

by Noah

I've often said in my posts that FOX "News" is a modern day equivalent of Tokyo Rose. For those younger readers that may not know who Tokyo Rose was (due to cuts in education and censored textbooks no doubt), Tokyo Rose was a "radio personality" who broadcast out of Tokyo during World War II. Her role, was to essentially sweet talk American and Australian military personnel into believing that, not only were the allies losing the war but they would be rewarded if they laid down their weapons and surrendered. Even swearing allegiance to Emperor Hirohito was, at times, suggested. Tokyo Rose offered an extremely twisted reinterpretation of things occurring in both naval and land battles, even events leading up to the war. If you believed Tokyo Rose, you would wonder why you were fighting. You might have even thought that it was us who had attacked Japan's navy on December 7th 1941. The whole Tokyo Rose thing was aimed at lowering the morale of the troops and weakening the war effort against Japan. It was propaganda put out even in hopes of influencing our political leaders to stop fighting Japan.

Sound familiar? Substitute Russia for Japan and the likes of Sean Hannity for Tokyo Rose and you pretty much have it. Throw in Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh and fellow traveling accomplices like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of their party for good measure, but FOX "News" is their epicenter. It is their oracle, their oracle of bullshit, treasonous bullshit. Whether it's crackpot Nunes memos, Seth Rich conspiracies, birtherism, Hillary's emails, or, more pertinent to this post, Robert A. Mueller's investigation of Russian influence in our elections, chances are damn close to 100% that the talking points of any Republican politician, Republican voter, or Putin apologist stem from there. If you factor any Russian internet bot "sources" into the conversation, it just becomes a "which came first, the chicken or the e...


SA Pest Energy Policy "IndyWatch Feed"

Now Spartacus is not an energy policy expert.  Perhaps Alan Moran will deconstruct the details better in the coming days.  But it appears that the SA Pest Party and their Dear Leader, Mr Nick Xenophon have announced their energy policy.

The arrogance of the man and his party drip like the fat off a roasting chicken.

Get this (as reported in the Australian).  Mr X-Phon does not want to be part of the executive government, yet he has proposed a half cooked policy which he expects whomever forms government to implement.  And if, whomever is supposed to implement this policy fails to achieve a 20% reduction reduction is prices, they should resign.  How do you like them apples?

Apparently Mr X-Phon also said:

There is nothing like focusing the mind of a government if they think they are going to lose office by not delivering on a core promise

Oy Nick.  Listen up.  The 20%/2 year promise is not theirs.  Its yours!

How about this as an alternative.  Whoever wins sufficient seats to form a government implements their policies (for better or for worse) and you, Mr X-Phon, resign.

What a joke.  As part of his policy, Mr X-Phon has proposed :

the creation of a member-based, not-for-profit electricity retailer to be named the Community Electricity Trust of SA that would provide power to households with an annual below $75,000 and small businesses with power bills under $20,000.

Ok.  Lets just assume for a moment that this retailer can properly run as a not for profit (BIG assumption).  What are you going to do about the cost of generation and the cost of distribution (the poles and wires)?

The cost of generation has gone through the roof thanks to the renewable energy target that you support and advocate for.

Perhaps there should be a 4th party for South Australia, the SA Mortein Party.  That would be a perfect counter to the...


The parlous history of NABs Clydesdale Bank (Part 1): Long under the radar "IndyWatch Feed"

The parlous history of NABs Clydesdale Bank (Part 1): Long under the radarLittle reported in Australian media, the NAB has come in for serious criticism in the British Parliament as a bank that engages in unethical practices. read now...


Breaking: Australian Labor Party Sent Operatives to Work Against Trump During 2016 Campaign When Will They Be Indicted? "IndyWatch Feed"

It is well documented that the Australian Labor Party sent staffers to work against Donald Trump in the 2016 campaign.

The story was well documented and raised a bit of a stink in Australia because the operatives were funded by Aussie taxpayers.

When will Dirty Cop Robert Mueller indict these foreign nationals?
This makes the Russian influence pale in significance.

In February 2016 Project Veritas released video of Australian Labor Party activists assisting Democrats in the US. The activists are seen assisting the Bernie Sanders campaign.
This is a clear violation of FEC laws.

Will Robert Mueller indict this foreign interference with US elections?

The Australian Labor Party was fined $14,500 over their US election interference in January 2018.

The post Breaking: Australian Labor Party Sent Operatives to Work Against Trump During 2016 Campaign When Will They Be Indicted? appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.


Civil Rights in a Straight Jacket "IndyWatch Feed"

By Jon Chesterson Open Letter: Opposition to The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 Dear Susan Templeman and the ALP, As a constituent in your electorate and an Australian citizen I wish to draw your attention and the whole of the Australian Labor Party, Australian Greens and Independents to vote against

The post Civil Rights in a Straight Jacket appeared first on The AIM Network.


But why would we want to do that? "IndyWatch Feed"

The Queenstown Lakes District Council wants luxury houses exempted from the Overseas Investment Act's foreign-buyer ban:

The Queenstown Lakes District Council wants luxury homes to be exempt from the government's foreign buyers ban.

Some expensive homes owned by the exeptionally wealthy may not sell if they are only available to New Zealanders, it said in its submission on the bill.


The council said the district had benefited "significantly" from people who have purchased in the luxury home market.

"Not only have we seen traditional investment in local business, but we have seen the launch of ground breaking social enterprises and incredible impact investment," the submission said.

That part of the housing market attracted high net worth people to the country who help the economy by bringing expertise, connections, investment and philanthropy, it said.

Yeah - people like anti-democratic vampire capitalist Peter Thiel and his silicon-valley doomsday prepper friends. Or the various foreign millionaires who have restricted access to public land. Or foreign criminals stashing and laundering money. Why would we want people like that?

The proposed law doesn't apply to anyone who actually lives here, so what QLDC is saying is that non-resident foreigners should be allowed to own parts of New Zealand for use as emergency boltholes for when they've fucked up the world, or as a commodity, effectively a house-shaped gold bar. And I just don't see why we should accept that, especially when said house-shaped gold bars are fucking things up for the rest of us. While QLDC is correct that the luxury property market is effectively a foreign market, utterly out of reach of almost all kiwis, those empty luxury houses are still taking up land which could be used for real homes for real people - something Queenstown is desperately short of. If they are devalued by the law, then maybe that land will be used for other purposes. The only losers in that will be the foreign speculators and the parasitic developers and real-estate agents who service them. But I guess the latter are exactly the sorts of people who get elected to local authorities and use them as a platform to promote their own economic interests.


In which the bromancer goes around again ... "IndyWatch Feed"

With the savvy Savva MIA in reptile action - perhaps she's in the Malware entourage off to the States - it was left to the onion muncher to celebrate the chief and by golly the reptiles showed off the bromancer in style ..

Yes, in later editions, the reptiles put the bromancer at the top of the digital page, and blessed him with a Lobbecke, and cultists know that it doesn't get much better than that a singular honour

The pond was in urgent need of a win-win situation and a celebration thereof

Listening to the mutton Dutton blather on the other day about the need to revive some kind of oath of allegiance, the pond was reminded what had dangerously radicalised it, and turned it deeply subversive, now so deep in the mire that it spends a few precious minutes a day mocking the reptiles, flag-waving as they do while serving at the whim of a foreign overlord

It was being marched out in serried ranks of Protestant spawn to stand before the flag and swear loyalty to god, queen and country. 



Disappointed "IndyWatch Feed"

Last year, the Palmerston North City Council voted to ensure Mori representation with Mori wards. Now, thanks to a visting band of out-of-town racists whipping up hate, we're going to be forced to have a referendum on it:

Petitioners opposing a decision to guarantee Mori seats on the Palmerston North City Council have succeeded in forcing a city-wide poll on the matter.

Organiser Don Esslemont, whose campaign has been supported by Hobson's Pledge, presented nearly 4000 signatures to the city council on Wednesday afternoon.

Only 2727 signatures needed to be verified as those of registered voters to require a referendum.

Council officials confirmed about 7.20pm on Wednesday the threshold has been reached and the poll would be held on Saturday, May 19, by postal vote and using the first-past-the-post system. The result will be binding.

So, we're going to have vote where the majority will vote on the democratic rights of a minority. Hopefully it'll go the right way, but no matter what the outcome, the situation is not acceptable. The decision of how they want to be represented is really one for Mori, and its not really the place of Pakeha to try and veto that. Such polls should be restricted to those on the Mori roll, and I'd love to see a Member's Bill to require that.


I said I was sorry! "IndyWatch Feed"

I said I was sorry!Rocky Dabscheck remembers the many Australian politicians who have said sorry, for many different reasons and in more ways than one. read now...


Unwinding the politically induced crisis in Australian energy "IndyWatch Feed"

More grist! From an article of mine in The Australian on the politically induced crisis in Australian energy, its causes and its solutions

The catastrophic outcome of government energy market interventions is palpably clear. As the latest new regulatory body, the Energy Security Board, diplomatically puts it: Fifteen years of climate policy instability (have) left our energy system vulnerable to escalating prices while being both less reliable and secure.

Australia has seen electricity prices double since 2015 and the once reliable supply is now suspect. From enjoying the worlds lowest cost electricity a decade ago, Australia now has among the most expensive.

The main cause has been subsidies and regulatory favours to renewable energy chiefly wind that have forced the closure of reliable coal-fired generators, particularly Northern in South Australia and Hazelwood in Victoria. Without these subsidies, costing about $5 billion a year, there would be no wind or solar. Not only are customers and taxpayers slugged with the subsidy costs but the outcome also has been to raise prices and reduce reliability.

The ESB has been tasked with creating an electricity market blueprint that marries lower carbon dioxide emissions with lower costs and greater reliability. This is an impossible task and would require massive new regulatory interventions.

The ESBs proposals would add new dimensions of complexity to electricity supply, bringing a further proliferation of administrative resources within the bureaucracy and the industry.

We can restore our latent competitiveness in cheap energy only by abandoning all the intrusions and distortions that are in place. Donald Trump has achieved success from such an approach and we may have to await full recognition of this before our politicians adopt similar deregulatory policies.

In the same issue, Rupert Darwall has a very fine piece today in Quadrant.



National vandalised our health system "IndyWatch Feed"

Surprise, surprise! The health system in Auckland is collapsing due to underfunding:

Auckland health bosses have revealed a picture of a health system at breaking point from underfunding and population growth.

Reporting to MPs at Parliament yesterday, they spoke of a wave of unprecedented demand for acute services and staff who were extremely stressed at having to cope with more and sicker people.

"Our staff were working unexpectedly long hours and became increasingly stressed about not just how hard they were having to work but about the numbers of extremely unwell people they were having to look after," the head of Manukau Counties District Health Board, Gloria Johnson, told the health select committee.

"The problem we have at the moment, particularly over the last 18 months, [is] we've become overwhelmed by demand."

Its so bad that the former chair of the three Auckland DHBs believes they no longer have the resources to deal with a pandemic.

This isn't surprising: National deliberately underfunded health for its term of office in an effort to pay for its tax cuts for the rich. While they played up large nominal increases, these were always less than that required to counter inflation, let alone population growth and demographic change. Instead, like the rest of the public service, the health system was expected to "do more with less". The results of that policy can be seen above. What's changed is that with a new government, DHB chairs feel they can openly say it, rather than risking dismissal and revenge funding cuts under National.

It is going to take the best part of a decade to undo this damage. And no doubt, National will spend that time complaining about "overspending" and "inefficiency" and promising more vandalism if re-elected. Just like they did during the Clark government after Jenny Shipley and Bill English vandalised the health system in the 90's.


Pope Francis and the Caring Society "IndyWatch Feed"

Pope Francis has sparked uproar with inflammatory comments on capitalism and markets based on his passion to help the poor and his experience of crony capitalism in Argentina. He has called for a dialogue on building a compassionate society and the Independent Institute has responded with a high powered collection of papers led by the late and great Michael Novak who wrote the Foreword not long before he died in February last year. The book is Pope Francis and the Caring Society.

Many of the contributors are Christian believers of various kinds and they have bent over backwards to embrace the dialogue (an awkward posture) on the assumption that Pope Francis is genuine in his humanitarian concerns and in the hope that he might be prepared to learn some economics like the great Polish Pope John Paul. Economic issues are thoroughly treated, especially the power of markets to liberate the poor if only there is a framework of law and property rights and a vibrant civil society. Several contributors pay attention to the Popes wayward and scientifically illiterate views on the environment and ecological issues.

Highlights of the book. To buy the book.


Cycling into the sunset "IndyWatch Feed"

Spartacus suspects that he will be slammed for expressing the following view, and so be it. But the time has come for Tony Abbott to ride off into the sunset. Mr Abbott. You had a chance to be the leader you wanted to be and should have been, yet you blew it. You failed to convince, you failed to explain. And rather than dealing with stuff that mattered, you instead deployed Knights and Dames.

This is not a commentary on Mr Abbotts policy views, many of which Spartacus strongly agrees with. But if Mr Abbott wants to be a pundit, he needs to get out of the Parliament. And in as much as he may respect and admire Howard, Menzies and Churchill, he is not Howard, Menzies or Churchill.  Sorry Mr Abbott, there wont be a second act for you.

Earlier this week, Mr Abbott spoke at the Sydney Institute and among other things, suggested that there be a reduction in immigration in Australia. He suggested that the levels of immigration were putting pressures on house prices, public infrastructure and wages.  These are all fair observations.

Now dont get me wrong, Spartacus believes that such matters of public policy should be discussed. Absolutely positively. For one, when it comes to immigration, Spartacus does not have a view on quantity, but does have a view on quality; in that Australia accepts too many low skilled and older migrants who will likely be a net drain on the community. The subject of immigration should be discussed, as should any matter of public policy.  No matter of public policy should be quarantined from debate.

However, the way Mr Abbott goes on about this matter and other matters, including renewable energy, you would think that he was a humble back bencher hungry for a chance to get into the executive. For heavens sake Mr Abbott. You were the Prime Minister for 2 years. And to suggest now, as he did on Andrew Bolts show earlier in the week, that he was constrained by a difference of opinions in Cabinet is just disingenuous. He had no problem making a Captains picks on his economically insane paid parental leave scheme, but to touch the equally economically insane renewable energy scheme apparently required cabinet consensus. Please.

Mr Abbott. You are crowding out other younger, hungrier conservative back benchers. And for what purpose? No matter the virtue in what you propose, it will always be seen from the prism of a Turnbull-Abbott dispute meaning that no matter how bright or brilliant an idea you propose, it will unlikely be implemented for political reasons. Much as for the same reason that the Prime Minister probably did not support the Warringah Motion because it came from your Warringah bran...


Drawn "IndyWatch Feed"

A ballot for four Member's Bills was held today, and the following bills were drawn:

  • Election Access Fund Bill (Chle Swarbrick)
  • Oranga Tamariki (Parents and Guardians Responsibility) Amendment Bill (Barbara Kuriger)
  • Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill (Denise Lee)
  • Health and Safety at Work (Volunteer Associations) Amendment Bill (Harete Hipango)
Despite the hopeful title, Denise Lee's bill is National's pre-election bill designed to overturn caselaw and make pay equity and equal pay claims more difficult. It was widely criticised, and allowed to lapse by National when Parliament was dissolved for the election, which tells you a) how little support there was for a pro-employer framework; and b) how little National really cared about it anyway. I'm sure we can expect a lot of tub-thumping from them about how the government is opposing pay equity by voting it down, and it should put the pressure on them to introduce their own legislation ASAP.

There were 68 bills in the ballot today, so its back to running near capacity again.

Wednesday, 21 February


EDITORIAL EXCERPT: ABC rolls over and Media Watch does the vampire squid "IndyWatch Feed"

EDITORIAL EXCERPT: ABC rolls over and Media Watch does the vampire squidFor the second week in a row, ABC Media Watch has misled the Australian public this time whitewashing Turnbull Government interference in the editorial policies of the public broadcaster. read now...


Why do farmers hire seasonal workers? "IndyWatch Feed"

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has published a report comparing the performance of workers under the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) with Working Holiday Makers (or backpackers).

Commissioned by the World Bank, the report extends a previous small-scale ABARES study carried out in 2013. Its findings are based on data collected from horticultural employers using seasonal workers and/or backpackers over three years.

The report asks two questions: what difference does labour choice (backpackers v seasonal workers) make to productivity; and what difference to profitability? Unfortunately, it only provides a satisfactory answer to the first.

The main finding of the report is that seasonal workers are considerably more productive than backpackers: by 20 percent on average.

Even first-time seasonal workers are more productive than backpackers, but returning seasonal workers are more productive still, on average by 15 percent. The second time around, the unproductive workers are weeded out, and/or the returning workers are more experienced.

It is important to note that productivity here is measured simply as wages per hour. All employers on which productivity calculations were based used piece rates. The more productive workers filled more bins, and therefore earned more dollars per hour.

It is also important to note that the samples for these conclusions are very small. Only three employers provided wage spreadsheets which allowed comparisons of backpackers and seasonal workers. Nevertheless, the finding confirms the earlier 2013 ABARES study, which found that seasonal workers were 22 percent more productive than backpackers. It also confirms anecdotal evidence from farmers who use the scheme.

So much for productivity. What about profitability? Should higher productivity push employers to hire seasonal workers? Here, things are not so simple.

The report finds that non-wage labour costs are significantly higher for seasonal workers than for backpackers: $1,620 v $134 per worker. For example, employers have to help with seasonal worker transport costs, whereas backpackers just turn up. Recruitment and administration costs per worker are also much higher under the SWP. However, the average seasonal worker works for almost six times as long on a farm as the average backpacker, so the cost....

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