Australia. uncaring racist nation?

Yesterday evening I attended a lecture by Jonathan Holmes at Curtin University. I left feeling very depressed. The reason for my depression at Jonathan Holmes’ talk and the discussion that followed were general comments about how low the interest in politics and other issues were in Australia.

I did agree that it unrealistic that our media should be unbiased and the best we can have is that we have a diversity of bias. As I understood the conversation the opinion was that there is little hope that the Murdoch press can ever be broken up and true diversity re-established in Australian MSM because who in their right mind own a newspaper? Also if the current trend continues Murdoch and the ABC would be the last two MSM entities standing. Although it was not part of the conversation I did wonder how unbiased the ABC can be when it relies on government funding? This is not just under an Abbott government but also under any government.

Apart from the issue of the improbability of returning to any form of diversity in print media there was this issue of whether or not Australians cared about any real issues at all.

Figures where not quoted, only a general trend. It seems that now there is a reasonable on line presence of media across all spectrums of our society it is possible build up a picture of what our society is interest in.

Politics just doesn’t rate as an issue of interest on the internet. Nor do stories about Aboriginal issues rate in any form of media. The case was cited in MSN where the West Australian ran a photo of an Aboriginal elder on the front page and circulation dropped by twenty thousand. Staff members had warned the editor that it would happen but the photo was run anyway and the prediction proved to be true.

The general picture that I took away from the talk was that Australia was racist, sexist uncaring place where self-interest ruled supreme. It is place where anyone with a real interest in exploring issues of inequality or oppression would not be heard because nobody is interested. This was the reason for my depression after listening Jonathan Holmes and others. It is not that inequality and oppression exists, that was apparent to me before yesterday evening. The depressing thing was that my suspicions that nobody cared were confirmed.

So why do those who do care blog about political and social issues? The only reason I can think of for all of us who do want to make a difference is that we can do it for the good of our own soul in the vain hope that sometime someone might listen.

The sounds of silence.

Do you remember the last three years? Abbott, Hockey Reith and the Poodle ranting on hourly about the state of the economy, the invasion of illegal immigrants masquerading as refugees, turning back the boats, the carbon tax fraud, the NBN and whatever else they could find to bash the government with.

Now we have Prime Minister Abbott.

A refugee boat sinks killing who-knows how many people and there is silence. What was the role of our Navy? Did they try to rescue anyone? Silence. Refugees arrive and are sent straight to concentration camps in other lands. Silence. We now live in a land where people can silently disappear.

Abbott pisses off Indonesian big-time. There is a slight murmur from Abbott about it being a ‘minor irritation’, which was only forthcoming because the Indonesian Foreign Minister did not stay silent. We are learning more about refugee arrivals for Indonesia than from our own government.

Climate change is real and it is mostly created by the human race. The UN says it is a major problem with potentially dire outcomes. Silence. In spite of all Abbott’s lies the economy it is doing well. Silence. Abbott’s NBN is already obsolete. Silence.

Contact with the Government has been reduced to the occasional press release with no opportunity to question. And Murdoch stays silent.

This silence has a name. It is called censorship and it must stop if Australia is to return to being a democracy. I was heavily criticised for my piece ‘Welcome to the Fourth Reich.” Censorship is how it starts and here is it.

Reply from Malcolm Turnbull on NBN.

As part of the campaign to persuade the coalition government to go ahead with the Labour NBN scheme emails have been sent to Malcolm Turnbull.

Here is the standard reply from Malcolm Turnbull with comments by myself inserted in italics. Before that another issue.

The following quote comes from the coalition NBN policy statement.

“To put further downward on prices, the Coalition will unshackle the competitive telecom market that Labor has tried to stamp out, and reduce the cost of the NBN to prudent levels.”

For this read “give the NBN to Rupert Murdoch.”

This Is Malcolm Turnbull’s letter.

If you wish to contact Malcolm Turnbull his emails address is Malcolm.Turnbull.MP@aph.gov.au

MT

Thank you for writing to me about the Coalition’s plan to deliver better broadband to all Australians sooner, cheaper for taxpayers and more affordably for consumers.

YA

Under the coalition scheme the user will have to pay $5000.00 for the final connection. If you add all the $5000.00 together the quoted cost by the coalition becomes just another con.

MT

The Coalition has been very open and transparent about our broadband policy that we took to the election. It is available online here: http://www.liberal.org.au/fast-affordable-sooner-coalitions-plan-better-nbn.

Unlike Labor we do not regard technology as an ideological, or even political, issue. The objective which we should all share is to ensure that all Australians have access to very fast broadband as soon, as cost effectively and as affordably as possible.

YA

But the broadband must be adequate. The coalitions policy says speeds of 25-100 megabits/sec. We are now at web 2.0 and 25 megabits is barely enough. Web 3.0 is just beginning. This is the era of 3D printing where it will be able to order and item on line and you home printer will print it for you. The US military is already trialing war zone 3D printing so they can print equipment at the battlefront and not try to deliver ordinance under difficult conditions. This technology is going to take enormous power and even the labour scheme will need to continuously updated to keep up with Technology.

MT

While fibre optic cable to the home (FTTH) does indeed offer the prospect of the highest possible speeds that has to be weighed up against the cost and time of deployment versus alternative technologies, the service levels offered by alternatives and the value or utility of those service levels to consumers.

YA

With same things, like the NBN must be right or it is no use at all. The Coalition plan is already out of date. An almost good enough scheme is no good at all.

MT

The Labor NBN plan took these factors into account when it decided that 7% of Australia would not get FTTH because of very high cost of deploying it in less populated areas. 

YA

The coalition has no answer to this problemeither. It needs some serious research and the answer will probably not be cheap.

MT

Labor’s mistake was never to undertake a cost benefit analysis of the project let alone weigh up the cost effectiveness of alternative technologies. 

From that initial mistake, Labor has done everything it could to conceal the fact that the project is missing all of its targets – after four years less than 2% of the fibre build has been completed. At this rate Australians will be waiting decades for very fast broadband.

YA

There is no cost benefit in something that doesn’t work. MT knows that the beginning of a project is where the bulk of the work is done with very little sign of progress. The ends brings it all together

MT

But unlike Labor we do not propose simply to make claims about the project. We will ensure that there is conducted an open and transparent audit of the project and a thorough cost benefit analysis.

YA

We saw with the coalition policy costings at the resent election they can never be open and transparent about anything.

MT

We will make sure that all Australians know how much it will really take in dollars and time to complete the project on the current design and then how much can be saved by making changes to it including on the lines set out in our policy. We will also ensure there is a clear disclosure of what alternative technologies mean in terms of service levels and relate them to both current and projected demand.

I know there are some people who say we should build FTTH regardless of the cost. It is important that Australians understand what those costs really are and what the alternatives are.

YA

The alternative is a disaster if it isn’t done properly. Yes it is will be expensive, but we must avoid another Collins Submarine debacle.

MT

Every public infrastructure project has to be carefully and honestly analysed so that governments, and citizens, can weigh up the costs and benefits. 

This information is vital for the public to be fully informed and our redesign of the project will reflect this information.

The NBN debate is not over but the Coalition will ensure that from now on it is at least fully informed. 

YA

I agree with MT that the debate is not over.

Regards,

Malcolm Turnbull

New Abbott Policy: Censorship.

I have heard over and over how Abbott will stop the boats. But that has changed. He now says he will not tell us when they arrive.

He really didn’t have to say that because he could rely on Murdoch not to report the arrivals. We will never know if the boats have stopped or simply that we do not know they have arrived.

This is a dangerous precedent. It is censorship. This, coupled with giving the Internet in Australia to Murdoch means that we will be deprived of any means of knowing what is really going on.

Will he also be censoring news of global warming? Will we not be told when he plunges Australia into recession? If we begin with one piece of censorship it will quickly multiply, and if we are deigned a free Internet we are in real trouble.

In the past Murdoch could be relied on to plaster Abbott all over the front page of his rags and Labour friendly news on page 15, but to say that the arrival of refugee boats will not be reported is a new low. Abbott is now admitting that he will censor the news. This really is the Fourth Reich and must be stopped.

Do we have the media we deserve?

Watching ‘insiders’ Sunday demonstrate how low even the ABC has sunk in its reporting of politics.I did not hear any discussion at all about polices. There was no discussion of any depth of any of the issues facing Australia. All there was commentary on who won which round by how many points.

All that was needed was to speed it up a little and it would have been ringside commentary of a boxing match. Abbott landed a low punch but the referee ignored it. Rudd landed a right to the face and Abbott countered with a knee to the testicles.

Is this the media we deserve? Has the Australia public sunk so low that policy means no more than three word slogans and who beat up whom? Are we all really that stupid? When the section came to the headlines in the Sunday papers the headlines where massive instructions to the readers to vote for Abbott. What was that about? Is this Journalism?

The only thing that I have learnt for the mainstream media in the last three years is not to trust it. There has been the complaint from the print media moving on line that if we want quality journalism we will have to pay for it. Show me quality journalism and I will pay for it, but not the rubbish that passes for journalism in Australia.

Then on Monday evening I saw Q and A with Kevin Rudd. The audience were asking questions that indicated that they have real questions to ask that could have been answered years ago if the Main Stream Media had been doing its job.

The audience was lively and inquisitive about basic policy and this gave me hope that not all Australians have descended into the hell of ignorance and stupidity.

Australians are not all Bogans who can only think only in terms of three word slogans and insults.

Does the Australian public deserve the media they have inherited from the dominance of foreign ownership? No, they do not.

It is no good complaining that the media should be fair and unbiased. It is never going to happen. But we can have a balance of bias by having a multitude of bias that collectively gives a balance view.

It is not the totally biased view of the Murdoch press that is the problem. It is that there is no diversity of biased opinion. That is the problem with dictatorships. Sooner or later the Murdoch Empire will fall, as all dictatorships must when the need for diversity will not go away.

I did not agree with all the questions asked on Q and A on Monday but it was exciting to see that, contrary to what seem to be the case that in the poll driven Mainstream Media free will, independent thought and diversity still exists in Australian. That is the stuff democracy thrives on.

Politicians, know your place.

There is an old Taoist saying that the along the lines that the better the government the less the people notice them. What does that say about Australia’s politicians?

The place of the politician is to legislate on what the people want, not on how it should be done. The first needs to be the will of the people, and the second, how it should be done, they have no idea.

An example of democracy working properly was the introduction of legislation to limit the pollution emitted from motor vehicles. In the 1972 Vehicle Emission Standards where introduced and progressively tightened since. (Department of Infrastructure).

The people through the parliament legislated that motor vehicle emissions would be subject to new standards and then the motor industry worked out how those standards could be met. That is democracy in action.

Neither side of the political divide in Australia has the slightest idea what to do about climate change. Nor should we expect them to. Solutions to technological problems need technological answers.

If we are to cut carbon emissions to acceptable levels the answers will come form scientists, engineers, architects and other technocrats working together. In order for technocrats to find solutions to the problem of climate change they need direction.

The way to give technocrats direction is to legislate standards. “By 2015 the maximum carbon emissions per gigawatt of power produced shall be …..”” By 2020 it shall be …… ” That is all the technocrats need to fix the problem. Given the standards that need to be met those with the expertise will find a way to meet them.

Politicians arguing about the price of carbon, or about planting more trees is totally pointless because I doubt if there is a single politician in the Australian Parliament who has the slightest understanding of the technological issues involved. Australian politicians are a bunch of Nero’s fiddling whilst the planet burns. Just pass the standards and let those who know what they are doing get on with it.

Another issue where the politicians need to step aside is the NBN. Malcolm Turnbull may have had a little to do with the internet when it was Web 1.0, a few simple text pages with no interactivity, but that was long ago. Now we have Web 2.0 with its social interaction and we are on the brink of Web 3.0.

3D printing linked to the Internet now makes it possible to download data from the other side of the world and ‘print’ (construct) the object locally. It may sound like science fiction but on-line shopping with the object we buy materialising in our homes without any physical delivery is now technically possible. What is technically possible now will be commonplace in a few years.

It will require a massive data transfer speeds for web 3.0 to work properly. Do any of our Pollies have the slightest idea how to deal with that one? Turnbull’s Web two and a half is not adequate to meet today’s needs and if the NBN is adequate when it is finished it will not be adequate for long. With the NBN it is a case of too much power is never enough.

What is need is for those who have the expertise to understand what is happening and make intelligent guesses about what form of internet we will need to be given the responsibility of telling our politicians what is really needed. If we mess this one up the results could be very expensive and potentially chaotic for Australia.

If the place of politicians in our live is examined we could well think that they are continually messing things up because they are constantly making insane statements and decisions about things they nothing about. They also prevent those who do know what they are doing getting on with it.

Our politicians know nothing about climate change. Our politicians know nothing about the Internet. They know very little about anything. But that does not prevent them from being good representatives of the people if they could remember what their position is supposed to be.

Politicians are not required to know the answers. Their job is to give direction, by way of legislation and according to the will of the people to those who do know what they are doing. Then it is the place of the politician to step aside and let it happen.

If politicians understood their place in a democracy and stop seeing politics as a stepping-stone to power we would all be much better off. We could also get things done.

Reference.

Vehicle Emissions Standards. Australian Government. Department of Infrastructure and Transport. .pdf file retrieved from https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/environment/emission/index.aspx

Abbott to create negative unemployment.

Speaking at the Australia-Israel Chamber of commerce Abbott again claimed that he would create a million jobs in two years and two million in ten years. I just don’t get it. Does this mean we have to work more than one job to fill the vacancies Abbott will create? Or do we have an unemployment rate of -2%? The only suggestion I have is that perhaps we need more boats.

 

He is going to create a one stop shop for environmental approvals. This is dangerous. We need checks and balances, even if it is more expensive. We cannot afford environmental mistakes on top of the looming environmental disaster called global warming.

 

He is also going to create a un-fundable parental leave scheme whilst at the same time reducing company tax. A summation is that he is going to increases benefits for all and reduce company taxes and personal tax at the same time.

 

The NBN will be cheaper. This is a slight of hand. The cost to the government may be a little cheaper but with every consumer paying $5000.00 for the final connection it is much dearer for Australia.

 

And so it goes on.

 

The real problem is that there are those that will believe Abbott really is the tooth fairy.

 

Abbott and the use of Drones

America has admitted that it uses drone to spy on Americans at home.

Abbott has said that he will use drones to monitor refugee boat movements when that could be done better with satellites. The drones of course would have to fly across all parts of Australia to get to the North and the West. Everything about Abbott’s policies stink of surveillance.

Abbotts Internet policy wreaks surveillance. It take control of the Internet away from nobody (it just is) to control by Murdoch. Will Murdoch promise not to tap my internet communication when he owns the cable? Would Murdoch promise not to keep track of his political opponents? Would he promise that the Internet would remain democratic?

Of course he would. He would also say, through he mouthpiece Abbott that any surveillance was purely for the purpose of keeping us all safe and happy. I don’t think I would be happy if my communications are monitored and drones are flying overhead spying on me.

It is time to re-read 1984