Saturday, 27 May 2017

Quotes of the Week

Why do so few make it out of poverty? I can tell you from experience it is not because some have more merit than others. It is because being poor is a high-risk gamble. The asymmetry of outcomes for the poor is so enormous because it is so expensive to be poor. Imagine losing a job because your phone was cut off, or blowing off an exam because you spent the day in the ER dealing with something that preventative care would have avoided completely. Something as simple as that can spark a spiral of adversity almost impossible to recover from. The reality is that when you’re poor, if you make one mistake, you’re done. Everything becomes a sudden-death gamble. [Christian H. Cooper writing at Nautilus on Why Poverty Is Like A Disease, 20 April 2017]

The total rate paid by a high earner on $200,000 is nothing like 50 per cent. The first $18,200 isn't taxed at all because of the tax-free threshold, the next $18,000 is only taxed at 19 per cent, and so on, meaning the total tax taken works out at $71,232 including levies – a rate of 35.6 per cent. [Economic Editor for The Age, Peter Martin, writing on 24 May 2017]

Trump offers proof of 'no Russian ties'

And here it is…………….

Images via Twitter

Friday, 26 May 2017


We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.
26 May 2017

Quadrant's post-publication editing does not erase its bitter, tasteless and potentially destructive blunder

Snapshot from Quadrant magazine article “The Manchester Bomber’s ABC Pals” by editor of Quadrant Online Roger Franklin, published 23 May 2017:
via @JoshButler on Twitter

The article then concluded:

Mind you, as Krauss felt his body being penetrated by the Prophet’s shrapnel of nuts, bolts and nails, those goitered eyes might in their last glimmering have caught a glimpse of vindication.

A blast of Manchester dimensions must surely knock over the studio’s lunchroom refrigerator.  Allah only knows how many innocent lives that shocking incident might claim.

The ABC response was appropriate and in the circumstances relatively restrained.

Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) transcript of letter sent to Quadrant magazine editors, 24 May 2017:
Dear Sirs,
Quadrant promotes itself as “the leading general intellectual journal of ideas”. Those words ring hollow in the wake of last night’s vicious and offensive attack on the ABC, its staff and its program guests.
To take issue with our programming and our content is one thing. But to express the wish that, if there were any justice, the horrific terrorist bombing in Manchester would have taken place in the ABC’s Ultimo studio and killed those assembled there is a new low in Australian public debate.
Your subsequent attempt to make amends by changing some of the wording (without acknowledging or apologising for the original article) has done little to undo the damage. The article continues to state that if a blast occurred in one of our studios, none of the likely casualties “would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty.”
Like many others, I am appalled at your willingness to turn an act of terrorism in the United Kingdom into a means of making a political point against those you disagree with. One of the immediate results of this behaviour is that while our staff both here and in Manchester were working long hours to provide extensive coverage of this unfolding tragedy, we were also forced to reassure worried staff who had read your article and call in our own security experts to assess any possible impact flowing from your inflammatory words.
I ask that this response be posted prominently on the Quadrant website, and I also ask that the article, which continues to contain entirely inappropriate comments about possible bombings at the ABC, be removed and apologised for.
Michelle Guthrie
ABC Managing Director
The Clayton's apology from Quadrant followed swiftly even if the promised takedown didn't - the full article (along with its comments section) still being available in Google cache (snapshot 24 May 2017 15:25:33 GMT) late on 25 May - and yes, before anyone asks Google would promptly remove cache at the magazine's request. 

via Twitter

NSW nurses & midwives stand with Pilliga-Narrabri communities against Santos coal seam gas project

“Santos expects to build 850 production wells over the next two decades” within the mining lease. ABC NEWS, 10 April 2017, PHOTO: An aerial shot of the Santos CSG exploration project in the Pilliga. (Audience supplied: Dean Sewell)

Echo NetDaily, 19 May 2017:

Local nurses are voicing their concerns about the threat to health in a submission to the government objecting not only to the Santos Narrabri Coal Seam Gas Project, but to all CSG mining across NSW.

It was following a successful motion put forward by the Lismore Base Hospital branch of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association that the a submission was lodged.

‘As nurses and midwives we believe that an ecologically sustainable environment promotes health and wellbeing. We are greatly concerned about the health of communities impacted by CSG’, said Heather Ryan Dunn, midwife and Vice President of the Lismore Base branch of the NSWNMA. ‘We also know that climate change is the biggest threat we are currently facing and that decisions made today will impact greatly on future generations.’

The 20 page submission which includes references to CSG well accidents and risks to human health via contaminated water and air pollution, is one of approximately 12,000 already submitted in response to the EIS, a record breaking and resounding ‘no’ from objectors to the project.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

One Nation back in the news again because of staffing choice

It seems it is not only her Chief of Staff James Ashby who keeps thrusting Pauline Hanson’s One Nation into the news……

The Courier Mail, 25 May 2017:

KEY One Nation staffer Sean Black has been arrested by detectives in the latest scandal to engulf the party this week.

His arrest follows explosive tape recordings released revealing party figures discussing ways to “make money” out of the state election.

Black, 39, a senior adviser to Queensland One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, was taken through the Roma Street watch-house just before noon yesterday. He had flown into Brisbane from Canberra on Tuesday night.

He is facing a number of historical charges, three counts of common assault and three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm assault, but The Courier-Mail cannot publish more details for legal reasons.

Complaints were made to the Queensland Police Service late last year.

Black was one of the early recruits to One Nation Senate staff when they were swept to power in last year’s election, taking up his position in September.

He appeared before the Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon, where it was revealed some of the allegations dated back to 2007….

Mr Black is a media adviser to Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts……

The case will return to court on June 19.

Mr Black was one of the early recruits to One Nation Senate staff when they were swept to power in the 2016 election, taking up his position in September.

The former real estate agent has a long history in politics, as well as volunteering in former LNP MP Michael Pucci’s 2012 election campaign.

He served as a Logan City Councillor for four years, from 2008, and was previously married to fellow councillor Hajnal Ban.


The Courier Mail, 6 February 2017, p.14:

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has given his "full support" to a senior staffer who had domestic violence concerns raised about him.
Senator Roberts' policy adviser Sean Black was swept up in a complaint to the Crime and Corruption Commission after it was alleged confidential information may have been given to him.
The complaint alleged Logan councillor Darren Power was told about protective measures put in place to safeguard Mr Black's former partner after she approached council with domestic violence concerns about him.
Cr Power strongly denies being told about the protective measures, claiming the complaint was payback for opposing a controversial development in his council division.
Despite repeated approaches, Mr Black declined to comment on the allegations. In a Facebook post, Senator Roberts defended Mr Black, saying he was a "personal friend" who was a "great asset to our team". "I have seen no evidence of the caricature he is painted to be," Senator Roberts wrote. "He loves his family, has a great sense of humour and is extremely well liked by all those who associate with him."

The Courier Mail, 5 February 2017, p.3:

The CCC refused to confirm a complaint had been received. But a spokeswoman for Logan Mayor Luke Smith declined to comment because of the "involvement" of the CCC.
Mr Black, despite repeated approaches, made no comment for this story but stopped it running in last week's Sunday Mail by applying for an eleventh-hour injunction that prevented its publication.
Those orders were revoked during a closed court application hearing on Monday in Brisbane's Supreme Court.
Cr Power, according to a document obtained by The Sunday Mail, was called into Mayor Smith's office in December for a conversation about the domestic violence concerns against Mr Black.
"I found this unusual as Cr Smith and I have a difficult relationship and we rarely talk in private," Cr Power writes in the document, dated January 22 this year, which was given to Mr Black.
"Cr Smith then told me that he had heard that Sean Black has a habit of domestic violence, that he 'bashed his former wife' and that 'it was just a matter of time before it catches up with him and that the papers are aware', and that 'is (sic) all about to explode' in the media." The long-time councillor, who has been repeatedly elected since 1997, claimed he believed Cr Smith had heard this information directly from Mr Black's former partner: "Cr Smith led me to believe that the story that was about to break in the paper would 'mean Sean Black would be one of the most politically maligned individuals in Australia'," the document says. It was supplied to the CCC as part of the complaint.

The Border Mail, 11 December 2016:

He was forced out of the ALP for his role in a vote-rigging scandal detailed in the Shepherdson corruption inquiry – although he was never charged – and subsequently gravitated towards conservative politics.
In 2008, he was elected to the Logan City Council, where he was accused of bullying and flying into fits of uncontrollable rage.
At one stage, he was banned from entering council chambers or dealing with staff after a string of complaints of intimidation.
The mayor at the time said he had a "sad history of unacceptable behaviour" and ordered special security arrangements for any meetings he attended. Colleagues said he was disruptive and chaotic.
At the time Mr Black admitted to raising his voice and swearing but said the ban was a result of his political enemies trying to silence him.
With One Nation on track to make big gains at the next Queensland election, sources say Mr Black is in the frame as a potential state leader.
While his four years on Logan City Council were tumultuous, he is one of the precious few One Nation figures with experience in elected office….
On his Facebook page, Mr Black has admitted to struggling to control his temper, including last year when he launched into a foul-mouthed rant and threw a coaster at a man wearing an offensive T-shirt about Tony Abbott.
"So today I snapped," he wrote. "Our greatest prime minister, Tony Abbott, is being taunted, derided and dis­respected. I've had a gut full of pansy conservatives who won't stick up for freedom, Tony, or our nation. Time to grow balls and pick some fights folks."

The Courier Mail, 27 February 2015, p.19:

A T-shirt bagging Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sparked a beer-coaster blue involving a former Logan councillor.
In one of the more bizarre political battles of the year, former Logan councillor Sean Black and his mother aimed an outburst at a fellow diner at a suburban restaurant.
The pair threw coasters at a patron at the Beach House restaurant at Garden City, before launching into a foul-mouthed rant and being asked to leave….
Behind his keyboard, Mr Black launched into a tirade to defend Mr Abbott. "Our greatest prime minister, Tony Abbott, is being taunted, derided and dis respected," he wrote. “I’ve had a gut full of pansy conservatives who won't stick up for freedom, Tony, or our nation. Time to grow balls and pick some fights folks."

The Courier Mail, 31 August 2011, p.12:

The State Government has hired private investigators to find out whether a land deal involving married Logan councillors Hajnal and Sean Black was shady.
RISQ Group has been employed by the Department of Local Government and Planning to investigate a conflict of interest over the multimillion-dollar property sale at Park Ridge, south of Brisbane, after claims the couple should have declared a pecuniary interest.
Cr Sean Black said they had "co-operated fully with the department's inquiries".
"The ALP has attempted to have these private family matters investigated for quite some time," he said. "The department, to my understanding from a conversation this morning, will not be prosecuting on any of the matters referred by (Logan MP John) Mickel."
The investigation related to the Blacks' involvement in the sale of a $2.25 million property belonging to an old, sick friend, of whom Hajnal Black (nee Ban) was the power-of-attorney. The Courier-Mail has been told it is still ongoing….
Local Government Minister Paul Lucas said the process was completely independent and challenged Cr Sean Black to take the matter further if he thought it was politically motivated.
"Sean Black has been in more political parties than I've had hot dinners and has managed to cultivate enemies in all of them," Mr Lucas said.
"If Cr Black has issues with process, he is more than welcome to follow other processes, but he won't - he'd much rather sling mud."

ABC Premium News, 31 March 2009:

A Logan councillor insists he will still be able to do his job despite being banned from face-to-face contact with council staff.
Logan Mayor Pam Parker says Councillor Sean Black will only be allowed in council buildings under strict supervision.
Councillor Black will continue representing Logan's Division Four but will be supervised by security when attending Council meetings.
The decision to restrict his movements came after numerous complaints from council staff of abusive behaviour and harassment.
Councillor Parker says there has also been a workers compensation claim lodged for bullying against Councillor Black.
"He has been apologetic for this, he's been apologetic many times for his behaviour," she said.
She say his behaviour cannot be tolerated.
"It's not every day you get a councillor yelling screaming, swearing and showing displays of uncontrollable anger in the work force," she said.
"We have a duty of care and legal liability to protect our staff from this sort of behaviour."
Councillor Black says he did get frustrated and yell and swear at his colleagues but denies he bullied staff.

National Party of Australia demonstrating it is predominately a party of flat-earthers

The Land, 20 May 2017:

A NSW Young Nationals push for an Emission Intensity Scheme has been snuffed out. 

Senior party figures - including Federal Nationals president Larry Anthony and NSW Upper House MP Rick Colless – spoke against the motion put forward by Young Nat Alex Fitzpatrick.

A significant majority voted it down, many delegates even refusing an extension of time for one supporter to discuss the merits of an EIS.

That was Women’s Council representative Claire Coulton – daughter of Federal Parkes MP Mark Coulton – who said “these conversations don’t have to be seen as crazy left-wing ideas.”