A Dangerous time for Labour

Bill Shorten has had a dream run. He and Labour have done an excellent job at doing nothing and letting Abbott self-destruct. In this role Shorten has proved himself to be an expert, but whether this is by design to take maximum advantage of Abbott’s death wish or natural talent coming to the fore is, at this stage, unknown.

After Tuesday, no matter what the outcome of the LNP (maybe) leadership spill Bill Shorten and the Labour party will have to start doing things. Things like developing policies that work and the people of Australia want. After a year and a bit of semi-silence from Labour the Australian people will want to know what the alternative to extreme right politics is.

Abbott needs to be Labour’s example of what not to do. I hope and expect that the Australian people have gone past voting for the junkyard dog because of it’s ability to destroy a government. Abbott may have shown that he can smash and destroy, and gain power through lies and half-truths but the junkyard dog was never going to convert to a warm fuzzy family friendly pet.

Labour needs to learn the lesson from this and understand that there is politics, and there is good government, but the two do not mix. Rudd and Abbott were both politically vicious and ruthless but never had what it took to govern for the people. The time is here for Labour to stop the politics and construct future policies for this country in unison with the people and for the people.

Good governance is not coming up with smart ideas and telling the people that is what must be done. Good governance is about listening to the people who elected them, (and those that didn’t), and finding the path that leads to fulfilling the peoples wants and needs in a sustainable manner. These wants and needs are not confined to self interest and personal gain but also who we want to be as a nation. Gross National Product is a very poor indicator of the health of a nation.

There are many people in Australia who deplore the Australian concentration camps at Manus Island and other places. No healthy country incarcerates a minority people without any charges being laid and leave them with no legal or human rights, or any hope of freedom. Presenting the slow murder of the soul as being the only alternative to dying at sea is a political expediency of the most vicious and cynical kind. There may be those who object to the term Concentration Camp but that is what Manus Island and the other ‘Offshore Processing Facilities’ are. Bill Shorten, please have the backbone to say out loud that Rudd led Labour along a path to hell when he reintroduced Howard’s inhumane policies. Bill Shorten, Rudd made a mistake and you need to fix it.

Rudd also totally messed up over climate change. Abbott’s ‘colourless odourless gas’ is destroying our habitat. One lesson that the human race is that when a species habitat is destroyed the species dies. We have caused the extinction of many species by destroying their habitat and the least we should have learned is that not combating global warming could have dire consequences for our future existence. There are those that seem to think that the human race, and Australians in particular have a divine presence that is not subject to nature, but they are mistaken. Australia as a land mass that is extremely vulnerable to climate change and we as a people may have to make radical changes to our life style and expectation for our future if we do not start making massive changes now to our attitude about climate change. It is probably too late to avoid the results of climate change but whether this means a bit of fender bending or being dead on arrival depends entirely on our nation being willing and able to act now to avoid the worst of outcomes.

If Labour does not address the real issues of past decisions and change the direction of many of its past policies someone like Malcolm Turnball or Julie Bishop will tear them apart at the next election. They might get lucky and have Scott Morrison continue the downward spiral of the far right into oblivion started but Abbott but it would be a mistake to rely on dumb luck to get Labour through the next eighteen months.

It is time for Labour to stop playing politics, admit past errors and develop clear and inclusive policies for the future well being of both the individual and the country. The big question is ‘are Bill Shorten and the Labour Party up to it?’

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Problems and Distortions in Australian Politics.

Basically Australia does not have any problems, but there are many distortions that politicians are claiming to be problems for personal gain.

If a person has cancer they have a problem. If a person has a pimple on their nose they do not have a problem, they have a distortion that can be fixed without it being life threatening.

There is no cancer in the Australian economy. If you think we have problems take a look at Greece, Spain and Europe in general. That is what a problem looks like.

What about our Border Security problem?

If we want to revert to the 1960’s yellow peril mentality of hordes invading from the North remember that they would have to bring their own cut lunch and water bottle. Australia’s Border Security is that a large-scale invasion of Australia could not be physically supported by the Australian continent. It is no coincidence that we have a very small population on a very large land mass. There are physical limits to the population Australia can support. If we do nothing about climate change those limits could dramatically contract.

Invading Australia for its minerals would be an exercise in futility. It would have to be a ‘Fly in-Fly out’ invasion. The cost would be prohibitive when compared for the silly prices we are prepared to accept for our minerals.

So what is our border security ‘problem’? It is our distortion of the global problem of the large and growing number of mobile refugees fleeing tyranny.

When Rudd and Abbott claim that this is a Border Security problem they are distorting the world refugee problem into a perceived problem for the purpose of creating a political persona. Who can be the toughest in curbing the invasion from the North?

The reality is that removing the politically created distortion and acting with compassion towards refugees will do no damage to Australia, particularly to our overseas image and standing in the world community.

We pretend we care about refugee welfare and don’t want them dying at sea. Let us remember that if we had not been party to invading Iraq and Afghanistan many refugees would not know we existed.

We help invade a country, kill untold numbers of innocent civilians and advertise our supposed superior life style. We then fain concern when refugees drown trying to get here when they are displaced from their own country of problems caused in part by Australia’s actions. Australia is so hypocritical.

What about the economic problem of the ‘mining boom’ ending? If we are going to sell our minerals first we build the infrastructure and then sell the minerals. The mining boom has not ended; we are just completing the infrastructure phase.

The mining boom has been a major distortion in the Australian economy.

In WA the ‘mining boom’ meant great wealth for a few whilst the majority suffered the effects of rapidly rising rents and staggering elevations to the cost of living.

In Perth we have the phenomena of people with jobs sleeping in their cars because there they cannot find or afford accommodation. For many people it would have been better if the mining boom had not happened.

There are many social distortions in Australia that are being elevated to manufactured problems for political purposes, such as same sex marriage. Being a heterosexual male I have no desire to marry another man. What is it to do with me if other men do want to marry each other? Australia needs laws that end discrimination, not cause it.

It is a case of politicians trying to turn personal issues into political capital. If there is to be equality in Australia then it has to be total equality, not politically expedient equality.

There is one thing in Australia that I do see as a problem. That problem is that many Australians seem to be accepting of the state of Australian politics as being democratic. This is not democracy.

There is nothing democratic about the behaviour of either Rudd or Abbott. They have distorted the concept of democracy to such a degree that they have become akin to two Roman senators engaged in a bloody battle to see who will be the next Emperor. It is a contest between two men each with an insane lust for power who will turn any minor distortion into a political problem if it will buy them one vote.

Do Rudd and Abbott really represent who we are as a country? Is Australia really a place where politicians can whip up the most base of baseless non-issues into a frenzy of fear and hatred? Are Australians are so non-thinking that they can be led down non-existent paths to nowhere by the likes of Rudd and Abbott? If we are we do have a problem. A real problem.

Malcolm Fraser said last Friday that neither of the political parties deserved to win the September election. I am with you on that one Malcolm.

Exploring Australian Democracy

Democracy is elusive because there is no definition to tell us what democracy is.

Democracy is not voting for a government each three years and leaving it to ‘them’ to rule us until the next election. That is just a series of time-limited dictatorships.

Doing whatever the majority of people vote for at any moment is not democracy. That is mob rule. And even mob rule is not the will of the majority.

We are all part of a minority. Mob rule is many minorities believing they have a common cause even though their rationale for thinking they support a common cause differs from the other minorities.

When thinking about democracy it is worth remembering that every one of us is in a minority. We are never in the majority. So if we are to have democracy it must be about minorities. If it is not it becomes a dictatorship suppressing minorities.

If we find a minority to blame for some perceived catastrophe we need to remember that next time it might be the minority we belong to blamed for things completely outside our control.

The strange thing here is that contrary to popular thinking a true democratic society is continually shifting groups of minorities working together for the greatest common good for any issue.

The biggest bar to a true democracy is that in order to make decisions the population has to be informed. That is a real problem. The last thing a politician needs is an informed population of minorities making considered choices for the common good.

Magee (1973, p.28) wrote;

Popper (Karl Popper) denies this. Any fool, he points out, can produce an indefinite number of predictions with a probability of 1 — propositions like “it will Rain” which practically bound to be true and can never be proved false—never, because however many millions of years go by without a drop of rain, it may still remain true that it will, one day rain. The probability of such statements is a maximum because the information content is nil, namely tautologies, which tells us nothing at all about the world because they are necessarily true regardless of the way things are.

The quote was about science but it is the principle on which our supposed democracy works. If information given to the people by politicians is sufficiently general it will always be true at some time. This is the perfect breeding ground for meaningless slogans that can never be proved untrue because they have the probability of 1 that sometime, somewhere, somehow they will be true.

What is missing in Australia’s version of democracy is content. Even with issues like climate change the content is zero in the public arena. Basically Australian democracy is a vacuum filled with predictions with no content but cannot be proved untrue.

It was part of Popper’s philosophy that the less content the harder it was to falsify. If we are to test content there has to be content.

The debate in Australia on climate change has no content. The debate the economy has no content. There is no content in the slogans about border security. Whenever there is any content provided by either major political party the other says ‘me too’ and there is no alternative to vote for. Without content democracy is an empty shell and that will lead to bad things.

When George Bush claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction the claims had no content, but that lack of content proved to be the reason it was impossible to prove Bush was mistaken and the US presentation to the UN was an example of using zero content masquerading as something in a way that could not be proved false.

The Australian election campaign is about nothing. Niether leader of the two major parties has any content to present to the Australian public. Who can be the cruelest to refugees is not about content it is about lack of content. If you have nothing to say or add find someone to blame. It saves the inconvenience of having to find real solutions to real issues.

Is there anyone out there who has the slightest idea what is happening with the economy? The pronouncements of Abbott and Rudd drown out anyone who might be able to add content to the debate,

According to those with the knowledge to add content human induced global warming is real. However the debate in Australia about global warming in Australia is not real because the politician’s slogans have no content and slogans is all the population hears.

The September election will be about slogans not content fought between two political parties that have nothing to offer and democracy in Australia will be dead because it will be devoid of content even if we continue to believe this is what democracy is about.

Reference.

Magee, B. (1973) Karl Popper. Modern Masters. New York, USA: Viking.

Democracy or politics?

Most of my followers, and those I follow are dyed in the wood Labour party supporters. This, and the tone of my blogs over the last year would seem to indicate that I am a Labour supporter, but I am not. I am a supporter of Democracy, not a political party.

Until the resurrection of Kevin Rudd that meant that on a political level I supported Labour because as imperfect as it may have been the Gillard Government retained at least a veneer of democracy. With the return of Rudd that has veneer of democracy has been striped from Labour.

Democracy is an ill-defined concept, but it involves the population somehow making choices as to what sort of country they want to live in. For the population to make choices about the future direction of the country there are several conditions that have to be met.

The most basic conditions that have to be met for democracy is that the people have to know what they are voting for. This means that the people have to be told the truth.

Neither Rudd nor Abbott have said anything I feel I can trust or gives me any idea what I will be voting for in the Australian election.

I do know that after the election refugees will continue to be trashed for purely political reasons. Rudd and Abbott have both promised that any pretence of compassion for refugees that Australia might have had internationally will be gone. What choices are there for Australians who want to show compassion and help a few of the world’s refugees build a new life? None.

Are we being told the truth about global warming? All I have seen from the politicians is Rudd’s assertion that global warming is the biggest threat facing the human race, except when it might lose votes. Abbott says it is not real but just to keep the greenies happy he will introduce a ponzy tree-planting scheme. Neither has told the truth about the science involved. Both Abbott and Rudd use the word science in such a lose manner that their statements are meaningless.

What is the real state of the economy? Who Knows? The state of our economy is probably somewhere between Rudd’s rampant optimism and Abbott’s continuous glum and doom. Without knowing the true state of the economy how can anyone make a rational choice on economic matters? Do we vote for Rudd’s business as usual or do we vote for Abbott’s slash and burn? If we where told the truth we would probably not vote for either.

It is impossible for me to see any issue in the election campaign where I have confidence that I am being told the truth. The purely self-interest of politicians has replaced the interests of the country and democracy has been trashed along the way.

Rudd and Abbott know all the answers, but what is the question?

Rudd and Abbot have all the answers to Australia’s multitude of problems, whether those problems are real or manufactured. Answers built on slogans and what looks and sounds good to an increasingly polarised populace.

Both have the answer to ‘stopping the boats’, to our supposed disastrous economic plight, to global warming (Abbott’s solution is to ignore it and it will go away), and a multitude of other ‘problems.’

A feature of Australian Politics is that whilst everyone has answers nobody knows what the question is. The question must come before the answer.

My question for the coming election is ‘What sort of country do we want to be?’

Do we want to be a caring and compassionate country or do we want to be the Fourth Reich? Do we want to treat our planet with care so it will last a very long time or do we want to rape it for immediate hedonistic gain? Does economic growth override all other factors such as the ‘mining boom’ that has bought riches for the few but misery for many?

Does the mad rush for more, more, more mean more than those who get trampled in the mad rush?

These are the sorts of questions I would like to see asked in an election. Unfortunately neither major political party has begun to ask those questions. Instead I am being offered the Fourth Reich or the Fourth Reich. Not even a glimpse of grey.

The best I can do at this stage is to contemplate if I will vote for Mickey Mouse or Pluto. I have to put something on the paper or I will be fined for not having anyone to vote for who understands the question.

Rudd and Abbott to announce Bi-partisan policy for Border Protection.

Abbott and Rudd have agreed that nobody can win the race to the bottom on the ‘border protection’ issue so they will announce a new combined policy featuring the best of both positions.

A Navy unit under the command of Rear Admiral Abbott will maintain a large flotilla of small boats on the edge of Australian Territorial waters to tow invaders back to Indonesia. It will be a sort of taxi-tug service to return refugees to safety.

If the unspeakable should happen and a boatload of those dastardly people should slip past Abbott’s evil eye, Rudd will put them on a plane to PNG to be banished from the Kingdom forever.

But where might you ask will the manpower come from to man Abbott’s flotilla? Rudd has promised to snatch every unemployed youth off the street and put them through Boot Camp before handing them over to Abbott to be press-ganged into the service of Abbott’s little navy.

As an add-on it has also been agreed between Abbott and Rudd that if Abbott’s plan to create two million new jobs works, and there is a massive shortage of labour Abbott will use his flotilla of small boats to rescue ‘refuges’ form the beaches of Indonesia to fill the shortfall. This operation is code named ‘Aussie-Dunkirk.’

So Folks, you can see there is absolutely no need to worry about the state of Australian politics. We have good policies being implemented by strong intelligent people, and the idea that we are in a situation where Australia is being run from one of Abbott’s little boats that has lost its rudder is completely erroneous.

The Election with no hope.

I am not that interested in party politics. My interest is in democracy. That is why I have been such a supporter of Julia Gillard because the alternative, Tony Abbott, has been actively opposed to democracy.

Democracy relies on people being informed and aware of what is happening and what the issues are. Abbott has consistently mislead (being polite) the Australian people and lied over and over with no purpose other than to undermine the government and the people. This is not democracy.

This quote comes from Mein Kampf:

The art of leadership, as displayed by really great popular leaders in all ages, consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention into sections. The more the militant energies of the people are directed towards one objective the more will new recruits join the movement, attracted by the magnetism of its unified action, and thus the striking power will be all the more enhanced.

The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to the one category; for weak and wavering natures among a leader’s following may easily begin to be dubious about the justice of their own cause if they have to face different enemies.

This Abbotts method. Pick a target and relentlessly attack over and over. Truth does not come into it.

Julia Gillard was under relentless attack on two fronts, but at least there was the hope that democracy might prevail.

But Julia Gillard has gone and we have Rudd. The gap between labour and Liberal has closed. This has happened not because Rudd is doing a better job than Julia Gillard but because he has joined Abbott at the bottom of the gene pool.

No matter who ‘wins’ the next Australian election democracy will lose.

Without democracy there is no hope of a caring and compassionate Australia

Have we reached the bottom yet?

Kevin Rudd has shown he is a smart Politian.

Announcing that carbon trading will be bought forward by a year was smart. He said that it would save consumers money. But I thought that the assistance packages that went with the fixed price meant that those who needed help were no worse of. Now if carbon pricing is scrapped early are the assistance schemes scrapped? Will anyone be better off except polluters?

What about the price of carbon? It is low at the moment but when Europe comes out of recession the price will rise significantly. The European price is only low because Europe is not making anything. As soon as production returns so does the high carbon price. By the time carbon trading starts the price could be anything. It might be lower than the pricing it replaces, but it could also be higher.

Whatever the outcome the announcement is good politics. It neutralises Tony Abbott.

The plan to send refugees arriving by boat to PN will probably stop the boats arriving. Once it is known that they will end up in PN rather than Australia refugees will probably stop coming by boat. Good politics. It neutralises Tony Abbott.

As much as I want to neutralize Tony Abbott I have to ask ‘at what cost.’ Do we do anything to keep him from being PM? The old cliques’. Do we fight evil with evil? Do two wrongs ever make it right?

Climate change is too big an issue for politics. Cost is not a factor if getting it wrong means we will nolonger have an economy. The only thing that matters is to make our environment safe and secure remembering that with out it we are finished.

I wonder how many Iraqi or Afghani refugees would know anything about Australia was if Howard had not gone to war in their homelands. There is so much concern for victims of refugee boat tragedies. Where is the concern for the hundreds of thousands who have died as a result of American/Australian military action? It is probably not politically adventitious to mention that.

I don’t have the answers to Climate change or the Refugee problem. Purely political answers such as we get from Rudd and Abbott will only bring about the lowest base answers.

Real solution that we can look to with hope and peace of mind must have another dimension. What it must have has many names such as morals, soul, empathy, caring or whatever you wish to call it. It is what makes us human. There has to be something more than base political gain.

Political gain from suffering is no gain at all. It is the bottom of the Bottom. It is a bottom that Rudd and Abbott share.

Abbott dictates Labour policy.

Rudd to scrap the ‘Carbon Tax’ and bring forward the market based carbon trading scheme. What does that mean Mr Rudd and what will it cost?

Are you going to scrap carbon pricing and leave nothing, absolutely nothing to price carbon until carbon trading starts in July next year? Or does carbon pricing stay until carbon trading starts. The art of generalities sounding like policies but with no details was perfected by Abbott, but has now been adopted by Rudd.

And what is it going to cost? Where will the savings come from? Does this sound like the same questions we are asking Abbott?

Rudd sounds more like a smooth version of Abbott with every passing day. What a choice. We can have a used car salesman or a bogan as Prime Minister with the only difference the style of the delivery, not policy.

The Car Salesman’s Election. Have I got a deal for you?

Abbott and Rudd. Watching these two work today spruiking for the popular vote reminded me of old time car salesmen who used to have names like ‘Honest John.’

Abbott and Rudd have slightly different styles but still used car salesmen.

We have ‘Grog Monster’ Abbott all dressed up in his new suit but somehow he somehow still looks like the poor relation of the other Abbott and his funny friend Costello. Behind him is a yard full of broken down hacks all polished and disguised to look safe and reliable.

Mean while in the car yard next door we have ‘Everybody’s Friend’ smiley and polished Kev selling the same cars as the cars as the Grog Monster’s yard but with considerably more style. Kev is nothing if he isn’t smooth.

In a few weeks the trading will really kick in.

Kev. I will give you , free of charge white wall tires with every vote.

GM. Free white wall tires, plus at no extra cost, a pair of foam die to hang from the rear vision mirror of your new car. (purely aspiration of course).

Kev. Well Folks, I will give you all that PLUS a free tank of petrol and a dip stick so you can see when you are running low.

The problem is I have to buy from one of them or I get fined.