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Wednesday, 20 January


Journalism is not terrorism No Right Turn

Back in 2013, David Miranda, the partner of investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained by UK police under anti-terrorism powers while transiting through Heathrow. He was interrogated for nine hours, with no right to legal advice and no right to silence. His laptop, cellphone, and other electronic storage devices were confiscated. The ostensible reason for this was that he was carrying encrypted Snowden material, which could supposedly endanger UK national security. The British government called that "terrorism".

Today, the UK Court of Appeal declared in no uncertain terms that that was bullshit, and declared the law Miranda was detained under incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights:

A key clause in the Terrorism Act 2000 is incompatible with the European convention on human rights, the master of the rolls, Lord Dyson, has declared as part of a court of appeal judgment.


Dyson said that the powers contained in schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act (2000) were flawed. Schedule 7 of the Act allows travellers to be questioned in order to find out whether they appear to be terrorists. They have no right to remain silent or receive legal advice, and they may be detained for up to nine hours.

“The stop power, if used in respect of journalistic information or material is incompatible with article 10 [freedom of expression] of the [European convention on human rights] because it is not ‘prescribed by law’,” the master of the rolls said.

The court ruled that the power was arbitrary as it lacked judicial safeguards. More importantly, it also ruled that terrorism requires intent - that one cannot be a "te...

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Tuesday, 19 January


Just like starting over: Who will help reform NSW Labor? Independent Australia

Just like starting over: Who will help reform NSW Labor?Luke Foley is not the leader to take NSW Labor to the next election, says Peter Wicks — so who is? read now...


Time to audit ASADA Catallaxy Files

When the ASADA Act was introduced to the Parliament, the following claims were made (emphasis added):

The establishment of ASADA will mean that sports, athletes and the public can have complete confidence that doping allegations will be investigated and pursued in an independent, robust and transparent way.

ASADA’s establishment represents the next step forward in strengthening Australia’s already world-class anti-doping regime.

In the event of serious allegations of doping infractions by athletes, Australia will have in place an integrated system to respond vigorously from the outset – from collecting, preserving and analysis of evidence to making recommendations on its findings and carrying a case to a tribunal hearing if required.

The creation of ASADA will enhance Australia’s compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, and will strategically implement the UNESCO International Convention Against Doping In Sport, once ratified by Australia.

The creation of ASADA, more broadly, represents a tough response to doping in sport and a response that treats all athletes fairly.

Perhaps former Senator Chris Ellison could explain how and why the ASADA investigations into Essendon were “independent, robust and transparent” and “treat[ed] all athletes fairly”.

I’m also wondering about this:

It also stipulates the rights that athletes will have in relation to ASADA decisions. Athletes will have access to established external review mechanisms in relation to any ASADA investigation (including a test or the testing process) including the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Administ...


Inequality overload: World's 62 richest people now own as much as poorest half Independent Australia

Inequality overload: World's 62 richest people now own as much as poorest halfOxfam report finds that global one per cent of wealth holders now own more than the rest of the world combined. Lauren McCauley from Common Dreams reports. read now...


Speaking of schemers and hacks and that scheming hack Erica, as the pond sometimes does ... loon pond

Being something of a record of lunar events, it would have been remiss of the pond not to note Erica's latest outing, as recorded in Eric Abetz attacks 'schemers' and 'hacks' (with forced video)

The pond is always titillated when a schemer and a hack attacks others as schemers and hacks, and airs dirty laundry in the lizard Oz in a valiant attempt to maintain the wall-puncher's diminished, but still faithful flock, if only so the pond can link to the wicked Fairfaxs faithfully reproducing the essence of the yarn.

Naturally Erica was rewarded this day with an Oz editorial ...

Now that header is deliberately misleading, because it is in reality a poignant and passionate plea for the schemers and the hacks who have fallen out of favour with their own colleagues and the wider population ...



Very sad day – Glenn Frey of the Eagles died, aged 67 Catallaxy Files

The Eagles were possibly the best band ever and I have long wondered about petitioning to rename Canberra to California and then to have Hotel California as the the national anthem.

A sad day ….

Eagles Glenn Frey co-founder has died at 67


Malcolm Turnbull, Nick Ross and the sad story of a broken ABC Independent Australia

Malcolm Turnbull, Nick Ross and the sad story of a broken ABCThe final shreds of the ABC's reputation have just fluttered away in the wind, writes managing editor David Donovan. read now...


Doogan Report recommends the Federal Coalition Government compensate nine Save the Children Australia workers for expulsion from its Nauru detention centre in 2014 North Coast Voices

On 26 June 2015 Adj. Prof. Christopher M. Doogan submitted a report, Review Of Recommendation Nine From The Moss Review, to the Abbott Government  which stated at pages 22 and 23:

Given the Moss Report was submitted to the Abbott Government on 6 February 2014, the subsequent Doogan Report was conducted and concluded in a relatively timely fashion.

However, public knowledge of the text this report did not surface until almost seven months later on Friday 17 January 2016 when it was released by government with no ministerial comment.


In which Bolterish introspection mingles with a Caterist parrot. Hint: boil bird and stone until done, throw away the parrot, and eat the stone ... loon pond

Oh dear, they refused to confirm.

So when did he stop beating his wife? Or perhaps we should put it another way ...

Yes, for the very few that care, the Graudian has the story that perhaps News Corp has finally decided that pissing a couple of million a year against the wall on a show that doesn't rate might not be the best of business models ...

Of course the Bolter remains defiant ...



How Australia is inspiring Europe’s immigration policies Antony Loewenstein

My column in the Guardian:

Australia first introduced onshore detention facilities in 1991 at Villawood in Sydney and Port Hedland in Western Australia. Mandatory detention came in 1992. Bob Hawke’s government announced it was because “Australia could be on the threshold of a major wave of unauthorised boat arrivals from south-east Asia, which will severely test both our resolve and our capacity to ensure that immigration in this country is conducted within a planned and controlled framework”.

More than 20 years later, the rhetoric has only worsened against the most vulnerable arriving from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka. Policies that years ago seemed unimaginable, such as imprisoning refugees on remote Pacific islands, are the norm and blessed with bipartisan support.

The sad reality is Australia’s refugee policies are envied and copied around the world, especially in Europe, now struggling to cope with a huge influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. Walls and fences are being built across the continent in futile attempts to keep out the unwanted. A...


More signs Turnbull's political honeymoon is over? North Coast Voices

Roy Morgan Research, 13 January 2016:

Roy Morgan Research’s Business Confidence declined by a further 4.2 points in December (down 3.5% to 114.5), following on from the November decline of 0.6 points (down 0.5%). The combined drop of 4.8 points (down 4.0%) over the last two months is a likely indication that the initial burst of confidence following Malcolm Turnbull becoming Prime Minister is beginning to “cool off”, although it still  remains  11.6% above the level prior to his appointment.

These December figures are the results of 1,001 interviews with a cross section of businesses across Australia.

The level of Business Confidence in December is still positive for the economy but the last two months have seen a decline which now puts it below the five-year average (116.9) and is a sign that confidence is very fragile.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence finished the year on 115.4 (12-13th December), up margin...


So what's happening with the Fair Work Commission's penalty rate review? North Coast Voices

By December 2015 the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rates review had generated five days of transcripts and received a large number of submissions from employer groups, unions representing employees and one federal Labor MP, Melissa Price.

This last hearing date in the penalty rates case is scheduled for 15 April 2016.

There will be a good many households in rural and regional Australia where those with paid employment receive penalty rates for working long and/or unsociable hours.

As the two industry groups being targeted are significant employers outside metropolitan areas, perhaps those living in the NSW Northern Rivers region should all be closely watching the Commission at work and the degree to which its final determinations align with the data to which it has access.

The Fair Work Commission in its ...

Monday, 18 January


Bushfire control: Green sabotage Catallaxy Files

A letter from Roger Underwood, published with permission. He wrote a lengthy paper on fire control which I also have permission to publish but I cannot transfer the file onto my website and I will have to ask for the paper in a different format

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

In 2009 in the wake of the Black Saturday fires in Victoria, the fires that killed 180 people and burned down two substantial towns, I was invited to come to Melbourne and give a public lecture on the bushfire problem in Australia. My paper was presented to a large audience in an historic building in Collins Street, and then later published on the internet and in a number of journals, including in the USA, Canada and South Africa.

The paper was entitled Australian Bushfire Management: a case study in wisdom versus folly. It identified the problems with the current approach to fire management and pointed to a wiser and more effective approach … but at the same time, drew attention to the barriers to adoption of such a course. These barriers are basically political, and stem from (a) the absence of leadership and (b) the malevolent influence on governments of pressure groups, in particular the environmentalists and academics who oppose the “preventative medicine” of fuel reduction burning in eucalypt bushland.

I was moved to re-read the paper yesterday (copy attached), in the wake of the spate of disastrous bushfires now bedevilling Australia. Another two towns have burned since Christmas, and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on futilely trying to suppress intense fast-moving fires burning in heavy fuels. We all know this is impossible, but it is still attempted. I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s definition of a fanatic: one who, when proven wrong, redoubles his efforts.

Possibly the most dramatic example of the lack of leadership and populist politics is the decision of the Victorian Premier to reject the recommendations of the Black Saturday Ro...


The beginning of the Anthropocene Age: Humans leave indelible mark Independent Australia

The beginning of the Anthropocene Age: Humans leave indelible markThe post-industrial impacts that humans have had on the Earth and its atmosphere may pinpoint the mid-20th century as the start of a new geological epoch. read now...


Reaping the carbon policy harvest Catallaxy Files

For five years, Tata, the Indian firm that owns what used to be British Steel has been warning that energy costs in Britain are squeezing competitiveness.

Previous reductions have accelerated in 2015 with a 15 per cent cut in jobs.

Successive UK governments have responded by further turning the screws with now renewable energy requirements and other impacts.  And each new announcement of retrenchments, like the most recent one, is met by anguished blame shifting and calls for specific supports.

Politicians the world over have a knack of etherealising their decisions on renewable energy as though they have no consequences.  Many have been conditioned by absurdities like the sun and wind is free so how can using this energy be adding to costs and their eyes glaze over when confronted by hard data demonstrating the renewals cost three times as much as fossil fuel alternatives.  Doubtless, public servants will advise them that if energy costs account for 12 per cent of product costs and the energy price increases by 20 per cent then cost increases are less than 3 per cent and easily absorbed.  Such arguments fail to recognise that it is the residual profit that drives business decisions and the 3 per cent is perhaps three tenths of profits, or a 30 per cent reduction in the owners’ income.

The result of the developed world imposing penalties on its energy costs is an acceleration of the relative growth in China, India and other countries that would not countenance anything but token measures to price carbon.  Among developed countries, the US has attracted European relocations by dint of its cheap energy (both BMW and Mercedes build their SUVs in the US) – Obama is doing his be...

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