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Monday Message Board

July 6th, 2015

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

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  1. John Quiggin
    July 6th, 2015 at 15:48 | #1

    I’ve moved this, from Donald Oats, which was in the Locke thread

    what of Michael Bradley’s take on the new “allegiance to Australia” for citizens who have the capacity to become dual nationals (which includes people born in Australia)? Is Bradley a bit paranoid, or has he nailed the colours to the LNP mast?

  2. BilB
    July 6th, 2015 at 18:49 | #2

    Here is some interesting reading on Monckton the Man

    https://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/

  3. Donald Oats
    July 8th, 2015 at 00:45 | #3

    It’s just gone Wednesday, the middle of the week, and already LNP members are baying for Ray Martin to stand down from the position of head of the inquiry into the Q&A episode. Ray isn’t “Team Ostraya” any more.

  4. Megan
    July 8th, 2015 at 01:11 | #4

    Apart from the fact that McDonald is a raving nutter, an embarrassment to Queenslanders and an enemy of free speech – where does he get off talking about an impartial “review” of anything to do with the ABC? He wants it to be even more of a soapbox for Murdoch hacks than it already is (is there any prominent Murdoch stooge who hasn’t either held a seat on the board of the ABC or appeared across its TV, radio or online platforms?).

    As a slight aside, Senator Lazarus continues to prove himself to be the best one Queensland has sent to Canberra in a long time. Today he has offered to take to Abbott with all sorts of troublesome rugby league physicality if Abbott doesn’t stop CSG.

    Glad he represents Qld. We need more of that ilk. A senate that had 10 or 15 more Muirs, Lazaruses, Xenophons, even Madigans would probably be enough to start this country back on the path to sanity.

  5. Newtownian
    July 8th, 2015 at 11:08 | #5

    Interesting letter here from a group of notable economists. The obvious point not often made is that after WWII Germany’s debts (including those to Greece) were forgiven yet now they and the rest of Europe cant do a quid pro quo because they are beholden to a regressive strand of economics which either lacks a sense of history or just its champions simply dont care.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/austerity-has-failed-an-open-letter-from-thomas-piketty-to-angela-merkel/

  6. Donald Oats
    July 8th, 2015 at 20:48 | #6

    @Newtownian
    It’s difficult to tell the difference between whether the EU are doubling down on austerity measures working for Greece (when patently, they haven’t worked so far), or are in a game of brinkmanship with Greece by tacitly daring Greece to step off the precipice and hoping Greece backs down. Could be a bit of both.

  7. Ivor
    July 9th, 2015 at 18:32 | #7

    Latest sprouting by Steve Keen.

    http://rt.com/shows/keiser-report/271909-episode-max-keiser-780/

    Obviously economics is broken.

  8. ZM
    July 10th, 2015 at 13:48 | #8

    I just read about this, although its 10 days old now.

    Following the victory in the Dutch court case Environmental Justice Australia are making a legal strategy to take the Abbot Government to court on climate change inaction.

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/30/environmentalists-consider-legal-challenge-climate-inaction?cid=trending

  9. ZM
    July 10th, 2015 at 14:31 | #9

    Also for people who live in Queensland I just received an exciting email from the Environment Defender’s Office in QLD for a talk on “Together We Can Make Climate Law Happen!”

    Join us at EDO Qld’s next public forum as we explore climate change law and your rights with guest Marjan Minnesma the director of Dutch innovation and sustainability organisation Urgenda on Tuesday 21 July 2015 6-8pm

    Where: Queensland State Library

  10. Donald Oats
    July 11th, 2015 at 21:08 | #10

    I’m not defending whatever practices Bill Shorten did or didn’t do while working as the head of the union, but it does seem extraordinary that the total cost of the money involved in Shorten’s election fighting fund is about one sandwich worth of a Royal Commission’s picnic. This latest one costs many millions of AUD from our taxpayer coffers, and has uncovered exactly what? As broad ranging as the terms of reference are, it has found out exactly what?

  11. Megan
    July 11th, 2015 at 23:50 | #11

    @Donald Oats

    True, a total waste of money.

    And if the political genius behind it was to expose Shorten and the rest of the ALP as crooks – well, duh.

    Almost all Australian unions are complete sellouts and have been for years. They exist to grease the wheels of the employers and extract money from both their members and the employers to enrich themselves – as ALP operatives – and to get into parliaments at all levels so that they can push their neo-liberal anti-worker agenda even further.

    Ironically, this will go against Abbott because (a) everyone already knows the ALP/union cabal is corrupt and crooked; and (b) nobody will change a single vote between ALP/LNP based on this information – the ALP voters wouldn’t care if Shorten ate a live baby on TV during prime time while staring into the camera and saying “yummee”, and the LNP voters will still vote LNP anyway.

    Pointless, expensive tribalist exercise.

  12. July 12th, 2015 at 02:41 | #12

    Man-made famine threatens 20 million Yemenis

    80 percent of people in the Arab world’s poorest country are in danger of starving to death under a US-backed and US-enabled blockade and bombing campaign.

    Have the CNN, BBC, NBC, Fox, Sky, etc told you about that?

    Obviously news that doesn’t directly touch on Russia. However, obviously an enormously important one – this is the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world right now – but it’s getting barely any attention because the US is contributing to it in a major way. (The Saudi campaign in Yemen wouldn’t be possible without American diplomatic, intelligence and logistics backing.)

  13. Ron E Joggles
    July 12th, 2015 at 09:11 | #13

    I’ve been trying to research Australian labour force statistics for the 65+ demographic.

    Specifically, what proportion of the total labour force is aged 65+ (defining labour force as those in employment or actively seeking work), and more importantly, what proportion of the Australian Public Service labour force is aged 65+?

    My purpose is to test my qualitative assessment that there are very few 65+ workers in the APS, despite the Govt’s urging older people to stay in the workforce, and encouraging the private sector to hire them.*

    The ABS has not been helpful – I asked “what proportion of the total labour force is aged 65+?”, and was referred to a very abstruse document, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs%40.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.001May%202015?OpenDocument Table 01. Trying to extract the total proportion from this spreadsheet is frankly beyond me.

    Google was more helpful but I’m uncertain of it’s reliability – the 3.34 million Australians aged 65+ are 14% of the population; their participation rate is 11.8%, that is 394,120 persons; and this is 3.15% of the total labour force.

    The APS was more forthcoming with data – https://analytics.ssc.gov.au/SASVisualAnalyticsViewer/VisualAnalyticsViewer_guest.jsp?reportPath=/Visual+Analytics/2.Projects/APSEDii/1.+Published/&reportName=APSEDiiJuneData_2014&appSwitcherDisabled=true.

    Workers aged 65+ are 2% of the total APS labour force.
    The figure for the Dept of Human Services is a shade under 1%.

    Have a look around an open-plan Centrelink office – there are very few, if any, older workers.

    Apparently, local HR departments have enough autonomy to choose the staff they want. Part of the problem is the widespread believe that older workers (particularly men) wouldn’t cope with current IT systems – in fact, many workers my age have been working in offices since before the introduction of computers and the arrival of the internet, and are familiar with every generation of IT systems since.

    Clearly, the Govt’s attitude is “do as I say, not as I do.”

    *I should declare a personal interest – as a 64 year old single Dad with a daughter in year 9, I need to work till I’m 68 – I don’t mind that but doubt that I’ll be able to continue in my current occasionally physically strenuous role – and a higher pay scale would be nice too. In our country town the most suitable employer for me is the regional Centrelink office (I have the relevant skills and experience), and I applied for an advertised position in April 2014, without any response at all.

  14. J-D
    July 12th, 2015 at 09:39 | #14

    @Megan

    Almost all Australian unions are complete sellouts and have been for years. They exist to grease the wheels of the employers and extract money from both their members and the employers to enrich themselves – as ALP operatives – and to get into parliaments at all levels so that they can push their neo-liberal anti-worker agenda even further.

    I have extensive experience of the two unions I have been a member of that does not tally with your generalisation.

    I allow for the possibility that the two unions I have belonged to have been exceptions. For one thing, neither of them is affiliated with the ALP — but if your generalisation applies only to ALP-affiliated unions it does not apply to ‘almost all’ of Australia’s unions.

    I allow for the possibility that your generalisation is based on more extensive experience than mine, or on thorough research into the subject.

    I also allow for the possibility that your generalisation is based on bias and ignorance.

    If people want to accept your generalisation on the basis of your unsupported assertion, I can’t stop them, but it’s not the course of action I would recommend.

  15. Megan
    July 12th, 2015 at 19:10 | #15

    “European Council President Donald Tusk said on Sunday that he had cancelled a planned meeting of EU heads of state and government this afternoon, with a summit of euro zone leaders scheduled to continue until talks conclude on Greece.”

    WTF??

    Pure bastardry perhaps?

  16. Fran Barlow
    July 12th, 2015 at 23:51 | #16

    Anyone interested in a discussion, from a left perspective, of ‘where to now in Greece for the left?’ this discussion between Syriza CC member Stathis Kouvelakis and Alex Callinicos of he British Cliffites (SWP) is a really interesting 73 minutes, discussing the failure of the Syriza ‘left Europeanist’ project:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=1paxMRddO0M

  17. Megan
    July 13th, 2015 at 09:43 | #17

    The Troika are demanding that Greece transfer 50 billion Euro in public assets to a private fund called “The Institute For Growth” in Luxembourg to be sold.

    The Greeks are not happy about that. #ThisIsACoup is trending worldwide.

    [politico]:

    Germany has suggested one particular institution – KFW – could manage Greece’s assets and some of their reform efforts. But who’s behind this little-known “Institute for Growth”? It’s the government-owned bank, KFW.

    KFW’ CEO Ulrich Schröder spent 20 years at WestLB (and six years at a spin-off) – a bank which received four government bailouts since 2008. Also on the board are none other than German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

    Guardian newspaper headline today in UK: “Europe Takes Revenge On Tsipras”.

  18. Ron E Joggles
    July 13th, 2015 at 14:52 | #18

    My comment here is still awaiting moderation. Is it problematic in some way? Links too cumbersome?

  19. J-D
    July 13th, 2015 at 15:51 | #19

    @Ron E Joggles

    The automoderation algorithm picks up every comment that has more than one link in it — and if you use the ‘Reply’ function that counts as one link (to the comment you’re replying to).

    Personally I’ve taken to using URLs only in disabled text form to avoid automoderation, but you can always use them and wait out the moderation delay if you prefer.

  20. Ikonoclast
    July 13th, 2015 at 16:26 | #20

    @Megan

    Yes, there is an extraordinary stench of corruption about the EU.

  21. Uncle Milton
    July 13th, 2015 at 17:05 | #21

    Deal has been reached. No details yet. Hopefully the Greeks didn’t roll over completely.

  22. Megan
    July 13th, 2015 at 17:56 | #22

    Looks they rolled over an awful lot though.

    The fund for the 50billion euros worth of public assets to be seized and sold (or managed at a profit) will be “based” in Greece rather than Luxembourg – but it won’t be managed by Greece, it will be managed by “experts in these things” (i.e. Chicago Boys).

    The banks will be re-capitalized first and after that the proceeds will go 50/50 to debt and to the Greek government to spend on approved measures to “increase growth and restore investor confidence in Greece”.

  23. Uncle Milton
    July 13th, 2015 at 18:04 | #23

    @Megan

    The outcome was always going to be bad for the Greeks. This might be as good as it could get. Credit to the new finance minister. It looks like Euclid managed to square the circle.

  24. Collin Street
    July 13th, 2015 at 18:32 | #24

    > The outcome was always going to be bad for the Greeks.

    The greeks burnt basically no [additional] resources over the past week. Their debt grows, but that’ll never be paid back and is thus meaningless; the damage from the bank shutdown will basically vanish over about a quarter, and the austerity was already there.

    The germans, on the other hand, burnt through sixty years of goodwill and got for it… a commitment from the greek government to try to avoid nominal default and a commitment to do this whole thing again in another month or so.

    “Another victory like that and we shall be undone”.

  25. ZM
    July 13th, 2015 at 18:33 | #25

    Another event in Melbourne this time about the Dutch court case

    Environmental Justice Australia and Melbourne University Law School Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law are pleased to present a seminar with Ms Marjan Minnesma, the Director of The Urgenda Foundation.

    Ms Minnesma will speak about her work with Dutch organisation Urgenda, who recently made history with their landmark climate change case in the Netherlands.

    Urgenda’s climate case forced the Dutch government to adopt more stringent climate policies, requiring them to take more effective climate action to reduce the Netherlands’ share of global emissions. This is the first time a court has ordered a state to take precautions against climate change.

    When: Thursday 23 July 2015, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
    Where: Melbourne University, Parkville, Theatre A in the Elisabeth Murdoch building – Map Here

  26. Megan
    July 13th, 2015 at 23:13 | #26
  27. Megan
    July 13th, 2015 at 23:47 | #27

    It’s much the same as what the fascists were demanding. On very close inspection and comparison it would become clearer what the differences are.

    I like this bit (from page 6):

    There are serious concerns regarding the sustainability of Greek debt. This is due to the easing of policies during the last twelve months, which resulted in the recent deterioration in the domestic macroeconomic and financial environment. The Euro Summit recalls that the euro area Member States have, throughout the last few years, adopted a remarkable set of measures supporting Greece’s debt sustainability, which have smoothed Greece’s debt servicing path and reduced costs significantly.

    In other words, “Greece was going just fine until they lightened up on austerity, and now all the country’s problems are down to not enough austerity”.

    I’d have to dig up my copy of “Shock Doctrine” to find the exact page reference, but that has always been the neo-liberal/fascist argument from day one: “Austerity/neo-liberalism/fascism isn’t the problem, you just didn’t do it right, it’s you’re fault and now you must pay the consequences”.

  28. Ikonoclast
    July 13th, 2015 at 23:53 | #28

    @Megan

    That’s it then. Greece will be destroyed and sold off lock, stock and barrel. I hope the rest of the PIIGS are worried and the Baltics too. They ought to be. They are next.

    I predict ongoing catastrophic economic collapse of Europe over the next couple of decades. They are finished. I hope we aren’t next. I suspect our turn will come.

    I am puzzled, I am not quite sure how destroying countries improves the world’s economy. It is clear that the major western powers (USA, UK, Germany and France) believe that destroying countries is the way forward for them. Let’s see, who has been destroyed so far? Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and now Greece. Currently, Yemen is being destroyed, oh yes and Ukraine. Gaza Strip of course. Who else have I missed naming?

  29. Megan
    July 14th, 2015 at 00:09 | #29

    It’s worse than that (or ‘as bad as that’):

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ statement following the conclusion of the Eurozone Summit

    July 13, 2015 |

    We have been fighting hard for six months now, and we fought until the end to achieve the best possible outcome, an agreement that will enable the country to get back on its feet, and for the Greek people to be able to continue to fight.

    We faced tough decisions, tough dilemmas. We assumed responsibility for the decision in order to prevent the most extreme objectives from being implemented—those pushed for by the most extreme conservative forces in the European Union.

    The agreement calls for tough measures. However, we prevented the transfer of public property abroad, we prevented the financial asphyxiation and the collapse of the financial system—this was planned to the last detail – having recently been designed to perfection, and in the process of being implemented.

    Finally, in this tough battle, we managed to gain the restructuring of the debt and a financing process for the medium-term.

    We were aware that it would not be an easy task, but we have created a very important legacy. An important legacy, and a much-needed change throughout Europe. Greece will continue to fight, and we will continue to fight, so that we can return to growth, regain our lost national sovereignty. We earned our popular sovereignty. We sent a message of democracy, a message of dignity throughout Europe and the world. This is the most important legacy.

    Finally, I would like to thank all of my colleagues–ministers, colleagues and associates who gave, along with me, a very tough fight. A fight, which at the end of the day, will be vindicated.

    Today’s decision will maintain Greece’s financial stability and provide recovery potential. However, as we knew beforehand, the agreement will be difficult to implement. The measures include those that Parliament has voted on. Measures that will inevitably create recessionary trends. However, I am hopeful that the growth package of 35 billion euro that we achieved, debt restructuring, as well as securing funding for the next three years will create market confidence, so that investors realize that fears of a Grexit are a thing of the past—thereby fueling investment, which will offset any recessionary trends.

    I believe that a large majority of the Greek people will support the effort to return to growth; they acknowledge that we fought for a just cause, we fought until the end, we have been negotiating through the night, and no matter what the burdens will be, they will be allocated – we guarantee this – with social justice. And it will not be the case that those who have shouldered the burden during the last years will be stuck footing the bill once more. This time, those who avoided paying—many of whom were protected by the previous governments–will pay now, they, too, will shoulder the burden.

    Finally, I want to make this commitment: Now, we need to fight just as hard as we fought to achieve the best outcome abroad-in Europe, to rid vested interests in the country. Greece needs radical reforms in favor of social forces, and against the oligarchy that have led to the country’s current state. And this commitment to this new effort begins tomorrow.

    source: Prime Ministry Greece

    Weasel-Word-Central must have drafted that. It’s meaningless and an insult to the millions of starving Greeks who believed that this faux ‘Lefty’ would stand up for them.

    New boss same as old boss. Just like our beloved ALP.

  30. Megan
    July 14th, 2015 at 00:16 | #30

    PS: Happy Bastille Day, everyone!

    There are resisters and there enablers.

    In the end the enablers will be held to account.

  31. Uncle Milton
    July 14th, 2015 at 07:09 | #31

    @Megan

    The actual Greek fascists (indeed, Nazis) Golden Dawn are now the only party in the Greek parliament that are against austerity.

  32. rog
    July 14th, 2015 at 07:54 | #32

    Michael Ware, a panellist on last night’s Q&A, made the point that we still don’t know how the extremist/terrorist mind works and Abbotts reaction (and Turnbull et al) to the Zaky Mallah episode only serves to reinforce that ignorance.

    Ware argued that the Zaky Mallahs of the world should be given as much exposure as possible so that there arguments can be fleshed out and the mystique associated with martyrs dissipated.

  33. Ikonoclast
    July 14th, 2015 at 08:01 | #33

    @Uncle Milton

    “The actual Greek fascists (indeed, Nazis) Golden Dawn are now the only party in the Greek parliament that are against austerity.” – Uncle Milton.

    The key word in your sentence is PARTY. The Golden Dawn are the only PARTY against austerity (according to you). I notice you don’t mention the people. I guess the people are all for austerity and having their country destroyed.

    When we put all the pieces together, we get a disturbing picture of finance capitalism controlling the economoy. When the banks lost money in the GFC they got the bailouts and the people took the haircut. When Cyprus’s banks failed the EU banks got a bailout via a bail-in where the depositors, the people, where given a haircut. When Greece is in trouble, the people get the haircut (austerity) and the banks get the bailout. Have no doubt, about 95% of “Greece’s bailout” actually goes straight back the EU banks.

    Whatever happened to the big bank lenders taking risk? Now they always get the bailout. The people get to starve. Ah late-stage capitalism, you gotta love it if you are a banker right? All profit, no risk and the government is there to help you.

    However, the long term results of this will be nothing short of disastrous. In very short order, there will be failed states all over the place. Greece is the latest to join this club. Who’s next? maybe Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Baltic states, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia… in any order.

  34. Donald Oats
    July 14th, 2015 at 20:23 | #34

    While musing on the expected attacks on the CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation) by the Egregious PM Tony Abbott (NB: I coine this phrase), I found my link-mind wandering and ended up at the Solar Council’s website; to be more specific, the page which displays the bullying tones of the Minister for Unvironment, Greg “Cockney” Hunt, and the polite if blunt response from John Grimes. While it is a fun exercise to digest both, I extract this line from Greg’s missive:

    I’m sure you would agree that it is absolutely imperative that all panels installed must be of high quality and pose absolutely no threat to safety.
    I consider safety to be a matter of paramount importance and I am seeking your assurance of a review of this matter.
    I ask for an urgent and immediate investigation and preliminary response on safety matters by the end of this week, including outlining what steps you propose to take to rectify the matter.
    Pending this, I will consider any further action that may need to be taken by the government to ensure safety and that the scheme is not being open to abuse.

    The response from John Grimes, in part:

    As you are no doubt also aware, while the Clean Energy Council (CEC), various State agencies and the Australian Government all have varying legal obligations for solar panel and systems safety and quality, the Australian Solar Council does not have any formal regulatory obligations.

    The minister doesn’t even know to whom he should address such matters, and in any case John Grimes’ letter in full is a complete answer. There is little doubt that the campaign against solar energy, and household solar energy, started long ago, this being just one attempt at wounding the industry.

    The government tactic is smear if nothing better comes to mind…and apparently, nothing did.

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