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Tuesday, 26 September

00:46

What exactly is the point of this Indue Limited cashless debit card, Prime Minster Turnbull? North Coast Voices


Dept. of Social Security and Dept. of Veteran's Affairs data reveals that by June 2017 there were est. 10.1 million Australians receiving some form of federal government assistance which involved regular or periodic cash transfers into their bank accounts.

The Turnbull Government intends to control how est. 7.5 million of these people spend these transfers by placing the money in cashless debit card accounts and restricting the availability of actual cash to 20 per cent of  the transfer amount.

This income management scheme is being rolled out nationally under the guise of an unrestricted 'trial'.

However the justification for this scheme is beginning to crumble under closer scrutiny.

News.com.au, 14 September 2017:

WELFARE recipients spend less on alcohol as a portion of their income than all other Australians, new figures show.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics this week released its household expenditure statistics report, breaking down how Australians spend their money.

And its managed to crush a few stereotypes with the data.

The report shows that Aussies overall spend more than half of their average weekly spend on goods and services on basics, coveri...

00:45

"Dear neighbours, Writing to you like this is taking me well out of my comfort zone but the government has made it necessary because of the postal survey. I am writing to seek your approval for my partner and I to marry." North Coast Voices


The Daily Examiner, Letter to the Editor, 15 September 2017:

Same-sex plea

Here is the text of a letter I will be sending to all my immediate neighbours: 

Dear neighbours, Writing to you like this is taking me well out of my comfort zone but the government has made it necessary because of the postal survey. I am writing to seek your approval for my partner and I to marry.

Some of you may know us or know of us. We have lived in Yamba for two years now and settled well into the community. You may know Dean from when he worked at the cafe in town, or at the bottle shop. You may have seen me working with Landcare or at the museum, and Ive been pretty active opposing the installation of traffic lights at Treelands Drive. Maybe youve seen us together doing the shopping at Coles, enjoying the beach or sharing a drink with friends at the Pacific of a Friday afternoon.

In ot...

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Monday, 25 September

21:13

A poll result I find hard to believe John Quiggin

Nearly a week ago, I argued, in relation to the equal marriage survey that most people will either respond straight away or not at all. That was supported by an Essential poll, taken from Wednesday to Friday of the first week in which 9 per cent of those polled said theyd already responded. Since the first surveys were mailed out to rural areas on Monday, that looked like a rapid response. But the most recent Newspoll, conducted from last Friday to Monday reported only a 15 per cent response rate, even though nearly all those polled would have received the ballot. This didnt reflect apathy or a boycott the vast majority said they would definitely respond.

I dont have any good reason to think Newspoll is drastically wrong on such a straightforward question, but I also cant understand the result. Perhaps this is another example of the (apparently spurious) Pauline Kael fallacy, but everyone I know has already voted (mostly, though not exclusively, Yes). Id appreciate any insights on this.

16:24

Is it an emergency or not? Catallaxy Files

Spartacus is old enough to remember that in 1996, the Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, then a humble back bencher:

introduced the Euthanasia Laws Bill to overrule the NTs legislation that legalised euthanasia The bill prevented the NT, ACT and Norfolk Island from passing certain laws permitting euthanasia.

How was this possible?  Because the NT, ACT and Norfolk Island are not sovereign.  Their laws and policies can be over-written by Canberra.

It was thus with great bemusement when Spartacus heard today that the Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP:

said he would write to state premiers and the Northern Territory chief minister, asking them to end moratoriums on gas exploration in their states.

Ok.  Its one thing to write to state premiers.  But if the gas crisis is three times bigger than thoughtwhy does the Prime Minister not just move legislation to over turn the Northern Territory moratorium?

It should also be remembered that the Northern Territory makes a comfortable living off  east coast citizens by receiving more than $5 for ever $1 of GST paid.  Nice gig if you can it.

When it comes to individuals on unemployment benefits, the Government likes promote mutual obligations.  Developing a job plan.  Undertaking training.  Drug testing now.  Why?  Because welfare is meant to be a safety net and not a hammock.

Why then does not the principle of mutual obligation apply to States and especially non sovereign territories.

Henry Kissinger once said about the spread of communism that the issues are too important to be left for the voters.  Well Prime Minister.  Should the virtue signalling of a small clique of green cocktail party attendees hold the rest of the east coast of Australia hostage?  Mutual obligations should apply to those getting Commonwealth Grants Commission welfare as well as to those who receive NewStart.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at...

14:31

The Price of Idiocy "IndyWatch Feed Politics.us"

When I was asked to name the contemporary writer whom I most admired, I used without hesitation to sayuntil he died in 2014Pierre Ryckmans, better known as Simon Leys.

Leys was a Belgian who lived more than half his life in Australia. He was a Sinologist, art historian, novelist, literary essayist, and translator: from Chinese into French and English, French into English, and English into French. He was a gifted artist (and his Chinese calligraphy was admired by Chinese connoisseurs of the art, which is high praise indeed); he was also an intrepid sailor and navigator.

He first came to fame (outside the restricted circles of Western Sinology) with a series of four books about the so-called Cultural Revolution in China and the dim-witted veneration in which Mao Tse-tung was held by a considerable proportion of the European and American intelligentsia, particularly the French. I remember reading these books when they first came out; their style was so brilliant, the authors wit so excoriating, and the subject so important that they are still in print today, more than forty years later, and are of such literary merit (unlike the vast majority of books about current affairs) that I think they will still be worth reading, and be read, a hundred years hence.

All his subsequent books were just as brilliant; if there was a finer literary essayist in the world than he, I did not know of him. Somehow he conveyed his absolute authorityboth moral and literaryfrom the very first sentence of anything that he wrote. He never descended into obscurity and could say the most serious things with a light touch and in the simplest language.

Buy Gold at Discounted Prices

He is now the subject of an excellent biography by a fellow Belgian Sinologist, Philippe Paquet, who admired him greatly; but only, I think, because he was in the highest degree admirable. Leys personal life was a very happy one, and there is no scandal to recount. The biography (which is long) is mainly, and rightly, an intellectual and spiritual one.

There is one episode in the book recounted in detail, of which I knew only the outline before, that struck me deeply. It does not reflect badly on Leys, far from that; but it left me with a feeling of deep melancholy.

Leys, who was a man as remote from self-advertisement or self-promotion as possible, was in 1983 invited onto a French television program about literature called Apostrophes. It had a very large audience for such a program, about 3,000,000 viewers. Also to appear on it was an Italian woman, Maria-Antonietta Macchiocchi, who had been an ardent Maoist and who, after a visit to China during the Cultural Revolution, had publish...

13:56

Rise of Chinas army of personal shoppers could triple in 2 years Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia

Sales by so-called daigous of Australian goods to Chinese consumers, such as baby formula and health products, could easily triple over the next two years, according to a key player involved co-ordinating the trade locally.

In an interview with The Australian, Sydney-based consultant Livia Wang welcomed last weeks announcement from Chinas State Council to extend the grace period for new rules for cross-border online trade by another year.

The managing director of consultancy Access CN, Ms Wang said the package of announcements from Beijing on the e-commerce market last week was good news, as it showed that Chinese authorities were determined to get the new rules around e-commerce sales of goods right.

E-commerce is an important channel for goods to be imported into China and the government wants to give people time to adjust and to make sure the implementation of the new rules goes smoothly, she said. It shows their commitment to encouraging the market.

The total global online sales market into China has grown by more than 28 per cent last year to about $US890 billion ($1.12 trillion), according to figures from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Sometimes called the grey market the daigou, or personal shopper, market is where Chinese people buy sought-after products off the shelves of Australian chemists and supermarkets and send them back to friends and family in China.

The more sophisticated daigous act as traders, buying goods wholesale, repacking them and sending them direct to homes in China. And while it is often individuals doing the buying and selling, their collective buying force they can literally make or break a business.

There is no estimate of the value of the grey market from Australia to China but the total online market of consumer goods including infant formula, beauty products, supplements, wine and beef from Australia into China is estimated to be worth more than $800 million.

Ms Wang said there were now as many as 80,000 daigous, or personal shoppers, in Australia selling Australian goods into China but their business model was becoming more sophisticated. They were now buying their goods through a network of more than 1000 gift stores, which were able to buy the goods on a more wholesale basis.

The shops also handled the packing and labelling of the goods for shipment to China, also making sure they complied with Chinese import taxes.

Given feedback from logistics companies, Ms Wang estimates there are now more than 40,000 parcels a day being sent from Australia to China with the bulk of consumer goods being sent by daigous.

But she warned that the increasingly commercially savvy Australian-based Chinese daigous were now quick to drop a hero brand if they see their potential margins from a particular product being squeezed. They will quickly turn to new products and brands where they can make more money. Australian...

13:30

In which Major Mitchell and the bouffant one push hard for the 'no' vote ... loon pond


Listen up GenYs and millennials ... heed the words of the man who gave genuine meaning to this meme ...



Yes, it's Major Mitchell day at the pond and the pond is awesomely excited to be in the company of this tremendously wise moraliser, yet again moaning and wringing his hands at Fairfax and the ABC ...


Ah Queensland in the good old days. 

Should by any chance a stray millennial pass by the pond - they really should be off watching the fourth season of BoJack Horseman to get a better understanding of dotards in their coulda, woulda shoulda phase of shouting at clouds and past careers - this might be a good time to remind such a one of the Major Mitchell's major journalistic accomplishment.

The sadly missed Deltoid under Chris Mitche...

12:40

Barbarians to Baronets? The Global Revolution

Barbarians to Baronets; Conservative aspirations in Australia.

In several articles of late, and even on one blog-site to which I was once, regretfully, a regular contributor, I have been corrected in my terminology of naming many of the LNP and their hangers-on as middle-class..when, if one can believe ones detractors..I should have used the term; Upper middle-class, because, you seemany tradies now consider themselves of the middle classesand one just COULDNT imagine oneself mixing with such common folk..mhay Lord!.

Well..suck my wellies and call me Barnaby!a tradie ..; middle-class now do you mind?in your bleedin dreams Brenton..or whatever your name is!..All this shit about status and class..AND HERE in Ozffs!..dont try to bung on side with this old carpenter..you get your hands dirty with labour, be it hard or soft..youre on wages, youre on piece-work..: youre working class..Youre a Professional..as in consultative or managerial or ownership / employer..youre middle-classand thats ALL you are..be you the local hardware on the corner, or Gina The Hutt..youre middle-class..even that dozy dreamer from Point Piper with all the shrewd judgement of a seasoned meth addict is just a middle-class schmuck.

All this bullshit of dividing the classes into sub-groups is just some pitiful attempt by some who want to elevate their status from little snob to pompous arsehole!..theres a lot of them..usually from some Latin-logod private school that was more interested in screwing up the minds and bodies of their charges than delivering a decent education..But THATs another subjectWhat we are concentrating on here is the exposure of a sinister and foolish direction by the conservative movement in Australia , NOT necessarily to destroy the unions and suppress the working classes, but rather, it would seem, a convoluted and deluded ambitious path to CREATE a new aristocratic order in Australia..and that, by necessity demands the restructuring of the classes in the nation to the three levels of social order required of the class system.

!) Aristocratic class.

2) Middle class.

3) Working class.

If you are of the working class reading this, you are probably thinking ;That is absurd! and of course it is..of course it is..to you and me it is just crazy!..But you think back over the behaviour of those LNP ministers and their behaviour..remember Speaker Slipper and his donning of the old trappings of the position, including the dress-code?..and then theres The Bishops and the Turnbulls and the Prof Flints and that gross specimen ; A Jones!..all the bastards in the front bench (except Barnabyyou cant pin this on Barnaby..except perhaps ; The Idiot Son!)..and you remember Murdoch..the dirty Digger?..when he WAS a digger, hed of sold his arse for just a dab of the Royal Parkinson Sword on each shoulder..as it is , all he could get was some second rate chit from the Pop...

11:30

Barbarians to Baronets? The AIM Network

Barbarians to Baronets; Conservative aspirations in Australia. In several articles of late, and even on one blog-site to which I was once, regretfully, a regular contributor, I have been corrected in my terminology of naming many of the LNP and their hangers-on as middle-class when, if one can believe ones detractors, I should have used

The post Barbarians to Baronets? appeared first on The AIM Network.

11:11

A step forward in Germany Oz Conservative

The German election results have just come through. In an ideal world, Germans would have voted Angela Merkel out of office, given her commitment to open borders. That didn't happen, but her position has considerably weakened and the nationalist AfD has entered the German parliament and has become the third largest party. Here is a comparison of the results of this election with the last one:



As you can see, Merkel's share of the vote has dropped to below one third and the AfD broke through to win 95 seats in the Bundestag. Merkel will now be forced to govern via an unstable coalition.

The hope is that the AfD continues to build its influence over the next few years. Even if it does not get enough seats to form a government of its own, the more political ground it wins, the more pressure there is on the other parties to adapt their policies to try to appeal to AfD voters.

11:04

Programming languages and publicly available source code at BOM Requests or responses matching your saved search

Response by Bureau of Meteorology to Fraser Tweedale on September 25, 2017.
Awaiting classification.
Thanks for confirming, Fraser. Kind regards, Erin FOI & Privacy Officer

11:01

The nirvana fallacy and ATM fees Catallaxy Files

Australians have woken to the news that the hated ATM withdrawal fees have been scrapped.

Here is our political class claiming credit:

Mr Morrison said the initiative  led by the Commonwealth Bank as it attempts to recover from a series of scandals followed on from the government outlawing businesses profiteering from credit and debit card transaction fees.

Theres a whole range of costs that are thankfully and usefully coming out of the system now and this is another one, but were taking action now and were glad to see the banks have too, Mr Morrison said.

Labor MP Peter Khalil said the ATM decision had come after calls from Labor for a banking royal commission, while Liberal senator James Paterson said it was good to see the banks acting of their own initiative without government intervention.

Not quite. The real villain of this story is the Reserve Bank of Australia and their ill-considered 2009 reforms.

The nature of ATM fees changed in 2009 when a set of reforms was introduced by the Australian payments industry, with support from the Reserve Bank. Prior to the reforms, when a consumer made a transaction at an ATM that was not owned by their own financial institution (a foreign transaction), their financial institution paid an interchange fee of around $1.00 to the ATM owner. The financial institution then passed that fee (and often more) on to their customer as a foreign fee that was visible to the cardholder only on their subsequent monthly statement. By 2009, a foreign fee of $2.00 was common, double the typical interchange fee. The Reserve Bank was concerned about the inflexibility and lack of transparency of these fee arrangements and in 2009 interchange fees and foreign fees were removed. Instead, ATM owners were allowed to charge cardholders directly for making an ATM withdrawal, provided that the direct charge was disclosed clearly to the cardholder and the cardholder was given an opportunity to cancel the transaction (at no charge). 

As my RMIT colleague Jason Potts and I have argued the RBA didnt understand the underlying economic rationale for interchange fees and got the policy horribly wrong. I...

10:37

Iain Murray: Londons Uber Ban Sends it Back to the Dark Ages Catallaxy Files

When I lived in London in the 1990s, I had to use pricey Black Cabs to get around the city at night. However, heaven help you if you wanted to go South of the Thames (as I did when I lived there) after midnight Black Cabs would just refuse to take you. On one occasion I watched in horror as the cab driver got out and literally started a fight with a driver who had cut him off and he kept the meter running throughout the fracas.

Londons days of high prices, uncertainty, and danger ended when Uber started operating there in 2012. It went on to dominate the London private hire car market. Today, that was all thrown out as Transport for London (TfL), an Uber competitor in that it runs the Tube and franchises bus services, revoked Ubers license to operate.

Safety First?

The decision was ostensibly based on health and safety grounds. TfL said:

TfL considers that Ubers approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications. These include:

  • Its approach to reporting serious criminal offences.
  • Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained.
  • Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained.
  • Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.

These grounds are puzzling. Uber has a dedicated team responsible for working with the police regarding incidents with cars that use the Uber app something Londons Black Cabs lack. Ubers drivers go through exactly the same background checks and approval processes that Black Cab drivers do. And Uber denies that the Greyball feature has ever been used in London.

Moreover, accusations of violence, especially sexual violence, by Uber app drivers are overblown. As Reuters reports, Of the 154 allegations of rape or sexual assault made to police in London between February 2015 and February 2016 in which the suspect was a taxi driver, 32 concerned Uber, according to the capitals police force. If Uber was uniquely bad in having drivers who attempted sexual assaults, that share should be much higher.

Women, in particular, have started to object to the decision.

TfL should remember that the unli...

10:31

It could be worse No Right Turn

While New Zealand's post-election negotiations look unpleasant, they could be worse. Germans voted today in federal elections, and dealt their parties a really shit hand:

Germany is braced for a period of fraught and protracted coalition talks after Sundays elections left an unprecedented number of parties jostling for influence in the next parliament.

With Angela Merkels Christian Democratic Union, the centre-left Social Democratic party (SPD), rightwing populist Alternative fr Deutschland, pro-business FDP, leftwing Die Linke and the Green party, six parties will crowd into the Bundestags plenary chamber, a first since the introduction of a 5% hurdle for parliamentary seats in 1953.

Having gained the largest percentage of the vote despite her party suffering its worst result since 1949, Merkels CDU will still need to find one or more coalition partners in order to find a governing majority, or pursue a minority government.


AfD are Nazis, and everyone has ruled out working with them. The CDU won't work with the Left, and vice-versa. The SDP has already refused to sign up for another suicidal grand coalition. So the only viable government seems to be the Christian Democrat / Free Democrat / Green "Jamaica" coalition. In NZ terms, that's National-ACT-Green, which gives you an idea of how likely it is. And yet, this is the hand the politicians have been dealt, and they need to find some way of making it work. And in Germany they can't just call another election in the hope of getting a better deal...

10:30

American CIA Hegemony The AIM Network

By Christian Marx The Central Intelligence Agency was formed in 1947. It was ostensibly designed to gather intelligence on foreign countries during the cold war. However, within months of its formation it was drastically altered to become an agent for regime change and to enhance geopolitical U.S. hegemony around the world. Since 1950 the CIA

The post American CIA Hegemony appeared first on The AIM Network.

09:53

Now there's a surprise No Right Turn

ECan is saying that it is failing to meet its water-quality targets, while meeting its irrigation ones:

Canterbury is behind on its regional water quality targets, but is making strong progress on irrigation goals.

[...]

The report showed nitrate levels were increasing in about 25 per cent of monitored wells, and decreasing in about 4 per cent.

The target is to show "a demonstrable decrease in nitrate concentrations in shallow groundwater in priority areas" by 2020.

It was a poor result, said Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey.


This isn't that surprising, because irrigation means more cows, which in turn means more nitrates. So the targets are in direct opposition to each other. Canterbury has to choose between more irrigation, or safe water. And the only reason they haven't been able to choose the latter is because National has suspended their local democracy.

09:20

The only way is Winston No Right Turn

So, the election happened. And rather than seeing the stunning Jacindamania victory we were hoping for, instead we're left with an uncomfortable situation for everyone. National has clearly lost its mandate: their vote dropped, despite sucking up the 4% bigot vote from the Conservatives, and their coalition partners were eliminated. But Labour hasn't won one either, even in combination with the Greens. While the special votes will probably shift a few seats around, that overall outcome won't change. The Greens have already said that they won't support National, and despite the verbage from pundits desperate to make word-count, they're not going to change their mind (hint: its in the name. They're Greens, so supporting dolphin-murdering, river-poisoning, National-Park-mining environmental vandals is off the table, even if you ignore the commitment to social justice). So its basicly a question of who Winston decides to support.

If he supports National in a Black-Blue government, its pretty much a re-run of 1996: tough on crime, shitting on immigrants and beneficiaries. No more privatisation, and no increase in the pension age, but it will also mean broadly the status quo with added nastiness. Especially to Maori. Winston wants to eliminate the Maori seats, and English has refused to rule it out. Which tells us that the big difference between English and John Key is that English is a racist, just like Don Brash.

If he supports Labour, then things get messier, because it will also need to involve the Greens. There's significant common ground there over housing, worker's rights and economic justice, but also significant differences around climate change and fresh water. While a Red-Black-Green "Kenya" or "Afghan" coalition with all three parties in Cabinet is possible, the differences (and Winston's hostility to the Greens) may mean that one party sits out and simply provides confidence and supply. And TBH, given how government with Winston usually goes, I think the Greens should take that option: demand one big concession for confidence and supply, but promise nothing else, and effectively sit on the cross-benches to keep Winston honest. They'd lose the ability to push the government in a greener direction, but TBH I think the extra power to veto stuff is more important - and more likely to appeal to their supporters. Being in Cabinet with Winston when he shits on immigrants and refugees is probably not a place the Greens want to be.

Regardless, I expect whatever government which emerges to be unstable. Winston will throw a tantrum and walk out, or he'll want to retire to a corrupt sinecure appointment in London or Washington. And if he goes left, there's the added danger of National encouraging waka-jumpers. On current numbers, they only need to bribe two junior N...

08:30

Power to the people The AIM Network

Technically it would be harder to have a hot potato issue without electricity. Amongst other things, electricity makes it far easier to create the hot potato in the first place, as well as light, heating and cooling, traffic control, transport and giving you the ability to read this article. However, if you listen to the

The post Power to the people appeared first on The AIM Network.

08:30

In which the pond relishes a post-ironic Oreo ... loon pond


There's nothing like a post-ironic, post-modernist dose of surrealist absurdity to get a Monday off to a most excellent start, and this day the reptiles deliver in spades, with a survey of a survey ...

Of course it might have been simpler just to have voted in a News Poll survey, or offered an opinion, in which case, despite the reptiles' FUD headline, the result would have been done and dusted ...

It takes singular skill to lift 57/34 into an hysterical FUD headline, but that's what a survey of a survey can do for you ... and naturally the drones at their ABC endlessly repeat the angle because that's what robots do ... even if that survey of the survey has not the foggiest clue what might actually be happening with the real survey, because that happens to be voluntary and perhaps only the most passionate of bigots will turn out ...

Certainly the pond won't be trusting young people who wouldn't know what to do with an envelope if it bit them on the bum ...


More Pat on a Monday here, but we must move along, because the pond has already marvelled at the way a wired Malware has managed to throw the country back to the speedy days of the one penny black. But then he loves Queen Victoria's copper, so why is the pond surprised?

In the same post-ironic spirit, the pond decided to do a survey of the reptiles as they surveyed the results of the survey surveying the survey ...

Over at the Terror, the usual homophobic bigotry was on parade, with the Bolter doing his thing, and little Timmie Bleagh celebrating the onion muncher ...

...

02:28

The Oz has become the local propaganda arm of the North Koreans Catallaxy Files

The central point is that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and a delivery system that can land them in the United States. Other than let them go on forever developing these armaments and the ICBMs to go with them, what should be done? No one really knows, but the primary response has to be to take this threat seriously, as something really dangerous that has to be dealt with. So what do we find at The Australian today. First this: Inside nuclear North Korea. Never mind the vacuous text, heres the photo that comes with the story:

Very sweet. Then there is the foreign policy sage, Greg Sheridan: Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump enter sick dynamic. So this is what Greg finally says which is about as fatuous and inane as possible.

Any way you slice it, when nuclear-armed states are making bellicose threats against each other, the world is confronting an extremely dangerous moment.

You dont say? Look, Greg, who is making the threats and who is trying to work out what to do on our behalf? If you have a suggestion on what to do, put it on the table. Otherwise, why dont you start by pointing out that if nuclear weapons begin to fly we will be at the other end, and in the meantime just shut up.

00:46

World's most successful environmental agreement has been in place for thirty years this month North Coast Voices


CSIROscope, 15 September 2017:  

This weekend marks the 30th birthday of the Montreal Protocol, often dubbed the worlds most successful environmental agreement. The treaty, signed on September 16, 1987, is slowly but surely reversing the damage caused to the ozone layer by industrial gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Each year, during the southern spring, a hole appears in the ozone layer above Antarctica. This is due to the extremely cold temperatures in the winter stratosphere (above 10km altitude) that allow byproducts of CFCs and related gases to be converted into forms that destroy ozone when the sunlight returns in spring.

As ozone-destroying gases are phased out, the annual ozone hole is generally getting smaller a rare success story for international environmentalism.

Back in 2012, our Saving the Ozone series marked the Montreal Protocols silver jubilee and reflected on its success. But how has the ozone hole fared in the five years since?

The Antarctic ozone hole has continued to appear each spring, as it has since the late 1970s. This is expected, as levels of the ozone-destroying halocarbon gases controlled by the Montreal Protocol are still relatively high. The figure below shows that concentrations of these human-made substances over Ant...

00:45

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! cries Michaelia North Coast Voices


This was Australian Minister for Employment and Senator for Western Australia, Michaelia Cash in September 2017:


Sounds great, doesnt it? However, what Ms. Cash is confirming here is that 74,400 of the jobs she is claiming are in fact only part-time jobs and some would be for as little as half a day per week.


July 2016 11.963 million
August 2016 11.870 million
Sep...

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Sunday, 24 September

21:50

More evidence of plain packaging failure Catallaxy Files

From The Saturday Paper:

According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics national health survey, adult smoking rates fell from 16.1 per cent in 2011-12 to 14.5 per cent in 2014-15. The National Drug Strategy household survey shows a similar decline.

But the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commissions annual national wastewater survey, in which household waste is tested for the presence of various drugs, tells a different story. Law-enforcement agencies consider it more reliable because its hard to hide whats in your urine. The commissions 2017 report issued in July, from testing conducted between October and December last year and February this year, shows tobacco use nationally going up, not down.

At an August senate estimates hearing, acting chief executive of the ACIC, Nicole Rose, said reports based solely on official tobacco sales or answering survey questions were not always accurate.

Youre talking about the difference between licit and illicit tobacco, Rose told the committee. I suspect that is what the difference would be.

At some point the Australian federal government should concede that the tobacco control policies of the last decade have failed.  Failed, of course, if the objective is to reduce the incidence of smoking. If the objective of tobacco control is to enrich criminals, finance international terrorism, and North Koreas nuclear program then the policy has been a glorious success.

The former head of the governments illicit tobacco taskforce and a now-retired former Australian Federal Police officer, Rohan Pike, puts the lost tax revenue figure at more like $4 billion.

Pike who consults to the Australian Retailers Association, which has tobacco companies as clients made a submission to the tobacco inquiry, some of which was redacted before publication because of fears it could jeopardise operations. Pike says all government agencies must take the issue more seriously, but that it isnt only about lost revenue.

The second issue is to differentiate tobacco control from tobacco crime, he says.

Craig Kelly agrees: Although the Health Department might cheer about this [higher prices], all the other people who are cheering are the bikie gangs and other groups involved in the illicit trade.

Actually no. Lets not differentiate tobacco control from tobacco crime. In the bootleggers and baptists model everyone has clear objectives and incentives and acts accordingly, but in reality we well know that control and prohibition efforts lead to criminality. As such tobacco control and tobacco crime have com...

20:18

Abbott headbutt stops nation. The AIM Network

Its the head-butt that stops the nation. Tony Abbott is nutted by Astro Funknukl Labe, a 38 year-old North Hobart DJ. Labe, a barista, bartender and post-punk anarchist who bears more than a passing resemblance to The Young Ones Vyvyan Basterd, pretends to shake the former PMs hand Thursday afternoon. Then he head-butts him. All

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20:08

The Intolerance of Tolerance: Tony Abbotts Head Butt Episode The AIM Network

This was a violent and criminal act, nothing whatsoever to do with the point of view of those of us who favour a yes vote. (Senator George Brandis, Australian Attorney-General, Sep 22, 2017). It came, less out of the blue than out of the ether of the expected. A 38 year old North Hobart man

The post The Intolerance of Tolerance: Tony Abbotts Head Butt Episode appeared first on The AIM Network.

16:08

Maintaining privilege and hierarchy doesnt allow for truth and empathy The AIM Network

In an article titled Inside the terrifying mind of Tony Abbott, Bernard Keane quotes a study from 2015 which looks into the psychological basis for climate change denial and why one particular demographic older white males tends to dominate the ranks of climate denialists. The study identified that denial is driven partly by

The post Maintaining privilege and hierarchy doesnt allow for truth and empathy appeared first on The AIM Network.

15:06

Power to the people? Perhaps not. The AIM Network

By Terence Mills There is something very strange going on with power pricing in Australia, particularly so in the states where privatisation of distribution and generation has occurred. Whilst the federal government have no ongoing energy policy for Australia you have probably noticed Turnbull laying in to the power chiefs, demanding that they turn up

The post Power to the people? Perhaps not. appeared first on The AIM Network.

13:30

In which the pond reverts to Akker Dakker's reliable capacity for abuse ... loon pond



The pond is full of remorse and deep regret ...

By wasting time with the fickle bromancer, the pond has left insufficient room for quality time on a meditative Sunday for its one true love, the reptiles of the Terror ...

Now it's true that this day there's a blow-in from the south, and Penbo doesn't sound like a genuine Sydney Terrorist, and he seems to be saying something like this ...



Well that's not a fit subject for a Sunday meditation. How the pond misses the good old days when the Pellists infested the Terror ...

Even more bizarre was the sight of Miranda the Devine channeling Carlotta ...

Now the pond doesn't mean to get into an originalist argument about whether Carlotta is "Australia's original transgender woman" - better to leave that to Estelle Asmodelle making her claim in her self-serving wiki here

Sadly Carlotta's wiki here tells Greg Hunters ...

Carlotta, who was born in Balmain, New South Wales, as Richard Byron, had a sex change operation in the early 1970s. It was not the first such procedure in Australia, but due to her celebrity status it became the first to receive publicity in the country.

Well no, it wasn't the first such procedure, and in reality, despite the howls of the Devine and others in the Terror stable,  gender fluidity and flexibility has been around for a long time, as recorded by the HUN in a partially paywall protected story, which can be found by googling these words:

De Lacy E...

Why climate 'alarmists' should not be ignored Independent Australia

Why climate 'alarmists' should not be ignoredA recent study estimate there's only a five per cent chance the planet will only warm by two degrees. read now...

13:14

INAUGURAL RAY EVANS MEMORIAL ORATION Catallaxy Files

It is with great pleasure that we would like to invite members and supporters of the Australian Taxpayers Alliance as well as the many many friends of the late and dearly beloved Ray Evans, to the Inaugural Ray Evans Memorial Oration.

A giant of Australian politics whose passionate zeal transformed centre-right politics, Ray was an inspiration and a mentor to countless individuals. A founding member of the HR Nicholls Society, the Bennalong Society, The Samuel Griffiths Society, the Galatians Group, and the Lavoisier Group,  all of which he was either President or Treasurer of, his contribution to Australian politics can not be Overstate.

As John Roskam wrote in the Australian Financial Review

Ray Evans had more influence on politics and policy in Australia than 95 per cent of MPs who have been in the federal Parliament, and 99 per cent of MPs who have ever been in a state Parliament. In some way or another, Evans was involved in, and helped shape, the course of every major policy debate in Australia of the last 30 years. And he did it all as a private citizen who volunteered his own time for the public good. He was the epitome of a concerned and engaged member of the community.

Through the establishment of this annual oration, Rays vision for a more free and prosperous Australia will be able to live on.

There can be no-one more appropriate to deliver the Inaugural Oration than Rays old boss and dear friend, Hugh Morgan AC. Ray wrote over 200 speeches during his time at Western Mining, orchestrating the companys media and public relations strategy,  and together they changed the direction of political debate in Australia.

A former President of the Business Council of Australia, a Board Member of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Founding Chairman of Asia Society Australia, and a former president of the Lavosier Group we are very grateful to Mr Morgan for delivering the inaugural oration.

The venue shall be one of Rays favourite Restaurants and regular haunts the Red Emperor in Southbank, and includes a banquet meal and 3 hour drinks package.

WHEN : December 01, 2017 at 6pm 9pm

WHERE : Red Emperor Southbank
3 Southgate Ave
Level 2
Melbourne, Victoria 3006
Australia
Google map and directions

CONTACT : Tim Andrews  events@taxpayers.org.au

12:55

Mr Shorten Goes to Korea to Achieve World Peace. Catallaxy Files

Is it just me or does the idea of the leader of the opposition, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, visiting:

South Korea to address nuclear tensions

send a chill down the spine of others?  And taking the Shadow Foreign Affairs spokesperson, the Hon. Penny Wong also?

If this was the United States, there would be cries of breaches of the Logan Act.  But irrespective, fair dinkum!  What is Mr Shorten going to offer here?  A tax plan?  A spend plan?  A tax and spend plan?   I dont think the scope of the North Korean government can expand any further?

Perhaps Mr Shorten can offer South Korea a renewable energy target or an NBN.  That way the economy of South Korea can shrink to close the gap with the North; lowest common denominator style.

As reported in the Guardian:

Australias opposition leader, Bill Shorten, will meet with South Koreas prime minister as part of a bid to reassure the region that Australias position on North Korea will not change, even if there is a change in government.

The presumption of the man.  The hubris of the man.  Wow!

Breathtaking.  Youd think his name was Rudd.

Dont fret Australia.  Your taxes are paying for this.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

11:30

Hritier Lumumba and the AFLs problem with race Independent Australia

Hritier Lumumba and the AFLs problem with raceAfter the resignation of two prominent footballers, it seems the AFL has learnt little about its relationship to players and fans of colour, writes Siobhan Simper. read now...

08:30

In which a mortified, chastened pond turns to the bromancer for well bodings this meditative Sunday ... loon pond


Sometimes the pond wakes with a fright, deeply mortified, as if caught standing naked in church like Tara Fitzgerald in Sirens (these days should the real fear arise from standing next to Hugh Grant?), or even worse, having overlooked the bromancer scribbling about the Donald ...

The pond in part blames the reptiles, who, in their usual way, kept putting the onion muncher at the top of the page ...


Sure, that warm lettuce leaf spanking is tempting, but it's no excuse really ... how could the pond have missed "Fighting words bode well", or put it a google way, "Fighting words maybe, but Donald Trump's meaning sound"?


Let's face it, the bromancer is one of the pond's favourite reptiles, and now it's a tad tricky writing about his great domestic love, he's transferred his affection to the Donald, and how compelling and fascinating and tortured and ambivalent are his new love letters.

It might be an unusual way to spend a meditative Sunday, but dammit, attention must be paid ...


08:29

Thats the story of, thats the glory of love The AIM Network

Fifty years ago, the film Guess Whos Coming to Dinner challenged social norms by exposing the discrimination faced by inter-racial couples. In those days, it was considered unnatural for whites to marry blacks.  Some people may still feel this way but the wider community has thankfully and rightly moved on from such ignorant prejudice. It

The post Thats the story of, thats the glory of love appeared first on The AIM Network.

06:37

Day to Day Politics: ITS TIME Marriage Equality my final contribution. The AIM Network

Sunday 24 September 2017 At the time of writing the following countries supported marriage equality. This is my final lengthy contribution on the subject. Argentina (2010) Denmark (2012) Greenland (2015) The Netherlands (2000) South Africa (2006) Belgium (2003) England / Wales (2013) Iceland (2010) New Zealand (2013) Spain (2005) Brazil (2013) Finland (2015) Ireland (2015)

The post Day to Day Politics: ITS TIME Marriage Equality my final contribution. appeared first on The AIM Network.

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Friday, 22 September

12:47

Tony Abbott helped to create the social climate that led to his alleged assault Drag0nista's Blog

Weekly column for The New Daily.  Filed under: Politicians, Politics Tagged: aggression, Alan Jones, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott

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Tuesday, 09 August

21:58

PART 3: WHO IS THE MYSTERY FEMALE COMPANION IN THE SO-CALLED PETER WAIENG MURDER MYSTERY? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

Peter Waieng was elected to the Sixth Parliament in 1997 and took office on 16 July 1997 at the age of 31, and not 28 as also recently misreported by PNG Blogs. Radio Australia reported in an article which appears to have been originally published on the 10th of March 2001 [Updated 23 March 2012, 17:15 AEDT]:

Another member of the Papua New Guinea Parliament has been referred for possible prosecution for alleged breaches of the countrys Leadership Code.

The member for Kundiawa, Peter Waieng, is the latest to be referred to the Public Prosecutor, following an investigation by the Papua New Guinea Ombudsman Commission. Its alleged Mr Waieng received and used almost 100-thousand dollars of public money from the controversial National Gaming Board between 1998 and 2000. There have been persistent allegations that Gaming Board funds have been misappropriated, and several MPs have already been referred for prosecution.

Several months later, on Wednesday the 3rd of October 2001, The National newspaper reported: Waieng referred to Public Prosecutor.

Quite likely, it seemed, Peter Waieng resigned as the Kundiawa Gembolg Open Member of Parliament after the Public Prosecutor recommended to the Chief Justice that a Leadership Tribunal be convened to prosecute him under the Leadership Code. It also seemed as per the The National newspaper headline that Peter Waieng had been referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission possibly at the beginning of October 2001, after being notified by the Ombudsman Commission possibly just prior to the 10th of March 2001, and then apparently he resigned the next year from Parliament on the 10th of May 2002 (as per Speaker Hon. Theo Zurenuocs speech recorded in the Draft Hansard see Part 1).

In fact, according to information sourced from Ombudsman Commission records, following an investigation by the Ombudsman Commission acting on information initially received in January 2000, a right to be heard notice was served by the Ombudsman Commission on Peter Waieng on the 9th of March 2001. The date of request for appointment of a Leadership Tribunal was 29 January 2002. The date of appointment of the Leadership Tribunal was 19 April 2002, and the date of his referral to a Leadership Tribunal was 8 May 2002 the date when the Leadership Tribunal convened.

The date of Peter Waiengs referral to the Public Prosecutor Chronox Manek, according to a report (see page 50) by the Ombudsman Commission, was 19 April 2001. However, the same Ombudsman Commission report (see page 51) also contains a contradictory date which clashes with the date of 19 April 2001. The Ombudsman Commission report also states: On 1 October 2001 the matter was referred to the Public Prosecutor.

The dates Peter Waieng was referred can be found in publication Chapter...

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Thursday, 30 June

20:39

PART 5 OF 6: A SERIES OF ARTICLES CONTAINING IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ON PNGSDP "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

On the 24th of October 2013 more than a month after the 122.2 million cancelled shares in Ok Tedi Mining Limited were transferred, allegedly unlawfully, on the 19th of September 2013 without the knowledge and approval of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea from Insinger Trust (Singapore) Limited to TMF Trustees Singapore Limited Papua New Guineas Prime Minister Peter ONeill wrote to PNGSDP Chairman & former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta regarding the termination of all Board Members of PNGSDP.

Prime Minister Peter ONeill formally advised Sir Mekere Morauta that on 23 of October 2013, the National Executive Council approved the removal of all the Directors of PNGSDP and has now appointed the following Transitional team:

Chief Secretary (Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc Kt OBE);
Secretary for Treasury (Dairi Vele); and
Provincial Administrator for Western Province (Dr Modowa Gumoi).

At the time, Dr Modowa Gumoi with impressive educational credentials & past advisory experience to the National Government having obtained his Doctorate from Lincoln University in New Zealand, a Diploma from Harvard University in America, a Masters Degree from the University of New England in Australia, and an Honours Degree from UPNG in PNG was already a Director (Ex-Officio) of OTML, having been appointed to the position on the 23rd of September 2013 less than a week after the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013 was passed by parliament.

Current Treasury Secretary, Dairi Vele, who graduated from Australian National University (ANU) with a degree in Economics, was appointed a Director (Ex-Officio) of OTML the following year on the 29th of October 2014.

On the 24th of October 2013, Prime Minister Peter ONeill also wrote to the Managing Director of PNGSDP, David Sode, formally advising him that in accordance with Section 6 of the Act (of the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013) the National Executive Council, on 23 October 2013, terminated his appointment as Managing Director of the PNGSDP.

Section 6. OPERATION OF PNGSDP under the MINING (OK TEDI TENTH SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT) ACT 2013 stipulates:

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any Act, the State has all necessary powers to restructure PNGSDP and its operations to ensure that PNGSDP applies its funds for the exclusive benefit of the people of Western Province.

The then Chief Secretary to Government Sir Manasupe Zurenuouc wrote two letters to David Sode also dated 24th October 2013. In the first letter Sir Manasupe advised David Sode:

It has come to the knowledge of Government that PNGSDP has given notice to and is retrenching up to 54 staff. The Government is strongly of the view that this is unnecessary. PNGSDP must...

20:30

PART 4 OF 6: A SERIES OF ARTICLES CONTAINING IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ON PNGSDP "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

So who are all the players or key people behind the formation and operation of PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), and were they all made aware of what transpired in Singapore on the 19th of September 2013 when the massive share transfer of 122.2 million cancelled shares took place?? How many of them approved of the massive share transfer?

In Singapore, Stacy Choong described in PNGSDPs Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) as Advocate & Solicitor Singapore witnessed the signatures of LOO LIAN EE (Advocate & solicitor) and JOHN KARL MOLINE (Senior International Lawyer) in PNGSDPs MoA. Both Loo Lian Lee and John Karl Moline provided Singaporean addresses and signed the MoA on the 19th day of October 2001 as being desirous of being formed into a Company In pursuance of this Memorandum of Association.

In Papua New Guinea, the registration of the first PNGSDP entity PNG SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM LIMITED (3-44724) [Overseas] with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) on the 21st of December 2001 shows nine current Directors of PNGDSP who were Directors of PNGSDP at the time the massive share transfer of 122.2 million shares took place on the 19th of September 2013.

They are listed as follows:

Six Papua New Guineans: Modowa Trevor Gumoi, Leonad Wilson Fufus Kamit, Donald Wabirao Manoa, Mekere Morauta, Rex Lam Paki & David Sode. Two Australians: Philip James Bainbridge & Patricia Joy Caswell, and one Singaporean: Lim How Teck.

Eight Former Directors of PNGSDP are listed as follows:

Two Papua New Guineans: Lawrence Acanufa & Sir Ebia Olewale. Four Australians: James Joseph Carlton, David Crichton (alternate For William Broughton Smith) Frecker, Ross Gregory Garnaut & William Broughton Smith. One American: John Karl Moline & one Israeli: Jacob Weiss.

All eight former Directors of the PNGSDP were replaced long before the massive share transfer of 122.2 million shares took place on the 19th of September 2013.

The second entity PNG SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM LIMITED (90965), which was registered with the Investment Promotion Authority in PNG as a Foreign Enterprise on the 2nd of April 2003, was allocated the first registered entities company number (3-44724) as the company name registered with IPA, and shows shareholding comprised of two Bundles. These bundles are listed as follows:

Bundle 1 Number of shares 50 Percentage 50.00 Shareholder 1 Name Donald Wabirao (for The Indep.state Of Papua New Guinea) MANOA.

Bundle 2 Number of shares 50 Percentage 50.00 Shareholder 1 Name James Joseph (for Trust For Bhp-billiton) CARLTON.

According to Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) records:

Donald Manoa (Nationality Papua New Guinea) and James Joseph C...

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Monday, 20 June

23:51

Reform is Required "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

The changes recommended by the Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Services Reform to the Government in order to modernize the public service machinery and make it a more accountable effective system promoting good governance and transparency stagnate and collect dust in Cabinetmeanwhile..Members have two choices..try to do things the right way and be delayed at nearly every process needing public service effort or break the law and be forced to circumvent most of the procurement laws simply to get anything done and thus be often seen running around like project managers delivering projects and diverted from their true functions as legislators.

The outdated and defunct public service system simply does not function effectively. I am sure we all agree.

Even the most capable public servants are unable to get much done. They often leave frustrated for greener pastures or are cast aside by public serpents who have found loopholes in the system that allows them to crawl in and occupy key positions and work for themselves at the expense of the people. These sinister public serpents enter through nepotism or fraud and push out genuine hardworking public servants.

The system is designed it seems to fail in delivery and promote bureaucratic red tape that sees substantial public funds misapplied, misused and diverted elsewhere. Good efforts are NOT rewarded and bad officers are NOT punished.

This situation creates a chaotic environment where very little is actually achieved by elected leaders or the administration.

It is why I proposed the reforms and had the Special Committee created and nominated Bire Kimisopa to be the Chair. I am the Deputy. I could not be the Chair because the laws on parliamentary committees do not allow for a Governor to be Chair of a Committee. Regardless, under Hon. Kimisopa, the Committee consisting of Hon. JOE LELANG, HON. GOVERNOR Sasindran Muthuvel, HON. MERA KIPEFA, HON. PHILLIP UNDIYALU has done a fabulous job and produced substantial recommendations from extensive research and review of public service machineries in Australia New Zealand Samoa and Fiji.

The reforms will improve professional commitment, ensure recruitment, promotions and appointments are transparent and based on merit. It will pay wages and benefits fitting for the position and ensure that discipline and rewards can be delivered in a timely manner, in a nutshell it will corporatize the public service.

Now the PM and most of the NEC are in agreement reforms are needed. Yet there are some Government MPs in parliament who do not want these reforms.

It seems they like the inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

One wonders why.

Sadly this lack of political will, this apathy and inconsideration is a major impediment to any tru...

Friday, 03 June

14:25

PART 3 OF 6: A SERIES OF ARTICLES CONTAINING IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ON PNGSDP "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

In his affidavit, dated 27th October 2013, filed in the High Court of the Republic of Singapore, the then and current Chairman of PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), Sir Mekere Morauta, described the Plaintiff PNGSDP as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee incorporated and domiciled in Singapore, and is registered and operating in Papua New Guinea as an overseas company.

PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), originally incorporated in Singapore on the 20th of October 2001, was initially registered in Papua New Guinea as an overseas company on the 21st of December 2001 under the Companies Act 1997 and later registered as a Foreign Enterprise in Papua New Guinea on the 2nd of April 2003.

On the 20th of November 2001, around one month after PNGSDP was incorporated in Singapore and around two months before PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) was registered in PNG on the 21st of December 2001 an attorney called Gary T Evans signed a Share Transfer Form in the presence of D C Frecker effectively transferring 122.2 million Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) shares (which were purportedly originally bequeathed by BHP Billiton to PNGSDP) from PNGSDP to Insinger Trust (Singapore) Limited.

D C Frecker (full name: David Crichton Frecker) an Australian was appointed a Director of PNGSDP on the 7th of February 2002 and ceased being a Director of PNGSDP on the 22nd of February 2002. He was named as an alternate for another Australian, William Broughton Smith, who was appointed a Director of PNGSDP on the 21st of December 2001 but ceased being a Director of PNGSDP on the 20th of May 2002.

Basically PNGSDP was BHPs escape clause enacted when the Morauta Government passed the Ok Tedi Mine Continuation Ninth Supplemental Agreement Act 2001 (Ninth Supplemental Agreement Act) in December 2001. PNGSDP was set up specifically to enable BHP to withdraw from Ok Tedi Mining Limited (the mine) without incurring or facing any risk of liability of potentially having to pay possibly hundreds of billions in dollars in compensation to Ok Tedi landowners or to the people of pollution affected parts of Western Province in Papua New Guinea.

One estimate of the potential cost of compensation payable to Ok Tedi landowners over a 50 year period for environmental damage amounts to more than 350 Billion Dollars.

In an article published on the 9th of April 2002 by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), writer Will Marshall reported:

Facing the possibility of legal liabilities amounting to billions of dollars due to environmental damage, BHP-Billiton secured a deal from the PNG government that indemnifies the company against all future compensation claims.

The PNG parliament passed legislation last December to rubberstamp an agr...

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