Jan 112020
 
I remember when I was 16, having to get up in June at 5:00am for work start at 7:30, to have breakfast, shower, shave, etcetera, then catch a bus – I was 16 remember – It was ferking cold. I distinctly remember standing at the bus stop, shivering. I remember the winds in July-August howling through the concrete canyons of the city, bitterly cold. That was 1973, so 47 years ago. I wonder these days where those winters have gone.
 
I have vivid memories of living in Cairns, 1976 to 1979. Wonderful place, much smaller than it is today. The summers were hot & humid, but it IS in FNQ, the tropics. 32°C was commonplace daily in December. I’d hate to think what it is commonly these days. I recall the rainy season, January-February, when the rain would not stop falling for 10-14 days straight, and it was torrential rain, non-stop. Doesn’t happen a whole lot anymore.
 
You see, at 62 years of age, I’ve been around a bit, I’ve lived long enough to know in my bones that ‘things’ are changing. These ‘things’ have been changing for well over 2 decades now. The climate change deniers we see on the interwebs, in the Murdoch rags and on Foxtel….how much have they lived, how much have they experienced? How much are they being paid to say the things they do about denial of the blindingly obvious?
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has some fascinating statistics, if you’d care to look at them, dear reader. For example, the Australian Mean Temperature Anomaly.
Average Temp Anomaly
There’s recorded data regarding rainfall….
rainfall
and there are detailed descriptions of what influences elements of our regional climate, such as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). This element, one of three important oceanic current thermoclines that impact on Australia, the others being the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO). These three ocean currents act on our island continent, driven by global winds in the depth of the planetary atmosphere and the planet’s orbital rotation. The currents rise and fall through the oceanic depths depending on temperatures at varying depths. As the oceans warm, which the global oceans are doing as a result of Human Induced Climate Change, those temperature depths change over time, altering the flow of the currents. Read the BOM website, it explains how these localised influences impact on our regional climate. The planet – the only home we have as a species – is 71% ocean. Here’s some interesting facts from the Hawaii Pacific University Oceanic Institute site:
  • The oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water.
  • Less than 1 percent of the Earth’s water is fresh water, and 2-3 percent is contained in glaciers and ice caps.
  • The oceans contain 99 percent of the living space on the planet.
  • If the ocean’s total salt content were dried, it would cover the continents to a depth of 5 feet.
The North Atlantic Thermocline (NAT) – the Atlantic current commonly called the ‘Gulfstream’ – is what provides northern Europe with clement winters and temperate summers. A Thermocline is like a circular elevator and the NAT is a very large and complicated system of ocean current movements. Should the NAT be impacted sufficiently by changes in the planetary ecosphere from Human Induced Climate Change, it could, according to modelling which is on record, cease to function altogether, effectively plunging Northern Europe and the North American continent into a new ice age. Currently, due to warming of oceanic currents and the atmospheric envelope, the Greenland icecap is melting, contributing greater and greater amounts of fresh water into what is a self-sustaining, saline current. Reduce the salinity, you change the way the water moves between thermoclines. Change the salinity enough, and the thermoclines break down completely. No rise and fall of warm and cold water, no movement of the current.
The science of Climate Change is enormously complex, as is the planetary ecosystem we and millions of other species we cohabit with depend upon for our existence. There is not one single part of the planetary ecosystem that does not rely upon another part to provide the delicate balance we’ve come to treat as status quo. What I’ve very, very lightly touched upon above is only a tiny part of one aspect of what drives our planetary climate engine. I am incredibly saddened and enraged over petty arguments put forth from those who choose to ignore the science, and utterly disgusted at those who choose, or rather, are driven by selfish, greedy agendas to deny the science as having no value to our future whatsoever. The science, in it’s multitude of disciplines, is abundantly clear. Human beings are having an undeniable impact on the planetary ecosphere, it’s climate, it’s ability to continue to support life as we understand it, and if unacknowledged, will spell out right now a very, VERY unpleasant future for life on this world. If I am to step aside from my literary mode for a moment, we cannot continue to dig up dead dinosaurs, burn them, release sequestered carbon from 200 million years of storage, and not expect to see any changes to the environment we depend upon. We simply cannot. The ecosphere is warming, the Siberean and Canadian Tundra are melting. In that permafrost, that frozen solid earth which has a base estimated at 1.5km before being impacted by geothermal heating from within the mantle, lies millions of years of carbonised plant and animal material, together with the attendant gases of decomposition, such as Methane, a Greenhouse Gas 30 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide. Are we really going to risk, if it’s not already occurring (and it is) the release of that potential to raise this planet’s ecospheric temperature envelope to levels where no life can survive? Today it appears so.
Why should I be concerned? I’ll be dead in 20 or so years. You who might be reading this will also be dead and gone along with me before you experience anything drastic, but the changes we are wreaking work on geological timeframes, normally over millions of years, but we are accelerating those changes to thousands, if not hundreds of years. That acceleration is exponential. The less attention we pay, the faster the changes will occur. I’d be willing to put down good money today to say that by 2100, parts of Australia will be inhabitable, not farmable, no food production possible. Sea levels will rise, probably only to an inconvenient level, but levels will rise making coastal areas with shiny mansions built on them cave into tidal movements. The poor rich people, my heart bleeds. This country will burn periodically, and more often. Parts of it will flood, catastrophically, and more often. Loss of lives will increase, infrastructure will need to be upgraded, moved.
I’ll ask the question that’s been asked hundreds of times before now. What will be more expensive? Acting now, or waiting to see just what happens, and act as it happens?
Oct 112019
 

an approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application.

Richard Marles, Labor’s Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party, has come out stating that Labor needs to be ‘pragmatic’ in it’s approach to policy development between now and the next federal election.

“be prepared to ignore and avoid and look past the manufactured parliamentary tests, the stunts and the wedge politics the Liberals spend so much of their time constructing for us”.

“We know that sometimes that will hurt in the short term, sometimes it will sting our passionate supporters who might prefer a pyrrhic parliamentary victory. But so be it. That is pain we will have to wear.

“Because none of the people who count on Labor governments benefit if we all die in the first ditch the Liberals dig for us.”

Marles is of the right of the party and it must be remembered that Shorten, the leader who lost what was deemed by all to be the unloseable election in 2019, was of the same ilk. My ideological approach is different and I do NOT agree with Marles. Yes, there are times when pragmatism is a galling fact of life, but to surrender – and that’s what I read – is not the Labor Party I grew up with and the ethos I believe in.

I understand what Marles is saying, and agree with him that their opposition have no policy, are only dedicated to retaining power, and playing political games while instigating the Institute of Public Affairs edicts. But to surrender the true believers to the maw of conservatism does not sit well with me. Doing so is tantamount to playing the very same games the coalition want to play. This devolves our democracy – such as it is these days – to simplistic game playing and self-preservation at the cost of real policy creation and innovation.

In this years election, the coalition deliberately went out to spread disinformation about Labor policy, presenting nothing of their own vision. The lies about Labor’s franking credits policy, the blatant fantasy of proposed Death Taxes by Labor are classic examples. Yet Labor, under Shorten, did nothing, absolutely nothing, to categorically dispel these lies. Pragmatism can be dangerous and ignoring those who tell lies in the belief that voters will see through them, is even more so, as we saw in the eventual election outcome.

The Australian electorate is disengaged from the political process. The game playing, lying, misdirection, arrogance and hubris of conservatism has bored the electorate to the point where ‘same ‘ol, same ‘ol’ is seen as less dangerous than innovative change. Labor must NOT accede to a cow-towed, lock-tugging, pragmatic approach, but take on conservatism head on. For every address by conservative apologists to the Institute of Public Affairs, The Sydney Institute, and Centre for Independent Studies, Labor MUST provide a counterpoint address deliberately confronting and opposing proposed policy pronouncements from these think tanks. Make no mistake, the Parliamentary coalition parties have no policy initiative. Their Parliamentary parties do not create policy, they have out-sourced policy creation to non-elected, non-representative parties and individuals. Practically every coalition member is a member of one or more of the aforementioned organisations. Those organisations operate in secrecy from the Australian electorate by dint of legislation.

Australian tax laws allow some NGOs to be awarded charity status through an act of parliament. Many think-tanks have become registered charities through this provision, which has the benefit of conferring tax-deductibility without the usual transparency requirements. Groups like the Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies are able to offer tax deductions to their corporate donors without having to make the relationship public.

This has to end, for ALL external policy research organisations that present day political parties rely upon for policy creation. This says a lot for the state of our body politick, that it is unable to research and instigate policy from with the bounds of the elected representative cadre. This situation has arisen through pragmatism. Through ‘same ‘ol, same ‘ol’ attitudes. Being pragmatic is an open doorway to laziness in policy creation. Labor MUST come away from the right, return to being a party for the worker, a party of opposition from an authoritative standpoint. An example being the revelation during the week of the massive increase in asylum seeking arrivals to this country by air. The issue was raised by Senator Kennealy, it received minimal air time, was dismissed by Dutton and died in the political gutter of pragmatism. There was an edge to be had, and it was cast aside. Dutton offered no validation for dismissal, simply waved it away.

Pragmatism is nothing more than surrender. The Labor Party I believe in does not surrender. There are 30 months for Labor to re-establish itself as a political force for the working class. The next 30 months should be used as a continual election campaign, a battle of ideas and those ideas must come as a direct confrontation to anything conservatism proposes. If that time is not used actively and aggressively, Labor will spend the decades in opposition that it spent pre-1972.

Jun 182018
 

I don’t write much here anymore basically because I feel that my voice is just another of the many whispers lost in the rabble of overtly right-wing conservative shouting about neo-liberalistic idealism. What’s the point, right?

However, once in a while I get a bee under my bonnet. The current bee has been disturbed & set a-buzz by coverage on the ABC – that’s the AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting Corporation, myABC if you will – about this piece of legislation currently in the Senate. The Treasury Laws Amendment (Personal Income Tax Plan) Bill 2018.

This legislation seeks, according to government propaganda, to create a fairer tax system for low to middle income wage earners. Lets be clearer. The changes are aimed at creating a more beneficial system for middle to high income tax payers. I’m not going to go into chapter and verse here about the complexities of the proposal. If you’re interested, and you should be, whether you fall into the category of “Wage Earner” or “Tax Payer” – yes, the difference is stark – then click on the link above, download and read through the explanatory memoranda and also, if you’re of a mind, the proposed amendment by Opposition Treasury Shadow, Chris Bowen.

Study both documents carefully, and you’ll soon come to realise that the rhetoric coming from Senator Cormann about addressing ‘Bracket Creep’, is nothing more than neo-liberal fiddling with taxation margins which will only serve to benefit upper-middle and high level ‘wage earners’ and especially the same category of ‘tax payers’. This is what every government within my memory, and doubtless every government since Federation, has done with our personal income tax system. Fiddle around with the edges of the tax margins. There are zero real benefits in this legislation for low-to-middle-income earners, or rather low-to-middle-income ‘wage earners’ specifically. The margins for those categories do not change, either immediately, or over the forward estimates period out to 2022. If you earn a taxable income of $37,000 now, you will pay the same level of taxation by 2022. If you earn a taxable income of $60,000 now, your taxation impost will reduce very, very slightly by 2022. If you earn $200,000 now, you will benefit greatly by 2022 and especially so if your income is derived via the auspices of distributions from trust vehicles administered by corporate entities.

Why am I making a pointed differential between those who earn via their labour and those who earn via trust distributions? Because only those – in my experience – who earn at the high end of the taxable income scale can afford the infrastructure and administration of trust vehicles. Of course, government rhetoric centres on these fiddling changes being beneficial as a means of combating ‘bracket creep’ which is inevitable as a result of wage growth. It should be noted that the vast majority of Australian wage earners – as opposed to ‘tax payers’ – have not seen any wage growth for more than 5 years. There is plenty of evidence to support this position as revealed recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Wage growth is currently at an all-time low in this country. Unemployment, and under-employment, continues to increase leading to lower than anticipated consumer confidence, which in itself, feeds back into lower wage growth due to lower than expected consumer demand. Basic demand-supply market economics.

So, why am I bothering to point out the bleeding obvious? Because fiddling with tax margins is a typical government strategy aimed deliberately at the lower, less understanding echelons of society who don’t/can’t/won’t be interested in big picture socio-political manoeuvrings by governments in the lead-up to a general election. The legislation I’m pointing to is aimed at convincing what I might somewhat unkindly refer to as the “gullible” in the electorate, to believe that government is actually doing something about easing their taxation burden, when in fact only those who should be paying the most, will be those who benefit the most, and they already vote conservative. The business owners, not the businesses employees. This is just a part of government shoring up it’s voter base, and hopefully drawing in a few who will swallow the bait. Budgetary announcements of tax cuts are only ever designed as vote winners, nothing more. A jaundiced point of view? Probably, but then I’ve been around long enough to have seen these games played many, many times previously. The current government WILL go to an early election before the end of 2018. The signs are evident. Don’t be a “gullible”. Educate yourself. All the resources you could ever need already exist. Don’t place any faith in the neo-liberal ethos if you want to see this country move forward. This government is fiddling. Stop them before we all burn.

Feb 102018
 

I don’t accept Katharine Murphy’s premise of not reporting on this sorry business, simply because she couldn’t verify the yarn. She shoots herself in the journalistic foot in at least two points in her “don’t-shoot-me-I’m-a-journalist” piece.

“I’ve known Joyce, and his former wife Natalie, for ages. We all grew up in the same part of the world.”

yeh….uh huh….and???

“The feedback I got in the time I had available to make inquiries was people weren’t speaking on the record.”

In the time she had available??!! If that’s not a cop out, I’m not here and I’m not writing this.

Let’s be just a tad honest about this whole saga. No-one in the MSM bothered to look further than the ends of their quills because of the ‘YUK’ factor. I mean, seriously!! Bananaby Joke bending some woman over a desk….not that I’m aware whether that really happened or not, but seriously??? That’s just YUK right there. Okay, so Barney poked some woman in the pants, and blew his load inside her. Well, doesn’t that just about confirm the extent of this idiot’s intellect? Too dumb, or over-whelmed by the power of the pussy to think about the consequences of letting go inside of a woman who wasn’t his marital partner, regardless of whatever difficulties his marriage may or may not have been experiencing. Yeh, I’ve been through that mill. I’ve played in another yard and I know full well – and knew at the time – what the consequences would be. If, as a male, you choose to seek sexual or emotional satisfaction outside of the societally created bounds of matrimony, then be prepared to wear the backlash, because it comes very quickly, it hits hard, it keeps on hitting and leaves you with scars to remember it by. But that’s an aside to the point of my writing.

The Main-Stream Media is a victim of it’s own inaction, it’s own prudishness and it’s own reticence to cannibalise what it perceived as one of it’s own. These journos all ‘know’ the people they follow around. Murphy admits as much. The rumour mill had been running for months, which Murphy admits, so why, if she or any other journo even suspected there was some substance, wasn’t the yarn pursued? Oh, because the journos didn’t have time, at the time. Yeh? Bullshit!

We’re talking here about a man with a known penchant for taking the tiller out of competent hands and steering his own course. The ad hoc decision to relocate the offices, staff and functionality of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority from Canberra to Armidale is a prime example. The man doesn’t think, he just ‘does’. So if this supposedly unintentional semen transplant wasn’t deemed to be in the ‘public interest’, but merely of interest to the public – considering what the media circus knows about Joyce’s penchant for shooting from the hip – why wasn’t it investigated further to accurately determine that it was merely a sordid matter of interest to the public? We’re finding out now – post-mea culpas from the media – that there was and is much more in the yarn than simple public voyeurism. We know now that Greg Maguire – sometime billionaire, “influential player in New England politics” and bon vivant – has gifted Barney & friend at least 6 months rent free accommodation in a luxurious 3 bed/2 bath townhouse which would normally have netted Mr Maguire some $14,000. Do I smell pecuniary interest? Oh nooo…..just a friend helping a friend.

We also now know that the Prime Minister’s Office took an active part in the hush-hushing of this Sexual Transmitted Disaster, by ensuring that a newly created and unadvertised position in Nationals Minister Matt Canavan’s team was created for the duffed mistress. That’s the creation of an alleged $191,000/annum paying job for someone who either knowingly encouraged the deposition of sperm into her uterus, or was gullible enough to simply open her legs because she thought the Boss would look after her. That’s public money she’s being paid. For a job that never existed and is essentially unnecessary & irrelevant to whatever it is Canavan does. Isn’t that just the tiniest little bit corrupt???????

I ask you this, reader. Is this behaviour – that of the PMO specifically – acceptable Westminster Parliamentary behaviour? Why not simply let Barney et al continue to rumble under the wheels of the bus he/they have wittingly and willingly thrown themselves under? Why do we, the taxpayer, have to fund the coverup – which it isn’t – of a sordid little affair by a sordid little man with a yet-to-be determined gullible woman? I say yet-to-be determined because she has gone to ground and we may never know just why she agreed to open her legs, which she surely did, and I find myself asking exactly why. Anyway, that is as may be. The point of the whole mess being that a sitting government is closing ranks around one of it’s own, claiming “private lives are just that….private”, while billing the taxpayer. As soon as the PMO jumped into the pool, the water became very, very murky.

Was the issue worthy of earlier investigation? Given what we know of the political knife-edge this government has teetered upon since September 2016, I would have though very much so. Has the Main-Stream Media let us all down yet again? Most definitely!

Jan 252017
 

I’ll tell you, dear reader, from the outset what Oz Day means to me these days. I think it makes a great long weekend when the day itself falls within the calendar correctly. 2017 is not a good example. Thursday for fuck sake!!! A whole lot of people will be either chucking sickies or legitimately taking leave on the Friday, making for a wonderful 4 day long weekend. Employers must really hate this time of year. Oz Day, followed by Easter, then Anzac Day, then May Day followed by Queen’s Birthday at mid year. Shock Horror that the plebs get public holidays!

When Oz Day falls as it does this year, it’s a day away from the rest of humanity. I hate people in the main because people – in the main – only want from you. Okay, that’s the role I’ve chosen as a Driving Instructor, but that doesn’t mean I have to be enraptured by the experience. There are days when I’d rather not get out of bed for fear of just what lies before me during the day. So I look forward to days away from humanity. Oz Day is just one of those days I look forward to.

Apart from that, the day means abasolutely nothing to me. I usually burn the flag, basically because I can. It is not illegal to do so, and to me the flag is simply a collection of coloured cloth which together represents the colonial origins of this nation. Australia today owes absolutely nothing to the United Kingdom. We are a progessive nation state, standing quite comfortably thank you very much, on our own half a world away and several hundred years distant in time from class-ridden Great Britain.

To my mind, Australia needs to cast off the shackles of the archaic monarchy of another nation state to which we owe no allegiance. So annually, I burn the flag for which I have no fondness, and which contains the insignia of that arcane monarchy. I do so because I can. Because I feel I am expressing my disdain for the British monarchy and all that it represents. I do so because the sewn together collection of coloured cloth means nothing to me. Hate away, all you red-necked right-wing froot bats, I couldn’t give a cubic root for your faux nationalism. Those of you who wrap yourselves in that collection of coloured cloth, believing yourselves to be genuinely Aussie, as you pour alcohol down your gullet, fill me with despair and disgust. We are better than that. We owe allegiance to no-one, no other nation state, no other monarchy. What you wrap yourself in is not representative of who you are. It most certainly does not represent me.

Tomorrow I will front a video camera and put voice to some thoughts about the current times, as I do every Oz Day. Those thoughts are MY thoughts and frankly, I couldn’t care less who feels aggrieved, or who feels empathy with my expression. What I do, what I say, is what I feel and no-one can deny that expression. THAT, is true democracy, and does not depend on loving a collection of coloured cloth.