Australians of the Year 2016

This information is readily available, but not in a way you can read it through without clicking this way and that.

Something that amazes me is that in all four lists, there’s not a single ‘A lister’ or ‘elite’ sports person.

Let me repeat that: not one single celebrity.

What on earth has happened to the National Australia Day Council? Have they for some reason become the last bastion of those who will not heed the instructions of their political ‘betters’?

If so, good on them, and may their shadows never grow less.

Note: In compiling this list, I seem to have hit WordPress’s word limit – so you will have to search Australia’s Local Heroes all by yourselves. Meanwhile, stand by to be impressed:

Australian of the Year

Australian Capital Territory – David Morrison AO

Equality advocate

Few would expect a tough-as-nails Chief of Army to be recognised internationally for his commitment to gender equality, diversity and inclusion. But when former Lieutenant-General David Morrison ordered misbehaving troops to ‘get out’ if they couldn’t accept women as equals, his video went viral and he started a cultural shift that has changed Australia’s armed forces forever. Since then, the number of women joining the army has grown by two per cent and the culture is more accepting of racial, ethnic and sexual diversity. In 2014, David was invited to speak at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, sharing the stage with US Secretary of State John Kerry and actor and activist Angelina Jolie, and arguing that militaries that exclude women ‘do nothing to distinguish the soldier from the brute’. David retired in 2015 after 36 years in the Australian Army, and four years as its Chief, but he continues his commitment as a champion of human rights in his new role as the Chair of the Diversity Council Australia.

New South Wales – Elizabeth Broderick

Social change innovator

It takes a special person to bring together captains of industry, governments and Defence Force chiefs to address gender inequality. But that’s exactly what Elizabeth Broderick has done. As Sex Discrimination Commissioner from 2007 to 2015, Elizabeth was tireless in her determination to break down the structural and social barriers preventing women from reaching their potential. A key advocate for Australia’s national paid parental leave scheme, Elizabeth fought for changes to regulations to increase the number of women at decision-making level and also to elevate the voices of women in marginalised communities. She established the globally recognised Male Champions of Change strategy, enlisting a ‘who’s who’ of powerful businessmen to tackle gender inequality in the workplace and her Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force led to sweeping cultural reforms. Elizabeth is an adviser to the United Nations, the World Bank and NATO and is a powerful and influential voice in the struggle for gender equality enlisting both women and men as agents of change.

Northern Territory – Will MacGregor

Youth worker

Having experienced severe drug and alcohol problems in his youth, Will MacGregor understands the challenges facing many young people in the Northern Territory. After getting help for his addictions – and remaining sober for more than three decades – Will wanted to help others. Following consultation with Aboriginal elders and community leaders from across the Territory, Will started taking young people into the bush for days at a time to help them dry out and detox. After several years of operating from the back of a 4WD, Will gained funding in 2009 and BushMob was born. Now a 20-bed facility with 28 staff, BushMob takes marginalised young people ‘out bush’ to build their self-esteem and respect for each other. The participants tackle problems like alcohol and drug abuse, violence and suicide and can remain in the program for up to two months. Will is focused on natural healing, cultural respect and empowerment to help young people make positive choices and rebuild their lives.

Queensland – Catherine McGregor AM

Diversity champion

A Group Captain in the RAAF and former Lieutenant Colonel in the Army seeing operational service in East Timor three times, Catherine McGregor announced that she was changing her gender in 2012, moving from Malcolm to Catherine. Since then, Catherine has told the stories of thousands of hidden transgender Australians through her own lived experience, speaking at forums such as the National Press Club in Canberra and at capital city writers’ festivals. Her story as a leader for the transgender community has been documented in the Australian Women’s Weekly and national newspapers and she’s featured in the ABC’s Australian Story. A well-known cricket commentator, author and political columnist, Catherine’s remarkably brave journey has not been without its challenges but it has brought her great personal contentment and inspired others to be true to themselves. With large stocks of courage, eloquence and confronting candour, Catherine has become a leading figure in the transgender community and as a result Australians have gained a greater understanding and acceptance of the transgender community.

South Australia – Dr John Greenwood AM

Burns surgeon

Looking after 450 acute burns patients each year might seem like a full time job, but Dr John Greenwood has set his sights on excellent and affordable burn care for every patient around the world. A plastic surgeon and Medical Director of the Adult Burn Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, John cares for all adults sustaining burn injury in South Australia, Northern Territory, western New South Wales and western Victoria – an area covering some 2.4 million square kilometres. John runs state-wide education services, heads the nation’s only mobile burn response unit for burn injuries in disaster scenarios and he was dispatched to Darwin in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings. Since 2003, John has been developing a suite of innovative burn care and skin substitute products based on a biodegradable polyurethane platform that replace the skin graft. John’s selfless service to burn patients is improving survival rates and making life better for people around the world.

Tasmania – Jane Hutchinson

Conservationist

A committed conservationist, Jane Hutchinson was one of a handful of volunteers who started the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) in 2001. Since then, TLC has grown from a $50 bank account to a $30 million organisation which protects 65,000 hectares of habitat for threatened flora and fauna. Jane has steered TLC from a humble not-for-profit to a highly-regarded organisation acknowledged for its important and innovative conservation work. Jane has devoted countless hours to her cause. While practicing law, Jane helped establish TLC’s constitutional and financial frameworks in her spare time. She sat on the TLC Board for five years, including three years as President, before stepping into the role of Chief Executive Officer in 2011. Jane’s persistence has paid off and she now leads science-driven conservation projects which safeguard the habitat of threatened species, including the Tasmanian devil, wedge-tailed eagle and Clarence Galaxias native fish. Under Jane’s watchful eye, TLC now protects more than two per cent of Tasmania’s private land.

Victoria – Julian McMahon

Barrister and human rights advocate

A human rights advocate and fierce opponent of the death penalty, barrister Julian McMahon has a personal and passionate commitment to represent Australians in capital punishment cases abroad. Admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1998, for more than 13 years Julian has worked without payment for Australians facing the death penalty. Julian’s clients include Van Tuong Nguyen in Singapore, George Forbes in Sudan and members of the Bali Nine, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. In the months leading up to the executions of Chan and Sukumaran in April 2015, the overwhelming demands of their case required Julian and other lawyers on the case to make many personal sacrifices and, in Julian’s case, to exclude all other work. Instead, he remained wholly focused on his clients. Julian is on the board of Jesuit Social Services and is now President of Reprieve Australia. Articulate and measured, with longstanding community involvement, Julian speaks publicly about the death penalty and justice issues.

Western Australia – Anne Carey

Medical warrior

A nurse, midwife and medical warrior, Anne Carey has spent her life helping others – even when it has been at great personal risk. Anne has provided health care for remote communities in hospitals and clinics across Papua New Guinea, Northern Territory and Western Australian. As an Australian Red Cross aid worker in some of the world’s hotspots including Sudan, Kenya and most recently Sierra Leone, Anne leaves an impact on everyone she meets. During her time in Sudan, Anne and her colleagues came under attack, but while others left, they courageously stayed put to help the local residents. In Sierra Leone, she spent three assignments battling on the frontline against the deadly Ebola virus and was amongst the first volunteers to assist. Every day, she was taped into a personal protection suit, and while she may have looked inhuman in her all-white sterilised suit, thick rubber gloves and perspex goggles, Anne extended humanity with a simple touch and professional care that helped people understand they were not alone. Despite the death, fear and despair felt during the Ebola outbreak, Anne was a beacon of hope and continues the desperate fight to save the lives of people most in need.

Senior Australian of the Year

Australian Capital Territory – Professor Greg Tegart AM FTSE

Scientist and technology advocate

At 86 years of age, Professor Greg Tegart is a leading advocate for smart assistive technologies that give aged and disabled people independence and a better quality of life. Greg’s distinguished career spans research in metallurgy and materials, and high level executive and policy positions in industry, the CSIRO and the federal government. The extent of Greg’s contribution to Australian science and technology policy over four decades is substantial. He led Australia’s initial participation in climate change assessment through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was recognised for his contribution to the awarding of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC. He has been a leader in studies linking technology to the future of society. In recent years, Greg’s world-leading work to promote smart assistive technologies for aged and disability care has enabled many Australians to lead more empowered and independent lives. Greg provides a real-world example of the contribution that older people can make to the Australian community.

New South Wales – Professor Gordian Fulde

Doctor

From midnight to dawn, while most people are in bed, Professor Gordian Fulde is presiding over one of Australia’s busiest emergency departments. The Director of Emergency at St Vincent’s Hospital and Sydney Hospital for more than three decades, Gordian is the longest serving emergency department director in Australia. The doctor on call when disaster strikes, Gordian has seen it all and is passionately outspoken about the scourge of ‘ice’ and alcohol-fuelled violence which delivers a flood of people into Australian hospitals each weekend. While you will occasionally see him appear on Kings Cross ER, Gordian is also actively involved in teaching and training students and staff in many facets of emergency medicine. A member of the Board of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, Gordian also supports many schools and community organisations, sharing his stories of working in an urban warzone, and warning of the dangers of a binge drinking culture, which is overwhelmingly the main cause of injury in Australia’s emergency departments.

Northern Territory – Bob Shewring

Repatriation campaigner

Twenty five Australian soldiers killed in the Vietnam War never returned home to Australia. Vietnam veteran, Bob Shewring has spent years lobbying governments to bring home the bodies of these soldiers buried overseas after they were killed in the line of duty. Bob established Operation “Bring Them Home” in 2014 and spent countless hours researching war history and legislation. He garnered more than 40,000 signatures through an online petition before the Australian Government announced in May 2015 it would repatriate the bodies from cemeteries in Malaysia and Singapore back home to Australia, providing the next of kin’s agree. Until February 1966, the government required soldiers’ families to pay for their bodies to be repatriated back to Australia. For Bob, this campaign is personal. Twenty five of the 521 Australians killed in the Vietnam War didn’t make it home and Bob’s mate Reg Hillier is one of them. Bob is determined to see these soldiers finally welcomed home, receive full military honours at “one of the biggest ramp ceremonies in Australia’s history” and to right a terrible wrong from the Vietnam War.

Queensland – Tim Fairfax AC

Philanthropist

One of the country’s most successful businessmen, Tim Fairfax is also one of the most generous. With pastoral interests in Queensland and New South Wales, Tim is passionate about supporting rural, remote and regional communities. The founder of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Tim has gifted more than $16 million since 2008 to community-based arts, music and sporting projects in regional Australia. Tim also chairs the board of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, named after his father, which has donated more than $100 million. A keen supporter of The Ekka, Tim is also Chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology and promotes higher educational opportunities, particularly to students in struggling rural communities. A founding benefactor of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Tim is one of its largest donors. Sitting on numerous boards and trusts for the arts, Tim is a keen collector and donor of art and is making an extraordinary philanthropic contribution to Australia’s arts community.

South Australia – Monica Oliphant AO

Scientist

An inspiring advocate for science and sustainability, Monica Oliphant has influenced the future of energy consumption around the world. Starting out as a laser physicist, she is now recognised internationally as a pioneer in the use of solar photovoltaics and renewable energy. Monica has devoted her long career – much in her own time and without financial reward – to the promotion of renewable energy both in Australia and overseas. As a senior research scientist with the Electricity Trust of South Australia for two decades, Monica undertook research into renewable energy, with her work enabling grid-connected solar and wind power. Globally-recognised as a leader in her field, Monica has shared her knowledge at conferences in many countries and her work has facilitated development of clean energy policies around the world. Volunteering her time on boards and energy associations culminated in the presidency of the International Solar Energy Society. Monica has maintained a lifelong commitment to improving all people’s access, particularly those of lower socio-economic status, to environmentally and economically sustainable energy.

Tasmania – Professor Ian Allison AO AAM

Glaciologist

A pioneer of Australia’s glaciological research program since the 1960s, Professor Ian Allison is acclaimed internationally as a glaciologist, making a significant contribution to climate science. An outstanding contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports on Climate Change, Ian has worked tirelessly to synthesise global research results. He spent many years with the Australian Antarctic Division, ultimately leading the Ice, Oceans, Atmosphere and Climate program. As co-chair of the International Polar Year in 2007-08, Ian drove a coordinated, intense period of observational research activity in the Polar Regions. Ian’s enduring contribution to Antarctic affairs and the Antarctic community has been recognised with awards and accolades, such as the naming of Allison Glacier on Heard Island. Ian’s legacy also includes the work of the many PhD students he has supervised who have, themselves, made significant contributions to science. Ian’s community-mindedness and willingness to push ahead with fresh ideas has helped Australia build an internationally-respected scientific community.

Victoria – Jack Charles

Indigenous elder and role model

One of the nation’s most respected and enduring actors, Jack Charles is a member of Australia’s stolen generation. Removed from his mother as a baby and raised in a Salvation Army boys’ home, Jack knew nothing of his Indigenous heritage as a child. At 19 he began a career as an actor, but his life was plagued by personal demons. His addiction to heroin and a life of crime saw him jailed. Despite his struggles, he co-founded Australia’s first Indigenous theatre group, Nindethana, meaning ‘place of corroboree’, at Melbourne’s Pram Factory in 1971. His first play, Jack Charles is Up and Fighting, was a runaway hit. Jack has appeared in several movies, including the landmark film, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, and more recently Pan alongside Hugh Jackman. He has also toured his own one-man stage show locally and internationally. Now calm and centred, Jack is a strong role model for a new generation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Western Australia – Graham Edwards AM

Veterans’ advocate

While serving in Vietnam in 1970, Graham Edwards was hit by an exploding mine. Both his legs had to be amputated, but he never let his disability get the better of him. Returning to civilian life, he battled the aftershocks of war and fought discrimination before moving into public affairs and politics. Spending 14 years of service in the WA Legislative Council, including as a senior minister and nine years in the federal parliament, Graham actively contributed to defence, disability services and veterans’ policy. While juggling his parliamentary responsibilities, Graham devoted many hours to his twin passions: the Paralympic movement and veterans’ rights. Today, as State President of the Returned & Services League of Australia, Graham oversees a membership base of 10,000 people, sits by bedsides, lobbies government for funding and organises large events to commemorate the sacrifice made by many, particularly for the 2015 Centenary of Gallipoli. A board member of the Australian War Memorial, Graham is ensuring that the nation’s war heroes gain the recognition they deserve.

Young Australian of the Year

Australian Capital Territory – Nipuni Wijewickrema

Social entrepreneur

A young woman trying to change the world “one flower at a time”, Nipuni Wijewickrema runs a floristry business designed to create employment opportunities for people with special needs. Nip, as she is affectionately known, first established GG’s Florist with her family to ensure her 16 year old younger sister Gayana would have fulfilling work after graduating from high school. Gayana, who has was born with Down syndrome, is now famous around Canberra for her floral deliveries that always come with a big hug. From a backyard garden shed, Nip has shown other local organisations how to create safe working environments for people with disabilities. As well as working full-time and managing the family floristry business, Nip is a volunteer counsellor with Lifeline and contributes regularly to community initiatives, assisting many young people through her work with the ACT Youth Advisory Council. Passionate, dedicated, driven and incredibly sleep deprived, Nip has developed a socially sustainable business model which is changing the way Canberrans think about inclusion.

New South Wales – Melissa Abu-Gazaleh

Young men’s health advocate

Tired of seeing young men painted as constant liabilities to the community, Melissa Abu-Gazaleh established the youth-led Top Blokes Foundation when she was just 19. As Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Melissa is helping Australia combat anti-social and risk-taking behaviours among young men and busting many negative stereotypes along the way. Reaching thousands of 14 to 24 year old males each year, the Top Blokes Foundation fosters young men’s social inclusion, resilience and mental health, while empowering them to contribute to their community through volunteering. Melissa’s social education program the Junior Top Blokes Mentoring Program, for example, challenge boys to address issues like alcohol, drugs, mental health, anger, masculinity and pornography. What started off as a project within her local community has now provided Melissa with a national platform to improve and advocate for young men’s health in Australia. Melissa is a seasoned public speaker, sits on boards and committees and manages a team of 14 people who are passionate about young men’s health empowering them to be agents of change.

Northern Territory – Benjamin Masters

Musician and impresario

The drive of this young Darwin drummer is making opportunities for up-and-coming performers in the Top End. Benjamin Masters is passionately engaged in his local music scene, performing, mentoring and supporting local talent. Ben’s all-ages, drug and alcohol free music gigs have grown in size and create opportunities for Darwin bands to play to a big crowd. The driving force behind the Terrorfest music festival, Ben coordinates an event which attracts a line-up of more than 10 bands and receives a rapturous response from the crowd. Ben’s heavy metal band, I, The Burden, has won awards, produced EPs and music videos and toured nationally. A drumming tutor for high school musicians and mentor for MusicNT, Ben also established his own booking agency to give beginner bands a shot at jumping on stage with some of their national idols. A shining example of a young leader, Ben is using his passion for music to help others and strengthen his community.

Queensland – Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett

Social entrepreneurs

Best mates, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett built a free mobile laundry in their old van to help the homeless. Orange Sky Laundry began in September 2014 and since then, the world first idea has rapidly expanded to five vans in Brisbane, Melbourne, South East Victoria, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Run by over 270 volunteers, the custom fitted vans with two commercial washing machines and two dryers, service over 36 locations and wash over 350 loads each week. A catalyst for bringing people of all walks of life together, Orange Sky facilitates countless hours of conversations each week. In February 2015, they took their mobile laundry to North Queensland to wash clothes in cyclone effected communities. Nic and Lucas have found a way to treat others the way they want to be treated by restoring respect, raising health standards and reducing the strain on resources. They now plan to expand services Australia-wide with the aim of positively connecting the community and improving the lives of others.

South Australia – Arman Abrahimzadeh

Domestic violence campaigner

Domestic violence was a normal part of childhood for Arman Abrahimzadeh and his sisters. The Adelaide siblings lived in fear of their domineering father, who, in 2010, would eventually murder their mother Zahra in front of 300 people on a dance floor at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Arman and his sister were left to parent their 12 year old sister and continue their mother’s battles in court. A gentle young man, Arman vowed to never follow his father’s footsteps into a cycle of abuse. Now a White Ribbon Ambassador, Arman works with various organisations to support victims and raise awareness. A passionate advocate for better legislation to protect women and children, Arman speaks to schools, sporting clubs and police cadet training. In 2015, he established the Zahra Foundation Australia to assist women in crisis and empower them with education and financial independency. While his life has been scarred, Arman is reaching out to help the half a million Australian women experiencing domestic violence each year.

Tasmania – Zac Lockhart

Mental health advocate

At just 16, Zac Lockhart became one of the 26,000 young Australians who are homeless, after circumstances at home forced him into a youth shelter. Determined to promote a positive message and reduce the stigma attached to homelessness, Zac has become an ambassador for homeless youth in Tasmania. With homelessness and mental health often deeply connected, Zac has since stepped up efforts to help people experiencing mental illness. Zac’s film, The Flourish A-B-C of Mental Health, shares successful strategies that support good mental health, and encourages people to ‘act, belong and commit’. Studying full-time, working a casual job, establishing his own video production business while living in supported accommodation, Zac inspires everyone he meets with his passion, bravery and generosity in sharing his own lived experience of mental illness. Zac is shining a light on the mental health challenges faced by one in four Australians, while working hard to achieve his own personal goal of having a home and family of his own.

Victoria – Robert Gillies

Social enterprise founder

Undertaking three university degrees simultaneously, leading an orchestra and playing for a number of sporting clubs would leave most people exhausted. But not Robert Gillies. He’s also found the time to devote himself to social enterprises that make a difference to some of our most vulnerable citizens. When he’s not studying for his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, his Masters’ in Public Health or Diploma in Philosophy, Robert can be found helping those experiencing homelessness. A Co-Founder of Homeless of Melbourne, Robert is determined to change negative attitudes towards homelessness through his charity clothing store ‘HoMie’. As Executive-Director of Yarra Swim Co, Robert is reviving the historic ‘Race to Princes Bridge’ and leading the push for a swimmable Yarra River. He’s worked as an HIV researcher and served on the board of directors for charities preventing poverty overseas and in remote Indigenous communities. Enthusiastic and determined, Robert is a role model for all young Australians wanting to make the world a better place.

Western Australia – Catherine Hughes

Immunisation champion

After her youngest child Riley died from whooping cough, Catherine Hughes became an ardent campaigner for vaccination. One month old Riley was too young to be immunised against the deadly respiratory bacteria, also known as pertussis. Rather than allow her grief to overwhelm her, Catherine has channelled her energy into immunisation awareness. Within days of Riley’s death, she established the “Light for Riley” Facebook page which now reaches more than 70,000 people. As a direct result of Riley’s death, every State and Territory in Australia has implemented free booster shots for pregnant women to provide the best defence against whooping cough in newborn babies. With no thought of reward, Catherine has met with politicians, attended parenting expos, raised over $70,000 for whooping cough research, instigated a viral campaign for the donation of over 45,000 vaccines to UNICEF and shared her story to ensure no other family has to live without their child due to a preventable disease.

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580 thoughts on “Australians of the Year 2016

  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers – a bit of an early post today! And quite a bumper edition.

    Jess Irvine revisits the tax plan that Turnbull put out there ten years ago.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/exclusive-analysis-of-malcolm-turnbulls-tax-plan-revealed-sort-of-20160128-gmfxt4.html
    John McTiernan gives Shorten advice on how he might be able to beat Turnbull.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/28/if-bill-shorten-wants-a-chance-of-winning-the-election-this-is-what-he-has-to-do
    Is baby formula becoming a “tulip economy”? The government is essentially powerless to stop it.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/government-powerless-to-stop-daigou-formula-hoarders-20160128-gmg6jo.html
    Matthew Knott examines Shorten’s education policy announcement.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-commits-to-fully-funding-gonski-as-part-of-election-year-education-reform-plan-20160127-gmfovf.html
    And we thought WE had asylum seeker problems!
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/sweden-may-send-back-up-to-80000-asylum-seekers-after-pleas-rejected-20160128-gmgcct.html
    Obviously this precocious bighead just can’t help himself.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/salim-mehajer-fined-for-unlicensed-driving-but-gets-reprieve-over-unregistered-car-20160128-gmfz6r.html
    Greg Jericho digs deeply into the inflation figures.
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2016/jan/28/inflation-is-pretty-much-dead-right-now-so-whats-with-the-markets-overreaction
    Anne Aly slams the politics of fear.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-candidate-and-terrorism-expert-anne-aly-questions-citizenship-laws-slams-politics-of-fear-20160128-gmg530.html
    “View from the Street” on how this government is still defeating the environment and human rights. And he has some “supporting” words for poor little Jamie Briggs. He also asks why we are letting the Australian Christian Lobby write policy.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/view-from-the-street/view-from-the-street-government-still-defeating-environment-human-rights-20160128-gmg52m.html
    Here the ACL boasts of its success in getting the SSM issue “kicked into the grass”.
    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jan/28/same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-kicked-issue-into-long-grass-boasts-christian-lobby

  2. Section 2 . . .

    This girl has given Turnbull some home truths on marriage equality.
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/young-girl-isabella-mills-tells-malcolm-turnbull-in-a-letter-the-samesex-marriage-plebiscite-is-a-waste-of-money/news-story/03f617770393b28fb95c074eaa5169f8
    It looks like next Friday’s directions hearing at the Royal Commission to rule on Pell’s return will be interesting to watch. If his legal phalanx proposes that Pell can’t come there will be a very vocal and emotional response from other’s representatives.
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/will-george-pell-return-to-australia-20160128-gmgggs.html
    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jan/28/george-pell-too-unwell-to-fly-days-before-decision-on-royal-commission-appearance
    Meanwhile things are hotting up for the Anglicans at the Child Abuse Royal Commission.
    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jan/28/royal-commission-hears-anglican-clergy-shared-secret-understanding-of-attraction-to-boys
    The troubled MyGov website has been taken from the DHS and moved to the Digital Transformation Office, Turnbull’s pet project. Let’s see how they go.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/troubled-mygov-website-to-be-taken-from-human-services-and-given-to-digital-transformation-office-for-streamlining-20160127-gmfoe3.html
    If children are required to have computer tablets why the ridiculously expensive Apple products?
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/back-to-school-supplies-extend-to-ipads-20160127-gmeu2z.html
    Gina’s had a lean year by the look of it.
    http://thenewdaily.com.au/money/2016/01/28/gina-bumped-top-rich-list-reclusive-american-australian-woman/
    No-one is buying the Scott Morrison makeover.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/scomo-soft-and-fluffy-with-added-stain-remover,8618
    US shootings since 1963 have killed more Americans that have died in all wars since then!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/gun-deaths-since-jfk-assassination_us_56a903c6e4b0f6b7d54485c4?section=australia
    The WHO is very concerned about the rapid spread of the Zika virus.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/28/zika-virus-spreading-explosively-says-world-health-organisation

  3. Seeing lots of tweets about Their ABC ignoring Labor’s education policy announcement this morning.

    • Brissenden quickly segued from “how ya gonna pay forritt?” to Kill Bill poll numbers….: The ABC. reporting for the LNP. coalition..all day every day.

  4. Lazy fracking ABC journalists –

    Labor has explained how their education plans will be paid for. This was part of yesterday’s release. This quote was all over social media yesterday afternoon.

    This funding will be offset, over the forward estimates and the medium-term, by existing improvements to the Budget proposed by Labor including making multinational companies pay their fair share of tax reforms to the taxation of multinational entities, reducing superannuation tax concessions for millionaires, increasing the changes to tobacco excise, ceasing the Emissions Reduction Fund, and not proceeding with the Liberals’ new Baby Bonus

    http://www.laborsplanforeducation.com.au/labors_plan#better-trained-teachers

    If an old lady with a home PC can access this information as soon as it is released what’s wrong with ABC journalists who have more resources, plus staff, to help them research their stories?

    And we are not supposed to believe there is an agenda at Their ABC.

    • Fran of the LNP. mouth every time she mentions Labor’s Gonski funding litterly almost spits out in exclamation ; “FIVE BILLION DOLLARS!!”….as if to give emphasis to her next comment about spending like drunken sailors …

    • jc – Easily funded by taking back $5bn of the $8.8bn that Joe gave the RBA even when they said they didn’t want it.

  5. I happened to catch a Panel discussion on Sky last night discussing Labor’s education announcement.
    The panel was Speers, Kelly and Hartcher. The theme was that the announcement confirmed Labor’s woeful record as economic managers. We can’t afford it.
    This will be the way the MSM try to discredit the policy.

  6. As soon as Bill Shorten’s video hit the internet and the news yesterday the usual suspects were out there screaming about the cost.

    Simon Birmingham, (well might you ask ‘Who?’) surely one of the most useless and stupid ministers in a ministry filled with the useless and stupid, was carrying on about ‘reckless spending’ risking a deficit blowout. A bit rich from any minister in a government which has doubled the deficit in two years and has nothing to show for all that new debt. Parrot Pyne came out right on cue with his usual ‘throwing more money at schools is not the answer’ crap. Throwing money at private schools, though, is apparently OK.

    None of them, of course, have read a word of the plan. Neither have all those journalists now dutifully chanting ‘where’s the money coming from’. They are all just following today’s government talking points, or the extra-special early edition rushed out yesterday afternoon in response to Shorten’s announcement.

    The ABC should be presenting facts and figures, with comment from both sides of politics, so we can have information and make up our minds on what we do or don’t want. The ABC should not be relentlessly pushing government propaganda. Nick Ross should be nominated for Australian of the Year, or maybe a sainthood, for being brave enough to expose the ABC’s political bias and their manipulation of information for right-wing political gain.

  7. If only one of the royal family could stand as a candidate for Labor. The gushing from Fran would be epic.

  8. How much exactly did we spend looking for a plane? If there was ever a definitive example of “throwing money” at something for no outcome, that was it. Didn’t hear a peep from the MSM about that, though. In fact, I recall the ABC cutting away from more important things to pressers of Truss telling us they haven’t found anything yet.

    I’m seeing a pattern here. Every time there are tangible outcomes on offer – especially in health and education – the cry from the Liberals and press gallery is “we can’t afford it!”. Examples of genuine waste go through to the keeper.

    In other news, Turnbull was asked this morning when he expects us to record surpluses and pay off the debt. He doesn’t know. This from a party that promised surpluses in its first year and every year after that. Now, that was a stupid promise to make, granted (unpunished, but that’s another story), but you’d at least expect them to have some sort of mid-to-long-term plan in place by now. They don’t.

    So just to summarise. They’ve completely nobbled the vote on SSM. They’ve abandoned any responsibility for action on climate change or the environment. There’s no intention at all to do anything about refugees except continue to demonise them for votes. They’re getting rid of Gonski, cutting funds from education and looking to block any attempts from the other side to return that funding. They’re still dismantling Medicare and upping health costs for the consumer. They’re pulling money out of welfare. Unemployment has risen. The debt continues to blow out and there’s no plan or timetable available right now for reducing it, much less paying it off. Corporate tax avoidance has been more or less defended. The only thing they have on the table is an increase in GST, which they refuse to discuss, much less explain how it can possibly do enough to right the economy. And they’re planning on offsetting that anyway with a reduction in corporate tax.

    That’s on the policy side. As a party, they’re disunited, with many MPs openly defying Turnbull, and most of the messaging coming from the Right. The guy Turnbull replaced is doing whatever the hell he likes and talking about a comeback. To this, Turnbull says nothing and, to judge by what’s happening, does nothing either.

    I’m really, really struggling to see how they could be the preferred party for anyone who doesn’t already own a large business. They offer nothing for anyone else. And their leader is a squib, a man who has betrayed everyone who supported his supposed moderate stance.

    • Aguirre

      you should send the summarise paragraph to Bill Shorten’s speechwriter – the short punchy statements should be in Bill’s stump speech come election time!

  9. Hi Pub folks

    Heard the tail end of an interview this morning on local Canb ABC radio (local is mostly ok,not like the scum on 24/newsradio).. about a project from ANU school of policy where they have combined data from various sources and crunched all the numbers on Australian aid spending over time and compared to other OECD countries, where/what/how we’ve spent our $, and it also includes private donations to non-govt etc. Found the website when I got to work and thought pubsters might be interested..

    http://devpolicy.org/aidtracker/

    back to work for this bee, TGIF!

  10. BSA Bob

    How astute, and correct. It seems to me that the people in Australia that want Labor are the staunch supporters. All media and every other party use every opportunity to kick Labor.

  11. Turnbull leaps into the ‘Labor are reckless spenders’ propaganda. Don’t expect a fist full of dollars election campaign from us, he says.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/dont-expect-a-fistful-of-dollars-election-campaign-malcolm-turnbull-20160128-gmgkeq.html

    He’s lying. It will be a fistful of dollars, just in reverse. He won’t be promising goodies for the peasants, he will be proposing a plan to take away fistfuls of dollars and giving them to his rich mates. His government, if voters are dumb enough to return the incompetent loons, will be grabbing fistfuls of dollars, raiding your pockets, your bank account, your welfare payments, your pension, your kids’ schools, your hospitals and so much more.

    If you didn’t read Jess Irvine’s article on Turnbull’s ten year old tax plans in BK’s links then you should.

    • Selected comments from Turnbull in that article:

      “These are tight financial times and they expect, Australians expect, me as Prime Minister to manage the budget responsibly, to get the most bang for their taxpayer buck, to manage the government efficiently, and to seek to do so with the least tax burden on them so that they can keep more of what they make in their business, in their job, from their savings.”

      Meaningless waffle. Not one concrete statement in any of that. In “tight financial times” the last thing Australians want is assurances that “they can keep more of what they make in their business, in their job, from their savings”. That’s the sort of thing you want in good financial times. In tight financial times you expect the government to provide some stimulus so that the economy gets rolling again. If the economy contracts, having a government contract its spending along with it only exacerbates the situation. So Turnbull really is talking crap here.

      Mr Turnbull was speaking following a speech by Treasury Secretary John Fraser on Thursday night urging spending restraint and warning the Commonwealth’s interest rate burden could blow-out by $29 billion over three years.

      Although Mr Fraser said Australia should not become “complacent” about its Triple A credit rating, Mr Turnbull said it was not under threat.

      Right, so in response to a warning not to become complacent, Turnbull offers up… complacency. Brilliant. Utterly brilliant. As a side note. Fraser has rejected a lot of what Morrison said, and has stated that we have both a spending and a revenue problem. In fact, Fraser has specifically said that spending won’t be cut by much more anyway and that the real issues are the fall in revenue raised and the fall in the growth rate. So that quote above is so misleading it could be called a lie. He’s worth reading on this, it’s all here:

      http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/treasury-secretary-john-fraser-australia-has-a-spending-and-a-revenue-problem-20160128-gmgj11.html

      “We’re not seeking to do tax reform for tax reform’s sake. We’re not trying to get an economics prize or a tax prize. What we’re seeking to do is to ensure that every single lever of government is pulling in the direction of more jobs and more growth.”

      Utter piffle. Blather by a man who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. What he’s trying to say is that you can’t measure economic performance by external indicators or standards, you can only rely on what the Liberal Party says about their own performance. You can see what a crock that is.

    • Oh, and in case you’re wondering why Turnbull has suddenly become so disparaging about ‘economics and tax prizes’, there’s this:

      derek rollins ‏@derekdownunder 46m46 minutes ago

      Reports today that Australian economy about to lose its A.A.A. Rating! The result of two dreadful Abbott/Turnbull budgets #auspol

    • I haven’t finished with this yet. The misquoting of John Fraser is actually disgusting, a total misrepresentation of what he was saying. Matthew Knott ought to be ashamed of himself. He specifically said that ‘successive falls in tax receipts have been the “main driver” of every budget downgrade since 2014’.

      “Much of the deterioration in the budget position has been the result of revenue collections falling short of forecasts as we experience the flipside of the mining investment boom,” he said.

      “Income tax receipts are being weighed down by lower than expected working-age population growth and weaker wages growth, as well as declines in commodity prices and weaker equity markets.”

      The impacts of successive revenue downgrades have only been partially offset by the government’s structural saving measures, he said.

      How much clearer does he need to be?

      Mr Fraser said the recent savings made by the Turnbull government are helping a little – Australia’s payments-to-GDP ratio is now projected to decline over the next four years to 25.3 per cent by 2018-19, he said.

      “But government spending will not get below 25 per cent at any time over the next decade,” he warned.

      Whatever the current government has expected to do on the spending side, they’ve already done it and it’s not enough. Revenue has to be addressed.

      There is not one thing in that whole article to suggest Fraser is “urging spending restraint”. And certainly not advocating spending restraint as the only measure, as Knott has twisted it to appear.

    • Comparing Turnbull;s latest waffle with his ten-year old views in the Jess Irvine interview is revealing. His mind seems welded to the past, his economic policies based on thought bubbles he had when he was chairman of Goldman Sachs, or was trying to get up Costello’s nose ten years ago.

      All that has changed is the amount of waffle.

      I found it depressing, that Turnbull’s thinking has not changed in at least ten years. He’s still all about tax cuts for the rich and slugging the lowest earners with a ‘broader tax base’, aka GST. His out-dated Reaganomics ideas should have been binned years ago.

      And don’t tell me Scrott has come up with his lousy tax ideas all by himself. Turnbull would have given him instructions, and then retired to a bunker and left Scrott to take the flak.

      Matthew Knott is just being a good little journalist and following the instructions of the day. He even managed to get in the de rigeur ‘Labor reckless spending and borrowing’ chant.

  12. Gigilene, no, i wouldnt say that those in off Australian offshore detention centres are given special treatment. That would be ridiculously wrong.
    Just like those who believe every people smuggling paying economic migrant who has made their way to Denmark after passing through several other safe and functioning European nations should be given preferential treatment over Danish citizens in order to receive govt. assistance.

  13. Will also add that its obvious that the child in the picture did not write that note themself.
    More likely it was written by one of the many refugee advocates or lawyers who have a vested (moneyary) interest in keeping the people smuggling industry afloat. Thats why, to their eternal shame, not to mention the two faced Greens, they saw fit to argue against the Gillard govts Malaysia solution.
    A policy that would of seen that child and family now in Malaysia, a fairly prosperous and safe country being able to plan for a new life and not stuck in a shitty pacific island detention centre with seemingly no future and at the same time it would of seen some of the thousands of children in the region being ‘swapped’ and starting a new life in this country.
    The very children whose parents couldn’t afford thousands of dollars to pay a criminal people smuggler.
    The very children who are ignored by the many refugee advocates because they havent snuck into this country by boat.
    The very children who dont have the privilige of some refugee advocate setting up a photo op to try and emotionally blackmail the public.
    Why are the poorest of the poor always ignored by these so called advocates.

  14. The reason I’ve been going hard on the Turnbull/Fraser thing is that the Turnbull article relies heavily on this idea that spending restraint is the dominant factor we should be concentrating on. Without that assumption, the entire Turnbull argument falls apart, including all his guff on Labor spending. And what Fraser said contradicts what Turnbull is talking about, no matter how they dress it up.

  15. I’m a tad concerned that there are some even on this site who seem too easily to adopt a “spot the behavioral problems” of refugees in detention..I fail to see how a “economic refugee” from a war zone differs from any other refugee, except that perhaps they were able to flog off all their worldly possessions in a “fire sale” for some money BEFORE they were blown to bits! After all, it’s what many Europeans did after the 2nd WW. before they migrated to Aust’
    As to alluding to any sort of “opportunist” behaviour on the part of the parents of the children, I would point to the desperate actions of a drowning person who clings and scrambles onto their rescuer, even to the point of endangering the life of that rescuer…There is little logic in the actions of panicked or absolutely desperate people.
    A damn sight more charity directed toward those “lost souls” and their plight would be of more help to resolve such a damning situation rather than seeking the splinter in the eye of a helpless, hopeless victim. I like to believe we of the left have a more humanist approach than the dammed to all eternity right wing.

    • Maybe the bogan princess has glitzy Perth fashion sense, although off’s Frock Shop on Stirling Highway would never have let her out dressed like that in the old days

      What is the idea of thick black stockings in summer, sheer if you must wear stockings. Agree he white shoes just screech

      Moi has spent the whole of January committing fashion crimes along the lines of “Can I get another wear out of these shorts?” and “No body from home is around to see my bikini”

    • “I think Turnbull has to be at number one though. His campaign of misinformation and lies is the narrative that the whole country and the media ran with and continues to do so today.”

  16. Well..If that interview with Nick Ross isn’t “throwing down the gauntlet” to the ABC. management, nothing is!

    Gutless, crawler,; Scott.

  17. child in the picture did not write that note themself.

    Stony, you can be as hard as a rock sometimes. Who cares who wrote the bl##dy sign for the kid? What we know is:

    The child is real
    The child is being detained
    The child spent 3 Xmasses in detention

    What we can suspect:

    The child is being neglected
    The child might even have been molested
    The child could be an orphan

  18. This afternoon I got one of those “please subscribe with us” e-mails from Crickey. In the e-mail they were running the line
    ” Bill Shorten knows he’s facing an uphill battle. The Gonski education package is a good start – but where will the money come from? He’s left himself open to accusations of blowing out the deficit.”

    First how bloody condescending of them and second what a load of ordure with the part about “where is the money coming from?” Bill Shorten spelt that out very clearly when he made the policy announcement yesterday.

    There’s no way Crickey will see any of my money – not tat there is much to see.

  19. This is from an article about Albo recontesting Grayndler from yesterday

    “The Greens political party candidate who has been chosen in this electorate has spent more time in the international socialist organisation than he has in the Greens political party,” Mr Albanese claimed. “If he was fair dinkum, he would run as an international socialist and see how many votes he got. “

    With this comment, Albo basically ensured that everything else he said in his press conference was ignored, including the very accurate conclusion that the environment is not the Greens’ number one concern anymore. This is why I think that he would not be a good leader. Unfortunately if in the very unlikely event that Shorten decides to resign, the next leadership election will basically be a coronation for Albo.

  20. Kevin Donnelly – pfffft. One of Abbott’s Jobs for the Mates appointees.

    “Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and Director of the Education Standards Institute.”

    Let’s demolish that bit of ego-puffery.
    The Education Standards Institute is a body Donnelly set up himself. He seems to be the only member and the website seems more concerned with flogging Donnelly’s book about his experience with depression that it is with issues about education.
    http://www.edstandards.com.au/index.php?education_standards_institute=1

    He’s very keen on donations.
    http://www.edstandards.com.au/index.php?education_standards_institute=104

    His education qualifications and experience are genuine, but that doesn’t mean he’s any good at what he does.

    He has a dodgy background with Phillip Morris.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/new-curriculum-reviewer-was-an-education-consultant-to-tobacco-giant-phillip-morris-20140111-30nj8.html

    Then there’s this, on his appointment by Christopher Pyne as a reviewer of the national curriculum.

    In early January Mr. Pyne announced that he had appointed commentator Dr. Kevin Donnelly and University of Queensland Professor Ken Wiltshire, to conduct a short review of the national education curriculum. Like Mr Pyne’s attempt to fiddle with the Gonski reforms, this announcement seemed to be an ideologically driven attempt to undo six years of consultation, submissions and contributions from a huge number of people by the body responsible for developing the new system, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). .

    ACARA, which had been chaired by one of my old history lecturers at University of Melbourne, Professor Stuart Macintyre, had received more than 20,000 submissions and surveys in relation to English, maths, science and history. In response to Mr Pyne’s announcement Professor Macintyre said, “”It’s a great pity that the government has succumbed to the temptation to go for cheap political points at the expense of a political process which has been exhaustive… Whereas this (review) is to be conducted by two people who have particular backgrounds. How they’re expected to apply expertise is beyond me, both in the subject areas and in curriculum.”

    Macintyre is probably referring to Kevin Donnelly’s long association with the Liberal Party and his previous paid consultancies between 1997-2005 under the Howard government. It was also revealed in the Age newspaper that the Education Standards Institute of which Dr. Donnelly is the Director, is not really an independent body but rather the trading name for Impetus Consultants Pty Ltd, a business registered to the K Donnelly Family Trust. Consequently one must wonder about whether the review will be credible, expert or independent.

    I believe that what we see now being played out is yet another chapter of the notorious “History Wars”. This is an unsavoury episode of Australian history that is of particular importance to Aboriginal people because it involves the ‘whitewashing’ and ‘airbrushing’ of the history of Australia. The History Wars debate is an attempt to perpetuate the great cover-up and denial of the truth of the Aboriginal experience in Australian history

    http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/essays/tracker/tracker30.html

    No political bias at the ABC, none at all, not a bit……..

  21. Jaycee423, im guessing that comment was in response to my earlier post?
    Please dont try to presume how I feel towards refugees.
    I have always been sympathetic towards refugees and still am however I admit my attitude has hardened in recent years towards those who pay their way to the front of the queue infront of those that seem to be completely ignored and languish for years in crowded, unsanitary and hellish conditions out of sight from the advocates and the twitter users including thousands of children who dont get to be used as a prop holding up a silly sign by the ‘let them all in’ crowd with a vested interest in seeing an endless supply of arrivals.
    Those who would probably cut off their right arm for a chance to get their family to a detention centre in Nauru, where granted the conditions are not great but with a roof over their head and 3 meals a day probably looks like paradise for these poor folk.
    There are literally billions of people around the world who are worse off than you and I which is why I don’t think it is wrong to differentiate between refugees and economic migrants.
    Sure, it would be great if we could let everyone who wants a better life to come on over but that is stupidly naive and the onus is on those who want to allow a free for all to explain how this would be achieved, financially, socially and environmentally.
    But just like the Greens party, none of these no doubt well meaning people ever have answers to these questions such as how many should we let in and how we deal with the many consequences.
    As much as it may hurt we need to accept that the ‘left’ has comprehensively lost this debate. The public has spoken. Our efforts should now be on advocating incremental and achievable improvements, working to turn around the hardened public opinion, which is what I believe Julia Gillards govt. were trying to achieve with the Malaysian solution.
    A pragmatic approach that wouldnt see the ALP forever relegated to the opposition benches where not only will absolutely nothing be achieved for refugees but life will be demonstrably worse for so many others who rely on a Labor govt.
    The ineffectual halo – polishers from the Greens can afford to put policy purity ahead of pragmatism but as unseemly as it may be the ALP need to actually get elected first so they can continue to improve life for millions already in this country on any number of issues including for refugees.
    We need to draw the line somewhere, a figure of how many we let in will always be arbitrary but necessary.
    We could let in one million people but the cute little african girl whose parents are dead and is living on UN labelled gruel in a mosquito and disease ridden tent city in Africa who is number one million and one on any list of migrants would miss out. Is that fair?
    It isnt a competition in who can claim to have the most compassion, we do what we can in a shockingly cruel and unfair world.
    I go out of my way to teach my kids aged 8, 7 and 8 months that they have won lifes lotto in being born in this fantastic country but I don’t feel guilty nor that im a bad person for accepting the cold hard reality of life.
    sorry bout the long – winded and disjointed post. Im currently at home with my noisy and nagging kids while my partner enjoys a well deserved day away with friends in Margaret River.
    cheers.

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