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How many jobs? The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will create hardly any

16 Sep

The free trade deal is now about jobs, except the government has got the number all wrong.

Source: How many jobs? The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will create hardly any

Link to the article by Peter Martin. It’s a chilling read.


My two bobs worth:

What we are being told are the jobs to be created by ChAFTA are the result of some very sloppy – at best – accounting. There is around 5000 jobs to be created, not 178,000 as touted by the government.

Extreme incompetence or outright lie? Either way, it’s not good enough and those involved must step down.

The sooner this discreditable government is removed, the better for all Australians.

The China Free trade Agreement……..Some Facts and the Bigger picture.

16 Sep

ChAFTA contains troubling clauses. It is not xenophobia as the Government claims. If opposition was xenophobic, all three FTAs would be slammed. None of the FTAs are slammed. Just the provisions in the side letter of the ChAFTA, which are alarming and dangerous.


I firstly want to make some comments about the Unions and the Labor party.

The Labor party was formed by the Unions as their Political Wing. The Unions themselves were formed to “stick up” for workers. Their peak body is the ACTU (Australian Council of Trades Unions).

On the other side of politics we also have Unions of Employers. They “stick up” for the Employers. Their peak body is the Liberal party of Australia.

There is one major difference between the two. The Unions are open to scrutiny and the Liberal party are not. Just look at the way they do their finances. Donations have been funnelled through various secretive foundations to hide the donors. Even their affiliated bodies such as the IPA are a secretive organisation. You just don’t know who funds them.

So that’s the background and the subject is the China Free trade Agreement and whether or…

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A PM who only knows aggression is a threat to the country

25 Feb

Abbott, apparently, has no impulse control.

No Place For Sheep

Agressive Abbott

The Abbott government’s attempted defenestration of President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs has, like so many of this government’s ventures into domination through aggression and bullying, badly backfired.

This latest debacle is yet another example of the Abbott government’s pugilistic default position, and follows hot on the heels of the Prime Minister’s combative approach to Indonesia in the matter of the looming execution of Australian drug smugglers Chan and Sukumaran.

Attorney-General George Brandis, chief instigator, along with Abbott, of an extraordinarily vitriolic personal attack on the head of a statutory authority, was yesterday asked what next in their campaign to publicly eviscerate Triggs, presumably to force her resignation which does not seem to be forthcoming, and why should it?

I can’t unscramble the egg, Brandis replied, in a rare admission of stupendous failure.

The egg certainly is all over the faces of Brandis and Abbott. In…

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Abbott government ministers hate their ministries and everyone in them

30 Nov

We’re early days into the second year of this Gov and there is much ‘anti-everything fair, decent, reasonable and truly ‘Australian’ they can do before their term is up. These are the darkest of days and more to come.


In a sort of political version of Opposite Day, an idea has been kicking around social media for a few weeks on how to best understand the mystery that is the awfulness of the Abbott government. The idea is the Anti-Ministry, and it was quickly recognised and repeated because of the obviousness of its accuracy.

For starters, the Commonwealth government is headed by Captain No himself.

Tony Abbott remains in stubborn denial of the fact that he is no longer the leader of the Opposition but in fact the leader of the government. Leaders set the culture and tone and outlook of any organisation. This is so even when the specific leader lacks any actual leadership qualities, as with the current Australian Prime Minister.

Once I heard the Anti-Minister idea, I saw evidence that every man in cabinet behaves as though he hates his portfolio and everyone in it. This…

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Tony and his ways. Yes, it is all about him

13 Sep

There will be many history papers written on this government and its practitioners. The easiest way for Abbott to put an end to his legitimacy of citizenship is to allow the FOI requests made.


Recently I wrote a piece on why Australians should care whether the person in the highest elected office in the country was eligible to stand for public office in the first or second instance. As with any online activity, it garnered its share of naysayers, trolls, weirdos and attention seekers. But mostly the response was positive.

Aside from teaching law, one of the things I do for a living is text analysis. This means analysing a piece of text, usually media articles, for its complex and hidden meanings. I identify implied premises, weak or false presumptions, and whether cultural norms like sexism, racism and homophobia are reproduced in the piece.

For this work, I use two main tools. One is a text processing software program and the other is the human brain. The two work in tandem. The software would be useless without a human brain to make sense of…

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Global law and decency: our double standard on MH17 and asylum seekers

24 Jul

Global law and decency: our double standards on MH17 and asylum seekers


Australia has led the international community in condemning the downing of flight MH17 and the handling of the victims’ bodies. EPA/Robert Ghement


Following the shocking news of the destruction of flight MH17, foreign minister Julie Bishop wasted no time in boarding a plane for the United Nations in New York. Australian diplomats engaged in intense late-night negotiations over a form of words that would secure unanimous assent for the Security Council resolution calling for an international investigation.

Prime minister Tony Abbott appeared on domestic media channels, insisting on the imperatives of accountability and international cooperation, and reiterating his determination “to get justice for Australia”:

The only way we will get justice for the dead and closure for the living is if there is a full, comprehensive, impartial, international investigation starting more or less immediately.

The unanimous passing of the resolution will be seen, rightly, as a success for diplomacy and international co-operation. It was a call, as opposition leader Bill Shorten put it, for the states involved to pass the “test of decency”. Yet, do we ourselves, as a nation, pass the test of decency in terms of meeting our international responsibilities?

Australia’s call to the authority of international institutions to investigate the “atrocity”, as Bishop described it, of the downing of MH17 has deservedly received an immediate response from the Security Council. Australia’s own responses to calls for international accountability and cooperation, in contrast, have been decidedly selective and tardy in recent years.

Australia declined to co-sponsor or support the UN Human Rights Council resolution seeking an international investigation into atrocities at the end of the war in Sri Lanka. This was despite the strong support the resolution received from key allies such as the US and UK.

Here, Bishop gave little consideration to the need for justice for tens of thousands of hapless civilians killed in that war zone, instead lauding the Sri Lankan government’s economic achievements.

The Human Rights Law Centre, among others, condemned Australia’s stance:

Australia’s short-term, one-eyed interest in stopping boats, and its perceived need to keep Sri Lanka close in order to do that, has led to these outrageous results where we don’t support accountability for war crimes in our region.

Fair-weather friend of the UN

In recent years Australia has also ignored or downplayed calls for accountability for its own international obligations. When its own conduct is under scrutiny, the government has rejected the UN’s criticism and authority.

Polices such as offshore detention, including the detention of children and exposure of people under Australian care to violence and abuse (the murder of an asylum seeker on Manus Island is yet to be independently investigated), have been compounded by the recent instances in which the Australian Navy intercepted asylum seekers in international waters.

One group was returned to Sri Lanka after a highly dubious “screening” process and were all put under arrest. Another boatload of 157 people remains confined at sea.

Australia rejects international condemnation of its handling of Sri Lankan asylum seekers. This has included a lack of transparency about its most recent detention at sea of 157 people., CC BY

It was in the context of these events that hundreds of academics have called for Abbott to:

… affirm a vision of the nation that is committed to non-negotiable ethical principles that override the mere fulfilment of election slogans such as ‘stop the boats’.

Law and morality demand consistency

As we write this, the bodies from MH17 are on a refrigerated train travelling through the war-ravaged terrain of the Ukraine. Meanwhile, just outside the ocean borders that surround our own peaceful and lucky country, a boatload of Tamil families, many certified refugees from a terrible conflict, are being held in limbo, in windowless cabins, by our own navy, on orders from our government.

Some will balk at the juxtaposition of two very different stories. We are not positing an equivalence between these events, but seeking to focus attention on the principle of accountability to international institutions, and on the very different responses elicited from the Australian government.

In our view, membership of the international community cannot be selective. We either respect the authority of international institutions, or we do not. As a nation, we believe in the principle of accountability for atrocity or we do not.

The atrocity of MH17 bears out that no state can isolate itself from the international community. Innocence is no defence against arbitrary violence, destruction and war, just as geographical distance is no guarantor of safety.

No-one is an island. No island is insulated from the flow of global currents. Lines of connection link us across borders; they ensnare us in unexpected, random ways, by air and sea, regardless of the papers we may or may not carry.

What fragile protection we have from the uncertain forces of war and terror resides in the (albeit partial) authority of international law and the moral force of community. We squander these protections for passing political gain at our peril.

Reprinted with permission from The Conversation

Climate models – why they’re not just hot air

22 Jul

There is no planet B.
Climate change is not just all hot air.

CSIROscope Blog

We rely a lot on climate models. They not only help us understand our present climate, but also allow us to understand possible future conditions and how different regions of our planet are likely to be impacted by climate change.

Having access to this information is vital for the community, government and industries to make informed decisions – sectors like tourism, farming and transportation to name a few.

As useful as these tools are, the reality is that the Earth’s climate system is incredibly complicated. It is affected by an infinite number of variations in the atmosphere, land surface, oceans, ice, and biosphere.  How these factors interact with one another, and our socio-economic decisions, further complicates the issue.

Our climate system is affected by variations in the atmosphere, land surface, oceans, ice and biosphere. Our climate system is affected by variations in the atmosphere, land surface, oceans, ice and biosphere.

In the absence of a twin Earth to use as an experimental control, simulations are the…

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