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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Soulless Economics 101

Van Dormael (1978: 32) quotes the British Economist John Maynard Keynes in 1941 as saying

‘the secular international problem‘ of maintaining equilibrium in the balance of payments – a problem that ‘had that had never been solved since methods of barter had given way gave way to money and bills of exchange.’

(and)

‘To suppose that there is some smoothly functioning automatic mechanism of adjustment which preserves equilibrium if only we trust to methods of Laissez-faire is a doctrinaire delusion which disregards the lessons of historical experience without the support of sound theory.’

Basically the problem with economics is that there is no way of establishing a rate of exchange. What is fair and what is unjust? Who knows? The only alternative seems to be no rules and that as been a disaster. This leaves a situation where human attributes (or lack of them) determine economic policies and outcomes. If the object is create a society that has a soul and acts humanly towards all its peoples then human qualities such as empathy and compassion have to be the guiding principle of economic decision making. If screwing the poor to give to Rupert Murdoch is the aim then Joe Hockey is the man for the job, but don’t suggest for one moment that there is any empathy, compassion or soul involved in Hockey’s policies.

Presenting spending years of mental and physical suffering in a squalid concentration camp with no charges laid and no prospect of release as being the only alternative of crossing the seas in a leaky boat is the act of a totally soulless country. How can a country that rushes to war in a foreign country at the slightest excuse, and without being asked but refuses to give significant aid to help stop Ebola until being forced to by universal condemnation from the rest off the world say it has a soul.

I used to like Australia when it had a soul, the days before Abbott became leader of what used to be the Liberal Party. The days before Kevin Rudd sent refugees of to concentration camps. But those days are gone. Can those days be revived?

The simple answer would be to bury Abbott and his whole front bench down the same hole as Azazel never to be seen again until judgement day, but that would be too simplistic. The problem is that if a despot is deposed what happens then? Is there any alternative? Sadly in Australia at this time I don’t see any viable alternative. Bill shorten seems a reasonable sort of fellow but he is no match for Abbott and he leads a party that has lost it’s soul. A beginning for labour would be to accept that Rudd’s refugee policy was a political move that failed and that it was also inhuman. If Labour reversed its refugee stance and supported speedy onshore process and humane treatment of all peoples it would be a beginning. A little bit of soul is better than no soul. Bill Shorten moving aside for Tanya Plibersek would be a major step forward. Tanya is a lady who seems to have empathy and compassion as well as the ability to stand up to Abbott.

With only about eighteen months to the next election we need to begin rebuilding Australia’s soul now because if the extreme right of the Murdoch/Abbott government becomes entrenched Australia’s soul could pass beyond revival.

Reference

Van Dormael, Armand. 1978. Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System. United Kingdom: Holmes &; Meier Publishers.

Clive Palmer the Key to Australia’s future

It is a strange that the maintenance of democracy in Australia should come down to the vote of the Palmer United party.

I would like to see the end of the Abbott experiment but failing that there are two issues I am passionate about, Global Warming and the Australia’s cruelty to refugees. On both these issues Clive Palmer is in a unique position to force changes in the Abbott position. Human induced global warming is no longer a scientific debate. It is a fact and it has arrived. The scientific debate is now what can we do to minimise the effects.

If Palmer is going to stand for his election promise of ‘more love and integrity’ promised repeated continuously in the WA senate election re-run he has to take a long look at his attitude to refugees. This is an issue where humanity must prevail.

I will be lobbying Palmer to take a long look at the issues of global warming and refugees and I ask anyone, from any political persuasion, who has concerns about global warming and the treatment of refugees to do the same. It might just be enough to change the future of Australia.

Does Manus Island equal crimes against humanity?

Morrison’s “We do not comment on operational matters” is code for “some bastard is doing something we don’t want you to know about.” Morrison will claim it is the people smuggles that he does want to know what is happening, but that is not true. Morrison does not want the Australian public to know what is happening. The reports coming out of the Manus Island detention centre raises many questions about the treatment of asylum seekers in the care of Australia. It would be unfair to suggest that the reports are all true in total or part, but the lack of transparency and lack of information from the Australian government does suggest that there is a major cover-up taking place.

Did the asylum seekers who broke out of the detention centre do so in order to escape marauding PNG police that were allowed into the centre by the Australian guards? Were the injuries sustained by the asylum seekers a result of attacks by PNG authorities and/or Australian guards rather than the result of authorities defending themselves? What were the circumstances that resulted in the death of the deceased Iranian detainee? Do Australia’s actions at Manus island equal, as many overseas sources including China suggest, constitute civil rights abuses?

It is the duty of everyone who wants to know what is really happening at Manus Island to speak up and demand to be told. Anyone sees what is happening and does or says nothing is as guilty of any atrocities that are taking place in our name as those who are perpetrating those atrocities. I cannot say that any atrocities are taking place, I can say that Morrison and the Abbot government are taking extraordinary steps to make certain that the Australian public does not find out. Does Manus Island equal crimes against humanity? I have no idea, but I can say Morrison is making certain that it is impossible for the Australian pubic to find out. That alone makes me think that overseas sources know more that the Australian public about the true conditions on Manus Island, and overseas sources suggest that the Australian government has many questions that need answering in full now.

Navy Intrusions. What a load of Rubbish.

The report saying intrusions into Indonesian waters by our Navy was because of navy personnel not calculating correctly is the most ridiculous heap of garbage that this government has expected the Australian public to swallow. Is our navy so backward that they still use sextants? Do they not have GPS and Radar? Short of a complete systems failure it is impossible for an inadvertently enter Indonesian waters. Maybe if it was once I might allowed that there was a slim chance, but six times? Total rubbish.

Morrison is saying that the ships went to sea without any knowledge of where the Indonesian territorial waters begin. I am watching Morrison talking on the ABC as I write and he is has a straight face as he tries to feed us this bullshit.

What is particularly galling for me is that the Navy is unable to tell us what really happened. What Morrison is saying on the ABC is an insult to our Navy. When they crossed into Indonesian waters it could have only been because they were told too, but now they are to remain silent while their professional reputations are trashed.

This person Morrison would be a joke if he were not doing so much damage to Australia at home and overseas.

Refugees sending Australia broke.

As far as I can understand refugees attempting to enter Australia are interned in concentration camps in remote places with no form of processing taking place. Abbott keeps the illusion of stopping the boats by leaving refugees to rot out of sight.

Australia is hemorrhages money keeping untold and increasing numbers of nameless refugees in appalling conditions with no hope of a future. It is a feature of Abbott that he made all sorts of promises appealing to the bottom dwellers of Australian society to get elected but now cannot fulfill those promises. Abbott’s illusions are sending Australia broke.

Even if we ignore the appalling, inhuman treatment of refugees by Australia the present system is enormously expensive. How much of the budgetary problems the Abbott government is being caused by the desire of Abbott to treat refugees as poorly as possible? This impacts negatively on the Australians who need income support who Abbott has targeted to pay for his inhumanity. Australia cannot afford Abbott’s addiction to cruelty.

No need for enquiry? Morrison does not get it.

I hope that claimed abuses by Australian Navy personnel of refugees attempting to enter Australia are groundless. They probably are groundless, but what Morrison/Abbott and the rest fail to understand is that if what is happening to refugees is kept secret these types of claims will happen over and over. Secrecy is always the breading ground of conspiracy theories and false claims.

The sort of claims the Abbott government is now fending off is a natural result of the Abbott government’s failure to communicate. The Abbott government does not seem to get that MSM is no longer the only way people get information and information can no-longer be controlled. If some of that information is incorrect/misinformed and plain fiction keeping the truth secret only gives misinformation traction. It is a natural progression that if Morrison/Abbott do not tell us what is happening they must be lying bastards. Considering the information given, or rather not given this is the most believable option available.

Breaking News. Australian aid for boat people.

Tony Abbott has introduced an overseas aid policy that will allow Indonesian fisherman to update their battered and leaking boats. The scheme is simple. The Australian Navy waits on the edge of our territorial waters with a supply of new boats. All the Indonesian fishermen have to do to collect their new boat is to sail to where the boats are waiting and the Navy exchanges new for old.

When the exchange has been completed there is a short ceremony that finishes with a ten gun military salute using live ammunition and the Indonesian fishermen sail back to Indonesia as fast as they can.

The Indonesian Government is reported to be so surprised by the generosity of the Australian government that it has been struck silent, but inside sources say a letter of thanks is being formulated as I write. A first draft became water damaged whilst being smuggled out by a fishermen coming to collect his new boat. So far the bits that can be translated read.

“mr f Abbo.. Wh…th.. f.c. do  y….. pig.y e..d  f.cked wit… .orr.ble N..is Gov…ment t..nk Th.y are pl..ing at. If w. cat.. t..t wa.cker S.ott Mor…on w. .ill string h.. up .. … balls .. if .. cat.. Ju.ia .ishop s.e .ill be plant.. in . rain fo..est .ith a ba.boo ..ick up h.r arse.

The remainder is undecipherable but we understand the Indonesian Government is highly animated and are still performing an ancient ritual dance not seen since the Japanese made a surprise visit from the north.

In a surprising act of modesty the Australian Government has not chosen to publicise this generous and noble policy.

Who tells me what I am supposed to know?

Absolutely essential to democracy is that information is fully and freely available and the freedom to decide for oneself. This essential ingredient of democracy is missing in Australia. I am being told, (or not told) by Scott Morrison what I am supposed to know. Not being told is in many ways worse than being lied to. At least with a lie there is the chance of discovering the truth, but with censorship there isn’t even the hint of what I am not being told. Morrison, what are you hiding?

What is the Australian Navy up to? What exactly is Operation Sovereign Borders? Why are Australian military forces being used in what is a civilian situation? Do we have a military force trying to invade us from the sea? Is there any suggestion that this is an armed invasion? Why does the Navy need to buy lifeboats? What is it that Morrison is doing that is secret and hidden behind the euphemism ‘operational matters?’ What is it about the ‘operation’ that has to be kept from the Australian Public? What disgusting things are you doing in our name?

I do not expect Scott Morrison to answer these questions. That would be too close to democracy for the Abbott government to understand.

Is Abbott now going to target disaster Victims?

How sick is it to target bush fire, flood and other victims of natural disasters via the productivity commission? The productivity commission has become Abbott’s hit squad.

There are many things where the commercial concept of productivity does not apply. If compassion and empathy count for nothing no disaster aid is productive.

Just when I think it is impossible for Abbott to go any lower he finds away. We have stuck refugees away out of site in concentration camps in foreign lands. We have ‘liberated’ Holden workers from the yoke of the nasty General Motors multinational. We have condemned to Australians to being uneducated Hill Billys living an internet backwater. And now Abbott not only wants to repeal the little we are doing to combat the environmental disaster called climate change but also wants to deny humanitarian help to potential victims.

This man is sick.