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Friday, 28 July

04:14

Inflow levels (rainfall), outflow levels (bulk water supply to WaterNSW) and storage for Warragamba Dam specifically, for 1995 to 2017. Requests or responses matching your saved search

Follow up sent to Water NSW by Evelyn Fox Koob on July 28, 2017.
Successful.
Thanks for the last spreadsheet. Is it possible to get the same pieces of data for a larger time period, for example from the early 1900's? Yours s...

00:45

The American Resistance has many faces and this journalist is one of them (12) North Coast Voices


In June 2017 the U.S. White House banned cameras from its regular press briefings. The last live on-camera White House briefing was on 29 June and live audio-only ceased at some point after that.

At first news agencies were reduced to the absurd painting short word pictures or using sketch artists to depict action.


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Thursday, 27 July

22:24

New plan to dam WAs Fitzroy river and create cotton powerhouse Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

A New South Wales-based company has put forward a new plan to dam Western Australia's Fitzroy River.

AM has obtained a leaked copy of the detailed proposal from retired NSW cotton farmer and KIMCO founder John Logan.

The document argues it could transform the Kimberley into a cotton powerhouse rivalling New South Wales and Queensland.
But environmentalists, like Martin Pritchard from local environmental group Environs Kimberley, warned it would destroy the river, which they want protected by law.

"The Fitzroy River would never be the same again, it would turn into a ditch essentially to carry water for irrigation," he said.

KIMCO's plan is to construct a dam near Dimond Gorge, on the upper reaches of the Fitzroy and another on the nearby Margaret River.

Mr Logan has been keen to set up a cotton industry in the Kimberley for decades.

He has put a $6 billion price tag on this proposal, which would see Fitzroy water irrigating 300,000 hectares of grain, cotton and horticulture.

The document suggests the project would involve a new port in the Kimberley and see the creation of "a new coastal community township".
KIMCO said it would also require "the consolidation of a number of cattle grazing stations".

Damming the Fitzroy not backed by politicians

WA's Labor Government went to this year's election promising it would never allow the Fitzroy to be dammed and there was no appetite for KIMCO's plan from WA's Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan.


Environmentalists want legislation to protect the Fitzroy River from any future proposals.

"There is absolutely no doubt that there is a massive capacity to expand horticulture and agriculture in the West Kimberley and we're very committed to doing it," she said.

"But we don't believe that it should be predicated on damming the Fitzroy River, and certainly that's not the advice that has come out from over a number of years from the CSIRO."

Before he quit his role as Northern Australia Minister on Tuesday, Matt Canavan was not backing it either.

"There has been significant opposition from Indigenous and traditional owner groups in the past, although there are a mix of views is my understanding and that's obviously a relevant consideration," he said.

"We're not seeking to impose dams on the rest of the country, we're seeking to build dams where there is a welcome mat for dams if you like, and there are plenty of places where...

19:33

Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (6) Frank Golding

DOWNSIZINGDESIRABLE BUT NOT ALWAYS EASY One last example, because it shows that changes in welfare policy were not uniform or consistent: St Josephs Homes for Children in Flemington 1981-1997:   the Family Group Homes era. Its probably true to say that, broadly speaking, child-savers like Selina Sutherland and those involved in the boarding-out movement were Continue reading Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (6)

19:24

Matts Marvellous Mum! The AIM Network

Ok, Im not going to write about Matt Canavan directly. I mean, trying to write satire about a man who until this mess was meant to be running an important ministry, but just a few years ago wasnt considered enough of an adult for his mum to actually ask his permission before she

The post Matts Marvellous Mum! appeared first on The AIM Network.

19:16

Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (5) Frank Golding

THE CHILD SAVERS   CHILD RESCUERS Lets return to the 1880s where we find a crusade for reforming dissolute urban working-class family life through Christian charitymiddle-class morality and concern for social stability. The tropes of child as victim and child as threat intersected. The Scots Church Childrens Aid Society explained: children must be rescued from Continue reading Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (5)

19:00

Dr G Yunupingu: And now a deafening silence Independent Australia

Dr G Yunupingu: And now a deafening silenceInternationally acclaimed Indigenous musician Dr G Yunupingu has died at age 46 following a long battle with chronic illness. read now...

18:40

Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (4) Frank Golding

ROYAL PARK IN PARKVILLE THE DEPOT AND MUCH MORE Against that back-story we come to Royal Park in Parkville. No site has had such a confusing history as Royal Park. You get a sense of this in its more than a dozen alternative names and functions over the years (matched by repeated changes of Continue reading Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (4)

18:06

Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (3) Frank Golding

ORPHANAGES NECESSARY BUT NOT SUFFICIENT When Governor Hotham laid the foundation stone for the Melbourne Orphan Asylum in Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) in 1854, he warned that it was not just a matter of supporting the innocent victims of misfortune, but the citizens of the colony had another political duty. Remember, he said, that these orphans, Continue reading Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (3)

17:44

Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (2) Frank Golding

THE LARGE INSTITUTIONS In 1849 the Mayor of Melbourne, approached a charitable organisation, the Dorcas Society, for urgent help with the children of a man who had murdered his wife. A stop-gap was found for these and other urgent cases of destitute and homeless children, the uncriminal orphans and friendless children. In 1850 the Dorcas Continue reading Lost & Found: State Children in Victoria (2)

17:19

Lost and Found: State Children in Victoria (1) Frank Golding

Paper presented to the Hotham History Project, North Melbourne Town Hall, 25 July 2017 I am posting this very long paper in separate sections so as not to tax my readers too much. It should be noted that the paper was presented to an audience with a particular focus on the history of North Melbourne and neighbouring suburbs and that influenced my choice Continue reading Lost and Found: State Children in Victoria (1)

17:02

Dentistry - Admission Statistics and Selection Process Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Charles Sturt University to James Brooke on July 27, 2017.
Awaiting classification.
Charles Sturt University [1]Charles Sturt University [2]CSU_Online_MidYear_F5251d__eDM.jpg Have you heard about single subject study? Single sub...

15:38

National vs the OIA: The verdict No Right Turn

Last month Transport Minister Simon Bridges was caught trying to bully KiwiRail into unlawfully refusing information. Today, the Ombudsman released their report into the incident - made under the Ombudsmen Act, not the OIA - and it is damning. The report examines Kiwirail's administrative process, rather than the lawfulness of the OIA decisions, and while it concludes that Kiwirail was entitled to consult the Minister's office about the request, it is also clear that they failed to critically evaluate his concerns (and so effectively allowed the Minister to make the decision for them). Then, when their conduct was made public, they made a hasty, rushed decision which was not robust. The Ombudsman is also clear that the Minister's initial concerns - that the document was a draft, was misleading, and should be withheld to protect future budget bids - were not valid reasons for withholding under the OIA, and that Kiwirail made the right decision in initially rejecting them.

As for how to fix this, the Ombudsman has recommended that Kiwirail should review its OIA process and adopt a formal protocol for OIA interactions with the Minister. Meanwhile, it looks like the "budget bid" bullshit defence is going to make its way into the FAQ on common OIA misconceptions.

So, that's a win for transparency - and it shows the value in kicking up a stink about dodgy decisions. Its also highlighted a fruitful avenue for requests: metarequests for communications with Ministerial offices about requests. There's probably all sorts of dirt hidden in those, and if Ministers don't want it publicly exposed, they'll have to ensure they respect the proper boundaries and don't try and bully agencies in future.

15:38

Secrecy vs accountability No Right Turn

While we're on the subject, there's something else in the Ombudsman's report on Simon Bridges' bullying of Kiwirail which is worth discussing: Bridges (or his staff's) views on the "need" to withhold failed budget bids. The Ombudsman quotes these in full, because they're quite an eye-opener:

Noting that the project was highly likely to form a bid for Budget 18, the Ministers Office formed the view that if the Business Case was released, then it would open the project up to undue influence and public debate which would more likely than not prejudice the path the Budget bid takes.

As the Budget process is a contestable process, negotiations should be allowed to occur unimpeded without any action that could influence the weighting of one bid over another.

This applies to both the future negotiations to be had at a departmental level in the initial stages of the Budget process, and in the subsequent negotiations between Ministers once a bid has progressed to this level.

A bid will be more objective at both stages of the negotiation process if it is on an even footing with other bids (i.e. that havent been publically debated). Public and media scrutiny could directly or indirectly influence the weighting of bids and decision making during the contestable budget process. This is the same principle that the Ministry of Transport advised the Office it applies when considering whether to release failed Budget bids under the Official Information Act.

Or, to put that in plain english: policy proposals must remain secret to prevent the public from telling us what they want.

13:38

Climate change: Getting there from here No Right Turn

New Zealand climate change policy is ineffective. The targets are crap, and the policies are disconnected from them anyway. Insofar as the government takes a long view and sets long-term goals, its with the aim of dumping the problem on future governments, rather than acting to achieve them. But a new report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment proposes that we change that, by adopting the framework of the UK's Climate Change Act.

In the UK, the government has climate change targets set in law. It is required to set five yearly carbon budgets well in advance in order to meet those targets, and state the policies and measures it will use to make sure those budgets are met. And they have an independent and well-resourced Climate Change Commission to report on those budgets and policies and keep them honest.

The PCE, like Generation Zero, suggests that we adopt a similar framework here. It would be a good idea. The PCE also expresses hope that such a framework will have cross-party support. Sadly, I think that's foolish. Out of government, National opposed any measures to reduce emissions. In government, they've had to pretend to care, but in practice have done everything they could to protect polluters. While there's been some promising signs, there's no real evidence that they see this as a serious problem, let alone one worth upsetting their farmer-cronies over. As a government, they won't act; if there is a change of government, I fully expect them to go back to their old Denier ways and oppose any action whatsoever. Action on climate change is going to be politically contested. It will require changing the government, and it will require defending any new framework against the efforts of National to reverse and undermine it. While I'd like it to be different, for National's MP's to understand the problem and support real action, I'm not going to fool myself that that's going to happen. So if we want to save the world, we need to bury them.

13:30

In which the pond finds Jesus in a slice of toast rather than a Queensland school yard, and trots over hill and Dale to help save the Canavan caravan... loon pond


(and more Rowe here).

With the savvy Savva gone the pond knows not where, emergency measures had to be deployed at the pond this day ...

At first the pond thought it should follow up on that story of Jesus being banned from Queensland school yards. 

Surely even in these post-ironic days, the news of the second coming would be a minor sensation on the full to overflowing intertubes, even if pigeon post might deliver the story more quickly than Malware's copper network ...


Jesus turned away at the Queensland school gate? What a shock, what a sensation.

Sorry, what a disappointment. The pond will have to keep checking its toast for Jesus sightings ...


The urbane Urban did her best to lather up a frothing and an indignant foaming ...

...

13:24

Mum Did It: The Canavan Argument, Citizenship and the Australian Constitution The AIM Network

By Dr Binoy Kampmark A real Italian never blames his mum. Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, SBS, Jul 27, 2017. It has raged, and continues to do so, like a pestilence emptying the benches of the Australian parliament. Who will be the next to be carried off into political oblivion for violating section 44

The post Mum Did It: The Canavan Argument, Citizenship and the Australian Constitution appeared first on The AIM Network.

13:22

Citizen KANE(avan) Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery

Where to start! What a fortnight! So the greens had ten federal parliamentarians hanging on the wall. Then one green federal parliamentarian followed by a second had an accidental fall. No this is not a nursery rhyme or a drinking song. But for some green voters, they may have turned to drink if not fetal []

13:00

Australian Constitution's wide net catches unknowing MPs in s44(i) trap Independent Australia

Australian Constitution's wide net catches unknowing MPs in s44(i) trapEven if Matt Canavan did acquire Italian citizenship without his consent or knowledge, it may not be enough to save his political career, writes Professor Helen Irving. read now...

11:49

More beneficiaries should stand for Parliament No Right Turn

Yesterday the media was in full outrage mode, after the revelation that Green co-leader Metiria Turei campaigned for (other) political parties while on a benefit in the early 1990's. The subtext was clear: dirty poor people shouldn't be involved in politics, shouldn't enjoy political rights. The same old shit the rich have been pushing since time immemorial to protect their power.

But I think there's a different message we should take from it: more beneficiaries should stand for Parliament.

Look around Parliament, and what do you see? A pack of rich pricks. Lawyers, bankers, farmers, property developers, apparatchiks. People who have never struggled a day in their lives. Is it any wonder that they're so focused on tax cuts for themselves and their ilk? Is it any wonder that they let a housing crisis grow and fester because they and their mates saw their paper wealth increase thanks to the "boom"? And is it any wonder that their policies on poverty and inequality display the cruelty and viciousness of ignorance?

In addition to under-representing women and young people, "our" Parliament fails to properly represent those on low or even middle incomes. And the cost of that is policies which exclusively serve the rich, while fucking over everybody else. More beneficiaries standing might help correct that. OTOH, WINZ would probably regard it as an excuse to cut their benefit...

11:44

ABC TV The Drum on refugees, boycotting Australia and Israel/Palestine Antony Loewenstein

This week I appeared on ABC TVs The Drum talking about Australias awful refugee policies, Israel/Palestine and the Israel lobbys pernicious attacks on anybody who dares challenge the Jewish state:

The show has gone viral. One clip, of fellow journalist John Lyons and I talking about the Zionist lobbys pressuring of critical voices, has been watched nearly 100,000 times (and growing fast). Its received international attention.

Back in 2014, I argued in The Guardian that Australia should suffer a sports boycott due to its illegal asylum seeker policies. I made the same point on this TV show and many people, with a few notable exceptions, welcomed the idea. Australian legal academic Dr Amy McGuire wrote a story in The Conversation around the issue.

11:15

Fraud Requests or responses matching your saved search

Follow up sent to Australian Security Intelligence Organisation by Liz on July 27, 2017.
Partially successful.
Thankyou for your assistance. I look forward to being assisted elsewhere, asap. Yours sincerely, Liz

10:54

The hidden cost of unreliables Catallaxy Files

Under-estimating the cost of wind and solar? Who would have thought?

A big part of our problem is that we are dealing with variables that are not independent. If we add subsidized wind and solar, that act, by itself, changes the needed pricing for all of the other types of electricity. The price per kWh of supporting types of electricity needs to rise, because their EROIs fall as they are used in a less efficient manner. This same problem affects all of the other pricing approaches as well, including LCOE. Thus, our current pricing approaches make intermittent wind and solar look much more beneficial than they really are.

Abandoned renewable energy plants. h/t Max in comments.

Our contribution at Wollongong.

10:48

Dirty dairying may poison Christchurch No Right Turn

Love your Christchurch drinking water? Bad news: the farmers may be poisoning it:

Authorities have privately discussed the possibility that aquifers supplying Christchurch's pure drinking water may become contaminated with nitrates from intensive agriculture.

The concerns have emerged from recent scientific work by Environment Canterbury (ECan), which shows deep groundwater from the Waimakariri district could be flowing towards Christchurch.

It is the first time ECan's modelling has showed that is a possibility.

It is understood the information has not been publicised due to ongoing scientific uncertainty, along with the risk of it becoming politicised due to the upcoming election, said one source familiar with the situation.

And we can't have that, can we? We can't get people getting upset and angry and voting for a government which will stop a pack of rapacious, greedy polluters from poisoning their children!

There's no evidence the aquifers have been contaminated yet. But there's a long-term risk that they might be, with serious health risks for infants as a result. A prudent government would address that risk. National, with its support for dairy expansion and irrigation, seems hellbent on increasing it. The conclusion is clear: if you want safe drinking water in Christchurch, you need to vote for a change of government.

10:25

Fraud Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to Liz on July 27, 2017.
Partially successful.
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Good morning, Thank you for your email to this organisation requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act...

08:39

Fraud Requests or responses matching your saved search

Request sent to Australian Security Intelligence Organisation by Liz on July 27, 2017.
Partially successful.
I have evidence of phone fraud. My local police in Morisset have said they are not able to trace a phones location or details as they do not have t...

08:30

Corruption rife in Turnbulls Australia aided by corrupt mass media Independent Australia

Corruption rife in Turnbulls Australia aided by corrupt mass mediaEvery month, more examples emerge of Coalition MPs and officials abusing their power for financial or political gain. Alan Austin continues the corruption count, which has now reached 75 instances. read now...

08:23

In which a confused pond turns to the bromancer and wombat Boris for entertainment ... loon pond




It seemed so clear cut, and only a short time ago ...

There was prattling Polonius, the Bolter and all the rest of the reptiles explaining how useless, inept, woeful, incompetent and silly the greenies were ...

And there was the pond recalling, with some sadness, how - not ever having any intention of standing for parliament - it was disappointed to learn that it had missed out by a generation on the chance to score an EU passport ...

But in these post-Trumpian relativist days, things can change ever so quickly, as the cawing Crowe hastened to explain this day ...



So much for the Bolter, so much for Polonius, so much for righteous certainty, so much for doing the ethical thing. Yah boo, sucked in again ...

The pond was reminded of that Eliot poem ...

And indeed there will be time 
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, 
Rubbing its back up...

06:30

Day to Day Politics: Constitutional ineptness and political lying. The AIM Network

Thursday 27 July 2017 1 Either circumstantially or by poor judgment Coalition members continue to dip their collective toes into the political tub of boiling water. A few days ago I wrote that the Constitution was an archaic document. That if we had a standing Committee on constitutional Reform then suggestions from it would see

The post Day to Day Politics: Constitutional ineptness and political lying. appeared first on The AIM Network.

00:46

Shorter UN Position: Australia's policy of offshore processing has caused extensive, avoidable suffering for far too long "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"


To add insult to injury our very own J. Edgar Tuber, Peter Craig Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection & just about everything that isn't nailed down, has apparently been lying to the United Nations.


Australias policy of offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, which denies access to asylum in Australia for refugees arriving by sea without a valid visa, has caused extensive, avoidable suffering for far too long.
Four years on, more than 2,000 people are still languishing in unacceptable circumstances. Families have been separated and many have suffered physical and psychological harm.
In light of this dire humanitarian situation, last November UNHCR exceptionally agreed to help with the relocation of refugees to the United States following a bilateral agreement between Australia and the US. We agreed to do so on the clear understanding that vulnerable refugees with close family ties in Australia would ultimately be allowed to settle there. 
...

00:45

More Australians live in New South Wales and Queensland than in the other states & territories combined North Coast Voices


Australian Bureau of Statistics, media release, excerpt, 12 July 2017:

Queensland and New South Wales home to 52.1 per cent of Australias total population according to the 2016 Census of Population and Housing

NSW certainly has the numbers on their side, outnumbering Queensland residents by close to three million people (7,480,228 to 4,703,193), but Queensland is making a strong play with a faster growth rate of 8.6 per cent, compared with 8.1 per cent for NSW. ..

The 2016 Census tells us there are 28,864 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in NSW aged 18-35 years, just edging out Queensland with 25,053.

Between the two battling states, it seems the Cockroaches are the bigger earners, with NSW households earning a median income of $1,486 per week compared to $1,402 per week for a household in Cane Toad country. However, Queensland residents gain an edge with household costs their median monthly mortgage repayment is $253 cheaper than it is south of the border, while the Sunshine States median weekly rent is $50 less. 

The Maroon State also tend to work more in the home, with a higher rate of people engaging in unpaid domestic work (71 per cent in Queensland to 68 per cent in NSW) and child care (28 per cent in Queensland to 27 per cent in NSW). However, the Blue State has a higher rate of providing unpaid care for a person with a disability (12 per cent in NSW to 11 per cent in Queensland)

..64.9 per cent of persons in NSW embraced the digital Census, completing their Census form online (above national average), just edging Queensland, where 62.9 per cent of persons used the online Census form (below national average). 


Note: All data presented is based on Place of Usual residence data in the 2016 Census
...

00:17

National wants to sell the national grid No Right Turn

Back in 2013, after a hugely unpopular plan to part-privatise electricity gentailers, National promised that there would be no more asset sales. Of course, they were lying:

NZ First says a leaked January 2017 presentation to Transpower by Swiss Investment Bankers UBS reveals the National Government intends to privatise the National Grid.

We have evidence National is lining Transpower up for privatisation in 2018 if given half a chance, says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland, Rt Hon Winston Peters

A leaked UBS presentation to Transpower scopes the market, investor appetite and even suggests how stakeholder concerns could be managed. UBS has form with Transpower, having arranged for Transpower a Caymans Island based financing deal which only ended in recent years.

[...]

An asset sales slush fund is proposed for the $2bn plus that this could net and UBS say it could happen As early as August 2017 but likely in 2018 and beyond.

The national grid is vital infrastructure. If it fails, the lights literally go out. And given that past privatisations have inevitably resulted in strip-mining the asset, underinvesting in maintenance and running things into the ground - that looks to be a likely outcome of any transpower sale. And that's something we just can't permit.

Steven Joyce's response when confronted with these papers in Parliament today was to plead ignorance. So we're expected to believe that this was an unsolicited privatisation plan, or that Transpower had been making plans to sell itself without Ministerial approval. But with National crony Tony Ryall chairing the board, that seems highly unlikely. Instead, it seems that National have been secretly planning to sell us out again, but don't dare put it to the people in the election for fear of the reaction. It's typical behaviour from them, and precisely why they can never be trusted in government.

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Wednesday, 26 July

23:36

Tit- for- tat trade fear over Australian export meat ban to China Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

Six Australian meat companies have been barred from selling beef and lamb to China, raising concerns about the reliability of Australias $750 million meat export trade with the Asian powerhouse.

The temporary bans are linked to meatworks in specific locations across three states, with Chinese import authorities imposing the bans because labels did not comply with paperwork.

But it is feared the meat export bans are tit-for-tat retaliation for Australias decision earlier this year to ban all imports of fresh and cooked prawns from China.

The prawn ban, which also affected Vietnamese prawns, was imposed by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce after an outbreak of white spot disease devastated several prawn farms in southern Queensland.

The meatworks affected by the bans ironically include the Kilcoy abattoir at Gympie, Queensland, which is owned by Chinas New Hope group. Also affected are two run by the worlds biggest meat business, Brazils JBS, at Scone, NSW, and Beef City near Toowoomba, Queensland; Thomas Foods Groups lamb meatworks at Murray Bridge, South Australia; the Cannon Hill abattoir owned by Australian Country Choice, and the Northern Meat Co-operative in Casino, NSW.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said he had been advised on Wednesday of the bans by Chinese officials concerned about labelling inconsistencies.

China has given the Australian exporters 45 days to address the mislabelling concerns.

But Mr Ciobo said there was much greater urgency, given that all of the companies had containers of frozen beef and lamb on ships due to arrive in China soon.

The significance of this is certainly something that has mobilised action on our part; this is a crucial export industry with tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars (of meat) directly affected by these bans, Mr Ciobo said.

We want to deal with this as expediently as possible, and to solve whatever problems the Chinese have...

22:03

Australia Post confirms sale of historic Sydney GPO to Singaporean billionaires Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

Australia Post has confirmed the sale of one of Australia's most significant heritage buildings, the Sydney GPO, to two Singaporean billionaires, despite an outcry over heritage concerns and a secretive sales process.

The sale stands as one of the last acts of outgoing Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour who leaves the organisation on Friday, delivering a $150 million bump to the organisation's bottom line.


Sydney GPO has been sold in a secretive deal for $150 million. Photo: Supplied

Australia Post said Mr Fahour would not benefit from the sale, including from bonuses.
"Mr Fahour's compensation for FY2016/17 is unaffected by the sale of the GPO. His one month of employment in the new financial year (FY17/18) does not have a bonus attached to it," Australia Post said in a statement.

The department of Energy and Environment signed off on the final heritage aspect of the sale this week.

Australia Post sought to placate heritage concerns on Wednesday in the wake of the backlash, saying it will now seek National Heritage listing for the newly sold GPO in recognition of its historical importance and to reinforce existing heritage protections.


Robert Ng. Photo: Bloomberg

It said an "updated heritage management plan" had been included as part of the sale.
One of the original heritage architects, Clive Lucas, had condemned the sale, as had Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Neither was available to comment yesterday.


Philip Ng, who with his brother Robert are the richest Singaporeans with a combined worth of $10.8 billion. 

Fairfax Media revealed in May Australia Post planned to sell the building to Robert and Phillip Ng in a secretive deal, despite concerns raised in a heritage report it commissioned last year and never made public.

Australia Post sold the property to Singaporean international property developer Far East, controlled by the Ng brothers, in March for $150 million. It never announced the deal.

Fairfax revealed that Far East has plans for new multi-level retail shops that raise questions over use of existing open space and protection of heritage elements.

A heritage report commissioned by Australia Post in April last year from Lucas Stapleton & Johnson, the original heritage architects for the redevelopment of the 1 Martin Place complex in 1999, that stresses the benefits of keeping the GPO in Australian ownership.
The report warned: "Th...

21:11

Most Australians ineligible for Parliament? John Quiggin

A few weeks ago, I commented adversely on challenges by the ALP to the eligibility of government minister David Gillespie to sit in Parliament, on the basis that he owned a block of shops one of which was leased to an Australia Post branch. Since then, weve seen the resignations from Parliament of Greens Senators Ludlum and Waters, and from Cabinet of Senator Canavan. Eligiblity of others remains in question. This has led me to change my view. Instead of trying to make the best of this disastrous system, we should do away with it by constitutional amendment. The only way to make this happen is to enforce the existing provisions in their full absurdity.

According to the ABC, 49 per cent of Australians were born overseas or had a parent born overseas. Add to that everyone employed in the public sector an office of profit under the Crown, or who does business with the Commonwealth, and its conceivable that a majority of Australians are ineligible to run for election to Parliament. And, while Antony Green thinks it unlikely that pensioners are ineligible, the report he quotes says However, the meaning of the phrase is not absolutely clear and there are divergent views about its effect. Speaking personally, although Ive never seriously considered running for election, Id also never considered the possibility that, as an academic and ARC Fellow, Id be ineligible. But it appears that I may be.

Of course, there are steps that can be taken to fix this problem for any individal, but we need a systemic solution.

Obviously, the authors of our Constitution never intended any of this. At the time, there was no separate Australian citizenship, so any British subjec was eligible, which would have solved the problems faced by Ludlum and Waters. And the public sector was much smaller, so the other constraints werent nearly as problematic. Age pensions hadnt been introduced, so the provision against pensioners was meant to exclude personal pensions, granted by the monarch direclty

On the other hand, while the framers guarded against the sources of corruption evident to them, they never anticipated the problems we have now. Its OK for political parties to be in hock to foreign donors, for someone who has renounced his Australian citizenship to control most of our media, and for careerist politicians to start out as hack staffers, give out favors in office, and cash them out afterwards. But if you dont do the paperwork to cancel potential citizenship in a country youve never seen, youre out on your ear.

At this point, the situation is so bad that worse is better. The best outcome would be for another dozen or two members of Parliament, from all parties, to be thrown out. Then we mi...

19:48

The Fight For Justice For David Dungay Jr Marches On The AIM Network

Media Release The family, friends and community of David Dungay Jr who died in shocking circumstances inside Long Bay Gaol on 29 December 2015 continue their fight for justice this week, taking it to the streets of Sydney. The family are demanding: The immediate release of all information that has been suppressed by the government,

The post The Fight For Justice For David Dungay Jr Marches On appeared first on The AIM Network.

17:43

Australia doesnt have an inequality problem Catallaxy Files

I have an oped (ungated here) in the AFR today responding to an oped by Richard Denniss.

Sigh. Yet another round of debate on inequality. Yesterday Richard Denniss was warning us that even those lefties at the IMF thought inequality could be a drag on growth. Indeed they do. In developing countries extreme levels of inequality often lead to political and social unrest. We in Australia dont have too much to worry about on that front.

Arguments about inequality are always a two-pronged attack on the status quo. First that inequality is somehow bad, and second that a soak-the-productive will improve inequality by equally impoverishing everyone. Im quite certain that North Korea has low levels of inequality.

All the usual arguments more tax will make the world a better place.

One response to my argument that there is relationship between effort and reward was quite surprising. Here is what I said:

In a country like Australia there is a clear relationship between work and reward. Those individuals who study hard, work hard, save their money, avoid chemical dependency, dont have more children than they can afford, tend to live happy and comfortable lives. Not always. To be sure there is bad luck and misfortune but then we have a generous and means-tested welfare system to provide a hand up. Welfare was never intended to subsidise the lifestyle choices of the idle.

Uncontroversial, I would have thought.  But no:

Update I: This story got some coverage in News today.

Arbeit macht frei, or work sets you free, was the slogan used by the Nazis at the entrance of Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Jewish group the Anti-Defamation Commission, described the comment as crossing a red line.
Cynically exploiting and cheapening the Holocaust and making light of the memory of those who perished at the hands of th...

17:36

China has temporarily banned beef exports from several Australian meatworks, Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

China has temporarily banned beef exports from a number of Australian meatworks,

The Australian Meat Industry Council has confirmed it is working with the federal Department of Agriculture through diplomatic channels on the issue.

There are shipments currently on the water, although the ABC understands the Australian Government is hopeful it can resolve the issue before those ships arrive in China.

The Government is prepared to confirm there are five businesses with six establishments affected.
Sources have told the ABC those meatworks are in Queensland and NSW.

The Government was formally notified by the Chinese Government yesterday and has been liaising with industry last night and today.

The ABC understands the ban is because of non-compliance issues around labelling of meat from those plants, and is not because of health or food safety concerns.
Industry believes it has addressed those non-compliance issues and is hopeful the issue will be resolved quickly.

Australia's beef exports to China were worth more than $600 million last year, and China is the fourth-largest market.
More beef and lamb processors were given approval in March to export chilled meat to China in a deal struck at the highest level, between the Chinese Premier and the Australian Prime Minister.

But Australian exporters are also now confronted with a new competitor in the market as China opens up to US beef imports for the first time in 13 years.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-07-26/china-orders-halt-some-beef-exports-australia/8745644?sf100966035=1


17:00

Murray-Darling Basin 'theft' revelations must trigger ICAC investigation Independent Australia

Murray-Darling Basin 'theft' revelations must trigger ICAC investigationThe explosive Four Corners investigation into the Murray-Darling river system must trigger an ICAC investigation, writes Dr Paul Sinclair. read now...

16:22

Australian beef processors hit by China export ban Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

CHINA has placed temporary export bans on as many as six beef processing plants in Australia.

There have been allegations the bans are in retaliation to deputy Prime Minister Julie Bishops comments last week over freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

One meat processor has confirmed the temporary ban to The Weekly Times.

The processor said it came as China allowed access to up to a dozen new US beef plants in the past few days, after the US regained access to Chinas beef market in May.

The Weekly Times understands China has implemented the bans over labelling issues, not on food safety concerns.
And the issue centres on equivalence, a trade agreement term where countries agree their different technical regulations achieve the same outcomes, to eliminate dubious trade barriers.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement came into force in December 2015.

The meat processor claimed CHAFTA did not have an equivalence cause, complicating resolution of the issue.
It is a minor hiccup if this happened in the US, the issue would be able to be corrected with the exporter without any trading halts, he said.

The Weekly Times have sought comment from the Federal Department of Agriculture and the Australian Meat Industry Council.
They have yet to respond.
According to Meat and Livestock Australia, China was Australias fourth-largest beef market in the past financial year, receiving 97,492 tonnes shipped weight.

China recently suspended the export licence on an infant milk formula plant acquired by Bellamys Organic, an Australian dairy exporter.
That licence issue has yet to be resolved.

Source: http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/australian-beef-processors-hit-by-temporary-china-export-ban/news-story/acd84a500ff33e4941ca8f3540f526e8


...

15:31

Petition calls for ICAC within 100 days "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

ACT NOW! has launched a petition calling on newly elected MPs to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption within 100 days.

Everyone knows corruption is a massive problem in Papua New Guinea" , says Campaign Coordinator, Eddie Tanago. "People are dying unnecessarily every day because of the rampant stealing and the mismanagement it causes.

ACT NOW! says well resourced, permanent and politically independent, Commission Against Corruption [ICAC] is desperately needed.

"This new petition is urging our newly elected MPs to take responsibility and do something effective by immediately establishing an ICAC, says Mr Tanago.

ACT NOW! says the 100 day timetable is achievable as all the legislation needed for an ICAC has already been drafted and the necessary Constitutional amendment was passed by Parliament in 2016. 

It has been estimated as much as 50% of the governments annual development budget is stolen every yearand police have said K1.5 billion went missing in 2016 alone.2 PNG is ranked in the bottom 20% of all countries for corruption by Transparency International.3 

"The consequences of this corruption are dire. Vital health and education services starved of money and mismanagement and abuse further impede service delivery. Then there are all the illegal land deals that keep happening and illegal logging", says Mr Tanago. 

"Existing anti-corruption mechanisms have proven to be ineffective and a new body with full powers of investigation and prosecution is urgently needed".

"In 2012, the incoming government promised to establish an ICAC as a major step in the fight against corruption. But over the next five-years it failed to fulfil that promise. Our new MPs must ensure they do better".

FOOTNOTES

[1] ht...

15:05

A trolley problem John Quiggin

Ive generally been dubious about trolley problems and similar thought experiments in ethics. However, its just occurred to me that an idea Ive tried to express in the economistic terms of opportunity cost, without convincing anybody, might be more persuasive as a trolley problem. So, lets start with the standard problem where the train is about to kill ten people, but can be diverted onto a side track where it will kill only one.

In my version, however, there is a second train, loaded with vital medical supplies, which is about to crash. The loss of the supplies will lead to hundreds of deaths. You can prevent the crash, and save the supplies, by diverting the train to an alternative route (not killing anybody), but you dont have time to deal with both trains. Do you divert the first train, the second train, or neither?

Hopefully, most respondents will choose the second train.

Now suppose that the first train has been hijacked by an evil gangster and his henchmen, who will be killed if you divert it, but will otherwise get away with the crime. As well as the gangsters, the single innocent person will die, but the ten people the gangster was going to kill will live.

The impending crash of the second train isnt caused by anybody in particular. The region it serves is poor and no one paid for track maintenance. If the train doesnt get through, hundreds of sick people will die, as sick poor people always have, and nobody much will notice.

Does that change your decision?

As Ill argue at length if needed, the numbers in the example are stacked in favor of humanitarian intervention. Many such interventions kill more people than they save. Even where they are successful in their own terms, the cost is massively more than that of civilian aid, for a fraction of the benefit.

One final point is that, in reality, the henchmen are often conscripted, by force or economic necessity, from the same population as the people whose lives are supposed to be saved by intervention. On any reasonable account, their deaths ought to be weighed in the ledger against any lives saved.

14:19

Defending the Indefensible The Marcus Review

The conduct and knowledge of Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters are things that the public is entitled to

13:30

In which the pond considers more contenders for the Kenny award, with Dame Slap falling by the wayside, but nattering "Ned" a proven stayer ... loon pond




Even a broken quote has many authors, and the pond issues this timely warning for punters eager to bet on the weekly winner of the Kenny award ...

What if they're betting on Dame Slap up against sure-fire favourite Miranda the Devine?

Look at how the smack-down unfolded this day - the Devine barking climate science denialist mad as usual, and Dame Slap seemingly desperate to avoid the award, desperately trying to sound secularist sensible ...



Should the pond pay attention to Dame Slap when she proposes a worthy, perhaps even dignified, debate?

Well it's important...

13:21

Coalition advice for the poor The AIM Network

Back in 2001, Four Corners did a program on the working poor called Going Backwards, where they quoted the statistic that 42 per cent of Australians living in poverty lived in families where one or both adults work. Then Employment Minister, Tony Abbott, summed up the Coalition view. Im prepared to accept that lots of

The post Coalition advice for the poor appeared first on The AIM Network.

12:30

Madman diplomacy The AIM Network

By Dr George Venturini Heinz Alfred Henry Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them. In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming

The post Madman diplomacy appeared first on The AIM Network.

12:30

Slaying in Minneapolis: Justine Damond, shooting cultures and race Independent Australia

Slaying in Minneapolis: Justine Damond, shooting cultures and raceLegal accountability for Damonds death will come down to the standard of "reasonableness" for acceptable use of force by police. read now...

11:58

Climate change: Fiddling while the planet burns No Right Turn

Two years ago, the government announced a review of its failed emissions trading system. Today, it announced the results of that review. Unfortunately, the result is essentially to do nothing.

Oh, they're looking at auctioning units, so the government can manage supply. Except that the primary source of supply into the ETS - free allocations to polluters - will remain unchanged until 2020. So they're committing to industrial polluters facing no incentive to reduce pollution for the next three years. Worse, these free allocations aren't on a downward path - they're linked to production. So if polluters pollute more, they get more credits. Which is why the carbon budget shows them growing to eat our entire non-agricultural allocation by 2030 (see fig 2).

(Agriculture was of course off the table. It may be our biggest source of carbon pollution, as well as destroying our lakes and streams, but it is a literal sacred cow, and nothing can be allowed to interfere with National's farmer-cronies' "right" to profit by destroying the environment).

They're also looking at some sort of long-term budgeting mechanism, so they can align credit supply with targets (currently its not, with obvious results). This is good, but it should have been done years ago - and the current leisurely pace at sorting it out looks like fiddlign while the planet burns.

Oh, and they're also looking at restricting use of international credits to offset domestic emissions, assuming we're ever allowed to buy any. Looking at the Cabinet paper, regaining access to international carbon markets so polluters can cover their pollution with cheap fraudulent foreign credit is the key priority. Because otherwise, people might actually have to reduce emissions.

If this is sounding repetitive, you're right: it is. Because the government's response to an obviously broken ETS is not to fix it, but to look at fixing it, with a report-back date (sure to be delayed) of mid 2018. Meanwhile, while they crawl along at this glacial pace, polluters keep polluting, and the planet keeps getting warmer. And every day we delay is one day less we have to reduce emissions and makes the inevitable adjustments that much harder. We've already spent over twenty years on this policy - the ETS was first proposed in 1995, and its framework was agreed in 1999 - wasted literally decades waiting for the market to save us. But we're out of t...

11:34

Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, the UN and the US-Australia Deal The AIM Network

By Dr Binoy Kampmark Having poured scorn and not an indecent amount of bile upon the refugee deal between the Obama administration and Canberra last year, US President Donald Trump was never going to make things easy for the resettlement of various groups held on Nauru and Manus Island. Repeated emphasis has been made on

The post Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, the UN and the US-Australia Deal appeared first on The AIM Network.

11:21

Member's Day No Right Turn

Today is a Member's day, the second to last of the Parliamentary term. And now that we've finally had some interesting bills drawn - death with dignity and medicinal cannabis - the Order Paper is clogged with boring ones.

First up are the committee stages of Chris Bishop's Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Interim Restriction Order Classification) Amendment Bill and Sarah Dowie's Private International Law (Choice of Law in Tort) Bill, both of which are non-controversial. Then there's the second readings of Andrew Little's Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) and Ruth Dyson's Rates Rebate (Retirement Village Residents) Amendment Bill. In the unlikely event that those don't take up all of the House's time, then they may be able to make further progress on Parmjeet Parmar's Newborn Enrolment with General Practice Bill.

There won't be a ballot tomorrow, and the interesting stuff is still well down the Order Paper, and it is unlikely that either bill will get a first reading this term.

11:05

An honest endorsement No Right Turn

MMP requires coalitions. But because some high-profile political journalists hate that idea, they've traditionally been reluctant to endorse the parties they would like to work with, instead signalling via a "cup of tea" in a cafe or something. But not Bill English: he is for once being upfront about it:

Prime Minister Bill English has today confirmed National's intention to work with United Future and the Act Party in September's election - encouraging his party's supporters to vote for David Seymour and Peter Dunne.

"We are encouraging National supporters to give their electorate vote to Act candidate, David Seymour, in Epsom, and United Future candidate, Peter Dunne, in Ohariu - and their party vote to National.

"To be clear, we want to increase our party votes in those electorates and that's what our National Party candidates will be working hard to do."


Its a good, honest endorsement, and I applaud him for it. Parties should tell us who they want to work with, and there's nothing wrong with saying "a vote for them is a vote for us in government". And if people don't like that, they can always cast their vote accordingly.

11:03

Anonymous reports of non-payment of wages in the Print, Media and Telecommunications Industry Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Fair Work Ombudsman to Catherine Bouris on July 26, 2017.
Awaiting classification.
UNCLASSIFIED Dear Ms Bouris I refer to your Information Access request for 'The number of Requests for Assistance (complaints) received by the Fair Wo...

08:34

Liberal Senator Matt Canavan reveals he has dual citizenship but refuses to resign from the Australian Parliament North Coast Voices


COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - SECT 44, Disqualification, Any person who: (i) is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power; 

Liberal Senator for Queensland Matthew Matt Canavan has admitted to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that he held dual citizenship when he was nominated for the Australian Senate in 2013.

His mother Maria and he, along his brother and sister, were registered as Italian citizens in January 2007. He would have been 26 years of age at the time.

Mr. Canavan knew that his mother was an Italian citizen but would have the world believe that he was unaware that he was so registered until 18 July 2017.

This is the official spin the Turnbull Government is offering the national electorate:

SENATOR THE HON GEORGE BRANDIS QC
ATTORNEY-GENERAL
...

08:30

Shorten, Turnbull and four-year terms Independent Australia

Shorten, Turnbull and four-year termsFour-year terms don't ensure good government, they only create more self-serving opportunities for career politicians. read now...

08:17

In which the pond assesses the Wednesday form of the hot contenders, with the Devine essence of darkness leading the field ... loon pond

The pond was deeply indebted at reader VC bringing it up to speed on the Kenny contest being conducted by Mike Carlton via Twitter, here ...

That link led the pond to a few recent examples ...



Now the pond appreciates the measured, temperate way in which Carlton judges the Devine. Frankly, the pond finds it hard to be so restrained, but it was also delighted to see Carlton judge the latest Oreo as a steam of unreadable poo ...



Talk about an exciting weekly contest. No wonder devoted reptile followers want to splash a little loose cash on likely winners ...

Now the pond modestly suggests it has some form in terms of reptile observation, and for those anxious to have a flutter on who might win the weekly Kenny, here's a few tips.

The Oreo - always a sound investment. The odds will be short, but equally the chance of a win will be high. There are few reptiles who can regularly supply sheer lunacy at the level of an Oreo shout, as might be expected from one of the ten brightest minds in the known and unknown academic universe ...

Miranda the Devine - another good investment. But she does raise difficulties for the pond's pretensions about being a form guide, because the pond refused to run her last outing, so full of racist bile and bigotry was it. That assault on Black Lives Matter is best approached through Media Watch's Exploiting tragedy for column inches. Still, it explains why the Devine is a chance at winning every time she runs, though punters relying on her might well lose their soul, and certainly their sanity.

Dame Slap - up there with the two top female contenders, and a firm favourite, well worth the gamble. Anyone who can solemnly propose that the UN is using climate science to introduce world government must be considered a serious contender ...

Carolyn Marcus - a try-hard wannabe dropkick loser. She desperately wants to have the gravitas and form...

06:30

Day to Day Politics: Open or Closed Societies. The AIM Network

Wednesday 26 July 2017 Bill Shorten is due to make two important speeches next weekend. Firstly he will address the NSW State Labor Conference, and secondly the Australian Republican Movement. Both afford him the opportunity to expand of the theme of inequality. At this time last year I wrote about another speech. One given by

The post Day to Day Politics: Open or Closed Societies. appeared first on The AIM Network.

00:46

Greed, plain and simple, is killing off NSW koalas and the Berejiklian Coalition Government continues to ignore this vandalism of habit North Coast Voices


ABC News, 20 July 2017:

A koala habitat 50 per cent larger than the Royal National Park has been destroyed by logging, according to a new conservation report.

The report titled Clearing Koalas Away by conservationist Dailan Pugh, says more than 23,000 hectares of koala habitat near Coffs Harbour has been "virtually cleared".

"They're hitting them really hard. We're looking at about 40 per cent of koala habitat in state forests," he said.

Mr Pugh, an environmentalist for over 40 years, sourced the forestry data under freedom of information (FOI) legislation, in a bid to measure logging against known koala habitats.

Last year, then-environment minister Mark Speakman admitted "intensive harvesting" on the North Coast was "not consistent" with regulations, and said the Environment Protection Authority was investigating.

An EPA spokesperson declined to answer questions, but said "current rules are over 15 years old and lack clarity in important areas, including intensive harvesting".

...

00:45

Yindjibarndi People granted exclusive native title over their traditional lands North Coast Voices


A short entry by the Federal Court of Australia heralds exclusive native title for the Yindjibarndi People over their traditional lands in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

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22:46

The universal lesson of the courage of East Timor "IndyWatch Feed Politics.us"

On May 5, John Pilger was presented with the Order of Timor-Leste by East Timors Ambassador to Australia, Abel Gutteras, in recognition of his reporting on East Timor under Indonesias brutal occupation, especially his landmark documentary film, Death of a Nation: the Timor Conspiracy. The following was Pilgers response Filming undercover in East Timor in []

Tuesday, 27 June

10:24

Documents relating to the unapproved release of genetically modified petunias in Australia Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Gene Technology Regulator to Richard Smith on June 27, 2017.
Partially successful.
Dear Richard   I refer to your email of 13 Jun 2017 to the Gene Technology Regulator, regarding information about genetically modified (GM) petuni...

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